Argo Books, Norwich, VT 1988
Introduction by Clinton C. Gardner
Feringer notes
Notes started: 9-10-88
Last edited: 9-98



(from introductory notes by Clinton Gardner)

PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE SOUL is the final chapter in Volume 1 of DIE SPRACHE DES MENSCHENGESDHLECTS (THE SPEECH OF MANKIND) first published as ANGEWANDTE SEELENKUNDE in 1924 by Roether-Verlag, Darmstadt. It is based on a manuscript Rosenstock-Huessy wrote in 1916 for his friend Frans Rosenzweig.  Rosenzweig subsequently described it as providing “the main influence” for his epochal book, THE STAR OF REDEMPTION.  Rosenstock-Huessy always identified  PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE SOUL as the first elaboration of his proposed new method for the social sciences.

End of Introduction

Part 1 – Practical Study of The Soul

1.New names have a way of leading to new thoughts, even beyond those of the originator.  And the more   accessible to the reader a name is, the more its meaning is likely to be changed by the reader as he applies it to his own experience.

The title “Practical Study of  The Soul,” is a case in point.  With the rise of the field of psychology (especially in America), the meaning of the “soul,” originally defined to cover all “inner” life, was changed in keeping with the notion that psychology was a “science,” as in natural science.  The concept “soul” was narrowed to one that the method of natural science could research.  This was to say, applying to phenomena that  could be observed and measured.

Part 2 – The Science of Psychology

1.Psychology today doesn’t deal with the entire soul, but with its two “outer sides,”  the physical and mental aspects of life.(p.7), that is, to physical facets (senses & reactions) and mental facets (memory and intelligence).  In other words, “soul” was the same as “mind” – alternately  idea processor, memorizer, and  material responder.  This is considered the sum total of  the concept of  “mind” and what-ever is left from  the older concept of natural philosophy is relegated to the concern of theology.  Furthermore, as for Descartes,  mind was separated from body in the sense that thought was assumed to be capable of objectivity  (remaining outside of , or unrelated  to, whatever was the object of study, including other human beings).

Contrarily, Rosenstock-Huessy ASSUMES THAT MIND AND BODY ARE DIFFERENT FACETS OF A SINGLE ENTITY that must include phenomena more difficult to define, such as creativity, intuition, and love. Other scholars, namely  Wertheimer, Goldstein, Gelb, Koffka, and Adler, were like-minded.  These researchers averred that a proper method for discerning  social experience would need to include the whole person. The meaning of this will become apparent below.

Theodor Erismann’s book The Idiosyncracy of Things Mental: Inductive and Intuitive Psychology (1924)  is the latest example of an academic approach helplessly trapped between nature and mind like a donkey between two bundles of hay.  Even in the title, he confuses “mental”  research with research into the soul, and it gets worse in the body of the book.  This work is typical of hundreds like it. (p.8)

Part 3 – The Psyche

1.The term psyche means several different things to different people.  To M.D.’s the psyche is the patient’s temporary mental state in connection with physical ailments, a sort of  “…soul wedged between bodily and mental influences.”  Scholars, humanists, and teachers  also have reason to speak of the psyche, but from a different standpoint.  Here the psyche is the kind of holistic ability of the individual to absorb the more subtle expressions of life such as art, the purpose of mankind, moral and aesthetic judgments, and ability to learn.  This adds up to an individual’s  unique ability and outlook on life.

…the psyche is primarily the universal concept for a more or less capable “transformer,” which is what each man represents as he receives the infinite streams of the spirit. (p.9)

The analogy of the transformer might clarify why  the view of scientific psychology assumes that speed of comprehension and ability to save time is a mark of intelligence.  The notion is that different people inherit a “transformer” with different power.  Thus, all I.Q. tests are timed.  SCIENTIFIC PSYCHOLOGY SEES THE NOTION OF PSYCHE AS POSSESSING THE DUAL QUALITIES OF RESPONDING TO PHYSICAL REALITY OR RECEIVING SPIRITUAL REALITY.

Part 4 – The Occult Sciences

1.There is recognized yet another dimension of the term “soul” that is avoided  by legitimate studies, that upon which the occult sciences direct their attention.  Their focus is on the “cosmic powers of the human soul.”  This is a recognition of the creative powers within humans, capable of overwhelming all of the other powers of  mind and body.  “Magic, telepathy, spiritualism, and hypnosis concern themselves with the human soul as a ruling or yielding power in the world.” (p.10)

2.ERH contends there is a power, (one might say the creative or imaginative ability), that can take over and let us suddenly see the world in a new light, let us see laws of the world.  This power includes prophesy,  revelation, and receptivity to religious beliefs.  Psychologists, while recognizing such a power, relegate it to the domain of theologians.

3.”The soul either can conduct the streams of the spirit or it cannot. These powers of the soul should be investigated in terms of human, not supernatural, experience.” (p.11)  There needs to be a  distinction now between prophecy and magic.  Prophecy is embedded in human history, while magic is embedded in the cosmic, contemporary  universe.  The historical record is full of evidence of those who have been “taken by this power,”  this ability to see the world anew. The power involves creativity,  anticipating consequences of actions, and  sacrifice to build a better future for the community. This great power is necessary and must be called upon in our processes of rising above our animal nature, in our progress toward becoming “human.”  What is believed to be “magic,” on the  other hand, is a thing of the moment.

4.Psychologists, by not taking a stand of their own,  by avoiding “like the plague” this power of the human spirit to anticipate and directly shape social destiny,  robbed themselves of a fertile dimension of human power, neutralizing their ability to explain their own creativity.  And at the same time they :

…seem to allow theologians to promote an exaggerated cult of religious hero-worship….they’re  (theologians)  forced to treat a potentially higher study of the soul – the religious domain – without its natural ground floor.  (p.12)

This natural floor would unite religious study with all other aspects of natural human experience.  This dimension of the human soul is “…the natural foundation on which all faith rests, and the occult sciences preserve it.” Basically, the notion of needing to shape the future is either ignored, or denied as a possibility, by scientific psychology.  By contrast, the occult sciences are asking the right questions (how to shape the future), but with the wrong method (magic).  (p.12)

5.           What’s so frightening about the occult sciences?  They claim that any being, i.e. an individual soul, can exert a power over the world or over the immediate environment; a soul can train itself to master cunning abilities; it can call up spirits and phenomena…every being is the bearer of a separate consciousness, each `having it out with the world,’ ….Now we suspect that the order of the world would collapse if this were so. (p.13)

The psychologists also believe that the world is full of individuals (egos) who come to terms with the world by way of their reason; their assumption is that the powers derive from the reasoning mind.  The occultists assume to begin with a full blown “being.”

However, the `psyche’ of philosophy–as well as that of occultism—has been ripped out of the circuit that switched between God and the world, and lies isolated under glass. (p.13)

The occultists’ mistake is that their “soul beings” are endowed with the powers of the world, but lack divine reason that would restrain them.  The philosophers’ “I”s (egos)  are mental giants in the sense that they have the power to find truth, but are powerless before the laws of the natural world.  The occultists claim power over natural forces, but lack any divine reason.

6.These are the roots of two age-old  polar opposites –

…eccentricities of human nature: Orient and Occident, yoga and philosophy, asceticism of the body and `logicism’ of the mind.  …one-sided extremes…Buddha and Plato tyrannize the soul. …`the soul is not a thing.’  Both mistakes can be traced to the same error.  They apply a false grammar to the soul. (p.14)

Part 5 –  The Grammar of The Soul

THE GRAMMAR OF THE SOUL:  Here ERH asks if the soul has a grammar, is it defined? The assumption is that the soul is differentiated from mind, body, and spirit. Is it the sum of these?  If we are to create a science of society (and of the “individual”)  then there must be a method.

DOES THE SOUL have a grammar?  Now as the Word comes out of the soul, and the truest Word comes straight from the very depths of the soul; as we measure the power of speech precisely by the impact on the soul…then, just as the mind has logic, the soul will have a sense of the way words fit together–that is, “grammar” – as its inner structure. (p.15)

1.Logic and theory of cognition constitute the core of the humanities; logic and mathematics constitute the core of natural science; GRAMMAR constitutes the core of the soul, “…the key that unlocks the door…” (p.15)  No scholar or occultist understands this.

2.He likens the state of knowledge of the soul to that of science before experimentation and mathematics “…liberated it from the tyranny of logic.”

3.Today occultists and monists wish to master the soul with calculations based on space and nature, or astrology and mathematics. The innermost secret of the soul is believed by these to be rationality.

4.Academic psychologists assume that “I” included you, he, she, and it of things as well.

Children (all of us) learn that we are neither mother, nor father, nor God, but something else.  The first thing we learn is that we are spoken to. The child is always a “you” to a powerful being outside itself (i.e. it is spanked, corrected, adored, taught). We receive commands and become self-conscious, and are judged from outside.  (This is opposed to the modern social scientist’s perception – that we can say “I am” only after having been addressed as “you.”) We are given a proper name by that power.  No inanimate thing such as a tree or stone has a proper name.

The soul needs all three persons, I, it, and you – constantly changing and constantly indicating this change by inflections in speech. (p.18)

Here it is important to make a distinction between the ordinary grammar taught in school, which puts parts of speech in equal status, and the grammar of the soul, which accurately portrays one’s true feelings.  The former can be superficial and used as commerce (to give a false impression).  The latter reveals deeply held feelings.  The former  “…posits an artificial network of expedient `sewer’ technology as the essence of the fountainhead of speech which erupts so overpoweringly in men…. “Thus confusing the “ability to speak with the ” necessity to speak.” (p.19)

The important distinction here is between speech used for “small talk” or commerce (ordering coffee from the menu and selling a product) and speech used at important moments in life when one is committed; it is a distinction  between ordinary speech and “primal” speech.  Humankind is of course both ordinary and primal, and only occasionally are we capable of being fully articulate with primal speech.  Think, for instance, how often we feel misunderstood, or that we misunderstand others.  TO USE PRIMAL SPEECH IS TO EXERCISE OUR FREE WILL, TO EXERCISE THE “I” IN US. This is the subjunctive or optative mood.

The “I” represents power, the free will, things about to come into being, the subjunctive chorus, “Oh, that I had a thousand tongues,” – “If I for once were God.” (p.20)  This notion is also related to Idealism, and to freedom. “Freedom is the most pithy expression for not wanting to obey yet the laws of existence, for wishing to think of oneself not as a part of the world but as divinely inspired, as an Idealist”  (above the world).

5.Most would agree that love is the positive driving force for shaping the world.  Love is self-forgetting, not looking for unbridled  freedom, without wish or will.  Love also forgets the world.  as the poet says, “If I have only thee, if only thou art mine.”  “What do I care about Heaven or earth?” (p.21)  Love transforms.  It implores and commands.  “So the `you’ is virtually discovered for the first time in the imperative which arises from the transformation love creates.” (p.21)

Philosophy and  academe utilize the ” I”  to represent freedom from and power above the world, and the “it” to describe laws within the world. The third person represents the indicative mood, telling about things which are “resting,” unchanging, finished. (p.20)

BUT this grammar is incomplete.  There is no philosophy based on the YOU, because this is out of the world of philosophy, into the world of commitment.  The “I” is future tense, the “it” or indicative past tense, while  the “you” (imperative), or love, acts in the present.

Obviously it is primal grammar that reveals the true person, the soul.

6.To summarize: the soul needs all three tenses and moods to express itself fully.  Philosophies of freedom (idealism),  or of description (science) are incomplete; they have only one string on their fiddle of the complete soul, for which they attempt to sound what can only be sung by the other strings (all three).  “But the one sided “I” – oriented philosophers or matter-oriented occultists have a downright soul-destroying effect.  They discourage the soul from putting up all the strings placed at its disposal by the grammar of its speech.” (p.22) These limited philosophies continually are mistaken for the whole.  But to apply only these is to dwarf human potential.

To discover reality, one must constantly speak from one’s soul, honestly and courageously attempting to speak out about what seems “real.”  This means constant rediscovery, it means new expressions of speech.  True grammar (speech) that accomplishes this reaches for and develops the soul in mankind. It renews and awakens. Goethe said:  “Awaken in the blessed  hour and faithfully with every new union kiss, alive the old ones anew.”  (p.23)

7.Each new generation must transform speech.  In great literature –  epics, poetry, and drama – primal grammar is exponentially unfolded.  ERH  gives a number of examples from literature, of the soul speaking. (p.24)

8.Science carries us off into the world of space and of things finished.  The fine arts carry us off into the life of the first person.  THIS IS THE TREND TODAY, TO LIVE ONLY IN THE WORLDS OF SPACE AND SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS OF FREEDOM,  with the world of the second person, “thou shalt,” being assigned to the heads of state.  In this way the real life for ordinary persons is being loosened.

Separating the exterior life of government and law from common morality is an example of this trend. People are made into objects and statistics, into third persons.

“So between the state’s being a first person, and its treating people as third persons, all that is left for the soul is the categorical imperative of legally pre-established duty.  The only thing it isn’t meant to be is loving, listening, obedient soul, a soul with the power to transform itself, a soul which fuses law and ethics by suffering, a soul which asserts itself by acting, a soul beloved of God.” (p.25)


10.A person must have lived through a lot before he/she can assume the first-person form “I”  That person must first be summoned by her proper name.  The relation between the summons and response is the “I.”  Such  a summons produces self-recognition and self-knowledge by offering a concrete challenge.

Thus, through all of the stages of transformation, from youth to young adulthood to adulthood at each stage the person abandons the old gods that commanded him and pays more attention to other voices, to parents, to teachers in school, to politics, to people, to faith, philosophy, love.  The whole person passes through the stages of you, I, and it, and is transformed.

To be transformed, we must listen and be called, and answer “I am here,” and then act.  The soul suffocates in a world of only thought, as the philosophers would have us do, a world of thought sans action.

11.Grammar, as defined above, is the discipline of  transforming persons into becoming more human. Its methods are variation, transformation, and changes of time.  School grammar recognizes punctuation, while primal grammar aims toward changing  the human spirit.  Our present situation, the crisis in teaching if you will, is the lack of the ability of our classroom grammar to change us.

“The grammar of primitive cultures already contains the entire miracle of being human as fully as does the grammar of the most advanced “cultures.”  People have received the former as well as the latter from a few original creators.

Part 6 – The Fate of The Soul

1.Occultists and psychologists  view the individual as an isolated being primarily controlled  either by one’s own willing of one’s behavior, or by the power of some outside “natural” force.  A natural force  would be either another person whose superior “will” can control others,  or (with psychologists) someone who might control propaganda.   In either case, the person controlled would be considered an “it” in the sense that he/she would be considered an “object.”  Astrologers would believe some influence from the position of stars, while the magician is believed to move natural objects at will.   A third, but weaker alternative to influence behavior would be a “calling” from the community,  when some necessary task needs to be committed to.

In relation to community, these same forces would seem to be contradictory, on the one hand implying  that the individual has free will, but on the other that that will is controlled by forces outside the soul. Both of these views, if true, would lead to egomania and mental or moral sickness.  Neither of these views can explain mental health in the environment of  normal life, which has pain and suffering.

2.The healthy person, although filled with pain and suffering and even failure, remains healthy if he/she is constantly transforming him/herself.  To remain mentally healthy, we must feel wanted,  and we must be open to be called, to be recognized, to feel competent and respected.  If we are free, which ERH believes we are,  community is held together by a spirit, and willingness to freely cooperate with others.  The implication for mental health, according to this view,  could not be more different than that of the occultists and psychologists.  This is to say that the first force that directs our lives is the call from the community to serve, which we must be willing to accept voluntarily.  Thus, the major driving force for our actions would be what the psychologists consider a weak third force.  In terms of ERH’s grammatical expressions, the primary forces in our lives that call us to action are not the ego centered “I,” or the other “it,” but rather the “you” (i.e. must do thus and so, else the community will fail.”)

“… a man who is not spoken to cannot become human.  Without being summoned, he will remain what he was, a natural being, an animal.”  (p.30)

3.Man remains an “it” until he is called.   He seeks uniqueness as well as belonging. the field of scientific psychology continues to miss the mark because it cannot recognize two souls.  The fact that two or more individuals  may be doing the same thing does not mean that those actions mean the same to them.  Nor do two or more individuals doing different things mean they are not thinking the same.  Psychology is therefore avoiding this type of problem.

4.Occultism plunges into the opposite stream from that of psychology, where prediction is concerned. They claim to describe the fate of one individual; science avoids this like the plague, applying actuarial statistics to predict probabilities of group behavior, but avoiding a study of the individual and thereby perpetuating pseudo-sciences. Superstitions – astrology, spiritualism, palm-reading, and theosophy – attempt to predict the future for individuals, their methods bound in mystery.

5.ERH defines the soul;

The microcosm of the soul is a parable of creation.

The essence of the soul fulfills itself as a life story.

The language of the soul transforms the world. (p.32)

In short, the soul is the creative force of humanity and only through it does humankind become transformed from animal to human during his/her life.  ERH asks how superstition can be replaced by a doctrine of historical method;  how the superstition of souls “chained by numerical combinations of matter or of the stars” can be replaced by mankind  transformed into a power that can shape the future for a better community;  and finally,  how laws of palmistry and phrenology can be replaced by  creativity and revelation?

Today the occult sciences employ the wrong method, and social science avoids these questions by employing an ineffective method for the study of the meaning of social experience.

Part 7 –  The Powers of The Soul

1.Soul and Psyche are different.  The soul seems to be the overall driving force that creates and exemplifies an individual “character” as it evolves through life.  Perception, association, thought, etc. have to be based on continuing lines of force; soul (character) is a bridge through the whole time of the individual’s life. (p.33)

Soul is not made up of habits, or talents, or one’s predisposition. Rather, it is one’s biography from the present to the time of death.   [ERH says somewhere that the purpose of life is to live; “living” appears to mean the meeting of crises and rising above them, evolving to the next stage of development.  No meeting of life on its terms, no soul is developed.  One is born only with a potential, which can only become realized as one participates in one’s own  spiritual evolution.

2.Courage and fear become the sustaining factors for a psychology of the individual soul. (p.33)  Fear and hope are the shaping powers.  Rarely do we perceive what we are indifferent to.  We must learn to rise above fear and pain, to persevere and grow in spite of barriers. “A person who avoids a crisis evades the soul-shaping tasks set before him. ….The deeper the suffering the soul goes through…the more forcefully it enters reality…”  (p.34)

Overcoming, striving, and undergoing occur completely in the solitude of the individual soul.  It is always a lonely battle.  All of these crises occur during changes in life-stages when the individual is challenged.  But the soul is not fragmented. It is the sum of a life, and the sum of the battle represents UNITY (a unique, individual character).

3.Each stage of life threatens us.  Such a challenge is a rehearsal for death, a kind of metaphorical death suffered during life.  The consequence is negative when we fail the challenge, and positive in  the sense of  the discontinuance of undesirable habits, paving the way for new life (change).  THIS IS THE EVERYDAY ENACTMENT OF DEATH AND RESURRECTION.

4.Death needs to be kept in mind in the act of meeting these challenges, because we need to remind ourselves of what we hope to become.  And thus our response to the challenge should lead us in that direction. THIS REPRESENTS A POSITIVE POWER OF FACING DEATH THROUGHOUT LIFE.  This is an important concept of ERH, in contrast to traditional scientific psychological views, which infer that we are at the mercy of forces outside ourselves.  The presence of a healthy “soul” is intended to overcome such environmental forces, thus allowing us to possess the power to participate in our own and in the group’s life to better both.

5.”The life of the soul awakens only in a person who boldly affirms the law of death and crisis…A crisis, after all, is a forestalled piece of death.” (p.35)  This is at once the risk and price one pays to become fulfilled, that is to be willing to submit to the pain of change.  The formative power of the soul must be trusted, “…to risk being shaped into what you and only you are called upon to become and are allowed to become.”   To do this one must listen for, and accept a call to act in some way, becoming a “thou” to listen and respond.  One must not to become addicted to only intellect, or glitter.  Relying solely on intellectual forces fragments (kills) the soul. (p.36)

Psychosomatic medicine, long since accepted as a force in healing of sickness, is an example of the power of a soul at work.   And how many diseases have their origins in the mind?

Part 8 – Community

1.When people are able to rely on one another, it relieves the crushing burdens one experiences when feeling totally alone in the world. The creation of community is essential to survival. To establish community requires trust in others, and trust occurs only between souls.  This counter balances the pain and suffering in life, and is why belonging is such a fundamental need.

2.The community retains its healing power (healing the soul torn by too many challenges)  when it accepts the same life-threatening tensions the individual suffers.

The existence of community, or the effect of entering a community, holds both risk and healing power.  In the process of entering community, the individual soul must suffer the “dissolving” of the framework that protects it.

“When the soul searches out a path for itself through the changes of body, or through the illusions of mental prejudices, it needs elbow-room, a husk, “space around its feeling,” so that it can wax and wane, be affirmed and denied, be checked and praised.  In the tension between fear and hope, the soul can shape itself only if it has a measure of freedom to experiment, of uncommitted elasticity, only if it is not subject to the public law of cause and effect at every moment.  (p.37)

3.     SHAME provides that elbow-room.  Without shame, before shame, or beyond shame, the soul does not grow.  Shame is the housing sheltering anything connected with the soul.  Shame is the grove in which anything to do with the soul has to be planted in order to grow.  To an empiricist inquiring about it from naked, indigenous people, the shyness accompanying shame seems as arbitrary as it does to an idealistic psychologist, who considers it highly unreasonable.  Shame does not fit the “system.”  If the soul were an “it” or an “I,” i.e. an object or subject, a thing or God, it would certainly have no need of shame.  Things and gods do not blush (see Homer!), nor do they tremble or sweat. (Remember Nietzsche’s angry outburst, “A god who sweats!”)  But a human soul, like you, conceals itself and shies away from things.  Thisverecundia (shyness) is the way we appear primarily when living in the second person singular.”  (pp. 37,38)

4.ERH goes on to say that the community (of souls) serves the individual, not by abolishing shame, but by “continually re-implanting the shame’s field of force into one of higher tension.”  In other words, we are more sensitive to our shame when among those of our own community.

The metaphor “naked soul” is descriptive.  The soul is delicate and needs a cloak or mask before the cold, objective world.  Paradoxically, the soul needs to reveal itself to others (souls) in order to evolve.  A community of souls provides both the protection in the form of acceptance of the individual, and the opportunity to listen lovingly and sympathetically to others.

5.Psychoanalysis is also parallel to the community in dealing with “diseases of shame.”  It attempts to destroy or overcome shame, an ambiguous function.  ERH points out that the soul cannot be healed by simply opening it up (to outside inspection); it needs a mask.  Like air coming into contact with a raw nerve, the process of “opening up” is always painful, and thus the soul needs some protection.  “Souls may only open themselves to other souls.”  [THIS IS FUNDAMENTAL].  For the psychoanalyst to open it up to searching “intellect,” he may only do this successfully by answering with his own soul.

6.Here again ERH speaks out  succinctly and eloquently.

That is why psychoanalysts (who are also natural ministers of the soul) often accomplish amazing things.  They offer their own shame, their own souls, when encountering the souls of others; they gaze out of their own souls as much as they gaze into the souls of others.(pp.38-39)

Part 9 – The Speech of The Community

1.The problem here appears to be, “How do we create a regenerative community?”  Regenerative means a community has suffered and experienced crisis, and, recovered from it.   In discussing this, ERH appears to be asking two other questions that this chapter discusses in some detail, namely  1) Why do we need community? and 2) What is primal speech and how is it engendered?   This latter point answers  his overall question by pointing out that regenerative communities are those in which primal speech is spoken.  Primal speech is speech about crucial problems.

2.The flow of ERH’s logic would seem to go something like this:

a.The community is an essential entity for human evolution for a number of reasons, the principle of which is that without it speech would not have evolved.

b.By “speech” he refers to what he calls “primal” speech – speech addressing important matters in human  affairs, as contrasted with “small talk,”  which deals with the weather and politeness.

c.Primal speech comes from the human soul, and it deals with deeply felt attitudes.  This is why it is so necessary to maintain a regenerative community, because its people speak honestly about important issues.

d.Primal speech is brought about by religion, which represents a spirit that in turn is engendered by a willingness of individuals to accept a command to go forth and carry out necessary deeds, regardless of the individual sacrifice required.

3.Details of these arguments are as follows:

Introduction:  In order to survive, grow, and prosper we need to comprehend reality to the highest degree possible, and to do this we must form associations with others (communities).  These in turn engender language, communication, and the creation of knowledge,  all of which allows us to transform the environment – social, mental, and material.  However, our comprehension of reality is never complete. Not only does the physical environment constantly change, but also our knowledge of it remains flawed. We must constantly renew that comprehension.

Only the change of attitudes and convictions causes such a renewal, which  also transforms the individual.  The motive for such transformation is always brought about by consciousness of the failure of our actions. This should set in motion forces that cause reconsideration of  old ways and invention of new ones.  To change deeply felt beliefs is often terrifying and risky.  Reflect on the adage, “The devil we know is better than the devil we don’t know.” Overcoming deep fears and engendering a willingness to suffer pain and sacrifice requires the maximum power we can command. The soul is therefore always riven with passion.  It is precisely the source of such power that ERH defines as “the soul.”

4.WHY DO WE NEED COMMUNITY?  We need community (a true regenerative community) because it provides a cloak (protection) for the individual so that he/she can speak truth  (from the soul) with some protection, for speaking the truth can often be a great risk.  Without such protection, the objective world would tear us apart.  Schizophrenia is an example of such ravage. (p.41)  Mental health, on the other hand, is maintained by being spoken to,  whether in love or hate. (All mental illness is a turning inward and closing out the world.)

5.Communities also have a dark side against which the individual soul needs protection.  People e mass, institutionalized individuals, “the establishment” – whether business, government, clubs, or even families — tend toward  seeking power instead of inner strength. These tend to the shifting of guilt instead of defending justice, toward the passionate obscuring of issues instead of revealing truth. p.49  These tendencies of institutions force individuals in their formal roles to lie.  Thus, institutional life,  like many other facets of experience, is a paradox; it is needed for our growth, yet the source of distorting reality and social destruction.  Another facet of stress of institutional life is focussed on the difference between group perceptions of reality on the one hand and the individual perceptions on the other – always different because each individual experiences only a little piece of reality.

6.If this paradox cannot be resolved,  what we call community is little more than a collection of people, but with no deep reservoir of common  understanding  or trust.  Such a community  self-destructs eventually because it has a low tolerance for stresses of any type. A regenerative community conversely  is precisely one that has the power and resolve to balance this paradox. Only through the existence of  primal speech can we have a true community of souls (individuals who have accepted and committed themselves to defend and work for a common spirit).  Trust and creativity are therefore essentials to the future of any community.

7.           Work transforms the world by pursuing its laws of cause and effect. The creative mind transforms thoughts, which it ponders in the light of a uniform point of  view. But neither mind nor matter alone can transform the person himself.  They have to be subordinated to a community that can. (p.50)

PRIMAL LANGUAGE:  Primal language is necessary language, language from the soul.  The Bible has served as an important force in the evolution of Western cultures because, 1) “…it tells the story of the universe of a history of people and souls,”  2) as a carrier of primal language. Primal language gives voice to our transformations in life, unifying people, fusing “…God, man, the World into a resounding we. (p.40)

8.Social grammar, as ERH contrasts with the textbook grammar of nouns and conjugations, is a necessary component to understand primal language.  Art exemplifies the first person plural,  representing a transfiguration and apotheosis (making a god of a person), as only a god can be creative.  “To create is the life of the soul.” (p.42)  Grammatically, the creative act, is represented by the first person “I” (subjunctive, conjunctive, optative, voluntative). The artist creates “maybes,” possibilities for the future, as contrasted with the cause/effect “laws” established by science.  Ironically, the social scientist can apply his method to many things, but  cannot account for his own creativity.   The “I” begins with the eternal freedom to change.

Science, by contrast, describes the world as it is. The “natural” world, attempting to discern the laws of cause/effect in how something works.  Grammatically, it (nature)  is represented by the third person, the “it,”  removed from the observer;  therein lies his ” objective” situation.  The beginning and end of scientific process is theories and laws.  This is the indicative mood, the most simple of the parts of social grammar. It seeks to find causes and effects, i.e. the internal workings of nature. (p.46)

9.The Missing Person:  It is ERH’s contention that traditional  social science methods, as described above, represent incomplete thinking patterns. One missing part is the commitment, the emotional attachment or dedication to a cause that engenders willingness to sacrifice, to set aside self-interest.  The part of speech represented by this voice is the “you,”  the voice of the second person, the person willing to listen to authority  and to respond. The first and third grammatical voices described above represent command (the “I”) and description of the world (the “it”), but where is the human dedication to cause?  This is the second person, both singular and plural,  the listener, the power that does more than describe. It is the power to act and complete causes.

10.Much language represents small talk, using cliches, the thoughts and words of others, superficial speech to describe (make ideas intelligible),  but with no power to move others.  The power to move others and be moved includes Religion.  “Religious language towers above art and science, because it integrates into “we’s” all three of the grammatical persons.” (p.41)  Religion’s shrine preserves transformation (change), as does legislation into law.  The fundamental principle of religion is that it is “the mystical marriage between God, man, and  the world of  I, you, it.”

Part 10 – Our People

OUR PEOPLE and chapter 11, SPIRIT, SOUL AND BODY will be described here as a unified piece.  The central theme (problem) appears to be a summary of the thesis that our major problem in life is to grow from animal into human being.  The first step in this process is understanding our experience, and this cannot occur with the present methods for social science.   A new science of society must be centered around Grammar; not the grammar of classroom texts, but a social grammar reflecting human commitment to causes.  He summarizes this new grammar by pointing out that LOGIC exposes errors in reasoning, SCIENCE (mathematics) exposes errors of the senses, and PRIMAL GRAMMAR exposes errors in commitment.  Our present social problems are causes because, while we employ logic and science on the one hand, we need a science of the soul (commitment), which is powered by the energy of the soul. This is  not the soul of “mind” conceived by present social science.  Therefore:

We need a new science of the soul…Meanwhile our field of study is being overrun by philosophy and psychology on the one hand and occultism and mathematics on the other… (p.53)

ERH offers in Chapter 10 a case study of Germany after WWI.  Some Germans made an impassioned plea to see themselves as victors, as a world power.  What they needed, ERH avers, is to re-create a people:

1.     A people, when a true congregation, is neither an authoritarian state (first person),  nor a population of  60 million (third person), but rather a people ready for its calling and for that reason alone is capable of facing the present and also of  regenerating itself physically and spiritually. The soul can renew body and spirit, but not vice versa.  Because when a “you” contemplates its task, both spiritual and physical paths open up.  Both convictions and one’s awareness of the outer world originate in contemplation. [German play on words: on Besinnung (contemplation), Gesinnung (convictions), and Sinne (the senses). Contemplation can renew the spiritual sense of self-consciousness, as well as the physical senses. (p.51)

2.Grammar in this schema is the discipline of change.  Reaching for material things as the dominating force in our lives makes one lose one’s inner bearings because the material world changes daily.  Acting only on ideals, principles, or dogmas makes one “pigheaded,” unchanging, as abstractions are outside concrete experience.

3.HAVING STABLE INNER BEARING, BUT CHANGING IN THE RIGHT WAY AND AT THE RIGHT TIME,  GIVES ONE SHAPE  (character, commitment, soul). (p.54)  Primal grammar is the method for renewal that Germany needed  at that time.  Our language today tends not to be “primal,” but rather more superficial, and thus resistant to change.  [RF – I am reminded here of the research of Chris Argyris who developed the concepts of single and double loop decision-making.  The single loop (the common practice) keeps repeating error. See REASONING, LEARNING AND ACTION, Josey-Bass]

4.In the final chapter, ERH makes a distinction between the soul (singular), spirit (plural)  and body.

One can say, namely, for both  men and women,  everything about them that has to do with the total duration and unity of their existence belongs to the soul.  Destiny, profession, marriage, children, honor, fame, disappointment, suffering, sacrifice, names–all these things are given meaning from the fact that they all belong to one united line, one life story for mankind. (p.55)

One’s bodily, material needs, on the other hand, start with daily bread and daily requirements of shelter, clothing, and urges.  So from the material point of view, marriage is only an expansion of sex and reproductive urges;  professions are only an expanded concern for dailybread, and so forth, just as Lasalle articulated it in his iron law of wages.  And yet there remains an immense difference between these needs and the meaning of the soul.  No matter how many daily wages are added together, they won’t equal the course of a life; no matter how many sexual acts, they won’t equal a marriage.

So for men and women, the material things about them are summed up in the concerns for units of time shorter than the ages of their own lives.  This explains, on the one hand, the immense importance  material things  have for people without real  destiny in their lives,  for the proletariate and all other people who have fallen prey to daily life. On the other hand, this explains the limits of material concerns, which remain passing in comparison with the course of a whole life. (p.55)

5.SPIRIT, the plural of soul,  goes beyond and above time of the soul. It is more than one soul’s lifetime,   an inherited succession of souls.  The carrying on of an idea beyond one lifetime, “Spirit is the power of mankind”  as compared to the power of an individual.  (p.56) Theology has been till now the custodian of all secrets of the soul.

A person remains inspired only as long as he finds himself within a structure that reaches beyond himself.

6.Spirit – of a club, organization, country, or profession – is what individuals subject themselves to.  The stronger the soul (of the individual),  the more they can embrace spirit. (p.57)  The spirit thus engulfs and restricts some personal freedom.   This  is necessary because unconfined “will” becomes total tyranny.

7.All causes (technology, science, professions, etc.) requires dedication by souls.  Souls in community commonly committed to a cause form a spirit, which is the only way social progress can be made. Society and social change, as with the soul, is regenerated by dedication to the spirit of social grammar as ERH defines it, by unifying the three grammatical persons of the “it,” the “you,” and the “I,” alternating between them with the appropriate rhythm.  To carry this out requires sacrifice by the soul, of time and  offered from the heart.  Voluntarism is needed to enlarge the soul.

The basic problem ERH seems to be addressing here is, “How can truly productive and healthy individuals and communities be created?”  He states near the end of the essay that a test of the true community is that it can emerge from catastrophe rejuvenated.  The method for such accomplishment is an education that develops the “soul.” In traditional socio/psychological,  secular language of today, the term soul would be translated to mean “character,” or “integrity.”  But, as pointed out, this conception falls short of accounting for social vitality.   He goes on the say that only souls are capable of responding to and evolving the “spirit” of an idea or institution, and thus souls are the fundamental input necessary to achieve true communities of associations.


