Reprint from the “Archive for Adult Education” – 1925
Translated 1992 by Raymond Huessy
Feringer notes
Notes started: 11/92
Last edited: 11/97


The context of this essay was the tragic situation of Germany after WW I. Rosenstock-Huessy was raising the question, “How has the German education system been faulty to not have prepared its citizens to see, and understand and respond more appropriately to their experience?”  Apparently the German citizens did not see the pickle they were in.   Rosenstock-Huessy writes as though he is offering the German people a method to better prepare themselves for the future, to rise up from the “dead,” in this essay.

I.      Theory & Practice

a.   “Schooling” is defined as the educational method for youth. Its characteristics are: 1) transmission of information, as contrasted with need for an adult education that would transform the students. Transmission is, by definition, oriented toward the past,  with no admonition to act.   2) Teaching is teacher-centered.  Transmission also negates the role of the teacher, because the teacher is primarily an instrument, analogous to a tape player or video today.  3)  The primary activity of the student is to memorize, a situation that does not require leadership, but mere formal authority over the students.

b.   True “education,” for any age, by contrast is much more than mere “schooling.” Adult education,  in particular, is oriented toward solving community problems as a step toward a better future. This requires a curriculum that prepares the student to see, understand and deal with problems at hand.  In the process the adult is transformed into a new being, because creating a future always demands a new type of person to evolve with changed times. The difference in age, in adult learning situations, between teacher and student is much less, and therefore the teacher needs to lead, at first. The authority relationship between student and teacher may shift back and forth.

c.   Of course, these definitions are not pure, as all levels of learning involve passing on information from the past.  However, the solving of problems, where the answers are not known beforehand, new information to be created and tested – a very subtle and demanding process.  Furthermore, since the curriculum arises from community need, adult students have the power to evaluate its relevance and participate in its formulation.

d.   Two “curious” types of adult schools arose in Germany after WW I, one based on humanistic idealism and the other on “realpolitik.”  The purpose and philosophy of these schools could not have been more different.  The “Keyserling” school in 1923 reflected idealism and the “Speidel Workers Council Schools,” represented the latter.  One represented theory (idealism), and the other, practice. These orientations existed previously, but between 1500 and 1900 they grew more and more apart, and finally evolved into isolation and incompatibility.   They became two poles of philosophy, each giving lip-service to the importance of the other,  but in reality they ignored each other.

e.   Rosenstock-Huessy despaired of the educational  institutions for adults in Germany at this time, not only the Keyserling and Speidel schools, but also the university and the church, as offering inadequate and disconnected teaching:

Until now we have in a spiritual sense known only the conscious misleading of adults: demagogy.  But now we attempt conscious spiritual leadership: “andragogy”…So andragogy is the name under which we can group all school-bound teaching of adults.  In any case the rise of andragogy as a renunciation of both mere pedagogy and demagogy is significant. (p.3)

II.     The School of Wisdom

a.   The essential characteristics of the Keyserling school were: 1)  well-to-do people who wished to improve their minds, but, 2)  with no motive to put this learning into practice.  Adults entered to “become wise,” to know themselves, to become “grown-up.”  Entry into the school was voluntary, motivated by a personal desire for enlightenment.

b.   The opposite of this characterized the Speidel school.  Here adults were driven by some community need, by a higher call to “duty,” not something they arbitrarily chose, and not for their personal ends, but for group ends. The problem of  “andragogy” is to resolve these two opposing forces.

c.   The existence of the Keyserling school represented a recognition of the failure of both the university and the church.  The university had become “soulless,” and the church “deadly to the spirit.”

The Keyserling school employed unconventional and perfectly valid methods for teaching, but, like the university and the church, failed to connect learning with action.  The validity of the curriculum and teaching methods did not make up for a failure in philosophy and this turned out to be a fatal flaw.

d.   The notion that knowledge studied out of the context of practice could have power was fallacious, in Rosenstock-Huessy’s view.

Whoever pretends to believe in the lack of preconditions in the social sciences, exaggerates the weight of his little bit of personal morality and good behavior.  It is nice, of course, not to lie consciously.  But it is much worse for the spirit and truth and science, to lie without being aware of it. ….Keyserling’s new approach has little prospect of ending anywhere different than where Plato’s, Marsilio Ficino’s, Richelieu’s, or Leibnitz’s academic life ended: in the highest personal truthfulness, in  institutional unreality and ambiguity!  (p.7)

Knowledge studied out of the context of use, out of the stream of history, knowledge taught as a bundle of abstractions only, isolates people and constrains them from connecting with others, because it offers no basis for commonly agreed-upon validation of the usefulness of the knowledge. Nor does it allow any learning from other generations.

Keyserling does not differentiate between “his” truth for himself and responsible “teachable” truth for others.  Without such a filter, such a spiritual self-purification from the fetters of individuality, one graduating class, one generation, can never connect to another. (p.8)

e.   True teaching means preparing the student to validate the relevance of past knowledge, add to it the knowledge of some present situation, then find a method for solving the problem at hand.  All of this requires some common agreement as to the facts and the effectiveness of possible solutions (which is to say, testing them).   “The problem of continuity, inheritance, transmission, is the problem which causes our existing institutions to wither away.”  (p.8)  Another way of putting this is to say that this form of idealism tries to drive out the devilwith  the devil, subjectivity with subjectivity, individualism with individualism, just as does the university.  What if the professor lacks knowledge, or is biased, how are his pronouncements of the truth to be validated?  In a “pedagogical” system the student is stuck with accepting the knowledge uncritically.  How can such a method prepare a community member participating in community affairs to respond to community problems fruitfully?

Adult experience should move one toward being a wiser and self-assured personality.  Today university students are self assured because Western Culture and its traditional universities emphasize science, which requires only memory, but not social wisdom and a call to action.

f.    The vitality of the society is at stake here.  Any community requires vital leadership, which is to say, outstanding persons, what Rosenstock-Huessy calls “a personality.”   The idea, established in the 16th century  “Humanist” movement, meant that anyone could do anything.  The fallacy of this notion lies in the fact that, when everyone believes they can become a “personality” (great person), then no one can.  Where, then, is the leadership? Even if a leader is present, he/she is not accepted, or worse, not even recognized.  Such  is the result of the cult of individualism (humanism)!  [RF – In my own experience I have many times been confronted with groups who had little or no knowledge of some issue, but claimed the right to have an opinion and an influence equal to that of the expert.]

g.   Another concern Rosenstock-Huessy raises with traditional adult educational institutions is that of homogeneity, of the lack of representation in planning bodies of many group members.  Examples of this phenomenon are too numerous to list.  Police departments, political parties, universities, churches, labor unions – in short all institutions – have failed to reform themselves.  No homogeneous group can change itself, because to do so transforms it into something else:

Whenever members of a homogeneous social group whose inner attitudes are well-known and well-established, makes use of educational institutions as adults, any attempt to effect essential change in the group must end in failure….This is also why all party activity is immune to improvement.  And that is why any homogeneity among students sets narrow limits on the art of the teacher.  (pp.10,11)

III.     The Workers’ Council School

a.   The context of the “workers” situation was the need to re-establish a movement, originated in the past, but  which had faded out.  In the past peasants needed to defend themselves against the powerful. The first step in this process was to know the rule of law, to know one’s rights as well as responsibilities.  With the rise of capitalism and the humanistic notion of individual worth, the new peasants, the workers, became the “soil” for entrepreneurship.  There were  schools established in the 19th century for the peasants to study such subjects as marriage contracts and other aspects of contract law, in addition to some general education.  The present need in post WW I Germany was for the modern peasants (workers) to protect their rights by re-establishing the dissemination of this type of knowledge.  The movements of the 19th century were characterized by political activists for the purpose of raising the economic status of workers and for protection against exploitation.

b.   There was an important distinction to be made, between the study of rules and the rights they bequeathed,  on the one hand,  and political action on the other.  Law is, by definition, oriented toward the past, and changing the law is directed toward the future. This new popular adult education, as represented by the Speidel school,  was oriented toward political action.  However, the orientation was insufficient because it became manifest in a form that was narrow and idealistic.  Rosenstock-Huessy explains in some detail the evolution of this phenomenon.  In a nut-shell, it amounted to Speidel concentrating on political forms, i.e. how to obtain workers rights.  They learned to stop certain types of practices through the courts, but in the meantime the economic disaster of the country made such political concern irrelevant.  The workers could not see that the larger picture was that their economic problems were tied to those of the rest of the country, and single issue political action then took on a bad smell.

“Politics today is filth,”  a businessman wrote recently.  He meant that idealistic political thinking which stares fixedly at Berlin, equating politics with government policy, law with state regulation,   public life with the life of the state. (p.11)

The failure of law was that cases came to be decided on the basis of a technicality.  This distorted the spirit of the law.

c.   The workers were mainly interested in learning 1) their rights and how to defend them, 2) law to become equipped to prosecute a lawsuit, and 3) arbitration processes.  Trials were seen as the scene of the real context between labor and management.  Distinctions between individual legal rights and public rights were important to understand, i.e. those established by legal procedure on the one hand, and those   “…shunted off into politics, campaigns, parties, and parliaments,”  on the other hand.

d.   In practice, the Workers’ Council Schools failed 1) because their membership was too homogeneous, and 2) because they allowed themselves to become too fragmented into a narrow, specialized approach to solving their problems, as described (in b, & c) above. This is to say, because of a failure to identify the larger context of their society into which their movement fitted. Also, 3) they failed because they saw their situation as a microcosm of all social activity.

Do not underestimate the danger of this situation! It is the last bit of “soil” in society which is being consumed….True teaching is, and must be lacking, because it is borrowed, and borrowed from a world divided into theories and practices.  The incest in these schools, that in them the workers are only among themselves, we can only take for the second impediment to the schools’ coming to spiritual independence. But this impediment has a greater importance now than ever before.  Because in our fundamentally weakened people, each individual group is incapable of regenerating the spiritual life, even of its own environment.  (pp.16,17)

e.   “How can we understand the prospects for these two types of schools, “wisdom and law,” and what should we hope for?” (p.17)


editorial comments:

Up to this point the author speaks of the degeneration of Germany in 1925, exacerbated by improper teaching of adults.  The failure of both schools was in being incapable of counter-balancing the corrupted institutions.  Therefore the need for a new type of teaching, which Rosenstock-Huessy dubs “andragogy.”  Andragogy was conceived to sensitize adults to the meaning (spirit) of their times, to awaken the spirit and motivate action on the part of the citizenry to improve the community.  It would be entirely appropriate to  call this new teaching, “a higher form” of teaching.  It exactly parallels the relationship of his new form of grammar that ERH called, “The Grammatical Method.” This new grammar goes beyond Alexandrian Grammar, which we all learned.  And in a like way, “Andragogy” goes beyond traditional teaching.

The distinction between pedagogy, demagogy, and andragogy is important, because each has a different but justifiable  purpose.  Each calls for a different methodology.  It is equally true that, in reality,  these types can never become isolated and followed in a “pure” form, because there is always overlap at every level.  Each type either calls for or anticipates the next step.  For instance, all learning requires memory, vocabulary, sequence, logic, and so forth.  And even with andragogy, in certain situations the purpose and methodology of pedagogy and demagogy would be subsumed as part of the teaching process.  This is to say, in some situations with adults, where the students are new to a subject, and the teacher is an expert, the students are hardly in a position to determine goals or participate equally with the teacher.  Contrarily, in elementary school part, of the preparation must anticipate andragogy.

[RF – Having said this, I would hope the reader can better understand the full implications of the final section.]


IV.    The School of Law

Rosenstock-Huessy points out that the time to create new institutions is in the time of need.  In this case in Germany, he points out how the lost war reflected  a number of social breakdowns, deeply divided social classes, deeply divided specialized professions, a demoralized citizenry in which self-confidence, a vision for a future, and hope were at the lowest point, and finally, serious divisions as to teaching methods and curricular theories.

A school for adults, which would produce individuals prepared to face problems and create new forms to deal with new problems, what ERH calls in this essay “Schools for men”  (p.19), must break new ground.   The needs (goals)  were clear:  1) to unite deeply divided social classes, 2) to create some commonality of interest between the most deeply divided specialized professions, 3) to also take into account both individual and group needs, and finally 4) “…to melt down the isolated specialized teachers into one teaching community.”   Another way of generalizing this concept is that the educational system must be based upon the experience of the country, an experience where failed institutions and much suffering was rampant.  What was needed was:

…a School of Events, and a school for those who have undergone those events.  The mere man of knowledge, the dogmatist, the professional man, the philosopher, the rationalist, all those who neither can, nor will let their knowledge be changed by events, have no place in andragogy.  The priest and the Levite pass by:  only the Samaritan is ready to think and act anew!  (p.19)

Demagogy:  The state is interested in promoting its own survival, which means that there must be some modicum, some minimum common spirit by which unity and public order could be maintained.  The state there has a primary interest in maintaining an educational system that will sustain this common spirit.  Examples are given: Germany in 1810 and France 1871 were both defeated in war, and each country started new schools.  However, for the reasons stated above, these new schools failed to appropriately prepare adults.  The new concept must recognize and subsume the justifiable need for the state to create unity among its citizens.

Andragogy:  The context in which the need for a new approach to the educational system that would go beyond “Demagogy” was the degenerated, dispirited state of Germany in 1918.  He raises the question, “How are individuals and groups to regenerate themselves and their country?”

It is not only a question of preserving our state, but of barbarization of Europe.  It is not only a question of inspecting politics in the capital, but of ordering life in all parts and places of the country.  It is not a question of teaching a homogeneous student body, but of bringing a disparate population together.

All adult education, if it is to achieve anything original, anything that shapes men, anything that arises from the depths of time, will have to proceed from the suffering which the lost war has brought each of us…  (p. 18)

The basis for a new power of teaching must arise from the shared experience of both student and teacher.  Where  that experience was catastrophic, it heralded the need for a new type thinking and  of a new type of adult.  With andragogy, not only was this experience to be shared in the sense that the background of students was to be a constant source of data in the teaching process, but  the age of student and teacher is shared as well, as the teacher’s age was typically close to that of the student.

1.     The difference between adult and elementary education:

a.   A child, by definition, has not yet the capability of taking on responsibility in the community.  He/she learns to develop skills, follow curiosity, and is allowed to play and enjoy and follow natural inclinations along these pathways.

b.   The adult is one who has taken responsibility, who has entered the life and history of the community, who suffers from the failed processes in the community as well as  having enjoyed its benefits.  The mature adult, in order to heal the wounds of failed processes …”must build on the graveyard of dreams and of withered blossoms, if they mean to rescue what can be rescued.” (p.21)

c.   “Nationalism and Naturalism” are the enemies of adult education, negating the need for adult education.  The focus of nationalism is on the past, and the principle direction is toward solving economic problems.  The narrowly-oriented nationalist tends to be relieved of re-examining present conditions, of freeing the citizen from having to strive for change that is, in fact, needed.  An example is the tendency of nations to go to war over past grievances, rather than finding solutions based upon present conditions.

“Naturalism,” as the name implies, is following natural tendencies; it is natural for workers, according to Rosenstock-Huessy,  to study events of the past that may be interesting, but with no conclusion as to what wisdom these events might offer in the present, sparing them the need to act on that knowledge.  As historian Page Smith put it, “..sparing them the need to attend to what must be learned, rather than merely what might be interesting to learn.”  Growth and change at once oppose natural tendencies, growth and change that are essential for survival from one generation to the next, for creating a more viable future.

d.   Historical thinking is a fundamental dimension of andragogy, in that past events are to be analyzed for what can be learned from them so that  past failures might not be repeated.  In this way the past becomes unified with the present and future.  Adult education must rise above natural tendencies.  Knowledge is never settled for long.  [RF – One is reminded of a well-known aphorism of Alfred North Whitehead, “Knowledge keeps like fish!”   Knowledge must be validated by being acted upon. Since action  takes place only in the present, time is unified completely (past-present-future).  What is most likely to draw people together is a common recognition that dreams must be achieved, or at least movement toward them.

e.   Consistent with these principles, theory and practice are to become unified in the method of andragogy. Only thus is any knowledge validated, and at the same time that knowledge is re-invented and renewed. It then becomes alive, filled with meaning.

In andragogy, theory becomes  practical deed, in the responsible word; in the crucible of necessity, however, practical deeds become the stuff of theory. (p.23)

f.    Synonyms for andragogy would be “adult education” or the “school of events.”

g.   Andragogy is not merely “better” as an education method for this purpose, it is a necessity:

The decision whether we want to continue in the old division of pedagogy and demagogy is no longer ours to make.  For our childish dreams are played out, and the demagogical arts of seduction are no longer of any use.  Dreams and arts have been smashed by a ghastly reality.  We can either do nothing, which is to say, remain dead, or we can say “yes” to the School of Law, speak as men from the prave of our hopes, and so come to life once more. (p.25)


Lectures 1-20
Feringer notes
Notes started: 12-91
Last edited: 12-98


Lecture 1

1.We are constantly threatened with oblivion.  To attempt to avoid this, indeed to also conquer death and to create the most desirable society, we must listen to history, because only there can we find guides to achieve our end.

The minimum potential of mankind is to remain animal and to die.  The maximum is to create, to work toward  “heaven on earth”, [RF – I have found it useful to paraphrase this as meaning  “a decent society on earth.”]  SUCH A SOCIETY CAN BE APPROACHED ONLY WHEN WE KNOW THE UNIVERSAL QUALITIES OF ALL HUMANKIND. THUS, THE NEED FOR A UNIVERSAL HISTORY, as contrasted with historical fragments such as the history of Russia, or of science, or of the American revolution. These are examples of specialized history. THE QUESTION THEN IS, “WHAT ARE THE COMMON DENOMINATORS  THAT APPLY TO ALL OF HUMANKIND?”

Our own age, or any single age, is too short to reflect all problems (generalizations) about man. Therefore, to better understand our experience, the only reference point we have to begin with is history.

2.What is worth remembering, what has to be remembered, and what is the minimum below which man remains a mere animal?

3.IT IS NOT TRUE THAT MAN WANTS TRUTH! “Very few groups in the world are out for truth..”  Read the papers, listen to the politicians, or fishing stories about the one which got away!  Human tendency is to accept expediency, half truths, fictions. Man has a natural proclivity to lie, to self agrandizment, to flee reality for the warm comfort of fantasy, or be lazy and accept simple answers; in short, to deceive both oneself and others.   HOW, THEN, DO WE FIND TRUTH IN HISTORY?

4.False knowledge is eventually revealed. Truth requires three generations who can agree on the meaning of a fact. (p.5)  The Spartans said, “All history — all battles, all campaigns, all legislation – has to be celebrated by three generations, by three choruses, the young; the grown-ups and the hoary heads (the old).”  Then men can understand each other’s judgment. History is very severe in its judgment as to what should enter it.  “Only those things enter history in which the grandfathers and the grandchildren agree.” (p.8)

5.The problems we need to solve today were generated in the past, and only if we know the past can we find some viable solution.

6.Why Universal History?  Only then can we learn what human societies have learned about their follies and successes. Universal history must begin with earliest man, and is only useful if it is this inclusive.

7.The first chapter of UNIVERSAL HISTORY is speech and naming, the calling and response by persons.  “…speech ends where people only talk about other things than themselves.” (p.15)  But to understand social experience, one needs to identify problems, to identify scoundrels and heros, that is the first achievement of speech.  Speech sorts out people, and is therefore dangerous. Speech determines whether there will be war or peace: speech = peace; no speaking = war.

The first lie in the Bible begins with Adam; he blamed his actions on the snake, taking no responsibility. Reflect on the several years it took to reveal the lies of our military, and what a pointless and immoral war (Vietnam)  was perpetrated on the American public!  We are constantly fed lies, and must learn to cope with this fact.

8.Parrots can talk just as can people (that is, repeat what has been taught them). Speech, by contrast is people speaking their beliefs honestly. To speak truth from the heart is divine.  History begins when people speak.

No individual can know truth from his/her own experience. It takes time, usually three generations –  grandfather, father, and son.  When these three agree on some fact or idea, one can have confidence in its validity. Therefore, anyone who believes only in his logic is wrong, because we live in the present, from moment to moment, with our lusts and biases – all of which must  be tempered by wisdom from the past.

9.The second question is, “What is the condition for making people do more than talk?” (p.19)  “The divinity of man is in the fact that he can be spoken to, and can speak–and not talk.” (p.20)  Man is free because he can choose between speaking and not speaking, and free to transform speech into action. History, as with all experience, can only be learned (understood) by response to events.

10.The Bible is universal history because it raises the basic questions of humankind. It was not written as a religious document, but as a sociological one. We learn, for instance, that short term solutions are expensive and never solve problems for long.  Specific events in history have little or no meaning outside the context of larger spans of events. And every people and every generation has something to contribute to universal history.

The first chapter of the Bible addresses speech, not linguistics, but the fact that  “…you call me Mr. Huessy, and I have to say, `Here I am’.” (p.15)  It confers status, in this case saying, “I am American, a Christian etc.” It is therefore beyond mere description, sorting out people into categories as to their beliefs and commitments, saying “yes” and “no,” drawing lines – and all this makes it potentially dangerous.

The divinity of speech (true speech as opposed to mere “talk”) lies in the fact that it is the only way by which mankind can be transformed from animal (at birth) into a truly human person.

Lecture – 2

1.Sacrifice holds humanity (the community, including all humanity) together. But human sacrifice is pagan, and voluntary sacrifice  (e.g. to be called to defend your country, or to do charitable acts.) eliminates that need.  All over the world, different cultures live in different stages of sacrifice, mostly pagan, some Stone-Age Indians. “Most people I meet live 1500 B.C.” (p.3)

You live in the Christian era if you don’t demand human sacrifice.  [RF – I assume this means human sacrifice broadly defined, for instance to blame others for one’s own failures.  And if you insist on voluntary sacrifice,  “…the people who bring these sacrifices must be worshiped, and must be respected, and must be included in your plan of life.” (p.3)

2.When we, as individuals, do not respond to relevant talk about events, when our newspapers or magazines ignore basic issues, when they ignore the lessons of universal history, then our culture is declining.  THE CHRISTIAN ERA ESTABLISHED THAT CERTAIN MINIMAL BEHAVIOR IS REQUIRED TO SURVIVE, I.E. VOLUNTARY SACRIFICE AND ASSUMPTION OF A UNIVERSAL HISTORY. (p.5)

UNIVERSAL HISTORY (the inclusion of everybody in the community) means that, if a community does not speak with its minorities, then eventually there will be war (of some kind) between those two.

3.Three major stages of development of human cultures:  First a universal church (the recognition of a universal creator). Second, one physical world covering the exploration of the universe (to survive we must know the physical world).  THESE FIRST TWO REPRESENT THE HISTORY OF HEAVEN AND EARTH. The third upon which we are now entering, is the recognition of a UNIVERSAL SOCIETY, that all mankind will be part of our consideration.

4.TRAGEDY AND HOPE ARE OPPOSITES.  Tragedy means there is not hope; it means the end.  With hope, the end means a new beginning. Hope is not found in the 4 Christian gospels, only faith.  Hope points backward, and faith toward the future.  Hope looks backwards, and  faith can’t see where its going. ( Faith is the willingness to change, being unsure as to how to change or where it will lead, but knowing that one must change.)  (p.11)

Hopes are of the physical world, faith of the spiritual.  Humans are unfinished; the work of the lord is to have us outgrow our hopes. (p.12)  Our personally centered hopes always produce tragedy.

Rather, our faith should urge us to sense, rather than hope, leading us toward what we are expected to achieve.

5.Since the earliest tribe, the goal has been to belong to the “all,” to the universe.

6.Parents are the creation of the tribes,  a father and mother  bringing up the child. THIS IS ALSO IN THE FIRST CHAPTER OF UNIVERSAL HISTORY.

THE SECOND CHAPTER IS THE CREATION OF PRIESTS over both heaven and earth, originating in the great empires, Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Chinese, Incan, Mayan. (p.15)


THE FOURTH CHAPTER, OUR PRESENT ERA, IS THE CREATION OF PROPHESY, AND OF PROPHETS. Prophecy, ERH asserts is part of our natural instinct to anticipate a future for ourselves.

Prophesy means that the present is not the mother of the future, but part of the present has to be wiped out, because otherwise we can’t reach our future.” (p.15)

7.There are two opposing points of view:  scientific, – that the past and present produce the future; and social, – that the past and the future will produce the present.  THUS, SCIENTIFIC THINKING, THAT WHICH PRODUCES ECONOMICS AND TECHNOLOGY IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR APPLICATION TO THE PRODUCTION OF HUMAN COMMUNITY.  “…faith transforms the future into a fact, against the present odds.”  (p.17)

8.The remainder of the course will deal with these four stages of creation of UNIVERSAL HISTORY, the creation of parents, of priests, of poetry,  and of prophets. THE FOUR P’s!

Lecture – 3

1.History is what SHOULD be remembered.  What should be remembered are the elements of important epics, great tragedies, great accomplishments, and the conditions by which they occurred. (p.2)   Thus, “history” and “memory” (that is public memory) must be compatible if they are to be useful.

2.A famous actress stated, “I would like to be read in a hundred years.”  What is required of civilization, to survive in part by useful knowledge from the past, is a “…resolute forgoing of success today.”  That is, universal history should tell us what was important enough for people to be willing to sacrifice for, i.e. those forces required to improve community life in the long run.

3.THIS “FORGOING” IS THE MESSAGE FROM CHRISTIANITY, because it takes a long time for actions to bear fruit.  Not to have sacrificed is not to have made a distinction between past and future – and not to have made this distinction renders “history” a miscellaneous chronology of past events, unrelated to what may be significant in the long run.

4.Lack of memory is perhaps the distinguishing characteristic  of the politician; constancy   “…of your soul, of your body, is the condition of history.”  Changing one’s mind every day means having no convictions. (p.5)

5.Adaptation!  The psychologists admonish us to “adapt” to conditions.  While one must recognize and respond to reality, to a point,  one also needs to consider what needs to be changed.  ERH says, “So it is the essence of speech, of the creation of speech in humanity, to spare man the adaptation to any one moment.” (p.6)  It allows consistency in the long run. There must be compatibility between physical demands of the present and what will lead toward a viable future.

6.Education!  We are taught too much information that is not understood. Instead,  we should be exposed to things we can do something about, which are very important.  WHAT HAS KEPT TRIBES GOING FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS IS THE POWER OF THEIR COLLECTIVE MEMORY. “History begins where death is survived.” (pp.8,9)


The tribe reflects that unity; it was the tribe which made “man” into a singular.

Initiation (into a tribe, profession, community, club ) is an important test, because the individual relies on his/her judgement at the time, not on rote memory.  This is why school exams are of such little use as measures of worth.  TODAY WE LACK PROPER INITIATIONS.  THE PURPOSE OF THE INITIATION IS TO INHERIT THE POWERS BY WHICH MAN SURVIVES DEATH.  Taken figuratively, this applies to the continuation of all organizations.

8.We need to have ancestors, not necessarily blood ancestors, but we may have to choose them,  those who will  enliven our spirit and help us grow, who possess a spirit  needed by the community. The specifics of the present require an emphasis on some actions, but that emphasis must be consistent with leading toward the future.  Mere expediency doesn’t do this.

9.In this, the third millennium, we must now learn these lessons if we are to establish better communities, learning how to court each other, to agree  “…to learn the power to speak something which no one has ever heard before.” (p.15)

10.To sing, to recite poetry, to speak the right thing at the right time, to be begin something new is a means to this end.

Man is not here to cultivate his ego.  He is here to subject his ego to the needs and necessities of history…by beginning to speak time and again, with a new enthusiasm, with a new language. (p.18)

Lecture – 4

1.We are now trying to end the 2nd millennium and begin the 3rd.  And we are not sure where we should be going, how to proceed or what should be the motivation to bring change.

2.For the last 1,000 years we have been in the Renaissance, back to pre-Homeric heroes. We go forward by looking backward (first). ERH believes we must now go back further if we are to gain insight into how to proceed, “…to the oldest layer of human speech and human politics, which we can reach….We are in the midst of an investigation of the tribe in his migration.”  This period from the past, he avers, is analogous to our present migration into the third millennium.

3.Primitive man could not live in cities.  He lived  without “culture”, but nevertheless, still great and heroic. Heroic in the sense that he did what had to be done to survive. The primitives were out to find truth and necessity, and to conquer death. (p.3)  So primitive man was not less than we are today.

For instance, they knew what things needed to be done “at the right time,” neither too late nor too early.  The word “tidy” comes from tide, implying timeliness.  WE ARE LOST TODAY BECAUSE WE HAVE LOST THIS SENSE, AND WE BELIEVE EVERYTHING CAN BE DONE AT ANY TIME. (p.5)  ERH expounds on the origin of the word “meal” as an example,  a reflection of the early tribal sense of politics. It meant doing something at the right time. The “session” of the meeting of the German tribal court was at mealtime.  “A man who is fit to live with others in an organized society”,  is civilized. The tribes knew this.

“Man in a group, inspired and singing, reaches divinity.” (p.7)  Today the tribe is still the taskmaster.

4.Tribes are the people who lived thousands for years in an ordered society, peacefully – it was why they survived.  Their order contained creative speech because generations could understand each other.

5.Because we see things differently at different ages, because we change, we can grow, and we can only grow because through speech we are capable of communicating these changes in ourselves.  Our time and timing in history become reference points for those changes. Thus, our world is “made” by speech.  Animals can’t do  this ERH said, “I used to be German, now I am American, this an animal can’t do.” (p.11)

6.The second thing speech can do is to allow us to join another group.

