The Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy Fund and its work, including the ongoing expansion of this website, are entirely dependent on private contributions, which are fully tax-deductible. We welcome your support of our efforts. Please consider making a donation to the Fund here.

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy Live! »

Volume 07- Make Bold to be Ashamed-1953


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

I have been told that some of you wanted to hear more about this strange creature, shame, which has puzzled us during our last meeting. You remember, we were not embarrassed when we had to speak of men at war, or men at work, or men at play. But when we had to mention men in love, a certain embarrassment made itself felt. And I told you the story of the king Candaules in Lydia, and his wife, and his great general, Gyges. And I thought that this was the best story to explain why shame is indeed an element of our existence in society. Well, I'm perfectly willing to do better now.

Let's go back to this story of the king, and his general--and later, successor--Gyges. We now know from excavations that Gyges lived in the first half of the 7th century, and died in 652 B.C. The story is told by the father of history, the old Herodotus. Has anyone looked up the story, by the way? Well, I can only say it is an interesting story, especially since the heroine, the queen, is left without a name in the report. And yet it is her story, more than anything else. And it is a great story, and I think of -- some relevance for you.

One of you in fact discovered this and said it was the queen who, in Herodotus, says the decisive sentence. And he's right. You remember the king was so absurdly proud of his queen's beauty that he tempted his general and talked him into seeing the queen in her bedchamber, naked. The queen, however, had noticed it. She was furious. She sent word to Gyges: "Either you take the life of my treacherous husband, Candaules, or you may expect to be killed by my henchmen. There cannot be two men alive who have seen me in my naked state."

Now this seems to me the simple interpretation of the ancients for the institution of marriage. In fact, Gyges responded, and he killed the king and became king himself. Candaules, we may say, received his punishment for his foolishness, or for his crime, or probably for both. He had torn to pieces that which cannot be torn: the unity of the body politic he had formed with his wife.

Here, this seems to me the center of thought and explanation of anyone's feeling of shame. Whenever we form an intimate group compared to the world outside, we then are inside. This world of ours must keep others outside, must keep them in ignorance of the full meaning of this inside. On the inside, we know; we are in the know. And that's why the Bible says simply, a man comes to know his wife, when he lives with her. And they are therefore as many shames as there are intimate human relations.

The great handicap in all discussions of shame, or books on shame, seems to me that it is always figured to be a question of sexual relations. This is not true. You can go even to the opposite extreme, with better results. You will find that relations of embarrassing bashfulness and shyness between men, who are not together for any reasons of personal attraction, exist. Shakespeare's relation to his England has been of -- one of great bashfulness. That rings clearly out over his praise of her.

Now I once had such an experience at Dartmouth College. I once founded here, with the help of graduates of Harvard and some other schools in New England, a camp in the wilderness. We cawed this -- we called it Camp William James. And unfortunately it happened here in class that I came to talk about the project confidentially, as I would in a classroom speak of my personal experience or personal conviction. Unfortunately I said to the class, in advance, that we were going to start this camp. It was in a December -- 1940--that is, very cold weather, a very great adventure in hardiness--and we intended to work together with the unemployed of the suburbs, of the -- our big cities--at that time the recession was still on--and -- should try to repopulate the countryside here in New England.

Now this proud boast of mine was my undoing, as pride usually is. I shouldn't have talked. Anyway, one of your fellow students of that time scooped the news. He wrote an article for the New York Herald Tribune, for exactly 30 silverlings -- that is, $30, good dollars at that time. He gave away our story before it could fully happen.

I was told of this. I really went down on my knees before this boy. I told him that he was destroying the whole undertaking. This cannot be said so early. The government is taking a chance on us. The trade unions, for example, should not hear of it before it can be shown as operating, and as doing well. These men cannot be convinced by argument. They must be convinced by action. Now they are only concerned with displacing people out of work by any such enterprise. But we are not going to interfere with their prospects of work at all. The reproduction of this country's human resources has nothing to do with production. And I told him, "You may be sure that once they see how it works, they'll all be happy. Just give us time. Just give us room. This is not a question of argument. The Wright Brothers had to fly before everybody believed that they could. Before, everybody proved by argument that it couldn't be done."

But the boy, of course, did not listen. We had the backing of the president of the United States; we had the backing of the secretary of agriculture; we had the backing of the Cabinet. But Mr. -- well, I won't give his name now. He went ahead. He sold us down for his $30. And of course as a result, one member of the

Congress went and ruined us as being enemies of labor.

Four weeks later, our camp was closed, only because this one student had talked. He had divulged a secret. He had had the shamelessness of giving away something entrusted to him in this classroom.

What was the reason for my telling this story, which has -- well, I might say, ruined my life for 10 years? I have forgotten it now. I have no hard feelings, but I use it as a best example I have experienced myself to show you that anyone can ruin any teacher's life if he wants. That is, if he's shameless.

I have a friend whose life was ruined by a newspaperman in a foreign country, because he betrayed his name to the Nazis.

I warn you, don't think therefore that shame has to do with sex, especially. Only when we love--and then sex very often is involved--we need the mantle of shame around us. That's why in- -- by indirection, sex may come in.

However, you are the heirs of 400 years of so-called natural science. The essence of this treatment of the world as mere nature is that you deny the existence of any inside, of any lasting wall or partition between inward life and outward protection. When we say "nature," we always mean that there is a whole world lying before us as an object, visible from the outside. "Inward" is a term meaningless to the scientist. All he tries is to turn the inside out. Mathematicians therefore are very often fools about family relations, or about religion, or about politics, or about friendship. They don't understand that because we have allowed these mathematicians, these physicists to go ahead with their probe, and have asked them, "Watch; try; how far can you get by externalizing the whole world?" Well, they think that because we have allowed them to try this tack, that it is the only tack in existence, that everything is destined to be turned inside out.

But in any important relation in society, the slogan is: turn something outward, in. If you treat a woman just as an acquaintance, as nature, by psychology, or by anatomy, you treat her without embarrassment, shamelessly. You try to publicize her. But by that time, her affection for you will be dead.

There comes to mind now a unique story, which I was told in Europe. The story really has upset a part of educated Europe, I may say. Certainly of Germany. And it has, I'm afraid, in its center an American student. Gentlemen, the people who are not ashamed by establishment, so to speak, on principle--the doctors, that is--they were ashamed in Europe when this happened. They told me the story, I'm afraid to say, as a sign of the degeneracy of American youth. Let us hope that it was an exception.

A boy from this country studied in Heidelberg University, the most popular uni- -- European university as far as Americans go. Now there, I have a friend who is a good psychiatrist, a neurologist. and he happened to give a lecture to the public on the soul's life, or on the sacrifices needed, despite our mental capers or our bodily ills, so that the soul still wants to realize ourself in all the troubled sea of life.

This man spoke then of those things forbidden to mention in a classroom of a liberal arts college in this country, where you only have Great Issues, but no grave entrances. Everything has to come out, and nobody enters upon anything. It is your idolatry of nature that all may come forth into the outer world, and that no secrets must remain. Just an example, you have a s- -- most solemn ritual, and is -- may be introduced by the speaker with a joke. We never get into the solemnity of the ritual as we should, with trembling.

Well, this man in Heidelberg knew a little bit about the good life. And he talked about the things which make life worth living. The gist of his paper was that if man had nothing to sacrifice for, in secrecy and in freedom, without anybody being able to know even what he was doing, that this man will wither. He will fall sick. His exhibitionism will make him sick.

After the lecture, the American boy acted up in a strange way in the discussion. He made himself known by speaking very violently, by sneering at the doctor's thesis, by saying sacrifice was ridiculous, and certainly shame was the one thing we had to get rid of; it was damaging; it was a superstition. My doctor friend was puzzled. He didn't know why the -- American boy got so irritable, so violent, so argumentative. There was something behind this.

He didn't know, but he was told before the -- evening ended, by a German medical student. He came and said, "Professor, you certainly are surprised by the irritation of this American man. Why -- did he attack the kernel of your paper on the soul? I can tell you the reason. This man is sick. He's quite a conqueror of young women. But that is not the important part of his story, that he is being a kind of Don Giovanni. The real crux is one additional feature. He has done something terrible. They are all talking about it. Perhaps he should be committed to medical care. See, whenever he is making love to a girl, and he's just in the process of conquering her, of making her surrender, he excuses himself for a minute. Of course, she doesn't know what it means, since he returns very soon, and proceedings follow.

"After the exploit, he invites his friends to his room, and he regaled them with a gramophone record of the sighs, and cries, and shouts of this poor little girl, and this divulging of the secrets of the bedroom in terms of acoustics."

Well, to a person who goes to burlesque shows, this -- my whole story may seem unimportant. After all, our illustrated papers all are trying to break down your resistance against shame. They tickle us by saying, "Look; I'm shameless; hence you can afford to be it, too."

I personally have to say, "I'm not such a giant." Seems my friends -- most of my friends aren't such giants. And I really think this man overstepped the limits. Here is a man to whom a trusting woman opens her heart and more, and he goes and books it, in order to be coquettish and boastful about it. I think this is degradation. No Russian could do this. No German could do it. Perhaps a Frenchman? Well, I even think that a Frenchman may be very conscious of what he is experiencing, and what he is doing. But he's too -- as a rationalist, kneels too much before the miracle of being loved by someone. And he cannot treat the love donated and freely given as something to be shown to others, gratuitously. His own love, perhaps; not the love of the girl.