This treatise is significant, but subtle and difficult to clarify and summarize.  It addresses the question, “What  empowers us to rise above mere animal nature to become fully `human’ ?”  What, in other words, are the elements of our mental powers, with particular reference to the power to change and grow (i.e. the soul)?

The following matrix-type diagrams are intended as an aid to the reader to see the structure of  Rosenstock-Huessy’s argument.  By his own admission, this treatise formed the original structure for a new method for social science.  He suggests there exist four approaches to this question, three representing points of view from the past,  which are parochial and therefore inadequate to explaining the full nature of our mental powers.  The fourth diagram describing his “Grammatical Method” integrates the preceding three powers into a more comprehensive and sufficient whole.

The first point of view is that of the natural scientist, who defines the primary power of the “mind” as a receptor of sensory experience, capable of logically processing those data.  While some scientists may concede that the mind can also receive divine revelation as the source of creativity, and that there is a necessity for ethical values to guide human behavior, those phenomena are outside its method and concern.  In other words, the scientific can explain neither the scientist’s creativity nor the structures of religion.

The second point of view, interestingly comes from the ancient occult sciences such as magic, telepathy, spiritualism, and hypnosis.  This view posits “mind” as the creative force of the universe, its mental powers  capable of dominating the concrete world.  The mind, in other words, is capable of creativity on its own. However, these sciences recognize no ethical constraints as a necessity.  Rosenstock-Huessy concludes that while this point of view defends the right issue, the creative powers of our mind, it utilizes the wrong method and goal.  If there were validity to this method, he asserts, the social world would have torn itself apart long ago.  As with the natural scientist, this method precludes any integration with the other two sources of power.

The third aspect of the mind is the province of religion, the divine power that created the universe. Instilled into the human psyche, this harbors the power to overcome personal greed and avarice, and act selflessly along the models of Jesus, Buddha, Moses, and other religious founders and prophets.  Such behavior must, by necessity, guide the socially related decisions that engender human survival.  The limitation of this view is that it is oriented toward something outside society – paradise – and therefore does not make strong connections between the divine spirit and concrete experience.  Working to get into heaven does not necessarily imply a necessary foundation of social life, nor do religious mandates claim to do so.

The “Grammatical Method” recognizes the positive contributions of each of these methods and asserts that in order for us to understand the meaning of our experience as fully as possible and incorporate the power to change and grow, we need all three.   At the point of decision-making we would be empowered to recognize the significance of the decision and have the power to overcome the enormous forces presenting barriers to change and growth.  All such powers, also furnish the foundations for improving community.

The mind is made up of these three elements, the central position of which is the individual’s ability and willingness to think for him/herself, drawing on all three parts,  under the guidance of ethical (religious) behavior.  This action is the source of soul building.  One is not born with a soul, only with the capacity to develop the soul.   Greatness of spirit can be founded only on a strong soul.  The fundamental method by which the spirit of  all methods is conveyed in speech!


Argo Books, Inc. Norwich, VT 1970
Introduction by Clinton C. Gardner
Feringer notes
Notes started: 1-14-92
Last edited: August-98


Introduction by Clinton Gardner

1.    ERH is an influential thinker among many scholars, but is not well known generally. Harvey Cox, attending a meeting on theological thought in East Berlin, found as much in Rosenstock-Huessy as in Tillich and Bonhoeffer.  J.H. Oldham, a former President of the World Council of Churches has described Rosenstock-Huessy as “…one of the  remarkable figures of our time.”  Reinhold Niebuhr, Lewis Mumford, and Carl Zuckmayer  have hailed his work.  Yet in the U.S. he remains largely unknown.  Why?

2.    Part of the reason lies in the fact that for many years most of his writing was in German and remained untranslated.  Another reason was that he had no constituency in the U.S. because the basis of his thinking was questioning  and attacking the very foundation of traditional academic thinking in the fields of theology, philosophy, psychology, sociology, indeed in all of the social sciences.

He threatens the very basis of their existence, for all of his writing and teaching is, in effect, a storming of the academic trenches.  As Martin Marty wrote in The Christian Century in 1965, `Rosenstock-Huessy was ahead of his time–and he still is.’ (p.1)

Rosenstock-Huessy did not fit the academic mold in other ways.  Like Descartes, he waited to develop his ideas, writing  “out of the circumstances of his life,”  rather than spending time “neatening up” his ideas, as would a traditional scholar.  [RF – a more detailed  commentary on the implication of this style appears in the introduction of these notes.]

3.    Purpose of S&R? To dethrone Descartes’  method as the basis for all science. Cartesian method is assumed by social scientists to apply to society.  Beginning with Comte’s Course of Positive Philosophy (1830):

“…they adopted that same method.  In other words, the social sciences, down to our day, have more or less agreed with Descartes that he had discovered a new metaphysic, a universal and true view of reality which could be directed toward any investigation, be it of matter or man.” (p.3)

Contrarily, ERH contends that  1) Cartesian analysis applies only to natural science, 2) a method for social science can be found in the patterns of human speech, and 3) the Grammatical Method is universal, i.e. Cartesian method is one of its four elements.

4.    In general, ERH’s works are divided into historical, sociological, and theological as follows:

a.   Historical:  mankind is formed by 4 kinds of speech, 1) tribal, orienting toward ancestors (past),. 2) templar speech, originated in Egypt and oriented toward nature (outside society, such as stars),  3) Greek speech, oriented toward organized “thought” (i.e. poetry and philosophy), and 4) Prophetic speech, originated by Israel and oriented toward what humankind should become.

The Christian era fused these four types; it asserted that in order to understand our experience and survive, humankind moves in a rhythm between all of these. The rhythm (proper sequence for understanding types of experience) would be, in terms of grammar,  imperative, subjective, narrative, and finally objective.  Historical man unfolds in this pattern, as does significant everyday human experience. (p.6)

b.   Sociological & psychological works: how man discovers himself by speech (going beyond the I & Thou of Buber). That is, ERH submits:   1) First comes the “thou” by which man is called to create a future for the community.  2) He then discovers his “I,” his subjective, inner self. 3) Then  he responds by his action of contributing to the community denoted by “we” and   4) finally, he is recognized, objectively by the outside world, in the role of a third person “him.”   Thus, his philosophy addresses to the future and past in time, and the inward and outward in space (space meaning the inner space of the mind contrasted with everything outside it).  Speech creates our consciousness of and understanding of  social experience comprehensively in terms of the past and future  (what society has been and what it should become),  the inner world of thought, and the outer world of nature.

c.   Theologically:  What was called the “holy spirit”  can now be called the speech of mankind.  Man’s divinity consists in his speaking and listening.  “Supernatural” is man speaking “beyond himself” i.e. creating a community (a future). Life after his death exists in terms of the memory of humankind carried into the future.

“God is not a supernatural being, but the power that makes us speak… “We experience him every moment we reach out beyond ourselves, saying the word that needs to be spoken, that is timely, that moves us into the future.  Sin is abuse of the word, words that destroy peace and the truth that all language seeks to establish.”  (p.7)

d.   Assumptions:  1) Speech is man’s “matrix”  (that is, the structure of our speech reflects the structure of how society has survived over the millennia).  2) Speech precedes organized thought and therefore reflects its pattern, having been created intuitively. 3) A new method for the social sciences (and indirectly for all of science as well)  can be erected on the basis of how men speak and listen.

End of Introduction


This provides the grand plan for the method, into which all other six chapters fit.

1.    The Unity of Social Research

a.   Assumption: ERH considers Ludwig Feuerback, in the nineteenth century, to be the father of  grammatical philosophy as a basis for social science.

b.   In defense of these assertions ERH cites several facts:

1)   The rise of social disciplines, history, ethnology, sociology, etc. augmented elements of society, but with no integrating principle.  “…in grammar only, is there performed such a multiformity within unity.”  (p.9)

2)   In philosophy a group of language thinkers arose in the 19th Century.

3)   Linguists began to look in the direction of society, previously having concentrated on its structure an not its social implications. Problems like social breakdowns and insanity were not previously addressed.

4)   Warnings came to indicate that social breakdowns and the condition or usage of language could not be separated. We have been warned by psychoanalysts, Nietzsche, and the Russian revolution in recent times that corruption of language usage and social breakdowns are concurrent.

5)   The organized study of Language had never been used as a universal method for social analysis, and ERH will show that the method for natural science excludes “…application to society, by establishment.” (p.11)

6)   Medieval and modern thinkers never laid claim to a method to explain changes in society.  They            contended that methods must either be “scientific” or “theological.”  (Science faults theology for not being scientific theology faults science for a lack of direction, and both ignore each other.) This attitude promotes fragmentation of thinking. ERH maintains  here that only through a social grammar can these groups can be united.  And he warns that unless such a unity is found, academe (in the social sciences) can be ignored by the masses, “…in our un-understandable division.” (p.11)

2. Social Dangers Compel Us to Speak Our Mind  (p.11)

a.   War, revolution, anarchy, and decadence eternally threaten the extinction of society.  [RF-I take this, not only literally, but as a metaphor for all groups within society as well.]

b.   He makes an important qualification, that he is not addressing individual ills, but only social ills. (p.12)

“We do not inquire into the problems of disease and death, suicide and lunacy here although they reflect social ills or correspond to social ills. We shall speak of social ills only in the sense that they comprehend more than one generation or more than one locality.”  (p.12)

[RF – I see this as a crucial distinction in his thinking.]

c.   Anarchy is the lack of cooperation within a group; there is too much individualism, no common inspiration! Socially, this represents a breakdown of a group’s inner space.

Decadence  is the lack of passing on old aims and ends.  Either people have no children, or children do not accept the old values.  This is a breakdown of time between present and past, an inability to reach the future in mind, body, or soul. (p.12)  There is a lack of faith, faith as a belief in the future.   Decadence condemns the next generation to barbarism!

Revolution  does violence to the existing order, as the old are liquidated, considered “past men.” (p.13) There is a break in time between present and future.

War  represents the increased efficiency in power of a government, where power is increased in attempts to extend that power over territory outside its own borders. This represents a breakdown in the management of “outer space.”

These are definitions of the social order, making distinctions between time and space fronts, past/present/future, inner and outer space. Such  distinctions offer reference points (locations in time and space) by which to assess social ills search for causes and cures, and measure corrective action.

(RF – If the reader has not read a definition distinguishing natural and social science, the following will be helpful at this point. The need for a new perspective for social science is apparent when one looks at how natural science defines these elements of time and space. To the natural scientist time is an endless stream with no beginning or end; past is past and of little importance, present is a micro-moment between past and future, and time can be divided almost endlessly, with an absolute value in measurement – Max Planck’s “C” constant, for instance.  Space is a given in nature, and descriptions of events are denotative in terms principally of space. All measurement seeks absolute accuracy and the measure for quality.)

(However, this does not describe how we actually experience time and space. We have a memory  that can strongly influence our view of an event. The future, if society is to survive, must be shaped because natural “animal” tendencies of greed, avarice, and self-centeredness would tear the world apart. Also, in the process of controlling our time, we increase the sensation of “present.”  In sum,  then, the social science of Rosenstock-Huessy includes the space and time perspective of the natural scientist, but expands it; additional dimensions of time render it flexible rather than absolute, and dimensions of space separate the world of thought from the world of concrete events. To denotative description, when we describe our feelings we just as often needconnotative speech – metaphor.)

The complete victory of any one (of war, anarchy, revolution or decadence) — ends society (p.13),  and the sustaining dominance of any one of these, over time, will do the same.  The validity of this paradigm can be understood upon reflection of one’s own life experience.

d.   All social research that does not address these ills is “superfluous,”  imprisoned in the reality of the “outer world.”  Dwelling on cures to social problems solely in the “outer world,” as our present social methods tend to do, exacerbates these ills.

e.   What are the Cures?  For war, peace begins when people begin to speak again. It took 10 years, 1945-55 for WWII, before peace began.  For decadence, words have no meaning between old and young, and the faith of the old is not transmitted, where language is mere verbiage, “a petrified ritual.”  Faith between the generations must be established. (p.14)  Anarchy “…means a lack of unanimity, of common inspiration…”  It is reflected in the fact that metaphorically, two languages are spoken within the group, and there is no communication – it is a Tower of Babel. Obviously peace begins when all speak one language.   With revolution, old values and terms are “ridiculed.” These are merely a reflection of many more indicators of social diseases. Problems, methods, and terms need redefinition. `

Obviously  “language is the weapon of society against those four ills.”( p.14,15)  Time and space distinctions as advocated above must be respected and unified, thought  with experience (the outer); action (in the present) must be informed by past experience and move toward a desired  future.

The four diseases dismantle society, by breaking down one of its fronts in time or space… The evil of decadence is the lack of faith in the future. The evil of revolution is the lack of respect for the past… War rages when anarchy between two groups is replaced by the violent effort of establishing unity…Wars prove the weakness of the peacetime system. (p.15)

3. Society Lives By Speech, Dies Without Speech

a.   There are four different “styles” of speech, one for each of the four fronts. (p.16)  1) External world, conquered by reason, logic, science. 2) The future is ruled (by values, laws passed).  3) The past is narrated.  4) Unanimity of the inner circle is expressed in song.

The energies of social life are thus compressed into words that must be articulated, circulated, and regenerated.  For instance, new meanings or new terms must be created when old ones no longer have power.

b.   Grammar is thus the most obvious organon for the teachings on society. Grammar here means a higher grammar where the consequences of action are correlated with    words, as contrasted with the lower, purely structural aspects of language,  e.g.  spelling, sentence structure, vocabulary. Social grammar refers to the consequences of our speech in society.

c.   Science (in general) has two languages, logic and mathematics. Aristotelian logic admits no paradox, as medieval logic does. The grammatical method retains medieval logic. (RF – as defined by Anselm of Canterbury). In this usage,  paradox signals the need for a higher principle that will unify the contradicting experiences.Mathematics retains the data, but strips off the appearances in evidence (i.e. uniqueness). (RF – in general,  he laments the limitations of the natural scientist’s concept of time and space when applied to social experience and its continued use as a method today by social scientists.)

d.   Man lives on the four fronts of two-fold time and space, past and future, and must constantly make a decision as to which one to expand or emphasize at any given moment.  For man to become conscious of past and future, inner and outer is essential. These facets of experience must be kept in balance, in perspective.  In other words, there is a time to plan for the future; there is a time to remember what values must be fought for out of the past (such as law and justice and freedom). As to space considerations, anarchy (within) and war must also be confronted as well.

e.   Natural science time and space concepts are not suitable in describing social experience. Scientific time is uni-directional and is  inexorable; space is singular in its concreteness and is unlimited.  Social time is flexible, pointing toward the past at times, into the future at times, and conscious of the present at times. Social space likewise is more expanded because recognition is made of the fact that we live, consciously, in two worlds of thought (which is subjective) and concrete nature,  (which is outside and objective). Contrary to what hard-core scientists might believe, they can never escape the subjectivity of their thought, their “inner” space.


1)   Tenses locate events in time:  he was,  she is,  they might be. “Any assertion in the present is biographical in that it presupposes past and future…” (p.19)

2)   To say “we” or “it” or “they” indicates whether the speaker includes the person spoken about within a group or outside it, or whether the object is considered a non-human “it.”

g.   It is important to indicate how the proposers of other methods of thought, science and theology, by their own admission, have left open room for another method by denying that their own method is concerned with social experience.  This in turn allows them to welcome a method uncontradictory to their traditional beliefs.

For instance, natural science has no rudder; its value lies in describing the concrete world. Theology, on the other hand, is not of this world, but offers direction, telling us what we should become.Only a method of society joins them and identifies the way to bring society to its potential.  Science and theology are necessary constituents, but not, in sum, adequate.  By putting their specialized fields into a larger context of society, each takes on greater meaning, thus allowing them to be more fruitful and respected – With the present separation, science and theology are burdened with goals their method is unable to fulfill. Science is too pervasive and theology is discredited.

THIS IS A FUNDAMENTAL STATEMENT.  It not only clarifies the problem, but renders the other two methods more powerful. It renders the method of science more solid by indicating its limits; ditto for theology, but also it re-introduces theology into the study of knowledge by providing an essential purpose for it.

h.   Regarding the integrating power of speech, ERH makes the following two assertions. 1) In order to evaluate our experience we must “orient” that experience (events) in time and space. 2) The way we use language provides the clue as to how orientation is to be accomplished. “Only when we speak to others (or for that matter, to ourselves), do we delineate an inner space or circle in which we speak – contrasted with the outer world about which we speak. (p.21)

The space of science is posteriori, and just one half of the complete phenomenon of space. But the truly human phenomenon of space is found in the astounding fact that grammar unites people within one common inner space. (p.21) [RF-emphasis mine]

The phenomenon of time is the same.  “Only because we can speak, are we able to establish a present moment between past and future.” (p.21)  What this seems to mean is that thought is an attempt to explain the outer, world and these two worlds must be integrated; thought unrelated to the outer-world cannot be validated, and unexplained experience cannot be understood.  We cannot  orient ourselves to, and by, a method of the outer world only, that is, by the method of natural science only. To become properly oriented, two things also occur:  1) The attributes of the inner world must be recognized and included (i.e. the “fact” of thought as different from concreteness). 2)  Communicating connections with others can only occur via the inner world of thought.  Thought, by being capable of naming and speaking about concrete phenomena, literally allows us to see hidden elements of those phenomena (i.e. other than merely appearances; appearance is corrected or balanced by measurement).

Two fundamental assumptions are crucial to understanding the grammatical method as the foundation for a science of society. 1) UNITY:  establishing a relationship between all elements of reality, for example, thought correlating with concrete events.  2) RECOGNIZING THE NEED FOR REFERENCE POINTS. Experience, in other words, cannot be understood without knowing where we are, and “where we are” can only be described in terms of time and space. Reference points are essential to free us from total confusion from the cascade of stimuli that imposes on our consciousness every waking moment.

Still another underlying assumption is that mankind is an animal born with a potential to become something beyond the animal state meaning,  “becoming human.”  Our nature in the sense of spiritual and psychological growth is not a given, but constantly changes, or has the potential to improve as we learn.

The implications of these assumptions explain the completeness for three basic methods for the understanding of experience.  One is to determine what “nature” ( the concrete world)  is like; its method is “natural science.”  Another is to determine what we should become.  Its method is theology, the idealist goal. Finally, the third is to determine how mankind (society) might be moved toward the goal.  The method for the latter problem is what is called  a science of society. It integrates (subsumes) the other two methods.  HUMAN SURVIVAL DEPENDS UPON ACHIEVING ALL THREE GOALS, AND FAILURE TO REACH  ANY ONE SPELLS THE DEATH OF SOCIETY.  Thus, we require a curriculum that addresses physical, moral, and social elements of experience.

/i.   He goes on to point out that inner space preceded outer space, because science could not have been created without the prior inner space of the scientists.

j.    Because of the dangers that threaten society,  we are constantly forced to pass judgement upon the status of affairs.  e.g. Is society decaying, disintegrating, is it going to last?  “The danger of death is the first cause of any knowledge about society.” (p.22).  Most conversation deals with this issue in relation to ourselves and our working group – the community.  All problems, ultimately, are about survival.

k.   In this conversation, and for these reasons,  we are all teachers.  We wish to influence others  by way of our observations, our conclusions of their meaning and hopefully what a useful response might be.

Natural science is based on pure reason.  Theology is based on the purity of the creed.  The validity of social knowledge wholly depends on its being based on pure teaching.  (p.23)


l.    He defines “pure teaching”  as the fitting it into the “polychrony” of society.  Society contains many ages and problems and the four types of groups.  Pure teaching then must be about social concerns, but with no immediate concern for either teacher or student.  He contrasts it with “mixed teaching,” which is directed toward personal prestige, examinations, or current events.

[RF – This explanation appears contradictory. He seems to be saying that teaching is unconcerned with current events, yet it must focus on the problems of society.  Scientific teaching, as he describes it, appears to mean that  personal concerns of the student and teacher are to be set aside.  But, as he suggests elsewhere, not the personal biases of the student and teacher.  (?)    He then cites the four basic elements of pure teaching  – listening, speaking, studying (reading), and teaching.  I presume teaching in this context means explaining truth. The first step is to listen, “Listen and society will live, is the first statement and the perpetual promise of any social research.”]  (p.24)

Pure teaching, then would seem to begin with “listening”.  Pure teaching thus recognizes not two elements (I, and IT) but three, I, You, and IT.  The student, the teacher and the subject matter.

4. The A-Prioris of Theology and Physics

His assertion is that  the two other methods of analysis, science and theology, have omitted a whole realm of experience, and it is the burden of this section to prove it.  The two formulas representative of these two methods will be those of Anselm and Descartes.

a.   Anselm:  SO THAT WHAT WE HOLD BY FAITH ABOUT THE DIVINE NATURE AND ITS PERSONS, EXCEPT FOR THE INCARNATION, CAN BE PROVEN BY NECESSARY REASON WITHOUT THE AUTHORITY OF THE SCRIPTURES. (p.25) The subject matter of theology is divided into two parts,  1) divine nature and trinity, and 2) incarnation.  Method for #1 is logic and deduction. For #2, historical and personal experience.

Irreducible datum of Christian theology is the crucifixion, the rest of theology is then left for logical discussion. (p.25)

“Except” means that the existence of God can be proven by logic,  but cannot explain human experience or events.  Thus, Christianity is based on a fact plus reason (analysis).

b.   Descartes:  NATURAL PHILOSOPHY AND NATURAL SCIENCE ENDEAVOR THAT THE FACTS WHICH WE OBTAIN THROUGH THE SENSES ABOUT PHYSICAL NATURE AND ITS ELEMENTS, MAY BE PROVED, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF SPACE AND ITS EXPANSION, BY NECESSARY REASONING WITHOUT THE AUTHORITY OF OUR IMPRESSIONS. (p.26,27)  The meaning of this is that the existence of space cannot be proven, but is intuitive.  The rest of natural science therefore is deduced logically from space datum, e.g. rules about waves, movement, weight, etc. (p.27)

Time is either reasoned away or included (metaphorically) as the 4th dimension of space.  “God is a hypothesis for which he (the scientist) has no need within his own system.” (p.28)  Thus, God and “time” are omitted from the basic assumptions of natural philosophy.


This statement is built in strict correspondence to the two other methodical claims.

d.   All three statements have the following in common. They include two intellectual enterprises,  one general philosophy, the other a specific science (or a number of them).  This double subject means that the problems with which they deal are large, complex, and founded on a philosophy, for which innumerable specifics are forthcoming. (p.29)

e.   All three attempt to replace empirical knowledge with general (universal) statements or basic laws.  Three  types of empirical knowledge are  the Bible (for theology), sense data (for science), and statutes of groups (for the social order or a true social science).  (p.29,30)

f.    All three must be based upon an assumption not possible necessary to prove, and  therefore always a “given” condition; expanded space and movement for science, incarnation for theology, and peace for the social teacher. (p.30)   The medium in each case is different,  with science by “intuition,”  with incarnation by church “tradition,”  with peace by way of “social laws” within groups of any type.  Evidence is sensation,history, and rules governing daily group life.

ERH points out that these three assumptions are fundamental to human thought.  We trust our sensory experience. History tells us that mankind has been around for a while, and therefore there is a future for the human tribe. Finally, we can only learn completely when there is peace.  These assumptions may also have to be enlarged, to space, movement, and to incarnation and the trinity.

The important fact here is that we are speaking of two types of data, one set that is given, and one set that can be identified by scholarly activity, by thought, by our creating it. (i.e. IF THIS, THEN THAT FOLLOWS type of thinking).  He goes on to explain that these two types of datum, science and common sense,  have been separated.  The three methods of analysis have things in common, and important differences. (p.31)

5. The Metanomics of Society, or Teaching

a.   “…no social science can communicate any truth to a student or reader who has no experience of peace…”    Anarchy, decay, revolution, and war destroy social teaching.

b.   It is natural for the social scientist to go with the methods of natural science if the choice is between that and faith. But society exists in a sea of time, of continuity and discontinuity, of changing values and a changing environment.  His examples:     if we know when a phenomenon is occurring in its proper time (order) and when not, when things are at war or at peace, “…we know all we can know about it.” (p.33)  To select books to read is to select contemporaries; we look forward to goals and backward to determine what to  take into the future; the older generation teaches the younger and waits for it to catch up (that is what classrooms are for mostly); representative thinking presented to the student stands between past (what our teaching represents) and future (what his learning is anticipating).  (p.33)

c.   Therefore, “The first embodiment of the new grammar of society, then, is education.” (p.33)   To get an education is to learn from the past and to have more of a future, more direction and responsibility.   Thus, the teacher represents the time element of the past, and the student the time element of the future.   In the classroom, or wherever, student and teacher become contemporaries.

d.   Dialogue has three basic elements, the logic of the discussion, agreement of the facts, and, importantly a victory over time, a joining of “distemporaries,”  a bridge in the generation gap, PEACE!  He asserts, that is not a part of nature,  and education is therefore pure social process. (p.34)

e.   Education therefore cannot be reduced to the “space thinking” of the scientist; his version of time is too mathematical. Nor is education dealing with eternity (theology, i.e. what we should become ultimately).  “Education is, in its form and method not dealing with eternity. Eternity may be its content.  But the educational process itself is secular, temporal, untheological, social…  It presupposes the desirability of peace.”  (p. 34)

f.    These three qualities of methods – space, incarnation and peace – are the minimum datum for each of these methods. The scientist must concentrate on space( without which mysticism becomes dominant), and the religious thinker on “the perfect man” (p.35)  otherwise values become manifold,  polytheistic, without unity.  Without peace (student and teacher becoming contemporaries, accepting the same problems, working together spiritually), teaching cannot bear fruit, as there is no willingness on the part of the student to accept and act on the truth passed to him.  THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENT OF TEACHING IS THE QUALITY OF THE RELATIONSHIP, THE PEACE, BETWEEN STUDENT AND TEACHER.

g.   What are the implications of time in social science?   Scientific time does not recognize, or make room for more than one quality of time. Because change is ambiguous (things may get either better or worse), peace means that the change came at the right time,  i.e. the best change is peaceful change, change that is supported and approved by most of the people. (pp. 35,36)  And thus, the change is most likely to be permanent.  In this way peace restores the time and space axis to society.

h.   To summarize, peace restores  the time and space axis to society; speech sustainsthe time and space axis; war, anarchy, revolution, and decadence are the major disturbances to the axis; the cure for them is for someone to speak his mind to his listener. Thus, “…this basic rule of social research in the phrase: listen so that we may survive.” (p.36)

Finally, ERH summarizes the basic methods for analysis of experience, 1) theology (genesis, to originate a new direction), 2) analysis (to calculate cause/effect elements for any event or class of events), and 3) synthesis (social teaching, how to maintain a healthy society).  The foundation of social teaching is peace, because  no truth can be exchanged or agreed upon until peace has been established between two people.

“At least we must establish peace between ourselves, speaker and listener, before we can communicate truth.” (p.37)  “…education is the primary experience of how mankind establishes peace between distemporaries…” (p.38)

These, ERH claims, are the three basic methods for evaluating experience.

6.  Meta-logic, Meta-esthetics, Meta-ethics, or the March of Science

He asks, why is a science at one time vital and at another time second rate?  Why was scholasticism progressive, scientific, and regenerating, why is modern theology apologetic, timid, reactionary?


Rosenstock-Huessy suggests the need to render a unity to these three compatible methods and points out that, without such unity, teachers do not deserve the confidence of students.  Each method must have its own integrity (division of labor), within a larger unity.

a.   Meta-logic, the method of a science of theology, appeared at the beginning of the 12th century because of the unsatisfactory working of the church.   The method of this new science is META-LOGIC based on the paradox, i.e. “Nothing comes from nothing; the world is created from nothing.” Also, humankind must change, but remain the same. (p.39)

Aristotle’s science included the will of the gods. Today, the term “nature” means nature minus the values of gods or God. Science and theology have been separated.

The notion of the paradox is no esoteric abstraction, but must be taken seriously, for it holds the power to create unity within differences. It lies at the very foundation of ordered thought, and is essential to all three fields of experience. In science, its appearance signals the need for a higher level of theory to explain *contradictions of research; in theology it, does the same for different interpretations of creed; in social science ERH explains:

My grammar of assent, my grammatical organon, is devoted to the task of supplementing the statute law of any given society with metanomics that explain and satisfy our enthusiasm for the synchronization of the distemporary, of old and young, black, brown and white, government and anarchy, primitive and refined, highbrow and lowbrow, innocence and sophistication, all at peace, in one human society. (p.41)

[RF – given the present social ills of the world, which seem unsolvable, this statement would seem to be a wild fantasy, the ultimate paradox.  But these are exactly what must be solved!  ERH goes on to explain:]

The equilibrium between the special social sciences in which man appears to differ, and the social philosophy which makes him appear eternally the same human being, is the secret of all research in the social field.  We cannot give up one side of the social paradox, either by identifying all men as being the same, or by allowing them to become so different that they lose their power of identifying themselves with others.  Peace is the term which expresses the existence of this paradox in society: that different people by having peace together, are identifiable. (p.42)

7.    Thesis

a.   All social change tends to create social diseases of one type or another.

b.   PEACE is the only condition that creates or engenders progress.

c.   If one has not experienced peace, one will not trust traditional learning. This is why peace must precede all teaching.

d.   The major effort of social science is how to create peace in an environment of constant social change.

e.   Methods include, 1) searching history for conditions similar to the present and thus learning what might be valid as a beginning, 2) communicating effectively, and 3) including all groups within society, lest they create war, revolution, anarchy, or degeneration.

f.    The principle parameters of a true science of society must be: 1) time and timing, i.e. a consciousness of past, present and future, and 2) education, absorbing proper lessons from the past, as well as learning the meaning of our present experience, and being motivated to take action to create a desired future.

g.   The three sources of knowledge to accomplish all of this are learning 1) what the natural world is like   (science), 2) what is the source of our creative power (religion), and 3) how to create a community at peace.

h.   The organon of speech must teach us to articulate our experience truly, to commit ourselves to higher ambitions than mere consumption and social parochialism.

Speech is composed of words we tend to take for granted but seem as trifles.  We hear them constantly (often in small talk), often corrupted by lying. This is at the root of much dissension because the corruption of the most important words creates the worst situations.  To treat speech – language – seriously “…is a great and noble risk.”

8. Schematic Survey   (p.44)

abstract term:         Meta-logic                 Meta-esthetics         Meta-ethics

concrete field:         values (gods)             nature (space)         society (time)


tool:                    dialectics                  natural science        “metanomics”


task:                      concordia                  coordinating             synchronizing

discordant-                 movement               antagonistic

ium                          of distant                 “distempor-

canonum                   bodies:                    aries”

concording                system



eternal truth

starting points:       1050, Lanfranc          1543, Coper-            1808, Saint-

1142, Crusades            nicus                     Simon

1620, Descartes      World War I

Thirty Years’


Chapter 2 – Articulated Speech

Thought and speech are intimately related.  Unarticulated thought bears no social consequences, and no complex thought is possible without language.  Articulated thought, (speech) is always at the center of communication. Language therefore has no power unless and until spoken.  What then is the process of articulation that renders speech its power? Does language reflect human nature, or is human nature shaped by it?

2.     The basic measure of the power of speech is peace in the community, in uniting free and independent persons. Articulation is the means by which this takes place.

3.     Articulate speech is based upon these conditions:  1) The speaker recognizes the “wills” of others.   2) One believes in powers beyond and bigger than the time and space of the present moment.   3) Persons commit themselves to more complex thoughts than shouting & yelling.   4) Both speaker and listener place themselves on a “…far higher and on a more risky level.”  Speaking the truth can be  risky. (p.46)

4.     Although our ability to communicate tends to be taken for granted, articulate speech has some formidable barriers that expose it to failure.  It may be misinterpreted, it may misrepresent (used to lie), the speaker may be wrong, and he/she may be unable to express the ideas.


Part 1. —  Our Four Responsibilities in Speaking  (p.47)

1.     Second set of facts about language:  1) person addressed must be called by his/her or some name (Sir, Madam, Ms., etc.)  2) The listener must answer.   The act of speaking, even in a simple two – party conversation, is a complex act.  It requires a name and an answer.   3) Intentions, desires and emotions (even if neutral) are part of this process, as is  necessity.   There must be a common language.  4)  There is a physical element; our sensory equipment must be in-tact or there is no impression.  Hence, both the inner thought and the outer physical world are needed (even if there is only sign language used).

2.     Four lessons to learn from a simple interaction:   1) Language has long since been established; thus proper use of speech respects the history of mankind.   2)  Three possible directions into which an answer can fit are  a)  “Go to hell,” an imperative,  b) objective statement of fact, “Sir,” indicatival, or c) indicating the “I” form of intention, “I am coming,” intentional form, subjunctive.  These three directions represent avariation within a linguistic tradition. “To articulate, then, is a highly complicated act that implies both identity and variation.” (p.49)  Thus, we transform the initiation of the interaction in the process of responding.

To speak is, indeed, a biological phenomenon of metamorphosis.  This biological fact, however, takes place within the kind, not within the individual.  For, it is the rebirth of that element which binds together the whole race…(p.31)

2.  The Cross of Reality  – (p. 51)

1.     Four facts about “speech-disease” (lack of articulation)

a.   When we speak we are connected, through the millenniums, in the  process of attempting to use the proper words. (time factor-past)

b.   When we respond we indicate a willingness to continue respecting  a communal act, i.e. continuing the vitality of the community into the future. Variations of articulation point toward a possible new way.

c.   Expression of intentions, emotions indicate (inner) feelings.

d.   Our observable responses are the (outer) front, the touching of our senses.

Thus, the cross of reality is representative in the most basic or common acts of speaking. “A human being, when speaking, takes his stand in time and space.” (p. 52)


Backward                                     Forward


2.    The time and space of living organisms differs widely from that of dead matter.   Dead matter, the subject-matter of physics, is mechanical and predictable. In time perspective, the past creates the present, and the present creates the future.  With conscious life, time has two directions, past and future.  We can remember and anticipate – both influence our thought.

In physics the interest is only in the concrete world of space and measurement.  Conscious life, being capable of thought, by definition has an inner dimension as well as a sensory system to indicate the outer world.

a.   The presence of living organisms is created by pressure from past and  future. Every word spoken is traditional and evolutionary.

