Richard Feringer's Notes on Rosenstock-Huessy's Works

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


Lecture – 1

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

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

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

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

4.Finally he states:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Lecture – 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lecture – 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Lecture 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lecture 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Lecture – 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lecture – 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Lecture – 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lecture – 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lecture 10

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

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

3.Leadership and management:

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

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

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


Lecture – 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Lecture – 12

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

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

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

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


Lecture 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lecture – 14

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

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

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

In other words, one who is not pigeon-holed into one role only.   To be only an athlete, or only a general, or only a husband, is not to be a whole person.  A person is one who, at the proper time, can take on the necessary role for the occasion, one who knows when to stop being one and to be another.

Furthermore, a person is not just born, but must become.  This is consistent with ERH’s idea of soul.  One grows by solving these problems.

When this lesson is not learned, we become schizophrenic, multiple personalities unable to find a unity.  The best evidence, beyond the roll-call in mental hospitals, is that we are so gregarious we cannot stand to be alone. p.3/14  A whole person is also one who can stand to be alone for an hour. (p.3)

3.Becoming a person takes attachment, a membership in a family. It means involvement, and being hurt. To be hurt means one has a soul.  Mind and soul are different, but often in this country mistaken for the same.

4.Mind, body, soul, and role.  Psychology is the science of the mental processes, of the mind.  It has nothing to do with the soul. “Now the soul is the power to change our role, our body, and our mind….It certainly has the power to overcome any one mentality, any one physical state, and any one social role–cultural role.” (p.7)

5.Shame is related to the idea of soul.  It is the ability to change at the right time, and it is the waiting after one knows that one is changed. In his example he cites the psychologist who is disenchanted with his field of study and decides to quit.

                   “The soul, you see, says inside the psychologist, `Well, today I say carry on.  I won’t tell my students.  And tomorrow, I’ll still carry on.  But the day after tomorrow, I shall write a letter to the administration and say, I resign.’  He can’t write this letter too early.  Or he’s licked.  So, during the waiting period he is ashamed.” (p.8)

6.The whole meaning of the soul, the problem it solves so to speak, is that is allows us to change and still be the same person.

                   “Your part in the divine life is the soul, because it can dismiss the  visible states of your existence in a material world…

                   … how can a man change without going insane?  Obviously, the brain can replaced by another brain, by another instruction. Yet you are the same person…you are more of a person, because you have been able to change your mind. (pp.10,11)

7.The soul and memory. Decisions the soul makes are what to remember and  what to dismiss.  One cannot have an open mind about any issue indefinitely; there comes a time to take a stand.

                   “Memory for the mind is not a savings box, but a promise.  The everything we shall remember is  meant to promise us someday in which this memory will come to life again and serve us well. …Nobody can remember history who thinks that history is the past…you think you can reach the future without loving the past.  …I copulate the future with all the unfulfilled promises and prophecies of the past.  And so I know every date.”  (p.11)

8.The soul does not function “with a mind” —“The soul only rings the bell and says, `This mentality is worn out.’  The soul is a conscience  providing unity against the divided logic of the mind, a division that causes schizophrenia, mental illness.  It is this unity that allows the growth of the personality.  Otherwise one drifts through life with no direction, no identity.

9.Compromise does not mean one loses one’s soul.  One must, of course, seek agreement, but if the agreement is not quite right, one must continue to fight.  Compromise is then only a step along the path.  For instance, corruption in government must always be fought. SUFFERING IS ALWAYS PART OF THE CREATION OF A SOUL. To care creates suffering, inevitably.

10.The soul is necessary because it furnishes the only route to rising above one’s heredity, or environment, or role. It enables us to re-create the unity of man despite all the differences of mind, body and society, or government.

11.The administrator tends not to have a soul, a soul that represents ability to change, that represents creativity. The administrator manages only what is known, for yesterday.  The true artist is a visionary,  creating something from nothing, “like God”.  Referring to Shakespeare, – “Everybody could have had these words at his disposal, as you know.  But nobody did anything with them.” ( p.20)  One assumes that an administrator could be creative, but many modern authors make a distinction between “management” and “leadership’.   The point is that, vitality requires change and  change requires the strength of a soul, suffering.