But here in this country, intellectual curiosity is recommended to us. It seems always to be the desirable thing. Certainly this man is allowed to visit in society. The German student even admitted they had tolerated him. He was an American; they didn't know what is right or wrong for this man. "Of course, the people," he said, "they blushed when they attended." But they did not have the boldness required to break with him.

Now there you have a case in point for the further explanation of what this creature, shame, is. You will begin to wonder why the modern naturalist should connect shame with guilt or sex, instead of linking it with health, and growth. Here you can learn how this came about. Who would have the guts to spit in this man's face, never greet him again? He does, after all, invite you to it, by allowing you to listen. He includes you into his own ex- -- attitude. You are associated with this kind of degeneracy. You either make him absolutely right by listening to his boast, or you declare: this man has to be assigned to the limbo, at best, of forgetfulness. And you yourself climb out of his cesspool of shamelessness.

You either provoke his leaving the living space of your presence, by your leaving his room, or you are included in his society, in his so-called living room. Can you say, "I shall never speak to this swine again"? I'm afraid we are too polite, as we call it. In other words, we are too weak. You don't know or you don't wish to know that the words "yes" or "no" are given us with the full power of declaring this man's behavior dead in our own life, or vice versa, by declaring our own former life killed and murdered, because we enter this man's life, which we do not like, and we d- -- die to our own power of generating ourselves, our own way of life.

And this indeed poses the famous question of guilt by association. We all shy away from it. Probably you will allow him to repeat the proceedings next time, even. We deliberately overlook that we are always doing the same thing when we take part in it as if we were doing it ourselves. If you allow this man to show you and to have the record played, you are proof of it. We can't deny this. Who would go out of the room or slap this man in the face and say, "Done with him"? At best we will laugh, a little peevishly, a little embarrassedly, to be sure. But still a little snicker, a little smile, or even a loud laugh must help us in this situation.

Perhaps you will add, "No, I could not do such a thing." But usually the result will be that we find ourselves too weak to break and to say openly, "This man is a devil." He will be allowed to form this strange, anti-group of shameless people only with the strange result mixed in, that you are ashamed within this shameless group. And much more so than you would between lovers inside a womb of friendship in a real, living cell. The devil is the man who does not know the distinction between out and in. To him, the living, trembling body and soul, who tries to become one with him, is just a dead object of intellectual curiosity. And I'm afraid that is the devil. The Heidelberg case is that of a man who tries to be within and without at the same time.

Mr. Candaules, the king of Lydia, was possessed by the devil. He too mistook the line that had to separate forever Candaules, the husband; and Gyges, his general. So Gyges had to become the husband. The man who scooped my story didn't wish to distinguish between teacher and student as coming first, as a relation of intimacy, and the relation of the Herald Tribune and its public as coming second. "Within" takes precedence over "without." If you pervert this order, Hell opens.

There is a great power given to every one of us. We determine in every encounter whether this has to be incorporated into something which we can label "we," "ours," "this is it," or which we wish to excommunicate, so to speak, and say, "This is nothing but," and thereby neutralizing it.

To speak means just one thing: to vivify or to vivisect. The experience of our power, that we can -- bring to life or condemn to death anybody with whom we get in contact is primordial experience in you and me. Later we put these experiences into space; we build then rooms around these experiences of intimacy. There we build homes, bedchambers, sanctuaries, schools--every time an experience is embodied. Here, between a teacher and a student; there, between one's god and oneself; there, between a leader who gets a monument so to -- for example, and the people he has led; and finally, for the married couple who have fallen in love together. But every time our heart has spoken first, and decided on

creation as against annihilation, those words, or those silences; those reports, or those absconding processes of our experience: they make our -- the selectivity which today has become rare. It is a power of distinguishing by which we can enter upon a union.

If husband and wife form one body, they certainly need an apartment. But wouldn't it be all wrong to say, "I have an apartment; therefore I can get married"? Certainly that's not a good reason. Very often today, however, the divorce originates in this simple fact that there is the opportunity outwardly to get together. And so they think they can do it. But of course, the end is a divorce. It is -- always the other way around. If you can get married, usually you will very soon have the power to afford an apartment. Because the spirit builds the body. We incarnate whenever we have decided that this is living creation. And therefore all the corpses of an outer world of so-called nature will come to our rescue. They'll have to serve. Material is there to serve living decisions.

He who says, "We are within, and this has to stay without," begins to live meaningfully. And many people today lead meaningless lives, because they have been told that everything outside and inside is on the same level of indifference.

Edna St. Vincent Millay, the great girl from Maine, has a terrible short story on the usual bride in New York--how she first buys her dowry, and then calls in her bridesmaids, and has her dress made, and finally tries to have the bridegroom come. Of course, the bridegroom of Edna's tale in the last minute calls off the whole wedding--by a cable from Paris. This woman had buil- -- tried to build her marriage from the outside in.

Indeed, when you inquired about shame, you made a startling discovery. People today are fulminating on many dangers that are threatening the United States. I don't believe in any one of them. Neither war, nor crises, nor Communism, nor revolution has any slightest prospect in this country. We have an -- immunity of unique scope against the attacks of all the things that beset other continents or countries. And our weak point is the inside of the small capillary group.

We may take the wedding trip to help us see the proper sequence of spirit and physical intimacy. Why do the people go away first, before they come home? So that it becomes quite obvious to everybody that they are united first, and then they enter their home. If you just have a big mansion to inherit, or a Cadillac in which you can put your girl and commit some acts of sex, with immunity or with impunity, that doesn't make you really belong. Therefore the wedding trip signifies the fact that you two people belong, even without any visible home, even without any visible architectural arrangement for keeping you together. The

same is true, of course, of your friend. A friend in need, a friend in agony is a better friend than a friend established because you meet at a party. As the peace of state, the calm -- the wedded calm of state, Shakespeare calls this strange fact that we don't go to war, despite all the factions and the party system here in the United States --. Think of our own country. Think of the peaceful decision in 1776 that a villager in New England, and a townsman in Boston from now on should have more to do with each other than the townsman had to do with the British crown, or the villager had to do with the British crown. Before, every inhabitant here in the colonies could appeal to Britain for all his rights, or all his grievances against any other man.

Now the Independence, of course, had to create a new inside, because it meant that although the people in Vermont hated the people in New Hampshire--and they had good reasons to hate them--and they hated the people in New York, still they decided finally to put up with these enmities without going before the king of England, or before Parliament in London. And you know, it actually happened, just like that. Norwich was separated from Hanover. From 1776 to 1791, it belonged to the independent state of Vermont, because there were two hates to be reconciled. The hatred against the British crown was only one of the hatreds of the settlers of Vermont. They hated Massachusetts, and they considered of -- joining Canada. The village in which I live, Norwich, voted in 1791 with the majority of votes to join Canada. Only the whole of the state carried the Union. We poor people, in Norwich, we were forced into the Union by majority vote of the state.

Well, what I'm trying to say, however, is more serious. We don't see our history when we talk of -- prosaically, taking a vote to become the 14th colony. No. The real story is always a story of love-making, of marriage, of great passion.

Since the people in Vermont felt that the people of New York--or at least the governor of New York--had cheated them, they had to choose between two wars. When they voted to enter the Union--listen well--they entered the Union. Modern semanticists never tire of poking fun at the poverty of language, which causes us to use a simile, as they say--like this one of "they entered the Union." They always think, the people in the language departments, that we, with our wonderful minds are much more intelligent, are much more superior than this poor tool of language. It's the other way around, you may be sure. The abstract thought would perhaps be expressed that I am now Number 14 among the colonies. I don't know what this would mean. But could you say more beautifully and more truthfully what happened in 1791 than to say, "Vermont entered the Union"? You really enter; that is, you get inside.

Never believe then that language is imperfect, and that you are perfect,

your mind, your great reason. It is always the other way around, because language becomes perfect. Whenever we have the courage to speak the real thing, then we do not use metaphor; we don't use simile. But we suddenly create bodies, physically touchable, sensible things, events, which we can then describe like this one, of "entering the Union."

Usually, the college student especially, and the academic, the educated man -- won't mention God, for example. That's too risky. Our forefathers proclaimed His glory. But we say, "I got it somehow," when the Puritan would have said, "I got it by God's providence." When you hear a man today say "somehow" or "anyway," you always know that he tries to avoid mentioning God.

So you too are ashamed--all modern men are ashamed--of proclaiming the most secret and most intimate union, which we should maintain with our maker. Whenever we speak fully and know that what our -- the spirit commands us to do, must incarnate in some visible form of intimacy, in a pair of lovers, in a pair of friends, in a group of states, then we will never be deserted by language. Language will always describe the new creation as being visible, as an inside against an outside, as a step forward against sliding backward.

Take the simple example which is used today by every man in the street. They say, "Europe is gone." But -- some still say, "England is a great country." Or others say, with Spengler, "Europe was a great civilization."