7.We are now in deep trouble, living with the Greek ethic, “…on the verge of deep corruption….Homosexuality is rampant,” as is incest, child molestation.  We learn 12 languages in our lifetime. (The term “language” is used here in a special sense.  Here ERH reflects on what he called elsewhere the 12 tones of the spirit, each of which required what he calls “language.” )

8.In another sense we need to learn three languages: 1) of the past, 2) of the future, and 3) of the present.  Today we tend to lose some ability to articulate and by indirection formulate our thoughts, because of radio and TV.  It is said we use language to tell lies.

We are thus losing our language.  [RF – one only needs to reflect on the power of most people’s thinking to see this.]   Tribes were able to use the same language for 5,000 years, and ours by comparison seems to be going in 50 years!

9.The tribal order knew they had three things to represent, 1) the impassioning in begetting, 2) the mood of being sober when eating or marching, and 3) the mood when sacrificing.  There are innumerable ways in which to do all of these things.

10.Worshipping the past is appropriate to a point, but one needs to maintain the power to eschew some of that past at some point. The willingness to leave something, to sacrifice, to form new units, these are three miracles that tribes knew.  “…you people cannot understand the Bible any longer, because you do not know that life always needs sacrifice.” (p.18)

11.We  have individual identity only when we speak for some community, some order. We are not important when we speak for ourselves.

11.THE ROLE OF PLAY.  The tribes knew that, out of play people were convinced that something serious should come, that at some time hence the play must be serious.  Today we tend to believe the opposite, that serious things can be turned into play. ERH admonishes us,

…the creative act that is demanded from our society for the next 900 years is that we must learn from studying play and our behavior in play, that probably certain offices have to be created in society, which no longer exist. (p.21)

He points out that the original use of masks, of animals, etc. were examples of this tribal understanding that acting out certain types of events (in play at first) were metaphors for what should become true.

Lecture – 5


1.UNIVERSAL HISTORY is different from “world history” in terms of method. World history’s method would be to begin at the beginning and expound to the present. There isn’t enough time in life to do this, nor does it make sense.

The concept of “universe” is limited; it has a unity.  It is the victory over danger that makes history interesting (and meaningful).  Thus, in telling a story about Lincoln, and how he overcame all his problems, we learn some truths. This method, of universal history, begins at the end (in this case a great figure) and tracks his life thus deriving the miracle of how he achieved his accomplishments. In world history, “…everything just happened.”  We see only what the world is,  with no implication as to how to change it.(p.1)

2.The hope of universal history is that we will survive and rebuild society,  achieving victory over death by acting in a way that will be remembered. THUS, CURIOUSLY, WE LEARN TO GO FORWARD BY FIRST GOING BACKWARD.

3.Our choice seems to be to have a vision of utopia, on the one hand,  or simply of endless revolutions as having “happened.”  Revolutionaries “…run forward into the future.” (p.3)  IF WE DO NOT LEARN THINGS THAT RELATE TO OUR OWN LIVES, KNOWLEDGE OF THE PAST IS USELESS. “History without promises is no history.” (p.6)   We must learn to be different tomorrow from what we are today. This insight comes largely from the past.

EVENTS OF THE PAST ARE INTERESTING ONLY FOR WHAT THEY POINT TOWARD IN THE FUTURE, and thus the future can be sensed, felt and touched.

4.WE HAVE TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THREE UNIVERSES THAT MAN HAS TRIED TO CREATE IN ORDER TO INSURE THAT THE LESSONS FROM THE PAST ARE CARRIED INTO BUILDING A FUTURE.  “…you will all be wiped out unless you recover your sense of a unified purpose for the future, because then you are working at cross purposes.” (p.8)

5.The moods that drive us are: 1) Mating (the power to create  unified generations by song and speech),  2) ecstasy (power to go beyond one’s self, that state by which we forget ourselves and passionately act, courting and singing; 3) death (that is to consider death, that one has only so much time, that one must consider what is worth dying for.)  There is, in other words a time when we must draw a line and risk dire consequences, and say “Over my dead body!” (p.13);  4) faith, the power to survive death, to sacrifice without being sure.

These are the moods that make us a human being, and at the same time serve to regenerate the community. What we learn from the past is subtle, and different from knowing facts about things. With living societies, we can identify one’s intuition as to meaning (before action), only through looking at past events. Only in history can we see some implication for what actions we are to take in the present, by sensing who we are and what we want to be. Second, we must act with passion, forgetting who we are.  Third, we must have faith that our actions will have the desired consequences, because we cannot know for sure.

The Trinity is true! There has never been anything else in the world but to believe in these three great layers of human existence: sacrifice, passion, reason.  Of which reason is for the moment, and your personal satisfaction; in which passion is for the changing of your environment; and in which death is for creating a long-lasting future.  And if this is not the Trinity, I don’t know what it is.  That’s exactly how the Trinity is described in the dogma.  It’s not my fault that the cardinals have forgotten it….This Trinity is the father, and the Son and the Spirit.   (p.17)

6.Speech embraces all these three stages in a unity.  Social Darwinism represents the opposite, a lack of unity.  Survival of the fittest means one must kill in order to live.  “Survival of the (unfittest)…”  Rather the Trinity means another way to live, in the sense of building a future.  With constant killing, there is no future.  Darwinism tries to establish order out of the lowest common denominator, of animal instincts, “…and not of your passions and not of your sacrifices.” (p.21)

Lecture – 6


To look at the dancers meant death; one could only look down at one’s feet when they were unmasked.  To try, to see God, the inspiriting power, was forbidden.

2.The tribal tattoo was their language to establish an identity of a tribal member; no tattoo, no identity. These people, he asserts, were not primitive, they were primeval.

3.In the tribes, the spirit was called by speaking the right sequence of words. (p.5)  Language then was essential to engender the spirit. “Our words are the beginnings of our acts.”

4.”Think of yourself:  what makes you into real men?” (p.6)  One has speech only as long as he belongs…”Speech makes us move, or it isn’t speech.” (p.7)  We become human by receiving and giving commands.

5.”…The Bible is in the tattoo of every tribal warrior, and made him able to enter all kind of disguises, all kind of masks, and recovering his integrity by serving.  (p.8)

6.The first preoccupation of the tribe was the creation of parents and children (including initiating them into the tribe and seeing them evolve into adults). The second preoccupation was the creation of priests. Priest is another name for “an authority.”   ERH says, by implication, that we need to have role models whose spirit we hope to instill into ourselves.  To do this, the spirit of that person needs to be acknowledged, recognized, and spoken of, as one whose commands we will follow.


It is only through speech, only through meaningful, convincing song, speech, command, obedience, authority, devotion, poetry, what have you.  (But certainly not what you all “intellect,” and not what you call “mind”…You can’t be potent and indifferent, because “potent” means to be enthused.  And “enthused” means to have a spirit that is bigger than your physical existence.

…man is that strange being that can at the same time know that he must be passionate, that he must conquer death, and that he must have a healthy body and be somebody. (p.16)

8.The Christian Church has purified the concept of the trinity.  We overcome death with faith, we overcome passion by love, and we overcome danger by hope. The Trinity symbolizes man’s ability to survive and grow, which means he must overcome death by creating a future through faith, maintain the ability to act in the present by love, and learn from and retain the best features from the past with hope.  Thus,  the father (present), the son (future), and holy spirit (authority from the past), are unified through speech in time.  One individual is all of these things at different times (if he enters history and acts appropriately, (honestly and with courage).

9.THE PRIEST, because he is the acknowledged authority, is assumed to have the wisdom and courage and authority to go outside tribal rules if need be. [RF – this seems to me to reflect the notion that no rules can be followed blindly, they must be interpreted to reflect “intent” in each new situation.]

Lecture – 7

1.The next stage in the evolution of human society (after tribes) was the establishment of the GREAT EMPIRES, Egyptian, Chinese, Aztec, and Mayan  whose pyramids symbolized the connecting of heaven and earth, of the holy spirit to action on earth.

Just as the tribal masks imitated birds and animals, the pyramids imitated  what was visible in the sky. (ERH points out how, at around latitudes 6-10 degrees, a special phenomenon of sun light indicated the pyramidal shape.

2.The pyramids indicated the notion that heaven and earth must be reconciled (p.3), which is to say, reconciling authority to guide actions in the present.

3.ERH goes on to explain how the great calendars were established. It was considered a privilege to observe the stars, implying that observation and obligation (services) must be connected.  To observe is to know, and to know implies competency and qualifications for priesthood.  And to be a priest is to serve.  THERE IS NO POINT IN OBSERVATION WITHOUT SOME DEFINED PURPOSE.  The great contribution of these empires was to discover order in the universe. Life then was seen as not hap-hazard.

4.It is unnatural for man to act against animal instincts. To follow trends or to live according to some type of order is a paradoxical problem. Thus, the thrust of human growth should be to attempt to become super-natural, to rise above nature by dealing with paradox.

Lecture – 8

1.”Man is this animal which, when he goes forward, must go backward.” (p.1)  The idea is that as humans we share in all of human history, which is all of one piece.  Our main thrust is always toward the future, to either recover from present social illnesses, or continue on our present destructive course, or survive one way or another.  To survive we need reference points in time; we need to know where we are now in some evolution of an era. There are eras within eras. We are still in the Christian era in the West, but also in the atomic era and in the beginning of the “cyber” era.

To understand this, one might imagine  one has amnesia, awaking in the morning and wondering what is to be done for the day.  Is there a crop to be harvested?  Is one a judge or doctor?  Obviously, one cannot continue  unless one is equipped with memory.  Likewise society needs memory to evaluate its present state of health, determine where it is in some set of social activities, and determine what must be done next and how long that action is likely to take.  To do this is to say we must determine what must be remembered and what forgotten from the past.  The farther into the future we need to prophecy, the further back into our history we need to know for the simple reason that longer timespans reveal more varieties of experience.

2.The tribal world created parents; the “sky” world created the notion of order”  …which cannot be interfered with.” (p.5)   (That is, the physical cycles and movements of “nature.”  However, the visible world of nature is not all there is.  Laws of nature and  our thoughts are invisible.  The issue then becomes, which world is dominant?)

We all live in two worlds: in the visible world, and in the world of consideration.  You couldn’t possibly, by looking at me, know how you should treat me.  You must have heard my name;…You must have come and sat down here.  That’s all in a second world, in a higher world, in a world of professions, in a world of knowledge, in a world of tradition….We can only be considered as moving in an order, which every one of us tries to smell with our flair, with our scent for the eternal order which we try to reproduce.  (p.5)

In Egypt the tribal power was reversed. “Not the ancestors commanding the living, but the living commanding the ancestors.  But if the tribes had it wrong was the Egyptian reversal the answer?  Jesus’ answer was a resounding NO!  Nature is one phenomenon of life, thought is another, neither is complete in itself.  For a science of society there must be an integration of the two and the following explanation provides an example of the history of this evolution of thought.

3.The Egyptians lived in an extended present which was 1460 years (the cycle of the Pliedes.) But when Christ came the problem of the Christian era was to supersede this long period.  The horoscope was for the empire, not for personal use. It served to anticipate planting and harvest.

The 1460 Egyptian years, the “great year” was too long to understand unity.  CHRISTIANITY INTRODUCED THE IDEA OF A WEEK WHICH EVERY INDIVIDUAL COULD UNDERSTAND AND SEE THE BEGINNING AND END EFFORTS.  This concept was the key to articulating how mankind was to progress, how it was to change society and therefore create a future.

4.Liturgy is the carrying out of steps in an order that is essential to community survival. Myth is a narrative story, which is true, but which cannot be reproduced by facts. (p.18) The narrative gives meaning to the liturgy.

Lecture 9

1.THE SELF doesn’t exist except in “your stomach.” Or in the “sky world”, or in the world of rules of order The purpose of the elementary school is to introduce children into this “sky world” (natural world).  It must begin the process of transposing a raw human being, through language, into “an element,”  a lieutenant in this movement  that is prepared to act toward creating social order.

In sum,  a segment of our education curricula is an attempt to introduce the “order” in nature and the method by which that order is discerned.

2.Great deeds are accomplished,  and crucial problems are solved by tackling that which is most difficult. Jesus could not have founded Christianity in Rome or any large center.  One must learn to solve the problem under the most difficult circumstances.

3.The Egyptians created a government, satisfying its people for 3,000 years, which was quite an accomplishment.  They did this by understanding “nature” e.g.  time of the floods etc.  Their social order was divided into peasants – those who worshipped the natural phenomena (movement of the stars), and  the priests, – those who were super-natural because they traveled “against” nature,  (north and south on the Nile as contrasted with the east-west movement of the sun and  stars).

The Jews came along and attempted to upset this order. [RF – This notion will be explored later I presume. I believe he may mean GREEKS rather than JEWS, as he immediately refers only to Greeks at this point in the essay.]

4.Until the time of the Greeks, knowledge was sacred,  inscribed on temple walls as hieroglyphs.  There was no writing on Greek temples, they abolished or secularized knowledge.

All of these older civilizations PRESCRIBED behavior with their knowledge about ancestors and the stars; this was meant to inspire obedience.   The Greeks, believing the gods controlled society, described behavior and categorized its several tendencies (i.e. systems of ideas – philosophy),  and forms of expression of their emotions (poetry).

5.The Greek substitute for the temple (with its prescriptive hieroglyphs) is the theory, the system.  The “Prescription” of the Egyptians were related only to the natural order of events (events in nature – but not social events).

The Greeks worshipped the notion of “systems,” which assumed humans might become god-like by controlling knowledge.

Both Greeks and Jews inherited the prescribing power of Egypt.

6.Greeks and Jews introduced the notion of man as  not part of the tribe, not beholden to his ancestors, not sticks and stones, but something different, with a mind of his own (mind was his god).

Lecture 10

1.ISAIAH, chapters 40-65, is the most important book of the Old Testament because it explains the notion of separation of church and state. Like the book of Job, no one knows who wrote (the second) Isaiah, nor is it clear how either book was chosen for inclusion.  It speaks to the problem of which power, church or state,  has dominance, or what  the division of labor between the two is intended to be.

ERH guesses  that Moses left Egypt 1280 BC.  Obviously, the Jews raised this problem at that time, that is, of the division of power between heaven and earth (mankind).  Both Isaiah and Job speak to this problem.

2.ERH  suggests that mankind has always been in awe both of the powers of the universe, (God), and his own power and has always attempted to comprehend them.  (p.4)

All over the ancient world, the Chinese, Etruscans, Persians, and other groups  were preoccupied with “…imitating the Egyptian example…They tried to establish empires.” (p.5)

3.Egyptians gave to the Greeks, writing, temples, agriculture, and calendar. Western man, for the last 1,000 years  has been infatuated with the Greeks.  “And the Greeks are not normal.” p.10-7    THE MAJOR GREEK ASSUMPTION WAS THAT THEIR “PHILOSOPHY” COULD  REPLACE PRESCRIPTIVE LITURGY. (p.11)  ERH warns us of the dangers of “systems. ”

He also points out that the meaning of the phrase, “to go ahead we must go back” is that, unless we can see different periods of ideas that (usually) “enslaved our thinking,” unless we see these periods objectively, as having been responses to a before, and an after, then we do not learn to see our current thinking objectively, and thus avoid being enslaved by that thinking.  To be enslaved is to be unable to look critically at our own thinking. Enslavement means imagining  that the way we think today is “natural,” or true!

4.The Greeks are insular; polytheistic, and simplifiers (generalizing experience) HERE HE DEFINES THE IMPORTANT CONCEPT OF“NATURE”.  We are not “natural,” only part natural.  Nature is suffering,  death, destruction, pollution, dirt, “BUT CERTAINLY NATURE IS NOT ORDER. EVERYTHING IN NATURE KILLS THE NEXT. NATURE IS WITHOUT MERCY BECAUSE…EVERY PART OF IT DOESN’T KNOW OF ANY OTHER PART.” (p.15)

The most important character in Greek philosophy is Hercules, who is the hero; THE GREEKS REPRESENT A COMBINATION OF TRIBAL ORDER AND SCIENTIFIC ORDER (from the Egyptians).

5.They accomplished this by stepping outside these systems, overcoming them, and using them.  They invented poetry to sustain themselves (as individuals) during longer periods of loneliness during  voyages, and to assuage their emotional state.

Thus, the nine muses became their gods.  God, the creator of the universe, was too powerful for this purpose.  We can only contemplate God in certain times, and for short periods – on the battle field, at the moment of death.

Lecture 11

1.That we live in this present year (1967) would be untrue, if four “offices” were not in place: 1) no parents in some form (teacher, godfather, nurse, older mentor), 2) no poets who could stylize and cultivate your feelings, 3) no prophets to clarify important aims of the community, and 4) no priests who incessantly direct you to know what is essential in your life, (marriage, childbirth, profession etc.).


All teachers try to bring your mind into compatibility with your soul and body,  i.e. not allowing your mind to fly fancily on its own course.

2.Our great job today is an attempt to save the contributions of Greece, while not worshipping them, and while setting aside the unadmirable aspects of Greece; e.g. homosexualism as the sole motivator of creativity, degradation of women, eternal war, slavery, and eternal repeating cycles of any type.

Poetry and theorizing  must be saved, however neither Greek poetry nor philosophy is a model for the future. [RF – nor are utopias, one might add, because they describe an ideal society, but prescribe no way to create it. As I understand ERH’s interpretation of Christianity, it is the method of creation, but the prices to be paid for social peace seems too high!]

Greeks lived for the moment – not seeing the need for unifying 3 generations. Poetry is to salve the mind for the present, which is necessary at times, but also we need to attend to the reality of survival over the long term.

3.The Greeks discovered or articulated the “other world,” the mind, but this is not all of life; we live in both worlds.

4.The Greek world tells us that we can be humanists (Greek) withoutparticipating in war, death, sacrifice, or passionate love (i.e. that we can have something for nothing, sans sacrifice). Living  requires response: “We cannot laugh always; we cannot cry always. But woe to the man who thinks he can direct his laughter and his woe according to his whim.” (p.9)

5.WHAT DID THE GREEKS ACHIEVE THAT IS ADMIRABLE?  They freed themselves from the “iron clad” vice of Egyptian enslavement, of sky-world prescriptions.  1) They recognized the plurality of the forms of life. 2) Each form was to be understood and respected, e.g. Homer taught that the enemy is to be fought, but also that he is your brother.  3) There are many possibilities for ordering thought. It is difficult for one to judge,  for instance, among the different philosophies!

Greek religion, poetry, the Muses accompany mankind on his travels. HOWEVER, the calendar of nature and the calendar of mankind have very little to do with each other.

6.The Greeks are an “in-between” civilization, freeing us from the iron grip of the prescriptions of nature (the sky empires). They integrated tribal and sky empires by focussing on the individual,  and they integrated the personal emotions and passions; through poetry. In other words, to build up our emotional strength.

…Greece was used to conjure up this poetical power of man to convince ourselves it’s worth living, possible to live, although our personal life is disordered, is unfinished, and the life of the nations on this earth is unfinished, too.   (p.16)

This is what is indispensable about Greece.  Not eternal war, not contempt for women, or homosexual creativity, or indifference to slavery. “The inability to create peace is one of the lasting handicaps of the Greeks.” (p.18)

7.GREEK CULTURE was a necessary transition in becoming free from ancestors, from applying the iron laws of nature to man’s society, and this is reflected in the second part of Isaiah, 40-66. It describes the separation of church and state whereby the individual has some part of existence in addition to tradition and nature. (p.20)

Lecture 12

1.The difference between poetry and priesthood is that the liturgy is strictly bound with a beginning, middle, and end – unchanging, irreplaceable, indispensable.

Poetry, by comparison, is motivated by inspiration, is unique, and may come at any time and anywhere. The poet is arbitrary, and free to deviate at any time  the spirit moves.  “…the Muse is the companion of the good life, but she is not the originator.” The Muses can accompany, but they cannot lead. As Goethe noted.  (p.2)

2.All art unifies and abstracts, and this is what united Greece, along with a common language.

3.The law of life is not where you have leisure; the order of life is where you have liturgy, and specific and adamant sequence of events. (By definition, law = order).

4.The Christian church is the heir of Israel and of Greece, and “…the expressions for the divine service are partly taken from Greek tragedy.” (p.7)

5.The word school is Greek in origin, and means “neither here nor there.”  Students are not expected to take responsibility for the community outside.

School is like life, and therefore can never sustain intense interest.  Life is at times monotonous.  The teacher therefore cannot control, any more than we can control our lives.  THAT IS THE SECRET OF LIVING, THAT TIME IS NOT UNDER OUR CONTROL. (p.9)

6.One of the purposes of the Muses is to run away from the humdrum of life.

7.To be potent,  one must be also able in “forms,” with regard to consecration, blessings, prayers, songs, i.e. liturgy.  We need to know the form of the ceremony to bury somebody, or to marry them in a way that is recognized and accepted by the community .  Muses and angels are the same, messengers who tell us how to communicate, enhancing our ability to communicate. All of this must occur at the right moment, to “get hold of them (these moments) – and dismiss them again. *p.13)

8.The political character of the Muses is that they anticipate the future.

9.Phoenician and Chinese languages do not write vowels, only sounds omitting vowels.  GREEKS INVENTED VOWELS FOR WRITING SO THAT THE RECITER OF THE PLAY COULD PERFORM WITH THE PROPER INTONATION.  THE HOMERIC PERIOD, AROUND 800 BC,  added to the old script the 5 vowels, epsilon, alpha, omega, u, and oi.

10.Jews did the opposite of the Greeks; they eschewed the Muses and devoted themselves to the future, to prophecy.  Their Angels were of mercy,  or of wrath.   ERH asserts that man is the being who resists natural causes, because nature has no reasons; nature is blind, deaf, and dumb.

11.The Greeks are the great artists of antiquity, and the Jews the great prophets.

Lecture 13

1.One can “know” things, (acquire information), but have no sense of its meaning.  One understands only through participation, through application of knowledge.

.2The basic assumption in approaching history, whereby it makes sense, is to study epochs, periods that have some unity, where there is a new idea in a culture and idea which develops, rises and comes to fruition, then an end.  ERH contends that the 1st unity is in the tribal life which created parents & families.

The 2nd period of unity was that of the great empires, Chinese, Babylonian, Mayan, etc.,  which predicted events through astronomical observations, i.e. the flood of the Nile.

The 3rd period was the Greek/Jewish, which broke away from both of the above, and was transitional to Christian; it produced philosophy, poetry, and prophecy. This was roughly from Homer (800 BC to 0 AD)

The 4th period was Christian. ERH contends that today the 2nd and 4th are in contention and that the Christian is losing out in this tug-of-war.  (p.3)

So you understand that knowledge of the thousands years BC, before Christ, is an important way of understanding our own era. (p.4)

4.We live because  the “electricity” of speech vibrates through us, in spite of ourselves.  The harmonies of the universe include a wave length from the past (speech evolved over the millennia, and is handed down as a gift to each generation.) through today and must be carried on by us into the future. In all periods there have been forces at work to destroy our precious speech by way of the many forms of deception or just plain rendering it meaningless.

Thought is an abstraction from speech, it is no substitute for speaking out, or from listening attentively to others. The Greeks seem to have understood this, and thus invented vowels.  One cannot participate in society simply by listening; one must also speak up and be counted in his opinions.


6.The meaning of the term “Greeks and Barbarians” is that those who could not recite were barbarians. And the term “humanity” meant that the Greeks assured themselves that they would always be at home with Greek.

Because the Greeks were able to see other communities from “outside,” objectively, their culture was fruitful; for example,  Athenians saw  themselves as citizens of Athens first, but also as citizens of a wider community as well.  This was unique thinking in the world in classical times.

To Greeks, the political order was of first concern, and nature came after.

The inner sanctum is the community which has given you life, which has sent you here, inside which I, and you are talking to each other.  Thisis the life which has been granted us.  And we have it only together.  And you have no life by yourself. (p.11)

Thus, the Greek response to the sky empire of Egypt, which was overwhelming to the individual,  was to create a courageous “individual” attitude:

We must, in addition to our political existence, which is too small compared to the pharonic Egypt or the Persian empire, we have to look outside and give life, and context, and meaning to the environment around the city.  And then polis and physis together, they will teach us how to live. (p.12)

And the City of God, of Augustine included both civitas and nature.

7.The Greeks conquered by way of poetry and philosophy.  The Jews survived and conquered by prophecy. TO PROPHESY IS ONLY TO BE OPEN TO THE FUTURE, AS YOU ARE OPEN TO THE OUTER WORLD. (pp.13-15)

Thus, the prophetic faculty is to admit to what God has ordained, to what is coming, to articulate what is already in process of coming true.  Prophecy has nothing to do with prediction.  To predict is to anticipate a future event; to prophesy is to utter a truth, e.g. “No house can stand divided, half slave and half free.”  Lincoln, — is prophecy.  NOBODY CAN THUS LIVE WITHOUT PROPHECY!


Lecture 14

1.As we live in a world dominated by abstract (Greek) thinking, we never expect something to come about in the sense of trying to create it.  The dynamite invented by the Jews to `blow apart’ Egypt was the creation of the Sabbath,  “…the most revolutionary time unit dealing with the calendar, because it defies the year:”  (p.2)

That is, the great 1460 years of the Egyptian cycle, was representative of other calendars as well, where a large unit of time (covering many lifetimes of the individual) governed one’s consciousness of experience.  These calendars were based on astronomical observations, long cycles of stars.  THE NOTION OF THE SABBATH, of seven days, WAS  THUS A CREATION WITH A SOCIAL PURPOSE.  That is, psychologically we can comprehend  events within 7 day timespans; we can see the effects of our actions and take corrective action if appropriate, and begin once again.

2.Psychologically, the feeling of man that he could comprehend and participate in creative acts by seeing the beginning and end of a process, freed man from the humdrum, deadening sameness of hundreds of years.  For us to see cycles, stages of progress is crucial to our freedom to be creative.


Just imagine remembering heroes who committed great acts, as summarized only every 1400 years?  Too much condensation to feel the reality of the act, the great passion and willingness to suffer for the sake of it!  Man, thus freed from the iron grip of either ancestors, or the movement of the stars, could begin to take charge of his own destiny.

Therefore the future and the past in the  Jewish doctrine are indivisible,  inseparable.  And that’s the meaning of the Sabbath.  The Sabbath is so short, and condenses the idea of time in such a short period of seven days, and you see, that even a child can encompass this.  Only professors can’t. (p.7)

3.The end and the beginning are one!  This sounds so simple.  One must remember, ERH asserts, that, while we can imagine what we would like in the future, we can have hope, –  the present will cause the  future only when we anticipate the future, and utilize the present to act toward building the future we want.

4.Our fear of death roots us in time, and thus we wish to survive as long as possible in life; to do this, we must create or participate in creating the future that ought to be.  Create heaven on earth, so to speak.  “So the experience of Israel is that God is in coming.” (p.9)   UNLESS WE UNDERSTAND THESE ASPECTS OF TIME WHEREBY WE TAKE ACTION TOWARD OUR FUTURE, WE CANNOT SURVIVE.

The physicist conquers space, but not time in social terms.


5.SIGNS OF A PAGAN COUNTRY.  Pagans are concerned with their own soldiers, but not those dead of the enemy. Nor do  they make no distinction between leisure and holiday.  The holiday means to become whole again, spiritually.  Leisure means to do what we wish.  Today, all holidays are turned into leisure, and we have lost their meaning of remembrance.    The future is always older than the past because it explains the past, not the other way around.  This is why pagans have no future.

6.Thus, the content of this day cannot be determined on this day.  Also inferred by this attitude toward time is that whatever is happening now will pass.  ERH points out that even though the Nazis executed 6 million Jews, that did not alter the fact of their downfall.

7.When we are alone, we must hold out against the forces of the world.  Poetry has allowed us to do this, just as the prophecy of the Jews allow us to create the future.  Both go together and occurred as a unit in history to free civilizations from the iron beliefs in ancestors and the heavens as determiners of human behavior.

Lecture 15

1.THE CHARACTER OF CALENDARS:  February 28 was the last of five Roman days that denoted an interregnum, before the beginning of the new year March 1.  What ERH  is diving at here is that calendars and  religious customs are based upon experience, not abstractions.  The calendar is based on Egyptian calculations of the flood. Roman experience was different.  Egyptians did notworship the sun or moon, contrary to popular belief, but rather the skies that told them when the flood would come. Their sky reference was the position of the pleiades constellation.

THE  IDEA OF THE SABBATH WAS LIKEWISE RELEVANT TO HUMAN EXPERIENCE, to remind mankind that this time was for God, not himself. It was the day of rest to contemplate  behavior regarding  divine mandates. There is nothing from science which otherwise explains the designation of a 7 day week.

2.On the Sabbath we are to be reborn, rejuvenated, re-created and to be creative in reflecting about the meaning of events, in turn. Holidays are a “sabbath written large,” to be distinguished from leisure time by virtue of the fact that with leisure we can do as we please.  On the sabbaths, we are not intended to have that freedom. TO DO NOTHING  is the recipe for vacation, and this is terribly difficult, but the sabbath must remind us of our obligation to the community.