“We steer between the origins of our patterns of language, speech, thought and our destiny.  Real time has two directions: backward and forward…The mechanical picture of a straight line starting at zero in the past and going forward towards the future does not apply to the living being…” (p.53)

b.   Space, in living organisms, is two-fold, with metabolism, growth, assimilation;  individuation requires a distinction between inner and outer space. With all speech there are two worlds, the inner world of thought, and outer concrete reality;   an inner circle reflecting the outside world.  Man is between two fronts of space, one facing inward, one outward, corresponding to the time aspect of backward and forward.  I am oriented inside my head, inside my family, my club, profession, community, country, etc., as against the “outsiders.”

We speak in an attempt to ease this strain.  To speak means to unify, to integrate, to simplify life.  Without this effort, we go to pieces by either too much inner, unuttered desire, or too many impressions made upon us by our environment, too many petrified formulas from the past, or too much danger and emergency from the future. (p.54)

3.    This means that for all living beings, including plants and animals, space is a conflict between inner and outer processes, as is time a conflict between responsibilities toward the past and the future.

With mankind, if we do not speak we cannot properly balance the conflicts between these four fronts of time and space. If we do not do this, we become inarticulate.  Lack of speech always leads to social break-downs.  War means there is no meaningful speech between the parties.  Insanity is the inability of the individual to connect the inner with the outer world.

Part – 3. The Pillars of Time and Space

1.    The defense against the 4 fronts of time and space is reflected directly in our grammar, in our social roles and methods of analysis of experience, as summarized in the  following matrix:

grammar                        role & method                ref. in time/space


a.  come – imperative      leader/politics                 forward/future

b.  he has come             historian                        backward/past

c.  he is coming             scientist                        outer/concrete

d.  will he come              poet                              inner/emotional

Being stuck in any one role for too long creates distortion and is incomplete; a person requires all dimensions to see and understand experience fully. No single role is complete.  (RF –   It is also interesting to observe that each of the four branches of the cross of reality, in addition to correlating with time and space dimensions of experience, reflects the four basic mental functions – anticipation, memory,  sensory observation (and logic), and emotion.)

Scientists, philosophers, and clerics suggest there is thought in itself, i.e.  concepts are more than words,  beyond language, and mathematics or inspiration (from God) is more perfect than language.  ERH’S PARADIGM REFUTES THOSE IDEAS.  Hence, the gift of God to humankind is speech, and God is only present in humans through speech.

Speaker and listener, stationed at the center of the cross of reality, are in a position to see the distortions of a “single language,” such as mathematics, the language  for analysis.

The general public today more than ever, is warned against uncritical language, and invited to become analytical.  From chemical analysis to psycho-analysis, everything is analyzed.  Our bread is so well analyzed that nothing is left in it of the illogical grain and that vitamins have to be injected into the flour afterwards to make up for the losses by too much analysis.  And the soul is analyzed so well that all our loyalties and all our wishes and all our dreams are abandoned as just so many frustrations and chains and inhibitions. (p.59)

2.       WHY IS THE NOTICE OF GRAMMAR CRUCIAL TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF EVENTS? Because it is delicate and dangerous to face the four fronts of life;   we are forced to decide what belongs to the past, the future, the inner and outer.   “Our grammatical forms in our daily speech betray our deepest convictions.” (p.59)

It is because a major part of our understanding of experience, especially in social science, focuses on understanding the thoughts of others, which are hidden from us except as they speak. The importance of this notion becomes apparent!  The person, in the act of deciding and speaking, thus reveals him/herself.

3.       To face the four fronts is to think and speak creatively, as compared to reflection and analysis only.  This is another way of saying that the language of science is incomplete for describing social experience.

4.       Science observes; this we are familiar with.  But reflection about the past, fulfilling past ceremonies and forms, recognizing customs, and the glorious past all are crucial reference points in our lives. Time stands still here. (The past cannot be changed!)

Politics and action: A description of either present (science) or past (history) makes no sense if action is not taken, and thus we must use education as preparation for action.    And neither of these have much meaning out of the context of our interests, our desires and what gives us fulfillment.  The inner front is crucial to us all.  [“May she love me, or may I not live to see this happen” is the language of poetry.  ]

Any society that would be purely scientific, or purely political, or purely poetic, or purely ritualistic kills the spirit. In time,  it physically kills the person.  It would be untenable.

5.       The freedom, the right and responsibility to choose which is to be when, (what is to be forgotten, what to be acted upon now, and what must wait for our action) represents our ultimate freedom in life. When we practice these freedoms is past, present, future, and which to  commit to thought only, or to describe the outer world as we see it),  represents our ultimate freedom in our lives, without which there is no freedom. WHEN WE PRACTICE THESE FREEDOMS WE ARE  REGENERATED DAILY!   (p.63)

6.       The risk in life comes because we can fail at these tasks.  We forget instead of  remembering, we hate instead of loving, we remain indifferent when we should boil over. We fail to describe an unreasonable or crazy situation,  or we fail to act when we should.

7.       Since we are not perfect, we require other people to help us to remember and love and act at the right time. We need articulate  speech (as contrasted with lying or small talk) and community, because we are not God.

The whole race is making up for my forgetfulness, my indifference, my fears, my madness (craziness).  (p.63)

8.       We attempt to participate in all four languages by participating in speech.

Language is not an imperfect first attempt of reducing us to logic, but an attempt to integrate one and the same cross of reality into every human heart and brain…When we are taught to speak, we are given the unifying orientation for our way through life and with all men. (p.64)

Our security every hour of life must be re-established, and this can only be done through practicing the four languages of speech to defend ourselves against these four fronts.  This is difficult, as is life.


ERH sets out with the thesis that thought, language, and literature reflect the culture(s) of human beings, that each has its division of labor, and that only in sum would a culture be known.  Wilhelm von Humboldt—

…believed that the structure of language contained the secrets of national individuality, of history, of man’s creative destiny.  He treated languages as a historian of philosophy might study the many schools of Greek thought, not for their own sake but for a complete picture of the possibilities of the human mind. (p.67)

He blames the arrogance of philosophers as wrong-headed in that their assumption that philosophy as a science of finding truth is complete He, ERH, then begins his analysis of each of these fields, –  thought, language, and literature.

1.       Philosophy represents only a science (logic) of a special kind of truth.

2.       Most  linguists have reduced language to the status of a tool  “…degraded to the level of brass tacks.” (p.70)  Thought, complex thought, would be inconceivable without our language!

3.       Literary criticism addresses the fact that, while thought (logic) must be formed by language, the act of thinking changes language.

Words return into language changed and transformed, sometimes petrified and paralyzed after having passed through the thinker’s mill….Our hypothesis is that they  (language, thought and literature) are rays of one fire burning in man to communicate to or to hide from his fellow man his share of truth.  And we throw out the hypothesis that thought, language, and literature, in so far as they are means of concealing or revealing truth to ourselves, to a partner, or to all men, are ruled by the same laws.  [RF – emphasis mine] (p.71)

Furthermore, he quotes Whitehead in support of his assertion.  I am assuming that his case rests, for inclusion of literature, on the fact that metaphor reaches beyond itself, into inference.  As Whitehead is quoted,  “…meanings miraculously revealed in great literature.”

ERH  connects literature with the use of the concept of “enthymeme,”   that of leaving out a link in a syllogism or chain of logic, either a premise or at times a conclusion, but still implying it.  Connotation, implication, or suggestion,  is just as essential as denotation.

a.       Any speaker on a platform tries to speak his mind in a lasting way. To do this he must think in a monologue, he must speak in a dialogue (with the audience),  and he is hoping for a lasting effect,  beyond the power of the moment.

b.       In monologue, he is thinking out loud; in dialogue, speaking  to his hearers, in “pleologue,”  beyond the audience, into the future.

c.       From pleology, literature developed. (p.72)

4.       ERH reasons that where thought has been disconnected from language, memory of the one step, monologue, has been forgotten, and thus the assumption that thought can be separated from language, and that language (of any lasting meaning) can be separated from literature.  (pp.72-73)

All three of these states, language, logic, and literature,  contribute toward meaning:

In reality, we discover as many new things about ourselves or about the world or about our beliefs through speaking out and writing down as by thinking inwardly.  The revealing and concealing process is equally at work in all three aggregate states. (p.74)

5.       Speaking of man’s nature:

a.       Man is essentially concerned with disclosure as well as with velation (veiling or covering up).

b.       He is constantly justifying himself to himself, and to others, in the acts of wearing clothes, speaking, reasoning, writing books, listening to the scruples of ourselves and others, and to the wisdom of books.  “At any given moment, man answers to his attitude with true or false statements.” (p.74)

6.       Since there is no difference in the method of  language, literature, and logic, a slip in  logic, for example is not important.  There is a unified whole in our thought that goes beyond any of the parts.  “A man’s thought is as much a piece as the nation’s literature.” (p.75)

Professionals tend to specialize in one of the three fields, and thereby, remain incomplete.  The common person, speaking every day and combining all three methods, will speak with power.

7.       Humankind is incessantly speaking and listening, or thinking and writing – to God,  to mankind, or to the world.  Every human being does this in every conscious moment of his life.  Man’s freedom to make decisions is pretty much limited to the choice to conceal or to disclose the truth of what is happening to him. (p.75)



What then is the method which might combine these three methods?

9.       In the next two or three pages, ERH proves the common bases upon which language, logic, and literature in terms of how each reflects the same patterns of flow between space (inner and outer) and time (past and future) at each moment.  He establishes this in terms of traditional grammatic forms (indicative, subjunctive, and imperative, etc.) and how these reflect the three  forms of poetic writing (lyric, epic and dramatic).

For instance, epic and lyric poetry are largely unconcerned with time, in the sense that they deal with description (indicative) and subjunctive (desire or speculation), neither of which is concerned with action.

On the other hand, the dramatic form of poetry, focussing on the imperative, or a decision to make, is concerned directly with past and future.  The decision is whether to continue with past practices, or to make a break and risk a future of unpredictable possibilities.  This also is highly emotional (representing the inner space).  The lyric and epic forms dealing with the outer, larger  world. (see pp.77-79)

Naturally, any book can mix these four attitudes, but it must use these four cardinal attitudes precisely as a man who speaks can shift from perfect to imperative, from indicative to subjunctive (or optative) and still is bound to move within these forms of decision about our situation in time and space. As long as the biologists overlooked the polarity of inward and outward, and the philosophers that between the past and the future, the identity of the grammar of society with the grammar of language could be overlooked. (p.79) [RF – emphasis mine.]

10.     Will other literary forms than poetry, follow the same tendencies to recognize time and space?

The grammatical forms of imperative, indicative, optative and participle are recomposed in prose by oratory, mathematics, philosophy, and history.  Political speech is the articulation of an imperative; philosophy reflects on our inner thought.  Mathematics analyze relations in space and….all pure narration (in scientific prose) looks backwards and tries to conjure up the past and to quote its speech and utterances as faithfully as possible, needs hardly saying….even taken together, are only in charge of two modes of our conscious life, of the elating optative of our inner self and the analytic indicative of the external world….The two other wings of man’s expansion into time, present and future, are occupied by two other types of speech, the past by ritual, the future by all the imperatives…( pp 80, 81)

11.     Language is a living thing, and all life springs into life and dies.  Verbs used often tend to become nouns,  e.g. sing, and its past tense (the singer),  build (builder).   By our speech we must thus resuscitate the dead.  This means that verbs go from motion to standstill (dead).  To re-instill meaning (resuscitate) is the function of a living speech, i.e. to use the imperative.  (p.84)

All modes of speech (prose, poetry, ritual, and imperative) are necessary to balance and to allow us to fix our place in terms of time and space, that is, in the universe of our lives.  These are reference points necessary to find our way in evaluating experience, analogous to measurement in science.

At another level we must at all moments be free to shift our moods,   “…from the subjective “I,” to the objective “it,” and further to the listening “thou” and to the remembering “we.”   Otherwise, we are not able to see our experience fully.

12.     ERH gives still another example, that of the philosopher, pointing out that Descartes listened to the imperative, Cogita et eritis (Think and you will be). He was neither subject nor object, but a you, in relation to some impetus that took him over .  He thereby forgot that he himself first followed a command, in a sense. And that his god-like uttering “I think, therefore I am” was a second step in the process of his creativity.   The world cannot therefore be divided (as the scientist or philosopher thinks) into only subject and object.

13.     What are the major problems or phases we must go through in order to regenerate any group, which, to remind the reader once again,  is the purpose of a science of society?

a.       One must listen (to the imperative), to a command; we must be plastic, willing to be commanded.  This means willing to be cut off from the past, willing to be transformed.  “One” in this context is then only one type of noun, a thou (you), which is neither an “I” or an “it”. “One” in this position is neither  subject nor object, but preject, the pointing toward the future. But the “mood” that makes it possible to listen comes from the inside, based on emotion, on passion.

b.       The Grammatical “We” represents a group with a common experience, thetraject, oriented  toward the past “We” evidences those who have been cast from the past (shared experience) into the present.   Here the “mode” is that of indicative, or description.

Thus, the terms preject (you) and traject (we) must be nouns added to the subject (I, or inner) and the object (it, or outer).

14.     Each of these four situations or conditions – in/out, past/future – requires a different language for expression.  Thus, the four types of literature: the essay (logical), the epic, the lyric, and the ritual (dramatic).

15.     The method ERH uses is not to extrapolate from subject/object, or from  the old scientific terms of time and space, but to limit them by adding two more dimensions to them (adding to the natural science method for social science) i.e. traject/preject denoting past and future respectively. These terms correspond to the additional elements of time and space from science, i.e. past and inside, as the two additional dimensions of time and space.



16.     With teaching, our traditional approach has been to memorize and analyze.  But ERH points out that these are late processes in “…the biography of words and forms.”  (p.89)

This is for the simple reason that the “…truth which the student is expected to grasp is supposed to be in existence when he enters the school…” (p.89)    THIS, OF COURSE BELIES THE VERY PURPOSE OF TEACHING, WHICH SHOULD BETO PREPARE THE STUDENT TO GENERATE NEW KNOWLEDGE RATHER THAN SIMPLY REGURGITATING OLD KNOWLEDGE. The question implied is, “How do we prepare the student to understand a principle, to make the knowledge his own, transform him by way of being motivated to apply it and be changed in the process?”


Learning takes time. It must pass through the several stages of thought, speech, and  writing.


Learning processes are analogous to the procedure of the court-room of law, a process which was eventually moved into academe.  (details below)


Each part or role in the court-room procedure requires a different type of speech, or approach, or “language,” as ERH calls it.  These follow from the four fronts of time and space, past/future and inner/outer.

18.     Defense of the Idea

A living situation of any type, including teaching, evolves out of some problem raised.  In the case of teaching, the teacher has evolved a solution.   Analogous to the court-room situation, a citizen accused of committing some (alleged) crime, the question is, “Were his actions  legal?”  The purpose of the trial is to ascertain the culpability of the defendant in the law court.  In the classroom, the problem is the degree of probability of  validity of the solution posed by the teacher.

In both these instances, it must be kept in mind that the purpose is to determine what is the best course of behavior into the future. In other words, what is the truth?

Steps in court (or classroom) are as follows:

a.       Accusation is made by prosecutor, that the “law” was broken. In the case of classroom, a traditional view may be questioned.  It must be remembered that the original problem statement took place in a specific context, and the solution is to follow some accepted or newly proposed principle (method of solution).

In the case of teaching, the teacher himself must act, for a while, in the role of the prosecutor. In this role, the prosecutor’s defense is from tradition.  His method therefore is to present the accepted methods, rules etc. from the past and present the evidence in the case that these rules were broken.  THE PROSECUTION’S CASE RESTS ON DESCRIPTION FROM THE PAST. The method is essentially scientific, logical; looking outward as well as to the past. (p.92)

b.       The defense (a role performed by the teacher) is based not so much  visible evidence (that has been presented), but rather on intentions, on personal integrity, good faith (in court, bringing in character witnesses to establish this, who take an oath to tell the truth).  This process is essentially soul-baring, passionate, a personal response to the notion that this response is the only moral way to go; in other words, the best interpretation  to reach the intended goal.  The teacher defends his actions (proposed solution)  looking inward and to the future.  It is an act of  the will of the teacher.

c.       The teacher (who ERH calls a philosopher, a seeker of truth)  must align himself with a constituency willing to share the problem, willing to listen to the evidence and possibly be moved by it.  He must thus motivate his students to be called to take interest in the problem. The teacher was already motivated, as was the accused in a law court, to respond.  Now the constituency must be convinced to so respond.  The teacher,  defendant, and prosecutor, alike use all their persuasive powers to plead their cause.

d.       The judge and jury, then, having heard the evidence and the defense of the actions, makes a judgement.  This judgement is of course a decision, which is in turn a defining of what happened.  A definition is a summing up,  reaching, of a generalization if you will.  Such a generalization is more or less dead or un-living knowledge because it has had all details of the case stripped away, out of the context of time and space.

19.     To summarize:   1) The teacher, or defender, or jury has been called  upon to respond to some situation.  This represents a personal commitment, a calling, as willingness to listen, to be called “you” by some higher authority. 2) The evidence is presented and heard, and the event as experienced is retold to the court, including the 3) narration of specifics and the reasons for the solution.  Finally, (4) there is a judgement based upon how well the law was applied, if a new law should be formulated, or if the old law was indeed broken (in the case of classroom, the new proposed method refuted).  This last act is one of definition, of summarizing what has been learned in the form of a generalization, or a principle (of law).

But, as we have said above, principles or generalizations or laws represent dead knowledge (coagulated), a summary of all possible meanings of the principle at that time.  TO BECOME LIVING KNOWLEDGE, TO GUIDE ACTION IN THE FUTURE, the individual must, upon approaching another event, infuse (ERH uses the term resuscitate) that dead knowledge with life.  Because definitions, by establishment, combine many shades of meanings, the actor must make a decision as to which one, (possibly a new one), might apply to any given situation.  Thus, he gives life to knowledge.  ERH calls definitions and generalizations, research, libraries he calls, “…a petrification of life and knowledge.”  All of this awaits the reader to possibly bring it to life at the right time, that is, to act on the knowledge.

Finally, there are fundamental steps that cut across all of these processes.  We stated above that “full knowledge” of the meaning of experience must address the four fronts of time and space.  The point is that each of these four steps in teaching cited above represent these four fronts and regardless of one’s role, all four must eventually be addressed.  The sequence of steps will differ depending upon the presenter’s role and purpose.  ERH presents the following. (p.95)

sequence    mental function     time/space     language (special     mood

designation     definition)

1                memory               past               history                     indicative

2                anticipation          future             narration                  dramatic

3                logic                    outer              science                   descriptive

4                emotion               inner              poetry lyrical            subjunctive

The sequence in the court room (ritualistic) = 1,2,3,4

”     ”            ”          scientific research  = 3,1,2,4

”     ”            ”       obedience (teaching) = 2,4,1,3

Thus, he points out that our traditional teaching begins with the wrong information, with the decision before the case has been heard.  THIS DOES NOT RESULT IN TEACHING THE STUDENT HOW TO GENERATE NEW KNOWLEDGE, to applygeneralizations, or resuscitate dead knowledge.  In this case (traditional teaching), #2 and #4 have been omitted,  and the student has no way to transform knowledge.  Another way to describe the teaching/learning situation is to present a problem to which the student will be called.  This problem must be understandable (within the life experience of the student).  The calling is represented by #2. With #4, the student gives himself to the experience completely, making no logical prejudgments, but being absorbed in the situation.  With #1, he describes what has happened, he narrates or recalls the evidence.  And finally, he generalizes, defines, in preparation for meeting the next event.

The only ethical command which church and society can impose on man is: Give ear, think it over.  The first thing society must guarantee to its members is time for recollection and reconsideration….the processes of language, literature and thought…Audi! Lege! Medita! (Listen, Read! Think!)…And is not all education based on this assumption? (p.97)

It should be clear and no wonder that mental functions, time and space factors, and forms of speech are all coordinated  and provide essential  reference points in our journey through life. The answer to the beginning question in this chapter is that language both reflects human nature and in turn shapes it!

Chapter 4

He begins with the problem statement that all of the ancient dogmas have been replaced by modern ideas, except that of grammar.  This in turn has caused serious social disintegration.  For instance, Euclidean geometry, Ptolemaic astronomy, Galenian medicine, Roman law, and Christian dogma have long since disappeared from our texts.  “Ancient grammatical dogma still dominates.”

The reader might recall how dry and meaningless our grammar lessons were.  The structure of sentences and paragraphs are divided into categories of subject/verb/object, and different qualifiers such as adjectives and adverbs and conjugations were all memorized, appearing to have equal weight in the scheme of structure.  The whole process seemed mechanical and of little relevance to how we actually spoke and thought, therefore meaningless.

What the author advocates is that there can be a “higher grammar,” which is taught and structured to help us better understand life processes and aid us in understanding our life experiences.   There is an enormous difference, he asserts, in the consequences in our life between making a statement in the first, second, or third person. The mood is also important whether indicative, or evaluative (adjectival), or  reflecting a commitment in the imperative mood.

The principle problem with “lower grammar” is that it indicates no differences in emphasis and in political consequences.  For instance, to say I love or I kill  “…cannot be spoken without grave social consequences.  Hence, they presuppose emphasis…” (p.100)  Furthermore, these crucial utterances can be evoked or repressed by the way we think about grammar.  In traditional grammar these social consequences are not discussed.  All statements in conjugation, e.g. I love, he loves, we love, they love, are spoken with equal emphasis.  Finally he asserts that history cannot be a science because it requires emphasis (choice), the implication of values in what was important to stress.  With science, which is purely objective, and where description in itself is without added values there is no need to emphasize.

The worst sin is, of course, its Greek origin, our grammar school’s tradition from Latin and Greek sources.  The Greek and Latin names and tables of grammar have been handed to us even when we had to learn French, German, Spanish or Russian, or English itself. The wrong Alexandrinian table of grammatical values is with us everywhere. (p.99)

Part 1. –  Amatur (he is loved)

1.       Amatur is an objective statement of fact, “…reported by somebody who is neither the speaker, or writer nor the listener, or reader.” Neither speaker nor listener has any stake in the statement, and thus the concept “love” has no power.

Of love, ERH points out, we can only speak in fear and trembling if we speak of it in the first or second person. In the third person it is rendered powerless!.

Speaking in the third person abstracts from the speaker and listener; it is a two fold negation of a relationship.  “This reduces the linguistic situation to a monologue of a thinking subject who thinks an object.” (p.101)  The implication is that there exists an enormous gap between the meaning and mood, between the first and second person on the one hand, and the third person on the other.

Part 2 – Amo (I love)

2.       What are some of the gaps between first & second and third person moods?

a.  To say, “I love” has two implications, involvement in an act and admitting  it.  This is very risky because the act can then be interfered with. To speak out about what you either intend, or are in the act of doing, means others can enter into and change the situation.   ONE THEN SHOULD NOT SPEAK IN THE FIRST OR SECOND PERSONS UNLESS ONE MUST.

To say amat, “he loves,” has no such emphasis or commitment.

Time is also a factor.  To say I eat or I sleep is short term, with little chance for interference.  To say I love implies a life-long commitment. THEREFORE, AMO CAN NEVER BE AS PUBLIC A STATEMENT AS AMAT. It should only be spoken to the second person.

We conclude that amo is made of absolutely different stuff than amat and the history of language proves our point.  Amo is an emphatic form, a subjective exclamation which is quite wantonly inserted into the Alexandrinian table as an indicative.  The first form singular did not originate with the indicative.  (p.104)

Part 3 – Amas (Thou loveth)

3.       “The rift between amo and amat, however, is not wider than the rift between amas (you love) and amat.” (p.104)  Here he asks, what is the difference between the 2nd and 3rd person?

There is just as great a gap because the first person must have received authority to speak about the subject to the second person. You cannot say, “You love,”  as a friend unless the friend has already admitted this to you, just as you can only say “You have diabetes” if you are the person’s doctor.  Only a parent may say to his/her child, “You have been bad today.”   In the former case, the second person gave the speaker the authority by telling him/her first.  In essence, the first person, having received authority from the second person, opens the way for the other to become a listener.  Without such authority there isn’t liable to be a listener!

THIS EMPHASIS ON A “PRIMED” LISTENER IS A CRUCIAL ELEMENT OF THE SECOND/THIRD PERSON RELATIONSHIP.  If you say, “you are a fool,” to someone who is not prepared to listen, the speaker is powerless.

Why is advice unasked-for never given successfully? Because it has no power to unlock the recipient’s ear. In amat, no power is required to state the facts. They do not presuppose any social power or authority over other people. But the quality of any sentence in the second person is graded by the degree of authority  the speaker wields over the listener. He must have converted the listener to just that–a listener. (p.106)

Part 4 – Comparison

4.       a.  amo = speaker having decided to break his own silence on some issue.

amas = listener having decided to invite interference.

amat = speaker and listener have no commitment to an attitude before they listen, they neither defy nor interfere in their own affairs.

b.  Amo is debatable as to wisdom (regarding political consequences and  propriety), amat as to fact, amas as to authority.  Hence, knowledge = third person, authority = second person, communion = first person.

c.  Amat faces problems of truth. Authority faces the dilemma between listener’s freedom and his necessity.  Amas faces problems of  interference with one’s freedom. (p.107)

d.  Examples:  To say, “I sweat” = overcoming shyness.  To say, “you  sweat” cannot be done without permission, unless the first person is socially superior to the second.   “The social discrepancy between amat (knowledge of facts), amas (authority to tell), and amo (revelation of secrets) is enormous.  They represent three  different social processes between man, fellow man, and the outer world. (pp.107,8)

Part 5 – The Teaching of Grammar

5.       Alexandrinian grammar taught in our schools blinds the student to discovering the real person.

…it contradicts all the experiences of society and of us in society…Every man is told to think of himself or herself in a matter of fact way, as though he or she were a third person. This puts his or her human relations on a wrong, objective, basis which devaluates it.  For objectively, we speak of those who are absent and who therefore need neither blush nor listen. Human relations thrive where we attribute secrets of communication and loyalties of listening.  Human relations die where all our statements only contribute facts.”  (pp. 108,9)

Part 6 – History or Science

6.       The fourth form of the grammatical statement (after first, second, and third persons), is amavimus, “We have loved.”

a.  “We”  means a group (a merger) of speakers and listeners who have acted together and formed a successful fusion.

b.  Real history is “…the inside story of a We group…”  (p.109)

c.  “They” histories lie outside “our” group. These histories are scientific in that there is no personal responsibility for what has happened.  “They” are multiple to the scientist whose method is to make distinctions between things.  In a scientific age such as ours multiple histories abound, e.g. the history of Mexico, of Russia, of Boston, and even within different fields of science itself.  Only when humankind is seen as “one,” and we listen and speak to each other around the world,  could there be a universal history.

d.  “Our” history, by contrast, is among those of us who have spoken to  each other. Thus we have the right to say we.

e.  What “moderns” (in the pejorative sense)  teach as history implies 1) thought without language, 2) speechless thinkers and speechless societies. There is no distinction or emphasis between first, second and third  persons, or between “we” and “they.”

f.   The conclusion and implications?   1) All of us are,  at different times each day, in the role of  I,  you,  it,-we, and they. 2) We must understand the distinctions between these roles and the rights and responsibilities thereof.

For instance, “You love” can be justified if it is true and spoken as an act of healing, not as an insult.  “I love” can be justified if it is an act of faith and not shameless. “We love” can be justified if based on common experience, and not abstract dogma.  A sensitivity to the differences reflect the degree to which we are immersed in and caring about our spoken word.

Once the ways of speech are confused, the brazen intellect will obliterate all distinctions by speaking everything: the intellect neglecting the real social life between speakers and listeners…Brazen objectivity and whispering shyness are social malaises which spring from an insecurity of grammatical distinctions….The alexandrinian lists of grammatical forms cauterize the social sensibilities of the objects of our educational system…the wrong grammar is not ineffectual.  It does positive harm.  (pp.113,14)

Chapter 5 – How Language Establishes Relations

1.       The several traditional ways of dealing with language: 1) Phonetics, the physical aspects of making sounds. 2) Meaning, where semantics are systematized. 3) Historical, how language came about.  This is not the same as studying language in the context of use.   ERH proposes that we add a fourth approach, studying language in the context of use.  Language is a physical act, in other words, which can be scientifically studied.  The organs of ear, eye, respiration are involved. He points out the Greek meaning of shaking hands, is planting one’s self with the other.

a.  First principle: “The fundamental classifications of grammar and the fundamental classifications of social relations coincide.  Discovering the one, we discover the other.”  (p.117)


b.  Four  basic forms of speaking (and social) interaction are:

1) The speaker and the listeners are unanimous, of one spirit.  They agree.

2) The speaker and the listener are “dubious,” split, and of two spirits.  They are strangers.

3) The speaker depends on the listener, whom the speaker expects to act on what he has to say.

4) The listener depends on the speaker because the speaker has acted already.

Before going further with this analysis of these situations, one other element needs to be understood, that is, pre-conditions for speech interaction.

c.  The silence before speaking can have four  possible causes:

1)   Lack of a person to speak to, e.g. lack of an audience. This must include lack of a person WHO WISHES TO LISTEN. The listener is not yet ready.

2)   Lack of a person to listen to in terms of lack of the authority to speak, or of content, or of something extraordinary to be said. I would put this in another way, “lack of anything to say.” The speaker is not ready.

3)   Lack of relations between two people.  They may be strangers,  different  too far apart.

4)   Lack of distance, relations between people who are so close they  think they need not say anything.

In #1 & #2, the moment has not come. In #3, & #4 the scene is not set (with #3 strangers move with different thoughts; with #4 the unity and intensity are too close to “…allow for the distance in which alone language can fly back and forth.)  With #1 & #2 the time element is prohibitive, in #3 & #4 the space element is prohibitive.

d.  2nd Principle:  Social relations need a medium distance in space and  time. “All these situations correspond to the great situations of decadence, war, chaos, revolution.” (p.118)

Here he repeats the theme of the book, that language is a system of social relations, and grammar is the scientific process by which we become conscious of the system of social relations.  It is not the grammar of the classroom, of forms by themselves, however; this he calls lower grammar.  He calls his new social science “higher grammar,” and the rest of the book explains how this differs from lower grammar. Lower grammar systematizes relations between words only; higher grammar correlates these relations with social behavior and its consequences.

e.  3rd Principle: Communication, effective use of language “…becomes language properly speaking, when the relations are mutual and reciprocal.  When I speak and you listen, when I formulate and you repeat, when I object and you explain, when I sing and you fall in, we have human language.” (p.119)

f.   4th Principle:  “Language survives any individual speaker. Thus, language is obviously not restricted to  temporal and passing relations.  It tries to build up recurrent and remembered relations (also).”  (p.120)

Thus, words represent events from the past. Example:  One cannot speak of America, or of France or polo, without implying the processes that brought these entities into existence. In the process of communicating, we do either a service or a disservice, (as in the case of lying) to these past acts, and  thereby INTENSIFY LIFE.  This occurs by unifying separated acts dispersed by distance and time, into “…one stream of continuous conversation and recording.”

g.  Speaking “about” events is analogous to the shell (chaff) surrounding  the grain of meaning. (ERH calls this “small talk.”)  It represents only a small division of labor in the context of more serious communication needs.  More will be spoken about this later.

h.  5th Principle:  In the process of “real, meaningful speech”  we describe and interpret the universe, uniting all events since the beginning of history into the present.  This is a momentous thing because it allows us to learn from the past, and therefore  gauge change.

We, all the time, spread the good and the bad news.  And to spread news is the function of homo sapiens.  In this way, he establishes a permanent system of coordinates in time and space.  (p.121)

i.   6th Principle:  “All speech is transfer of actions to other human  beings, and thought is a subcase of such transfer.”  (p.122)

Transfer it because I have experienced it: by telling a tale (story).

”          ” so that it may reinforce my action (song, for instance):  “Let us go.”

”          ” so that it may eliminate resisting action about objections:   “He actually is going.”

”           ” so that I need not act myself: the command, “Go.”

j.   7th Principle:  “An individual becomes a person by being able to represent speaker and listener both within one person.”    Logic in this context can be understood  as the process of breaking down objections so that communication will not be severed.


k.  Listening only is not enough.  If communication is to be effective,  what then is the role of the second person, the listener, and how can he be convinced to participate?

There are four basic situations that are a restatement of #b above, and not necessarily related to (#c) above.

1)  Old and young: people in succession, sacramental words and their  reiteration. (analogous to b,3 – speaker depends on listener)

2)  Friends in agreement: soloist & chorus. (analogous to b,1 – speaker and listener are unanimous, of one spirit)

3)  Strangers in disagreement: question and answer (analogous to b,2 – speaker and listener are split, of two spirits)

4)  Leader and led: command and response (analogous to b,4 – speaker  depends on listener because the speaker has acted already)

#1 and #4 are time-related, as are  all imperatives (trying to convince the listener to take the next step).  THE FUTURE DOES NOT JUST HAPPEN, IT IS PREPARED FOR AT THIS STEP! The future needs action now! “This impending and imperative character of the time concept “future” is overlooked in modern discussions.” (p.124,25)

#2 & #3 are space related, friends lie “inside” the circle, strangers “outside.”  Insiders give up some individuality for the group.  “The `inner’ life of man is not a privilege of private individuals.  Any group in the world has this inner sanctuary.” (p.125)

“Outside” means distance, separation, the making of distinctions.  In an argument or a dialogue (of voicing objections and asking for a defense) is an example of two individuals being separated (at least for that period of time).  The commercial world, traders, perhaps by necessity, partake of this type of speech. –

“But it is but one form of communication among others. Magister and disciple, singer and chorus, leader and respondent are of equal originality in their linguistic situation as the interlocutors of a discussion in the form of question and answer.” By isolating the interrogatory mood, the origin of question and answer was inexplicable until today. [RF – I know of many people who believe this as the main, if not only type of interaction]  As soon as we compare the prosaic process of question and answer to its parallels in historical tradition (formula and repetition), in musical unanimity (singer and chorus), in political challenge (imperative and response), question and answer are disclosed as one application of the general principle of social relations to be established through speech, the application to the meeting of two people from different spaces, and therefore of a different standard of objectivity.” (p.126 )

l.   Each of these languages has a different intonation: singing, scientific discussion (or commercial discussion), story-telling or history, any command. “Everybody knows that it takes years to acquire the voice of command that is without flaw and effort, neither shrieky nor embarrassed, but irresistible.” (p.127)

Each language embroils the speaker and listener in different types of social situations, and “…the eccentricities of the  whole of national languages have been built.” [RF – One is reminded of Chinese; one written language, many dialects.]   In summing up:

The past must be remembered by reiteration, the inner life must be felt, the outer circumstances and facts must be known, and the future must be done so that it may become a part of the unforgettable, knowable, experienced, and responded for time-space pattern called the universe.” (p.128)

The Classification of the Parts of Speech

1)  Pronouns, we, you, it, they, I,  “…only make sense when you  are actually talking to people, within one circle of peaceful relations. ”

2)  Nouns classify distinctions between things and people, but need  two sub-types indicating inside and outside.  The inside as with pronouns, the outside as objective phenomena.