Well, in any such case, you decide between the past to which you condemn Europe, or between the future into which you still call your beloved England, "It's still a great country." If I'm looking forward to Europe, then I have to say, "It is a great civilization." If I have said good-bye to Europe, then I say, "She's finished." And then it has died in your heart. She is out of the sanctuary. She is thrown on the cemetery. And with this little wor- -- one word--"is" or "was"--our speech allows us to make the gravest decisions. To create an inside which still has a future, or to throw out into a past which remains outside of us.

If you say, "Europe is not a part of my future," you have not to be so explicit. It is enough to say, "Europe was {great}." With this simple sentence--and we can't avoid using such sentences all the time--we express our decision. We say in which universe we live. We distinguish between the living universe and the dead universe. "France is rotten"; well, then we have thrown France out of our future. Not completely, because something that is rotten may be still revived. But when we said, "Vermont entered the Union," or when we said, "For 15 years, she stayed outside," we decided where the inside was lying. Anybody who says, "Vermont entered the Union in 1791," repeats the act of founding the Union, together with Vermont. Think of the Confederacy. They said they could secede.

They were -- South Carolina declared that it stood for nullification. Therefore, the Union had to do something about it. It had to assert that they had to remain inside.

By saying then that Vermont has entered the Union in -- 1791, every child in school should create once more the unity of the 14 states. And it does. By repeating trustingly what the teacher tells him, this little boy in the grammar school does actually regenerate, restore the Union. And when this had been taught for 90 years, or for 80 years to the children in school in the United States, the Confederacy could be beaten. Because in the hearts of all these children who had gone to grammar school between 1783, let us say, and 1860, these words, spoken by themselves, simply as topics of learning, it seems, reverberated, and made them re-create the old Union, which they had carried in their memory and in their hearts.

This much we have to say in connection with shame about the power to speak when people speak, really. We impart life or we kill, when we open our mouth. Anybody who formulates a full sentence without quibbling, without saying, "anyway," or "I don't know," or "perhaps," or "a certain manner," or "It is probable," but who really says what he thinks, without tergiversation and subterfuge, we create times and spaces. We always define our inward and our outward, our future and our past. We cannot formulate one sentence of this mir- -- miraculous process of speaking without giving it a verbal tense, "is" or "was."

There's another criterion of every language which shows you this power of inside and out. Whenever you speak to you -- to me of you or of me, you are inside. Whenever you speak of "him," or "her," or "it," obviously she, or he, or it are left outside the intimate group.

When a person enters the room and she hears that you have talked of him or her as "he" or "she," she usually will blush, because her shame is violated. She was talked about, or talked of, and she doesn't know what people said, because she was treated as absent. Now that is a sacred rule of all good company, which is violated in the United States--as I have experienced--time and again, but which in a strange manner is more respected in England. In England it will never happen that a person that belongs inside, into society, is ever spoken of as really absent. She could enter, or he could enter the room any minute, because they treat this person as always with them, always inside.

I can only recommend to you a similar behavior. At any party -- take a cocktail party. Five people talking: John, Jack, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Anne. Well, you'd better use these names all the time in conversation. Never say -- must Jack and John say "she" of Anne. Because you must be prepared that she

comes over, offers you a sandwich; and at this very moment, she will not be embarrassed if you say, "Anne is just going to a party." But she must be embarrassed if you say, "She is going to a party," and she realizes that that is Anne of whom you are talking.

This impoliteness, however, prevails in our natural society very much, where everybody is treated as an objective figure in the zoo, or in the desert of nature. But this is a violation of hospitality. No host and hostess can afford to speak of a guest in the third person. To be a guest means to have the right to be addressed directly, and always to be considered a member of the party, a member of the family. And membership therefore is a life lived in the face and in the presence of others. And that is the difference between membership and statistics. The number 159,000, et cetera, citizen of Arkansas is not a member of Arkansas as long as he only carries this number. He is only member of Arkansas as long as the town clerk has to address him, "Mr. John Smith."

Now what is achieved by this shame of membership, of this -- by this belonging inside, by this protection -- common protection, mutual protection against any raid from the outside, hostile world? The achievement of membership is that we gain time, time to grow. Shame always gives us freedom to change under cover, because certain things to the world outside are now not known. We have time to improve on them, to change them. We can surprise the world. Because if the telescope of the world would be on all of us all the time, if we were watched every second, we rem- -- would remain paralyzed. Shame gives us the time to leave one way of life and go over to another. Or, put it differently: to distinguish what is final and what is just casual. If we had not this protection by shame, every act of ours would have the same relevance in the eyes of the world, and we could never say, "Oh, I didn't mean this, but this I mean."

Therefore all our power of relating things relevant, and cutting out things irrelevant, would cease to function. That is why the confessional of the Church is always absolutely sacred. No Catholic -- priest, even under death penalty--if he is a priest--will give away what he has been told in the confessional. Now we have no Church in Protestantism. We have only single, individual Protestants. And we have this on purpose, because we do not want to give the Protestant minister such power over the -- another soul. The result is that no Protestant minister ever omits of telling his wife. Therefore it is very dangerous to mistake the Protestant Church for the Catholic Church, and to go to confession, and to confess to a Protestant minister. He hasn't been trained to do this. The reason for the celibacy is just in this: that the Catholic priest has no wife who would have a right to know all his secrets.

Let me tell a funny story of my own family of law, of the great faculty of

law in Leipzig University to which I belonged, when I began to teach. At one time in my faculty, the dean had imposed strict secrecy on some news. I've forgotten what it was. I suppose somebody was going to be called from another place, something equally important. Certainly this is what occurred: three days after the meeting in the faculty, this secret meeting, this same dean was approached by the wife of a colleague from another faculty on this very matter.

He was furious. And he said, "Now we must find out who the culprit -- was. Who has given away this deep secret? I'm going to convene the faculty and we are going to expose the man who betrayed our confidence."

In his rage, he actually did convene the meeting and he said, "I demand from every member of this faculty to get up solemnly and to assure us that he hasn't told the story to anybody."

Well, a man at that time was the leading old emeritus who had a wife, Elizabeth, who ruled him with an iron rod. He came to the meeting, because in Europe the emeriti take part in all those meetings. And they also still give seminars and free lectures, and that is how old age is treated in Europe, to the distinction of this country.

This senior emeritus then stood up as the first, and he lifted his arm and he said, "I solemnly declare that I have not." And then he turned aside and said, "Or is it possible that Elizabeth should have told?"

You see, that finishes my story, if you understand it right. He felt that he had not given away the secret by telling his wife. The only problem on his mind was: had Elizabeth talked? Of course, that was too bad if she did -- had opened her mouth. But he would gladly have sworn, and forsworn himself, although he knew very well that he had told his wife, but that was inside. It couldn't get out of the family.

What we gain by shame then, is space, too, an inner space which we can use to discuss, to converse freely. And it has no consequence. It remains in the bosom of the family. So we gain time, and we gain space for irresponsible, playful, preliminary--shall we say--talk. "Preliminary" is a very fine word, because "limen" means the threshold. And when we talk preliminary things, then we have not gone over the threshold of our home, of our inner man, of the intimate unit out of which then later the decision goes forth. After the preliminary talks, the irresponsible ones have taken place.

If everything then at every corner was known immediately, where there would be no time, outer time would -- gallop away with us. And you know the great

poem in which the English lover tries to persuade his sweetheart "to gain time" with him. You can't get engaged, you can't single out what is serious and what is play in your own life if you have to register for every look at a girl, and they immediately say, "He seems to like her well."

I had a grea- -- a cousin, who in this way got stuck. He had danced too often with a girl. His father-in-law sent word to him that he expected him to marry his daughter. He was such a coward that he did. He was in politics and he feared that it might damage his political career if he didn't obey the orders of this rather influential merchant in town. Well, do you think they got married? I don't think so. It was just that the observations from the outside, you see, forced this man to make his decision.

It takes us four years in college, after all, before we make up our mind what to do later. And all the people who have already made their decisions are these shameless pre-meds, for example. They are not growing anymore. They have already -- done their deciding. Now of course, I'm poking fun at them, but one thing is sure: they are already professionals. They don't have this growing time, because they already can be spoken to as "pre-med." You, the -- majority of you, are nondescript. And this title, of being a student in Dartmouth, is your weapon of self-defense. You hold off the impinging curiosity of the outer world by telling them, "I have the right to wait with my decision. I am here for a godly four years in which to make up my mind."

When you enter the liberal arts college with the firm decision that you are to be a doctor, you really detract a little bit of the importance of the four years in college. That it is called a "liberal arts college" is a kind of fig leaf around the great fact that you and your parents think that you need four years which shall enable you to make the great decision of becoming a doctor. The man who enters this college with the firm decision that he will be a doctor simply puts the emphasis on his premedical training. And that is already something within the branch of the medical profession. It is already specialized. The other man says, "It takes me four years before I can make the grave decision on which part of the social process I shall embark. And shal- -- where is the point -- the growing point of society which today needs my support?"