3.The notion of the holiday:

On the holy day, on the seventh of every week, man leaves the world and passes over to that source, this fountainhead of novelty, of renovation, of renascence, of rebirth in which this world hasn’t been created yet, but begins all over again. (p.5-6)

4.The Bible was intended, by its authors, as an account of human experience, and to offer universal. EXAMPLES: the account of the flooding of the Nile to describe the religions of the great empires; the Jewish custom of circumcision at birth to indicate that one must pay a price for entering society and also as a symbol of human sacrifice (the spilling of blood).

ERH points out that all pre-Christian cultures required life-long membership; once a Jew, always a Jew, or Egyptian, or tribal member, or Greek. THE CHANGE INTO CHRISTIANITY WAS TO ESCAPE THIS TYPE OF ABSOLUTISM. (p.12)


It begins with resurrection, it begins with renascence, it begins with rebirth, it begins with regeneration.”….(man is) responsible for reappraisals, the renovation, the reinstitution, the reproduction of mankind. (p.12)

6.Christianity allows us to go back to the beginning, to begin afresh, without original sin.  Thus, the flight of Jesus and Mary back into Egypt, from which the Jews had originally fled.  It meant that he no longer recognized Israel and that  to return to the beginning, to the land of absolutes, was necessary for their ownnew beginning,  to find salvation in this way. (p.15)

ERH points out that the meaning of recording the accusers of Jesus –  the Greeks, Romans, and Jews – was that  the previous orders (of tribes, sky empires, Greeks and Jews), were not enough They were incomplete, too narrow, and Christianity sought to break out of this narrowness toward thinking anew. This meant  one had to be able to utilize the methods of all the old orders, by means of alternating between them. “The old orders are not rejected, but they are made relative.” (p.16)

In other words, past experience, science, philosophy, poetry and  prophecy – contributions of tribes, empires, Greece, and Judaism – are all necessary to the understanding of our experience. But each quality of thinking is to dominate at different times. There is a time to love, to analyze, to sing, to remember and to anticipate, to sew and to reap. The four Gospels are different because each culture had to be incorporated into a unified, larger insight.

7.No Christian country is guaranteed to stay Christian.  Today, ERH  suggests that the  USA is 90% pre-Christian and 10% Christian.

He claims furthermore that experts about God (theologians) are an anachronism,  that each of us is just as expert about God (presumably because one must be inspired to experience His spirit in order to understand).

Lecture 16

1.Christianity is never stable, the Christian era consists of a constant rebirth. Ethiopia has fused the antiquity of Judaism and Christianity, which is unique in the world.

A new Christian era must be recreated by ourselves; it is constantly in trouble with other religions.  Ethiopia, the Roman Empire and the papacy are experiments during the first 1,000 years of Christianity.

2.The prophets of Judaism are replaced by the Apostles during the first 1,000 years. “Apostle” means a messenger carrying good news.  But they found out that each of the four “orders” – tribes, Egyptians, Greeks, and Jews – had to be addressed in a different way,  and  thus the 4 Gospels. They explained the new doctrine that all men are equal, all man had the same task on earth (to establish communities at peace voluntarily), and they should all worship the same God.

a.The tribes thought that their ancestors were the only true source of  truth  (according to Jacob, founder of the 12 tribes of Israel).  “Matthew was written  to the Jews, to the tribesmen in Judaism…it was the most difficult to write to the most primitive people. He spoke of genealogy, which was of major interest to the tribal people.”

b.The empires thought that only by the stars was fertility guaranteed. The second Gospel, Mark, was written for the empire-builders.  He was the secretary to Peter, who lectured in Rome, and his writing obviously was from those lectures. The Romans and Egyptians were not interested in genealogy of the Jews, but rather in salvation so this is where Mark begins, with the Baptism of Jesus.

c.The Greeks thought that only through their genius could they understand     the universe. The third Gospel was written by Luke for the Greeks.  He was  Greek-educated, and writes in the tradition of schools.  He wrote to literate people.

d.The Jews thought that the “chosen,”  minority group was the only one to win over tyrants and idols of the mighty powers.

John strips the story of Jesus from all paraphernalia of geography and cult.  It’s not a cultural history (but)…The eternal truth,… (p.8)

3.All these four cultures had limitations; none of their thinking could be transferred outside their countries.  (ERH  calls Mohammed the great impostor and imitator of Christianity; he had to write his own scripture, and he chose four Caliphs to spread his word.)

Christianity is a doctrine asserting that all times (ages of humankind) are contemporary, (from the beginning of history to Armageddon) in a unified history of humankind. This means that all people should be understood to be contemporaries.  “To make all men contemporaries is the essence of treating time in the right and proper way.”  (p.17)

Christianity is therefore intended to be a model for behavior of all human beings, of how they can develop individually, and how they can create a community in which peace is accomplished.  Vitality comes from constant change toward regenerating one’s knowledge by finding new ways (which speak to new generations) to re-establish the old ideas.

We cannot save ourselves, we can only save each other, is part of this doctrine. To whom can we appeal when we are in deep anguish? To someone with a greater soul than our own!

4.The Gospels were written “in danger of life…” as a last resort, as a statement of what the authors wished to be remembered for, giving a warning to the rest of mankind that their communities would become hell if these (Christian insights) were not followed.   They were written during the first 100 years, AD (p.13)

5.Christianity stands for regeneration; therefore every generation must find a new way to say the same thing, a way to be understood by  the new generation. “It lives by a renewal of its forms.” (p.15)   Nor would Christianity  have persisted if there was only literature.  People had to be willing to sacrifice, make the ideas manifest in their actions, “make the word into flesh” in order to spread the message.

The spirit of the original four Gospels was regenerated by four notables who lived 300 years later, St. Anthony, St.Augustine, St.Athanasius, and St. Jerome.

a.Anthony (251-356 AD) founded a monastery in the desert to show that all of the earth was important, not just the fertile lands. These “nowhere lands” are part of the Lord’s as well. [RF, this seems to have a message for those who dump toxic wastes today!]

Lecture 17

1.From Anthony we learn that one must take the route of greatest resistance to educate others (presumably to convince the most skeptical).. This is to say, solve problems in terms of the long range consequences, and exert patience.

2.ATHANASIUS (290-376 AD) originated the notion of the trinity which frees us from the tyranny of human gods (emperors, kings, god-rulers).  The Trinity exemplifies a unity of time, of 3 generations that are necessary to establish any significant social truth. Athanasius would not accept that any ruler was divine, only Jesus was, so he was in exile most of his life. When the king of Egypt died, he returned to Alexandria,  having lived out the truth of the Nicean Creed, of the meaning of the Trinity.

3.AUGUSTINE (354-430 AD) proved,  by living the notion that no matter how wealthy and powerful one might be, his earthly power is of lesser importance.  He wrote in their language (Latin) that the poor and uneducated could understand religious spirit (a very difficult feat).  He was a great teacher, who  established the notion that progress could be made and that history was not an endless repeating cycle.

St. Augustine knew that there had to be this city of God in unintermittent renovation, unintermittent rebuilding, unintermittent rediscovery. (p.14)

4.All four established the notion that the common man was more divine than the emperor. That all people should be noticed, and every person is one’s brother or sister. If the victim is not as divine as the ruler, then there is no basis for the humane treatment of man. (p.16)

5.ERH notes 4 relationships that are an important aspect of reality:

a.The sacrificer and the victim.

b.The astrologer and the cosmos.

c.The poet and his poem (the poem precedes the poet,  and the poem is exalted by him above himself because it would not exist without speech, which was originally a gift to the poet).

d.The prophet and the prophesied. No prophet, no expectations, and therefore no recognition when some new expectation arises.

…without these four orders, we have no orientation.  You all live in a natural, geographical economic cosmos from certain geographical, physical, chemical, biological laws.  Well, these are laws of course that which this creation story has tried to propagate.  That man has a strange place in this creation (of society) He is part of it; he is a creature.  And yet he is also a re-creator, because he knows of his creation, as no animal does.  And he can shift the  emphasis.  And he is at all times on both sides of the creator and the creature. (p.19)

Another example of the paradox of humankind – half natural animal, half god.

Lecture 18

1.As long as we are willing to co-create, we cannot blaspheme God.

2.The idea of progress in Christianity comes from the book of John,14, where Jesus says his disciples will do greater things than he Himself. In other words, great teachers, geniuses, recognize that their achievement is always to produce persons capable of recognizing progress or retrogress, and attempt to achieve the former.

3.In 540 AD, a monk in Italy said we will count the Christian era from Jesus’ birth. It took this long before people felt they could do this. They could finally believe themselves capable of producing progress. (p.4)

Before this time, every country and every era had its unique chronology. “Therefore, to invent a chronology which would be valid for the whole globe is a very ingenious thing.” (p.4)

4.The Christian era sets a standard for the world, according to ERH, and it is the only era in which social progress has been made. If it disappears, we will revert to slavery.  The notion of progress is built into  Christian philosophy.

5.On Immortality:  “All the immortal stories otherwise, outside Christianity, pretend that you can have deathlessness without dying. Jesus said, it is just the opposite. Of course one must die to create an eternal life.  To die for the human race, is to be sane; to put the life eternal over one’s own existence.” [RF – On the surface this sounds paradoxical, but previously he stresses that one achieves eternal life by living in the minds and hearts of one’s successors.]

6.During the first 900 years of the church, it defined its principles by way of:

… witness, and the testimonial, and the sufferings, and the martyrdom of the saints….(All Saints Day recognizes this and)…is therefore a complete summary of the first thousands years of the Church history. (p.10)

The essence of the Christian story is that ordinary, vulgar, common people have done the most surprising and extraordinary things.  And that’s why they are called saints.  And for no other reason.  They are neither geniuses, nor are they talented, nor are they noble, nor are they rich, nor do they get the Nobel Prize.  (p.12)

7.ERH then evaluates the misunderstanding of the Reformation, in which he says that most churches misunderstood Luther, who said that every individualmust become a priest and speak the liturgy.  “The problem over the world is that liturgy, and service, and priesthood, and saintliness can no longer be separated.” (p.14)

We are now moving in the direction in which everyone believes he/she can do whatever they wish, and this anarchy of the spirit leads to the end of civilization.  To ask of people to have a “performance,” – an obligation to the community, is to create discipline and direction. Today  we are moving with precious little direction.

8.ERH mentions the soul and implies that many persons do not have souls. [RF – in another essay he says that one is born only with a potential, and through one’s life one must earn a soul.] (p.16)

In the final part of the lecture, ERH holds forth against Humanism! The essence of this argument is that the Humanist doesn’t believe in lessons from history.  History today is believed to be a collection of facts, which of course do not speak for themselves. Meaning in history comes from a record of someone having insight from his/her experience and learning new lessons that renew our ability to re-create community. Humanists say all people are “human.”  Are people human who slaughter others? Are people human who destroy living environments and poison the earth?  Is greed human?  Of course, if “human” means natural, then all people are born that way, as natural animals. But, ERH asks, isn’t our goal to rise above animal status?  The classical Greeks didn’t believe in progress; life droned on in endless cycles whereby common people had no power to resist “the gods.”  Christianity was a reversal of this thinking.

Lecture 19


When you are in love, desperately in love, and you suddenly have to admit that this love is stronger than any of your reasons not to go for this girl, then you begin to fathom for the first time what God is.  It’s an overwhelming power. (p.2)

The proof of God is not by seeing him, but by seeing a power that overwhelms us, causing us to act in spite of ourselves and often at great sacrifice. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the father and the son.

2.     …in life, the lack of charity is much more disastrous and important than the lack of intelligence.  It is not important that everybody should understand everything else.  But it is very important that he should be required to agree.  (p.7)

ERH cites the split between the Eastern and Western Catholic churches as being caused by “not being asked” about a change in the liturgy.  It was unimportant that the change may have been necessary!

“We are only human beings if we are held together by conviction.”  [RF – inferring, not by gunpoint, or other forms of coercion, but by honest agreement.]

3.This implication is fundamental, THAT EVERYONE, AS A CHILD OF GOD (except children of course) HAS A RIGHT TO BE ASKED.  “…an unbreakable right to live out your mind, your spirit, your physique, even your love and affection.”  (p.9)

4.The lesson of the second millennium of the Christian Era was that we must learn to get along with each other, or create disaster. In 1919, Woodrow Wilson  proposed the League of Nations.  Proclaiming the old ways (of force) had to come to an end.

5.Odilo (998 AD) pronounced the idea of All Souls to symbolize our needed direction, to break down the barriers of nation, creed, race, etc., and see mankind as one.   THE POINT OF THIS STORY IS THAT ODILO  REPRESENTED A REVOLT OF THE INDIVIDUAL AGAINST THE TRADITIONAL AUTHORITY OF THE NATIONS, and as a result, a debate lasting 1,000 years has brought out the great spirit of both individual and of thenational literatures. [RF – if I understand him correctly, we must now move rapidly toward social orders where all peoples of the world are recognized as equal.

6.ERH points out the richness of history whereby mankind has engaged in this type of debate. It is the core issue at the heart of all social progress over the ages. Most of our history books are secular and largely omitted this sort of religious ethics in the story. (p.16)

True history is where humankind take on a “…new lease on life.”  “The ensoulment of mankind is at a standstill at his point.” (p.19)

Lecture 20

1.The idea of a universal history is not to try to teach numberless facts, BUT TO TEACH THE RELATIONS, THE RHYTHMS, some expectations, as compared with daily events.  Time seems to be ignored today as well as the fact that we have a limited time on earth, and the time it takes to bring about social progress.  Our expectations today are unrealistic.

A universal history, when it is taught, can have only this one purpose, to implant in you the power to overcome your private times, your private rhythms, and to share that rhythm which makes you brothers with the people 7,000 years  back.  History should make you indifferent to your contemporaries, and should make you very intimate with the people of all other times. (p.2)

2.It is impossible to convey and teach a pure faith. “…the first Christians were not the best Christians, and never are.” (p.3)

None of our acts are either clear or unambiguous; they are at once good and evil.

3.Since 1889 (Woodrow Wilson made his pronouncement), the  third millennium of the Christian Era has begun.  But obviously, many people do not yet see this.  Timing is crucial, and when things come too early, they are not recognized.

4.It is a great temptation, and relief, to us  when we don’t feel we have a decision to make.  We can neither educate nor influence without convictions.  We tend to  hide behind committees, to relieve ourselves from personal decision-making and responsibility.

5.In the third millennium we must learn with others.  Unless we find one voice to solve problems and come to a decision, these problems (war, poverty, peace, environmental destruction, etc.) will never be solved.  We must find one power that governs our steps.

6.Today, we tend to live as “playboys/girls.   Life can be divided into play and seriousness, and ERH asserts that  today we tend to play all the time, taking nothing as serious. We have ignored accountability for the consequences of our action. We take no personal responsibility for them.

When we fail to speak out honestly on important issues, language dies; we cannot survive on small talk, or lies.

7.Christianity claims that life is expensive; the notion of anti-Christ asserts that it is cheap!.   “Any act which is worth doing demands infinite devotion.” (p.13)

8.The riddle of history must be in time, the timing of events and our response to them.

The timing in our lives can only be done once.  Once it is spoiled, it is spoiled…We can all only pray that we are treated mercifully,…it is unavoidable that there are terrible mistakes…the mystery of the Christian era is that there is no mistake, no sin, no failure that cannot be amended…if you look into the better lives of better people, you find great miracles, great mysteries…There will be no future unless you people, as any older person can tell you, respect the moment of your acts so much that you know the timing is of the essence. (p.15)


10.Finally, ERH asks, “how do you and I get orientation?”  And answered by citing the messages in the purpose of Christian  holidays, All Saints, All Souls.


Universal History – 1967 – Review

Just as the name suggests, this essay clearly states the crucial lessons we must take from history.  We are constantly threatened with oblivion, the author asserts and thus we must learn all we can about the nature of the universe and of mankind if we are to survive and grow with any quality of life.  To understand the changes that have evolved with different cultures, and the differences those changes have made, is his central argument for needing a universal history, which we do not presently have. Having said this, he then goes on to give examples of those changes, thus laying the groundwork for all his other writing.  Speech and naming, the central nature of Christianity in history, ethics, creativity, the development of human culture, how we become enslaved by certain types of thinking, the development of one’s soul, all are examples of issues raised here. The unavoidable picture of `mankind as one,’  is completely compatible with the essays of Joseph Campbell  on the power of myth.


Lectures 1-5 (Tippet Lectures)
Feringer notes
Last edited: 12-98


Lecture 1

1.”We have at this moment in this world receded into a pre-Christian scheme of history.” (p.5)  ERH mentions Spengler and Toynbee as examples of historians who advocated historic cycles and constant  progress, “the upward spiral” (never retrogression, only advance),  Benedetto Croce who ERH calls “a new Hegel,” and John Dewey believed in spirals theories, which ERH eschewed. “People were back to paganism…The ordinary human mind is pagan.” (p.5)

Today there are advocates promoting the idea that various cultures should disappear, e.g. the Chinese, Jews, Serbs. Once we cannot accept certain peoples or cultures on earth, ERH asserts,  we are back to paganism, which is a philosophy of chaos.  The cyclical theory of history creates chaos.  “Today the cyclical doctrine of history is taught in nine-tenths of our schools.” (p.6)

2.These ideas come from philosophies of natural science, however  “…no human being has ever lived in this manner.” (p.7)  This is a false doctrine, which, with any close examination,  would belie reality.  ERH  claims that the pagans “stole history,” and the fault lies with the Christians and all of us who were too timid or too silent, and thus allowed ourselves to be dominated.

3.           I don’t look at things…I am looked on by my creator.  He looks at me and says  “What a fool you are.”  It is more difficult to see ourselves in the middle of history and take responsibility for creating it.  THUS, IT IS ALWAYS EASIER FOR ALL OF US TO IMAGINE THAT WE ARE OUTSIDE OF EVENTS. (p.8)

4.In sum the two opposing forces are 1) those who say that one cannot understand history unless one is objectively outside it, and 2) those  who maintain that one cannot understand unless one sees themselves as inside, as part of events.  THIS IS ESSENTIALLY THE RELIGIOUS ISSUE, or decision!  That is to say, taking responsibility for the state of society.

5.Man is defined by his passions, not by his brain (logic), and “…the result a the world which is created by these passions.  And it is a very mixed world, half diabolical, and half divine.”    Life is very risky!  Old and new ways are no criteria for decision-making in themselves.  We must learn to take responsibility for the state of society.

6.Scientific history assumes that the past and present determine the future.  Cruciform history assumes the opposite, that the future determines the present (as well as what should be carried on from the past).  Of course, we do not change past events, but we do reinterpret it as new experience reveals its lesson.  Scientific history, is oriented only toward the concrete reality, it focuses only on physical cause/effect.  Cruciform history assume the value of revelation, of our ability to create a better world (than living by the laws of the jungle).

…history is only that event which you have dreaded, expected, hoped for, which you then have seen — helped bring about, and which at the end is there, and you have to cope with it, because it is your own doing.  (p.11)

[RF – Rosenstock-Huessy interprets religion as a power within us to risk change, and to risk taking responsibility for something requires maximum fortitude.  This power derives from the Holy Spirit.  Thus interpreted,  the nature of religion is universal and  analogous to Christianity.  History is the source of evidence for truth – seeking truth is divine.]

History is our power to create a future.  “…without Easter, you cannot understand Pentecost…If you cannot delve into this event at the moment in which it hadn’t yet happened, you will never understand Christianity.” (p.12)   [RF – I assume this means, history not only tells us what happened, but how it came to happen and that is valuable insight for beginning new movements.]

7.The future cannot be derived precisely from the past, because our dreams can (indeed should) change the present. One can therefore create some modicum of order in one’s life by acting on the notion that the future governs interpretation of the past and action in the present!

8.IN ORDER FOR MANKIND TO BE CREATIVE, TO CREATE PEACE AND GOOD WILL, MAN MUST BE GOVERNED BY HIS DREAM AND ACTION ON THEM FOR A BETTER COMMUNITY IN THE FUTURE.  So the notion of past should be replaced by the term “beginning,” and the future, by “the end” of some phase, or epic.

Lecture 2

1.Progress is now interpreted to mean more and bigger material things. The content of the Christian message is to rise above this “fall of man.”    “…our Lord entered the world to heal fallen man from his constant regress, from his constant cycles, from his constant superstitions that something had to be done tomorrow, because it had been done yesterday; that (in the US) the South cannot give up segregation as a token that they were not defeated.” (p.6)  In other words, Christianity was necessary to establish a set of rules by which “progress” toward a peaceful community could be created.

2.Given that man is half animal and half potentially divine, the Christian notion of progress is that man may fall “less profoundly.”  (p.8)  It relates to man’s relation to the divinity.  When man realizes that he is responsible for the collective sin, that he is daily crucified, that all humankind is his brother and sister; this is progress.

3.Progress is the ability to move in the direction of concluding  conditions by  which we can live in peace with others, (especially ones “in-laws”).  “…suffering is the only source of wisdom, and not my brain here.” (p.14)

Lecture – 3

1.MAN MUST LIVE IN THREE GENERATIONS AT ONCE.  Thus the title of this lecture: “Love, hope and faith.” Love is practiced in the present, hope is for return of certain things from the past and faith must empower one toward action to  create a better future.

2.In the 4 gospels that describe the message, meaning, and heritage of Jesus, hope is not mentioned.  Jesus was hope-less in this sense, he lived on faith.  With hope, one knows what is worth hoping for, bigger, better, a return to what was good about the past.

Faith grows from despair, where there is nothing to hope for it is the amount of expectation to know things not now known, of being led onto new ways, we are open to being told, to being informed, to being led into His (God’s) world.  SO FAITH IS OUR CONNECTION WITH THE CREATIVE PROCESS OF THE FUTURE.  THE FUTURE IS EMBEDDED IN OUR HEARTS BY FAITH. Hope connects us with what we have experienced.   (p.3)

3.Christianity is not the Judeo-Christian traditions. It’s the only truth. ( p.5)  Modern theology books omit the notion that hope isn’t in any of the 4 gospels. “Lord of creation has incarnated.”  (p.5)  He was incarnated because he embraced 3 generations, the future, present and beginnings (past).  Hope holds onto beginnings. The true stature of man is that he belongs to and holds 3 generations at all times.

4.     Human beings have no problems, and are no problems, but they are creatures, unfinished creatures.  And that’s much nicer than to be a problem,…this unfinished creature is now responsible for the harmony of these three great branches of the outstretched cross over our heads, of the divine.  This cross is stretched out backward by our hopes, by which we retain the memory of things past.  It is stretched forward by our faith.  It allows the Creator to enter quite a new page in His book of His creation.  And the love holds the two together, as in the case where the parents are asked to agree to the innovation that this girl now has a right to call this wicked man her husband.  (p.6)

Lecture 4

1.The future beckons and can be grasped only by faith and willingness to be open to the possibilities of being transformed.  This lecture addresses this need to change, and thus its name, “Between Halloween and Labor Day.”

2.The problem is that for this 3rd millennium we must change and in order to change we must be freed from the past (1,000 years.)

We are all “nailed to a cross” metaphorically speaking, between the past and the future, in the present. The “gallows beam” of the cross symbolizes this dilemma.  Winston Churchill said, “Everyman is nailed either to a cross of action or to a cross of thought.”

3.History is the recalling of the past that is capable of allowing us to change, and anticipating a new future. We must admit that what was once future (an expectation), became a past, then was sanctified by the next generation ( our grandchildren).  Only thus can there be progress and peace.

4.What we should learn from war is to sanctify and keep the memory of the soldiers who died, because they died for a cause. If the cause was worth fighting for, it (history) means that we too might be called upon to fight.   History reminds us what is important. It places us in time.  WE KEEP ALIVE THE MEMORY OF SACRIFICE, BY WHICH THE WORLD IS MADE POSSIBLE.  The Gospels represent the story of Jesus, what he sacrificed for, and why he died.

5.For mankind, history is more important than the natural sciences because it tells us what is important, and what is important is told to us by our heart. The direction of that knowledge changes, depending upon one’s present insights and dreams:

…the crucial form.  Only in the Cross has man found a form in which the directions — changes, in which one thing is true, although the opposite is true, too. (p.9)

(the heart, and the term “although”) They cross out the tendency, the trend, the statistically probable, the, the recommendation, the reasonable, the sober.  ..although reason tells you you shouldn’t, – you do it.  That’s worth doing.  Nothing in life is alive, or is human, that is not able to defy some natural causes, some natural reasons. (p.10)

6.If mankind on this earth is to grow the rules to guide his social values, he must be capable of resisting the principles of physics, the principles that apply to dead things.

…unless you have this power to resist all the highways of the world, wide as they are, convenient as they are…making you as welcome as they do…you are not borne by the spirit.  You are not a second-born human being.  And this old rule that man has to be born twice is unfortunately simply true, although the churches have forgotten it. (p.11)

[RF – Obviously, he means the term “born again” differently from the present-day Christian fundamentalists]

7.Christianity did not begin with Christ. The willingness to sacrifice was present in all pagan tribes, “Otherwise there would be no mankind alive today.”  The meaning of the cross is that when one sacrifices, one belongs to the ages. (p.16) [RF – In another essay ERH  called the birth of Christ, “The center of history.”  I assume the meaning of this statement was that, these universal principles, while practiced before, had not been articulated.]

Lecture 5

1.The thrust of this final lecture seems to belie statements ERH makes elsewhere, to wit that the “Cross of Reality” is not rooted in religion.  Here he seems to make the point that  IT IS INDEED SO ROOTED.  That is, that we live in multiple times and multiple places, that we observe events as “inside them,” or outside (as objective observers).  And that the nature of these times and places is not caused only by natural events, but also decided by participants in the community. That an old social practice may be changed. The meaning of events, past and present, is constantly fought over on the battle field. – the dignity of a nation for instance. [RF, have we not just witnessed this in WW I and II, and in Serbia/Bosnia today?]  This, ERH asserts is what William James means in his essay THE MORAL EQUIVALENT OF WAR. In war then, meaning is decided!

What is now, and what has been cannot be known.  It can only be decided.    (p.3)

The first few pages of this lecture are eloquent statements to this effect.  And later…

…the superior light of the man who went to the Cross without complaint in order to elucidate that on this earth, without the gallows beams (of these types of decisions) on his back, man could not live as he was meant to live: in peace with the past and future. (p.10)

2.It is the weakness of these times that the notion of multiple times and spaces is not understood, and therefore we seem to lack references points for evaluating our experience.

So this I think explains our growing neglect, or our decreasing understanding of the mystery of times. Take the relation between the generations.  The hurry with which we move through time makes it for the young man quite feasible to forget the greatest riddle of mankind is the peace between fathers and sons, and grandsons, and how this should be obtained or created that a grandson is even patient to continue what his father and grandfather have started. (p.4)

3.This then reflects the riddle of speech, that in order for the future generations to continue what must be continued, they must understand what we say today.  And therefore…

This is the riddle of speech, that the speech is a flow, is a stream, a river that must fertilize and wet all the banks of the river, whenever the water touches the ground.  Every foot of this riverbank is a year of mankind.  And the river, of course, must connect these various decades, years, centuries. And he must not form puddles, and where every puddle is left alone to itself…. (p.5)

4.In sum,  history has amply demonstrated changes in direction that were necessary at a particular point in time; when some emphasis of action was no longer needed.  There was a time when it was no longer necessary to be martyred professing the love of Jesus. There was a time when the emphasis on the “church” needed to be changed to an exploration of the earth, the result of which was a rise in science and technology.  And ERH admonishes us that the present challenge is to learn to regenerate society.

At this moment, where the Great Society knocks at the door, we must make peace with people of other creeds, with people of other races, with people certainly of other idioms, and other religions.  (p.11)

Cruciform Character of History – 1967 – Review

This is a transcript of the Tippett lectures delivered by Rosenstock-Huessy at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.  Their focus was to differentiate scientific (or cyclical) history,  which is how all of us were commonly educated in school, from “cruciform history.”  The difference is crucial to our survival and growth toward peace in the world. Scientific history puts mankind outside events, inferring what will happen in the future, in spite of our efforts.  Cruciform history puts mankind inside events, and is based on mankind taking responsibility for creating a future guided by his dreams.  Having laid out this issue the body of the lectures indicates specific examples of how cruciform history can be fruitful.  This essay also describes a fundamental building block for the author’s views on the future of Christianity.


Lectures 1-9
Feringer notes
Last edited: 12-98


Lecture – 1

Theme – How do we regenerate community? This, of course,  is the fundamental question of all human social life, and it generates a series of questions for which humankind has had to find answers through the ages.  Of these, an important question is, “What type of thought and action are necessary?” Another name for such a guide is “religion.”

1.Today, ERH asserts,  the arts are a substitute for religion! This is misguided because, as Goethe wrote to his son, “…the Muse knows how to accompany, but does not know how to guide, or to lead.” (p.1)

2.It is only the church (religion ) that can guide us. Arts and sciences are both only companions, not guides for life.  THE QUESTION TODAY IS ONE OF A DIVISION OF LABOR, WHICH MANY RELIGIONS (and other organizations) ABOLISH. For instance, our worship of youth tends toward firing old people and putting young people into positions for which they are unfit. “Everybody knows everything, therefore nobody knows anything.” (p.3)

3.The Egyptians invented the division of labor, separating priests from laity – priests knew what was in heaven, the laity knew  what is on earth.  The concept of heaven is useful only if it is a metaphor for what humankind should  become, as a guide to our behavior. It was the priest whose division of labor was to communicate this to people, therefore providing a direction for social life by way of unifying heaven and earth.