3)  Adjectives indicate an evaluation, a looking to the past, an attempt to understand an object by connecting it with some common knowledge.  e.g. round, red table gives some idea of the otherwise unknown table. This connects us with the origins of life.

4)  Verbs indicate the imperative, the future, making the world over by action.

ERH now correlates grammatical forms with the social-relation  terminology. “All language may take four shapes, and so may all parts of speech:  The experience asks to be called future, past, objective or subjective (nominal), verbal, pronominal and adjectival form of language is something eternal.”     (p.130, 31)

5)  The subjective is called ours and mine by pronominal language.

6)  The objective, as between strangers, is extrapolated as by nouns, nominal language.

7)  The old is expressed as having certain qualities, adjectival usage.

8)  The new is expressed in process, as bound to come off,  imperative usage, because the success  depends on the act voiced.

“Or, we may table our findings as follows:” (p.123)

a.  The inward aspect stresses the unity of the interlocutors,  who feel their unanimity:  pronominal language.  (Pronouns: we, I, ours, mine, you, thou, yours, thine, etc. Conjunctions: and, but, in spite of, etc. Optative, subjunctive. Poetry, Music.)

b.  The outward aspect stresses the freedom of each  interlocutor who meets in an objective world: nominal language. (Nouns: stone, rain, fire, hail, tree, etc.; one, two three, four, five, etc. Indicatival speech. Arithmetics.)

c.  The backward aspect traces everything to its familiar qualities: adjectival language.  (Adjectives: red, green, good, bad.  Participles: loving, gone, been. These are both  historical background and moral judgement.)

d.  The forward aspect accompanies the unfinished creation of  the world of tomorrow:  imperatival language. (Verbs, imperatives: Thy will be done, thy kingdom come. — or Help! Stop! Listen! – Political eloquence, prophesy.)

And the true perfection in speech is not achieved by mixing the four styles but by being completely devoted to one of the four at a time. The most important fact about speech is that it must remain four-fold, and no one style can communicate the whole truth of the matter we are trying to convey.  No one style can be reduced to another.  Rational, scientific language is one of four different languages, and must remain so.  (pp. 132,33)

It should be obvious that ERH is using the term “languages” to express the  four references in time and space, outward, inward, backward, and forward, although he expresses these in different ways, in terms of nouns and verbs as above.  Also, in terms of disciplines, as the sciences, the arts (outside/inside), history and  sociology/prescriptive philosophies.  ONE SHOULD REMEMBER AS WELL THAT HE ASSERTS THESE ARE UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES FOR ALL LANGUAGES.  The term “style” seems to mean one of the four disciplines.  It is important as well to note the idea of one-at-a-time and sequence.  This concept is central to his paradigms related to action.  For instance, the natural sequence in learning that is intended to affect the student’s acts outside the classroom, and  where motivation or “a calling” must precede action. 


1.       Traditionally we are not taught the importance of listening. Listening instead is represented as a different phenomenon, such as in the military training,  the issue is called “obedience.”   The goal in  this chapter is to emphasize listening as a part of language, and its fundamental meaning in terms of the imperative.

Is it not a justified question to ask ourselves how language must be composed in order to reach the listener so that he is set in motion and begins to acquire a fragment of the information and content of that which the speaker has said?….To educate means to be a representative of creation.  The long range process of listening: – this is education….The listener’s tract is one-half of the social relation that is established by the process of speech.  And this half is as varied, as complex, as the speaker’s tract.      (p.135)

a.  The four ways in which the human body is involved in listening: 1)  respiratory-oral tract, 2) outer tract such as gesticulation, 3) audition, 4) vision.  All of these are interrelated with each word in the message, and the failure to attend to any one effects all the others.

b.  Principle #1:  Energy differential is a crucial factor in effective speech, as the amount of energy of the speaker should match that of the listener. If the speaker appears  bored (mechanical, uninspired) so will be the listener.

If the listener is bored, the speaker shouts and is no more effective. In this case, the speaker is filled with his subject, but the listener is receiving only second-hand data and therefore only stores it in memory – at best.) “Any philosophy is deteriorated by the fact that it is memorized by the disciples.” (p.139)  Memorization only, at worst means one is unable to reproduce knowledge!

The moods of both speaker and listener must be the same. “It is the discrepancy that endangers our social system because speech is abused, in these inadequate responses, by one of the two interlocutors.” (p.138)

c.  Serious speech is effective only when hearers are willing to do something  about it. Only then does the speaker produce heirs to carry on his ideas. (p.139)

d.  Memory is important for clear messages.  When there is wrong memory or mis-interpretation, its value back-fires. Memory has power when it can be correlated with present, and new experience for the listener.

e.  Principle #2:   Memory must be accurate and translated into a form whereby it can be applied to a problem in the present.

The power of recognition that enables us to identify our own new experience with the record of past experience is a power that transcends logic and definitions.

The power of identifying us with people who express their ideas in other terms requires a quality of mind that is much rarer than logic or memory or sentiment.  It requires the superior power cultivated by the church and in the family:  The power of translating for the sake of mission and education the eternal truth into language of the times.  The power of translating fuses the different ways of understanding.  (p.140)

[RF – I understand this to mean the ability to accurately re-state the meaning of another’s message in one’s own words]

This is the most difficult objective to achieve in education, and when the student does not have that benefit of church and family, it clearly must be attempted by the teacher.

To educate, the speaker must arouse the listener emotionally, to take action intelligently, and observe new situations, and to translate memory. The speaker must, to achieve this, share his/her own excitement and methods.

f.   Lying has occurred since the beginning of speech. There are many forms: 1) Propaganda, where speaker uses subterfuge to convince listener to act in a certain way,  using short cuts or an attempt at cheap influence. 2) Hypocrisy is another form. Propaganda is impossible between people who live together, for obvious reasons. The purpose of speech is to animate the listener to the same degree as the speaker.

g.       Chart of degrees of effectiveness in speech (p. 142)

speaker             listener

chats                 smiles

talks                  listens

tells                   remembers

teaches             learns

sings                 feels

commands         obeys

argues               understands

prophesies         carries out

h.       The beaten track  represents repetition; it does not lead into the future.  Obviously, the point is not always to take, the beaten track or the less travelled-track, but rather to take whichever is appropriate,   at the right time.

Obviously, the point is crucial to education, apropos of principle #2, to translate memory appropriately in the light of present problem.  We teach to restore the honor of listening.

i.        To teach is to command — to listen is to carry out. In time of anarchy, one cannot teach, one must listen, serve.

j.        The listener must have expectations The silence before the speaker speaks  represents those expectations.

Learning requires three elements: the teacher, (conveyor), the administrator(resources), and authority .

Authority makes student expect to be inspired by public need. The student must be “emotionally” hungry for this.

Not our jokes, not our tricks, can lighten the burden of the student when he is not eager to learn.  And why should he be eager when he does not expect the extraordinary.?…the first stage in the listener’s track of hearing: his expectations, and his authorities that open him up to the important and extraordinary idea that he should listen…till he is transformed into a soldier of truth, service and peace for society.” (p.146)

To achieve this, the student (listener) must be given the complete set of phases in the social relationship (involving the whole person), to speak and to listen, to expect and to act, to be silent, and to command.  This requires all methods, all four basic  disciplines.

…Poetry, music, prose, mathematics actually plays on different senses that take part in the process of listening.  …No theory of education is satisfactory because theory is speaking scientifically.  Education is the full process of translating, out of the confusion of tongues, into one living language. (p.148)

k.       The student must be inspired to give “inner time” to the  subject, to think about it in off hours. The process of “giving time” is all on the side of the listener. This acceptance by the student to do this depends upon the teacher’s perceived authority to speak about the content.

This is a “life giving” process when it occurs, that is when the speaker has “taken time” to understand his topic and the listener is willing to give time and ultimately to act on the knowledge.

One assumes, of course, that “knowledge” in this case refers not to small talk, but to significant problems that need to be addressed in the community.  Other talk is simply passing the time of day.

l.     The listener must have the following feelings or attitudes:

1)   He should be willing to respond; it is his business to respond.  He should  feel, and should be made to feel, that he has been selected.

2)   He should feel that the thing asked is reasonable. In this case, the term  “reasonable” does not mean that it is plausible, but that it is something that should be done, and “this is the best alternative.”  [RF – ERH, rightfully I believe, thinks that today one of our social diseases is that we have too  many alternatives and no standards to tell us what one to choose.  The speaker’s role is important here. Thus, the concept of the imperative, “Listen! Be interested.”]  (p.151)

The concept of reason is not to speculate about what to do, but to find a solution to the problem that should be acted on.  ERH points out that all of these rules make no sense unless there is an emphasis, also depending on the context in which the problem is likely to arise.  He reminds us again that the student is, or should be, listening for the emphasis, the imperative part. The emphasis for the scientist, who primarily describes, is indirect, in his method, (“Let there be method.” (p.153) [RF – See an excellent description of science.]  ( pp.152,153). While the scientist’s work is objective, the act of the scientist applying himself to science is subjective. (p.153)

The powers by which the scientist gives his assent to practice science are not rational.

And our world goes crazy today because scientists have forgotten the basis of their own actions: that they have chosen between two irrational possibilities of the future: system or no system, the reasonable path of the system, without guarantee of success. (p.154)

And he continues:

The word rational does not include the problem of living into the future.  It is applicable to objects only.  Rationality is impossible when the outcome is unknown, because it lies in the future.  And rationality assumes that we remain unchanged and analyze objects.  The future, however, is that situation by which we undergo a change and are transformed ourselves. (p.154)

Chapter 7 – The Individual’s Right to Speak

Part – 1   Everybody Speaking

1.       The question (problem)  this chapter raises is, “What happens to me when I speak?”   When traditional grammatical study has been accused of viewing and using language as a “tool,” it means the attitude is to master language and use it to make speeches, in addressing others and perhaps in gathering one’s thoughts. This attitude is highly individualistic and tends toward forgetting that language would never have arisen without the participation of everyone in  community.  This means that language began evolving at the beginning of history, and will last until its end.  It can continue if there is one spirit to respect it, or civilization will end.   How can we understand its power better?

2.       ERH asserts that his birthright to speak freely is protected by the terms of grammar.  Why is this important? Because we all crave self-realization and this, he asserts,  occurs only  when understanding the sum of all phases of our lives.

3.       Wealth, biology (gender), marriage, profession, important as these are,  are not enough for self-realization. To a `city’ we must belong, in order to be human.”  This, and this alone, can bestow equality between every member, and this depends upon speech!

In community all its history belongs to the citizen, each participates in carrying on its vision, in narrating its great story…. The young student in his songs builds up courage for the great future tasks of his community….Physically, we are the children of our mother.  Mentally, however, our national language is our mother-tongue….  It gives us access to anything that has ever been called into existence by the community. (p.158)

4.       Language is the great “fortune” by which we might possibly understand each other, and thereby participate in this bounty.

“When we would thus penetrate into each other (in spirit), we always would experience a sublime moment in which new language was born, and new human words formed.” (p.160)

The mother tongue, what has been said and thought before us in the community, can be spoken by us, through us, and that has great sustaining value, spiritually.  We participate!  But we do not necessarily understand each other. All we can say is that we understand each other’s words, but to say that our interpretation of these words tell us the spirit, the inner life of the other, is quite another matter.  Only rarely does this happen, when one speaks what is in his heart at the right time.

5.       When we speak we either quote other ideas of the community,  or we create new ones. To speak means to crave unanimity, and ERH asserts this is proven by the fact that each language is assumed to be complete; whether it is 800 or 80,000 words, it is assumed to be able to say anything.

Part – 2   English Spoken

1.       Since there are many languages, one would not be able to assume that his language is complete.  HOWEVER, this problem was solved 2,000 years ago when the Bible appeared, because it has been translated into all other languages.  THUS, IT WAS LEARNED AND THIS NOW BECOMES “A NEW PRINCIPLE PROCLAIMED: ALL LANGUAGES MAY BE TRANSLATED INTO EACH OTHER.” (p.161)

2.       Thus  a universal Bible and universal science has transformed languages. They are no longer separate “individualities.” ( p.161)

3.       What are the conditions by which speech remains alive, and therefore reflects the spirit of the community?

Principle #1 :  “It is the essence of language to be momentary, fluid, fleeting.  Hence a word has its full truth only among the people between whom it spouts, and at the moment at which this happens.” (p.162)

Qualifications to this statement;  a) words should not be mistaken as accidental. When they rise to the occasion, speak the truth about it, they attain the level of a “…meaningful historical event.”  When such highest truth is spoken, it transforms the occasion as a memorable one!

Nor does this mean that intent to speak the truth is necessarily powerful.

At that moment of deep truth being spoken, it is the most powerful. All other truths, theories, historical events etc. are comparatively more remote, less powerful, more abstract in meaning.

In the event of speaking of the truth, the speaker assumes the listener will participate heart and soul.

As those words become removed from the situation, more remote (as with books, and other writing or quotations by others) they become more rigid in meaning, more formal, classic, moving toward petrification!

Petrification means the decrease of power of the words, of course, rendering them somewhat impotent when they cannot reflect the truth of the original occasion.

4.       To learn language, such as with children, or adults learning a language of science or of art,  the preparation has limited meaning. This situation is unavoidable and not bad as long as we understand it and do not mistake it for “powerful speech.”  True speech is therefore not available to the initiates  of other ages; the participants must have had “first hand experience” to comprehend the meaning.  When second-hand speech is thus mistaken for true speech (first-hand speech), there is no communication – and only chaos and violence can result!

“Having lost faith in speech, he no longer may obey the order of the day which is authorized by its creative power in the necessity of the moment.”   (p.163)

ERH quotes the Nazi propagandist Sorel, who in 1923  claims to have destroyed the power of words.  In 1933 the last issue of a Free Youth Journal headlined, “Words have lost their meaning.”

This was meant, by the way, in the book of Exodus when God said to Moses:  “There is no sky-world of astrology; you cannot hear what you have to do from the fourteen hundred and sixty-one year cycle of Egypt.  My name is, I am here and now.”  This meant two things in one: first, it meant that man must rise to the occasion, now. Second, it meant that to rise does not imply a blind reaction, a hit-or-miss move.  To rise to the occasion means to listen to the suffering of which speech is the healing.  Reality which remains speechless must drive man crazy. (p.164)

Implied in principle #1 is the fact that language is constantly dying.  Notice the meaningless ceremonies we go through almost daily where there is no context invoked that might give the words meaning.

Part – 3   The mental World

1.       Now to the inner structure of the language.   The first assumption is that language cannot exist without the common will of the community.  It is the common will vocalized.

2.       Two polarities, command and obey.  The speaker (one who commands) and the listener (one who obeys) reflect a common spirit in a group.  The commander is burdened to follow the will (spirit) of the group or suffer possible disinterest and lose his listener.  He has less freedom than the listener.  The person who obeys is less interested in the content; he accepts the command voluntarily, and thus expresses freedom. He is more relaxed, with less need to be tough. “A general has greater difficulty in keeping his freedom and equilibrium than his subordinates.”   The speaker’s equilibrium is maintained when the command is obeyed.  (p.165)

3.       Commands must be given in the proper tone.  Too soft a command suffers the possibility of not carrying force and thus not being obeyed.  Too loud may give offense and thereby reduce the spirit of the group to obey. Halfway between is therefore usually the most effective.

4.       A good imperative changes the course of the world.  Both speaker and listener are ( or must be) voicing the will of the group for such transformation to occur. .

5.       There must be a distinction between inner (spirit) and outer (problem being addressed).  To be objective refers to an object (problem) outside the “common will of the group.”  It offers resistance to the inner subjective (group will).  To speak objectively means referring to someone outside the group; “…it means that we are in the world, and have to expect resistance and difficulties.” (p.166)

Because  today we are so “world conscious”,  meaning  objective, with scientific  orientation, we have reduced our style of speaking  mainly to “objectivity” (to indicate).   When we speak within a group, when an order is given, or even in the event of criticism one can rely on a basic common spirit that reduces resistance.

But the world “outside” the group is different; it is more skeptical, resistant to suggestion and influence.  In this case one cannot rely on a common spirit, so commonality must rely on objective, spacial events that can be shared.  Thus we describe, take measurements, seek statistics; we calculate and measure to seek:

“..the right terms in which I speak of the objects of our actions so that we might break their resistance.” (p.167)

6.       Another terminology to meet is the past.  For the past to have meaning  it must be convincing that there was life there.  Life means names of people who spoke imperatives and led the fight.  Objective language cannot take the measure of such names.  Thus, the power of real history is to help us move in the present.

Facts are objective and dead.  Acts are historical and thereby restored to life in the name of the author of every sentence we report….In the sentence, `Constantinople was conquered by the Turks’ the Turks are the real agent, the subject of the sentence.  The old grammarians, therefore, called the expression `by the Turks,’ the ruling subject of meaning despite the grammatical form of the sentence.   (p.168)

We know that the wheel was invented, that the Battle of Hastings took place in 1066, but the men who dared to risk life,  are the center of history and of meaning.  Because we in the present are constantly confronted with  solving today’s problems  we therefore ask of  history,  “How did they do it?”  The passive and nominative are the forms into which speech turns with regard to the past.  “You live the past by speaking of great names.” (p.169)

7.       In our inner world, we are torn by emotions, unsureness of ourselves, not knowing how we will be evaluated by our fellows, what they will finally call us. At the extremes, we find states of ecstasy and hell.  “Therefore, the subject of the musical experience of this inner man is nameless in the deepest sense of the word.” (p.170)

To understand this inner world, it must be with pronouns,

You, I, mine, our, we thou, are the true forms of the realm of emotions and mixed motives…grammatical forms attached to these pronouns are subjunctive, optative..these processes are mere assumptions of inner experience…not yet materialized. (p.170)

ERH offers several examples of the force of poetry with  subjective grammar, pointing out that we all seek unity, and unity does not exist in the outer world naturally. “Nobody could speak if he didn’t believe in unity…” [RF – I would qualify this and say that it exists when we attempt to organize the natural world.  And do we not find laws that describe and allow us to predict events in the natural world?]

To sing (speak and sing poetry?), the power of language rests in itself, bridging the gap between inside and outside, therein creating a unity in both spheres. To sing belongs to neither past nor future.

H.      Freedom and; Free-will:  The only real freedom we have lies within our thought, because in the outside world, the world of concrete reality, there are numerous constraints. This is why to be “called” into a profession or some commitment, to dedicate one’s energies to a cause, is a decision representing and demonstrating free will.  The corollary of this is that  “…man’s own self is the greatest enemy of man’s free -will….Thoughts pay no custom duties, and they pass all frontiers.” (p.171)  The logic should be obvious. Only we ourselves can deny our own freedom of will.

[RF – Implied here it seems to me, but not specifically stated, is an important principle, one  I would name, PRINCIPLE #2.  This is, if our inner world of thought is the only place we find the possibility of total freedom and total unity, and conversely, the outer concrete world we find chaotic and confining, then we bring unity to the outer world by imposing on it.  In other words, through hypotheses proved, we create unity in the outer world which is recognized.  Of course, such unity only exists as long as people are around.]

I.        Is thought independent of language?  Obviously NOT, according to ERH.

1) Our thought must be validated by communication with others, and proved through observation and   discussion.

“Madmen think alone. Sanity depends on communion.”    Truth cannot be owned by us, but it can be imparted.  Thought, then, may be defined as opening ourselves to the truth. (p.172)

2)    To validate truth there must be two conversations.  The first, within ourselves where we debate, with ourselves,  some issue; here we anticipate outward conversation.

“Any thinker of quality is amazed by the poor level of the criticisms raised against his theses, for he knows many more dangerous objections to his own ideas….The mental world, then, is the duplication of the speaking world by unifying the speaker and the listener within one mind.” (p.173 )

3)    There is yet another element of language that is not commonly discussed.  Most philosophers of language believe that language is captured by the words in the dictionary, and that  systems of philosophy contain the thoughts of man. This in turn would imply that words were the same as speech, and thoughts the mental world.  These thinkers, ERH asserts, treat these two worlds, words and thought, as separate.  But is this not circular logic, to suggest that we speak about thought with words, but keep them separated?  Thinking according to this logic would then seem to be for curiosity.

Why we should respect each other’s curiosity I do not know.  I usually kill flies when they become too curious. ( p.173)

Part – 4    The Healthy Person

1.       To speak means to speak to someone (individual or group). And this “someone” must be called by his correct name. The someone named must therefore be “called” or addressed, in turn, by a “named” authority or power.  Thus, society precedes individuality.  For example,  “A woman I meet by accident would never have the authority to call me for my breakfast.  My mother had.”   This power or authority has, or should have, limits, however.  My mother should not have the right to choose my wife.

2.       “To think means to introduce better names (into society).” (p.174)  This means that at some point we must become independent, to rise above our names, to change the world, to name new things. “We think because we ourselves wish to speak with authority, just as we were spoken to before.” We also need to re-interpret the world, to either correct misconceptions or interpret new experience, our own.

“Thought gives man a kingdom.”  But that kingdom must be “ruled.”  And its rule comes from concrete experience! Law,  as related to all social life, could not exist if we did not speak out what we believe is the truth. Criminal acts would not be reported, we would have no friends, because the conditions by which we would live with others would not be spelled out.

3.       Speaking, addressing others when there is a reason, speaking what we really think and where some action needs to be taken, and where we are willing to take that action ourselves, or ask others to do it, is the way we individually contribute toward the community.

To speak means to enact the various roles in society itself.  By speech, then, we contribute actual power to the life of society…He does not speak who talks abouteverything under the sun…Speech enters the scene only when we are back of our words with our reputation, life, honor…Anything below this degree of veracity simply is uninteresting. (p.178)

4.       There is an important distinction between real speech and pseudo speech.  Real speech is spoken to the right person or right body at the right time, in the right place.  Many speakers, perhaps most, do not follow these criteria and are therefore ineffective.

The indications for right and wrong, good and evil, with regard to a sentence, are not of a logical or scientific nature.  They are a problem of timing. (p.180)

ERH goes on to explain by example.  2×2=4 is an eternally true  generalization.  But in the case of 7 people ordered to ride in a car made for 4, it can be said that 7=4 may also be true 7 in a car  made for 4 may at times be acceptable  in some situations. The basic difference between science and judgement is one of timing, where specifics, not generalizations, dictate the efficacy of the judgement.

For every truth, there is but one right process of law by which it ultimately can be verified.  The more serious the truth, the rarer the occasion. (p.180)

5.       In the classroom there is total freedom to say anything, as intellectual curiosity prevails. There is freedom to think, to contemplate, speculate.  In real experience, such as war, there can be no such freedom, as the situation controls our freedom.   In freedom we make a judgement. We must make judgement.

Part – 5     Yes

1.       “Whoever speaks believes in the unity of mankind.” To believe in the unity of mankind defines  a “yes,” an affirmation to life.

2.       One does not need to be conscious of whether he believes in something (a truth) or not; the fact that he participates in seeking it is enough.  This act of participation reflects  what is important in life.  To speak means that one believes there are listeners.  Since any statement can be translated into any language, we possess the ability to speak to all of humankind,  directly, or through translation.  Speech therefore has the power to unite all of humankind.

And since our power to evolve from animals toward becoming human is dependent upon speech, as has been established all through this essay,  to say “Yes” to belief in speech is saying yes to being called to life as a human, it is saying yes to seeking truth, to an obligation to contribute toward the great enterprise of creation of community.  All of this is to say YES to the spirit of humankind.

It is quite unimportant whether a man knows that he believes in God or not.  The power to speak is God because it unites me with all of men and makes us judges of the whole world….Unless we bow to this power, we must abuse our right to speak and to think. For either we try to use it right and tell the truth, think the truth, listen to the truth, or the tongue will dry up in our throat, and our ears shall hear nothing but cries of suspicion and hatred and despair.  We will be cursed by posterity as the destroyer of peace, of power, of credit, of order,  all things which truth alone can establish.  (pp.184,5)

The fact that we speak and that speech unites mankind and allows us to judge the world means that we believe in God.  To say NO to truth, to lie, to be a hypocrite is to destroy the world and at the same time be an unbeliever. [RF –  It seems to me to say “no” to truth (lying, in other words) is analogous to using democracy to destroy it, as the Muslims in Algeria claim today, 1992].

3.              “By speaking, the individual makes himself a cell of one tremendous body politic of speech.  Open your lips, and you have ceased to be yourself.  You have become a member and you occupy an office…”  (p.185)

To pretend, to lie, to order others to do what we are unwilling to do, to plan for others but not oneself, all who do these things are devils who destroy speech and the community. (p.186)

4.       Through speech, then, with these freedoms to make judgement, every  person has accessible to him/herself the ability to understand law, poetry, literature, science, and to participate in all of these in some manner. But the power of this freedom is realized only with discipline.   The franchise of free speech and thought is destroyed by the liar.  The liar therefore weakens and eventually leads to the destruction of society by destroying the validity of speech.

Thus, our freedom is two edged, to either create or destroy.  “This witchcraft of speech and thought–where is it anchored in our organism?”

Part – 6    Some Final Terms for Grammar

1.       “The individual, in his power to say

This has been

This shall be

I see this.  This is.

I am of it.  Let me be one of yours.

enters four orders of grammar.” (p.187)

2.       These powers can be summarized in the following table:

activity            grammar            mood                axis                  discipline


command        prejective           dramatic            future                ethics/prophecy

song               subjective           lyrical                inner world        art

remember        trajective            epochal             past                  history

calculation       objective            logical               outer world        science

3.       Everyone has these powers potentially, to pronounce something dead, to call something new into life (this shall be), to describe reality (this is), to participate in a group.

4.       These powers cast into the form of some professions:

practice law (trajective)

preach (prejective)

create art (subjective)

create science (objective)

These are constant because they represent our reference points in time and in space.  “The whole intellectual life of a nation–literature, legislation, politics, sciences, song and slang–is subject to grammatical analysis of its health.” (p.188)

5.       These activities are “macroscopical” because we see them every day.  Inmicrocosm we can parallel these with grammar within a sentence.

1. verbs           imperatives         politics

2. adjectives    subjunctives       literature and arts

3. nouns          narratives           tradition

4. numerals     indicatives          sciences

1.       projects us into the future, calls us to carry out the act.

3.       records the completion of the action for posterity; the thing has been  named.

2.       describes our inner state while we did the act, our emotions.

4.       classifies the product, by analysis.

“In this way, the individual’s attitudes in speaking have furnished us with one universal terminology for all processes of the spirit.  The cycle…applies to the greatest and the smallest and all the human phenomena of speech and thought.”  (p.189)



adjectives…………………… 23, 29, 30, 41

anarchy………………………… 3-5, 9-11, 32

Anselm…………………………………. 5, 7, 8

answers………………………………………. 18

Aristotle……………………………………… 10

articulation………………………. 12, 13, 19

arts……………………………………….. 30, 41

astrology…………………………………….. 36

audience………………………………. 17, 27

Bible………………………………………. 8, 35

biology………………………………………. 34

Bonhoeffer……………………………………. 1

Buber…………………………………………… 2

calculation………………………………….. 40

calling…………………………….. 21, 22, 30

chorus…………………………………… 28, 29

Christianity……………………………………. 8

communication………… 4, 12, 25, 27-29,

35, 38

community…………… 2, 7, 11-14, 16, 18,

33-36, 39, 40

Comte…………………………………….. 1, 10

concept……………… 5, 17, 23, 28, 30, 33

contemporaries……………………………… 9

conversation…………………. 7, 13, 27, 38

cooperation………………………………….. 3

crusades……………………………………… 12

death……………………………………. 2, 3, 7

decadence……………………… 3, 4, 10, 27

decay…………………………………………… 9

destiny………………………………….. 14, 16

dialectics……………………………………. 12

dictionary……………………………………. 38

dimension……………………………….. 8, 14

disclosure……………………………………. 17

distemporaries…………………………. 9, 10

dogma………………………………….. 23, 26

ear………………………………….. 22, 24, 26

education……………. 9-11, 15, 22, 31-33

Ehrenberg…………………………………… 10

emotion…………………………… 15, 19, 22

epic……………………………………… 18, 20

ethics………………………………. 10, 12, 40

ethnology…………………………………….. 2

Exodus……………………………………….. 36

experience……….. 1, 2, 4-11, 14, 15, 19,

22, 26, 29, 31, 34,

35, 37-39

faith………………….. 3, 4, 8, 9, 21, 26, 35

formula………………………………………. 29

freedom………… 5, 16, 18, 25, 30, 36-40

fronts……………………. 4, 5, 14-16, 20, 22

future………. 2-6, 8, 9, 11, 13-22, 28, 29,

32-34, 37, 40, 41

generation………………………………… 3, 9

genesis………………………………………. 10

geometry……………………………………. 23

gesticulation……………………………….. 31

God………… 2, 8, 10, 15, 16, 18, 19, 36,


government…………………………….. 3, 10

hearing………………………………………. 32

history…………… 2, 8, 11, 13, 15, 16, 19,

22-26, 28, 29, 30,

34, 37, 40

Holy Spirit…………………………………….. 2

Humboldt……………………………………. 16

hypocrisy…………………………………….. 32

imperative………… 1, 13, 14, 18, 19, 23,

28-30, 33, 36

individual…………. 3, 13, 14, 22, 27, 28,

34, 38, 40, 41

interlocutors……………………………. 29-31

interpretation……………………. 21, 31, 34

Jaspers……………………………………….. 10

Kantian………………………………………. 10

knowledge………. 6-8, 11, 20-22, 25, 29,

31, 33

language………… 2-6, 11-20, 22, 24, 26,

27, 29-31, 33-39

Latin………………………………………….. 23

law……………. 5, 8, 10, 20, 21, 23, 38-41

leader……………………………… 14, 28, 29

learning……….. 9, 11, 20, 22, 30, 32, 35

legislation…………………………………… 41

liar…………………………………………….. 40

life…………… 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 14-16, 18, 19,

22-24, 26-29, 33,

34, 37-41

listener……….. 10, 12, 13, 15, 23-33, 35,

36, 38

literature…………… 16-18, 20, 22, 40, 41

logic…………. 5, 8-10, 12, 15-18, 22, 28,

31, 37, 38

love……………………… 15, 16, 23, 24, 26

Marty…………………………………………… 1

mathematics…………………. 5, 15, 19, 33

matrix…………………………………….. 2, 14

medicine……………………………………. 23

memory…………. 2, 4, 15, 17, 22, 31, 32

method……….. 1-3, 5-10, 14, 18, 20, 21,

25, 33

mind………… 2, 3, 10, 16, 17, 20, 31, 38

monologue……………………………. 17, 23

Moses………………………………………… 36

mother-tongue…………………………….. 34

Mumford………………………………………. 1

music……………………………………. 30, 33

mysticism……………………………………… 9

name……………………………….. 13, 36-38

nature……….. 1, 2, 4-6, 8-10, 12, 17, 22,


Nietzsche……………………………………… 2

noun………………………………………….. 19

numerals…………………………………….. 41

oath…………………………………………… 21

object…………. 5, 19, 20, 23, 24, 27, 29,


Oldham……………………………………….. 1

oratory……………………………………….. 19

orientation…………………………. 6, 16, 36

origin……………………………………. 23, 29

paradox…………………………….. 5, 10, 11

participle……………………………………. 19

passive……………………………………….. 37

past……………… 1-6, 9, 11, 13-16, 18-22,

27-29, 31, 37, 40

peace……………………. 2, 4, 8-12, 32, 40

perfect…………………………. 9, 15, 16, 18

philosophy………. 1, 2, 8, 11, 16, 19, 31,


phonetics……………………………………. 26

physics………………………………. 7, 13, 14

poetry…………. 1, 15, 18, 19, 22, 30, 33,

37, 40

politics…………………………….. 14, 15, 41

power…………… 2, 3, 5, 6, 10-12, 17, 18,

23, 24, 31, 34-40

preject………………………………….. 19, 20

present………. 3-6, 11-16, 19, 21, 22, 28,

31, 32, 37

pronouns………………………….. 29, 30, 37

propaganda………………………………… 32

prophesy…………………………………….. 30

prose…………………………………….. 19, 33

psychology……………………………………. 1

question and answer……………….. 28, 29

rationality…………………………………… 34

reading………………………………………… 7

reality…………. 1, 4, 6, 13-17, 36, 37, 40

reason……………….. 1, 5, 7, 8, 20, 33, 39

reflection………………………………… 4, 15

reiteration……………………………… 28, 29

relations………………………. 19, 25-27, 29

religion………………………………………. 11

resistance……………………………………. 36

respect………………………………. 4, 34, 38

revolution……………………. 3, 4, 9-11, 27

risk…………………………….. 11, 16, 18, 37

scholasticism……………………………….. 10

social sciences………………………. 1-3, 11

society…………. 1-12, 16, 18, 19, 22, 25,

32, 38-40

song…………………………….. 5, 28, 40, 41

soul……………………………… 3, 15, 21, 35

space………… 2-10, 12-15, 18-22, 27-30,


speaker……….. 5, 10, 12, 15, 17, 23, 24,

26-29, 31, 32, 33,

35, 36, 38

speech………….. 1, 2, 4-6, 10-16, 19, 20,

22, 26, 28, 29,

30-32, 34-41

spirit………… 2, 16, 26, 28, 34-36, 39, 41

student………. 7, 9, 20, 22, 25, 30, 32-34

subject………….. 7, 8, 12, 13, 19, 20, 23,

24, 31, 33, 37, 41

subjectivity……………………………………. 5

subjunctive……………. 13, 18, 22, 30, 37

synthesis…………………………………….. 10

system……….. 4, 8, 12, 14, 26-28, 31, 33

theology…………………………… 1, 3, 6-10

thinker……………………………. 1, 9, 17, 38

thought……… 1, 2, 4-6, 8, 10, 12-20, 22,

23, 26, 28, 34, 37,

38, 40, 41

time………… 1-6, 8-16, 18-22, 24, 27-30,

32-34, 39-41

Tower of Babel……………………………… 4

tradition…………….. 8, 13, 21, 23, 29, 41

traject…………………………………… 19, 20

trinity…………………………………………… 8

truth…………… 2, 7, 9, 10, 12, 16-18, 20,

21, 25, 30, 31, 32,

35, 38-40

unanimity…………………. 4, 5, 29, 30, 34

unity………… 2-4, 6, 9, 10, 27, 30, 37-39

universe……………………….. 5, 19, 28, 29

values……………………. 3-5, 9, 10, 12, 23

velation……………………………………… 17

verb…………………………………………… 23

violence………………………………….. 3, 35

war……………………. 3-5, 9-12, 14, 27, 39

world………… 1, 2, 4-6, 10-14, 16-19, 25,

28-30, 33, 36-38, 40

World War I…………………………………. 12

writing…………………….. 1, 17, 18, 20, 35

Zuckmayer……………………………………. 1


Lectures 1-5
Feringer notes
Notes started: August-98


[RF-This is his most extensive set of essays I have seen to date about social time and its meaning, as differentiated from the measurement of time in natural science.]