And I think the -- as time goes on, more and more of you will have to discover that society at every age needs a new branch, and you will be -- have to be the people who branch out -- who are the first to make the decision that there must be such a new branch of professional activity. And it is this preparatory period which makes the college into much more than a liberal arts college. It is the reservoir of a whole society's future structure, future decision where the intimate membership shall be located from now on. As you see it now, people

going into physics, or go into psychology, or going into -- sociology, or going into business, and thereby actually deciding where the talents of society can be found in the future, in the first place. All this happens while you are 18 to 22. You may be lured into this by spectacular salaries, or you may be lured into this by a deep feeling of responsibility for the beauty of your bride, America.

Why has all this been unknown for nearly a whole century? Well, the era of natural science identified life -- your and my life with our conscious life. Consciousness, and to live at all, simply were identified. But we now know that the essential problem for man is: when is he willing to be recognized by others for what he -- wants to stand? While we are growing, we do not wish to be recognized. And therefore we are ashamed; we are bashful. And therefore we add to the definition of "man" given in the 19th century: "conscious animal," "intelligent animal," "rational animal," something very different. We are the being that has to wait until it may be recognized by others. We are the being, however, that one day will have to recognized by others. And all the meantime, we are ashamed.

A great English preacher, Frederick W. Robertson, in 1849 preached a remarkable sermon on the fact--and that is not a religious fact, really, but a general, sociological fact--that when a man dies, actually in 90 out of 100 cases, the man is quite well known to the people, to the mourners. At the end of life most of us stand revealed for what we have been. What we should take with us into the grave, and what should go on from there into the hearts of other men is deeply felt. And usually even in the hour of reflection at the burial, a minister or friend is perfectly able to state it in so many words.

Robertson was one of the few people who, already in his own days, was able to combat the Communist Manifesto. Together with Carlyle and Kingsley, he was one of the people to whom England owes the fact that it never fell for Communism a hundred years later. So he's a very great man.

And I think this is a very secular insight. Has nothing to do with any -- purely religious point of view, that actually at the hour of death, the scales fall off from the eyes of the neighbors, and the friends, even his enemies, then will know quite well whether this man has still something that should be saved, an inspiration that he has represented in his own days.

If you accept Frederick Robertson's great truth, that a man is known in his dying hour, usually, we also will have to state its corollary: no man must be known before his dying hour. If you know a man when he is 20, totally, he's dead. Usually he is a -- shameless. A man whom you can figure out already, whom you can predict, is dead. And he must, as long as he wants to -- live at all,

react violently against your prediction. That's why all the Gallup polls must miscarry. That's why the Jews, when people thought they were doctors or they were -- or they were -- bankers, had to go and become agriculturists. Every man who is still alive has to defy prediction, because otherwise he has no inner space for growth.

This is very serious, gentlemen, and again it is the opposite from what you are taught in your classes on self-knowledge. People may tell you today that selfknowledge is a good thing: "Study yourself." We'll see that the truth is very different. Today modern people are asked to use introspection, to analyze themselves, to know who they are. I'm against this. I think it's sicklish. We must not use self- -- self-knowledge or introspection at random. On the other hand, you may know that the same word, "Know yourself," in Greece was used in the opposite way, that it meant: "be humble. The gods are superior, you are just a human being." When at the Temple of Delphi, Apollo told his worshipers, "Know yourself," it meant "Be down in the dust, because you are mortal. You are transient. You are nobody."

The truth, I think, for you and me, in our era is different again, something third.

Allow me to use a very personal example. I decided--on February 1st, 1933, two days after Hitler had become the leader--that I would have to leave Germany and come to this country. I hadn't the faintest idea at that time that I -- personally would be in any danger, which I very well should have known, but I didn't. I thought, however, that I had to immigrate into America. I had nothing anymore to work for in Germany, because the profession--as I had understood professors and teaching--just had been abolished.

In other words, gentlemen, I had then to make the very grave decision that I no longer was a German. Such a terrible statement you can only make in the silence of your own heart. And for quite a while, I didn't want anybody else to know. However, I can prove my case in this -- thus far, that to an intimate friend, I did write my decision on February 1st, 1933: "I no longer can be a German. Not because I have changed, but because there is no longer any Germany."

Now this means that all of a sudden, I had reason to be ashamed of that of which I had been most proud. And it was this change of allegiance which allows you to study the degree of self-knowledge which is permissible in such serious matter. I no longer belonged intimately to something of which I had wanted to be the very innermost part, and kernel, and member. As an officer of the army for six years, as a professor and teacher, as a reformer, I had felt that my only

spiritual home was Germany. And all this now went out of the window.

The shame which I felt for my country was the death pang of the community in which--the communion, I should say--in which I had lived with this body politic, as its member. And you have here a new definition of shame. All shame that has to express itself by blushing is the death-pang, the pain of death of a communion threatened and imperiled. In yourself, this communion is dying when you are made Exhibit A, if you are, so to speak, denuded and divested of the veil that closes in on you and your intimate relation to this body.

This event in my life--I only wish you would never have to make it. So, although I had to come to know that I no longer was a German and that I now wanted to become an American, I cannot recommend such self-knowledge as something translatable and communicable to everybody else. I pray that you will never be faced by such a decision in this country.

However, to give you an American story. My friend {Musselmann}, a Mennonite minister from Pennsylvania, visited me in 1936. And he told me that he had just left his father on his deathbed, blessing him, and telling him this--the father speaking: "Dear {Heart}, we have come to this country 250 years ago, because we had decided that we were not going to bear arms in conscription. And so we left Europe.

"I'm going to die now, my dear son. But there is looming at our political horizon military conscription. Promise me that after I have died, you will keep our congregation fit enough to leave the United States again and to emigrate out of this world of conscription when it should prove necessary."

Now this story I have not invented, gentlemen. And it is the exact parallel to my story in this sense: that this Mr. {Musselmann}, after 250 years of a successful life in this country, still felt that these people had to dig in -- into their heart to decide at one time: could they still be American? This is important selfknowledge. And such self-knowledge, gentlemen, must be limited to the decisive moment. And the sooner you later forget such tragic decision, the better off you are.

There's a great novel in Switzerland. It's called {J�rg Genatsch}, and it's laid out in the Grisons, where the Engadine is, and Pontresina, and St. Moritz. You may have heard of these great resorts of -- for skiing and for mountain climbing. He -- made himself famous in the great wars between Protestants and Catholics, and the freedom of Switzerland was at stake. And he experienced a similar--or in the novel written on him--his friend, his comrade-in-arms, a great Huguenot from France, experienced a similar shock, a sudden self-knowledge,

unwanted, unlooked-for. This was the famous Duc de Rohan, the first writer on the raison d'etat in France. He was field marshall of the French troops, who were asked by Richelieu, the cardinal of France, to defend the independence of these Swiss against the Habsburgs, against the Austrians.

Well, to make a very, very long story--it is a -- quite a book, this novel--short, the Duc de Rohan felt that he had pledged his honor to {Genatsch}, not to sell out to the Spaniards, to defend them. But the king of France, for some reasons of the state--Rohan must have thought of the irony that just this raison d'etat happened to him in his own case so suddenly--he gave away -- France gave away this -- Grisons.

We have a simile in our own story of the last three years. France felt it would lead to a third world war if -- she went on defending the Grisons. And there now comes the great scene. When Rohan is met by a French messenger from the king, and is told to desert the Grisons, he says, "I am not going to do it."

The messenger repeats the orders of the king and he says, "These are the orders of the king."

Rohan says, "I can't be a traitor to my own word."

Now the nobleman who carried the letter cries out in anger and says, "This way, no Frenchmen is allowed to talk."

I quote: "Rohan made a motion towards his heart. He knew it for a long time. But nobody had dared to tell him that he had lost his country." End quote.

He had lost his inside -- inside which so far all his decisions had taken place, as a part of the French machine of army and politics. And here the soul of this man had outgrown this narrow vault, this narrow space of his allegiance. But nobody had dared to tell him so far. Genuine bashfulness had prevented himself from facing what had happened over the last years.

So he knew already in his heart of hearts that he couldn't fulfill this. And yet it is marked as a new event that this is recognized by somebody else, and that now he cannot contradict the messenger, because at this moment only does he state it himself in so many words, that it is better to be a traitor to France than a traitor to himself. He knew it for a long time. But nobody had dared to tell him that he had lost his fatherland.

I repeat: this test case brings out the fact that all the processes by which we are shy, or bashful, or ashamed, have to do with the timing of truth. When to

know something, when you realize that your original family is dead, and that in order to revive it you have to cleave to the wife of your choosing, then woe to the man who forces upon you too early this fact by saying, "Oh, take a mistress. Run away from home. Rebel." That can ruin you. It certainly sets a wrong light on your story, which is one of patient expectation.

When Rohan was told by this ambassador from the king that he had lost his country, then his heart breaks, because he is too old to form the new allegiance, as you can when your home breaks, and you can found by marriage a new home. He goes -- throws himself into battle in the novel, and he is killed, as -- and that's a true story, because he finds himself too old to be anything but a Frenchman. He just -- he's nobody then. Physically he is extinguished, but his soul is marching on.

You can see therefore that shame is still valid in such a case where there is no transition into a new outer life. But we know Rohan for what he's worth, despite the fact that there is no new allegiance which follows after his French one.