Today in the USA, the pollsters, psychologists, and news reporters are the American priesthood.  This is a distortion of Luther, who wanted everybody to PARTICIPATE WITH THE PRIEST, as stated in his aphorism, “everybody his own priest.”  This has been distorted today to mean NOBODY A PRIEST. With no single direction, all disciplines become fragmented into their own self-interest. The business man makes money, the writer writes, the reporter reports events for the purpose of selling newspapers, etc. But what is to create community?

The problem with college students today is that they have learned neither a trade nor how to direct their lives.

4.Larger and more complex societies call for more complex organization, but these divisions must be unified. The first division of labor is priest and layman. The second is warrior and peasant. The third is rich and poor. Recognizing these divisions is basic to social survival and while we cannot change them, we can mitigate  the distinctions. The larger the country or the organization, the greater the number of divisions of labor.

                                                                 A few basic definitions

5.The idea of democracy has been distorted by a bloated notion of equality,  which has caused us to lose respect for divisions of labor. In war, the military takes precedence over laymen, and in any crisis the leader must take precedence over the subordinate. IN SHORT, IF PEOPLE’S  EFFORTS ARE NOT COORDINATED BY LEADERSHIP, THEN THERE IS ANARCHY – WHICH PRESAGES THE ULTIMATE TERROR AND DESTRUCTION.

6.Divisions of labor are necessary, and therefore must be filled.   We are always obligated to find our role in society (where we should put our energies) at a given point in time for social benefit. (p.8)  In ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh earned the right to leadership because he could predict the floods of the Nile, which united  upper and lower Egypt, he represented the unifier of heaven and earth.

Today in this country, we place faith falsely  in the intellectual as an ultimate authority, as another form of priest. The intellect is not a complete guide for ruling. It takes also hope, faith, and charity to lead, among other qualities! Science is also unqualified,  because it is pure mechanism!

7.Our liberal arts colleges today are ridiculous because they have no direction. They offer us no basis for unifying our experience, they only describe, analyze, compare, and speculate about reality. There is no meaning to any subject outside its internal logic. “Nothing can stand in reality that isn’t necessary.  And God reveals himself only in the things necessary.” (p.14)  The lack of unity in our lives today blurs or erases understanding of the necessity (meaning) of different divisions of labor.

8.The Egyptian cycles of life were symbols of unity depicting necessities of the community:  1) Horus, heaven and earth, 2) Ra, the dominance of the sun, 3) Osiris, the fact of death, 4)  Apis (the bull),  reconciling the new Egyptian science with the values of tribal spirits.  The great historical change represented by Egypt was the discovery of order  in the universe – of science; they discovered that the stars in the constellation of Pleiades returned to their original positions in the sky every 1460 years.

This cycle, of course, is  indifferent to social life on earth, but it had to be integrated somehow. This belief in the mechanism of nature they saw as meaning that life also was  (should be) eternal. To the Egyptian, 1460 years. was like one day.  All of this represented a fundamental change is beliefs from the old tribal values of ancestor worship.

Lecture – 2

1.The major difference between nomadic societies and agricultural societies is that nomads can’t divide labor; each member must be a jack-of-all-trades. Ancestor worship, therefore, was a logical basis for guidance. But with the advent of permanent settlements, an entirely new life evolved. Fortresses instead of “warpaths,” settlement instead of migration, professional soldiers instead of every tribal member fighting, commerce instead of basic self-sufficiency, writing to supplement oral speech.

2.ERH doesn’t like the term “civilization,” because today it  connotes a difference between tribe (nomad) and city; however, both had discipline (order), and the secrets of living in both included religion,  perpetuation of the species, preparation for the future. Civilization means more than plumbing and parking lots. Today modern man is once again a nomad (peripatetic). The temple replaces the nomadic meaning for the grave.

3.The advent of the city created new unifying elements in society. The city  created geographic unity, with Egypt a unifying of the upper and lower Nile, of heaven and earth, in addition to the basic tribal divisions.  Man in the eyes of the Egyptians became superior to nature because  nature, as represented by the stars,  which could only move east to west, while  man could also move north & south. Yet paradoxically, Egyptians preferred the inanimate world because it was more permanent – gold the most enduring material.

4.The present day domination of our lives by commerce is bound to destroy us, as will any worship of material things, because that kind of worship always leads to acquisition of non-necessities. Today we do not live to create a future but rather live for the  moment. Notice, for instance our increasing national debt – whereby our present excesses must be paid for eventually by future generations. We are destroying the future of society.

5.The Greeks  believed (borrowed) the notion of the circular sequences of events, of cycles of nature, from the Egyptians. Plato in the Timaeus, for instance discusses the endless phases of government monarchy, aristocracy, democracy and dictatorship. THE CONCEPT DENIES THE POSSIBILITY OF SOCIAL PROGRESS. One is bound to live from the ideas of the past. THE NOTION OF THE “BUSINESS CYCLE” IS EGYPTIAN IN MENTALITY.

6.To know the movements of the sky was the first profession (the priesthood), and a revolutionary step away from tribal thinking. It proclaimed the elements of heaven were connected to those on earth.

To write was to meet eternity. To carve the hieroglyphs on the temple walls is to proclaim the eternal truths from heaven. The daily order (roles) for the people of the land were likewise proclaimed. The edict is the first use for writing. Real language  was high-brow. Idiomatic language was an after-effect. The first to speak was the judge, priest, commander-in-chief, proclaimer.

7.In sum, the empires created stability in one place, which meant they had to deal with one set of climates  on one land and to care for it.  This required discipline, order, division of labor. Historically all of the “stable” empires have fallen and reverted back to nomadic or more primitive culture, whether Egyptian, Babylonian, Chinese, Mayan, or Incan. Today in our industrial countries we rape the environment, and people don’t wish to pay for the cost of conservation – they want tax reduction,  and cannot bring themselves to sacrifice.  THIS HAS BEEN THE CASE WITH ALL EMPIRES – THEY COULDN’T MAINTAIN  DISCIPLINE AND ORDER NECESSARY TO SURVIVAL.

Lecture – 3

1.The Tribes and Empires had done their work of establishing guidance from past experience (ancestors), and science (order in the universe).  All of this established a starting point for the Greeks and Jews.  The tribes, Egyptians, Greeks, and Jews were four very different ways of life, which were “against” each other.

2.Most of us believe there is order in science, but not in society.  ERH admonishes us to believe in social progress and social order.

…God visits the sins of the parents in the third and fourth generation, and forgives those who serve Him in the thousandth generation— is simply true.  It’s a natural law.  It’s an order of human history.  For a little bit of merit, your great, great, great, great-grandfather’s effort, you are here alive. (p.1)

3.Regarding the necessity to follow these natural social laws, we must either ignore  history, or participate in it.  What has made these four modes of life available to us  (Tribal, Egyptian, Greek and Jewish) is the church. (p.2)  Each of these societies was trapped in its one mode of life. Christianity admonished us to integrate all of them and emphasize any one at the right time.

The Tribes created a past (recognizing that we have fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers who fought for our membership to the ages of founding fathers rather than  existing only in the present moment, isolated in inconsolable loneliness.  AND THIS VENERATION FOR THE PAST, AND FOR BELONGING TO THE AGES, IS NOT “NATURAL” in the sense of what animals can do. We are more than animals.  The CALENDAR of the tribes goes from birth to wedding, from wedding to burial, from war to peace, from initiation to initiation, etc, without conception of dates. The tribes  created the station of KING, with an ancestry to which he is heir.

The empires created the “eternal present” of the heavens.  They discovered from the heavens the perception of the year,  the equinoxes, the return of the seasons as measurements for time, rather than funerals, etc. No tribe could observe the solstice. But since Egyptians discovered that the heavens and earth are connected, they reasoned that time is always the present. [RF – I don’t quite understand the logic of this point although he gives reasons on page five.]

The Greeks subsumed the best of these two notions, then went on to create an order to ideas  (philosophy) and to articulate principles of  art.  These are their contributions – philosophy (the act of generalization and comparison) and poetry (the expression of subjective response to events).

The Jews rejected both the tribal and empire ways of life, investing in their future by way of the notion of prophecy.  THEY CREATED THE IDEA OF FASHIONING THE FUTURE OUT OF THE PAST AND THE PRESENT.

4.These four ways of living formed the four foundations (qualities of mankind)  represented by Christianity, – kingship, priesthood, philosophy and poetry.

“We claim today that we are the heirs to all these four qualities {of man}.” (p.7)

In America we assume all of these possibilities, and have been successful in abusing all of them. Liberty is abused by everyone assuming to be an authority.  The innumerable sects in this country abuse the notion of priesthood. ABUSE CHEAPENS,  THEREBY DESTROYING IMPORTANT PRINCIPLES NECESSARY TO MAINTAIN COMMUNITY.

5.Of course, we possess some of the qualities of these past ways of life.  To a child parents are as royalty.  And we have the power to judge the priest as his edicts apply to our personal lives.

6.Each of these creations of tribes, empires, Greeks, and Jews (and perhaps this notion can be generalized to all real creativity) had to take place independent of the others.  Tribalism could not have arisen in the Egyptian empire, and the Egyptians had to reject the assumptions of ancestry otherwise each of their ideas could not have evolved to prove their validity. But each of the four was incomplete as total guide for organizing social life. They were practiced to extremes, exhausting their validity, and the civilizations upon which they were built declined. .

7.If truth came only out of the past, this meant that all knowledge was assumed to be known at that time. No change was conceivable. With the empires, since the heavens were in constant motion, there was no time to pause and evaluate events. The Jewish God had time; he created the universe from outside it.  The creation of the Sabbath by the Jews was a resting period, a time to evaluate the past week’s events – an action that was otherwise only attributed to the “creator.”

But the belief of Judaism is that we must tend in the direction of rest if we want to have freedom, if we want to be divine.  The discovery of the Jewish people is that — the God who set in motion this world must be superior to motion, that God is rest, eternal peace, that He is the god of peace, and therefore superior …If you keep all things going, nothing new can happen…all mankind’s history is only the record of those actions of freedom by which people did something that had never been done before…All this is newness. (pp.12,13)

The Jews created the notion that man, because he possessed some small part of divinity, could create some new beginnings.

8.The profundity of this idea is that we are free to accept a fact and act before necessity forces us to act, thus having some freedom for decision.  To wait too long is to eliminate our freedom to act willfully. If, for instance, we conserve the environment now, we will have some future options as to how and when to do things.  If all is destroyed before we act, we have forfeited  that freedom; having destroyed animal habitats and therefore the animal species within them, we cannot then decide to regenerate those species.

9.Freedom is the opportunity to create the future. The genius of prophecy, its difference from projection from the past, is that it speaks from the future.  It says that if we wish for a certain type of world in the future we must act a certain way now, or face the consequences .  “All prophets must be partially prophets of doom.” (p.18)

Prophecy is indifferent to temporal orders. That is, it implies WHAT OUGHT, rather than projecting forward WHAT IS.

God created cause and effect, and He created man to supersede cause and effect. (p.19)

10.Prophecy is not based on approval from others, it is not a Gallop Poll. Part of the meaning of Judaism is the willingness (courage) to be unpopular!

“…the whole world is just in a terrible mess today because we have no prophets.  We have only predictors.” (p.21)

11.The Greeks compared different cultures, but accepted them as-is. No judgment is involved. Humanism does not mean everybody accepting each other or being nice, Greeks were warlike and lived by tribal vendetta.  But not being willing to make judgments, not being willing to act on what they knew  in order to change their society for the better, they weakened the power of the great philosophies they created.

Lecture – 4

1.In this chapter ERH discusses the process by which Greeks made two orders into one, and how Jews  rejected both.  First, he declares that in 1945 an era of approximately 1900 years is complete, and now we should be able to combine the four modes of life – tribal (kingships), empire (priesthood), Greek (comparisonism and poetry),  and Jewish (rejectionism and prophecy) – all into a single mode. All of these were embraced by Christianity.

ERH first makes the case that in America we remain “Greek” thinkers; we embrace a mode of living whereby one accepts with equal validity all other modes of living, but observing them from the outside and not taking a stand for a single one. In short, we remain aloof from traditional religious involvement. However, in a broader sense, “Religion is where I have a singleness of purpose…..Nobody who lives can be just Greek.” (p.3)

[By “Greek”, I believe he means, thinking is enough, participation in the affairs of his community is unnecessary.)

2.The notion of “Greek thinking” is important related to his claim that it is the same as “American thinking.” Greek thinking, is secular (or temporal and objective, which is to say not committed to any particular mode of living other than secular. All of this assumes a mechanistic universe over which humankind has no control.  The “mind” – meaning logical thinking – can be controlled, but “nature” cannot be. The Greek separates thought from the body, from the temporal world. The IIliad testifies that mankind is controlled by nature, except for his thinking.

3.The implication of these ideas is profound. Christian Religious thinking assumed that we are under an obligation to create a unity on earth, to unite all peoples and all animals, to be the stewards of the earth,  “…that’s our destiny. We are meant to do this.” (p.11)   THIS IS THE CHRISTIAN MANDATE TO MANKIND.

4.The Christian religious logic is that either man has the power to intervene in the social and natural world,  or he is an automaton. [RF – my own interpretation of these ideas is that our destiny is to build “liveable communities.” This is our common necessity with other peoples on earth, and the idea that should unify us,   mind, spirit, and body. Greek thinking, ERH declares creates schizophrenia.]

Greek thinking therefore is incapable of creating a future, as it tends to remain an observer of what nature has in store for us.

5.Whenever knowledge is acted upon, it has social consequences to which we are never indifferent. Therefore it is impossible for us to be really objective, except in the act of verifying events.

To live in the mind only (as Greeks proclaim) is to separate one’s spirit from inclusion in life. Greek objectivity puts us outside humanity, outside nature. We can therefore usefully examine any subject only by admitting our own superstitions and our own bias. By such admission we become capable of rising above them, limiting the influence of our bias.

6.We can realize some fulfillment in life, (“find our bliss,” as Joseph Campbell terms it) only  by following some cause – and our only worry should be coming to that cause too late! THE MIND IS THEREFORE SUBSERVIENT TO THE HEART, to our loyalties.

…I have never seen a divine reason so far, but I have seen divine beauty in bodies, and I have seen divine hearts, and  divine souls…The mind — most people I know, are stupid. Lazy, prejudiced, blind, wishful thinking…that’s the least  important thing about us. But we have pure-hearted people, fortunately among us. (p.27)

[RF – ERH goes on to provide a number of useful examples pointing to weaknesses of the “mind” and pointing out that thought cannot be separated from our body. It is our logic that creates prejudice, hatred, greed, etc, or it fails to correct these base emotions.]

7.The Jew puts the church ahead of the mind, that is, ahead of our college training. The church must direct our thought and actions. The purpose of the Sabbath is to “have time” to unclutter our minds from daily struggle and action and become re-oriented to our true purpose.

Lecture – 5

1.This chapter is a type of summary explanation of the importance of distinguishing between Greek and Christian thinking. THE PROBLEM ERH raises is, “What is the limitation of Greek thinking, in terms of encyclopedic comparisons of different modes of life?”  A simple answer is that they made comparisons of current events, in the present time only. This led to generalizations about common elements. Generalizations tend not to inspire dedication.  One cannot love, “in general,” for instance.  One must love someone, or some idea or some thing, and act in particular situations. The same is true for any dedication to a cause.

Thus, Greek admonition to the “good” does not inspire dedication to one cause. “We can’t have a pluralistic universe for our worship.” (p.6) So an important idea, to generalize and see the big picture with all its elements, has been rendered impotent by robbing it of an additional concept, which is to select a particular application to a particular problem at a particular time.

In other words, it is one thing to have a tool box full of tools (in this case, intellectual tools), and quite another to know when and how to use a particular tool in a particular situation. Living in a world of abstractions (generalizations only), is artificial. We cannot live (survive) meaningfully in an artificial world for long. Anarchy results.


This Christian mode of thinking also harbors an important historical implication.  That is to say, if having  many tools in one’s tool box makes for the best carpenter (or community builder), then one needs to utilize as many case histories of past experience as possible, to know what tools are available and under what circumstances they seemed to work.

2.For example, ERH claims that:

“…in 1850 God went out of fashion more or less.  And you got universalism, and unitarianism, which is an attempt to have a Greek Christianity.” (p.6)

3.He points out several facets of Greek thinking that if carried to (if practiced by everyone), lead a society astray. For instance, homosexuality results from separation of the mind from the body (ala Descartes). Here ERH does  not refer to what we know today about genetic causes of homosexuality.  His conclusion is not that it was  immoral in itself, but representative of a larger pattern of wrong thinking, and certainly no model  for all of society. This is why Christianity opposed it as a guiding concept. [RF – it would  therefore seem that the fundamentalist Christians today have got the meaning all wrong. That is, they are misreading history by rejecting homosexuality on a moral ground.  They tend to reject other pre-Christian (Greek) contributions as a whole,  e.g.  their mantra against “secular humanism.”]

The aspect of Greek thinking tries to create an artificial world, with a mind, body, and soul outside reality, and  which strives to live in its own ivory-tower existence.  And a mind that tries to create its own world, of course will prefer a friend to a woman who has to bear children with great travail, and which is very expensive to run a household; financially, it costs little comparatively to have a friend. (p.8)

4.Another example of the limitation of Greek thinking (in spite of their great contributions to society) is that of eternal war. Since the mind is dominant above all else in their thinking, Greek humanism posits that man is the measure of all things. Therefore they, the Greeks, are both heaven and earth, and  “…everybody else has to be destroyed, or has to be kept out.” (p.9)

They simply could not, therefore, conceive of a world without eternal war!

5.     Encyclopedic knowledge, pure intellectual curiosity…all the vices of sex, which come from mere keyhole peeping — pluralism for everything,…absorption, annihilation, as Greeks — the Greeks were unable to hold their own politically or morally.  They’re just a closed book.  They ended. (p.9)

6.ERH concludes that our future depends upon, or is directly proportional to, its vitality, to how far we go back into history to see what human experience has been, so that we can see better the nature of our time. And therefore what modes of living are most likely to help us face and rise above our present social problems.

Today he suggests:

If you want to become a writer, your topics are not arbitrary.  They are dictated to you by the spirit of the age.  And if you want to know what you should write about today, you must write about pre-Homeric man. …WE HAVE TO GO FORWARD TO THE END OF TIME BY BRINGING OUT AGAIN THE ACHIEVEMENT OF THE PAST. (p.11)

7.ERH dwells on “Greek thinking”  because it reflects our times in America.  We have become too abstract in our thinking in our view and description of the world. Abstractions = generalizations. Buster is not thought of as Buster, but of his classification as a dog. The term “love” is an abstraction until it is felt in corporeal terms, as in our wife, husband, daughter and son. Greek pluralism provides us with many choices, but no direction as to how to guide our efforts.

The spirit of our times, he claims, is based on both Egyptian and Greek thinking about the spirit of prosperity and the spirit of plurality (generalizations or abstracting).  All of this leads to stoicism, cynicism, boredom,    and skepticism – everything is possible (anyone can be president), but nothing is necessarily true. (p.15)  [RF – I believe ERH intends “true” in this instance to mean, of social import.]

Contrarily, the pre-Homeric god-kings or god-men, gave commands and it was the duty of people to follow them.  The spirit of heaven in those times was manifest in real people and therefore could be related to.  What do we hear from people polled about their attitude toward American politics today?  Resoundingly, that we need leaders, someone honest and moral, someone we can be inspired to follow!

8.What the Greeks did then was to strip every proper name and replace it with a concept. God, in pre-Homeric times was the creative spirit within mankind. God, to the Greeks, became a concept, – mind.  In other words, mere description of the world in impersonal terms is adequate, and it is all we can do. The rest lies with the only element humankind can control, the mind. This attitude puts one outside the life of the universe; one is not god-like, but god himself. Such is the extreme of the life of the mind.

Lecture – 6

1. The basic idea of this series of lectures is that the Christian Era represented a new idea, which is that the creation of human community is going on now and every day. All previous views of reality maintained that there existed an established order in the universe, that all things were pre-ordained, that life consisted of endless repetitive cycles. Tribal life, Egyptian thought, and Greek thought were the same, that there was order in the universe and creation was not in the hands of humankind.

With the tribes, the dead judge the living. With Egypt, the living judge the dead (they, the dead, made mistakes which should not be repeated).

2.The Christian view was that humankind was capable of being co-creators of society in partnership with God. THE IMPLICATION HERE IS PROFOUND ACCORDING TO ERH.  It is that to live a fruitful life, we must do thingsdeliberately, according to our own decisions.  It means, therefore, that one does not live by mere imitation of Jesus, or for the sake of impressing others, but rather because it is the way we must live if we wish to improve community life.

[RF – By implication, humankind has the potential of enormous power engendered by language.  If morality is not the guiding principle for behavior, or at the very least of powerful and controlling leaders, society will tear itself apart from inherent animal instincts.]

Is there a difference between blind obedience or understanding and acceptance of a principle? How does one, for instance, tell if one imitates blindly, or intentionally, to impress others, or because one honestly believes in “the way?”  THE ANSWER IS THAT WE MUST ACT INTENTIONALLY AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR ACTS, and not blame others when we fail. If one acts only to attract, it is the beginning of falsehood.

The intent of principles assumes one must act honestly and in the interest of the community. To take  responsibility for our actions is to be invested with the Holy Spirit.

3.The subtle meaning of the term, “To live a life in imitation of Christ.”  then is to be creative, to accept the spirit of responsibility for the state of community, and to act as a co-creator.  The converse, the “childish” view of religion, on the other hand is to accept the notion of “imitation” of good deeds for the sake of being good, more or less acting “mechanically” and unknowingly, assuming a narrow, denotative interpretation of language.

Following from this, the meaning of “Holy Spirit” (language) derives from actions. Words are cheap. Actions reflect their spirit, investing meaning.

4.To learn from past experience and to act to improve our communities is to live in the spirit of both past and future, unifying the two. Thus, one honors the visible and the invisible. Faith is invisible; we must believe that our acts in the present will create movement toward some desired future. The Holy Spirit is a mixture of these three spirits, of past, present, and future.  It is a dead end to be “stuck” in the spirit of past only, or present or future only.  For a fruitful life one must utilize all three. (pp.9-11)

5.The tendency today is to believe we are independent of the obligation to sacrifice if we wish to build a future for our children, or for the community   (it is the same). To be independent in the spirit of self-serving is to live only in the present.  To be logical is to learn from our experience and to reason in terms of what we know and can prove and can feel. IT IS NATURAL TO ACT THIS WAY. But to be creative, to think originally, to sacrifice for some unknown (future)  is not natural. It is “super-natural.”

6.In another sense, “…life is explained by death.” (p.6-14) –  This means that, as a guide to how we should act to be fruitful (live a fulfilled life), we must understand that we must learn from what others have taught us.  To learn from that is to know the significant parts of the past. The significant parts of the past have been created by those who sacrificed to find important truths, truths that tell us how to regenerate the community or to destroy it, as the case may be.

How does one write a constitution, found an organization, raise a child, sit on a jury, inspire love? In our lives, from time to time we reach impasses and don’t know how to act, and therefore require guidance.

7.Christianity tells us the meaning of dying, which is grounded in significant acts, defined as those worth dying for.  Socrates taught us how to die.  Jesus taught us why we must die,. so that an idea might live on past our death. SIGNIFICANT GUIDANCE FOR FRUITFUL BEHAVIOR CAN BE INHERITED FROM THOSE WHO PRECEDED US.  Death and life are intimately connected;  to know how to live includes also knowing how and why to die, or sacrifice, stand for an idea that must live on as a model for those who follow us.

8.We fear death, naturally.  But to die “well” creates new life.

9.Ultimately, the ideas that drive generations exhaust themselves and need to be renewed. Mankind is a strange animal: the evolution of society does not live in a single person or in a single principle, but is renewed during many generations, through many interpretations of the principle.  ERH claims not to be an idealist.  He believed in flesh and blood. “Idealists aren’t crucified,..” (p.19)  Jesus believed in life.

10.Understanding death is fundamental to living, and a broad generalization for the idea of creativity and change.  Life, the community, and movements cannot be renewed if they are not re-interpreted when they are no longer potent. For instance the power of Christianity has ebbed and flowed over the ages.  Christianity stands for renewal. “Creation is now and always.”  Today Christianity as practiced in institutions…

“…has been given to babes and sucklings, and has become this candy stuff for Sunday school, which makes it absolutely impossible to assign Him any importance….if I think of these Sunday schools, (I can’t) do anything but vomit all my Christian tradition.”  (p.21)

The uniqueness of humankind is that it can have the same spirit all over the globe.  This is not possible with any other animal.

11.No one born into this world can know his/her direction.  We must learn it from the experience of others. Prayer is noble when it admits one’s own will is not good enough, and asks for guidance from others.  God is not interested in the individual,  only in the community. (p.24)

12.One cannot organize anything after his/her death, but one can have influence in that one’s spirit enters another person.  This is not the same as prescription (following rotely) because creativity is driven by spirit. It must be free at every moment. Creativity is the ability to express and old idea in a new way, or to see an old problem from a new perspective. Ironically, commerce pays for predictability, which is the opposite.

13.Theology is the “enemy” of faith and religion.  Faith is the willingness to act without clear assurances. Religion is the willingness to carry forward a necessary idea that underpinned someone’s act from the past. Theology is the “philosophy” underlying some particular organization, an organized representation of a set of ideas. Its weakness is that it prescribes behavior, which is antithical to creativity. Prescription of behavior is to be contrasted with prescribing the spirit, or purpose, or hoped-for consequences of some behavior.

Any subject becomes dead in our minds when we believe everything is known about it. It then becomes an object of mechanical response; one can be objective about it when everything is revealed.  If this were true of humans, we would be nothing more than animals. The truth is that to renew ourselves, to be vital, we must continue to grow, to surprise ourselves, to have new revelations about ourselves.

14.Any living thing in nature dies.  Humankind  escapes death only through living on in the memories of others.  If a life was fruitful, then its spirit will influence others positively. One’s death should therefore be given meaning when it engenders a new beginning for another person.

15.The uniqueness of the Christian era was that it connected generations. (p.36) The meaning of the sacrament of marriage is that it creates a future by teaching children there can be peace (between the sexes). A child brought up in peace can hope to find the same peace.

The church therefore connects all peoples and all churches in that it harbors

“…the fruits of previous generations to sow the seeds of future generations.” (p.37)

16.Still another unique quality of the Christian church was that not only drew from past generations, but made those fruits “…total and explicit.”   As long as customs are not articulated explicitly, as long as they remain vague, then future behavior based on learning from past experience remains accidental.

Peace is created by everyone’s willingness to sacrifice. “The church says, `It costs a price to live in peace together’.”  (p.40)

Lecture – 7

1/7Making peace and moving toward solutions to social problems requires, 1) that one define the problem that caused dissention, 2) recognizing that the problem remains, 3) that past solutions are not working and finally, 4) a willingness to try something new.  Each era is confronted with a problem that, if not solved, will eventually terminate that culture or civilization. In this way epochs are identified and rendered explicit.

You have not made peace in 1865. You have not made peace in 1918. You have not made peace in 1945…And the whole life of the Christian era is based on the assumption that to break with one calendar, to break with one order, can only be done explicitly. (p.2)

Western man is living by accident, not having learned the lessons of these wars. A new epoch begins when people begin to think differently. There are two types of historical facts: those that change our thinking, and epochal events that fail to result in a change in thinking. The two world wars were epochal events, but they have yet to change our thinking, and therefore we remain “inside” this epoch, unable to break out by way of addressing the cause.

In America we are bringing on the next world war because we have not learned this lesson, and we support tyrants around the world. (p.6)

2.We remain, therefore, “jellyfish”; foreign policy is based on the immediate needs of commerce. And the churches seem impotent to address these problems.  Historians DO NOT MAKE EPOCHS, but when they are insightful they properly interpret them.

The first Christians suffered for 300 years before the rest of civilization recognized that Jesus brought on a new epoch.

There have been four epochs of the Christian church in 1956 years, soul, culture or role, mind, and nature (these have been defined in the first 5 lectures of this series).

3.People called the Reformation the dawn of a new era. A “counter term” for this era by non-Christian thinkers (whether in the church or not) was Renaissance, when science and art began to guide thought, rather than the church continuing to do so.

One cannot remain capable of regenerating society as long as one believes one must think according to the values of the 20th century; rather one must understand that we live in the much broader Christian epoch. (p.13) Only in this larger context are there regenerating criteria to guide evaluation of epoch-making events. Only thus can we know more completely what are the killing and what are the regenerating forces in that epoch.

4.Epochs are only slowly recognized. The turning points of 1776, 1789, 1917 were at first recognized only by the Americans, or French, or Russians, respectively, but in time the world recognized the consequences of these events that changed the world.  Our thinking about marriage, about what is public and private, about how to do business, about public responsibility, about the nature of the family, about rights and responsibilities has been changed by these events. The common term “community” has drastically changed its meaning.

5.ERH discusses a major outcome of these events.  This is the constant discussion of means as contrasted with  ends.

A good American is a man who declines to discuss ends.  He wants to discuss means…If you have a country that consists of 300 minorities, 300 denominations,..300 languages, you can only discuss means, because you’ll never agree on ends. (p.26)

The lesson to be learned here is something about the difficulties of bringing unity among peoples. Only some modicum of agreement as to what are common,  eternal values unites peoples.

6.The work of Christianity was to create this type of unity. The first 1,000 years of the church was needed to create the church; it looked mainly inward at its own forms. The old temple of Israel was taken over by a New Church, by a new Israel. (p.28)

The second 1,000 years was spent in unifying the world. “Now an empire is a world by itself.” instead of a limited set of borders.  There are no more emperors.