Lecture 1

1/1.ERH begins as usual with anecdotes centered around the location where he is speaking, in this  case Santa Barbara.  Economy has two meanings.  Pre-dating 1800, it meant that, from the house of God (nature),  plenty was created out of the wilderness.

After 1800, following Adam Smith, it came to mean simply the production of goods and services, buying and selling.  1) The old meaning inferred sacrifice was necessary in order to become a human being. 2) The new meaning inferred an avoidance of sacrifice.  The old meaning meant we must be convinced we are not wild animals,  and exist within the House of God where we are obligated to maintain an orderly house; the new meaning omits community strictures.  The old meaning inferred that there was a father, mother, and children. Learning what was right would open the gateway for achieving bounty.  (p.1-3)

2/1God’s world cannot stand without sacrifice of its creatures.  You are needed in creation in this massive process of processes that go on: water running down, storms blowing. You, too, are like a natural force that has to find its proper use. And if you don’t flow in the right direction,  there will be a blackout of civilization. (p.3)

3/1Tillich coined the world “theonomics” to indicate the complete meaning of the term economics. (p.5)  “…knowledge that a living soul has is conditioned on his obedience. ” The modern day economist doesn’t appear to be so obligated.


Capitalists and communists alike, Adam Smith and Karl Marx both hold to the new meaning of the word “economics,”  Their philosophies speak of the individual, but not of maintaining a house of God where individuals are expected to sacrifice for the home (individual and community).

The Latin translations of the Bible took the word “economy” in Ephesians and in Corinthians to mean “dispensation,” from the Greek word “economy.”  (p.7)

5.All of this leads up to the notion that time in social life is entirely different than the time of the physicist.  The miracle of the Bible was that the entire portrait of mankind was demonstrated in a few years of a single life-time, that millennia may be required to achieve social peace, and finally that the immediate past and future in social terms is of little importance.  Sacrifice is always in the present, while  goal achievement is always in the (usually distant) future.

Lecture 2

1/2John Calvin’s teaching of economy was in line with the idea of theonomics.

“…the salvation of economics must have to do something with our power to distinguish serious things and leisure things, or things of leisure time that are not serious.” (p.3)

Work in the peace corps or any other meaningful endeavor cannot be fruitful if it is done with an attitude of leisure, of curiosity, of casualness.

2/2ERH asserts that, today most people don’t (or can’t) make the distinction between seriousness and play.  Their life becomes something to “play” with; work is said to be “fun,”  and learning the same. [RF – I know of no important learning that is fun.]

3/2God is in things and ourselves, but not to be seen otherwise. (p.9)   ERH goes on to explore how the divine cannot be seen, and contrasts that idea with the notion that in a scientific world the emphasis is on what can be seen, in  space. The distinction is made that in God’s world, rather than in space, time is crucial, as contrasted with the secular, scientific orientation to life, one based only on concrete evidence. People who are vain and ambitious want to see results in the short-term.  People who work for the long-term benefit such as teaching or counseling must have faith that their work will eventually be fruitful.  In many such jobs it is difficult to know of one’s success.  This is what he means by “doing God’s work.”

…the people who do not want to know what’s going to happen to their good deeds, they are able to concentrate on the good deed, and on the goodness of the deed so much that they really reach posterity. (p.12)

In effect, anyone who teaches, or administers seriously knows that his efforts must last far beyond his  own ministrations or even life-time.

In the life of Jesus,  we see  the reach of time, as the infinitely small (few years) becomes a measuring stick for all eternity.  Thus, mankind no longer needed to be lost in an eternity of time. (p.13)

4.”As soon as you leave the paths of the Bible and of Christian tradition, you lose all power to go beyond your day..” (p.15)   [RF – And one might add, to transcend the measurement of achievement by concretely present data.]

Lecture – 3

1. The only basis by which cultures can survive is that the people  know themselves and their goals over three generations; by contrast, when time is  fragmented,  when one generation cannot understand another, degeneration occurs and brings on catastrophe. Humankind, like animals, can only know the present, and certainly cannot understand one hundred years.  Unless, that is,  the people are imbued with God’s spirit by  sharing the lifetime of Jesus through the Bible.  [RF – The Bible, ERH asserts, represents the life-time of humans from the beginning to the end of time.]

It is precisely through the passing on of great thought and deeds that revives the spirit of any culture. “…everything we call ‘religion’, we call ‘church’, we call ‘Christian era’, we call ‘western man’, has to do with times, and not with spaces.”  (p.3)

2.To achieve the goal of becoming human, of being imbued with the spirit of sacrifice and of God,  takes time.  To overcome the mere animal notion of time as in present culture and have our achievements bear fruit in human affairs, we must listen to the message of our creator.

One of our constant experiences is that through the years nothing seems to change.  Certainly the news media is interested only in the present, and thus time tends toward becoming fragmented.

3.The pre-history of a catholic church lies not with the hero, or in sects, but in the act of hospitality.  “The house of God is where the known man and the unknown man meet on equal terms.  And this is always called “economy.”  (p.5)   Over time it allowed mankind to experience a unity – or at least for some to see the unity of all humans. Today the notion seems to have been abused.

4.In the theories of Marx and Adam Smith, the driving forces of western and Marxist theories, “enlightened self interest” is oriented toward individuals rather than “houses” and nations.

That cannot be the aim and highest goal of life.  For him [RF – I presume he refers here to Helmut von Moltke], the most important thing was the relation and bond between people; and finally between God and him. (p.7)

This is to say that one’s highest goal cannot be enlightened self-interest!  Self-interest may be part of our goal, but not the highest.

3-5The difference between the individual and a home is that in the home no single individual is always at the center; it is the whole house (all for one and one for all?),  as  “…man in a house is powerful, is human, if he can set the tone between the outer world and the inner world.” (p.9)

The centrality of the home is fading, and the last remnant we have now is thanksgiving, when we take a stranger into our home. In the home, brothers and sisters take care of  everyone, even if one is feeble- minded or otherwise handicapped.  TODAY THE COMMUNITY IS EXPECTED TO CARRY OUT MANY OF THESE FUNCTIONS. The centrality of the home, and therefore of this type of learning (to become human), is thus fading.

3-6Ethics are never individual; they depict relationships between people.  We can never know what we can do tomorrow.  Love must therefore dictate our behavior, not some abstract principle like ethics.  (p.16)

In the household we think of three generations, – grandparents, parents, and children.  The economics of the state are for a year.  The economics of society are for a much longer period.

Lecture 4

1/4Basically the east and west, the Russians and the Allies,  follow the same philosophy, that of down-grading the importance of family, of pushing individual pursuit. Of assuming that small, long-range support organizations are unnecessary for survival.  “We are homeless today.”  (p.1/4)  We need the house of three generations where no “individual” predominates.

2/4Today, there is no central spirit that holds the house together.  The town has become a world market, goods-oriented, space-oriented. The trouble is that we live only in the outer world of space, with no (or only weak) spiritual center of an inner world.

Here ERH differentiates “people” from “public”.  The public is the mass man. There is no sacrifice with “public,” there is no central spirit.  The public lives for the moment, living only in the outside world.  “PEOPLE”  is just the opposite on every count.   People live in houses, after the public meeting they go home, and  they are at home with the spirit of  their creator, thus living in both an inner and outer world are integrated into one.  “Anybody who cares for public opinion has forfeited the right to be listened to.” (p.7)

3.PEOPLE are thus not slaves to everything in the concrete world, and live in a time span longer than the present, living from the past into the future as well as the present. Power is related to the concrete world for the most part.  The normal person is liked and loved and needed, but he doesn’t need massive power.

In the spacial world,  time is of the essence.  In the spiritual world, one lives out of time.  One must therefore have patience and wait for the right time for peace to come. That is why a marriage can last forever! (p.10)

4.       And that is the reason why the Church has always spoken of eternity, and of Heaven and Hell.  They exist…You can think they cannot be painted; that may be, but everybody who wants to live without the notion of Heaven and Hell cannot rule, cannot teach, cannot get children and educate them.  He’s unfit for society.  The infinite is the condition of our finite actions. (p.10)

ERH  goes on to state that the true teacher is concerned with how the student will think about his studies in a year or five years, or twenty, not just how he thinks about them for the day.  It is the same with all important activity, especially with leadership.

5.The greatness of Adam Smith and Marx was that they admonished us to go forth into the world and seek out the unknown, create infinite space, don’t be provincial!

Any world that functions on the basis of space only,  of gold and war, can only produce more war or injustice.  It can never produce peace.

Lecture – 5

1/5In these lectures ERH claims to have pointed out that in the past three centuries  we have learned to measure space “ad infinitum.”  Man under the guidance of Adam Smith and Karl Marx has unified space, has equalized people at home and abroad with regard to their market.  HOWEVER, ALL THE HOUSES OF MAN HAVE BEEN DESTROYED.  “Factory time” applied to other elements of live destroys the meaning of experience. In the times of faith,  people did not believe that one could live by the factory or the school.

2/5Factories are based on the brain, while marriages are based on sex and love.  Science and technology cannot tell us who we are or what to do, they  cannot tell us how to use science and technology. (see Hutchins quote (p.2)

Nations, communities, homes are not built by factories or technology, but by congregations and brotherly love.

3.All of this takes time, a great deal of time, and cannot be built by the values of space.  Marriages take a life-time to build, and communities many life-times of individuals. Something important must last for 50 or 100 years, at least 3 generations. OUR INDIVIDUAL LIVES  HAVE MEANING ONLY IN TERMS OF  HOW WE CONTRIBUTE TO THESE TYPES OF “PEOPLE” GOALS.

Even the factory does not survive by wages alone, or the vision of the inventor, but by the spirit of all its workers.

So calculable things are the shadow, the projection of incalculable life.  And any society has as its future only the amount of investment in incalculables that will make all things that can be bought inferior–subservient is perhaps the best word–instrumental.  (p.9)

4.We do not live, cannot live by money values as the highest value.  We rely on people telling us the truth, otherwise we would not listen to them, nor they to us. The brain always ends in figures.  This is merely ancillary to how we maintain vital elements in society.  In society that is, not in physics. Numbers scratch the surface of things, and tell us nothing as to how we must maintain a vital home.

5-5All of this is because:

We have in us the very strange arrangement, that the past and the future are demanding on you and me to be represented at this moment.  Thinking, speaking, singing, playing, everything is a decision: how much of the past has to be kept; how much of the future has to be introduced anew, against the hindrance of the past: how much of the outside world, the traffic on the street, has to be respected:  we don’t want to be run over; and how much of the inner man has to be kept intimately with your own poetry, and your own songs, and your own love? (p.15)

6.                 A home is not by the will of its inmates peaceful.  It’s a gift of the gods if a husband, and a wife, and the children, and the grandparents can establish peace in a home. (p.17)


Economy of Times – 1965 – Review

This is the most comprehensive and tightly-knit expression I have read from  the author about time and its basic meaning to society, as differentiated from the meaning of time in natural science.

Economy has two meanings; pre-dating 1800 it meant that from the house of God, plenty was created out of the wilderness.  After 1800, following Adam Smith and Karl Marx, it came to mean simply the production of goods and services, buying and selling. The old meaning inferred sacrifice was necessary in order to become a human being:  the new meaning inferred an avoidance of sacrifice.  The old meaning meant we must be convinced we are not wild animals and we dwell within the House of God, obligated to maintain an orderly house. The new meaning omitted community strictures .


Adam…………………………………………………. 1, 3-5

Bible…………………………………………………….. 1, 2

community…………………………………………. 1, 3, 5

economics……………………………………………… 1-3

economy……………………………………………. 1, 3, 5

ethics………………………………………………………. 3

experience…………………………………………….. 3, 4

faith……………………………………………………… 2, 4

future………………………………………………… 1, 4, 5

generation…………………………………………………. 2

God…………………………………………………… 1-3, 5

history……………………………………………………… 3

individual……………………………………………. 1, 3, 4

Jesus………………………………………………………. 2

John………………………………………………………… 1

knowledge…………………………………………………. 1

Latin………………………………………………………… 1

learning………………………………………………….. 1-3

life………………………………………………………… 1-5

love……………………………………………………….. 3-5

Marx………………………………………………….. 1, 3-5

nature………………………………………………………. 1

orientation…………………………………………………. 2

past………………………………………………….. 1, 4, 5

peace…………………………………………….. 1, 2, 4, 5

Peace Corps……………………………………………… 2

philosophy………………………………………………… 3

physics…………………………………………………….. 5

poetry………………………………………………………. 5

]………………………………………………………….. 1, 2


Woods Hole Lecture 1
Feringer notes
Notes started: July-98


1.”Man is a fearful animal.  And it always takes a society, a group, a family, a friendly circle to put him at rest. Before man can think, he must be offered a situation in which thinking is not threatening him with loss of position, outer danger, or any other threat from the outside. ”  (p.1)

2.What are the necessities for man to think objectively?  This is the fundamental problem posed in this essay.

3.Man lives in society where most experience is full of anarchy!  We are told what is reality, and if we do not believe it we go crazy because then we do not know who we are!   (p.3)

a.ERH quotes Oedipus, “I am oedipus because I am called Oedipus.”

b.He points out that Christ strove for his whole adult life, and  was put to death in the process of getting rid of his name, “Jew.”

4.Man must believe two things, as an heir and as an ancestor.  As an heir,  he must believe what he has been told about himself; as an ancestor, he must believe that he can change, that he may be transformed. “… because the future must not look like the past.” (p.5)

5.Two demands are made on us, from the past and from the future,  and the present is in collision between the two.  We know our past and our destiny (to die); WHAT WE DO NOT KNOW IS WHAT MUST BE DONE IN THE PRESENT.  This is collision between our ancestry and the way man must be transformed into an ancestor of the future.

6.A fundamental question related to  differentiating leader from subordinates or followers, is how much should the leader reflect the character of the followers.  The answer is,  “not at all;” leadership requires a different role than that of followers.

7.In sum, space (the inner space of thought and the outer space of nature) never exists separately from mankind’s  sense of time, which demands that we confront the battle between past and future;

Unless we decide perpetually between these four ways of being, truth loses our [its?] hold on us.  Only those who fight for the future, for the past, for the outer order, and the inner peace, alternatingly, may represent the spirit of man.  (p.10)

8.Four latin phrases represent these four fronts to reality:

a.Cogito ergo sum; I think therefore I am.

b.Mensurare possum, quia sum; measure for power, because it exists

c.Audio ut sim; “I must hearken to God’s voice before I come into being.”

d.Respondeo etse mutabor; I respond although I will be changed.


CROSS OF REALITY – 1965 – Woods Hole, E. Rosenstock-Huessy – Review

Rosenstock-Huessy has many descriptions and explorations of his Cross of Reality as a basic structure for a new science of society.  Each says the same thing in many different ways and with greater or lesser detail depending upon the length, and each offers a different shade of insight.  This short piece is a tightly woven, succinct statement of the core concept.


Lectures 1-3
Feringer notes
Notes started: 9-96
Last edited: 9-98



Lecture 1


2.The point of this lecture is that there is something in grammar that the linguists have never told us about, something higher than (beyond) the way they divide grammar into nouns and verbs and analyze syntax sentence by sentence.

“Intonation is a secret by which you can express all feelings, nearly, without words.” (p.1-3)   ERH  demonstrates his point with a story of a  Salvation Army crisis-line counselor, whose tone of voice was a crucial  factor; it betrays features of your soul.

3.ERH uses the example of Spinoza, who worshipped quantification,  and points out that this could only account for dead things, or society as a mass, but could not explain how individuals communicate.  In a like way, a dictionary is a quantification, i.e. it defines only the most common meanings of a word, which  all people can use or understand, but which do not tell the whole story.

In jurisprudence, definitions (of murder, for instance) are necessary, but when we attempt to necessarily apply these generalizations to experience,  the meaning soon becomes lost. Generalizations mean particular contexts have been stripped away, and with them much of the meaning.   Our experience is never in terms of generalizations, rather, it includes feelings, intentions, and unique details.

4.Names are much more than mere dictionary terms; In a social context, to call us by name is to provoke or invoke our spirit. And to address someone by name is to involve that person in life.  It is the inflection put on the words that reveals the spirit of the moment, and that is mainly what is remembered by listeners.

5.To listen is also to engage in conversation, it takes in both speaker and listener. ERH recounts a story of a lady and a diplomat pointing out the way meaning derives from intonation.

6.To speak has little to do with your brain (rationalizing); it has more to do with listening to Beethoven or Bach, wherein one loses themselves in a meditation, in the spirit of the situation.  TO LISTEN MEANS TO BREAK DOWN THE BARRIERS OF THE CONCRETE WORLD.

7.With leadership, one needs to make a distinction between  giving commands and carrying them out. “To will, is not enough.  You have to submit to some higher will, or you can’t get married.” (p.1-13)   This process is not rational.  Seeing eye-to-eye means one has “…given up the distinctions of our physical separation.”  (p.1-14)

8.Addressing persons by name renders them  capable of responding to a command.  Three grades of speech are names, numbers, and figures (images).  Names point to the future, figures to past (dead) things, and images to the present.

The naming if a new-born child is an anticipation of his/her future.  And when the Bible refers to “future life,” this has no reference to something beyond our real life, but is rather a calling of the child into life as we live it. (p.16)


Lecture – 2

1.Speech is dangerous, mortal and life-giving, or it is nothing!  (p.2)

2.Lust and love, peace and war are the subjects for this lecture.  It is precisely by the grammatical method that one is able to distinguish between these fundamentals of life, and this is not so through the influence of science as the basis for the analysis of language.  Words have to be spoken in order to allow us to love, and words must be spoken to allow us to live in peace.  Not so with lust and war.  Lust destroys love and war  results from enmity (not speaking).

3.Through language it is possible to distinguish between sex and love and between peace and war.  Man does not make war or love, unless they are like animals.  One declares both love and war, and one accepts both declarations.

We strive to be divine (creative) in our earthly existence; the evidence is our need to acquire power.  Both real love (as contrasted with lust) and real peace (contrasted with war) point to a future for us – and these are representative of a meaning for life.  (p.5)

4.Love and peace cannot be willed, they cannot be forced on another or they become degraded into lust and war the moment the force is reduced.  Love and peace occur or are acquired with sacrifice.  “Life, real life is never pleasurable.  It’s serious.”   (p.7)

5.You can decide over the phone  whether or not a man is going to commit suicide,  you can imagine that to speak is a potent act of life.

6.Marriage is not just between a man and a woman, it can apply to a political party, to a profession, to a country, etc.  The same rules apply in all cases, and the foundation for all is love.

7.Peace and love can be arbitrated, but not “made.”  And arbitration requires sacrifice on both sides.  Sacrifice means to give up something in the present to make the future.

8.The religious underpinnings of speech are inherent throughout the Bible:  In every utterance the word must become incarnate (reborn), pointing toward the future.  To realize our name, given to us at birth,  is to render it incarnate, i.e. “the word become flesh.”  An invocation is a physical utterance and the only way by which the spirit can enter reality.  So the spirit begins with a word that has become flesh, an indication that the spirit is ready to enter creation.

9.The sacrament of love is an indication that those smitten are willing to give up all else to manifest their love,    like the husband or wife willing to leave a home they love to go off with each other. Teddy Roosevelt illustrated this in agreeing to arbitrate peace between the Japanese and Russians (against the interests of the U.S.).


Lecture – 3

1.Living only in the present would not have led to speech.  In the present, things can be shown by the five senses,  but referring to the past or to the future requires speech.  For this reason also, (important) speech is prophetic, as it anticipates.

2.”Genuine speech is always either declaring love or declaring war.” (p.3)  It is relevant to the crucial, life-giving ability to change. To change is to end (kill) some habit or element of your life and strike out anew.  To change is revolutionary, and sometimes dangerous (the more important the change, the more dangerous). To love or war sets new things in motion; it can  create new nations or  new alliances, or break old ones.

3.Thus, the power to speak and act is a fundamental power of life, and this power will at times break laws.  These concepts are universal for all languages. This is what ERH calls a “deeper grammar,”  and thus the Grammatical Method.

4.Promise and fulfillment are also reasons why we speak; it is because we live in a context longer than our own lives, a time span necessary for fulfillment.  Three generations are required to establish a (social) truth.

5.The liberal arts education is necessary to counteract the effect of natural science thinking as it is applied to social (living) experience.  “Because we have to reach out beyond our own lifetime…..When we speak of people in Heaven, of the saints and — of the Resurrection at Easter, we mean that there are people who have died long ago and are still ahead of us.  If Jesus has any power in your lives, it means that He is still more of the future than you are.” p.3-5

Neither the future nor the past are access to our five senses, and thus the necessity for speech.

6.The deeper grammar of the human soul (for all languages and peoples), is reflected in the sentence, “Today I feel good.”   This simple sentence suggests comparison with past, and anticipates the future,  when one hopes health will continue.

ERH goes on to cite other examples and meanings of this grammar, pronouncing “death” to past events and  anticipating future events. The future is frail and most imperiled because it depends on what and whom we name, and a devotion to causes that do not now exist.  Names (Jesus, Hitler, Caesar) are a universal language “…from the beginning of humanity…” (p.9)

7.All speech is a creation of history, of tenses, of before and after.  Mere philosophy is abstract, stripped of such names in context.  All concrete thinking is dated, and is anti-philosophical. All life is predicated on death. Our friends and lovers may be dead tomorrow, and we had better make peace with them today. TIME HAS TO BE LEARNED.

8.We can always understand history if we believe in living speech, in peace and the conclusion of peace. ERH cites Hitler,  who went to war never knowing that no one could conclude peace with him because they couldn’t believe him.  [RF – The same with the Serbs and the North Koreans today (1994).]

If our speech cannot distinguish between peace and war (which is apparently the case today),  we are in a bad way, indeed!

9.Religious experience should give us the power to jump out of death (dead-end parts of our lives), to  change and “get going.” (p.14)

“The distinction between the secular mind and the religious mind is that the religious mind accepts the fact that life as a person begins by the experience of an order (a command). And if you think of your baby time, as a child — you know this very well–that the great fact is that somebody called you out by your own name and asked you to do something.”  (p.15)


Grammatical Method – 1962 – Review

Rosenstock-Huessy gave numerous lectures about his GRAMMATICAL METHOD.  This short transcript summarizes the core of fundamentals of that method: 1) that the method of natural science is inappropriate for social analysis,  and 2) how society lives and is regenerated by speech.  Not only do the fundamental acts that  make us human rely on speech, but the social interaction itself relies more on the spirit or intent than on the rational message.  To speak has less to do with and more to do with listening to Beethoven or Bach, wherein one loses themselves in a meditation in the spirit of the situation. In leadership, to will or to submit is not a rational act.  “Seeing eye-to-eye means one has given up the distinctions of our physical separation…”  and it reflects the spiritual act of our being.    In sum, the author lays out the forceful establishing speech as the creative center of becoming human.


Lectures 1-24
Feringer notes
Notes started: Sept-’96 – Jan-’97
Last edited: July-98


Lecture – 1

1.To get some sense of the basic dimensions of life, one needs to know the difference between “play” and “real life.”  Play represents all those activities which are under one’s control.  Games, vacations, classrooms and the like are examples of play, as defined. Real life, on the other hand, is all those activities that once entered are unchangeable,  in the sense that the event occurred, has become a fact.   Speaking in public, one’s country of birth, the physical universe are instances. To be able to “drop out” of reality into man-made realities such as sports, vacations, and art is to be free from the constant tyranny of life.  To have time out in the form of rest or leisure  is to take time to reflect and find meaning. Therefore, play is a necessity.

2.With play, one chooses time and space at random:  “…everything real is not under our control.  You can’t call your own life into being and you can’t call it off.  It is a given.”

3.In play you control end and beginning, but in real life it is just the opposite – you do not control the end or the beginning. You are usually unconscious of them.  In real life you are only conscious of the “middle,”  and end precedes beginning.  In play, beginning precedes end. For example, when you go on a trip and return home you are at play, because you control beginning and end. The same applies to the classroom.  The writer of books, novels, and essays is “playing” with reality, but not participating in it; this is not bad, but it is necessary to know the difference.

“In short, we cannot control, or repeat events in real life, we cannot “take back” so to speak.  In play we do indeed control time.  In real life, in one aspect and one only we do control time, that is when we attempt to be efficient, to do a thing fast and at the right time.   However, in other aspects we cannot so control.”

4.Finally he states:

                   “All you read about science is only based on a philosophy of space.  But all you will have to learn about peace in human society must be based on an understanding of time.  And we have already laid down certain laws.  One is: time is experienced in such a way that the end is experienced before the beginning.  That’s the opposite from what the space-philosopher tells you.  Second, time has four leanings, four inclinations; it has four, so to speak, cases, as in declension, in grammar.  That is, it can be looked upon as something to be speeded up, and something to be slowed down, and something to be forgotten, done away with, so to speak, you see, and as something to be separated, to be broken up into past and future.  To be renewed, you also can say, if you understand it.  To be distinguished into old and new.”   (p.21-1)

5.These four aspects he describes in the middle of the text:

a.Lyrical, the mood, an emotional driving force, a “high point.”  To sing, praise a sunset, to whistle in the dark to keep up our spirits.  Here one has turned to inner thoughts, lost track of time, it stands still, “…you are lost on the inside.”

b.Outward looking, analytical. One is extremely conscious of time, one ignores mood, time is everything, it is speeded up to win records, or to achieve efficiency.

c.Dramatic, based upon the surprise, this are the epitome of change, where time is broken up between before and after.  Tragedy and comedy is the essence of this aspect.  Another order must come into being,  and the dramatic moment is the fulcrum, the moment of division.

d.Epochal.  It looks to the routine, those sequences that must be repeated in order to maintain the larger process of life, administration, or any other activity :  It could be sunset/sunrise, milk delivered each morning, files to organize, things to be done each day.  Here one looks to perpetuity, into incorporating the new into a procedure whereby it will be routinized, become part of a new process.  Here time seems to stand still because there is repetition, nothing seems  to change, time is “done away with, so to speak.”

To be free, creative, and productive,  one must understand and utilize all four of these aspects of time.  To be stuck on any one is to become broken down.  Time then is a prism with the four major colors, all of which must come together to make up the “white light of reality.”  “The prism breaks colors of reality, and so we have a spectrum of time,  …of running away with us – record time, you see; of standing still – lyrics; of being the same all over again – epochal; and of bringing in the contrast of old and new time, past and future, in drama.” (p.21-1)


Lecture – 2

1.To know the difference between epics and drama is to be free to choose, to “play” with time.

2.To “play for time” means to wait until the right time.

3.Play is the natural counterpart to work.  While one part of you may work, another needs freedom to play.  One only walks on one leg at a time, the other rests. Similarly a two party system of government means that the government can regenerate itself, take time out while the other party has the responsibility of governing. (p.5-2)

4.Life can be bifurcated between actual participation in “reality” and play.  All play, study and intellectualizing are time-out for reflection,  just as are the spectators at a stadium who observe only.

5.Drama introduces a new era, dividing time into before and after, leading the way toward necessary behavior in the future. (p.9-2)

6.Man rises above sin when he confesses what he has done.  To not do so is to prostitute.  In his soul, confession frees him to grow, by naming, and rising above the situation.  The deeds “before”, having been  forgiven, one is then free to change, “after.”

7.Where ERH goes into the arts to discuss the way they express human experience in terms of emotion, anger, anxiety, strength, etc, he prizes the immediate, the live experience because it is the most powerful.  Here he mentions how we tend  to revere that which is frail.  “The frail is lovable.”  Art captures the moment.

8.Our physical strength is analogous to the law of the jungle, and therefore is to be feared, but not loved.  TO FEEL FRAIL DEMONSTRATES OUR HUMANNESS.

“One bad look of your girl in the  morning, and your whole day is spoiled.  And that makes you a real — into a real human being, that you are frail, that you are fragile, that you can be destroyed any moment.”  (p.15-2)

One is uninteresting when one is big and strong. “You are only interesting to anybody  when you want to be loved if she knows that you need her, and admit it.” (p.15-2)

9.Ceremony reminds us that individuals are always less than the “position” the society might place them in.  All leaders, teachers, managers, sergeants and the like are in this position.

10.In sum ERH points out that play has its uniform and rules (forms), ceremonies,  planning and execution, and he likens all of these to the parallel forms in other dimensions of living, such as  in art, and especially in reality.

Lecture – 3

1/3.Reflection on reality is a first remove from reality, and succeeding stages of distillation of this reflection, i.e. reflection upon reflection,  is that much more removed from reality.

                   “And you’ll remember that we have a very fine meter, a very fine yardstick for grading reality.  Something is real when its time and its place are inexorable.  And something is unreal when we can at random call it into existence, or call it off.” (p.3)

2/3.Definition of God:  “God is the power which makes you speak–or makes you fall silent.”  (p.2-3)  You have the power to make  this choice, but it is a power not of your environment or of this world; it is outside the world. The power is to choose between play and seriousness.

On the levels of powers, there are three.  1) Divine (from God) –  the power to change, to found a new family, begin a new existence,  to know the right time to do something (a revelation).  2) Human power –  to “choose” to wage war or peace, “To be original means to translate faithfully into your own time and day.” (p.5-4),  3) Natural power – to drop out, to not choose, to relax, to play.

3/3Creativity  is divine inspiration, and all translation is creative.  Living is  translating ideas into one’s own action, and originality is to translate faithfully into your own time and day.  (p.5-3)  Man must be able to play (with things, with ideas) in order to translate.

4/Three levels of mental functions:  1) To play, with dead things that can be manipulated, i.e. games, theories etc.  2) To live with other humans by establishing one’s terms for relationships.  3) To be open to divine inspiration, to pray for enlightenment at the right hour.  One must employ all three in order to see and understand reality. (p.9,10)

5.ONE ASPECT OF THE CROSS – [RF – The cross is ERH’s chosen symbol referring to the basis by which we experience all of  reality.  Throughout many of his essays he refers in one way or another to these four dimensions of time and space (inner & outer, past & future).  I have heard some readers assume the symbol refers to the Christian cross, but in one of his essays he states unequivocally there is no necessary relation.  As a matter of fact it would seem to be the other way around.  Many religions utilize a cross in some form as their religious symbol, however ERH states that, since all religions are an attempt to provide direction in life, and the first step in accomplishing this must be to maximize our ability to understand experience (reality), it would be quite logical that these churches were conscious of the strong meaning of the cross in referring to reality.)

For those unfamiliar with Rosenstock-Huessy’s definition of time and space, he has enlarged the meaning taken by natural scientists.  With them “real” time has one dimension, from present into future. Space also only has one dimension, concrete, measurable reality.  His new social science method enlarges this conception because humankind and other animals can think and therefore possess an inner reality as well as the outer, concrete reality.  In addition, because we possess the attribute of memory we can experience time in several dimensions, including that of the physicist.

Other dimensions of the cross. 1) Sports = outer, representative of struggles, 2) Studies = inner, representative of thought.   3) Arts = creativity, newness, revelation, future, 4) ceremony = tradition, law and order, ritual – the past.

6. ( p.12-3) ERH  expresses his primary criticism of education, there is no direction. For example, the Christian message  is that the  Crucifixion (a great dramatic event), heralded a recreation of society.  It divided time into a before and after, meaning the old ways of the world were not good enough.

The church and its services are dedicated to reminding us of this event and its importance.

                   “Think of the great cathedrals — that has sculpture, and painting, murals, and …around the walls; and it has song, music, sacred music as the inside of the hearts of the believers who congregate in church.  But the greatness of religion would cease if there wasn’t a drama, directing the energies of cathedral, architecture, of music, and of sculpture, and painting towards the goal.” (p.13)

The  goal creates a future also by emphasizing the need to sacrifice for the community.

Today you have desire,  which will not point toward a future because desire is inside human beings (not the divine, which is outside). From desire there is no freedom, “…only a chain of gravity, and earthliness.”        (p.13-2)  No architecture, only housing, no formulation of movement (into the future), only seats (for 10,000 bureaucrats).  Thus, no direction = fragmentation, going off in all directions, confusion, ambiguity, no future!


Lecture 4

1/4.This lecture seems to be speaking about pointing out that the complete artist is one who can manipulate time, i.e. write stories of characters who are behind the times (comic characters) and ones who are ahead of their time,  (tragic characters).

2/4.The arts, architecture, drama, yes, and philosophy,  ERH believes to become dead (in one sense) when they do not attempt to free themselves from time.  That is, they are too abstract (out of time-controlled creations), or without passion, too commercial. Individuals who are overly specialized become imprisoned in a single dimensionality;  there is a difference between saying “I am an artist” and “I attempt to express the truth through art.”

3.All of this fragmentation and single dimensionality blinds one from a rounded evaluation of experience, and social sicknesses cannot be seen or are not seen as being one’s business.  “And that’s your generation’s business, to make these big cities livable again.  They aren’t what they should be.” (p.7-4)  They are “dis-eased.”

4.Aristotle asks, “What are the facts?” –  Socrates asks, “What question should be asked?”  Plato asks, “How shall we have a better city or state?”  And his answer was too “Idealistic” – we must have better poets and artists.

“Now this is then the Greek world, gentlemen, which the liberal arts  college at this moment represents to you.  It consists of Socrates, very little; too much Aristotle; and day-dreaming, star-eyed, idealistic Plato.” (p.16-4)

5.To create a future one must ask for less than he can get. To expect to get something for nothing is to look into the past.  A future requires sacrifice, the past no sacrifice. (p.23)

6.The question is never, “Should there be thought control?”  Of course there should be; otherwise there is never any order in thought.  The question then is, “Who’s and what type of thought control?”