The great mystery is expressed in history, is expressed in marriage, is expressed in my story when -- in every immigrant's story, who comes to America: important thought has to be timed. The deepest things we know about ourselves are not known always. The questions which you discuss in bull sessions--whether there is a God or not--they are irrelevant questions or impossible questions. Any important question--whether you are able to stay an American, or a Christian, or a Roman Catholic, or whether you have to become a professor, or whether you have to remain a student--all these questions--whether I have, perhaps to leave Dartmouth--are questions of timing.

I have to say to you that a week ago a boy came to me and said, "I have to quit school so that this professor may be exposed. Because if I stay, and they patch up our conflicts, there will be no investigation. But if I go now, I certainly pay a heavy penalty, but something will be done about the course."

It was very painful, but the boy at least knew that he had to go out before people's eyes would be opened, because that is what shame does, as long as it functions. It keeps our eyes shut. Our eyes are held, the Bible says, as long as we feel that we are in a body politic, and wish to belong to it. Our eyes are opened only when the pain overcomes us, the shame, you see, that the communion is dead. Well, this boy knew that when we want to reform in an important way any form of group life, somebody has to jump the fence. Do not believe that in any government -- there is a case, there is not one man who must pay the penalty of leaving. You can't have the cake and eat it, too. And yet that's what people think:

that they can have reforms and improvements without any physical, vital investment of their own life.

Really, in practice most of you know all these things. What I'm trying to remind you is: your real life, as against the strange theories of self-knowledge which you have, that man should study his unimportant self, so to speak, his habits or his talents instead of his destiny. And this you can only come to know in certain moments of your life. Otherwise you psychologize, and throw your money out of the window by going to the analyst and making him very happy and yourself very unhappy. What is psychoanalysis, after all? It is the cul- -- cauterization of those shreds of shame which no longer hold together. When you are wounded, you have to go to the analyst. If you have enough shame, you don't have to go there, because you are growing. You are all right. But when already by some process, because your parents are divorced, or by some shamelessness in the family, or some break-up you are wounded, then it is perfectly all right that you -- have to get rid of the shreds of your garment of shame, which are still -- hanging around you, and which hurt. It -- the shame is no longer -- the mantle of shame, the veil of shame is no longer complete, so you -- waver between calling a spade a spade, so to speak. You don't dare to call your family relations "dated." You don't know if you have to stay on or not. And in this ambiguous situation, the analyst takes the scissors of analysis, and he cuts and cauterizes the remnants of this shame with regard, for example, to the family. And that is all he does. And that is all analysis can ever do. It can eliminate the painful shreds of the veil of shame -- just -- -ave you ha- -- as you have to cut a nail once it is broken. It's very painful, to have any small piece of nail not cut out, once it is torn.

In a healthy family, the shame, the fig leaf as we are -- used call it--withers in due time around every member of this family. Families are not corporations. That is one of the superstitions of modern psychology, or even of the family man. No families must wither away in due time. They are transient. Then they must be refounded. A girl must have the power to say to her parents one day, "I have to marry this man." She'll say it with a small voice. She is no longer afraid to say this now. But five years earlier, she wouldn't have -- not dared to think in these terms. She would not have told anybody that she was waiting for this man, but if the day comes when she can speak with conviction and convince the parents that they have to give in and they have to become the in-laws of this not-desired and unexpected son-in-law, the time has been spent reasonably well. This girl has learned in 20 years or in 18 years to speak with power.

This temporary mantle around the necessary decision for one member of the family to be emancipated in due time, this mantle of discretion is then falling to pieces at that right moment--usually without hurt--we are this strange animal. Man is so plastic, we are born in such a manner that we have to change during

our lifetime, and we found our special -- character during this lifetime on one word of decision.

Therefore we need around ourselves this play of time in order to find out when we, in our generation, have to become what we are meant to -- to be. This plasticity is given us because we have to change the world during our lifetime. We cannot leave the world as it was when we were born into it.

Now any marriage is a very clear example of this fact, that the whole human race is refounded. Again, this is today--under modern conditions of rationalism--forgotten. But when you pick your mate, you are not at all inside your country. You are founding potentially a new nation, because your family -- this new family will have to be able to transfer its allegiance to another country. The Bible is written to show us that all the relations are refounded in such a case of one new love. We are told there how new nations can be founded. The Pilgrim fathers always felt that they followed the -- example set in the Bible for Israel. The Jews--all of them--hail from Abraham and Sarah, just two people marrying. And what is the importance of this -- you may ask. Well, these people have filled the world. Everybody speaks for or against them. We all are their spiritual descendants, a pope has said. We may like this or not. These people knew what they were doing. They were founding a new way of life together. And for this, they had to forgo old, embarrassing shame. Their marriage meant the creation of a new inside. And we cannot change the world as we have to, unless we put into this world new partitions, new frontiers, new boundaries, new corporations, things that have not followed the same patterns and lines in the year of our birth. But from now on they shall.

The decisions we make in this respect have to be timed. So the self-knowledge of which we spoke is only important when it coincides with timing. This means of producing the change does not come to us at all times of our life, but it comes in one hour of decision. The girl knows when to tell her parents. At this moment, she has to be at the top of her powers.

Most people today think that every day must be like every other day. I'm afraid this is impossible. You have to have the exceptional days, when you know more about yourself, when you are not afraid to be confronted with your destiny. On the other hand, it would be terrible if you would hold this in front of you all the time: "This is me." When you tell your love story too early to anybody, or when you only tell it after you have failed, this knowledge of what you are planning to do or what you should have done is very useless. As we say, it is an afterthought. Or it is premature.

Students who talk too much about their sex experiences certainly are not

the best candidates for marriage. Your whole problem in love is timing. That is why all untimely love affairs are not very serious. You may have physical instincts, urges, drunkenness, debauch. But the only thing you want is that this may be then covered up, as they used to say, with the mantle of Christian love. It was untimely. Also you went while you were drunk, and saw perhaps a girl, you don't wish to be first now -- forced now to marry this girl. You didn't mean it.

I had such a case here in college some years ago. The boy was even on the verge of being separated from the college for it. He was a married man, and his wife had to live in Chicago. Here, the boy got drunk, and he brought a girl into his room. Well, you can imagine what effort it took us to get the authorities to condone. There was something to condone, to be sure. But it was obvious that the man was a very fine boy, and he was very passionate. And his passion had got the upper hand, sh- -- in a short circuit. His wife forgave him. Also, he was not separated, I am glad to say, from college. But the condition for this pardon obviously had been that not too many people were allowed to know of it. This separation would have been inexorable if people had known.

So the whole problem in this boy's case was how to keep it quiet, another aspect of shame or discretion. How to keep such a secret. Now I can talk about it, because the boy has left the school from -- several years. We saved his freedom.

And connected with freedom then, shame shows its importance. It is -- has two sides to it. When shame is respected by the world, we preserve our freedom. And inside, we must not wake up to what we have been done to our selfknowledge, except in the high moment, when we have to speak out. You mean by "freedom" very often something abstract, because it depen- -- you think it depends on your will. But our freedom is taken away from us by too much knowledge others have of us. If other people know too much of us, we give them power. When the government of Uncle Sam knows too much about our incomes, the income tax becomes very serious. It's a stepping stone to confiscation. Knowledge -- the simple knowledge that we have to lay before the government all our sources of revenue, changes the whole situation of an American citizen -- or has changed it, regardless of the percentage of income tax actually paid. I shall be glad to pay taxes. but it is a different matter that by opening up my books, I am also beginning to give somebody else power over my life, because once Uncle Sam knows you make -- how you make a living, he can begin to encroach upon your actions by which you make the living. This has nothing to do with financing the government. I'm not against the income tax, but I want you to understand that the simple knowledge of others of what you are doing, creates a change in power. A man who knows too much of your record, the things that you would like to keep out of the limelight, can gain power over you, and they can retard your freedom.

Therefore, when Jesus came into the world--to be more serious still, now in my example--He had to time His coming, or He would have been frustrated. The premature knowledge of Herod threatened His life right away. The knowledge of the crowds, and of the Pharisees, and of the high priests, that here was the man who made the time come true, which they had forgotten to expect, the time to come and take the Gospel out of Jerusalem, and out of the temple, and spread it all over the earth. Even a pious Jew today now says, "Jerusalem is everywhere on the earth," but he doesn't know that he can only say so now, after 1900 years of Christian mission. The knowledge of these enemies of His step would have prevented Jesus from performing what He did perform.

Let me explain this a little more. Let me speak, however, first, of a -- man who had no sense of timing. The contrast helps. This man grew up to the ripe old age of 95. We used to go for him -- to him, because he had the -- member of our faculty before. And we congratulated him nearly every year to some kind of anniversary. There was the 50 years of his doctor examination, the 50th of his full professorship, the 50th anniversary of his widowhood, et cetera. But the poor man had no life anymore, and when he welcomed us, giving us some cake and a glass of wine, he said to me several times, "Death has forgotten me."