Today, we enter the 3rd millennium, and a new problem has arisen. Science and technology have fragmented the peoples of the world, families and communities, and the institution of marriage has all but been destroyed. Today in America almost 50% of all children are born out of wedlock.  THE GREAT PROBLEM OF THE 3RD MILLENNIUM IS TO RE-INVENT THESE SOCIAL UNITS.  We must bring some unity within and among them, beyond commercial interests and cruise ships.

How else can one account for divorce, the rampant use of drugs, juvenile delinquency, the common need for psychiatrists and other counselors, the general social alienation within national boundaries, as well as distrust between many groups, as evidenced by the present ethnic wars around the world?

7.Another measure of this fragmentation between social units is the over-valuing of commerce as the dominant criterion for judging the efficacy of public decision-making.

This great issue of our one of the greatest experiences of the remaking of the human mind, in the face of great events…Does anybody deal with the real, the great transformation of the human soul and the human spirit?  (p.38)

8.In conclusion, what we need to do now is to find our place between the past and the future, to articulate where we are in our evolution so that we can see what is needed and get started. we must create one society out of these disparate fragments of society. “So that’s the theme of a real universal history.” (p.40)

Lecture – 8

1.Today, especially in America, we seem not to be interested in shaping a future. [RF – Other than for commerce and sewer systems, of course.] Crime, poverty, and alienation are rampant.  No doubt part of this stems from a misplaced faith in science, that it can tell us what is going to happen. But that’s the limitation of the scientific attitude.  If we believe in forces outside ourselves, in commerce and in nature, then we feel powerless to shape our communities.  BUT THE VERY FUNCTION OF RELIGION MUST BE TO DO JUST THAT – TO BELIEVE THAT A BETTER FUTURE FOR SOCIETY IS NOT LEFT TO CHANCE, THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO ENVISION AND THEN DIG IN TO REMAKE IT HAPPEN.

Prophets are no longer fashionable today because we have lost faith in our ability to shape behavior in the direction of improvement. Today our pseudo-prophets are scientists, or “futurists,” who predict how many cars and plastic building materials will be available in the future. “Prophecy believes in the invisible, and is perfectly immune against what it sees before its eyes.” (p.3)

2.Over-population, crime, poverty, unmanageable bureaucracies, reliance on science as a method for pointing the way to a future  – all alienate us from each other. They atomize society, as Martin Buber said,  destroying our communities. WE NEED TO RE-ESTABLISH COMMUNITY AT ALL LEVELS, RE-ESTABLISHING REVERENCE FOR THE FAMILY, FOR DEVOTION AND LOYALTY AND PRIDE. WE HAVE LOST THE ABILITY TO FEAR THE LOSS OF THESE HUMAN VALUES.

When Darwinian concepts are applied to human interaction, when all commerce is “cut-throat” and personal interaction competitive,  then we tend to destroy all trust and integrity; the commercial ethic has a nasty habit of creeping into all interpersonal relations, as it seems to be doing today. Darwinian “evolution in history is decadence.” (p.9)

ERH gives evidence of the way Christianity has stood for regeneration by integrating all previous social accomplishments, i.e. the family, science, poetry and philosophy, prophecy  e.g. the accomplishments of the tribes, of the great empires (Egypt, etc.), Greek thinking, and Judaism.  (pp.10-16)

3.The issue of prophecy touches on the Gospels in terms of their representation as a stage in social change. The Gospels differ because each was addressed to different groups, each with different biases.  Matthew speaks to the Jews, Mark to the Egyptians and Romans, Luke to the tribes, and John to the Greeks. They were written in four different places, addressing different groups and value systems, but essentially with the same message.

So the four Gospels tell you of the march of the church.  In order to penetrate into these four regions, the church had to write its Gospel in four forms. (p.19)

4.THE SIGNIFICANCE OF COMMUNICATION CAN ONLY BE DETERMINED BY AGREEMENT WITH THE GROUP ADDRESSED. Thus, individual experiences by themselves have no meaning. This notion is fundamental because it indicates how language is vital – no group can exist without communication, the method of which is commonly agreed upon and understood.  (p.19)


5.ERH  addresses the relationship of death and dying to generating a future, how death can be fruitful.  (p.15-26)

6.The relationship of the state to the church is important to understand.  The state represents our need to survive in our present physical environment. The purpose of the church is to represent the future, how we solve present problems so that our communities may someday live in peace and prosperity. The church then should organize our will, our soul, our willingness to sacrifice for that future.  THE CITY OF GOD, (St. Augustine), makes the statement that no state must take away our yearning for a better government – no human can be God.

7.           …the mother tongue is not the only tongue in which the life can be expressed.  We know today that the spirit has to be transported in every generation…You cannot preach the Gospel without translation.  A fundamentalist is the enemy of Christianity, because he makes it impossible for a decent man to believe that the God of the Christians is a living God.  He’s just a paper god. Because a fundamentalist cannot translate.  They take the letter vivified, but the letter killeth…` the spirit vivifies, and the letter killeth’ is expressed in this tradition of Jerome where the Bible is translated into Latin….Jerome says the Gospel cannot be preached by repetition. (p.30)

8.How does one convert a number of people to a single spirit?  First, by converting individuals. Then, by groups of individuals.  In the Christian church, the first 500 years. were spent on converting individuals, and the next 1,000 years were spent unifying tribes.

Lecture – 9

1.”It seems to be a law…Nothing important happens unless somebody is willing to die for it.” (p.1)

2.There seem to be four steps to the renewal or founding of either a church or a secular community; ERH noted that for the church these steps were: a) Martyrs, b) fathers, c) monks and d) kings. In a like way the secular version of these steps is a) crusaders, b) discoverers, c) explorers and  d) inventors

Crusaders expose their lives to give to a cause; the discoverer seeks new continents or new aspects of the world; the explorer completes this process; and the inventors explore the inner world increasing knowledge.


3.One of the great problems of learning about others is that one tends to reject what one doesn’t like, judging it unimportant or for some reason objectionable. But to truly learn from social experience is to the reality of the processes, roles and values of different communities, whether we like them or not.

4.In a like way, each academic subject matter deals only with one aspect of a phenomenon.   For instance, science describes almost entirely with numbers. The sun is more than so much energy, it is also a useful metaphor, and it tells us about social phases related to growing food, etc.  This fragmentation of disciplines, which in turn reflects our thinking, results in barriers to understanding the larger context of problems.

…we enter today a third millennium.  There’s no doubt that by the year 2,000 the world will have to have a religion or it will not exist, a different form of our religion.  Mankind, society demands another group of leadership.  You can’t live by discoverers and inventors, if you want to organize peace. (p.11,12)

The two social types, explorers and inventors, are important, but not sufficient to maintain a world at peace, and by over emphasizing there value we are tearing the world apart.

5.This is why we must be interested in history, because there we learn these lessons – if, that is, one hears an organized and comprehensive view of history, a universal history!

True history is interested in transformations, without which human life cannot exist. LIFE IS GREAT BECAUSE, OR WHEN, IT DEALS WITH CREATING COMMUNITY.  Man becomes complete, not as individuals, but in community, where much greater tasks can be performed.  A dam cannot be built by a single individual with a single skill – it takes thousands, who must cooperate.

6.One person cannot know much of reality by oneself.

Get a friend who tells you off when you are wrong, and tell him off when he’s wrong, and you know each other. That’s the only way of living. Any attempt for self-scrutiny leads to the psychoanalyst. (p.13)

7.Holidays group people. “Easter is the holiday by which the members of the Church recognize they are members of the Church….God created man as a corporation-forming animal.” (p.14)

8.One of the major functions of the Church is to remind people that their very existence has been bought by the blood of many martyrs, by soldiers who fought to protect our country against enemies, by our revolutionaries, by those who fought for unions, for the environment, for justice, at great expense to themselves.  TO UNDERSTAND THIS MAKES US INTO  DIFFERENT PERSONS THAN WE OTHERWISE WOULD BE. And those persons are ones capable of creating peace and justice in the world. All of this has been given us without previous merit on our parts, and we therefore owe society a commitment whereby this tradition is carried on. It is this spirit which the church must give us.

9.The family is also a crucial incubator for engendering this spirit. The work-place is not. When, as today all institutions have lost their way, one can only begin to regenerate society by beginning with small groups, – family, neighborhoods, clubs, churches, etc.

Now the family, the tribe, the society of the future, which is the Tribe of tribes, has only one first interest: how can parents and children be of one spirit? How can mother and a daughter be of one spirit? How can mother and son be of one spirit?…What nature cannot give is one spirit between a father who is a banker and a son who is a professor.  Or one spirit between a daughter who is married, and a mother, who is Mrs. Luce.  (p.17)

The only force that will allow people with disparate experiences to live together in peace, must begin with a family (primary social unit) where more than one generation lives, plays, and prays together.

This engendering of one spirit is particularly difficult today, when the churches seem to view themselves as social, rather than spiritual organizations, and where they teach a religion for children. “The spirit is only true when people of different sex, and different age, and different mind serve in this spirit.” (p.19)

10.Part of this sharing of spirit requires one to realize there are different divisions of labor, or roles, for each of us at different times, whereby one is not equal to another. Today we seem not to believe in expertise in many instances. We believe our own experience is equal to, or superior to, that of others.

11.Also we kill the spirit with too much wealth. “Security is the death of life. Don’t ask for it.” (p.21)

ERH informs us of the prophet Malachi,

“I shall turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents.  If this does not happen, the earth will be cursed and will perish.”  (p.22)

Generalizing this notion, if generations are not unified:  ERH BELIEVES THAT THIS PROPHECY HAS YET TO BE FULFILLED, AND THAT THIS IS THE JOB FOR THE 3RD MILLENNIUM. Our tendency today is to fragment the generations, and we seem to be “degenerated.”  As Buber says, “Industrial society atomizes society.”

12….children no longer believe what their parents believe…psychoanalysis is just an attempt to do something about this ridiculous disunity between the generations…Where there is one spirit,nobody has any Freudian complex.p.24

…obviously the human society has today a tremendous and dignified task…nothing is gained by running forward…it will be less and less church and more and more Free-masonry,..more philately, and future to you.  THE MIRACLE WHICH YOU HAVE TO PERFORM IS TO RECREATE THE SPIRIT WITH PEOPLE THAT HAVE GONE BEFORE YOU….

Progress is out, in your sense, technological progress….The only interest, the only field of action, the miraculous new foundation of the universe can only come when, against all expectations, some among us have the power to wait until they can act in two generations. (p.25)

13.The primary notion here is that significant movements and acts must be carried out in more than one generation.  ERH claims that “liberals” tended to believe in change for its own sake, thus, the son believed less than the father, in a shorter time span.  THE TRUTH, ERH CLAIMS, LIES IN JUST THE OPPOSITE. THE BASIC PROBLEMS ARE THE SAME, BUT METHODS FOR ACCOMPLISHING THEM DIFFER.

…children depend on your power to bestow on them a spirit in which they speak. They have to learn English, and not basic English. But high English, the highest, the English by which they can invoke and implore another person to join them, by which they can found a family again. (p.31)

14.It is always up to each of us to discern which, of the lessons from the past, need to be employed or emphasized at this time to re-establish or revitalize our present systems. Antiquity taught us the need for family, Egypt and other empires taught us science, philosophy, and the arts, and we must heed their lessons. We have the power to establish peace if we will only use it; otherwise we tear ourselves apart with war.

15.The origin of all creativity, and of power and motivation, is always “spirit.” It is not of this (the concrete) world, except as our actions manifest that spirit; the terms has no meaning if not acted upon.  The origin of a marriage is the spirit of love, and all actions (duties) follow.  For instance, duties of marriage to support, to help grow, to raise a family, to sacrifice, suffer, etc, all derive from love.  The origin of law is a love for justice and order.  ERH uses the term “incarnation.”

There is nothing else to be said about the whole history of mankind, that first love, and freedom, and imagination say it, and then we do our duty to have it come true.  And that duty takes suffering; it takes martyrdom; it takes fathers; it takes monks; it takes kings; it takes crusaders…and now it takes founders of families…all laws are the sedimentation of free creation.  Anybody who has experienced love knows that it comes first; it’s a new beginning.

If you ever in your life had a bright idea, or a new instinct of a new change of heart, make this the cornerstone of your understanding of the universe and you will understand that the universe begins with creation.  And it ends in incarnation, because that’s the experience of every potent and creative man in the world.  (pp.34,35)

Love begins, and hope and faith keep you going.

16.Summarizing:  We are powerless and lost until we learn how to create our lives — what engenders the spirit and what kills it.  To learn this, we must learn from experience,  going back to the beginning of history.  Personally, in the beginning we have little experience, and must therefore learn from history – what succeeded and what failed, what corrupted and what regenerated vitality.  But fruitful action always begins with spirit.  Since each generation lives in a different social, physical, and political environment, and since the notion of “incarnation of the spirit” means a change in human nature itself, the values and institutional forms each generation inherits must be renewed.

It seems today that our institutions (law, education, medicine, politics, religion, etc.) are not vital, and therefore are in critical need of redefinition. No doubt change of this magnitude will be wrenching, with no guarantee of success.  Today all forms of life on earth are threatened, as has always been the case before some great change began civilization anew!



Feringer notes
Last edited: 12-98


Lecture 1

1.   “…history is all that which explains why education has to keep changing.  History is those events which make it dangerous, which make it intolerable that people should live as though they lived from time immemorial.” (p.2)

2.There are many unimportant events that should not influence tomorrow. So history is dualistic, sitting in judgment of things that should not come back (like slavery), or of events about which we should make new decisions so that they can be carried on. In this sense,  then,  “…the past is still ahead of us.” (p.3)

3.Great events are brought about by people who do things, “regardless of the consequences.”  And this is an admonition for all of us, for our future, if it is to be fruitful.  The community must be directed by this attitude of having to decide what must be forgotten and what must be carried on (regardless of personal consequences).

The fecundity of the human race is based on the white heat of decision and the good conscience that we are in harmony with past action, and for this reason, have a future. (p.5)

Freedom cannot be achieved if you ask,  “What will be the result for me?”  Results are always uncertain.  One must therefore act without regard to pressures of the moment.

4.People from the past who deserve to be remembered either changed conditions or met new conditions in the right fashion.  Because we are free agents, we are free to change.

5.Things never stay the same.  Thus, our actions and behaviors must not be the same as they were in the past.  “In other words, past and future are both alive….nothing which has been bought by real human investment of heart and courage must vanish from this earth.”   (p.7)

6.Time is not homogeneous; historical epochs occur in fits and starts.  “In great moments, there is condensed the resolution and the decision of man to enter a new day, or to end an old day.”  (p.11)

7.Today, an event in one part of the world has repercussions everywhere else in the world. The human race is now indivisible, and if we cannot find world peace, we will tear ourselves apart.

8.Real history contains only  what once was new. “History then is the story of those things which have to be told because at one time they appeared to be impossible.”  (p.9)

History Must be Told – 1955 – Review

Today an event in one part of the world has repercussions everywhere.  The human race is now indivisible, and if we cannot find world peace, we will tear ourselves apart.  How can we find such peace?  Of course, by learning lessons from the past.  People from the past who deserve to be remembered either changed conditions or met new conditions in the right fashion.  “History then is the story of those things which have to be told because at one time they appeared to be impossible.”


HISTORY MUST BE TOLD – Draft Transcription

Lectures 1-6
Trial Studio Recording, not used for Record
Feringer notes
Last edited: 5-7-97

1.   History today tends to be either ignored as boring, or irrelevant.  There are too many “histories”, for instance, of science, of a war, or of a culture or country.  But ERH suggests there is only one history that has power, that is the history of mankind.

In my view, only such an approach to history gives it power to help us create our future.  Too often these “too many histories” are mere recordings of sequences of events, or are put together from a bias that distorts any ability to find truth from past events. (see p. 1-2 with the reference to Schopenhauer which indicates this view).

2.   Three points about history: 1) it occurs without regard to our happiness, 2) people conscious of history may be without an academic degree (i.e. not experts), 3)  true history is (should be) about changes, about newness. “It is the inheritance of acquired qualities, the transmission of new qualities.”(of human society.)p. 1-3

3.   It tells us how one thing came into creation, despite all the reasons why it shouldn’t. “History then is the story of new creations, or it is nothing.” p. 1-5

4.   “…history can only consist of the things that cannot be rationally analyzed and deduced..?” p. 1-5  For instance, animals mate because of chemistry.  Humans, by contrast never know when it is time to love. “It makes true love all the more miraculous…..History is the sum of the unbelievable things that become believable because they are told.” p.1-6

5.   For these reasons, the second dogma of history is that it is rather short. History is both new and old;  events, at a general level recur, and an recurring sunrise may be the dawn of a new day (for mankind.)  Thus, the telling of history is subtle and rife with choices by the story teller.  And since the “important” events cannot be rationally deduced or explained, history must be told as a story.

6.   From here ERH goes into a discussion of time, past present and future. i.e. The present is in tension between future and past. We have obligations to continue from the past that which should be continued (i.e. democracy, environmental respect etc.), to ignore the insignificant events, and to act to carry on those which must be carried on.

7.   The present is the time to act, we can lose time and gain time, past generations have prepared our own future, the future must be constantly re-created by our free choices.

8.   In order to maintain our sanity we cannot feel isolated, alone; we must feel we are part of the larger group or society . “What we call `history’ then is a sequence of acts that are freely done by people, and then in the end, miraculously fit together.” p. 1-13  To the extent that cultures of the world remain fragmented, at war, we will tear ourselves apart as a world.  To the extent that there will be some type of unity, we will then have a future.

History Must Be Told – Draft

Trial studio recording, not used for record


Rosenstock-Huessy never gave the same lecture twice, nor taught the same course twice.  To have heard him again on the same subject one thus found the same fundamental points, but always with a difference. New examples, a different orientation and in the end the listener experienced, not contradictions but greater depth of understand and respect for the subtleties of the subject.  This issue of History Must Be Told covers the basic points about,  how we must make decisions and begin action in the present and the thrust of those actions must be toward creation of our desired future, how we must connect ourselves with larger communities so that we do not feel alone in the world.  He then goes on the examine how history represents choices which need to be made about what from the past should be forgotten and what must be told if it is to have the power of enlightenment.


Lectures 1-7
Feringer notes
Last edited: 12-98


This series of seven lectures deals mainly with the meaning of historical knowledge and the first stages of human history – tribal life.

Lecture 1

1.There are several guides one must follow before any meaning can be deduced from history.

a.One must be conscious of one’s bias, otherwise there is no reference point for selection of issues, or for  organization. Everyone has a point of view; one cannot operate for one day without one.

b.History can be told only as a story because the whole value of the effort is to determine how something new happened in the world, against all odds saying it couldn’t happen. Every great advance in civilization, whether in science, or politics, or art, had to break some mold and go against traditional knowledge.  When Jesus was crucified, who could have guessed at that time that his influence would persist and a great church would be formed? Einstein was first thought to be mad, and Rembrandt was unrecognized as a genius during this lifetime. SO THE IMPORTANT PART OF HISTORY IS TO CONVEY HOW SUCH A GREAT MIRACLE HAPPENED AGAINST THE ODDS. THE PURPOSE IS TO HELP SOCIETY THROUGH SOME CRISIS , THE SOLUTION TO WHICH SEEMS HOPELESS.  HOW THIS HAPPENED CAN BE TOLD ONLY THROUGH THE MEANS OF A STORY – NARRATIVE HISTORY IS THE ONLY MEANINGFUL HISTORY, because there is no logic or prediction in how those events happened.

c.Lack of predicted events means these events go against what can be seen at the time.  The famous stage-play HARVEY is a case in point.  The rabbit cannot be seen, but through a story it can be made believable.  Great creations of man likewise cannot be seen before they have occurred, because they exist only in the mind of the perpetrator.

d.Newness is always recognized with great difficulty, and with some delay. A generation or more may need to pass. Einstein waited 17 years before even a few scientists believed his theory of special relativity was valid, and longer before the whole scientific community accepted it, and longer still before public recognition.

2.History is the story of creation, of how all the elements of new life came into the society of different cultures. Lincoln would not have been a historical figure if he had not acted to maintain the Union and abolish slavery, thus changing life in the United States. truly historical events are therefore unique, unexpected, unheard of miracles of social creativity. Nothing else in past events is particularly interesting.

3.The purpose of history is to help us create a future; it should begin with the problems of our time. To solve these problems, our first step should be to examine similar past events to see what these might tell us about similar problems. Thus, the value of history in creating our future lies in direct proportion to how far it extends into the past.  Today Western culture refers to the Christian era.  To understand and respond to our religious problems then, one must go  back at least that far. History can be interesting, only as long as the future is interesting. (p.18)   “…the future of history is always the revival of the miracles of the past, plus those miracles that are necessary to make this revival possible.” (p.10)  One turns to the past in order to discover newness.

4.True history assumes that mankind must participate in regenerating society, which is to say that mankind is yet unfinished.  Each new advance represents an incarnation, a new life for society. And at each point, human nature changes as well.  Only such assumptions make  history vital, living, and relevant to our lives.  This is why history must be rewritten every generation.  New problems arise, old problems take on new forms, and different issues become the focus of examination of past events.

5.Part of the creative force of true history is to free one from superstitions in judging old from new. As said before, we are all biased and could not make decisions without  predisposition. Paradoxically, to change we must forget those biases in order to strike out anew.  The old saying, “history never repeats itself,” is an incomplete aphorism.  Old methods that establish qualities of life must be repeated,  for example, the fight for freedom, the fight for peace, the resistance against oppression.  Battles against these forces are eternal, and so there is some repetition. But there is also newness, and therefore, new means must be found in order to reestablish desirable conditions.

6.Of course individuals commit acts of self-interest so the repeated stories of human failure are neither new nor interesting.  BUT WHENEVER SOMEONE COMMITS AN ACT, NOT OF SELF-INTEREST, THIS BELONGS IN HISTORY. (p.26)

7.     …history is the sum of the events which make it necessary for a child to grow up differently than before. Other events we will not mention. They are not historical…Lincoln now belongs to the ages, your children have to learn the Gettysburg Address… If he had only lived in his own time, like professor Everetts, the senator,…your children could grow up without ever hearing the Gettysburg Address…So we call history those events which have made it necessary — a different way or approach of any man born afterward. (p.30)

Lecture 2

1.”All history, then, is between speakers and listeners. It is not between professors and students.” (p.1)

History in bits and pieces makes no sense and has little value.  It has value only if mankind is conceived as one, not as 23 different civilizations living side-by-side but isolated from each other.

There can be no meaning in the creation of the world and in its preservation and in its redemption if there is not one history.  The pluralism of history is the greatest atheistic enterprise of our age. (p.1)

2.ERH admonishes us in this country for providing too much freedom to the uninformed (mainly children), asking them to make choices for which they are ill equipped.

…modern education denies the  American child the privilege of being told…This is the first age in which man is left alone in space. (p.4)

3.We, he asserts, are lost in space with no direction.  We are space-oriented   thinkers  craving more material things, consumption-oriented, lacking much in moral judgment. We will not tax ourselves to improve education, we want lower taxes, we destroy the environment for profit and  we run up enormous national debt that leaves our children and grand-children to pay – in every sense destroying our future.

We have freedom to change all this, FREEDOM TO ORIENT OURSELVES, but to change requires our respecting and following the rhythms of time. The past, present, and future is a unit of time which must be understood and acted upon as a unit.  That is, we must begin in the present by working for a future we desire, then seeking similar past events that will guide us to move in that direction. When we are conscious of how to use the present in this way, it becomes expanded,  larger, meaningful, fulfilling.

4.Meaningful history, fruitful study of past events, creates this expanded present.  ERH points out these important distinctions between space and time. Space is things we can see and measure, and represents events in the material world.  Time, in contrast, is not visible, but is driven by the spirit.

The spirit, in turn,  is driven by listening to commands. Whether one becomes a physicist or doctor or teacher, one’s primary drive stems from one’s spirit, for better or worse.  To create a future has everything to do with the problem of time, and of specific times in which we live.

5.To enter our “times” is to enter history,  to participate in actions that will regenerate the community, and will move toward creating a future for it.

People who ignore this call are “counted out” from entering life; they remain beings with no spirit, with no future, and no sense of a fulfilled life, except to be able to consume more and die from chloresterol-clogged arteries.


6. ERH asserts that for the last 1,000 years we have developed our concepts of space, developing  science and technology.  But science and technology cannot provide us with guidance for action in community-building (except of course where to put the sewers.)

Using technology and science (space thinking) has nothing to do with the heart, with our feelings, or with engendering our spirit (soul). Heart and soul are the core of a vital social order, the source of its power.

All the marriage problems of the human race are problems with timing… Timing is a much broader field (than politics). But we have allowed it to crumble and to shrink, to so little bits of life that the rest of life is not taken care of. (pp.16,17)

It is as though our lives are like the 10-second time bites of advertising, With no extended time from past, or into future. Our knowledge of past provides us with case studies for guidance for action in the present.  Our drive must be, not only to survive in the present, but to do it in a way that creates the future we wish.

8.        …the heart is given us as the pre-eminent indicator of time, of timing. We have no other. The brain can never tell you.  The brain always tells you the opposite. The next millennium at this moment —we will have to start on timing, because today timing is destroyed. (p.18)

The theme of the future is not the world (i.e. more science), but society. And there is a definite opposition between society and world…World is everything visible and measurable. (p.19)

9.His point is not to reject science, but to define its contribution and balance it with other factors.  For instance, in science, contradiction is to be avoided.  In society, we constantly immigrate from one stage to another, wherein we become the opposites, child to adult, bachelor to husband or wife, husband and wife to parents, parents to grandparents. Receivers of past wisdom and authority mixed with our own experience, we use them to create added authority from our actions.  All of these stages require different laws for guidance, different appropriate behavior.

Today we tend to worship the mind, but in the third millennium we must re-learn the lesson that the mind must also love and be guided by its opposite, the heart, by an intuition of what feels right.

10.       I have tried to show you that we are at this moment vaulting between the second and third millennium of an era, which had three tasks to make all people so free that they could go into the future.  To allow them to conquer space. And now to allow them to organize society.

We have therefore three great thousand-year topics, themes of history which deserve your attention.  Church, for the people. The world, for space…And now we have the social problems.  Society, as the organization inside which man must be allowed to know when to do one thing and when to do the very opposite. (p.25)

Lecture 3

1.ERH identifies the crucial indicators of changes throughout history; these represent, not only the stages we have gone through, but also present evidence that those changes occur against seemingly impossible odds, and that these odds are overcome.

…we have now to round out now the whole era of history, the whole times of human endeavor into the impossible, into the surprising, into the unexpected, into the unnatural. (p.1/3)

Applying these criteria he identifies the stage we are now presently entering and thus the major thrust of our times.  Of these three different endeavors, we now are prepared to enter the third.

a.The creation of a church (Christian), that creates a universal guide to moral behavior fired all people to find a universal basis for integrating all peoples of the world. Universality also frees us to gain perspective on the physical universe (space). This took the first 1,000 years of the Christian era.

b.The second stage was the evolution of science and technology, which allows us to control our environments and thus frees us to address the final problem,  social organization.  This scientific achievement was the preoccupation of the 2nd millennium, how just ending. ERH asserts that space has now been conquered in the sense of basic methods and understanding, and that anyone who sees this as not accomplished, belongs to the past.

c.Finally, we enter the 3rd millennium to address the problem of better organizing society.

2.ERH reminds us of what is believed to be a common truism, that if one wishes to look into the future, one shall see what children are interested in.  This he refutes: “They are always behind. That’s why they are children.”  CHILDREN SIMPLY HAVEN’T HAD ENOUGH EXPERIENCE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT LIFE IS ABOUT; they have yet to support themselves, found a family, send sons and daughters to school.  The truism is a handicap to parents on this issue.

3.In general, man’s (humankind’s) evolution is from being “natural” (animal-like) toward becoming unnatural (civilized). Our evolution beyond animals has occurred only through society, and thus we have weathered changes that have engendered this progress:  a) Evolving language (and therefore families) to expand and validate experience. b) Learning from past experience, respecting authority (a & b were tribal eras).  c) Developing science, (i.e. the great empires like Egypt).  d) Developing philosophy and poetry (Greek accomplishments). e) Creating a future through prophecy (Jewish accomplishment). f) Integrating these previous eras into universal principles (Christianity). And now, g) Entering the 3rd millennium, to organize society.

Each era created freedom to progress to the next step.

4.THE DANGER OF CONTINUING TO ALLOW SPACIAL ORIENTATION (SCIENCE) TO DOMINATE OUR THINKING IS THAT INDIVIDUALS TEND TO BE TREATED AS COGS IN A MACHINE.  This is why we must now address social organization, which allows us to evolve as humans. This is to say, to organize society so that we have the appropriate freedom and peace among all groups on earth.

[RF – ERH in other essays, explains the consequence of modern social science having borrowed too much of its orientation and method from natural science: humans are treated as cogs in machines. The, social scientists seem to have forgotten that their field is differentiated from that of natural science.]

Scientific laws, by definition, allow no freedom, and no human future; society becomes fixed, ant-like, non-creative.  We no longer can act as an image of God, participating in the creation of the social world and of ourselves. Freedom means not being bound by natural science attitudes, which cause us to misinterpret the meaning of our experience.