7.Facts only, as the center of teaching, are misleading unless they are regulated by “thought control” – some rationale.

                   “…your choice is only between a secular thought control by the powers that be, or by a thought control by the historical process to which we bow if we want to belong to the era in which we live, where we say the most powerless of men has created our future. (Christianity)  The man whom the Romans, and the Jews, and the Greeks condemned, because He stood for the freedom of the human soul, you see, and against slavery, and against promiscuity, and for shame, and for all these things.”

                   “You can still save freedom in America if you turn to the right thought control.  I mean, the McCarthys will win if you have not a higher freedom, a higher thought control,…The question is between true faith and cheap faith, fascist faith, you see.  But the question is no longer between no faith and faith.  And that is the hard issue for you…..three quarters of you surrender just to fascism.  That’s not the answer. And the other quarter is — hankering for some old-fashioned anarchy. (p.26-4)

Lecture 5

1.Comments on the “academic mind.”  It hedges with such utterings commonly heard in the classroom: “Perhaps, therein lies the greatness of Shakespeare.” The message is ambiguous. ERH, on the other hand, urges a stand rather than ambiguity.  Take a stand, he urges, say, “therein lies…”  Next, he dislikes pluralizing, comparing, i.e. “This is one of the nicest, or best…”  Rather to recognize the unique, otherwise the remark is an insult. (p.3-5)

“Now that’s very hard for you to grasp.  You have been brought up in the salesman society, where you have to enter every house like the Fuller Brush man, and you must not insult anybody.  So you have always to be kind, nice, sweet, and what-not,…But the only thing is, you’re boring.  These statements don’t make any dents.  They make no difference, because they are stock phrases.  The — like this other, “perhaps, he is” — “This is one of the reasons.” — I don’t know anything after that.  I don’t know where you stand.  I don’t know where Shakespeare stands.  I don’t know where I stand.  Nothing has been done.” ( p.3-5)

In research one can hedge, but not in real life.

2.Third, the academic says, “It seems to me..”  This is obvious and boring, extra verbiage.

3.The term, “value” is an attempt to speak of divinity in a pluralistic fashion, saying, it is one of many, comparing so-and-so.

                   “I don’t care for the plurality if I don’t have the unity. Values is attempting to quote what other people by their lifeblood have created as a unity of life, as yardstick, as standard, as the sine qua non, that this is indispensable.  …It is, so to speak, the color spectrum without the white light.  That’s values. “Values” denies the existence of the divine, of God. ” (p.6)

4.Only unimportant truth can be passed on in the classroom.  It is our experience in unique situations that the real meaning of the ideas is fleshed out.

5.The campus and the classroom is where one says, “Perhaps”, or “This is one of many”, etc.    that is why only half truths can be spoken in academe.  Shakespeare is great because he saw drama in reality and tried to write about it,  to communicate what he had to say to the English people.

6.”All creative power in men is gratuitous.  The gifts of the Holy Spirit cannot be sold.” (p.12)

7.When the activities of play are carried over into another field, when the critic invades the field of creation, the whole enterprise collapses. (p.13)

8.The classroom quizzes, especially timed quizzes, are ridiculous.  The important object is that we learn something, and reflection should be given its proper time. (p.15)

9.       “What is being a good teacher? Allow other people into your own inner life, invite them in and see how your yourself are passionately at work.  Open here your cache how do you call this? — The iron curtain of your faith…And that is infectious.”     (p.17)

10.The realm of the spirit takes no space,  therefore it cannot be analyzed and measured.

                   “…in the life of the spirit, there is room for infinite infinities.  And therefore there is no measurement of “better,” or “more” — of “higher” and so on, …except when you know all of them, belong into oneness…whereas in the catalog of things to be numbered, …the better means, `I take this and not the other.’ ” (p.19)


          “Everybody makes an ass of himself by saying anything (important) in his field.  So I am willing to make an ass of myself!” ( p.24)

           “…give us a power to face the future with hope, because they anticipate potential solutions…” Shakespearean drama allowed the English to survive for 400 years, which is quite a big order. Hemingway, by comparison is mainly description. …Every art creates a public. (p.21)


Lecture – 6

1/6.Reculer pour mieux sauter, step back so that you may jump higher. ERH devotes several pages to speaking about attempting to achieve something by holding back, or by stepping back for the purpose of gaining a momentum to go forward.  The issue arises from a question put by a student in the class.

2/6.Calculated risk does not apply to life relationships.  “A risk is a secular term for faith.” It has nothing to do with organized religion.  You cannot live without faith, which is an act committed because you have to do it regardless of consequences. (p-5)

3/6.Polytheism means pre-personal, the individual is not crucial. “There are no real persons in the world of play.  There are ideas, and there are games, and there are habits and there are types…”  When there are many, focussing on a single is never enough, because it doesn’t represent the whole. Thus, nationalism is never enough for any person to worship as everything.  It is true then that there are higher values than one’s country!

4/6.In a similar way certain roles must be beyond sex.  That is why robes are warn by academics, judges, and priests.  Uniforms for athletes are the same regardless of sex.

5.The cross of reality represents man divided in his organization in 4 different ways, as body in sports, as mind in the classroom, as souls in art, and as roles (carriers of office) in ritual ceremony. The soul is not a luxury, but it means one has a future beyond some present state of mind.  When one chooses, one is demonstrating that he/she has a soul.  “You cannot live without all the time alternating between these four attitudes. There is no way out.  You are always one or the other of these four..”  (p.15)

6.When one serves in any single role, as an athlete, thinker or actor, one must put the other three to work.  None of these activities or roles are singular or complete in themselves, since any one activity calls for the others.   For instance, consider the adage, “To put one’s heart and soul into an effort.”

7.Classical Greek thinking, in ignoring this rule,  has ruined;

            “…the academic profession, the  division of mind and body, the refutation — the repudiation of the existence of a soul and of a social obligation in society by your dress and your historical tradition….” …”The Russians of course have unfortunately in their so-called materialism — have really gone Platonic.  They think also that the mind has to rule, and the body has to serve.  I don’t believe this for a minute.” (p.15)

8.       “…the great truth of all religions: we are creatures on this earth, mind and body, role and soul…It is all earthly.  It’s all this side of creation. ” (p.15)

In sum,  these statements reflect one of the most common of ERH’s many assertions regarding his new social science method,  that of needing to find unity, of the interrelations between all things. When we separate ourselves from others, and from nature,  we war with other peoples, we think nothing of polluting the earth, of destroying animal species, etc.

9.In war, we have lost control of time and space, one neither knows who the enemy may be or when he will attack. Man is at war unless peace is made. Peace is not natural, it must be created. Think of the oft-quoted phrase “law of the jungle.”

10.”In order to make peace, gentlemen, you have to have a spirit that can be shared by your enemy.  Otherwise there can never be any peace.” (p.19) There is an  excellent story on this page as to how to make peace where Scripio Africanus is used as an example.

11.The spirit is the power to identify yourself with another frame of reference.  “When two frame of reference, with different soul, different body, different mind, and different role can be brought together, then you can have peace. ”  (p.19)

Lecture – 7

1/7.Greek Thinking = Descartes whose logic was based on separating mind and body.  “The body is wicked and the mind is good.”  (p.1)

2/7.Christianity = the spirit incarnate. Humans are the incarnation of a word spoken, creating man and therefore mind, body, and soul, as good.   “…all we know of God …is anthropomorphic.”   In our values we elevate the value of the mind, but “The soul — that is, your power to love, and to hope, and to show faith — is probably superior to your passing being.  Your mind.” (p.7)

3/7.Growth of man centers on the ability to change one’s mind constantly, BUT  FOR THE RIGHT REASONS.  A person changing one’s mind for a promotion, for “enlightened self interest.” is not a good enough reason, it is changing one’s mind FOR THE WRONG REASON.”  (p.2)  The MIND is good for reflection, but not for making crucial decisions; that comes from the heart. THE UNDERLYING FALLACY OF AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGY IS THAT MIND AND SOUL ARE TWO INTERCHANGEABLE ENTITIES.  (p.7)

4/7.PSYCHOLOGY  is not the study of mental processes! as has been defined by William James. Psychologists believe that there are two entities, mind and body, and that these exist in separate compartments. I believe this is not true!  “I am free because I possess a soul.”  To make decisions is to have a soul.  Psychologists, in believing  what they do, lead  as well to the notion that  EDUCATION IS GOOD FOR ITS OWN SAKE AND THAT TO BE EDUCATED IS TO BE GOOD.  But what if the education is wrong?

Art is to love, mind is to reflect, body is to will, role is to represent.  Four verbs: to will, reflect, love and represent   “…in order to describe any normal human being.”  (p.7)

                   “…this is our psychology in this course,…always split, or irradiate, or diversify into representative actions; into wilful actions, by resisting pressure; in reflect, which you call `thought’; and in loving actions, by which we try to get out of our ruts and out of our present day and unite in new form — into new forms, be it friendship, or be it a new nation, or be it a new town, or a new club which you found.  Wherever you enter a new compound, a new body, you strip yourself of your physical resistance against the outer world, because you take in something of the outer world and amalgamate, assimilate it,  without resistance.  You love it.”  (p.5)

5.Modern social science subscribes to the philosophy of Aristotle, to Greek thinking, which is pre-Christian, which did not know that man LIVES BY THE WORD, BECAUSE HE’S SPOKEN TO AND BECAUSE HE’S LOVED.”  Greeks thought that man could be described by man by himself. THIS IS THE WHOLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GREEK THOUGHT AND CHRISTIAN THOUGHT – that man cannot live unless he is spoken to. “God says, Adam, where art thou?” Adam does not know who he is, he must answer.   One isallowed to play, to go to school, to head an organization, by others.  We are never alone.  We are “allowed” by others who love us.

THE FIRST CONFUSION OF Greek, Communist and all non-Christian thought, is that love is not an essential element in the whole of man’s activities. The cycle of inner life must include all four –  thought, feeling, will and love.  Love does not want its own;  will is just the opposite.

THE SECOND CONFUSION, is that thinking is not a reflection of will, love and feeling.  “You cannot think in a vacuum.” THINKING MUST BE ABOUT THE LIFE EXPERIENCE IN ALL THINGS.  i.e. in contest.  Greek thought believes that thinking can begin inside itself.  ERH  cites the concept of utopia as a metaphor for thinking in the abstract – utopia is a place that doesn’t exist.  Thought for its own sake, unrelated to everyday reality, is moribund, without power. In classical Greek thought, every thought has equal importance.  In real life every issue is not of equal importance.  To repeat, the notion of knowledge for its own sake is absurd.

6.”God is the power that makes you and me speak.”  Speech is physical because it moves air,  creating sound waves.  But the CONTENT of speech becomes understandable “…only when you launch your life into the lifestream of eternity.” The meaning of this hour cannot be interpreted by this hour. “Therefore, any one sentence which we speak testifies to our being – riding on a wavelength of thousands of years.”  Thus, “God, is certainly not outside this word as a pensioned-off official who once created the word.  When either you and I have the power to speak the truth, then He’s present at this moment in this room…” (p.10)

Gravity, or inertia would say, don’t speak out, don’t put your neck out.  Speech goes against gravity, “…to speak, is an anti-physical bent in us to go upstream.” (p.12)

7.Greek thought has made  man initiators of ideas instead of the reflector of experience.

8.Willing to love is to subordinate others and things to one’s will. Love, by contrast,  is emptying one’s will and giving into.   Love is surrender; will is work.

9.Feeling is an attempt to glue together that which is separate.  In Greek thought, i.e. modern social scientific thinking, feeling becomes sentimentality (what would be nice) or related to senses only, thinking  has become abstruse (unrelated to reality), and love becomes will. (p.13)

10.Belief in God has some very practical results, because any of the many gods we worship should have power in relation to the whole. One lives by many gods – country, wife or husband, friend, job, profession, love – but God is the whole of all of these.

11.ERH quotes Jung, in Zurich, “You will find that two thirds of what’s called science in America is trash.”  (RF – I presume he refers to social science.)


Lecture – 8

1/8.Problem:  What war is, play and teaching are.  As long as we have not explained why a soldier dies for his country in Korea, and why a teacher teaches (in spite of sacrifices in salary and danger), “…you have not explained life, because these are the two foundations on which any society rests:”  (p.1-8)   This is inexplicable according to the theories of modern sociology.   It offers no explanation of why people willingly sacrifice.  ERH denies that it could be enlightened self interest.  (p.2)

2/8.Circulation of Thought, Philosophy 10 deals with the relationship between teacher and student.

3/8.Peace is analogous to play, but not entirely parallel.

4/8.No one wants to admit that he started a war, there is always someone else to blame. War occurs perhaps from playing chicken.  A leader may assume that threats will achieve his goal and has miscalculated, or for whatever reason, but it is seldom planned.  The goal of war is always peace, so peace must be fought for. (p.4)

5.LAW:  ERH points out that the existence of the supreme court was based on British Common law, where the laws were not written into the Constitution, but established by precedent.  Thus, the Constitution and Judicial decisions are separate, i.e. there is no law in the Constitution that says the government can restrict the right of citizens to travel abroad.  However, a presidential decree was allowed to stand (contrary to Constitutional freedom guarantees) because  the majority of Americans believe in the written Constitution only, and therefore they think  there is no breach when passport restriction takes place,  because it says nothing about passports. (p.7)

6.Freedom is only created by war! The Constitution was created by war and would never have come about otherwise.  One must have the energy to fight for what must be or there will be no decent community.   “I don’t care” means one does not have the energy to put into it.  WHEN PEOPLE DON’T CARE ABOUT CRUCIAL ISSUES, EVENTUALLY THERE WILL BE A WAR.  “…war is the reestablishment of an order lost and the discovery that the order cannot be reestablished without new elements entering this order.” (p.14)

7.The present is created by the past and the future. THE PRIMARY FACT OF EMPIRICAL EXPERIENCE, OF NATURE, IS THAT THERE IS NO PRESENT, it is a billionth of a billionth of a second.   “Present is a creation.  It comes from our faith in a qualitatively different future.  We have the power to introduce new elements into the life of the race, into the life of the continent, of the earth, of the world.  You have a new idea.  You can behave differently.  You can forgive your enemy.  You can make peace, in other words. Peacemaking, quality, is not in nature.” (p.17)

8.Religion is the application of the war principle in peace. The more religion you have in peacetime, the more you see that man is at war and peace all the time.

                   “Religion is not a luxury, gentlemen.  Religion is the looking-through — your play, is a looking through your — idiocy that you begin and you end.  Religion is simply the acceptance of the inevitable death of any good thing in life, if it is not renewed by the same energies which have constructed the good thing.  And that’s sacrifice.”  (p.18)

Religion is voluntary sacrifice.  Religion is acceptance of war and peace, between man’s animal nature and his knowledge of the final peace.  He must sacrifice to acquire and win peace for all men.

9.In play there is only the present, a meeting from 1:30 to 2:30, nothing to care for before or after.  “…play time only knows the present.  Real time is divided into past, present, and future.  Play therefore is incomplete. p.19 play isn’t serious!   Some people live in “play” time, are not quite serious about serious issues.  The revolutionary is too serious,  lives only in the future;  he denies the past and present, and will sacrifice himself to create a future.

10.PERSONAL FREEDOM  is the power of the individual to decide what is past, what is future, and what is present. For example, a girl waits for her boyfriend to finish school, thereby giving equal respect for the past (her parents) and her own future.  Elopement would be thinking only of the future.

Ideally one lives in a past, present, and future that are united. This is because the establishment, development, and  regeneration cycle of all institutions and movements requires time to occur. Institutions within the community,  such as marriage, government, business, and education are not built in a day, or a month, or a year.

                   “You have political insight, religious thinking, education, justice, anything important in the field of society only when and as long as three generations are taken care of…” 

                   “…Anything that can survive the interest and the different spirit of three generations is a dignified subject matter for human thought.  Anything more short-lived is second-rate. It isn’t bad in itself, but it approaches the transient, the play‑like.  It isn’t good enough…”

                   “…In serious time, thinking begins with three generations.  In serious time, past, present, and future are unfolding and balancing eachother.  In serious time, the present is the product of encroachment of the future and the present on your same soul, and mind, and person.  And in serious life, the end precedes the beginning.  That’s why there had to be and Old Testament ending, before there could be a new Testament.” (p.24)

Lecture – 9

1.Love.  Being loved transforms desire into love.  Love and desire must be distinguished; desire is just that, a wanting of something or someone, but love is the willingness to sacrifice to attain that desire.  It also must constantly be renewed.

2.Three stages of love: we desire to be loved, we await a response from the world, we can obtain that love by demonstrating a willingness to pay the price.

3.The military, and war are the cornerstones of the Constitution and of justice. (p.3)  (RF – I interpret this statement as meant to be taken metaphorically, i.e. the military = power, war means willingness to fight for principles (justice), and no important issue is established otherwise. Importance, by definition usually creates controversy.)

4.Freedom  is the ability to change the future into the past, and vice versa.  ERH uses the example of weeding a garden whereby the naturally growing weeds (the future) can be exterminated and replaced by planting desired flora that would not naturally be there.

5.On time and timing.  He cites Woodrow Wilson as an example.  In 1908 he planned for the 1912 election demonstrating that large events must be prepared for, must go through the proper phases, otherwise actions at the wrong time have no effect.  It is the same with all processes; in courtship for instance, the right steps must occur at the right time and in the correct sequence for success. One must prepare, to get to know the other person.  Getting engaged is just one phase, but the marriage should not come for a while.  (RF – Although this may sound like an unnecessary truism to include, clearly ERH wishes to bring to our consciousness everyday events that we tend to accept with little thought as to their inner workings.)

6.War and play.  War and play are one-sided aspects of human behavior, as they exaggerate aggressiveness. One must arm oneself for protection when necessary,  but this behavior is not appropriate for peace.  War and play differ in that play is controlled and can begin and end according to plan, and war is real and not so completely controlled.

The leadership in army or church must be able to move between war and peace, between the veteran and  recruit, between being a fighter and a citizen. The spirit of the army is within people, not in equipment. It is the same with religion;  real religion exists in the minds of the people, not in the church building.

7.Leadership in the military  is the opposite from civilian management.  The army leader must be capable of leading the “troops” into battle and have them willing to die for the cause.  The leader is therefore intimately involved with the followers. The true leader will instill followers with the spirit of the cause, creating true followers.  True followers will return from leave, with failed leadership they desert. (p.21-9)

Lecture 10

1.We are different persons in different situations, on the battlefield, at home, in the classroom, at work. For this reason leadership must be different and appropriate for each situation.  Patton was wrong to slap the soldier in the hospital; that was only appropriate behavior only under fire on the battlefield. It is not the slap itself that was wrong,  because any single act can have very different meanings in different situations. A slap can be an act or mercy of an insult, depending on the context.  We must therefore understand that we are  free to act in accordance with the demands of the situation.  IN LIFE THERE IS CONSTANT DEMANDS CONFRONTING US. TO BE SUCCESSFULLY RESPONDED TO, WE MUST UNDERSTAND THE NEED FOR DIFFERENT METHODS. (p..5)

2.What is supernatural?  Catholic writer Baron von Hugel told the story of an English officer in the Boer War who sacrificed his life for the sergeant.  That was a  supernatural event. That could be said to be an act of true religion that reflects an act of sacrifice. (p.11)

3.Leadership and management:

          “Leadership is much more comprehensive than  management….Leadership is the capacity of understanding the constant transition of man from recruit to veteran, from frontline soldier to off-duty soldier.  Any man who is so complete that he can understand …these transitions , can lead men.” (pp.15,16)

ERH makes an important distinction between division of service in the army and division of labor in bureaucracies in peace time.  Division of service means that the unity in the military comes first, then there are divisions of labor.  In the factory the division “divides people”.  In other words, it is important to distinguish between the ability to organize labor (management) on the one hand, and to inspire dedication to the cause on the other.

4.There exists a time factor regarding the meaning of roles when dividing labor. The worker always exemplifies the past, since his work is repetitious. The future is created by non-repetitious work, i.e. the manager, the researcher and the salesman.


Lecture – 11

1.       “…the mystery of any society is in its power to change from war to peace..the life of a political body depends on its still being able to do both, to go from peace to war, and from war to peace.” (p.1,2)

THE GREATEST REVOLUTION OF THIS CENTURY HAS BEEN THE INTEGRATION OF THE COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD BECAUSE OF TECHNOLOGY, NOT COMMUNISM OR CAPITALISM. A country can get into a war by itself, but it cannot establish peace by itself. (pp..4,5-11)  Two world wars give evidence that the leaders did not realize that they could make war by themselves, but not peace.

2.We need peace because that is the only time there is time to grow and progress. During war we are preoccupied with survival and there is no time to invent new forms.  We must survive by doing what is known in the present.  Only peace provides both space and time to invent, to develop new forms upon which nations will get along.

3.War is the natural course of events.  Peace is unnatural.

4.”War and marriage are the two cornerstones of serious life with which we cannot experiment.”  Thus, when we do not know how to make peace, wars continue.  This is the lesson of the great revolution of the 20th century.  It is the same with marriage.  When we do not know how to establish a viable relationship, marriages end in divorce and endless re-marriages.

Peace is only productive if it is used to prevent war. Otherwise there will be another war, until the issue is settled.  Threats are not all bad.  A war makes you stay awake and  take things seriously, or take a good enemy seriously. (RF – This statement sounds drastic, if not bizarre, but I believe he is making the point that we need stimulation to keep from going to sleep socially.)

5.Play is analogous to experimentation; serious life does not allow for experiment, as defined.  “…religion has gone completely today on the side of play.” (p.8)

                   “But what is called religion is so sweety that it is only therefore (for) 8 year-old children….Most suburban Christianity is just a nice play.  It’s a ritual. It has nothing to do with religion…It’s, its imitation.” (p.9) 

In other words, one can control the ritual, but not “religion.”

In a like way, experimentation requires control, and time.  When there is a crisis in real life one doesn’t have time to prepare, to experiment.

7.ERH’s next 10 pages deal essentially with the issues in Multiformity where he speaks ostensively of the working force and management as examples of the nature of humankind, the conclusion being that the individual is made up of several roles in the whole of life and is therefore not only a worker, but also a member of the community, of a family, of a close relationship, but all of these in combination – he/she is “multiform” and that is the man management must manage. His concern was that in the factory, when the worker is treated only as a worker, as a number, as a commodity, he is less effective and likely to, and should,  revolt.


Lecture – 12

1.He continues on the roles of the factory, the worker, engineer, manager, and salesman.  Each with a different role but all are be tied together in the process  of production.

2.The entire lecture is a brief history of economic development from tribe (and clan) to modern productive life.  ERH avers that in the past in order to understand our own economy today we must understand what  has not changed from the past and what has changed. He charts the evolving divisions of labor of the individual members of a tribe, where each man was a jack-of-all-trades by necessity: i.e. hunter, tanner, fighter, house-builder etc., to the present day, where there are literally thousands of job types.

3.Within these three basic job types – worker, engineer and manager he points out that during history there have always been the same basic roles.  The worker’s work was repetitive, the engineer’s work was the opposite (to constantly invent new things), and the manager’s job was to accommodate the changes between technology and worker.

4.In sum, the historical evidence indicates that the rate of change is increasing with such rapidity that all jobs are growing more monotonous (because of increasing divisions of labor in each profession), that the rate of change increases, increasingly destabilizing social conditions, and that any interruptions, or lack of adaptations causes war.


Lecture 13

1.Historically there have been 5 types of economies. 1) Hunting, in which the amount of land needed for survival had to constantly increase. 2) Raiding, (war – spoils system), which required increasing armies. They didn’t produce the food, but took it from others. 3) The peasant economy, which was agriculture and which required increasing demand for land.  4) The artisan economy which required divisions of labor for the crafts to build towns and an increasing demand for raw materials. 5) And the production economy which increased the routinization of labor and increased the demand for markets and efficiency. All of these increased the time of peace because they reduced the need to go to war (for material survival). (p.4-13)

2ERH points out that all economies throughout history had the same goal, to make a living, paying dividends (in food, land, commerce, etc.). Failure meant starvation. This was just as true with the Feudal system as with our capitol system (which is not entirely pure).

3.Today we have changed from a market-seeking economy to a market-exploitation economy, because of communication world wide, all markets are now known.

4.All economies live side-by-side, and no one can support a country by itself.  Capitalism, feudalism, hermitism are equally obsolete today and are equally inevitable as partial solutions. Thus, neither communism not capitalism are panaceas.

5.He speaks of the relationship between economics and war and peace.  War is always about jobs, about the unemployed.  Unemployment in peacetime is simply another form of war (locally).  When there is enough work to go around, there can be peace.  The basic problem of any nation is to see that people are fed properly so that they are willing to fight during war. (p.20)

6.The U.S. was populated by the unemployed from Europe.  Thus, both Europe and the U.S. prospered. Obviously, this is no longer the case.

7.All “sciences” (new arenas) begin with a crisis.  As with all problems, it is either a crisis that is upon us or one that is anticipated.

Lecture – 14

1.Problem: how do we become a “person,”  and how do we learn to understand others? To do both of these we must understand the different positions people find themselves in with different demands.  one comes from loneliness  and solitude, from his so-called individuality and it is not simple to become one with others. This power to be one and the other, asks for certain conditioning.

2.The whole thrust of our development is toward understanding both, i.e. in becoming a “human being.”  This is what  Christianity is all about. A newborn baby is not a human being in  this sense, nor is anyone who has not matured. Most people are actually in this in-between state. A human being is one who is well-rounded, who can put him/herself in the others position in an effort to attempt to understand.

                   A person is that human being which can cope with the four aspects of play, of war, and of peace…A human being who is not pigeon holed.  (p.1)

In other words, one who is not pigeon-holed into one role only.   To be only an athlete, or only a general, or only a husband, is not to be a whole person.  A person is one who, at the proper time, can take on the necessary role for the occasion, one who knows when to stop being one and to be another.

Furthermore, a person is not just born, but must become.  This is consistent with ERH’s idea of soul.  One grows by solving these problems.

When this lesson is not learned, we become schizophrenic, multiple personalities unable to find a unity.  The best evidence, beyond the roll-call in mental hospitals, is that we are so gregarious we cannot stand to be alone. p.3/14  A whole person is also one who can stand to be alone for an hour. (p.3)

3.Becoming a person takes attachment, a membership in a family. It means involvement, and being hurt. To be hurt means one has a soul.  Mind and soul are different, but often in this country mistaken for the same.

4.Mind, body, soul, and role.  Psychology is the science of the mental processes, of the mind.  It has nothing to do with the soul. “Now the soul is the power to change our role, our body, and our mind….It certainly has the power to overcome any one mentality, any one physical state, and any one social role–cultural role.” (p.7)

5.Shame is related to the idea of soul.  It is the ability to change at the right time, and it is the waiting after one knows that one is changed. In his example he cites the psychologist who is disenchanted with his field of study and decides to quit.

                   “The soul, you see, says inside the psychologist, `Well, today I say carry on.  I won’t tell my students.  And tomorrow, I’ll still carry on.  But the day after tomorrow, I shall write a letter to the administration and say, I resign.’  He can’t write this letter too early.  Or he’s licked.  So, during the waiting period he is ashamed.” (p.8)

6.The whole meaning of the soul, the problem it solves so to speak, is that is allows us to change and still be the same person.

                   “Your part in the divine life is the soul, because it can dismiss the  visible states of your existence in a material world…

                   … how can a man change without going insane?  Obviously, the brain can replaced by another brain, by another instruction. Yet you are the same person…you are more of a person, because you have been able to change your mind. (pp.10,11)

7.The soul and memory. Decisions the soul makes are what to remember and  what to dismiss.  One cannot have an open mind about any issue indefinitely; there comes a time to take a stand.

                   “Memory for the mind is not a savings box, but a promise.  The everything we shall remember is  meant to promise us someday in which this memory will come to life again and serve us well. …Nobody can remember history who thinks that history is the past…you think you can reach the future without loving the past.  …I copulate the future with all the unfulfilled promises and prophecies of the past.  And so I know every date.”  (p.11)

8.The soul does not function “with a mind” —“The soul only rings the bell and says, `This mentality is worn out.’  The soul is a conscience  providing unity against the divided logic of the mind, a division that causes schizophrenia, mental illness.  It is this unity that allows the growth of the personality.  Otherwise one drifts through life with no direction, no identity.

9.Compromise does not mean one loses one’s soul.  One must, of course, seek agreement, but if the agreement is not quite right, one must continue to fight.  Compromise is then only a step along the path.  For instance, corruption in government must always be fought. SUFFERING IS ALWAYS PART OF THE CREATION OF A SOUL. To care creates suffering, inevitably.

10.The soul is necessary because it furnishes the only route to rising above one’s heredity, or environment, or role. It enables us to re-create the unity of man despite all the differences of mind, body and society, or government.

11.The administrator tends not to have a soul, a soul that represents ability to change, that represents creativity. The administrator manages only what is known, for yesterday.  The true artist is a visionary,  creating something from nothing, “like God”.  Referring to Shakespeare, – “Everybody could have had these words at his disposal, as you know.  But nobody did anything with them.” ( p.20)  One assumes that an administrator could be creative, but many modern authors make a distinction between “management” and “leadership’.   The point is that, vitality requires change and  change requires the strength of a soul, suffering.

12.ERH describes his view of Christianity, that God created the universe with the power of the word, by naming events. Moses created Israelites, thereby he “experienced” the power of the word,  of creating.  We are brought into our existence by being named; any product or other material is created likewise.  That is, it is identified and can thus enter our consciousness. Americans identify themselves by of accepting the power of the Declaration of Independence and of the Constitution.  That is what makes us Americans!

13.He makes the distinction between the individual and the person.  The individual is an unformed being, while the “person” is the one who has faced the serious problems of life,  made decisions,  suffered, in short who has a soul.  One with a soul makes decisions, as knowing when to go from play to serious things, from peace to war, from war to peace, play to work.  We can’t make decisions if we wish to avoid suffering.

14.The family (however one must define it) is the time and space during which we are to develop into a person (soul), where we should learn  to change mind, body and role. The four points of the cross of reality, –  soul, mind, body, role – are (can only be) forged here.

                   “The central role of the family in developing a person. Role of the mother stands for dignity in the family,.  “She is the ritualist.  She says how to celebrate Christmas…. The father stands for energy, physical “wherewithal”, the breadwinner…The daughter represents, more than any other members, the soul.  “The great symbol of change of mind, body and role..which a girl has to undergo when she marries.  To become a nun is the same.  The virginity of the bride is in her power to dismiss the gods of her family and become her husband’s alter ego.  Nor should she surrender her bodily integrity to any “wanton demand, because the future of the human race is at stake through her…The son represents the mind, the student,  — the problem with chastity is the same with boy and girl, he must not sell his “mind”, his serious thought; rather he must maintain it until he is convinced that he should change.  One doesn’t “play” with ideas in the sense of not taking them seriously.  It is quite acceptable to test certain hypotheses, then accept or reject, but not to play for the sake of playing. ” (p.24)

Obviously, he does not intend these roles to be exclusive; rather they represent the central tendency, the “symbolic” major divisions of labor,  all of which are present in the other members of the family.

Lecture 15

1.ERH continues the theme that a person is defined, in part by the groups to which he belongs (i.e. family, work, organization), and partly as himself, of course repeating the “multiformity” theme.  Here he expounds on the family.

Thinking, feeling and willing involve thought, but none of these change the world.  The only thing that changes the world is love,  because it happens “beyond our will,” as does hate also.

The issue here is growth and how it is to be evaluated. We change by revolting, but when the decision has become a public dedication, when the revolutionary act is done, then must come evolution the living with the consequences of the revolt. That is how we grow.

2.To live by passion  is to leave the world a different place from the one we found. To marry, to defend an idea, to change from a boy or girl to a man or woman, requires the setting up of new standards of behavior. One must change  from mere “human being”, homo sapiens,  to a person with a soul.  This is an enormously subtle and difficult accomplishment requiring considerable inner strength.

3.Physiological growth,  automatic life processes like getting older are not what we are addressing here, of course.  Biography is representative of one’s conscious decisions, one’s history.  He cites Carl Schurz, who at age 23 rescued his teacher Gottfried Kinkel from prison and brought him to England  in 1850  “Such a man leaves his name behind himself, as Lincoln, then he belongs to the ages.” (p.6)

4.To leave home to change, (by implication), one must become detached:

                   “… to get detached from your home, from your prejudices, from your routines, from all your stupidity, from your boredom, BUT WOE TO YOU IF DON’T LEARN HOW TO ATTACH YOURSELF.”   (p.7)

One cannot just drop out. One must, in the process of change ,reattach one’s self to some new cause or some new person,  such as a wife or friend or group.

5.A major condition of growth is that one must be protected and one must not see all obstacles to growth.  One needs both these projections, againstknowing too much and the seeing all obstacles (so that they are not a nervous wreck from worry)   Childhood, studenthood,  new businesses or programs, all need protection. Change is a fragile transformation; one therefore needs protection until the transformation sets. (p.10-11)

6.To grow  requires shame.  Shame is the protective cover for a decision within yourself that is not yet ripe for revealing to the world,  like leaves around a bud or like innocence that must be protected. The hoary head is the protector. Detachment is second rate to attachment.  Our lives are a constant evolution of detachment and attachment.  A hoary head is a person who can love “…even there where he isn’t loved.  And a child is a person which is loved, although it cannot yet love.” (p.15)

7.Wisdom is one thing that can’t be bought; we pray for it, in church.

8.Willing, feeling, and thinking are on the way to detachment.  On the path to analysis, to production, objectivity is appropriate.  One must step outside,  use will,  suppress feelings and   think.  Is man acting in one direction only?   One must have time (to analyze).


Lecture 16

1.Married people cannot live by having only the interest of the other.  That is, each person must have some other center to his/her life, otherwise tyranny sets in.  ERH gives an example of a bride who demanded (and received) the promise that her new husband would not have other friendships that could come between them, that SHE was to be his major concern!   And of course this led to serious problems in the relationship.

2.HOW IS ATTACHMENT ESTABLISHED? By a spoken commitment! The only real speech is that which still has meaning 100 years later. i.e. a girl’s whispered “yes” to a proposal, a man’s oath to fight for his country. Attachment requires the spoken word, “yes.”   Power and  truth occur only after the fact, when the word has been verified by your actions. (p.11-16)

                   (Social) truth can never be verified by any objective index.  It can only be verified by your own action. If that word is true, then it has to come true…You have to make it come true.  So the truth is always planted into this world, gentlemen, by a word, and the acts follow. (p.12)

3.The declaration of faith in an idea represents and generates power by guiding things to their place in the scheme of things.  To live day-by-day robs one of the power to see the long term, the commitments, the declarations of faith.   To not make the distinction between the spoken word and a spur of the moment idea leads to impotence.