He was a cold fish. His own son has told me so. And so he lived out of time, with death forgetting him. That's a grave punishment. Simply to exist is not a blessing. Most people today, however, think it is. They think it is better to live up to 95 than to die at 35. I don't think seriously that you can uphold that {Homer Lee}, who did die at 35, died with an unfulfilled life, and that this, my older colleague, was not plagued by a curse. It is a punishment to live too short; it is a punishment to live too long.

I know a very proud woman here in the neighborhood. The doctors had saved her, they said, for can- -- from cancer by operating on her at the time; she was 82 -- had lived a full life, and felt she should be allowed to go. She had been very beautiful. She had been -- every right to be proud of the achievement of her life. She was a great-grandmother. She expected the end. Her sister, her children expected the end. She should not have been forced to hang on, as they said, to allow these medical students to learn a little about cancer. Now in normal days, nobody would have operated on her, and she would have been -- gone in peace.

The other day I wrote her a poem to console her over this fact that she had lost control of the form and shape of her life, that she was there like a helpless bundle, without connection with the way of life she had managed to live before. And she told me that this poem had comforted her, because she at least knew that I did appreciate this terrible loss, this unnecessary loss of character which her -- life now underwent. It is not very much, but it is some comfort that you

know that somebody else assesses the loss which befalls you.

Shame and timing then go together, from the cradle to the grave. And you cannot understand the importance of it if you think that we can think important thought outside of time, if you think that we must have one, whole system that answers all the questions of life, from the book. We should think, because we -- are compelled in order to be free, and to have the necessary knowledge for taking the next step, for coming true, we must know the truth. When we are forced to change, in order to remain true -- to ourselves, then always self-knowledge comes to us. as in the case of the bride, as in the case of a man who resists a bribe, when you have to say to yourself, "It is time for me now to get married; I have to defy my parents. It is time for me to give up this idea that I must become a doctor; it was premature. Now I see that I should become somebody else," you free yourself from false pretenses and you are very lucky when you feel that this freedom is still yours, that you can throw down the chains of a too-early, or of a wrong, decision.

In this moment, you need the fullest amount of self-consciousness. There is nothing praiseworthy certainly in ignorance. But there is nothing praiseworthy in a knowledge for its own sake out of the hour of decision. It is equally stupid to say, "The bliss of sheep, or the bliss of wolf be with you." You have to be neither a wolf nor a sheep.

Things ought to be known when we are ready for them, and when they are ready for us. Nobody is always ready to read the Bible, for instance. I -- may open the New Testament today and may be absolutely stymied, because the day is not there to read it. But there are people who pretend that they can read the New Testament, or the Old Testament, or any holy text at all times, with the same full understanding. Mistrust these people. They're probably physicists. They can train themselves by learning the outer things about the Bible, in rereading them. But the decisive eye-opener usually comes to you when you have to read this book in order to be enlightened on a crisis in your own life.

We may therefore, and I do invite you to do this, grade--grade, I say--all knowledge according to the closeness to your -- our own lifetime, to our own decisions and importance. What the physicists tell you about yourself is of very slight importance. He tells you that you consist of atoms, or of electrons, or of -- whatever the fad of the day calls the latest unit.

Now what does it help you to know that you consist of billions of electrons? It doesn't help you at all. It is such an abstract vision of yourself that it doesn't make any difference. Therefore you can know this all the time. You can be examined on it.

This lowest kind of knowledge of yourself you have 24 hours a day. You can write it on a blackboard: "I am X electrons." But that's indifferent knowledge. It makes not the slightest difference. You don't recognize yourself in this description. You say, "It's true, probably true, I believe it." But this kind of belief is not a belief, because you can't stake your life on it. It's so far away. It is only important with regards to those things of which we know nothing but that they are electrons. You see, all the poor things that cannot speak to us, that we do not make love to, that are outside our real life, the things in a test tube, in an electric tube. Of course, they are described by these abstract terms, and you can know them all the time.

If you, as I have -- heard an historian explain, wish to explain history from the glands, then you could understand all history of the human race at all times, and put it in a system. But this isn't true. We all have the same glands, but we seem to use them for very different purposes. The heart of the matter, the center of the history of mankind, or the center of your own being we can only know at certain times. God we can only know in the very rarest moment, when He enters into us. Jesus declined.

And therefore, we come back now to the serious business of the discussion of the first full man. Jesus declined to call Himself the Messiah, or to be called the Messiah, in front of the crowds. He forbade it to His disciples. They did recognize Him to -- and they -- and they s- -- He said, "Be silent."

And only in the hour of His death did He allow Pontius Pilate to say, "But you are the Messiah."

And He said, "You said it." He didn't even then say it Himself at the last moment.

And that is on the highest level of human achievement, shame. If He had said it one hour earlier, if Jesus had said it for 30 years, we all would agree that He would have belonged to the lunatic asylum as a megalomaniac. The healthiest man of our race also had to show the health of bashfulness, shyness, and a lack of the constant mirror am- -- image held up to oneself: who am I?

This you must understand, for then you know the criterion between sanity and insanity. And don't make out Jesus as insane. Untimely self-knowledge usually condemns you to be a case of neurosis. The great truth of Jesus, that He was going to take Christianity out of the old Israel and to break down the partition between Jews and Greeks, and to create a new nation, a new, spiritual commonwealth, this He was not allowed to know one second too early. It unfolded during His whole lifetime, that this was to be. But He must not say it.

They must say it after He has gone.

Some critics have thought that was faulty, that was His limitation. It was His strength. We call this the Resurrection. If Jesus had said in His own lifetime who He was, the Jews would have dragged Him through the mire, as they tried to do it anyway, later. They would have made Him ridiculous. He would have been finished. Who He was could only be known afterwards. And therefore timing is the central element of the Gospel. And you find this clearly stated in St. Matthew, in the first book of the new Genesis, as it is called, the new creation. There our genealogy is given. Every 14 generations, Matthew says, there is a tremendous earthquake in the world of faith. And it has been this way even before Jesus has come.

So now perhaps you understand that the Gospel has very little to say about virtues or vices, and that this whole exaggerated emphasis of liberal theologians on the Sermon on the Mount doesn't touch the heart of the Gospel, because Jesus could excel certainly, and outdo rabbinical wisdom. Would this have made any difference, however, by itself? There can be still higher wisdom than He is saying in the Sermon of the Mount. Wisdom we can understand quite often. It's open. It's there. Not all the time is one able to understand the depth of the Sermon on the Mount. I grant you this. But very often we can follow the sublimity of the thought, and we can read an interpretation, and master it.

Therefore the Sermon on the Mount cannot be the heart of the matter for the simple reason that it -- the Gospel is meant to reveal the coming of the Lord. Now something that can be repeated in your or my life at random cannot be divine. The academic clan does not like this idea, that there could be anything higher to be said than what is known in a quiz or an hour exam, or in a final exam as the ethical code of the Sermon on the Mount. Without risk of life, without jettisoning your success and your career, they think you can know the Christian truth. And so the whole theology of the last 200 years has tried to discuss Jesus' teachings, and to compare it to other people's teaching. But that is not -- unimportant, as anybody may discover by opening his Bible. The men in the Bible found out God's timing. And He times very queer things. One time this is right, and one time something that just reads the opposite. Jesus had to walk like a tightrope walker between two dangers, between the too-late and the tooearly. Anybody today will admit I think that Abraham see -- knew the truth of the oneness of God for all men, already 2,000 years before Christ. Nobody else knew it perhaps so clearly, but their life's witness to the one God of all men had been quite efficient if it only came to an end before Christmas. And this end begot the Christ.

There was no king in Israel who was a Jew. The son of the last conqueror of Herod himself was an Edomite, from Esau, Jacob's brother. Therefore, that

which had encouraged the Jews to hold on faithfully to their task for all men, David's kingship, and David's temple, that had lapsed before Jesus was born. Ten years before Christ, the foreigner Herod had inaugurated David's temple anew. And when he died, this usurper, in 4 B.C., he was followed by his equally foreign sons. And this was the first moment at which it became inevitable that God's offer to men had to be transformed into the seat of a new Israel. Because if nothing now happened, there would have been voided the whole tradition, beginning with Abraham, with Moses, David, Solomon--all together--because now the prophecy that there would always be truly a Davidic king or priesthood left in Israel, had gone out of existence.

Perhaps you allow me to go on with this for one little more mo- -- time. Because in your personal life, you would grasp the necessity of Jesus' date, of His timing more simply. When you come to the end of a chapter in your life, you'll always give it one more final try, and only then give up when you have tested it. This testing, however, seems to be not understood when you read now the Gospel.

Take an historical example of a similar type. The French, as you know, in the 18th century, obeyed Louis XV, despite all his mistresses, and despite all his abuses. But when his very decent son, Louis XVI, proved equally hopeless and helpless, then they made the revolution. As long as the cruel, great Herod himself ruled, Israel held his breath. There was a chance that the successor would break away from this foreign tradition. But his death in 4 B.C. opened the inheritance. Finality came with the wrong successors in that year.

Now royalty definitely was no longer the Davidic royalty. It was a mere fiction. And there was now the demand for a new, genuine king. He must come now, and Jesus came. Otherwise then, Jesus would have come too late. The Gospel stresses the date of the Messiah's coming, very consciously. He came when no loyalty any longer was owed in Israel to any other man. On the other hand, Jesus was not given to us a bit too early. Because as you may know, the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. So you get 74 years from the death of Harod -- Herod--4 B.C.--to the destruction of the temple. In between, it had all to happen, because in the year 70, the physical vis- -- vessel of the revelation of Israel vanished from the surface of the earth.