5.To create a future, and to change is to create time, to have time to plan.  That is the meaning of the sabbath.  [RF – this is a subtle issue, time. What I believe he is getting at is that we have freedom for creativity only when we have time to reflect and re-examine and re-search.]

The church was to create a single people out of many presently separate and alienated peoples.  Science created one universe out of many universes, and in the 3rd millennium we must create one time out of many times.  [RF – the idea is, I believe, that human society cannot evolve when we are fragmented, when we are constantly battling each other.  The crucial notion then is that all creativity is in creating a society at peace.  To do this requires a unified concept including all cultures and races. One of order, but an order that can change when  our concepts of how to do this indicate reexamination (when war threatens).].

For instance, the Jews invented a life that was more concerned with the future than with the past or present.  Contrasted with Jews, the tribes invented a life dominated by ancestor worship, being more concerned with the past, and Egypt created a society more interested in the “eternal present.”  Christianity then unified these concepts, to the point of saying, “We need the freedom to choose to emphasize any one of these, depending upon the problem.” When social problems arise we may need to revert to some past practices, or on the other hand, invent something new.

6.   So the three elements of our history, one people, one space, one time, or – one church, one universe, and one society. (p.15)

From page 14 through the end of the chapter, he provides historical examples of how this sequence of events takes place in different cultures. Ultimately, unification is always the goal. Pre-Christian history has four stages, which, when combined, allow us more social tools and therefore more comprehensive ways to understand human experience. This in turn allows us to better communicate, find common interests and be more likely to create peace. Again, the four pre-Christian orientations were a) the tribal orientation, b) the empire orientation, c) the Greek, and  finally d) Jewish. Christian beliefs contributed to unifying all of these attitudes into a single way of thinking.

Lecture 4

1.The Christian era admonishes us to recognize time as the primary method for ordering society; to seek, not only the right actions, but the right time to act. For instance, “If you want to learn something in a new environment, the minimum today, as things stand in this country is two days and three nights,…” (p.2) If we are “space minded,” as we are brought up to be, i.e. technologically minded, then we believe that “seeing” is adequate to knowing about a place.  This, however, does not allow us to ascertain the spirit of the place.  That takes time; it takes speaking to people, getting their opinions, identifying what is important to them.

2.It takes time to become conscious of our illusions and biases, to interact with people, to get them to respond to us  “…people who do not know how to time their lives are licked.”

3.What leads a country into a future?  Not education (that leads to a career), and not science (that is a method only, as is education).  Neither science nor education  can create a new conscience, a new hope, or faith.

What are the great mysteries of our time?  What we do not yet know, and must know, is, 1) how society will organize work for all peoples in the world, for all tribes, and 2) how the Jews were replaced by the church.  HOW, IN OTHER WORDS WERE PEOPLE ABLE TO CHANGE DIRECTION IN ORDER TO FREE THEMSELVES FROM THE RESTRICTIONS OF BEING, MERELY TRIBAL OR MERELY EGYPTIAN OR MERELY GREEK OR JEW?  We know some of these things, but not how we will organize, or how the church came into being. (pp. 5-7)

4.In other words: 1) What is to be our principle for social organization, the role of women and all citizens? Peace between individuals, between cultures and ethnic groups, between nations, between sexes still evades us. 2) How do we incorporate the church (ethics and concern for building a future for society) into our everyday living, by not being trapped in one method (one cultural mode)?  ERH goes on to explain that we separate the church from the state “inside us.”  We do not consider career and worldly judgments from the standpoint of moral principles.   The standard for judgment today is that business are one sphere and church another sphere. Church is for Sunday morning.

5.At present, we say that all nations or peoples are equally right, or have a right to live the way they please.  THIS CANNOT BE TRUE, BECAUSE,  ONE CULTURE ENSLAVES ITS MINORITIES OR WOMEN, AND DESTROYS THE ENVIRONMENT, AND IT EFFECTS THE REST OF THE WORLD.  ALL IDEAS ARE NOT EQUAL!  It is a truism that, “What my neighbor does effects me and the rest of the world.”

6.A decent future, one that regenerates a spirit to allow for stable, regenerating societies the world over – this is worth sacrificing to the hilt for today, in the present, now!  (p.11)

To be creative is to sacrifice, to dedicate oneself totally, as Abraham did when he spoke out alone, or Jeremiah (voice in the wilderness). Real dedication is to persist when one is totally alone to have faith in one’s cause. From ancient ways of life we learn of models whose ideas succeeded beyond their death. THESE ARE THE EVENTS IN HISTORY THAT NEED TO BE REMEMBERED AND REPEATED AT THE RIGHT TIME.

Creation cannot take place as long as your own will enters anything you have to do. You see it must be stronger than you, yourself  (p.17)

7.Why do we have to recall the past, especially the Bible? “…to remind us of the intensity of living, of the singleness of purpose.” (p.18)  The ancients didn’t allow people to change. There was unity for one way of life only. “Once a baker, always a baker.”  To remain vital, individuals must have freedom to change, as do societies as well.  That is achieved through unity with a universal religion – one that is comprehensive, encompassing all of the past accomplishments of different religions, as well as the ability to select one emphasis (way of life) that may be called for at a particular point in time.

At one time, for instance, past authority may be most important to listen to, especially when some necessary way of living has been forgotten. At another time, new ways may need to be evolved.

8.To the end of the chapter ERH describes how ancients practiced many lifestyles within a tribe, pacificists, warriors, vegetarians, meat-eaters, etc.  But what we must learn is that those who survived practiced certain things that are necessities.  To fight when necessary, to maintain communication (language), to listen and respect elders, to bury their dead, to maintain a unity by respecting the rights of all members of the tribe equally, by dividing labor appropriately, etc.

Lecture – 5

1.This notion must be repeated as long as necessary, no matter how tired one may be of hearing it – that we must stop worshipping science, or commerce as ways into the future. (p.1/5) Today, technology and profit form the principle criterion used to justify all decisions. A forest with all its wild species will be destroyed for the sake of profit and a few short-term jobs.

What is most likely to carry us into a decent future (i.e. quality of life) will be our frail “consciences,” our willingness to tell the truth in spite of the risk, and ability to learn more from our experience and how people brought about change throughout the ages.

2.No one is free by declaring oneself to be free.  One can be partially free only by knowing one’s own prejudices, one’s own weaknesses, by knowing life’s temptations, by knowing how the family should be sacred, by knowing that we can only discern viable truth in social life after something has been experienced by at least three generations, each generation believing strongly enough to pass it on to the next.  Then we know what is necessary in lifestyle.  ALL OF THIS WE LEARN FROM HISTORY. ONE MAN, OR ONE GENERATION, OR ONE CULTURE CAN NEVER EXPERIENCE ALL THAT IS NECESSARY IN LIVING.  One must learn vicariously about the many variations inspiring the spirit of people to change, from the beginning of human time. Then we must be creative in seeing how to apply wisdom to present problems, risking new methods for solving problems when necessary. Individually, we are too frail, too ignorant, too naive to survive.  Individually, we would never have language or a heritage of learning – we would be as animals.

3.ERH points out that for our individual lives, we could exist with animal sounds.  The necessity and miracle of speech is that it allows us to communicate between generations. (p.8)

Speech is language which is to last for more than one generation…all language in the beginning is only vow. The first vow is the name of a person. They vow themselves to the name of their ancestor. You vow yourself to your husband as husband and wife. You vow yourself to recognize children born as your children. (p.9)

Language is only indispensable when part of the human being’s concerns are away, or dead, or not yet born….Mr. Korzybsky, the Russian, has called it that man is a time-binding animal. (p.10)

4.        …I’m not teaching what is in my head, but I try to put through my head what has been true for the last 7,000 years. And that’s obviously worthwhile. (p.11)

…names were created so that something would survive death.  And names are created so that somebody would live into the future with some clear consciousness of who he was. (p.12)

The horizon of time for tribesmen was between great-grandfather and great-grandson.

5.ERH claims to see no contradiction between the Bible and modern science. The Bible says that first plants were created, then animals, and then man, who is a little higher (because of his ability to participate in creation of society). The contradiction is seen only by “…silly asses who misunderstand both science and the Bible….So what’s the contradiction?”  (p.14)

6.A BASIC GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING OUR EXPERIENCE RELATES TO OUR FEELING OF SECURITY.  Do we not often feel lost,  lacking of power over our lives, alienated, misunderstood, confused, not belonging, with no clear direction or unsure of what it might be?  Are these not common emotions?  We experience “today” as an eternal presence of these types of insecurity.  ONE PART OF THE SOLUTION is through our experience of time.  We cannot control the ticking of the clock, BUT WE CAN CONTROL our emotional impressions of time. 50,000 years back is an abstraction to us, but we can comprehend to some extent the life and sacrifices and environment of our great-grandparents, and imagine what the lives of our sons, daughters, and grand-children might or should be.

Time is therefore an important measure of our location in life.   Thinking in these terms of generations, immediately before and after our lives, gives us a sense of realism about what has been done and what  might be done, and what price there is to pay for certain types of behavior.  This tribal way of thinking about time is something we need to rediscover.

7.ERH claims this “raft of time” gives us orientation, and therefore reduces our insecurity and increases our feeling of hope and faith in gaining some control.

The name-giving process which tries to get hold of your ancestor and of your great-grandchild is incisive.  There is no speech without holidays, without great events, without picking and choosing some moments of time to be lifted above the average run-of-the-mill time.

Man’s history does not consist of the natural time of the scientist.  It is not a sequence of a thousand years, but it is the sequence of beginnings and ends which is something quite different; of epochs, of ages, or of generations. (p.16,17)

8.He asserts that we want to know how our parents and grandparents lived and worked, and of their accomplishments and problems, and how they confronted them. These are the people who have established our personal direction in society, figuratively speaking, the people from whom we have received orders.  We live today in the light of their accomplishments (and of course, in punishment for their shortcomings).  And we need to learn and understand these experiences as a basis for our own decisions today!

ERH states elsewhere that most of the time we act through weakness and cowardliness, and ONLY OCCASIONALLY RISE TO THE OCCASION to carry out acts that contribute to the community.  We need to understand these realities, and attempt to improve on them.  To be too self-centered (for instance, leaving a national debt for our children and grandchildren to face), or to avoid facing problems, only to have them grow to overwhelming proportions later, is evidence of our weakness.  All of this weakens a possibility for our future.

9.To act “rightly” always puts one in the minority.  But such acts can have such power as to convince the majority.  To act as a model “converts” the majority.

If the minority of yesterday has an important issue, then it will become the majority of tomorrow, but the majority will at the time, when the law is finally enacted, be already behind the times. (p.25)

Lecture – 6

1.People who are marching into an unknown future are great people because they face death.  They know change must occur and are willing to act on a prophecy.

Today’s poets enhance the act of prophecy because they sense our times, and cast back into history to find some period that parallels our present problems, which is also to guide us into change.  They then enlighten us by bringing forth from history what has been forgotten and what needs to be remembered now.  His example is that of poet Robert Graves, who was interested in exploring pre-Greek times, when they were attempting to meld the Tribal and the Empire ways of life. Once again, one must ask, “How, in other words did they manage this change?”

2.ALL OF THIS POINTS TO HOW WE GO FORWARD BY LOOKING BACK.  The fundamental needs of human society are the same in all times, and thus every generation must understand what those needs are, and how they are manifest in modern times.

3.Ideas are based on what we have seen (experienced) before – our hopes can only be based on recovering or enlarging those past desires.  ANY MEANINGFUL FUTURE THEREFORE CANNOT BE BUILT UPON HOPE ONLY,  BECAUSE THE FUTURE CAN NEVER BE THE SAME AS OUR PAST. Changes occur from one generation to the next.  WHAT IS A FUTURE BASED ON?  Certainly knowledge of past solutions offers a foundation, as does a sense of present conditions.  But then one must invoke faith as a motivator, because one can never be sure of  consequences.  The only entry to a future is through faith.  That is why those who are willing to act, to march forward into the future are great, because they have faith that their actions now will help create that future.  The norm in bad times is to give up hope.

This is why our prayer should be for faith, not hope. Faith overcomes the dread of the change. (p.6)

4.Any renaissance, any new life, any change realistically begins with something we do not understand.  Hope is always for “sausage,” for something physical.  Physical desire cannot strengthen us to march into the future. “Faith is a future cleansed from your clutterings of mind, and opinion, and ideas, and programs.” (p.9)

Of course we must unavoidably bring some clutterings of mind – opinions and ideas and plans. But the point is, one needs to be ready to release those ideas when it is called for.

5.What mediates between hope and faith?  Love, of course.  The spirit of love can function only in the present. Hope, love and faith integrate past, present and future.

ERH goes on to assert that today, in America, people function  only on hope. For instance, our present policy, personal and public, seems to be driven almost entirely by principles of commerce.

Nobody in this country at this moment has faith in the year 2200, at least not officially….If you read the editorials, they all think — by that time there has been a third world war and the whole world has gone up in flames. (p.11)

[RF – One might observe also that medicare is not expected to be available in a few years. The forests are going fast, pollution is progressing, etc., etc. Ironically, ERH points out that many “so called Christians” venerate the primacy of commerce as a basis for making most judgments.]

6.ERH points out that the “ancients” had only hope and faith, which were always in balance, as evidenced by their actions at death.  If the correct ceremonies, including sacrifices, were not performed, it would bode ill for the future.

7.Names conquer death.  To carry out any act today, “in the name of,” is to say in the spirit of, for example, Aristotle, or de Vinci or Bach – or the law. This connects the past with the present and future.  It is a recognition that the spirit of those great persons from the past lives on today.

[RF – Elsewhere ERH describes the fantasy of believing that individually we never die, but are transformed into some other “place,” e.g. a heaven of sugar-plumb fairies, or a hell of fire and brimstone, obviously all images of sensory life.  This, he claims,is not in keeping with true religious intent.]

Rather, it is the spirit of one who has died, that lives on in others, that invades the spirit of other people.  Scientists emulate the spirit of Einstein, thus, give him eternal life. The religious admonition is then to each of us individually is to live in a way that memory of each of us is likely to live on in others who knew of our way of life.  (20)

The real story of mankind has always been a religious story between one’s own hopes of that which is already done, can be preserved, can be expanded, perhaps, and that, something that is lacking will be created, despite our lack of creativity. (p.21)

…hope (can) always (be) expressed by quantity.  You can say “more” of something.  Faith can never be expressed by quantity, because it’s a new quality that doesn’t exist, yet. (p.22)

8.To summarize contributions of the tribe to civilization:

a.The grave, where recognition of the elders and ancestors manifests in the burial ceremony. The invoking of the ancestor’s name to carry into the future. The phrase, “in the name of,” carries past wisdom into the future.

b.The altar where “…all crooked things have to be straightened out again.”  The modern “altar” is not where animal or human sacrifices are made or paid, but other types of sacrifice; i.e. the future is only reached through sacrifice.  Sacrifice is the first payment by which change is made possible, because it means preparation in the present, the and cessation of some things we are doing now, which is often painful. For instance, consuming less, recycling.

c.Strangely, war is a contribution to the future.  War is the sacrifice made to protect our values.  It is not murder, which is individual.  It protects us from brutalization and other forms of exploitation from bullies.  The fifth commandment from the Bible, “Thou shall not kill,” does not speak to war.

d.Celebrations, the gathering, the meeting place, the getting into the “mood” to make commitment are all part of cementing unity among the people.  The notion of a holiday is fundamental to this unifying process.

Lecture – 7

1.Continuing on this theme of contributions of the tribe, we see that they possessed hope and faith, but not love in the sense of its regenerating power. ERH correlates hope with the past, with history.  Hope can, you recall, only be based on desiring something out of the past that had been experienced.

The past is long, and to learn its lessons takes patience:

History brings together all classes of themes.  Its superiority over any other type of knowledge is evident. And all minds concede its supremacy…. You (in America) believe that physics is superior to history…Physics is dust, dealing with dirt…History: it makes us into human beings….  (history)…unites the foreign — the far-distant one and that which is right around us.  It joins the past to the present.  It combines the most diverse forms and the most distinct species.  It is the dead who speak to you in the name of the dead, and it is accessible to you in the language of the living.  (p.2)

2.The spirit is material,  having a physical presence in connecting us with the dead and with the future generations. This is why history must be told, as it physically unites us with the past.

Hope results from being able to see something.  Faith, by contrast, is not located in the eye.  Rather it rests in the emotion of anxiety.  We are anxious about that which we cannot see.  Fear and hope are related.  We fear what we can see, or have seen!  Love (charity) is to be balanced with sacrifice.

3.History connects us to great events of human endeavor, or to the sum of the human spirit, as though each of us were the cell of a great man (Jesus or God?).  “THERE IS NO HISTORY UNLESS YOU BELIEVE THAT ALL MEN ARE ONE.  Instead you (in America) believe in this cheap `brotherhood of man’.” (p.13)

[RF – “All men are one”, means that we connect our individual lives with all of humankind through history, as contrasted with the notion of “brotherhood,” meaning “be kind and understanding to others.” While this notion of brotherhood may not be bad, it is inadequate.]

4.We, teacher and students, eat and live together, and I teach in order that I may harness human thirst to serve and enliven the community.  The community forms us, and individually we owe our lives to it.  It passes down to us language, history, our very physical existence, a government that protects us, a community by which we discover reality, and most of all a spirit that engenders creativity. It emboldens us to discipline and a willingness to sacrifice, all of which  supports our ability to rise above our animal nature and become HUMAN.

5.Ash Wednesday originally was the day of the dead,  the day in which the dead spoke to us.  At Carnival, masks are warn so that one can speak for the dead, for one’s ancestors. This is why every tribe had to have at least one mask.

6.To be spoken to is much more important than speaking ourselves. We get direction when someone speaks to us. The purpose of the medicine man was to redirect persons into the right path.

7.In the tribe, the dead speak to the living to provide orientation.  In empire culture (e.g. Egypt, China, Babylon), the living speak to the dead to give them direction.  Jesus speaks to both the dead and the living, because nothing in either the living or the dead has final meaning.

In the tribe, the living are always wrong, the dead always right.  Judges in modern society are the manifestation of the dead speaking to the living.  Law comes from the past.

In modern life, corporations and lawyers are also masks, legal fictions with no life unless real persons are behind them.  This fact is perhaps the most important problem in America (all industrial societies), much more so than competing ideologies such as capitalism or communism.  The problem is, what is most real or powerful, individuals or corporations?  Today, corporations seem to have all the power, BUT WHAT ENGENDERS VITALITY AND MORAL BEHAVIOR?

VITALITY AND FRAILTY GO TOGETHER. FEAR, HOPELESSNESS, AND FAITHLESSNESS DRIVE MANKIND ON TO SEEK MORE AND MORE POWER, but in the process life, humanity, and vitality are lost.  This is how power corrupts.

8.The curse of the tribesmen is that they don’t believe their ancestors have died. The achievement of history is based on the attempt to keep the spirit alive.  The trap of non-death is that succeeding generations cannot change. The misplaced tribal assumption is that all knowledge is already known (by the ancestors).

9.ERH goes on to explain that the primitive tribal people were fine and courageous, but simply wrong about some things, and that it is of course wrong for us to look down on them.  They solved the eternal problem of mankind by admonishing tribal members to carry their burdens of guilt and pain and to persevere.  They were kept in line  (on the straight and narrow) by the witch-doctor.

10.Survival of the fittest should mean, “He who helps his fellows survive beyond themselves.” (p.22)  The individual was always seen as less important than the survival of the tribe (no personal egos). Egos speak with authority, and the only authority in the tribe was the dead.

11.He goes on to define the sacred word “person” as understood by Americans.  The status of person:

…has been bestowed on every brat, without any obligation to continue the life of the race. But the word “person” is only available to those who want to do right, and who will fight wrong, because in this very moment, they enter upon a beaten path of life which they have to continue. (p.24)

To know right and wrong does not come about by introspection.  In reality, right and wrong is discerned by knowing what happened as a consequence of certain actions, and how those actions (might) need to be changed (manifested in a new way) in a present situation.  “You want to alter a law, you first must understand the law.” (p.25)

12.Uniforms, and other specific types of dress such as the robes of judges or the Pope’s dress indicate the wearer is speaking of the wisdom from the past (exercising authority from former generations).



Feringer notes
Last edited: 12-98


Chapt. 1

1.ERH begins with a description of the wealth and sickness of the U.S.,  i.e. our worship of “means” for producing wealth.  With only 7% of the world population we use up 42% of its GNP, and therefore every other country must go to war with us.  We over-eat (3,400 calories average where 1800 is enough), over-drink etc. WE HAVE LOST SIGHT OF OUR ENDS.  This wealth does not produce genius or health or peace of mind.

2.Thus, we have put means before ends, and this does not produce a vital culture.

…we will have to learn that prophecy and vision always precede realization…In accidental events, the means come before the ends.  In historical events, the ends constitute the means. (p.5)

Saints, seers, monks, poets, all creative people have the ends (vision) first, then they work on means. He cites an example of the great chemist, Kekule von Stradonitz who was not allowed to study chemistry (which had no status as a profession at that time). But Stradonitzs’ vision was what chemistry should become, and he eventually followed “his bliss” as Joseph Campbell would put it.

3.Visions create new means to destinations.  Today, for instance, there needs to be an integration of the secular and the religious because the two points of view live side-by-side, but each isolated from the other, and thus neither has power. (pp.6,7)

4.WHAT ERH IS DRIVING AT IS HOW TO INTEGRATE SECULAR AND RELIGIOUS.  e.g. The Church  (Christian) tries to organize its ideas around how people die, secular thought, on the other hand, tries to organize around how people live. (p.8)

This process (the creative process that he declares is at the heart of Christianity) is also interested in how we change, (i.e. we are creative in the sense of seeing new possibilities for integrating thought).  (p.9) He points out how change is wrapped around the notion that change is a death and resurrection, an integration of dying (of old ideas) and renewing life.

5.        …at this moment, in the world of ours, there is nothing as a carrier and bearer of spiritual truth left but the family.  The family,  however has been reduced to something material and physical.  (p.12)

What he means by the term spiritual is the willingness between people to speak the truth to each other without endangering the relationship.  In this sense, “spirit” does never exists within a person alone,  but only between people.  It is a commonly shared “inner” feeling of willingness for fellowship. “Spirit is breathing together of different people….it means the founding of groups.” (p.13)

We seem only to be able to make people feel comfortable, thus achieving physical comfort at the expense of establishing common understanding.  Organizations, government, military, industry, even the church are too big, ERH asserts, to create this common spirit.

6.[RF – It seems to me this is a crucial point defining industrial civilizations and goes far to explain the reason for the breakdowns in our lives.  I have long felt that one of our main problems is to be more truthful with people. Truthful in a caring way, but without offending them.  Such behavior is, of course a subtle balance between naive, inappropriate trust on the one hand, and  an unwillingness to speak the truth at the right time. To be willing to hear and accept an uncomfortable truth requires courage and can only occur in an environment of a common spirit. ]

He suggests that the only place to re-establish the spirit is to begin in the family.  (p.13)

We seem to be artists at smiling and putting on a false face, as “…you cannot distinguish when a spirit is genuine, and when it’s just put on.” (p.14)

7.This notion of spirit is central to his philosophy and indicates why “religious” issues are ultimately at the core of all problems, most of all those of regenerating the community.  Only when we can be capable of truthfulness to others can we begin to restore or create human community.  This aspect of belief becomes the core of our ability to change, and  learn and finally  to our ability to be creative (find new truths).

8.HOW TO ESTABLISH SPIRITUALITY?  We cannot begin by defining what we (each of us) wants, but rather with a recognition of the sacrifices others have made for us.

This is to say, we must recognize that down through history those who have fought for freedom against oppression of any kind, against hunger, for truth in science and the appropriate establishment of professional ethics in all fields. Perhaps most difficult of all, to recognize those of our family who have gone without, so that we might have a better life.

Such a new type of defining makes for a very different yardstick for molding one’s attitudes toward the community. One then must find one’s own place in life BY MEASURING UP TO THESE HISTORICAL SACRIFICES BY BECOMING WILLING TO SACRIFICE WHEN NECESSARY TO PROTECT THOSE ACHIEVEMENTS.  THIS IS WHAT WE OWE TO THE COMMUNITY.

Chapt. 2

1.STUDYING THE PAST MUST begin with a goal, addressing a significant problem out of the present, then derive a method (of analysis) likely to achieve a solution. Otherwise history leads nowhere!

A life is not a good life that doesn’t know its direction.  It is groping for the means, but it is quite sure of its destiny, of its end.  (p.1)

Not to know the purpose of one’s life is to duplicate the life of the animal.

2.To invest in the idea of what one is willing to die for is like “…a capital of mankind in a new bank for the unity of the human race.”

We never know our destiny before the time of our death, that must be hidden from us.  However, in all great literature one knows the end of the story in the beginning.  What we learn is the means.  The Iliad, War and Peace, the biography of the William James Senior’s family (parents of William Jr. and Henry James, are examples of this point.  THE POINT IS TO LEARN THE SPIRIT BEHIND THE ACTIONS, TO KNOW WHAT WENT INTO SOME PARTICULAR OUTCOME.

Our present “secular” values are based on physical comfort. One knows not the

direction, but one learns means. This betrays our valuing of consumption above all else!

3.ERH goes on for several pages to tell why he venerated William. James Senior, to whom he attributed the possible regeneration of Christianity in this country, although James claimed to be an atheist!

James practiced and spoke of Christian principles, but never quoted the Bible He lived it!  The same with Saint Paul, who ERH claims is the greatest disciple. Paul never quoted Jesus, but spoke of the live moment, applying the principles to himself. (p.6)   This represented a oneness, a unity, a universality of principles for all people. This revealed a common spirit that could unit a community.

4.***  Act first to demonstrate the principles, only then can they be understood.  [RF – Now I understand what he has said in other places on this point that we can only understand that which we have experienced] “…history is a mysterious process of confronting a new situation which might be called `B,’ then relating it to an old event, `A’ ”  (p.9)

The power of this idea ERH demonstrates in the life of the James family as a great story. where William Jr. and Henry, although they tried, could not escape the ethical principles taught them. That is, the principles molded their spirit because they understood and lived them.

5.In this way the meaning of the principles is advanced, because each succeeding generation fulfills the prophesy and in the process attempts to out-do it.  Is this the meaning of the term,  “getting back to basics?”  One is both free to advance (change),  and reflect the wisdom of the past at the same time, (an apparent paradox). (p.11)

6.SACRIFICE: If there is no willingness to sacrifice for a principle, then ultimately war will arise to settle the issue. The revolt of youth of the 60’s in the U.S. is an example of the consequence of liberalism, where ERH claims the parents sacrificed for the children, but didn’t demand or teach them that sacrifices had to be made by them.  Likewise in pre-WWII Germany, where the immature youth were asked to make decisions, and this resulted in the rise of Nazism.

7.The job of teachers is to hand to the next generation what their own generation has given them.  If students have not been taught that the past has something to say to them about their survival, then teachers are in a Catch-22 situation, held in little respect.  THIS SEEMS TO BE THE ATTITUDE OF OUR TIMES NOW.  One’s own age is too limited, too narrow in experience to be a complete source for understanding our experience.

Only history of the ages, if one has studied it properly, can reveal the purposes for which we must make sacrifices.  For instance, carrying on the “eternal varieties” such as freedom, speaking the truth, being one’s brothers keeper, etc. The relation of one’s freedom to one’s own age is that one must understand what is necessity.

8.***History, in order to make sense, requires that a bridge is built between past generations and the present. Each new age faces new variations of old problems, and some new problems as well, and is therefore unique; and it must understand itself to be unique. Then when problems arise, it looks backward to see its relationship to the past wisdom.  Another of live’s many paradoxes is that  one needs to be individualistic, but also universal.  (p.16)

In the process of looking back one must ask “What is spiritually dead?”  How much of tradition is to be carried forward?  One can only answer this by saying, “First I must be independent, then I must be interdependent.”

Chapt. 3

1.ERH believes that civilization will fly apart unless there is unity of time in this way; that is, since the basics of survival cannot be understood to be revealed in any single epoch, all epochs of human existence must be drawn from.  And he points out that progress does not occur in a logical, evolutionary manner.

Rather, each generation tends to forget the principles upon which it was founded. It attempts to reinvent the world, seeking its own uniqueness, and in the process setting aside lessons from the past.  In practice shortcomings of its limited dogma should force it to look backward for both learning and visions of the future. [RF, it seems to me he implies that each generation reinvents reality (or tries to), then understands it has merely put “old wine in new bottles.”  Hopefully, the hard edges of reality penetrate its consciousness, forcing it to understand its freedom to invent is limited.]

2.This process seems to define a religious life, meaning that we see ourselves as needing to pass on the insights for survival to the next generation and instill in it the power of wisdom so that the future may be fulfilled.  In other words, to live not only for ourselves, but also for future generations.  It is therefore anathema to believe we have the moral right to live only for ourselves! THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A RELIGIOUS AND A SECULAR ATTITUDE! A religious life is one that lives to contribute toward the community and its continuance, while a secular life lives only for itself, as though no past or no future existed.  “People are loved who have been able to go beyond their temporary will.” (p.2)

3.The next question is, “How can an independent generation, without loss of character and individuality, enter the interdependence of generations?” (p.2)

ERH  says the answer is given by example of the James family described above, where the spirit of one generation enters that of the next generation.  This describes “how  the spirit of one generation enters the hearts and ears of another generation.”