                   I call this impotent, you understand, because they cannot distinguish when the word is spoken with power, and when it is just said on the spur of the moment because they are drunk……Man creates attachments from nothing out of the power of the word.  (p.19)

4.When we make commitments, we speak ourselves and our lives into existence.

5.Words are general, but when we speak them in a specific situation and with honesty  they take on a new meaning, or perhaps the only meaning for us.

                   …between a lover and his bride, there is nothing in general.  There is something specific which nobody else can even understand.  In other words, the secret of human logos, of speech, is not 9,000 years ago.  You find one good woman who is willing to listen to you and to confide in you, you experience the creation of speech as though there had never been a word spoken on this earth.  (p.23)

6.Words should be spoken with ambiguity.  Why?  Because we are never sure of ourselves, how to speak our thoughts, nor how to connect with what others are intended to perceive.  Thus:

                   In any poet’s poem, the word bristles with all the connotations it ever had in thousands of years of meaning.  Then the word is polished  like a jewel, a diamond is in all its facets, it’s used by the man who speaks with love.  p.24


SUMMARY of first 16 lectures:

1.ERH begins distinguishing between “the tyranny of living, or real life” and play (including thought-games like theorizing.

a.Play is toying with serious reality – that which makes a difference in our lives.

b.Science is based on a philosophy of space (concreteness of reality).

c.Social science is based on a philosophy of time (the right time to act in order to influence others.

2.Time holds different meaning for natural science and social science. In the world of concreteness, time flows from beginning to end of events.

In the social world, where growth and change are  essential to survival, where such transformations are the product of past actions that are either coming to an end or require transformation, it is more useful to say that time unfolds from the end to the beginning.  This means  the purpose for the change determines the change.

3.In social science, time has four different “declensions” (or meanings). In natural science time has only one meaning; that is from beginning to end.  In social science then, to this one dimension must be added must be added three others that are psychological.  That is, how events effect us emotionally.

a.Time goes by quickly – we speed up time – and in this case we are super-conscious of time, thinking of efficiency.  We are  trying to do more with our time, hurrying to accomplish things. The older we get, the faster it seems to pass.

b.Time goes slowly  when we are bored, when our actions need to be routine, or repetitious, as contrasted with attempting to be creative and excited. Time seems to stand still!

c.Time is forgotten  when we live in our thoughts only.  It seems to stand still. The intensity of joy, in an exalted lyrical state, is a good example.

d.Finally, there is the epochal nature of time when high drama occurs, when there is an epiphany, either individually, or socially as a great moment in history.  Such events as the signing of the Declaration of Independence are so momentous as to be a milestone. They are  pivotal in that we think of them as “before,” and “after.”

Such a consciousness of time frees one to understand one important dimension of one’s experience and thus judge it more accurately.

4.Drama occurs in both real life and in play.  Play as ERH defines it reflects life:

a.Confession of sin allows us to go on, to rise above sin by naming it.

b.Art prizes the moment, captures it in time, in terms of emotional response.

c.Physical strength is to be respected and feared. Our frailty makes us human.

d.Ceremony reminds us that the position is more important than the individual.

All of these elements of serious life can be reflected in play,  but as a reminder.

5.Significant experience is differentiated from play or abstract life, by its inexorability. Play and thought are, by contrast, endlessly manipulable,  can be called into or out of existence at will. Serious experience cannot be.  For instance one cannot retract public behavior  it is always there for the record.  One can admit, or plan to reinforce or counteract it, but never truthfully deny it.

6.The power that creates freedom to choose our behavior lies outside us. “God is the power within us which makes us speak the truth.”


a.Divine power: our power to change, to act courageously, and to know the right time to act.

b.Self power: to choose, to act creatively, also translate an idea into reality ( all translation is creative).

c.Natural power,   to drop out, hang loose, relax, to play, or   not to act (to drift thought life).

All of this is manifest in  our mental life or tendencies; a) to manipulate things (if this includes  manipulating other people, it means we treat them as “things.”   b) to respond to other people honestly or, c) to be open to divine inspiration, i.e. pray for enlightenment.

7.”Play” activities represent the fundamental structure of reality.

a. Sports  reflective of the struggle for life.

b. Study – reflects our inner life.

c. Creativity – reflecting new insights with the potential to lead to a new future.

d. Ceremony, law, tradition – reminds us of what should be remembered and followed from the past.

All of this is present in serious reality as well, and being conscious of this structure frees us to understand these events and utilize them appropriately.  All are essential to a vital life. To understand these elements is to be capable of finding one’s direction.  THIS STRUCTURE REPRESENTS THE REALITIES AND DEMANDS OF BOTH THE WORLD OF CONCRETE EXPERIENCE, AND OF MENTAL EXPERIENCE – OF  BOTH SPACE AND  TIME.

8.The problem today is that many institutions have lost sight of their direction.  Education focuses mainly on memorization, or description, but only in the rarest exceptions on how to transform those facts into action that will revitalize society. Likewise, the church seems to practice forms, but fails to instill the courage to live and act truthfully.  AN UNCONSCIOUSNESS OF THIS RESULTS IN THE EXERTION OF CONCRETE POWER, BUT NEITHER FREEDOM TO CHANGE, NOR INSIGHT INTO WHAT WOULD BE REGENERATIVE (DIVINE) DIRECTION, all of which results in inhumanity, and consumption of resources with little  regard for preservation or regeneration of living forms (including human life).

9.ONLY WHEN ONE BECOMES CONSCIOUS OF THESE DIMENSIONS IS ONE FREE TO CHANGE FROM ONE TO THE OTHER, to know the state of some situation and respond directly.  For instance, we must recognize when a situation demands ignoring, or planning, or action, or description, or analysis. These are the four elements of all situations, but to respond appropriately one needs to know which stage is called for at a particular point in time.

There is a time to suspend time, to be super conscious of it, to slow it down, or to divide it. Science  practices only the single dimension of super consciousness. There is a time to listen (to authority), to act, to describe what happened, and finally to analyze (and generalize). The sequence of these events is crucial.

10.Aristotle asks, “That are the facts?”  Socrates asks, “What question should be asked?”,  Plato (reflecting idealism)  asks, “How shall we have a better state?”  This portrait of Greek philosophy is represented in the modern liberal arts college, – too much Aristotle, Too much star-eyed Idealism, almost no Socrates. (p.16, lecture 4)

11.TO CREATE A FUTURE, one must do with less than one can get (i.e. to sacrifice), in order to acquire a surplus upon which one can experiment.  (p.3)

TO CREATE A FUTURE, the question is never, “should there be thought control?” Of course there should be, otherwise there is never order to thought.  The question then is, “who’s and what type of thought control?”

              You can still have freedom in America if you turn to the right thought control.  I mean, the McCarthys will win if you have not a higher freedom, a higher thought control…The question is between faith and cheap faith, (fascist faith)…But the question is no longer between no faith and faith….three quarters of you surrender just to fascism.  …And the other quarter is hankering for some old-fashioned anarchy. ( p.26-4)

12.Serious events in life force us to take a stand if we are to live life and not just drift (which ultimately destroys society).  One needs to recognize a situation  and ponder its nature.  But, ultimately, one must take a stand, try some solution; otherwise life is not only impotent, but boring.

Contrarily, we tend to be ambiguous, avoid commitment, avoid offending, avoid meaningful action, being nice to people when the situation demands frankness.

13.ERH MAKES THE POINT AGAIN & AGAIN THAT IT IS IMPORTANT TO DISTINGUISH A SPACIAL DIMENSION THAT IS UNNECESSARY IN NATURAL SCIENCE. No “object” of research is considered to have thought. In social science, on the other hand,it is crucial to separate thought and action. We must distinguish what is outside from what is inside,  and this sense represents the spacial symbolism in the model of the CROSS. Creativity and God are cases in point.  Original thought is one thing, the inner strength to speak out what we believe to be a valued truth is quite another. While our creativity may originate within us, the power to maintain that truth, possibly at great risk to career or even life, lies outside us.  The power of this, “outside” seems to be ultimate in overcoming barriers, regardless of how one may wish to call it.

There is yet another psychological  barrier to be overcome which is our sense of humility.  We are not all- powerful and we know it.  As a matter of fact, humankind seems to have two extremes of weaknesses. One is that we believe we are, indeed, in control of our lives and have this power.  THIS ISSUE ERH TO TREATS IN HIS ESSAY, “PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE SOUL” WHERE HE MAKES THE POINT THAT MYSTICS BELIEVE THIS  However the weakness of mystics should be  self evident  They would have torn the world apart long ago had this been the reality because the power can be used for evil as well as good. The other extreme is that we feel helpless, in which case we become impotent to create and therefore fulfill our potential destiny.

Yet another conformation of this idea is that he says, “All creative power in men is gratuitous.”  It seems to be a gift, but from where? If not from a divine power (which is to say a power for good),  then why are not all people evil?  Why are so many willing to sacrifice, to be fair, to speak truthfully,  even when they suffer upon doing so?  Atheists and agnostics have no answer for this question.

The great truth of all religions is that we are OF THIS EARTH, and therefore receivers of the ultimate creator.

14.ANOTHER FUNDAMENTAL POINT HE MAKES CONSISTENTLY IS PAST EVENTS HAVE THAT CANNOT BE CHANGED.  WHAT CAN BE CHANGED IS OUR THOUGHT ABOUT IT.   Knowledge (the context here is the school) is unimportant until we apply it, and that quite literally “brings knowledge to life.”   In all artificial learning situations it is not possible to apply much, if any knowledge, however the goal of all education must be to prepare one for application.

15.THE GOOD TEACHER  teaches when he/she presents himself as a model, allowing students to see and understand his passion, why he does what he does.  HE THEREBY CREATES THE POSSIBILITY OF MAKING AN ASS OF HIMSELF. But this is a price one pays to be a good teacher.  One commits one’s self publically.  THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF UNDERSTANDING KNOWLEDGE ONLY AT THE MOMENT OF APPLICATION.   Knowing ourselves (however painful) is the road to growth.  “Reculer pour mieux sauter”, step back so that you may jump higher. (p.6-1)

16.With reference to the CROSS, one of its representations is of four roles we act out. We  either play, (as in sports,  or in the classroom with ideas), or  make a decision, take action, or participate in ritual ceremony. Each activity calls for the others, but no one is complete in itself.

17.Humanity, in order to grow,  must be capable of communicating. ANY PART THAT CANNOT COMMUNICATE WITH ANOTHER has no choice but to be at war. But war, whether between two people, two institutions, or nations – it is all the same – is all absorbing, excluding all other activity. HOW THEN DOES ONE CREATE PEACE?

The only way is to find common ground (common spirit, a frame of reference)  with another Only then is there potential for peace.  The Middle East Arab/Israel, or Irish Catholic/Protestant conflicts are examples.  Each side must recognize the other, capable of putting oneself in that other context to believe that one, in that instance, would do the same as the “enemy.” Only them can one find peace – and only then begin to progress.

18.GREEK THINKING, another recurring theme in ERH, separates mind from body, thought from action. It elevates the importance of the mind.  Education, knowledge, art all for their own sakes,  have no meaning in life experience.  Only the consequence of use provides social meaning.

Psychology in America likewise confuses mind and spirit as the same.  One is for logic, the other is of the heart.  One doesn’t decide on a marriage, or what profession, or produce art, or decide loyalty – logically – these important decisions come from the heart.

19.LANGUAGE ISSUES; four verbs describe “any normal human” – to love, to will, to reflect, and to serve a role. We love others and ideas. Mind is to reflect, the body is to will (must be satisfied). To take on a  role is to represent.


Lecture – 17

The general sense I get about the Cross of Reality is that  in order to be capable of examining our experience fully, and capable of evolving into a full person, we must utilize at the right time one or more of four social roles or attitudes.  And because these roles or attitudes tend to be represented in the balanced family, the family becomes the primary means to achievement.  That is the importance of creating the full family!  All of this seems to be represented in the following, rather long quote:

              …I’ve accepted something from my ancestors and my founders. I have to hand it over.  I try my best to transmit it.  And in this process, I need help.  I may make blunders.  I may not be able to revive the spirit in you.  But at least what I’m doing is something within the process of the society in which I move…I’m not self-contained.  Words have come into me, streaming into me, thoughts, truth, experiments, experiences, traditions; I’m trying to revive them and make all of us again aware of their meaning, and of their direction.  That’s after all what I have been trying to do in this course.  And there is no miraculous thing….Because we are speakers and listeners, we are accepting ritual from the past,..and reinterpreting it in our own marriage of love, in our own affections, in our own passions.

              The corollary, gentlemen, of this for the family now has to be shown.  If you take these four attitudes of the – ritualist, of the lover, of the rationalist, and of the mystic, they are the vicious, vicious disintegrations of the body of the family.  Because if you now turn these four people into reasonable, living social members of a group, you will find that the mother is the ritualist; that the father is the rationalist; that the boy is the mystic, the lyricist; and that the daughter is the bride, waiting to be loved, and to be allowed to say “yes”, or “please.”

              It is that you and I spread into these four directions.  We go from the kernel of manhood into bridal state, into a motherly state, into a fatherly attitude, and into a filial attitude at the several points of our life. (pp.4,5)

He defines the rationalist as one who discerns means, and the mystic as one who dreams. The rationalist cannot determine what is important and unimportant,while  the mystic cannot correlate with the outside world.  Neither listens to commands from others, nor has an end.  ONLY WHEN ONE HAS AN END IN MIND DOES ONE KNOW WHAT MEANS TO CHOOSE OR HOW TO DIRECT ONE’S EMOTIONS. To live fully we need both rationalism and mysticism, logic and feeling, but at the right time and under the right direction.

That direction comes from the past, is filtered through ourselves, and thus reinterpreted in order to produce (create) a future.  A future not only for ourselves, but for the community also, – they must be the same.  We must love what we do, and thus be willing to accept the command (from the past), and be humble and say “please” and “thank you” to those who inspire us to follow, and help us along the way.   In another context, when we atomize our attitudes toward the direction of scientific (rationalist) thought only, or emotional thought only, we become destructive and end in the insane asylum. Thus, the rationalist and the mystic are “…dealing with conditions of achievement, but not with achievement…” (p.1)   In the same way, we must fulfill different social roles as individuals if we are to be complete.  THE GREAT SIN OF THE WORLD, THE BASIS FOR PEOPLE GOING WRONG, LIVING NARROW, FRUSTRATED OR TRAGIC LIVES,  IS THAT THEY DO INDEED FOLLOW ONLY ONE BEHAVIOR, OR SOCIAL ROLE AT ALL TIMES,OR MOST OF THE TIME.

He commonly uses the phrase, “the end determines the beginning”, and here tells the story of the boy who, when asked to circle what he wanted from the Sears catalogue for Christmas, circled every item.  No discrimination! Thus,  “If you do not have the answer to what end you will put all the content of the Sears Roebuck catalogue, you are a child.”  Some direction comes from the past, we need to listen to it.

What is important is what, from the past is important yet incomplete and therefore must be completed.  At the same time there are projects begun in the past  which should be ended.  Bureaucracies, for example whose purposes are no longer needed and therefore superfluous.

We are led by the word, and called by the word;  the word carries the power  to direct us,  harboring energy to motivate us. “The word” refers here to an act of speech which is a commitment by you that reflects your true belief and intent which prove themselves by your actions.

              “…these four powers — yes, no, please, and thank you — may not strike you as very important. As long as they do not strike you as very important, you do not know what the difference between talking and speech is, or between thinking and speaking….These four words are all said to the outside, humanity, in encounter, in meeting them.  And they take you up on these four words.” (p.8)

To say the it will rain tomorrow and it doesn’t is not to be called a liar.  Everyone will know you were giving an opinion. That is talk.    But, to make a promise then not keep it is real speech.  It puts your honor on the line.  That indicates the true power of speech to influence.


Lecture – 18

1.We live in a constant dualism of play and seriousness.  Play is time out to rest and to not be serious, time   to follow the role of the subordinate. With subordination a boss is in charge and must carry the burden of worrying about the world.  The subordinate only needs to worry about following orders.  THE PROBLEM IS TO KNOW, TO BE CONSCIOUS of our role in a given situation and to act accordingly.  ERH cites the example of Prince Hal in Henry IV, who whores around with Falstaff, but knows he is playing and enjoying himself, and will have to be serious one day.  We need play because we cannot live all through life by the same standards of performance.  One needs rest from the “burdens” of seriousness.

              What I’m trying to say is, at this moment that here really every hour of your life differs, that you can even not know in the morning when you wake…whether you can keep up this idea of definiteness all day long.  You may relapse into a juvenile and childish state, and take to playing.  I mean  any man, hardworking man may be just taken by a complete desire to complete relaxation. I think society understands these two states…the people who are one-gage minds, so to speak, and hearts, are not very much alive.  (p.5)

2.These many definitions Rosenstock-Huessy brings forth are essential for us if we wish to understand our experience more fully. The ability to Identify a situation, such as the difference between talk (speculation and opinion) and speech (the making of commitments that shape future events in our lives), make the difference between a vague consciousness of life and  enriched insight.  Play takes place in the present; in one sense the need for rest (time out) is necessary, but not serious in the sense that it leads us toward a future (growth). To create a future for ourselves is to take certain steps in sequence.  For instance, one must first commit to a goal and take the attitude that the many distractions will not alter that course. One takes the attitude of the suitor courting an idea, or a career with humility and anxiety.  One commits, one waits to be recognized, one is diligent. In the process one suffers attitudes of insecurity, anxiety, pain.  One waits for a response from others, and when one step is completed the next must be taken. .  This process of growth is never carried out alone.  There must always be someone who has faith in your possibilities, just as marriages and lasting friendships are first built upon anticipation that you have potential, yet unseen by others.

              Everything that points towards the future, gentlemen, has to have this now-or-never, this, this-and-nothing-else attitude…the first person who really takes you up on what you can be, that is the wife of your choosing.  And it takes 30 years before the rest of the world comes to the conclusion that she saw in you the person they didn’t see in the beginning at all.  (pp.8,9)

3.We must learn that we cannot live by ourselves, under our own steam.  We live by gradual discoveries the world makes about us…

              because without their complying with your offer, with your constant, making efforts, if there is not give and take, answer and response, you wouldn’t be able to live on.  (p.9)

He cites the example of the Canadian immigrant attempting to join the club, and the clerk who announced that he can do better, and the business man who woos customers.  Offer and response – and a third element, the time it takes to complete the response. This aspect of time will vary enormously from one situation to another and it is difficult to be patient, and at times the response may never come. When all is said and done, there is no such thing as a self-made person!

In general the chapter emphasizes the difficulty of creating a “unity,” a compatibility between the many different roles we play, attitudes toward situations we must face and people with whom we must deal.  We must depend upon mentors and critics, loves and enemies. A real marriage depends upon the husband and wife discussing and sharing work as equals; otherwise there is no true marriage.


Lecture – 19  The Cross

1.A definition of society:    a) a universe of situations, i.e. man at war,  at work, at play, in love, alone.  All of this as individuals, but in addition,  b) all of these must add up to a unified society.  Society makes demands for unity.

2.Economics:  Because the distribution of goods and services is so central to any group, economics is related to all major facets of the society.

a.  First ERH points out that in a “planetary” economy, war must be a central part.

b. Total war, or peace never occurs, we always have both at once. The difference is relative.

c.Nature of the economy (wealth).

d.There are many economies; war, peace, cities/rural, national/international, employment/unemployment, etc.

e.All economies are interrelated and must become integrated.  And one may assume by inference that an advantage for one may disadvantage another, thus to be integrated is to strike a balance between all these forces.

f.No more than perhaps one third of an integrated economy should be national (i.e. trade totally within national borders).

3.Soul is the power that controls  decision-making in all realms of reality, i.e. physical, mental, – economic, and political.

To sustain the “soul” we may at times need to abdicate from a situation, i.e. when it becomes unmanageable or intolerable.  At these times we become spiritually invisible, retracted into our inner world.

4.The soul is what unifies all of our social roles (as family member, work team member, husband or wife, intimate friend, and community member) into our individuality. The individual is thus “Multiform.”  ERH asserts that the notion of “individual” as the sole description of the person is a fallacy, an impossibility.  If all these roles were fragmented, one becomes schizoid; the roles must be unified for a healthy, functioning person to emerge.

5.In order for “man” to remain potent, to deal with the problems of life in some balanced, satisfying, fulfilling way, he must form a set of balancedattachments, i.e. in order to become multiform.  Dis-equilibrium means that onefactor dominates the others, or is missing.  “Committing suicide reflects the lack of ability to maintain those vital attachments.”  (pp.17,18,19)

A crucial aspect of “attachment” is to remain capable of detaching from any group, and re-attaching to some other group.  It would seem therefore that suicide can be a metaphor for detachment.

6.Founders of religious regeneration, a medicine against suicide!  There is a crucial difference between “can” and “may.” We can drop the atomic bomb, but we may not without causing suicide of the world by atomic war.  We become suicidal by being totally objective.  To be objective is to be detached from one’s subject. It is in this sense that ERH evokes the names of Buddha, Lao-Tzu, Abraham, Jesus. “they have in a strange manner put something in the place of suicide.” This is the role of a universal religion.

              “religion identifies the can, and the may.  Factually, we can do certain things, like murder, lie, ignore, but if we desire to sustain society into the future we may not.  This is the need for ethics and religion, which are to engender in us the strength to sustain the `may nots.'”  (p.22)


Lecture – 20

The question raised here is, “What is the place of religion in the process of attachment and detachment?”  Religion is needed precisely because of “… man’s power to destroy his own rhythm between attachment and detachment.” (p.1)

1.Detachment is death, as is objectivity (looking at things from the outside), viewing essentials as unessential to your life.  Detachment is the devil, and ultimately is boring.  Attachment, contrarily, is life, is feeling, is meaningful to one, and it is subjective. (p.2)  DETACHMENT IS NOT THE LIFE AND DEATH OF THE OBSERVER, BUT RATHER LIFE AND DEATH OF THE THING BEING OBSERVED; THE CLUB, ANIMAL, MINORITY GROUP, FOREST, ETC.

2.We cannot be objective toward others and expect them to be subjective toward us.  If we wish to know another we must pay for that knowledge by revealing ourselves.  Relationships are reciprocal: “…the funny thing about real life is that the other fellow calls you by the reciprocal name that you call him.” (p.7-20)  DETACHMENT MEANS DETACHMENT FROM HALF OF OURSELVES, because our lives include the necessity to belong to other groups, i.e. in the army, work, play, love affairs etc.

3.Biology is objectively studying other animals, but sociology, psychology, physiology, and other social sciences utilize the same methodology, they are “…glorified biologies.” (p.7)  If mankind is one, which ERH asserts, how can we be unbiased about studying  a humanity of which we are a part?

4.We are called by the name of our role in life – father, son, mother, daughter, secretary, captain – and when addressed,  those role characters in return call the caller by his corresponding role.  For instance, if the father is addressed, he replies “son.” WE ARE NEVER SELF RELIANT, WE ARE ALWAYS MUTUALLY RELIANT.  “This mutual reliance…is the real story of life…”   (p.7)

5.PARADOXICALLY, passion and agreement must go hand-in-hand.  This is a necessity for all groups.  All groups harbor different types of people, different attitudes that are held passionately.  The problem is, “How do we integrate these differences?”  With difficulty, one would say, but what we cannot do is exile persons with whom we disagree.  In today’s world that is no longer possible. In a like manner, in the family one needs to integrate power, beauty, ideals, and dignity (respectively symbolized by the father, daughter, son and mother). (p.10-20)  The opinions of each must be respected and compromise made.

6.Cooperation is illustrated by the story of getting 5 horses pulling a wagon to work together,  otherwise they injure each other.  It is the same with people, to get them to agree to a single direction.

7.Will and love:  One cannot will another to love oneself, one has to act so that the other person desires to love.  It must be the same with getting agreements between groups. (p.13)

8.Religion is an attempt to heal the evils of the world, which is to say, heal scars created by the wrong rhythms between attachment and detachment. ONE DOES A THING BECAUSE IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO, NOT FOR SOME PURPOSE BEYOND IT.   To do good for reward is the wrong reason to act.

              The purpose of living is to live.  There is no other purpose.  The purpose of religion is to give the most complete life under devastating circumstances.  …You can live the good life under the most trying and impossible deadlocks…

              When your detachments and attachments are completely wrong, when you have a tyrant as your master, you see, or when life, which is an end in itself, which has no ulterior motive, and no ulterior purpose.  That is, you can lead the good life in any minute on this earth, which is quite some promise, and really sounds like a terrible exaggeration….But there is a promise in all religion…that man’s life can be lived right in any minute.  (p.14)

(RF – I take this to mean that when one attempts to live consciously at each moment and makes decisions that are right at that time for that situation, one then lives the best life possible.)   This is the method for moving toward creating heaven on earth – there is no other heaven or hell. This may sound exaggerated, but those who use religion as a drug, as opium, as a false promise cannot find the same rewards, and certainly do not live truly.

9.When we live a “blissful life,” one in which we fulfill intended roles according to “reality,” the rules are likely to properly guide the rhythm of attachments and detachments.  Religion, like the family, exists for its own sake.  “There is nothing beyond them.” (p.15)

10.Anything that has a purpose must be guided totally by that purpose. Anything that has some end beyond it is mere method. If life is a means for some other end it is no more than a cog in a machine. Life is far more marvelous than that!

11.The raw material for a good life is always “there” at each moment, because life allows for the possibility to live right, to create a family, friends, proper relationships, to call others and be called. It is precisely the function of religion to allow us to see this.   (RF – And one might add, “Engender the courage to act accordingly.”)

12.The family is the most vital institution in the world, and it is the most complex,

              “…much more complex than a state, or a church, or an army, or a factory.  It contains the greatest opponents of each other…and it contains the two sexes and ages.” (p.18)

13.Here you have it, the reason the family is so fundamental to the regeneration of the spirit, because it is the forum in which it is possible for the individual to find and learn completeness.  That is, the complete roles of different individuals.  The family is by far the most complex institution.  Every other takes people to be equal, regardless of age or sex, or religion, because it sees them as contributors to some “other” goal.  But the family contains and forces the recognition of basic divisions of men, and teaches us how to deal with them in an amicable way.  It symbolically represents power (father), dignity and history (mother), soul and love (daughter), and ideals and future (son).  These are  qualities that we, and every group on earth needs.

The Bible represents a solution to the problems of divisions.  All roles can be changed and exchanged – employer/employee, private/general, – etc. except sex.  Adam and Eve represent the merging of this division.

Lecture – 21

On shame.  Shame is a very healthy and necessary thing.  In this age of science, people believe it is good to see everything, to “…turn everything inside out.” (p.1-21)  But this is just the reverse of what we should do in some cases.

1.The family represents mankind’s conquest of space and time. The mother looks back (at Adam and Eve with the first day of creation); the daughter with the last judgment day (with the whole selection of the human race in terms of heredity and whom she marries); the father represents the whole expanse of space (i.e. the dangers of the concrete world – by providing the “bacon” he, gives the time to do its thing).  And the son represents  the sense of conquest (pioneer of new ideas).  (p.5)

2.The institutions of the church and state and economy are the formal organizations through which the society continues.  “MAN IS THIS STRANGE ONE BEING THAT BY PERPETUAL CHANGE CAN CONTINUE.” (p.6-21)  He is capable of doing this, of regenerating, only if the family, the most complex institution, is fully represented and its roles performed.


3.Time and space are conquered by the four faces of outer and inner, past and future.

              “…keep the oldest prayers of the human race, the the same time allow novelty and fashion to enter your home, you have represented the secret of life in the midst of your home.  If you over‑stress any one aspect of it, the whole — the unit explodes…” (p.7)

When the family is not made justification of all institutions and the whole of life, there is fragmentation; one institution cannot communicate with another.  The church, speaking about the fall of Adam, about hell, fire and brimstone, about the last judgment (represented by mother and daughter), cannot communicate with father and son, who speak about science and philosophy, (separating space and time. The abstract process of categorizing, sans narrative context, is an act of destruction of meaning). Thus, in universities, departments of theology, business and the rest are separate, and in their separation become sterile.

              “…I go to the clergymen, and they tell me about my bad conscience, and they tell me that — everything will be visited, that I have to confess my sins, and that there will be a judgment day, and that we all are sinners,..and must become saints, and that’s again to the exclusion of all geography, and all politics, …”

              “I’m again hungry because..that’s very nice for my inner man, but I think…I don’t know what to do in this world when I go to these ministers…obviously, they don’t know……so you have this cleavage between the secular knowledge which is for men in their professions…Then you get the knowledge of the soul, of women’s part in all of us, you see, by which we try to solve this great riddle of what we are for in this world, really, and what we are dying for, and what are we living for.” (p.8)

4.Only science, or only religion (or to say it another way, only space and only time), when separated become an impotent absurdity. Space, is said to be the assignation for father and son because they are the traditional physical providers,  and time defines the role of daughter and mother because they are in charge of the family calendar – past and future), family life trains us to see this.  Otherwise, when separated, we do not understand the commonality between any woman and our wives and sisters, and therefore we rape them.  Or, speaking from the woman’s standpoint, we do not understand the necessity of concrete accomplishment and idealist progress in this world (i.e. father and son).

ERH also speaks about the fact that all of this is metaphor, that a whole individual needs to think in terms of all four of these factors, the inner and outer, past and future.

5.No doubt the numbers of rape and other crimes against the sexes, of divorces of people seeing psychiatrists, is evidence of broken families.  Women and men cannot cope with each other without religion (never to compromise, never to turn the other cheek, to forgive, to have faith). This means more war between the sexes, nations, organizations, etc.  Science and philosophy say nothing about not raping a girl or getting along between father and son.


Lecture – 22

1.Man, just as any bacterium or other form of life, strives to regenerate, to embrace the world and to live. In all creation only the family of man engenders the life of the spirit.

              “You are drawn into these four directions, and you are cursed if you do not fulfill them.” ( p.2-22)

2.Men in the plural are small, everyone like anyone else.  But when one man stands up and pronounces what is alive and what is dead,  he represents God; that is,  he acts in the image of God.

              “God’s power is to decide what’s dead and what’s alive…..Now whenever we have this decide what is dead and what is alive, we are the single man whom God has created.”  (p.2)

3.The uniqueness of man.  All unique experience becomes, in time, routine. We retain our uniqueness, our individuality, by having new experience.  In doing this we manifest the singular person in the best sense.  But this is not all. In the process of being, of living fully and singularly fulfilled, we act according to past laws, according to future goals, according to survival in the concrete world, and according to our inner souls. (p.8-22)

4.Any life is full of pain, bliss (interesting he uses the same term as does Joseph Campbell, and with the same meaning) anger, friction, etc, and the amount of happiness is relatively small.  Goethe at 82 was quoted as saying he had never had more than 6 weeks of happiness during his life.  The idea is that life is unique.  Most people don’t really live at all, ERH claims; they don’t feel intensely, and therefore are neither really happy or unhappy.

He illustrates the point with a story about the girl who lived in perfect bliss for 6 months with her lover, then committed suicide because there was nothing left, she believed, to live for.   It is the same with all life. It was a unique experience, and such happiness was unusual.


5.The way we consume our lives is our own judgment as to is what is unique. ERH uses the simile of carrying a glass of water (life), and in the process one must decide “at every moment” when to drink it and when to throw it away.  He cites Hamlet, declaring  that the greatness of the play is that Hamlet goes from incident to incident, taking  on each until all of the scoundrels have been unveiled, and that he has the courage to stand up to the possibility of being killed. He is a hero.  At times one might need to run and hide (as did Jesus), and at another time stand up and face evil. That takes courage.  To do this with a reverence for life takes courage.  Life is frail and delicate.

We cannot live life fully in this way without a personal dogma, without passion!  We must trust that our lives will not become common-place.  To do this we must feel each moment, not live like a thinking machine (as is the tendency of many).  We must speak to situations with a sense of their uniqueness. What is the greatness of Jesus’s words in the New Testament? That they had never been said before. (p.13-23)

6.ERH tells the story of a boy, the lover of the girl (cited above) who he could have saved from suicide if he had been able to point out other things in life that she could fulfill by trying to live fully.  SUCH IS THE POWER OF THE WORD TO CHANGE US.  But he was not up to it. He didn’t know what the situation was.

7.Life and death are not ultimate choices: There can be a good life and a good death, and vice versa. The point is, there are four possibilities:  life can be both positive and negative, and death is both plus and minus.  To understand this means that death, the be the effect of the way we live?  Part of the answer is the way we choose to die. That is an important consideration if we have the courage to think that way.

8.To live life, one must do what one must do, regardless of the outcome personally. “A man who doesn’t say this, cannot be spoken to.  He is just a prattler.” (p.15-22) We are fulfilled by finding the truth about ourselves, but if we have no truth, no standards for which we are willing to die, or sacrifice,  then we are not living.

              “…the essence of any knowledge about real life depends on your power to treat life and death with equanimity.  Otherwise you are just biased.  You are partisan.  And if your life comes first, certainly are not apt to know the truth….the knowledge of the truth depends on your indifference to life.  And that’s why so very few people know the truth, and why the truth is hated…any Quaker who risked his life in Massachusetts when he confessed that he was a Quaker.  Take any Jew who, under Hitler, forfeited his existence when he said that he was a Jew…one name you give to yourself can mean  your very existence.” (p.16)  

That is the price of truly living. To be willing to face death.

9.       “…we speak in order to relate, in order to relate the present moment to its proper place in space and time.” (p.17)

This quotation relates to the story about the couple in love, but the man is unwilling to marry.  After 2 years she leaves.  His point is that the man was not really interested in the girl beyond a temporary arrangement.  Thus, in personal relations, we need to be honest, to use our speech to declare our view of our experience truly.  This often takes courage.  To speak this way, truly, is to be possessed with the spirit of God.

              “The only thing a woman has to receive from her husband is his belief in God. All the rest is money….THAT’S YOUR HONOR, GENTLEMEN.”(p.17-22)

10.The relationship between man and wife is that the husband’s role is to herald the future, and the wife’s is “…holding onto what is created; the man is bringing in the next chapter…”  The woman holds onto faith in the past and present, the husband looking into the future.