To this day, the Jews do not admit this destruction as final, as you know. The Wall of Wailing is even standing today, in the midst of the new state of Zionism in Jerusalem. And still there are orthodox Jews who wail because of the fall of the city, because they emphasize by their wailing that if the temple has fallen forever, then indeed the Revelation has to take a new shape.

Therefore this doesn't im- -- can impress you as a great, miraculous feat, that the important part of the Gospel is its being embedded between 4 B.C. and 70 A.D. The significance of this embedding lies in its being between a finality of the old law and the physical destruction that followed. Into this gap, Jesus and the Apostles stepped. They squeezed themselves into these 74 years, and Jesus constitutes in this time process the first half of the new life, and the Apostles constitute the second half. Together, these two generations form one man. This new, transferable man who can live from 4 years after Herod to four years before the fall of the temple, because Paul and Peter in Rome were probably executed in 65 or 66 of our era. Now by living as one body, or as one man in two generations, they took the whole Church, the whole Israel to every corner of the globe.

Well, of this I have now not to speak any more. But you may now begin to understand why the Church has always been called the "apostolic church," because the Apostles form the second half of the life of the man Jesus, because when the temple fell, there had to be prepared a unity inside which the new faith, the love, and the hope already had been sunk. And now it could be witnessed. And so this story of the first two generations of Christianity will never be understood, as long as you look in- -- to the Bible for moral precepts, for doctrine. You must look not for philosophy. It is a -- Christianity is the very opposite of the philosophy of life because it's only connected with timing. It is constituted as a womb of the times. Our Lord is the lord of all the eras, where all newborn eons can spring up in reverence. What do we care for the denominations? All this is very minor compared to the one great fact that there entered the world at the decisive hour in freedom and reverence, in bashfulness and in independence, this what makes all the difference in the world. Because if nothing new had entered there into this gap, the great tradition which now everybody receives into his own life, that mankind is under one God, would have never reached you or me.

When to take the truth out of Israel and bring it as a light into the whole of the world: that was a question of great discretion and shame. There have been -- had been people, they tried it too early. They weren't patient enough. And they tried to do it superficially, just by translating the Bible, for example, into Greek. Obviously there are people who think today it is too early. Some novel writers I have read on this. And think of all the orthodox Jews who say that they still wait for the coming of the Messiah.

But to be more direct and close to our own day: why do we have so many anti-Christs? Anti-Christianity too is en vogue. Plays on the anti-Christ abound. Judas Iscariot is hailed. Anti-Christ--Nietzsche was the anti-Christ. The liberals believe in philosophy, and so they say, "Well, what is an anti-Christ? An antiChrist is a man who is as good as Christ in our own day." Why shouldn't they

come now, the anti-Christs? And they abound today. Because they have denied that Christ's members we become only by seeing that He taught us not doctrine, not wisdom, but timing. And that He started a time process by proving to every one of us when to make the decision, when to become conscious: on His deathbed. In the last minute, He was allowed to say, "You said it." And ever since, everybody else has learned to say it with a louder and louder voice. Had He said it Himself before, nobody today would mention Him.

The new anti-Christs are, so to speak, the me-too people who, looking at His feature and feet would like to be as much, as powerful, as important as He. And to them, Christ becomes a psychopathic -- He's a visionist. Hence, they have to assume that Jesus was obsessed with the Messiah complex. The tenses of the unfolding of any truth, its phases, are obliterated. The whole story of biblical criticism seems to me to be tainted by this mania of tearing of veils. The Gospel, however, as a veil of the temple come off on Good Friday, as it -- only now that men come to know in the Crucifixion what has been done by them, what has been suffered for them, and what is imparted to them. When the old term "revelation," however, 200 years ago, was left standing without its counterpart, the veil, it became a mere relic. Who thinks of Revelation today as a necessary element of great truth? The Enlightenment, by tearing off all the veils, has voided all revelations. A shameless universe has no use for veils, as it is neither out to gain time, nor to grow up, nor to come free, nor to change its future directions, nor to time.

Hence, in this period of the card index today, shame is listed solely as related to either sex or guilt. Yet one hopeful sign remains alive. Let me mention it to you.

There is today still among us a wonderful 18th century ingenue, a robust scion of the obsolete -- allegedly obsolete nobility of England. And he has, specially I -- it seems to me -- preserving the old tradition of the veil around growth. In his 80th year, Winston Churchill still has kept the sense of wonder over the unfolding of -- history. "Unfolding" is the pet word of this rather primitive man in all his books. Now to look at an unfolding truth means to know how to time. He who respects unfolding expects shame. Churchill's revelatory instinct, I would like to call it, has stayed the West. It has kept this West sturdy and sound. In this bold statesman, Winston Churchill, churchmen, educators, poets, and all the artists of matchmaking--that is, our young women--may pick their best godfather for bringing up God's creature, shame, in all its glory. We today have no time, no future, no direction, no growth, and no freedom, thanks to the praise of shamelessness and the pooh-poohing of shame. But where men try to find the right moment between too early and too late, they are under the protection of this great creature of which Winston Churchill, so to speak, is the living prophet.

The good news can come too early and too late. But it cannot be told all the time to everybody. It has a definite date, or day. Easter, it began its public career. If you would consider for one moment what is the most general impact of Christianity on the human race, it would not be baptism. It would not be -- it would not be the "Our Father in Heaven." It would not be the Creed. It would not be the visible Church. But it would be the era. It would be the fact that everybody in the world today counts the years after the coming of Christ into the world, because by this fact we are all bowing to the great truth that the important things in life have only one moment in which they really can happen. And the Christian era, therefore, is connected with His coming in order to make this very plain, that Jesus couldn't tell the masses of the Jews. They would have squandered His revelation. He had to put the seed into the ground that had a fence around it, the 12 Apostles, the disciples. And only later, when they had even died, could it burst forth and be revealed and made open. And He had to go away before anybody could understand and not trample it down.

After all, all people, when considered outside the timing secret, very much live alike. We all have to eat, we have to breathe, we have to digest, we have to make love, we have to make a living. The only privilege you have is when you do these things. The fast in the Church is an attempt to inculcate into your consciousness the fact that the timing, even of -- when you wish to take food, is yours, and that it makes a difference. If you have to eat, or if you can forgo eating at times, that doesn't alter the fact that you have to eat. And yet, what importance is in the fact that you can forgo a good meal, that you are not dependent on it? You can time. And self-knowledge is the highest kind of knowledge, because it is filled with the greatest risk of ruining us by -- too early or too late. It can destroy the growth, and the rhythm, and the meaning of your life. This is called "vital knowledge." But usually people today speak of "vital knowledge" without including the risk of deadly knowledge. But life is always in the neighborhood of death. And therefore it is so important that you should get accustomed of grading knowledge in this manner.

The last vital knowledge can be known all the time. The most vital knowledge can be known only at one moment. All other knowledge has to be put between these two extremes. If you like, put it on a blackboard. and then you will see that mathematics and physics will give you the most indifferent and most universal knowledge. It's independent of any moment in time that 2 and 2 are said to be 4. But that you must go and do this, you can only know at one moment. And at this moment, you also know who you are.

And now comes something most people never consider: great truth also must be forgotten again, because it is so true that timing allows us to know great truth, that obviously later on, it isn't wise to remember it, when we are back

again in the slime and in the -- mud of everyday living.

I'll tell you a story on this. A little girl, in fact my s- -- own sister-in-law, was a very beautiful child. And at one time, the teacher in school was angered by her vitality and her cheerfulness. And so he said to her, "You will have to write 20 times, as a punishment, 'I am a goose.' Repeat! What do you have to do?"

She got up and said cheerfully, in front of the whole class, "I am a good gift of God, and nobody shall abuse it."

She timed her insight right and in this presence of mind and self-defense, she was allowed to say with great punch that she was a good gift of God. And she certainly is to this day a very wonderful grandmother, a person who has helped other people to an incredible degree of keeping their own sanity and has restored many people to health. But obviously, this one brilliant utterance of the 14-year-old child, she had to forget. We have remembered this story, and we recall it. But when I tried to bring it up the other day, she obviously didn't know any more what she had said. Such a great expression at the height of a critical moment is not there to be preserved. Do you think that she could have gone -- run around for the next 40 years of her life saying every morning, "I am a good gift of God"? She could not.

Ironically, you can say such a thing. They tell the story of a professor who went on an expedition in Asia, and he had to get up every morning at 4 o'clock. And he used to say, "Oh, my dear, dear God. Why did you create Professor {Euthing} as such a lazy fellow?"

Now this self-knowledge, that he didn't want to get up, is perfectly -- you see, with- -- imperil- -- is not perilous. You can say such a funny thing. But you can't say in seriousness that you are the Messiah. And you can't say in seriousness every minute that you are a good creature of God, although you are. But this self-consciousness has to go from you in order to protect your growing soul.