This is the essence of moral questions. And the response is, each person must begin to act morally, caring for the welfare of others in addition to him/herself. William James, Sr. for example, had brought moral values into his home, down to earth, so to speak.

…the church had come down to earth in every life, and wasn’t dependent on a Sunday service, or on a liturgy, or on any denominational tie-up.

…something denominational just doesn’t work…because everybody feels that we live in a universal society-a greater universe.  And no denomination can cover it totally.  It’s just impossible. (pp.3,4)

4.He points out a “great historical law”,  THAT THE HERETICAL FORM OF AN INSTITUTION, AT THE RIGHT MOMENT, HAS THE POWER TO OUTLAST THE ORTHODOX BECAUSE IT ALREADY HAS A FOOT IN THE FUTURE.  This is because it becomes eloquent in the fact that it is responding to a situation has presented a barrier to progress. (p.5)

***Obviously here he speaks directly about the universal principles common to all serious religions.  How does one realize this power to transcend one generation into another, or, by implication, renew an institution?

By translating all the liturgy, the sermons, the chorales, the hymns, the thoughts, the prayer of the Psalms, of the Church into dinner talk, into breakfast talk, into the witty and cordial exchange, and the affectionate speech between parents and children. (p.5)

5.ERH goes on to show another example in history, of the revolt of the Patricians and Plebes against the Roman Senate, whereby Cneius Flavius broke the taboo of keeping secret the Roman law. (p.5)

During the next few pages he gives several other examples in history of the same phenomenon whereby generations were connected.  And, getting back to the James family, Henry James was a heretic. WHERE, IN OUR PRESENT AGE OF DOMINATING SCIENTIFIC THINKING, WHERE WE WILL NOT ACCEPT THE MORAL PRECEPTS OF THE POPE, OR THE PRESBYTERIANS, OR EPISCOPALIANS, ETC., WE WILL ACCEPT THE SAME IDEAS SPOKEN IN SECULAR LANGUAGE.  The implications of this notion of the HERETIC are fundamental.  It means that no one need become the slave of the organized church, that he/she can serve the community in the name of ethics (when the institution of the church becomes corrupted). One can deny the authority of that institution. (p.6)

6.In the same vein, the older generation cannot claim final authority; the heretic is essential for regeneration when reform is essential. Such heresy is founded on the love for our maker rather than for any earth-bound authority!

The James family was an example of the regenerating unit; in this age of bigness where personal commitment does not carry much power, the family is the unit that must preserve ethics, where they must be taught and lived out.  The reputation of the mindless bureaucrat is the image that one is left with as an alternative, an alternative that is obviously sterile in this age of little dedication beyond self-interest or avoiding blame for failures!

In the case of Henry James, he could inherit the spirit of comradeship better outside the church, but with no intention of weakening the church.

7.Private and public life must be one; there cannot be, as the business men assert, different standards for different institutions in life. THE POWER OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE DEPENDS UPON OUR WILLINGNESS TO TAKE THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR DECLARATIONS, OF OUR COMMITMENTS.  THE SPIRITUAL LIFE IS THEREFORE NOT PRIVATE, NOR PUBLIC, BUT OPENLY CONFESSED. In this sense we must live in the open, our commitments known to those around us.

8.Regeneration of our community and the success of our sons and daughters (whether of our own blood or of our community) lies, not in their parroting our ideas, but in their having the same spirit of invigoration and application to what we do, and to seeking and reflecting the truth, and representing the great achievement of the ages.  Our offspring will do it in a different way than we do, but we must have faith that they will do it. [RF – if properly taught, one must add.]

The heretic cannot command that his followers follow his ideas, because his very heresy disqualifies him from such work.  [RF – I’m not sure of the meaning of this notion, the reader is referred to the text.  (p.12)

9.The notion behind heresy is that we know today’s ideas are not the same as those in 1895, nor will they be the same  tomorrow.  But the seeking for truth, the faith in the future, and willingness to change will be the constants that must be passed on.

10.My purpose must be to make myself known to the next age, to belong to all ages, but to represent the past to the next generation so that they may have some reference points by which to judge their own lives.

11.To live a truly religious life is to stand for the whole of creation, the whole community and all that is in it, and for its continuation, its future.  (p.19)

One functions on several levels, for the self, for the family and group, for one’s profession, but ultimately all of this must have its place in creating the good community. “The world as created is good, gentlemen, but it isn’t good enough.”

Chapt. 4

More examples of previous points.

Chapt. 5

1.God is the power in us that allows us to speak.  It is the power to appropriate within us the power of language.

…all your rights to live in a democratic society depend on our conviction that you can appropriate the spirit of the institution in which you live by the power of the word….instead of becoming a product of your environment (as are animals)– you become the creator of your environment–the re-creator of your environment, by this strange volunteering for the affirmation.  (p.1)

2.We are a strange mixture of animal and divinity.  If the community is to survive, one must honor the language, speak the truth and get involved in commitments to the community. When too many people abuse this gift, they believe they can lie, cheat, refuse to get involved, all with impunity; as a result of course, the community degenerates.

3.*** We tend to live in a world filled with much fantasy [RF – Even scientists display this quality, I would suggest. They cling too long to questionable theories, unable to let-go of ideas which seem comfortable.] The world of the mind is safe, comfortably hidden from scrutiny.    It is reality that people often mistrust us, abuse us, our actions are unfruitful, our assessment of how people would respond to us is all off.  This is the price for living too much of our lives in fantasy, in daydreams; we are frustrated by the gap between our beliefs and reality.

Ultimately the way to a fulfilled life is to live as much reality as possible; that is, to not abuse the power of speech!  To find reality, truth (only possible through real speech), is to live a fruitful (religious) life.

4.Our nature, our natural faculties, are our animal part. “Man begins where you declare that your nature isn’t good enough.” (p.5)  We begin to overcome and rise above our nature through development of our spirit, of our soul. This is the process of becoming human in the true (spiritual) sense.

5.We all grow up with the acquiescence of others who forgive us our inanities.  They have faith that one day we will mature and contribute to the community, and respond appropriately to them.  Eventually we will do our part, in other words.  Our innocent youth is analogous to the fruit ripening on the tree. At this time, nothing we say is held against us. Judgment is held in obeyance because of our innocence.  EVENTUALLY, THEN, WE ARE MORALLY OBLIGATED TO PAY SOCIETY BACK. Certainly the argument that none of us asked to be born is irrelevant. We are here and given a gift, and therefore owe repayment whether we like it or not.  We never stop using the language we were taught, or the knowledge passed on to us. EARLY EDUCATION SHOULD BEGIN TO MAKE YOUTH CONSCIOUS OF THIS FACT AND TEACH THEM TO ADMIT THE REALITY OF THEIR CONDITION.

In short, it is our religion to give youth food, shelter, clothing, and most of all appropriate freedom to make up one’s own mind, in spite of the fact that youthful decisions are usually poor ones.  But, most of all, the youth should be taught to realize what they are given.

…the conditions of this freedom are very clear. You cannot do less than we are doing for you.  The society which you have to establish by your own deeds has already certain minimum requirements.  And they are unassailable.  (p.7)

These are the Christian prerequisites of life.  They are also the American, German, Egyptian, Muslim, Buddhist or tribal prerequisites that followed the universal principles of community-building through the ages.

6.TEACHING, is a metaphorical term.  Whoever speaks the truth about reality is in the role of teacher, or father, or mother, or mentor, regardless of age. The role is that of the speaker, and the students, son, daughter, etc. are to be listeners most of the time.  All cultures through the ages have developed and protected the integrity of languages and given this gift to the youth of each generation. This is why anyone who uses and accepts the power of language is admitting the value of religion.

7.        24th book of the Old Testament, the prophet Malachi has a strange prediction.  He says the earth must be cursed, and will perish, unless the parents turn their hearts to their children, and the children turn their hearts to their parents. And…the New Testament is considered the fulfillment of the Old….When Jesus comes, He says that the hearts of the parents now are turned toward their children. But the other held, that the hearts of the children must be turned toward their parents, is left to the Americans to fulfill.  (p.10)

ERH points out that Henry James and his family is an exemplification of this prophesy.  At risk is the future of any community when one denies the wisdom from the past.  THE TEACHER MUST HAVE AUTHORITY AND BE SEEN BY THE STUDENTS TO HAVE THAT AUTHORITY, AND STUDENTS MUST TAKE THAT AUTHORITY ON FAITH AT FIRST.

Chapt. 6

1.Each age tends to live by a dogma, isolated from the past and future.  To survive one must realize this, articulate that dogma, and fight against its parochialism.  “That is what the ancient people called the `question of salvation’.”   We are always called upon to rise above the dogmatism of our own age.

The genius of the just-past age was what created our own age.  An effective heretic must therefore go back, to, not to the letter, but to the creative spirit of the genius of that past age. The other side of the coin is just as necessary, to see the fallacies of that age and let go of them!

It is precisely that spirit of genius from the past age that is greater than our individual spirit, however necessary that individual spirit is; that “received” spirit is what regenerates the universe.  It is the same with church dogma.  Paradoxically, dogma is necessary, but more important is the spirit behind it. The dogma must always be overcome; but the spirit behind it must live on. This universal spirit thus frees us from the dogmatism of our individual spirit.

2.When we abdicate the discipline required to listen to the wisdom of the ages, or the lessons from the past age, we do not have freedom, but live in the prison of anarchy and war. THIS IS WHY WE HAD TWO WORLD WARS. OUR LEADERS DID NOT LEARN THE LESSON OF THAT EXPERIENCE.  These were caused because the past age lived within the dogma of its own age, without listening and disciplining itself with past wisdom.

3.What we do not solve in one generation  arises in the next.  As of today, over-population, politicalcultural isolation (as in Yugoslavia), uncontrolled massive bureaucracies, grossly unbalanced distribution of wealth (between rich and poor, both people and countries), despoiling of nature, disrespect for language, and most of all, lack of concern for the education of the young.

4.We cannot know everything, it is difficult to see the wisdom of a command from an authority or even recognize an authority.  One must learn to obey and be satisfied to learn of the meaning later. Paradoxically, if our leaders are seen to be stupid and slothful, one must react against them (such as when they make decisions for personal expediency, which seems to be common these days). IN SUM, WE MUST BE MORE WILLING TO MAKE SACRIFICES BEFORE WE UNDERSTAND. (p.7) [RF – Of course, ERH’s assertions about accepting commands from leaders “on faith” assumes those leaders deserve this respect. If not, they must be thrown out before the community can move ahead with its problem solving.]

5.***The basic plight and goal of mankind is that one must carry on from the past that which is worth carrying on. But also in our age we must strike out toward new ground, begin anew.

The main question is, …We come too late in our own lives unless we are allowed to continue what is worthwhile, and unless we are going to rely on other people to do with our lives something in continuation. (p.10)

6.Probably, each of us comes too late into our own lives by not understanding what must be continued from the past.  At the very least, we can pass on our own mistakes to others. Thus, our lives are wasted if we do not pass these mistakes on, because we usually cannot see to correct them during our own lives.

But we must also learn authority by having the freedom to discover it.  “Freedom begins with the recognition of necessity.” (Hegel) – just another paradox in living.

7.***We must also learn, and pass on to our children, that we must be, not only contemporaries of our own age, but contemporaries of another age. This is to say that heretics need to have help from another age in order to make their point.

If you are totally nature, then only your own time counts.  If you are not totally nature, you can get out of the accident of birth, the accident of your own time.  But then immediately you must look for allies in other times. (p.13)

Chapter – 7

1.The essence of ERH’s opening comments are based on the notion that WAR is the normal condition of human relations, and every once-in-a-while PEACE breaks out. Furthermore, if one does not take this fact into consideration, wars continue to be the normal course of events.  The cure for this is to prepare for future peace during peacetime, acting as though a war could happen at any moment if one does not anticipate its possibility..

These two realities, war and peace, must be kept in mind all the time; when one does not try to create peace all the time, war is always inevitable.  [RF – ERH believed that war was occasionally necessary because, when  brutes or tyrants are allowed to arise, like McCarthy in the America of the 50’s, or Hitler, or Mladic (in Yugoslavia), people must get rid of them, and this may require violence. If one does not fight them then the brutes continue to rule.

…the double ring of life consists of an alternation between faith and knowledge, between darkness and daylight, between war and peace. (p.2)

War is universal throughout society, including the battle of the sexes, war between friends at times, between boss and worker at times, between businesses – in addition to shooting wars, which are merely one manifestation.

2.One also prevents shooting by not sitting in judgment of others too quickly.  In the U.S. today, we tend to judge too soon the intentions of our enemy, or ignore them until the time for reconciliation has passed. No cause becomes fruitful unless someone is willing to die for it. Concordance results from putting oneself into the other’s shoes.

3.In this next section he dichotomizes rationalism and emotion.

Rational is everything sexless…Rational – (meaning) where no children have to be born and no people die – you can be rational.  But as soon as you get into this mystery, that if you do not sacrifice, there is no continuity of history, you get into the story of Adam into the last judgment day. (p.7)

This is nothing more than another expression of the notion of life always being half war and half peace, half rational and half emotional.  We tend to think like Greeks, i.e. in a world of abstractions, of theories, of ideology. “Plato and Aristotle, left the city of Athens and lived happily ever after in an academy, and taught what they pleased. BUT the result was that the first disciple was Alexander the Great…” (p.7)  In real life one is not free to think just anything, if one wishes to survive.  It was for this reason that ERH believed William James’  MORAL EQUIVALENT OF WAR is nonsense.

4.War comes when the sacrifices of the last war are forgotten. We must admit, he asserts, that we owe our existence to war and to peace.

5.***To be a Christian is to be willing to lay down your life, to make sacrifices for your community. Of the several roles in life, one must be ready and willing to take on any of them as the time demands, to be a civilian, to be a soldier, and to be a martyr. Willingness to sacrifice is what Christianity means. It is to pay the price of creativity, to create a life, a community, or to recreate (regenerate), constantly.  That is what renews life, continues the generations. The meaning of the “virgin birth” in Christianity is to be reborn by a spirit that has been passed to you,  then you become willing to pass it on to another.

To be a Christian is to fight for an integration of mankind, of equality among races, of justice, for example. The Jews believed, for instance, in one God.  This was heresy at that time because rulers were believed to be a god of the religion of that culture. It was for this reason that they were persecuted by almost all cultures.  That antipathy has lived on to a great extent.

6.The true soldier does not hate the enemy, “…only civilians do.”  (p.16)

7.Life is not just physical existence, but also a way of life, a culture.  Thus, fear of death is not just a fear of physical existence, but also for the culture, for the community.   (p.22)  He points out that physical existence, as a total value, is very limited; the French, in his example, were willing to surrender to the Nazis’ rather than to have Paris bombed.  Ironically, it was this very spirit (of value for the physical) that represented the degeneration of the soul of the French at that time.  Sticks and stones were more important than the spirit of the people!

Ironically, the very willingness to sacrifice physical survival for the cultural or spiritual survival of your community,  means that the prospect of war is reduced.   (p.24)

Chapt. 8

1.ERH venerates Jonathan Edwards, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and William James, who “…have rebuilt the American way of life three times.” (p.1)  Edwards put the question of the scientific mind “…squarely into the center of his work…”  In 1758 he was called to become the president of Princeton University, for integrating the church and the “secular brain”, of “…science gone wild on its own.”

2.We pray individually, in the privacy of our homes, but only a congregation can give us understanding of our age and our obligation to it (an obligation that may be against our will and self-interest).  Our personal desires (wills) are of no interest to the world of mankind.   The demands of the community are what are important.  “You don’t go there (to church) for good feelings). (p.3)

3.THE MINORITY in any organization or country or community must rule, that is, if they are the top. However,  he says that if the minority, only, reflect or manipulate the majority for their own selfish benefit, then the minority must not rule.  But the majority are never strong enough to stand on their own feet, they must be morally  led by the  “top minority.”  The prophets are those who should lead.

4.Edwards recognized three communities he needed to address. Each had to be addressed in different ways, just as with the apostles. These were, the fundamental church members (the converted), the agnostics (doubters), and the outright “sinners”, those who opposed the gospels. Each were spoken to in different terms. To the “outsiders” (sinners or intelligencia – people who believe in the dominance of their own willpower), he could point out the shortcomings of their views by reason.

It is a truism however, that the  powers that run the world are not reason, but emotion!  The majority possessed this innate power and were (are) poor in scientific expertise (reason), the intelligencia widened this gap and thereby raised their own importance.

5.Restoring the balance between science and religion was the reform that Edwards sought, after the beginning of the scientific age.

The social problem of humanity is caused by, or deepened because of, different points of view between neighbors. This will always be, but one must also accept the fact that we are one and the same part of humanity. Paradoxically, we remain different, but also the same. The problem is to learn to live together in peace. This is a non-secular assertion.  This unproven fact is not proven by any secular rationalization.

…no self interest can ever explain why the man who is interested in his own aims, and in his own self, has to feel that the people who do not serve his self-interest, like, for example, a good priest, or a good missionary, or a good preacher, or his wife, or his mother, why they are more intimately connected with him, and have more solidarity with him than all the people who he can make jump at his command and at his whim. (p.10)

This isn’t a dichotomy of two opposites, but one between perpetuity and of transiency. The secular world is transient; the ecclesiastical is more permanent.  The secular tendency, as a dominant force, leads therefore to degeneration because it becomes the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest leading to constant war.

6.The true contributors to the community therefore are those who do service without needing to be recognized. PARADOXICALLY, INDIVIDUALLY GUIDED BY OUR CONSCIENCEs WE CEMENT THE ORDER OF THE UNIVERSE, PERPETUATING  THE COMMUNITY AND THE CULTURE. (p.12)

7.The driving force to perpetuate the community is love, not will; love and will are opposites.  Love is like a newborn baby, weak but full of potential, the future.  Will is like the bomb, full of power, but enormously destructive when undisciplined by love.

8.The theme of secular philosophy in the last 300 years is that knowledge, emotions and will should have authority.  But these three qualities do not indicate that we are members of humanity, of a community, and they therefore possess no innate authority to require us to listen to them.

Secularism is an attempt to rival religion as a source of authority, describing the individual as not a member of a church, not married by love to a larger unity, and not taught and inspired by a higher authority. Thus, secularism, at the core, is brute force, pure force!  (p.14)

9.The sinful ego is analogous to Freud’s theory that we are driven by desire, and all of our rationalization is an attempt to justify those desires.  What Jonathan Edwards calls man’s bleakness, despair, blackness, being fettered by his repressions, and his pains and desires, are given in Freud’s analysis.

10.We are free only at certain times, and not at others.  We have freedom of will, but are also driven by desires. We are part god and part animal, and we must learn when to act as one or the other. When we fear, we are not free, and when we do not fear we can be free. Our will is an addiction that can enslave us.  “Freedom is something constantly lost and re-acquired.” (p.16)   The universal prayer in Christianity is to be emancipated from our own will,  because the will isn’t free, and we are god-like when free.

The person who has everything – money, success, women (or men) – no longer belongs to humanity and therefore cannot be taught, or guided, or inspired. He no longer represents the order of the universe in his own time.  When are people free, and when enslaved,  is the crucial question.  The animal is never free.

Chapt. 9

1.ERH differentiates between Greek and Christian.  The Greeks are encyclopedic and objective.  The Christians can love other than themselves.  The Greeks loved only Greek creativity. [RF – interesting statement; meaning that the Christian fundamentalists and homeopaths are Greek in their thinking, not Christian!]  The Greeks might be said to be passionate about ideas in the abstract.  Christianity, by contrast, asserts that mankind must be one, that there must be peace (between the intelligent and the stupid, between different races, and all forces that divide humankind).

2.Romanticism creates a second world, not of our world, but one that supplements it. Romanticism is “…just a world of feelings.”   Fiction is the creation of a second world, a toy, a plaything.  Intellectualism, the worship of ideas,  creates a world where the mind (logic) rules, e.g. Darwinism,  where the brutes exploit all others.

The implication for intellectuals is deep.  The educated classes tend toward Greek thinking, pre-Christian, the veneration of logic.  The time in which we live has nothing to do with the stage of our thinking.  That is, dominant logical, secular thinking is pre-Christian, and it perpetuates violence, exploitation, inequality, etc. THE HISTORICALLY MINDED PERSON KNOWS WHAT HE/SHE WANTS, WHICH IS NOT TO REVERT TO THE WORLD OF PRE-CHRISTIAN, BECAUSE HE HAS LEARNED THROUGH HISTORY WHAT THIS TYPE OF THINKING LEADS TO. (pp. 4,5)

Chapt. 10

1.ERH introduces the problem of choosing, as contrasted with having chosen, in which case  one reduces the arena of choice. In other words, to have order in one’s life, one must choose a point of view that  dictates other choices, and this is PURELY AND SIMPLY ONE’S RELIGION.  Once this occurs, one must become passionate about taking action.  One cannot live a useful life without acting.  One cannot survive always being encyclopedic.  In other words, one cannot survive with Greek thinking, as ERH calls it.

One’s religion must be an end in itself!  It must be all-encompassing, it must be the meaning of one’s life. It is not a means, but an end in itself.  Franklin, the scientist and secularist, said the ends are the means.  Means to what? He doesn’t say; a good life maybe, but that leads to the secular thinking described above. (p.3)

2.The willingness to treat all others as equal, the willingness to serve the community, the ability to experience the joy of giving and receiving, the unwillingness to destroy or to exploit, the willingness to trust and to love,  are all ends in themselves.  When present in one’s spirit, they represent the omnipresence of the divine spirit within us.

Ultimate “ends” and “means” are entirely different things.  Concepts and theories are means, and human beings are ends (hopefully becoming endowed with the divine spirit as defined above). “All escapists hide behind concepts.  The problem is that we often find it difficult, or cannot distinguish means from ends. “This is a terror of life.” (p.7)

3.ERH asserts that historically, Franklin and others subscribing to scientific (Greek) thinking were still accepted as religious members of the community.  But in time that thinking manifested itself into the form of what it always leads to, exploitation, then the wars, racism, ethnic cleansing, hate and exploitation in all its forms.

(RF, My sense is that, unless we believe that our intelligence and our power, is loaned to us, and that the source of our inspiration is one common spirit, then we degenerate into our animal nature of Greek thinking, as ERH calls it.)

The truth is charity, and hope, and faith, every quality of unconditional membership in human society can never be reasoned out by people who say that everything has to be useful.  This talk about enlightened self-interest is just ridiculous. (p.9)

4.The essence of secular humanist/logical thought is that we can have the content of religion without its form.  That we, individually, can decide ethical elements of social life, that we can be masters of our fate.  On the U.S. dollar bill this form of secularism is imagined; the pyramid, the eye of Horus, the 5-pointed star is Egyptian, a pagan star.

5.We live by dogma and cannot avoid it. Our dogma in America is the Constitution, or commonly accepted moral values. I cannot kill you except in self defence, etc.  And, by inference ERH says the existence of a good community is an end in itself.

It is not possible to have an opinion about anything without a dogma. We all depend upon dogmas every day.

The Trinity dogma is  1) everyone believes that God created the Universe, 2) people can redeem (create human community at peace), and 3) humans, acquiring the Holy Spirit is the method by which this could be accomplished.    (p.13)

6.ERH differentiates “real” or sublime literature from mere melodrama; real literature talks about reality, people in ernest trying to deal with life, with undesirable characters, and with man “whole,” not romanticized, into two dimensional characters.

Chapt. 11

1.Useful historical thinking is not just anecdotal, but tries to find the ideas of the ages reflected in the thought and actions of historical persons.  It ties together past, present, and future.

With this perspective one cannot predict from past experience in human society. One must await one’s death or the end of an age before knowing the consequences of actions, because humankind is capable of changing on short notice and taking a new, unpredicted direction, acting on passions or dogma rather than on logic. When a new course of action is taken by a community, we must therefore wait to see all its manifestations.

We can only write the history of George Washington now, and the man who writes this history fifty years from now must write a different and a better story…because he knows better.  (p.2)

2.History is most informative when the long-range consequences are known. Events cannot be understood at their beginning.  In the beginning, Christianity could very well be mistaken for 50 other religions. History begins only when one man’s life leaves an impression on another man’s life.  We can therefore only know the minimum when it spans two generations; this is the atomic unit of history.

3.Faith connected with action reflects one’s personal religion, or one’s manifestation of the religion one proclaims.

Tragedy is not that grief befalls people, but rather that their actions had no influence on others.

…I have taken the liberty of trying to give you the problem of a history of the human spirit, as opposed to the history of the human body, or human bodies of the mortals in us …  (p.9)

…reflecting the relation between the religious and the secular.

4.The problem of the historian is to get into two generations, two different “times.” A generation that follows another either enlarges the first values, or diminishes them, and this can never be predicted by causes, but it can be described after the fact. “By their fruits we shall know them.”  Secular history looks at causes. [RF – As an aside, today we even hear about raising our standard of living, about expanding production and consumption, when in reality we need to lower our standard of living.  Obviously the value of consumption and of free enterprize has become destructive of environment and of the family, as has our allopathic medical practices, our educational system, our courts and justice system,  all revealed to the perceptive observer.  Yet, the destructive nature of these practices has yet to be accepted by the average historian.

5.The story (meaning) of Christianity can be destroyed if one looks only at individual lives SEPARATELY. The major point of Christianity is that we see two generations as a unit; for example,  the life of Jesus and that of the Apostles.  Jesus laid out the ideas, then died and turned everything over to the Apostles.  THIS MEANS IN PART THAT EVEN THE LOWEST FISHERMAN COULD INHERIT THE SPIRIT OF GENIUS.  This was the first time in history that the unity of generations was proclaimed, and that is why it heralded the beginning of a new era.

6.A universal story meant that now all peoples could understand their relation to other generations, and therefore how to live in relation to others in the present. (p.15)

7.Here ERH takes off on an essentially new and significant idea, that Christianity also means that one must decide the economics between spending all one makes, or planning for sustained resources for future generations.  This is the whole problem of the capitalistic system, that it has failed to restrain greed or to consider sustaining future generations. [RF – The excuse is, “Technology will solve the problem”, while ignoring abundant facts to the contrary. Atomic waste is one of many examples.]

8.Paul never quotes Jesus, he lives the holy spirit instead.  Speaking with or claiming AUTHORITY does not derive from quoting others, but rather from living an idea and paying the price for doing so!  (p.17)

9.Americans are usually half-hearted, practicing one thing and acting on only part of the idea.  We claim to be democratic, but revere police and pay a heavy price (perhaps too much) for order in our communities.  Instead of preventing crime, we put money into prisons and punishment.

Obviously we need both centralized and decentralized decision-making, but the problem is how much of each, and how to bring balance. In other words, we should seek to be neither extreme  centrist or decentrist but rather progressive, balancing each according to the demands of the situation.

10.ERH asserts that the great decisions of history have nothing to do with morality of the individual who takes action.  It has everything to do with whether those decisions support the great movements and allow for progress.  Even the criminal can be redeemed if he/she carries out the right acts to help the community. “…if you have this sixth sense of history, you are fit for the kingdom of Heaven.”  (p.21)

11.The condemnation of Greek science or Greek philosophy is valid only when science and secular philosophy lead our thinking, rather than being led by the Christian principles.  We need science, but it is not an end in itself!

Chapt. 12

1.Secularism means one lives by one generation. To live only in one generation renders one impotent, unable to regenerate the culture.

2.To create a future one must be in earnest and disciplined in that direction.  In today’s world, people get ahead who smile, who are pleasant, and sympathetic, friendly, who “get along.” However, he asserts,  “Fruitfulness is not amiability.” (p.3)

[RF – ERH’s statements in this segment about loving  the opposite as meaning fruitfulness is not developed and seem to me un-understandable at this time.]

Chapt. 13

1.The soul is different from the mind.

2.Nature is neither good nor bad, it just is.  The notion is fundamental to beliefs of the secularistsnaturalists like Thoreau and Emerson and  Franklin, who held that nature is good and society is corrupted.  The point is, we cannot take our cues from the animal kingdom.  Their nature doesn’t change, but ours does every day.

3.We require and must live in more than one generation because our own is too limited, too parochial, too self-centered.  To live in another generation also renders the ability to make a comparison and thus, to see reality better.

The act of seeking the truth, no matter where it leads, always connects us with all of humanity, and this act is much more important than that of our own lives. (p.7)

4.To seek truth then is to be able to compare our own beliefs with something else, validating experience, so to speak, to find a higher truth.

Chapt. 14

1.[RF – the essay is rather abstruse here, but I believe he is making a distinction between seeing our fellow humans disconnected from ourselves. We often think of each other “objectively,” which makes our fellow humans into (its). This becomes a barrier to seeing one’s fellow humans with compassion. The difference is profound because we cannot really objectify our sense of interpersonal relations without separating ourselves from others, putting ourselves outside their lives.  To put ourselves outside their lives means disconnection; “we cannot take or give orders to them.” ]

Ultimately, to be unable to consider ourselves a member human  is to act in an animal way.   IT IS ONLY IN RELATION TO OTHERS THAT WE CAN RISE ABOVE AND GROW OUT OF, OUR ANIMAL NATURE.  This means to be capable of speaking to another. To exercise this choice, i.e. to be either part of, or consciously separate ourselves from others, is the only type of freedom we have as humans, and we possess this freedom only by virtue of communication.

2.Human beings cannot fathom why they think, unless they confront themselves with the fact that they, or a loved one, will die some day, or has died.