11.WE BECOME FREE WHEN WE GET IN TOUCH WITH OUR MORTALITY. The church, the Old Testament is based on the idea that the prophet does not live to see his prophecy. With the spirit, death precedes life.  Each of us is here because somebody in the past died for us. Moses had to die in order for the next generation to get into the Promised Land.

To get in touch with our mortality, to understand that one day we will die, means that we live differently, more freely.  Those who are afraid to pay the penalty of death;

              “…cannot know truth, nor beauty, nor love, nor sacrifice, nor hope, nor faith….”  (p.20)

We only obtain these qualities when we are indifferent to the outcome of our behavior.  To achieve bliss is to live and die at the right time.  Jesus died at 33 (he didn’t do anything significant until he was 30), Lao Tzu at 40 or 45, and Moses lived to be very old.

The meaning of our entire life may be wound up in some series of events that last varying periods of time, but during that time a complete sequence of necessary events will take place, the birth, the development, and denouement. It may be 6 months or 3 years, or not at all.  There is a rhythm in the sequence, and each event has its unique rhythm.  This is what we must learn to feel.  And as individuals, we go through the same phases as civilization has in its entirety before us. (p.23)

              “One war, one crusade, one discovery of America may concentrate into one year so much awareness, so much interest.  And then you get 50 years of drabness, and indifference, and peace, you see, what people call `peace’. ” (p.24)

During those creative periods we are completely aware, and thoughtful, i.e. conscious of the world. During those periods one has lived!

              “The rhythm of real creation contains death as much as life.  And we have just to die as often as we live.  God always is dead in a society which only wants to live.  If you have all the life, then God gets all the death….We have a relation to death which is very practical.  It has nothing to do with your physical death..” (p.25)


Lecture – 23, More on Religion

1.Acquired qualities can be inherited, otherwise there would be no human history. (p.1-23)  Obviously ERH refers to the inheritance of ideas, of the spirit.

2.By implication, – spirit, and ideals are not worth passing  on unless someone was willing to die for them.  Our life is meaningful only to the extent that we  accept the possibility of needing to die if necessary.

              Death is this power to dismiss part of our life in due time…in order to have more life.  God has created death so that we might have more life.  Without death, there is no life, because death is a sacrifice of any given form.  (death is)…the timely dismissal of a stable form…That we survive the death is this part of our existence in order to enter a new life, to rise again. Death is everything which is not given to our will’s fulfillment. (p.5,6-23)

Thus, the martyr is not self made. ERH cites the example of his own life having been regenerated for having to depart Germany because of Hitler.

3.We seldom if ever get what we want out of life.  Life figuratively lasts two generations.  It exists in the interaction between that which we plan and the response given us by our environment (that which lies outside our mind).

The point is that we cannot really live by achieving what we had planned, we live when we are willing to be called, to find out what we should want!

4.On goals: what we usually aim for is below our dignity, our ability, because it comes from the past.

              You are more than any living thing you can aim at…Your life must be more precious.(p.7)

A purpose, general and therefore vague, is different from a concrete goal, such as owning a car or a horse.  We need not be conscious of our purpose, but must move very efficiently toward it nevertheless.

A destiny is the affirmation of the meaningful goal.

              “In destiny, you have the harmony between the cosmic order and the man’s place in the order.  Destiny exists…without aim, without purpose, and even without goal, because in destiny…a man is used who is the most — greatest misfit seemingly, the man who in his own constitution has not…the consciousness in himself to do it.”     (p.8) 

Destiny just happens!

5.If each of us strived only toward our “wills,” our desires, or conscious aims, there would be anarchy in the world.  We must find our place according to events around us, not overrating our place in life.  We therefore must not pray that our wills be done, but that thy will be done.  To see what we are called to do, what is necessary to help regenerate the community.  To do what must be done!  “What should I do to lead things to their destination”? (p.10-23)

6.All conservation starts from this insight, that in order to use things, we have to study their destination.

]             “Wherever you look,…man is asked to lead the creation to its destiny.  And therefore the first move he must make is to brush aside his own accidental will.  His greed, his envy, his avarice, his lust.” (p.10)

Obviously, we all combine doing our own will and doing the will of the community.  Our urges for sex, money, and comfort are for the immediate, the destiny of the universe is always for the long-range.

Western psychology seems to teach us the opposite, that our will is what we must carry out!

7.To live means therefore, both to impose our will on the universe, and to receive the will of the universe in return. p.11  Like breathing in and breathing out, to inspire and expire. Anxiety is the cutting off of inspiring the universe’s will.  To stop doing for others.  Nobody can be happy just doing his own will, because he becomes the slave of the object of his will.

8.Back to the issue of religion:  Religion is the ability to inspire and expire. Denial of this means denial of Jesus, or Abraham, or Buddha or Lao-Tzu.(p.13)  To subject religion to helping us fulfill our own will makes religion smaller than ourselves.  As long as we admit that, the part of our behavior the universe’s will is the best part of us, we are all right.  90% of the time we do our own “thing,”  but to do the other 10% is enough.

9.ERH cites the crucifixion, the failure of Jesus, as a triumph in the end.  Jesus demonstrated that he was willing to die for a cause.  Rockefeller, who achieved his will, and appeared to be a success, was ridiculed in Mexico City.

10.The high points in one’s life, when one makes an important decision, are worth more than other times.  The value of each hour is therefore never equal.   Inspiring, and expiring harmonizes life and death.  Harmony, in many other contexts is thus to be sought. (p.17-23)

11.The purpose of the church is to convince people to abandon their own wills and to receive the will of the universe, so that they can live together in peace.

12.Questions of “What” and “where did it come from?” are not useful. More importantly, we must ask, “What do we do about it?”    ERH makes the distinction between the “functioning” universe, which is social, and the  “resisting” universe, which is natural.  We live between these, in symbiosis with each.  To ask “What?” always produces a biased answer, as it always takes a pre-determined point of view to answer, so “…the answer is contained in the question.” (p.21-23) Therefore the question is of little use, producing a self-fulfilling prophesy.

13.Lao-Tzu suggested that non-function, that being unwilling to will, that incorporating life into death is just as important as willing.  To let things happen and not try to control them.

              That is the ideal of the Tao people in China, be a still, as noiseless, as indifferent as a drop of dew, distilled into this absolute elegancy of taking up as little space as possible… (p.24) 

This is where the metaphor of being at the hub of the turning wheel comes from.  It is important to see our unimportance, to be ambivalent, even  indifferent at times.

14.The important point is that when we have no reason, or insufficient information to make a decision about some issue, then we must be ambiguous about it.  In other instances, when a decision is called for, of course we must be specific!.

15.”…that you may be a person,…is the greatness of your place in the universe.” (p.28) Evolving into a person   is the product of our facing problems, of making important decisions toward growth and acting on them. “Nobody is born a person. You are born just brutal selves. Al Capone is not a person.  He’s a gangster.” (p.28)

(RF – This notion is expanded in his essay on the practical knowledge of the soul.)


Lecture – 24

This course is to be summarized by speaking about the religious leaders, Lao-Tzu, Abraham, Buddha and Jesus.

1.These men, like all great men and women, do not belong only to the country of their origin, or culture, or religion, but to humanity.  They are not interested in origins in general, but rather, “…as the name itself says, in a time in which we will have fulfilled our role within humanity.” (p.1)

2.The classroom is not the place to speak about religion because that is personal.  The classroom is not the place to make decisions, but the place where one prepares to make decisions.  One cannot speak about religion because one’s mind cannot be taken everywhere at any moment. We, in the classroom, play with ideas; decisions are to be  at the right moment.

3.All four of these men believed in death as part of life, in the fact that, in order for us to have been here now, someone died so that this was possible; someone left us a heritage.  This is the main difference between animals and man, “…somebody’s death preceded his life.” (p.2)  Parents give up some of their individuality to become a unit of a true marriage, as the husband and wife must appear to the children as one.

4.We enter our lives and our loves under the mask of death.  In the case of marriage, death means the end of bachelorhood. The black of nuns and priests symbolize the death of part of their lives, of giving up a potential that they might have.  In sum, we all must act on the basis of death as much as we act on the basis of life. (p.6-24)

5.The notion of “beyond” (heaven or future) is not the notion of a place (although that is a common interpretation). The real “beyond” is in the children of the person who has died.  “And therefore you must anticipate your death in your actions.” (p.6)

6.EDUCATION must emphasize that the children, as the descendants of those who have died, must carry on, making students capable of doing what we do before we die.

              Education cannot be sold.  Education is participation of the next generation in the great army of people (who count) in reality, because they encompass life and death in their consciousness, who are perfectly indifferent [to the risk they take in their decisions] and who are, because they have overcome this fluctuation of thought, which arises when you want to live forever…Only the man who acts indifferently, whether life or death follows, can act as a free man. (p.7,8)

7.Buddha represents the eye, and hub of the wheel, always open, but blind to the consequences of action.  Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son upon the request of God represents his willingness to give up his personal will for that of the lord’s.  In this action He made room for free people by teaching this lesson.  ERH cites an opposite example, what human sacrifice actually amounted to. mean. – the Swedish king in 1070 and Aztecs who performed human sacrifice so that the living may remain at the expense of the next generation. Both customs were eventually ended by the common sense of the people. – The point is, the lesson from the Old Testament Jews is that the next generation has as much right to freedom and life as did the previous.  (p.9-24)

8.The life of these four men is a double paradox, 1) because 1900 years ago (Christ), and 2250 years ago (Buddha), and 2600 yrs. ago (Lao-Tzu and Moses) and 3200 yrs ago (Abraham), all knew something that we do not know today.  They  are therefore ahead of us, and are models to follow, “…because in a way they are more alive than you, they have laid the principles of your own future life.” (p.11,12)

[RF – All of this seems totally analogous to our present day destruction of environment and insensitivity to over population.  Both of these acts may facilitate our own lives, but destroy the future of our children!]

9.It is not relevant from whom we learned our lessons. Great people, living models in the community who give witness to deeds of these four, are just as valuable to us as from the saints themselves.  THE IMPORTANT POINT IS THAT WE FOLLOW THAT DIRECTION. (The opposite philosophy from that of the Christian evangelicals.) TO TAKE SUCH DIRECTION IS TO MAKE ONE’S LIFE AND DEATH MEANINGFUL!  (p.13-24)

10.Second point, the messages have been passed down so that everyone can understand them.  Now we must respond to them as though they were being said to us personally. Resurrection must occur in our lives, martyrdom must occur, turning the other cheek, acting regardless of consequence etc. (p.15-24)

11.Four rooms in an apartment: kitchen, representing modern technology, living room representing history of past ages, bedroom representing peace and love (to last 50 years – two generations of the marriage), the studio (representing the present).  To be capable of moving between these different times and to be able to change one’s mind as the issue demands, is to find meaning. Space by itself is meaningless.  It must be injected with the times of lives.

12.Mind and soul are worlds apart.  Mind is the physical manifestation, representing death, while soul is spirit, attitude, the power of decision and commitment, where passion resides.

13.Multiformity in roles we play places on us an obligation to represent all of society at one time or another.  We are not only representatives of ourselves, we represent the group in which we claim membership. A professor represents all professors, as do doctors, lawyers etc.  Only sometimes are we our own representative.

14.Names and numbers:  We invoke the names of Jesus, Abraham, Lao-Tzu or Buddha because they were distinctive.  One is not born a “person,” one must act to become one.  Numbers, by contrast, are for non-living things.

15.To do God’s work is to help perpetuate life on the planet. (p.23) Our role is to play out the roles representative of the cross, to be a team member (man at work), to be a lover and friend, to be a contributing member of a community, and finally, to develop as a “person” (with a soul) These represent our mortal, unique roles. To fulfill all of these roles in a way that will point beyond our individual lives, that is the meaning of religion.  All of these roles must blend together into one whole society and one whole “person.”

              They call it unity.  But the unity and solidarity of mankind is something every one of you expected to achieve by being not satisfied with his roles in society….with his mind…with his physical endowment..but by knowing that what  mattered — whether you act as a lover, whether you act as a worker, or whether you act as a lady of society, to do in this moment that which will testify to the solidarity of the human race. (p.24) 



Argo Press, Norwich, Vt. 1973
Feringer notes
Notes started: 11-90
Last edited: 12-98





I have added this prologue because of a debate I have had with a scholar.  My colleague took the position that, “This is a brilliant social analysis, but I don’t see what I can do with it.”  This position surprised me. This prologue is offered for the purpose of giving the reader a thumb-nail summary to more easily keep in mind the organization of the arguments during the reading. I believe this book is a little masterpiece, tightly drawn, and the most accessible of all Rosenstock-Huessy’s essays.  Its message is at once profound and original. And, judging from persistent social problems, of greater interest to us now, in my view, than at the time of its original publication.  As far as I can discern this essay is  unique among his works in English; I know of no other with this  same message.

Rosenstock-Huessy begins ostensibly with a management problem, asking, “What man does management manage?” The question is raised because the emergence of modern technology and its attendant economic system carried with it a terminally destructive side effect.  It is a truism, of course, to suggest that monumental inventions, such as the shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture, reverberate throughout the existing social structure.  These shifts, which are always drastic,  require quite literally a  redefinition and re-invention of social life. There could be little argument that the industrial revolution resulted in a replacement of muscle power with machine power, representing a change of equal magnitude to that of agriculture.  What then is the nature of the momentous change which he identifies? Mankind, Rosenstock-Huessy averred, must develop a new sense of social time and space,  “…such as the earth has never seen before.”  Dysfunctional societies and groups within them are common today.  This essay establishes why our present models for regeneration are incomplete and what a more efficacious model would look like.

The raising of a management question is intended to be representative of  all social relationships and the work place is an effective analogy to demonstrate Rosenstock-Huessy’s points. He immediately shifts to a more basic question, “What is the nature of man?”  The obvious effect of industrialization has been the fragmentation of all aspects of social life which had been stable, unified and largely under the control of small, rural groupings in pre-industrial society. Services such as health, counseling, work, the raising of children, social security in old age, teaching  and other basic services became fragmented. Services became removed to separate bureaucratized institutions, distant, beyond meaningful influence of individuals and small groups.  Prominent social scholars have written passionately about how lonely, insecure, paranoid and apathetic we tend to be, lacking a sense of identity and significance, all of which leads eventually to violence.  “For no human being can stand the perpetually numbing experience of his own powerlessnes,”  wrote Rollo May.

In confronting various bureaucracies, private or public, (it makes no difference), we experience this powerlessness daily.  Our great problem then becomes one of attempting to regain some control over our lives.  In general Rosenstock-Huessy strikes different aspects of this theme in all his essays. This is to say, he admonishes us to become more conscious of the nature of our experience and understand its meaning.  Specifically, in this essay he identifies a new sense of our self concept as a first step toward more control.

In tribal life the individual saw him/herself as an atom in the molecule of the group whereby any separation meant death.  The advent of Greek thought redefined this view by inventing the notion of the individual as a stand-alone creator of ideas, and this dichotomy, the individual versus the group,  has stood to this day.  Rosenstock-Huessy is suggesting that the  fragmentation of pre-industrial social structure necessitated a still more refined self concept because the individual has lost almost all of his ability to influence these new bureaucracies. Furthermore, the bureaucracies themselves have become inhumane, uncreative, unable to change – in short, unmanageable.  The two primary problems, which we face today are, instability, which powerlessness engenders, and the need to learn from experience and change in a way that creates a future. Given the social diseases which infect our societies, it should be clear that our present ways of thinking about ourselves are no longer viable.

What is the secret to social health which Rosenstock-Huessy has discovered?  He names four rules (social laws). Contrasted with the laws of nature described by the physical sciences however, laws of society are different. They refer to something which is living, vital, and therefore capable of regenerating itself.  These he characterizes by the name “ecodynamic laws.”

The first ecodynamic law addresses the problem of production, of essential goods and services..  Humans cannot function twenty four hours per day:  some processes require around-the-clock attention, such as hospitals, dams, emergency services, etc. Since no individual could function this way, the most basic unit of production must be a plural, a minimum team of three persons, each on an eight hour shift.  3 = 1 is the rule here.  The working molecule of production, when unified in spirit, can be both effective and efficient.

The second problem is that of the power relationship between the corporation and the individual and production team. The working molecule cannot create stability beyond itself because it lacks the power to influence a corporate magnitude.  Such influence requires a larger  collective such as a profession, or a union which can speak for the individual.  All = 1 is the ethic of the collective.  All = 1 is the call of the second ecodynamic law.

A third ecodynamic law addresses the problem of change, of reproduction as contrasted with the repetitiveness of production. The constant changes in the world require adaptation; old methods no longer suffice. This is renewal against repetitious production.  Change balances a possible future against a dead past; risk against a perceived security in the present; faith against hope. Change always includes risk, which, in turn, is daunting because it can go either way; success or failure, progress or retrogress. Real, meaningful change is an emotional earthquake. Individually, we do not possess the power to face change. Only the deepest form of relationship can overcome the terror of possible failure. Here the smallest social unit must be the dual, where one has deep spiritual, loving attachments  that motivate the call to rethinking and action.  Deep friendships, trust, and respect create such a spiritual strength necessary to overcome the barriers to change. Thus, the third ecodynamic law is described by 2 = 1.

In summary work teams, collectives and diads appear to define man as only one atom of a group.  How then can we call man singular, as the liberals are so fond of declaring?

Society is averse to man’s being taken as a singular.  The ideals of our group and class, the usefulness of our productive capacity, the sexual thorn in our flesh. all these forces are making us into parts of larger units, of a work group, of an inspired collective, or of a pair.  The naive liberal faith in the ubiquity of our oneness cannot be maintained.  Our singularity has to be re-stated.  It is no longer self-explaining. (p.64)

The fourth ecodynamic law deals with the problem of creativity, seeing the world in a new way when old ways no longer seem to be functional. We experience ourselves as a singular physiological, psychological, and spiritual unity at the center of our world.  We have fought our way through difficult decisions and creative processes.  We can lay claim to having earned a “soul,” a personality, much less calculable than that of the visible groups.  We know also that, to the extent groups can expand our individual power, they are nonetheless made up of a collection of souls, hopefully cooperating in peace and love.  Every great creative act, however aided by others, ultimately represents the freedom of an individual fighting for a remembrance beyond his days on earth.  An individual can only serve these groups if he has developed a singular power, a personality, a unique spirit. THE FINAL ECODYNAMIC LAW THEN IS 1 = 1.

Rosenstock-Huessy has offered four definitions of man; in three of these man is an atom of a group and each group is very different in both purpose and the demands of its members. The fourth face of man is, of course, individual. We imagine physical entities such as teams, communities, diads and individuals to have a unity in themselves, but how are they interrelated?   Is it not paradoxical to say that an individual can be all of these things , that is, a team member, a community member, a friend, husband or wife, and finally, “individual” at once?

Multiformity in this sense means that at a particular time we are one or the other, capable of changing roles even from moment to moment. Even capable of changing into a new type of person, as Rosenstock-Huessy always admonishes us to do as a necessity for inner growth.  Time then is the integrating bed-rock to understanding the functioning of social life.  Humankind is paradoxical in the sense that individuals can change behavior to become something else through time.  Unity replaces separateness when time is seen as a whole, that is, a time span over which all elements have become manifest.  Structure and function, space and time, must be inexorably intertwined to reveal meaning in social events.

Each of the four forms of the individual then has a separate existence, a different structure, a different purpose, a different spirit and a different time of existence.  For instance, life of work teams is perhaps three to five years before a member might leave or new members might be added.  Within each life-cycle the team has a unique quality.  Diads may be said to last half a lifetime because they cannot exist before maturity.   The individual, of course,  represents a single lifetime, and a community lives beyond  the life of the individual.  In sum, understanding the characteristics of these ecodynamic laws can guide us to greater stability and control over our experience. Stability and disciplined control or our participation in them are essential to fulfillment and growth.  This is what Rosenstock-Huessy means when he says we need a new sense of social time and social space.

I believe Rosenstock-Huessy  has discovered a new paradigm of basic relationships for industrial society which holds the promise of recreating man once again as a whole unified being. No individual can rise above an animal state in the singular, or mass form.  He must see himself as multiform. What man does management manage?  It must be the whole man lest the neglect of any one of his parts erodes the stability and unity of the whole.



Multiformity:  The essential notion of this book is that the modern tendency is to define man in terms of  single individual, or society. ERH contends that there are other elements of Man that identify human needs, and to ignore these elements, to over-simplify the definition of man  distorts our understanding of our own condition.

1.   The modern industrial age has created a new type of man.  Where in the past the peasant working his plot of land applied methods of production over which he could exert control, technology fragmented his life, rendering many of his skills obsolete overnight.  His sense of time and timing changed as well, producing a new sense. Man today lives in a new time and a new space, and he is burdened to define this new time and space in a way that will regenerate society.

The book emphasizes two major streams of thought. The first questions, “Which man does management handle?”  Indirectly it asks a much more important question:

“What is the nature of the new man that technology has created?”  The answer is that the rise of science has attempted to treat man as a machine: “…the world crumbles because some central fallacies about man are passed around as science today…science for four centuries has assumed that man was a part of nature and could be investigated LIKE ANYTHING ELSE… Will our economic thinking begin with economic man, the labor force, or with the whole man, not only as the producer of goods but as the reproducer of society?”

The answer is, of course that it must deal with the whole man.

In another dimension, ERH emphasizes the universal theme of man over mere “economics,” wherein he points out that the “factory” is simply a more permanent “house” than any one man’s house, and the term “factory” also stands for all public establishments that must last longer than the life of one man.

By starting with the factory as the most ephemeral kind of house in society, we can hope to prove in an unmistakable way the temporary character of every house.  (p.34)

Man has several social tasks to perform in order for society to regenerate,  work is simply one of them. The laws of the work-place must not determine all of man; it must recognize these other social tasks and needs of man and reconcile these other rules within its boundaries. (p. 35)

2.   The second chapter details the fragmentation of time that modern industry has created.  All work units are units of time, each of which is equal, each of which is intended to be as predictable as possible.  These leave no room for the unexpected, or for the planning of change – in short, for a future for the worker, man.  “The question arises: where is he going to find his future?” (p. 22)

3.   The molecule of production, First Eco-Dynamic Law. (p.23) A working unit is minimum 3 because man is not a machine that can function 24 hrs a day.  Modern man’s state in work is that of a group member, one of three 8 hour shifts.  “We have distinguished man’s state of aggregate in work and for work as something which resists complete individualization.”  “Work in society goes on whether a father dies, a child cries, or a wife’s heart breaks.  This is all expressed by the equation: three equals one. `Three’ expresses the un-individual and social character of man as co-worker.” (p. 31)

The author’s logic explaining this first eco-dynamic law is as follows:

a.   The conflict between economy and thermodynamics is no longer needed.  We have discovered the first kind of house devoted to nature, the house by which nature is made recurrent.  The factory has incorporated nature into the family of man.  Thanks to the era of technique, nature has become a part of man’s own history. No wonder that we can reconcile thermodynamics and economy. Housed nature is no longer the nature of mere physics.  It has been conquered by an historical victory.  Hence thermodynamics can be balanced by eco-dynamics.  On the other hand, we discovered man himself to be part of this nature housed in the factory.  He and his unique properties must be studied in a scientific way, since he has been made a part of nature. Man, who cannot be explained by the laws of thermodynamics, that would be an insult, an insinuation that he is dead — need not feel insulted if we begin to study his behavior in the factory.  Eco-Dynamics may even restore his dignity among his elder brothers: steam, coal and electricity.  (p.32)   [RF – It is a matter of historical record that individuals were indeed treated as cogs of machines and it is precisely this treatment that Rosenstock-Huessy speaks against when he used the term, “restore his dignity.”  He strives here to replace machine-like “management science” with a  humane science which didn’t kill the spirit of man.]

b.   No member of the “team” must take advantage of the absence of the other because members are interdependent. (p.26)

c.   The optimum size of a working unit depends upon that size which can be efficiently organized and managed in terms of the needs of the workers. Frictions between people are inevitable of course “It would be much more profitable in many cases to study these frictions than the seconds of time which figure in the time studies of piece-work.” (p.28)

d.   The group must protect the individual as a unit of “some” stability for the individual.  Modern work, as contrasted with the farm, is a transient place, one does not spend his life there, only part of it.  Thus, there is no stability or little stability and therefore, the group must serve, in part, this function.

e.   The group is a “living” unit, it has a beginning, middle and end and becomes obsolete, or its members change.  Living things die, dead things do not.  The life of the group is from 3-7 years, a time unit that depends upon the group, not some abstract principle or factory plan.

f.    A principle feature of the “first eco-dynamic law, three = one, is that the unit of production must be formulated at the smallest unit, not the single worker as the free enterprizers do, and not at the level of 1,000 as the communists do.

“The science of eco-dynamics in its formulations must give the minimum requirements and not the maximums.  It is opposed to the Liberal or Communist confusion between political science and political programs.  We purposely say `three’, while the political leader says `all and everybody.’  He is right; but we are right too.  The thing that makes Communism impossible, or at least delays it indefinitely, is the Communist party.”     (p.34)


The basic problem ERH raises is, how does the individual gain power and protection?  The answer is that he/she must become a collective.  ERH explains that the collective is to be distinguished from the masses; in other words, the collective is something between the masses and the individual.  For instance, mankind is the total, electrical workers are a part of that whole, and therefore a collective. The electrical workers were forced to organize when management identified them as “labor” rather than “their employees.” A community (municipality), a labor union, a neighborhood, a profession are examples of collectives.

a.   The collective represents the common characteristics of a type more or less an idealized set of characteristics.  It thus represents an important force in personality formation, i.e. “when a young man …looks back on his juvenile past he must think of it as the regular life of a young man of normal health and morals and of moral and healthy normalcy.”

b.   Why is the collective important?  Because the individual is too powerless, he/she needs to belong to some group, or group of groups, to experience friendship and reinforcement and identity. “We all wish to get rid of limitations or fetters of reality.  To all men collectives offer the escape they desire from the prison of our existence.” (p. 41)

c.   Collectives represent, in the time perspective, something in flux. “Ideals are not immortal.  They are tendencies in our dealing with reality.  They are expressing our fears or hopes about reality, they are our program of the future.” (p.42)

The second ECO-DYNAMIC law therefore is, ALL EQUALS ONE. (p.39)

5.   The Secret of a Self-Perpetuating Body, Third ECO-DYNAMIC Law

A review:  It is because nature is sleepless and mankind, being human, requires rest, that he must organize his community into different modes to combat this.  1) The first eco-dynamic law defines the working team, defined as extending over three shifts. This definitions follows the rule that archetypes must be represented by the smallest unity, not the largest. Thus the designation, 3 = 1. 2)  In education and all voluntary groupings where we seek commonality with others, we require the collective. A collective represents an idea that must live longer than a single person.  Thus the 2nd law, All = 1.  Mankind requires the shelter of the collective. 3) For reproduction, (regeneration) the dual, the diad, opposites, friend/foe, male/female, you/me is necessary.  “Whenever we become interested in the processes of succession of life on earth, heredity, reconstruction, historical evolution, we are bound to look at reality with eyes similar to those of Plato or Hegel.  The universe appears as a dialectical process.”  (God/devil, light/darkness, man/wife, heaven/earth.)

This law says that in all relations which are representative of generation and regeneration of man, TWO EQUALS ONE.

a.   We need the depth of intimate friendships that last longer than a single day.  Thus, a true marriage must be more than a series of sex experiences.

b.   THE TIMESPAN OF GROUPS. (p.49) – 1) the timespan of the working group is from 3 to 5 years. “Careful observations carried out in a factory over a period of 5 years, corroborated the fact that the constellations in the best team which make for the efficiency of a group are exhausted after that time.  All possible varieties of rivalry, competition, good neighborhood, leadership are exploited. ….A new commander, new privates, other sergeants must join the company.  Or it will grow stale and soon the army will be rotten.” (p.49) – 2) The collective, on the other hand, is too much work not to exist for a long timespan.  The church, government, a professional organization all must outlast a single generation. “The life of the spirit outlasts the physical life of one generation…..Our modern society, unaware of the contradictory concepts of “man” that are at the bottom of our various statements about man, has fallen under the despotism of short time spans. …A group of scientists observing the stars through an endless series of centuries are all serving the same leading idea, astronomy.” (p.50)  HE POINTS OUT AS WELL THAT THE INABILITY OF MODERN SOCIAL SCIENTISTS (I.E. PSYCHOLOGISTS AND SOCIOLOGISTS) TO RECOGNIZE THE IDEA OF COLLECTIVE (FOR INSTANCE A MARRIAGE) IN LONG TIME SPANS, ALLOWS THEM TO TREAT ALL EVENTS IN SHORT TIME SPANS. 3) THE DUAL is a polar unity, existing longer than the working group, but not longer than a generation (the collective).  “The telescope of centuries and the microscope of hours and seconds are extreme.” The dual organizes loves, of another, of a profession or country; it represents a conscious commitment that lasts half a lifetime (it cannot begin sooner than adulthood).

c.   We need the dual because we need an alter-ego, to obtain feedback sympathetically about the effects of our behavior. “Without the dual we all would go mad after some years of doubt and discussion. It allows us to exchange ourselves with somebody else without losing our personal identity!”  The notion of friend, wife, father, mother, brother etc. implies one other party to the “whole.”

d.   The notion of an alter-ego means that with the diad there is an intimate relationship that goes beyond the contract, beyond self interest; one gives more of one’s self to the intimate relationship.  It is based upon love,  and such energy and devotion is essential for the regeneration of any body or relationship.

Paradoxically, the dedication to the duo is actually against self-interest.  It is self-sacrifice for the good of the two.  “Propagation, then is in contradiction to self-interest.  It will be the more efficient the greater the self-interest it has had to overcome and the greater its power of overcoming it.”

e.   “We acquire a new status and a new character by being vested with the partnership in a body containing us and somebody else.  Our body is now replaced by this body politic into which we have been thrust with our partner.” (p.57)

6.   The Singular Man:  Fourth ECO-DYNAMIC Law

The author begins once again by summarizing: “You must work. You must grow. You must love.  These three equations demand fulfillment.  But in each of the three the alleged singular “man” has turned out not to be a singular at all.  Plurals, collectives and duals occupied the seat of the driver against all the liberal concepts of the classroom thinkers.” (p.62)

He begins ostensibly with a management problem, pointing out that the advent of modern technology that engendered the city, reducing rural economics, caused a major shift in the life-support systems of mankind.  In asking, “What part of man does management manage?” he answers that it must be the whole man, but then he had to ask, “Who is man?”

a.   Man turns out to be several things: – 1) because nature goes on unceasingly (24 hrs. per day) posing a need to protect against weather and hunger, man must join with others because he needs sleep. Thus, to protect against nature, the minimum work group is three (8 hr. shifts), although it may be up to 15 or 20.  The eco-dynamic law is, one (unit) = three (individuals). The man is then 1/3 of a working group.The TIME of the working group is 3-5 yrs before it has exhausted its originality and requires regeneration.

b.   Because work and causes and government must last longer than the lifetime of a single man, the collective must be organized to perpetuate the common features of man and carry on the causes. This allows humans to perpetuate themselves, living beyond a single lifetime.  Here “man” is also a member of a collective, and the eco-dynamic law is one = infinity, man is one of an infinite number of members in the collective.  The timespan is an entire lifetime.

c.   Because man is ultimately lonely and needs to be understood deeply, he must have intimate relationships; thus he is a member of a duo,a husband/wife/brother/sister, a friend. He must love and be loved.  The ultimate manifestation of this need is, of course, marriage.  “It is the response of the feeling, thinking and reflecting citizen upon his duties to his country.” (p.63)  It is thus conscious and can begin only in adulthood,  its  timespan is  half a lifetime.

d.   Finally ERH asks, to what extent is man singular if he ever is?  “The question turns out to be puzzling indeed.  For the naive thought of the period between the French Revolution and the World War, from Kant to John Dewey never felt any difficulty  in dealing with the singular of man as the clearest and safest unit for reasoning.  To us the situation is the reverse. Anything is more easily understood than the reality of such a unit or unity.  This bundle of nerves, this receptacle of collective slogans, this changing lover and suitor of all faiths and causes, why should he not be split?” (p.64) He is split into a working team member, a member of a community, and a wife/husband or friend.  “Society is averse to man’s being taken as a singular.  The ideals of our group and class, the usefulness of our productive capacity, the sexual thorn in our flesh, all these forces are making us into parts of larger units, of a work group. of an inspired collective, or of a pair.  The naive liberal faith in the ubiquity of our oneness cannot be maintained.  Our singularity has to be re-stated.  It is no longer self-explaining.”  (p.64)

e.   ERH discusses the definition of man as a rational animal, and points out that to do this means one would eliminate youth, old age, hours of passion, of sleep, of all non-rational consciousness, and end up with a small percentage of the individual’s existence.  On the other hand, man as a biographical unit, birth to death, having transcended all of the problems of work, of contributing to the community and of friendships, – finds his soul.  “By relegating reason to its proper place as one of the planets which are influential upon man’s biography, we have paved the road for a direct access to this biographical unit, man.” (p.67)

f.    What is the place of individualism?

“The soul is man’s power of fighting his way through different situations, different forms of existence, different convictions and social relations.  Man cannot avoid passing through many appearances and semblances…It is in those moments of extreme danger when a man might be mistaken for neither but one in the many that his soul begins to move and to persuade him that he is not doomed with his environment.  When everything seems to be calculable in a social setup, this one soul remains incalculable.” (p.68)

g.   The soul is not the same as mind, although many seem to have mixed up the two during the past 200 years. It becomes the connecting and integrating force to mediate the phases between membership in working groups, communities, friendships and marriages.  “Man has many forms of appearing in this world but just one soul.  That soul is no external form itself, because it is his power to overcoming death and change and coining meaning out of catastrophes and havoc.  What is the meaning of a sonata? It is neither in the many sounds, nor in any one melody nor in a special harmony.  But nobody can doubt that the sonata has a character, a meaning, a singular uniqueness.” p. 68

Finally he answers the question, what man does industry manage?  It must manage the whole man.  “Industry, though it mechanizes agriculture, must nevertheless invite us to farm the unique soil of man himself.  Living in an industrialized world, he can survive only if he is treated as if he were a special kind of soil.  This is a reconciliation …by which man and nature exchange roles.”   Thus, industry must manage the whole man so that he can survive the problems in the other parts of his life, so that he can come to the lathe or office desk or classroom with spirit, and capable of regenerating all phases of his existence.

The old science either treated man as an invariable, or as indeterminable.  “He remains one thing plus something else….the laws of eco-dynamics  defined these invariants of plural and collective, dual and singular.” Man is multiform. ( p.71)