This is the difference between serious religion and all the quacks in religion, for example, out in Los Angeles, where they love the Amy MacPhersons, who once told a friend of mine that she was able to convert 4,000 people a week. Well, any person who can say that she is sure that she converts 4,000 people a week is so shameless and so impudent, and her self-knowledge is so ridiculous that the conversion doesn't amount to anything.

In this sense then, such a sect, where the leaders think that they have a definite, secure relation to God Almighty 24 hours a day are perfectly uninteresting to the rest of the world. They are just funny. Anybody who is without shame in

matters of supreme importance has no power in history. He cannot achieve anything. He can destroy. But these people are all counted out who know too early, or who know too late, or want to know forever.

I found in an Augustinian sermon the outcry: {Erubesce, erubesce haereticae}." Blush, blush, you sectarian. Because Augustine was still absolutely filled with the mantle idea, with the idea that the Church was a dress, garment, containing the union of the children of man. So any sectarian who wanted to dispose of one sentence of the Creed, of one power of our faith all the time, so to speak, say, "We must always love our neighbor," or "We must always fear the wrath of God," or "We must do anything, always," all such people are sectarians, because they carry a part of the living truth which comes in its good time, and say, "This is it." And they handle it after that as a dogmatic, as a mathematical truth. And therefore St. Augustine cried out, "Blush, blush." And he's despondent because they don't seem to feel the necessary shame.

And here again, you see the connection between shame, self-knowledge, and the grading of our insights.

We are compelled and we are entitled to know, in alternation. Let us then take up this gradation of our knowledge seriously. If you can leave this college with this knowledge: when you are allowed to know of God's presence--the rare moments, when you are allowed to know of your humanity, and when you are allowed of your sociological conditioning, of your sciologi- -- psychological reactions, and of your chemical or biological tests, then you have already learned a lot. But you must reverse the gradation of knowledge. The natural knowledge of yourself is the cheapest, because -- the most general knowledge. The knowledge of your place, your role, your decision in the history of the human race is the most important, the rarest, the most risky knowledge. It's just the other way around as people try to teach you.

The real question of sociology is not how many people buy Cadillacs and how pe- -- many people buy Fords. The real question of sociology, for example, would be: how long do I belong to my own society? Sociology, after all, has to do with the membership in groups. Why don't they ask this question: how long can a decent person say that he is able, as a living, growing creature to belong to any one group? Am I still able to remain an American? Do I have to defy this country and say that I am more than an American, that I am a human being?

I told you already that I hope you will not be faced by this issue, you -- may -- may be spared. But all the people in Europe have been visited by this very question. There is no Chinaman who didn't have to decide whether he still was a Chinaman, because is Communist China the same?

I got a {New Year} congratulation 20 years ago from a China -- Chinese gentleman. He had painted it himself. He had written it himself--as you know, they treat writing as an art. And it had this one burden that returned throughout the poem. "There is not even a chance for tears; there is not even a chance for tears. The China of the 4,000 years is gone."

This means that this man said that 600 million Chinese, you see, had lost their belonging, that they had now the right not only, but were under the compulsion to find a new allegiance. Ask my dear friend, the professor of Chinese in this college, how it feels to come to a country in which he never will be fully recognized as an American, and his children will not. And yet he has to love this country, and he does. And he does more for this country than many people who are -- allegedly came over with the Mayflower. And these, my friends, are wonderful people. And you laugh off this great problem of his selfknowledge, that one day he had to say to himself, "I no longer am a Chinese."

But there you see that the real sociology of the human society is not a question of questionnaires. Because a questionnaire is something you can ask a person anytime. And a real question is a question which you cannot dare to ask this man, arbitrarily. Only in a grave and friendly intimacy can you speak to him about this permanent pain, this tremendous change in his lifetime.

The same is true of the family. I have attended a class on family relations in which the rule was laid down that nobody was allowed to bring in any one experience about his own family, in order to keep the -- the treatment on an objective level. This man, of course, graded his sociology down. He limited it to a natural science of unimportant facts outside of the time element. And so physics, anatomy, chemistry, physiology, psychology, sociology, politics, and divinity are graded by the amount of availability. The av- -- truth is not available in the same manner in all these fields. And the importance decreases when the availability increases.

I think I already told you the story of the chaplain and his group on religion, where he said he now had a hundred students every Sunday evening for a discussion of religion, and before, he had only 20. And wasn't this showing an increasing interest in religion? So we asked him, "Did the hundred people know more about religion than the 20?"

And he said, "No, of course not."

Now I do not think that hundred people, talking in an unimportant and inexperienced manner of religion are anything more valuable than 20 people who know nothing about the same subject. Hundred times zero is still zero.

A detective story--and all the things that, so to speak, imitate the Bible, or the history books, or the biographies of great men--these detective stories are available all the time. But they reduce life then to mathematics, to a kind of riddle with A, B, C, and X. And if you have X on one side, and the known factors on the other, you can solve the riddle of the detective story. But it is a reduction of reality to mere mathematics, and that's why I cannot read detective stories. And I am told that most people cannot read any detective story more than once, because once they know the answer, it is uninteresting. Now any good book, you can read any amount of time.

Now you may ask me: that's rather discomforting. We are here in college wasting our time. And we aren't faced with any great decision. We, after all, are before these great decisions. So how do we fill our time?

Well, the wisdom of such a -- educational process as a liberal arts college is quite profound. You cannot know how you will act in the end. One boy said to me, "Never shall I be despondent. Suicide is out of the question." Well, this boy of course is a fool. He will be the first to be despondent 10 years from now. Never say "never" about anything in your own life. We don't know ourselves. But something we can know -- once you throw out the notion that you read literature for entertainment. Great literature, gentlemen, is not like the detective story. And here is the last comfort I want to leave with you. If this grading of knowledge is true, we have to wait for much self- -- of self-knowledge. We are only free to wait in shame, in discretion; but you can fill this preparation, this preliminary chapter of your life by reading and participating in great literature.

This is not a luxury. This is not a detective story to be bought on the spot. But that is a preparation for the magnitude of your own decision. Every piece of literature which is worth reading enhances the -- your generosity, your plasticity, your flexibility. It makes you bigger than you have been before.

Read Othello for entertainment, and it is nothing. But Othello makes you in fact see how black your heart is, and any heart is. His skin is black, but your heart is black, because you all are jealous. And jealousy seems to be the one disease in America in which -- specially the women-folks indulge as though it was not perhaps criminal or a sin. They all say, "To be jealous is a privilege." Read Othello. Then you will have -- be prepared for treating jealousy without a dagger at the right moment. You will be able to rise above jealousy as every one of us has, not only his marital relations, but in his relations of friendship, in his relations in politics. Jealousy is -- has to be put into its place.

So when you read Othello, you are by poetry prepared to meet this truth outside your own lifetime. The miracle of poetry is that it is encountering you,

and you are encountering it outside real time. And therefore it is not destructive to your self-knowledge. When you read poetry, it doesn't come too early in your own life, because it doesn't enter your real life. It remains fantasy.

Poetry therefore is protecting you against the shamelessness of your own soul, because although the whole issue is there, right before you, it is in the disguise of another man's or another woman's life. It is your own life in anticipation, transparent, but transposed under the name of Othello, or Hamlet, or Macbeth. And that is why this play doesn't hurt your freedom of decision. And that must be the deepest reason why Shakespeare has introduced now--well, 16 generations of people, or 15 generations of people--to their own lives in an era in which science destroyed the notion of man for the rarity of self-knowledge, for this momentous fact that we know only in rare moments what we have to know about ourselves. You store up powers of discretion and of decision by reading poetry. Poetry has always to deal with your future. And I'm already able to know what I positively cannot know about myself, in this very strange garment woven as a dream about the future. If you wanted to know the same truth, which the poet offers you, in the form of an ethical code, in the form of a lecture on morality, without this poetic veil, you would become a solemn ass.

It is asinine to study a course of ethics in advance. No situation which you will have to meet will ever have anything to do with all the abstract notions, and sentences, and phrases, which you have picked up in the process of learning about yourself, directly. But it is very different when you have read Goethe's Werther, or Moby-Dick or Pierre, and then become despondent. Your despondency will be illuminated. You can strengthen and fortify your heart in this simile.

And therefore, gentlemen, poetry is the voluntary veil around the future. And in this, it equals your dress, it equals the discussion, and the shamefulness and bashfulness of your -- in your -- inside your own group and its intimacy with regard to that which is still to come, which is anticipated and which as yet has not found any expression by the social setup of a home, or of a friendship, or of a roommate, or any such privacy.

Poetry then is the ritual which corresponds to the wedding gown of the bride. Ritual is inherited form, but poetry is the invention of your own free future. And therefore you need it. And the good a college can do for you is to make you not appreciate art--that would still leave this art outside of your own way of life--but to bring this art in such a place in your life that its stars enlighten the night of your heart at a decisive moment. All art invents your own future possibilities. And what has been poetry 500 years ago usually becomes reality 500 years later. The wedding gown and the bridal veil around your shameful soul's most secret growth, that is poetry. And this perhaps solves our whole course,

which we have taken here, into some understandable solution. We will have to walk in frankness, thanks to poetry, but not in nakedness.