3.We think because we know we will die. “If only we would live (indefinitely), we would not think.” (p.6)

Our experience teaches us different things about life, and we are constantly fluctuating in our opinions about that experience.  To generalize (to think analytically) is to stabilize our thinking, to ascertain some truth about life.  And to ascertain truth inevitably leads us to see death all round us. We attempt to see our destiny, and we measure belief in a cause to the extent that we will die for it. Thus in our history we cannot avoid martyrs.

4.Catastrophes always bring out the more profound forces in humans. Catastrophe, risk, destiny, and the destiny of mankind  “…becomes only known by those acts of yours where you risk your life.”

5.FIVE RINGS OF IMMEDIACY :  These indicate the descending importance of risks we take in life.  The first four are essential for living, the last represents greed.

a.  Any event that demands death is most important.

b. Any event that demands personal devotion, dedication, standing up and being “counted”, i.e. a marriage, taking an oath of office etc.

c.Loyalty to some cause

d.Criticizing, but not acting (this is what most do, most of the time according to ERH)

e.To have an “attitude” an opinion, to describe, only events, puts one outside society.  The business tradition tends to live in this sphere, little loyalty, as little risk as possible, not to take a stand unless one must. The attitude is self-centered.

All of t his revolves around willingness to sacrifice (self) for the community. The first four are “living” – the fifth is just greed.

6.These are important rules for the continuation of the community. All persons must be concerned with the destiny of the community, because without it all individuals perish.  All of the first four are  essential, one cannot pick and choose if one wishes to find peace and progress.

7.To speak of the destiny of mankind is to know what has allowed society to progress, and to know that those qualities in the community must persist.  This means law, civil rights, economics, education, etc, all must exist in any generation.

8.To know all these things is to know that the past, present and future are one unit of time, and then one lives across the generations.



Feringer notes
Last edited: 12-98


Lecture 1

1.A universal history is beneficial for comparisons   between different political orders, and to identify change in terms of progress or retrogression. For instance, change in classical Greece brought both  strength and weakness.  Their brand of Humanism could tolerate  but not accept other political systems surrounding them; they could never achieve peace, except temporarily. On the other hand, their invention of philosophy, and with it the concept of generalization,  freed them to see themselves and others objectively. Their development of poetry  freed them to see others differently:  “…a man can see himself and somebody who lives in another order, as friends.” (p.2)

2.In the past we have had no universal history because Greek scholars assumed that all things (Western) began with the Greeks, when in fact their culture was not invented full-blown but built upon Egyptian and  tribal customs. (p.1)

3.The Bible is a basis for a universal history because it contains all phases of  mankind, including Greeks. The Greeks could never establish anything political,  however, because they were poets and philosophers, neither of which advocates taking  political action. THE ILLIAD REPRESENTS A COMPLETE REFLECTION OF THE GREEK CONTRIBUTIONS.

4.ERH organizes this essay to establish some of the basic lessons from history  about mankind, and thus why a Universal History is important to teaching people these basic lessons.

a.God, the tribe, Jews, and empires  “..feel eternity whenever they officiate”  WHAT IS NOT ETERNAL. This is to say, when they officiate what is unique, individual. The Bible’s  great lesson is that humankind will die, and life must be organized around this fact.

b.The idea of “self” was born by the Greeks about 1,000 B.C. Before that time,   the individual was like a cog in some association,  all individuals seen as the same in the tribe  and nation as well.  Thus, human uniqueness was not a reality.  To relax, to read and write poetry as the Greeks did, is to attend the “self” and to conceive one’s self-consciousness.

c.Modern psychology makes the mistake of seeing the “self” as coming first, but  this concept is not historically accurate. Our first consciousness is that of being a part of something else.

d.Four different forms of the Greek spirit evolved,  1) epics (narrative dramas of Homer), 800 BC,  2) tragedy, 400-500 BC,  3) philosophy, 387-300 BC,  4) literature and Alexandrian period  philology, poetry, encyclopedias, 300 BC,  during periods of Greek history.

5.In general,  ERH attempts in this essay to show us that, unless one can see what changes have been made by different cultures, and what differences there are, then:

…they don’t know where they have to be liberals, and where they have to be fighters, and where they have to be family members, and where they have to patriots. (p.11)

These are the conditions under which tragedy might occur (e.g.  The Persian war’s effect on Greece).

The great problem of each era is to change, to rise above the problems at hand, and unless we can see our ways clear, to see how others through history have changed, to see phases by which change occurs. Unless there is a universal history we will be stuck within our own society, with no peace within or without.  Contrarily, cultures that believe the world began and will end within the time period of their culture have no way of identifying and understanding the consequences of their beliefs.

Universal History – 1951 – Review

This is a fragment that more or less outlines purpose and issues raised in the more complete series of lectures on the same subject dated 1967.  However, in this essay he emphasizes the place of the Greeks and their contribution as a summation of previous tribal and “sky empire” cultures and as a preparation for Christianity.  He asserts also that the Bible is the first universal history.


Lectures 1-6
Feringer notes
Last edited: 10-98


Lecture – 1

1.Universal history must rest on several premises: 1) the unity of all humans, 2) the evolution of fundamental attitudes toward the world  (i.e. who is man and what is his place in the world?),  and 3) attitudes and values likely to create a community voluntarily at peace.  These questions unify all movements and concepts of reality throughout history.  What we learn from a universal history is how we might regenerate our communities, unify the world, and create a society that will allow mankind to survive physically and grow spiritually.

2.ERH identifies four  basic sets of concepts, sources of our knowledge about reality: 1) tribal (pre-Homeric), 2) the great “sky” empires of Egypt, China, Babylon, etc., 3) Greek (beginning with Homer), and 4) Jewish. ERH sees each of these four  as important, but incomplete in itself.   Christianity  integrates these four approaches into a unity.

3.Tribal cultures taught us to look to the past as authority for guidance. This was called by anthropologists “ancestor worship.”

4.Empires, so-called discovered through star observations, that there was order in the universe, and thus created the foundation for science.

5.Greek philosophy mainly encompasses 1) mind, which we call intellect, 2) will, and 3) sentiment.  These three-mind, will, sentiment – are the gods of Greek thinking. The will wants, the intellect defines, and feeling sentimentalizes the environment. (p.3/1) These are the gods called humanism.  Will deals with things “outside”, love deals with the people who follow us, creating future.  Love and will are mutually exclusive. Will makes you a god, while love causes you to give yourself to others.  Will is management, and  love is mutual inspiration. THE GREEK MIND IS ONE‑SIDED INDIVIDUALISM. dominated by the male.  (p.7/1)

The Greek is at home away from home, e.g. in today’s jargon “at the office.”  Today, both man and wife are away from home, uprooted.  Thus, the suppression of feminine consciousness and preoccupation with Greek thought encourages homosexualist’s, break-up of the home, divorce, etc.

6.Jewish belief, supports the voice of prophecy and  the gods of Jewish thinking are love, hope, and faith. The soul is between hope and faith. Hope defines the future in terms of what knowledge from the past needs to continue, in addition to our present state of insights about what should change from the present. Faith  puts the future above the past, divesting oneself of definitions, (p.3/1)  Love is the arbiter between hope and faith – it tells you how much love balances naive hope against overstating faith.    Here the wife and daughter are  “…prominent features of the soul.” (p.7)  Their faith in the future is the major quality of the female soul.  TO THE GREEK MIND, TEMPERANCE, JUSTICE, AND COURAGE ARE UNDERSTANDABLE, WHILE FAITH, LOVE AND HOPE ARE, UN-UNDERSTANDABLE.  (p.10)

Who gets up in the morning because he is intelligent!? Rather it is because he’s full of hope.  Why work?  Because one loves one’s family.  Why go into politics? [RF – in the best sense of the word!]  Because one has faith in the future.

“…love is only possible (necessary?) because of our deficiencies.”  (p.13)

“Nature” tends toward advantages, favoring that which has more sun-light, is stronger, has more money, etc.   HUMANISM IS BASED ON WHAT IS “NATURAL” (on that which is external in the world). CHRISTIANITY IS BASED ON OUR DEFICIENCIES  (that which is “internal”).

7.Christianity,  “…is that institution which has tried to reconcile the Greek mind and the Jewish soul.  Christianity is a synthesis of antiquity, and it had to reconcile tribe, empire, Homer, and the prophets…..We today have to create out of the Christian experience the mind and the soul’s experiences.” (p.13)

Some crucial distinctions can be summarized in terms of three basic attitudes toward life, to wit: 1) The Greek believes all reality is  in the world and is natural, and one must adjust to it. 2) The Jews believe man is a sinner and eventually goes to God (out of the world).  3) The Christian believes he comes from God (out of the world), and enters  the world to create community. Thus, he needs to be reborn, re-incarnated,  regenerated, and changed each day.

The Christian is born every day.  The Jew leaves the world every day. The Greek adjusts himself to the world with the help of mutual recognition. …The Christian takes it upon himself to return to this world, and to encounter it. (p.15)

Obviously all three are necessary elements to living.

There is a paradox between allegiance and non-allegiance.  Clearly we need both, which Christianity recognizes.  Tribal and “empire” life had only one allegiance and possessed unity, but no freedom.  The Greek and Jew had other allegiances, but difficulty in unity.  Christianity attempts to unify these by causing revolution (change) each day.

Such revolution presents constant difficulties (paradoxes) as we experience  life.  In revolution,  the law must be changed.  On the other hand, woe be unto he to breaks the law.

Lecture 2

1.MULTIFORMITY.  The Roman says, once a Roman, always a Roman.  The Jew says the same about Judaism. The Christian says, we are all of these things, Romans (when in Rome…), Jews (with a soul) , but the Greek (with a mind/will/sentiment) depending upon the situation and need.

2.ANTI-CHRIST means man sees himself as god, and in so doing is against the brotherhood of man. (p.2/2)  Christianity attempts to unify – one humanity, one human race.

3.Each of the four  –  tribe, empire, Greek, Jew – is an approach to humanity.  Christianity, in attempting to unify these,  says the world is outside man because it is man’s soul that determines his “confronting” of the world, and he has the freedom to decide at each moment what course to take (of the four).

4.ACHIEVEMENT BY INDIRECTION.  “…to achieve anything in life, you must never aim at it.  It must always be the by-product of your highest aim.” (p.4)  Americans, ERH claims, are constantly unhappy because they seek happiness directly.  Unless we are willing to sacrifice self-interest we will never achieve it.  “He who wants to have a soul will lose it; and the man who is ready to lose his soul, will gain it.”  (p.5)

If you can admit that something is true, it is against everything you are interested in, then the truth will hit you.  Then you begin to live. (p.6)

5.Christianity and social unit,. mean  not only one human family over the world (treating, with equal concern, all people), but also unity through time, “…from the beginning of time to the end.” (p.7)

6.Surviving through time.  As individuals we must learn to survive through time.  Could we survive the end of the United States and still feel strong?  We must be willing to do this,  then to work to re-establish the spirit of the U.S. Thus, ERH left Germany and said to himself he could no longer be a German.  All immigration implies this choice. “Every man in the Christian era has a double allegiance.  He has to give God what is God’s, and to Caesar what is Caesar’s.” (p.9)

7.ON CHRISTIANITY AND DEATH;  “…Christianity is always based on a four-fold death.”  This is to say that in order to create a decent community and change and grow, one must be willing to sacrifice, or let go of certain things; 1) One must be willing to die for a cause, or to let go of his personal aims,  2) to let go of our government, 3) to let go of the boundaries of our region, and 4) to let go to the “…spirit of his own day, of his own time.”  (p.10)

8.ERH claims that today we are in a position where Christianity has lost its hold on the country. Christianity has lost sight of its aims, its spirit.

9.Christianity in the first 1,000 years  was established by the actions of four great monks. Jerome, who established that God’s word was not only in a single language, that it could and should be translated, and continue so in every generation.

Anthony said that not only Egypt’s fertile valley was “God’s country,” but the whole earth (he lived in the desert.)

Augustine taught us to go beyond the boundaries of the empire. Christianity was universal. God’s world and Caesar’s are different.  “Give unto Caesar…”

Athanasious was a revolutionary, against the government, against emperor gods.

Through these men, the evidence, validity, and philosophy  of Christianity was established.

Lecture 3

1.Modern humanism is impotent because it analyzes, and criticizes,but  then fails to act.   Anthony, St.Augustine, Jerome, and Athanasius were powerful for Christianity because they did act; they did sacrifice. THIS WAS WHY THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY COULD CARRY BEYOND AND RISE ABOVE THE TIMES.

2.”…the West is in decline, and that only the planet can revive it.  (p.2)  By this ERH means that  the West can revive only if it learns from the rest of the planet.  [RF, certainly the decline of U.S. credibility and power in the rest of the world confirms this notion expressed 25 years ago.]

3.We are born into a hostile world,  which we must come to love.  [RF – if we are to survive and create peace.]  We must love all of the world, that is, even the unlovable elements. The meaning of THE CITY OF GOD  is that belief in God’s world is essential to helping us through the dark night of this world’s experiences.  We must have faith that this can occur.  This is what is meant by getting outside time and space by means of our faith. [RF – dreams would be an example of “outside time and space.”]

4.Every generation in the Christian era depends upon reincarnations of the assertions of Jerome, Augustine, Anthony and Athanasius. (p.10)  (That is, someone in each generation should make these acts manifest in their own way.)  The 19th century literary figure, Herman Melville, in his novel , MOBY DICK created a metaphor for reincarnating these four acts.

The four evangelists speak to four different points. 1)Matthew spoke to non-Jews, writing against the Hebrews, the 12 tribes.  2) Mark wrote  against the Egyptians and their star worship, 3) Luke addressed the Greeks, relating their philosophy to its place in Christianity. And lastly, John spoke to the Christian converts. ALL TOOK ACTION, just as did the four after them, in 300 AD.

The church tries to help everyone acquire the power to get outside time and space. (p.13) [RF – If I understand this concept correctly, it means living not according to the mores of one’s own time, but the mores that ought to come true in the future.]

5.How does one acquire this power? Only by contagion, by example and in fellowship. One protects another; one has a place to flee when persecuted.

6.The second millennium is the era of revolutions against the four distortions of ancestor worship, star worship, poetry and systems worship, and prophecy worship; each was important but incomplete in itself.  (p.14)

These revolutions were replaced by the concept of “world” as one world. ERH claims the second millennium repeats the feats of the great empires in that it developed modern science. The 19th century was the age of domination of modern scientific thinking.

7.In the third millennium, we must now re-establish tribal interpersonal relations, but extend  them throughout the world. This will take the place of the tribes of antiquity, re-establishing the family of man on a global scale.

8.Six revolutions must be reincarnated each generation. During the  second millennium, the first three of these revolutions were instigated by monks who re-entered the world to become revolutionaries, Pope Gregory VII, St. Francis of Assisi, and Martin Luther. The second three were gentlemen who re-entered the world to become revolutionaries,  Cromwell, Napoleon and Lenin.

In short, all power in this world corrupts and must be opposed by a “Spiritual sword.” (p.19)    Gregory VII thus led the church into social action for the purpose of separating the spiritual role of rulers from that of spiritual leadership.  This was the inception of the movement to separate  church from state.

St. Francis freed us from oppression by proposing rotation of governments.  Luther freed us from oppression of church corruption and established “the nobility of the professional man.” (p.20)

Then came the three secular revolutions, English  (Cromwell and the right of citizens to bear arms), French/American and Russian all of which were universal revolutions.  The English limited the king’s powers, the French established universal civil rights, and the Russian,  limited industrial monopolies in their  move toward total control over  production.


1)Lasting and positive change in  the world can only be achieved when built on a foundation of          spiritual power,   because the physical powers of the world cannot correct themselves .  Society can only be moved by pressures from the outside itself.

2)  Every secular power must be short-lived.

3) Action in the physical world is always in motion, either expanding or retracting, but never static. These revolutions represent that which left to themselves, always oppress. Gregory VII mitigated the power of emperors by making the church a counter political power. St. Francis countered the hereditary power of the state by insisting it be transient, even within the formal church organization. Luther fought corruption within the church and dignified the professional man.

4)The English, French,  and Russian revolutions were world revolutions as well. Cromwell introduced the right to bear arms against the state, or for the state to maintain a professional army.

Gregory said the worldly powers must be opposed by spiritual power. The world never moves by itself; we all must be motivated and our tendency is to remain static, stable.  God and saints are prime movers.

10.All movements (revolutions) try to make things revolve, while kept in balance.  The heroes of the second millennium are not saints, but revolutionaries. (p.24)

Lecture 4

1.The 2nd millennium of the Christian era tried to keep the achievement of the first millennium, the establishment of the church, and added to it the establishment of the “world” of mankind as a unit, where kings are no better than aristocrats, aristocrats no better than gentry, and gentry no better than commoners. And to accomplish this meant a rotation of roles in all countries. The high may fall, and the low may rise,  no person should “own” another.

2.Progress toward such goals is the aim of all revolutions.  Gregory, St. Francis, Luther, Cromwell, Napoleon, Lenin are examples Revolutionary people.   Gregory VII conceived the church as a world organization. (p.3)

3.The church is to be the builder of the spirit, which is the inner strength to stand up against all things material to the extent that materialism gets in the way. To create a good society takes spiritual strength.

The world is transitory, the spirit is everlasting.

ERH points out, through history,  how these revolutions have been fought to reflect the ideas for progress and freedom.

4.ERH also makes a powerful and convincing statement as to why we must learn more than one language,  to get “outside” our own culture,  as a sort of addendum for method in all of this. The core principle stated here is that to learn another language allows us to see ourselves to some extent as others see us.  And it keeps us from becoming too nationalistic or isolationist.

5.ERH expounds on and excoriates the notion of “liberalism” because it eulogizes thought as separate from language, as though thought were possible without language. LANGUAGE, real speech, speech about important matters is powerful, potent and potentially dangerous,  and may get one into trouble when acted upon. Liberals have a reputation of thinking only, but not acting – as academics tend to do!

The “liberal” attitude, in the process of discounting language, DOES NOT TAKE SERIOUSLY THE RABBLE ROUSERS, who by definition, often practice zealotry:

All the liberals end in nationalism.  The sons of the liberals have all become Nazis, in Germany.  The end of a liberal is always that his son becomes a fascist.  (p.17)

The core of the idea is that rationalism becomes an organizing principle. But, when there is minor anarchy, when there are many minorities, and many languages,  no one can conquer.  By implication, if  the liberals organize, then we cannot be conquered by rabble rousers. (p.18)

I firmly believe that the intellect has run away with Marxians, and that anybody who lives out of the intellect is always, remains sterile.  Marxism is a thought-out revolutionary theory, and therefore will bear no fruit….this time the war itself is the revolution….And the intentionally made revolution is child’s play compared to that.  … civil war…Now when a whole world is at war the only peace you can make is for the world…the real revolution…is planetary man versus national man. (pp.20-21)

6.The second millennium was devoted to revolution, to the rotation of governments. The church (universal) has been established. The physical world has been discovered.  WHAT IS YET UNDISCOVERED IN THE 3RD MILLENNIUM?  ERH’s firm answer is “mankind,” the re-establishment of the family, the tribal family to become universalized from the tribe.

The world revolution began with the Russian revolution in 1917 after WWI , and ended with the Russian revolution at the end of WW II.

“…we are now in the midst of living in one world, but not one family.  And therefore we are all divided in our loyalty.  Every one of us two parties….Man is ambivalent. (RF – multiform)  He has more than one valence.  And he must be occupied, and he must be able, you see, to operate a switchboard.  (p.25)

The revolutions of the past 1,000 years also revolutionized family relations Families are now fragmented, as members no longer work together on the farm.  “The relation of the human family…is no longer possible on the principle of world revolutions.” (p.26)   This must be carried out in the context of work and love.

Lecture 5

5/1To summarize up to this point: Since Christianity, we have discovered the  four “horizons,” or traps, or approaches to the world:  1) the tribe looking for guidance from ancestors, 2) the empire, looking for guidance from the stars, 3) the Jews, looking for guidance from the prophets,  and 4) Homeric man.

The tribe looks backward, Israel looks forward, the empire creates an  eternal presence neither past nor future (i.e. outside world of scientific description), and the Greeks create a poetical world of inner space, of comparisons and metaphors,  seeing man existing on both the outer world and the inner world of thought. [RF – How fundamental can one get? Here is the model for the new social science in a nutshell – all experience exposed to analysis in terms of time and space!]

CHRISTIANITY recognizes all four, but asserts that we must unify them, choosing the right approach in each different circumstance. The new Testament, therefore, is not an empty phrase! [RF – In other essays he puts Christianity at “the center of history” – i.e. the basis for understanding our experience is now completely articulated.]

5/2Since the “ancients” were each trapped in the peculiarities of their own method, from which they couldn’t escape, they were limited.

Existentialists recognize the changing flux of the human spirit. They  “…are the first philosophers who are not humanists.” (p.2)

3.With the fragmentation of the family,the members work and live in different places,  and thereby have lost their ability to understand each other because they have such apparent differences in their  experiences. They have lost their unity, their common ground, and therefore their ability to understand each other.

4.The Christian world created one God, one world, and now must create one society.

5.In the past the dichotomy was between believers in the true God and false  gods. It is well established that there is one God, and many lesser gods that drive us (desire, hunger, greed, fear, sex, etc.).

TODAY, people are divided between believing in one God or in atheism. As with the “gods” issue, we are not of a single mind, at times  believers and at times not.

The atheist finds order (unity) in the world.  The theist finds order in God.

6.Atheism and theism are corollaries; “All Christian faith is intermittent.” (p.8)  This is logical, because if we were God, we would never doubt ourselves.  But since we do, we know that we are not.  So at times we are believers and at times not.  At times we are creative, and at times not.

“How does man then solve this paradox?  By fellowship.  When one man grows weak, and he is an atheist, others hold out, have faith,  and carry him.  In any family, that’s true.  If one person has a nervous breakdown, the others are able to take care of him. Christianity says, `One man, atheist; fellowship, theist’…..if you try to think out God all by yourself, you must end in atheism.  Because nobody in his five senses can proclaim that he does believe in God  24 hours a day. (p.8)  (For instance, why do good people fail and foul people prosper? One cannot make sense from such experience.)

7.The mind cannot stabilize the world permanently. [RF –  that is, by following heros or dogmas, or losing oneself in art.]   Christianity is against idealism, although most Christians  consider themselves idealists.

The Greek humanists, believing the world is good, true, and beautiful, then say, “To live a good life get to know the world,” e.g.  discover the concrete world.  (p.12)    HOWEVER, WHEN PEOPLE  DO THAT THEY DO NOT FIND HAPPINESS.

Modern scientists (post-Einstein) see the world as not necessarily good, but merely “probable.”  Probability theory and chaos theory underlie  all modern science. While scientists see the “one world,”  it is neither true, good,  nor necessarily beautiful according to this view.  ERH claims  they therefore accept the same side as the theists.

All scientists see the world as ordered, and mechanical,  and therefore seek to discover its laws of order. That is, they see it as mechanical up to a point.  BUT THE HUMAN SPIRIT AND MAN’S INNER WORLD OF THOUGHT IS NOT MECHANICAL, IT IS UNFATHOMABLE.

Christian thought accepts the world as it is (one world and chaotic), teaching us to survive it, and make it as decent a place to live as possible.

8.Science isn’t interested in the goodness or badness of the world;  it merely describes it. There is, in fact, much evil in society,  e.g.  crime, greed, avarice, cowardliness, weakness.   HAD THE SOCIAL WORLD NOT CONSTANTLY REGENERATED ITSELF IT WOULD HAVE DESTROYED ITSELF LONG AGO.


10.One of the great paradoxes is the nature of mankind as an individual.  Man  the individual is not just individual, he is multiform (husband/wife, working group member, community member) also, and because of his weaknesses and new problems that society presents, he must constantly change, or be reborn, to use the fundamentalists term. (p.14)   And to be a group member, one must give up some individuality!

11.To prepare for the future one must give up something in the present, just as to attain and maintain good health one must watch one’s diet at every meal time.


13.Because problem solving socially takes varying lengths of time, movements  (causes) must continue for several generations if need be.

Lecture 6

1.ERH asks, What is a major problem of modern industrial, technological society?  It is disintegrating groups and individuals by fragmentation and too much change,  change for the sake of change, so to speak. “Modern industrial society `atomizes’ society,” said Martin Buber.  Too much change, too often, never leaves  time for any action to become stabilized or understood.

Modern man disintegrates, because he is forced by technological progress “…to leave his allegiances in an endless sequence.” (p.1)

The disintegration of the family is a major case in point.  [RF –  the family is strongest, in general,  in third world countries or in peasant societies that have been least touched by technology.)  “Modern man is a new type of nomad.  (p.2)

Another question (problem) of the 3rd millennium is, “Where can man put down roots?”  Is man to consider the entire world his community, and is there to be a spiritual home?

2.The crusade of science, of nature against empire,  to create one world has also created the untenable fragmentation of society and of the individual, both pulled in too many opposing directions.  How then are we to find ourselves in it?  How are we to re-organize our concept of society so that we can regain some stability and with it our sanity and ability to grow?

“…the human person cannot be contained by the world, because the world operates on us as a fragmentation bomb.” (p.5)

3.The rootedness of people in the 3rd millennium must be in time, not in space.  (p.7)   Friendships, speaking honestly and thoughtfully to people (all people), building lasting relationships, looking at situations historically so that one knows what has led up to the present and what needs to be carried on in the future – this was the way of the ancient tribes who were nomads,  not rooted in space!.  (p.8)

Another example of living in a time perspective would be to live in a way that one’s children of the family (or the younger generation in general) would recognize you as someone to follow, as their true parents! (p.14)   [RF – Indeed! My own father died when I was nine years old, and I never knew him nor did I find a surrogate. To be instructed by, and accept the values of the preceding generation is to be rooted, to belong, to feel at home. I felt adrift, spiritually, for many years.]

The ancients lived life “intensively” (fully), but they were exclusive and therefore fought endless wars (as we still do, of course). Today, we are pulled in so many directions we have lost the art of living fully; our attentions are enormously diluted.  We are much more inclusive of many cultures in the world.  BUT WHAT WE NEED IS INCLUSIVENESS AS WELL AS INTENSITY. And now we must concentrate on continuing our inclusiveness, but also work on living life more fully.

There is a great deal of indifference in the world.  Somehow, in the 3rd millennium, we must regain some passion about our work, greater “intensity” in what we do.  “We have made the `thing’  inclusive today.  The problem obviously is to make it intensive, too.” (p.9)

4.Perhaps we have some intensity about the wrong things.  There is a tendency today to backslide into past modes of operation.  Slavery in the South revived an ancient custom of the Greeks and others. Today in many countries there exist  near-slave conditions.

This backsliding appears to save resources.  [RF, what might be forgotten are the  other social problems something like a revival of slavery would cause.]  ERH suggests that projects must  today be built by free men, and yet be beautiful, and yet express the spirit of the times. He refers to architecture as an example, but this term seems to be a metaphor for all activities.  (p.10)

5.We need to keep an eye on the past (but not revive its mistakes), in order to go forward.

6.In the third millennium, we must re-establish the family,  in part by expressing our care for someone, by naming their accomplishments.  Today we suffer from anonymity.  To speak to others and express ourselves thoughtfully, caringly, and honestly,  is to set down roots in the human family.

By mutuality.  We nominate each other.  Nobody nominates you without your nominating him…As father and mother, and brother and sister only co-exist in correlation, nobody can be a brother except for another brother or sister….Very simple. It’s, after all, mutual embrace. (p.15)

…man – as man belongs only to the family because somebody looks at him… To God we pray…the world we observe; and we nominate each other, we talk to each other.  But we cannot talk to each other without giving  each other our title, our name, our place in time.  (p.16)

7.In general, ERH summarizes our social and psychological problems today and suggests how these trends can be changed to re-establish a single society in the world, fighting against the disintegrating influence of technology.

…fruitfulness is the criterion of love…If you wish to overcome mere technical progress and its consequential re-arrangement of nomads into disintegrating particles, you have to try to make them bear fruit through love. Now the simplest word for this would be `reincarnation. (p.19)

8.Human beings cannot be “handled” as other things in space.  Why? Because we are part spirit, which is not in space. “Human beings cannot be left alone, and cannot be handled.” (p.21)

9.In the third millennium, we must learn to break down the barriers to differences, but also maintain those differences.  There would be, “…no physicians, and no observers, and no philosophers.  But there are only partners, members.”

[RF – To observe is to be detached. To be separated from others is to be detached.  To philosophize is to generalize and therefore to be detached.]

10.”In the future  “…all human beings can only have adjectives, and not nouns as their signifying mark.”  In the 2nd millennium, man was recognized as something, as doctor, professor, plumber.  THESE ARE NOUNS.  In the 3rd millennium, we must address people as individuals. NAMES ARE DIFFERENT FROM NOUNS.  Names are specific, while nouns describe a general class of things. (p.24)

Universal History – 1949 – Review

This series of lectures covers many of the themes addressed in the 1967 lecture series,  that is, the crucial lessons all of mankind must learn from history.  However, in this series the author summarizes,  with a much more intensive analysis, the problems of our times and what is to be done in the third millennium if humane communities are to be re-established.  What characterizes our times?  Fragmentation of social groups (communities whose commonality is the sewer or water system), domination by scientific thinking unmoderated by ethical judgments, social indifference, subjection to too-rapid change  engendered by technology,  all of which keeps us constantly off balance.  Instability is rampant.  He then outlines some principles  he believes would  re-establish our sense of community.