12.ERH describes his view of Christianity, that God created the universe with the power of the word, by naming events. Moses created Israelites, thereby he “experienced” the power of the word,  of creating.  We are brought into our existence by being named; any product or other material is created likewise.  That is, it is identified and can thus enter our consciousness. Americans identify themselves by of accepting the power of the Declaration of Independence and of the Constitution.  That is what makes us Americans!

13.He makes the distinction between the individual and the person.  The individual is an unformed being, while the “person” is the one who has faced the serious problems of life,  made decisions,  suffered, in short who has a soul.  One with a soul makes decisions, as knowing when to go from play to serious things, from peace to war, from war to peace, play to work.  We can’t make decisions if we wish to avoid suffering.

14.The family (however one must define it) is the time and space during which we are to develop into a person (soul), where we should learn  to change mind, body and role. The four points of the cross of reality, –  soul, mind, body, role – are (can only be) forged here.

                   “The central role of the family in developing a person. Role of the mother stands for dignity in the family,.  “She is the ritualist.  She says how to celebrate Christmas…. The father stands for energy, physical “wherewithal”, the breadwinner…The daughter represents, more than any other members, the soul.  “The great symbol of change of mind, body and role..which a girl has to undergo when she marries.  To become a nun is the same.  The virginity of the bride is in her power to dismiss the gods of her family and become her husband’s alter ego.  Nor should she surrender her bodily integrity to any “wanton demand, because the future of the human race is at stake through her…The son represents the mind, the student,  — the problem with chastity is the same with boy and girl, he must not sell his “mind”, his serious thought; rather he must maintain it until he is convinced that he should change.  One doesn’t “play” with ideas in the sense of not taking them seriously.  It is quite acceptable to test certain hypotheses, then accept or reject, but not to play for the sake of playing. ” (p.24)

Obviously, he does not intend these roles to be exclusive; rather they represent the central tendency, the “symbolic” major divisions of labor,  all of which are present in the other members of the family.

Lecture 15

1.ERH continues the theme that a person is defined, in part by the groups to which he belongs (i.e. family, work, organization), and partly as himself, of course repeating the “multiformity” theme.  Here he expounds on the family.

Thinking, feeling and willing involve thought, but none of these change the world.  The only thing that changes the world is love,  because it happens “beyond our will,” as does hate also.

The issue here is growth and how it is to be evaluated. We change by revolting, but when the decision has become a public dedication, when the revolutionary act is done, then must come evolution the living with the consequences of the revolt. That is how we grow.

2.To live by passion  is to leave the world a different place from the one we found. To marry, to defend an idea, to change from a boy or girl to a man or woman, requires the setting up of new standards of behavior. One must change  from mere “human being”, homo sapiens,  to a person with a soul.  This is an enormously subtle and difficult accomplishment requiring considerable inner strength.

3.Physiological growth,  automatic life processes like getting older are not what we are addressing here, of course.  Biography is representative of one’s conscious decisions, one’s history.  He cites Carl Schurz, who at age 23 rescued his teacher Gottfried Kinkel from prison and brought him to England  in 1850  “Such a man leaves his name behind himself, as Lincoln, then he belongs to the ages.” (p.6)

4.To leave home to change, (by implication), one must become detached:

                   “… to get detached from your home, from your prejudices, from your routines, from all your stupidity, from your boredom, BUT WOE TO YOU IF DON’T LEARN HOW TO ATTACH YOURSELF.”   (p.7)

One cannot just drop out. One must, in the process of change ,reattach one’s self to some new cause or some new person,  such as a wife or friend or group.

5.A major condition of growth is that one must be protected and one must not see all obstacles to growth.  One needs both these projections, againstknowing too much and the seeing all obstacles (so that they are not a nervous wreck from worry)   Childhood, studenthood,  new businesses or programs, all need protection. Change is a fragile transformation; one therefore needs protection until the transformation sets. (p.10-11)

6.To grow  requires shame.  Shame is the protective cover for a decision within yourself that is not yet ripe for revealing to the world,  like leaves around a bud or like innocence that must be protected. The hoary head is the protector. Detachment is second rate to attachment.  Our lives are a constant evolution of detachment and attachment.  A hoary head is a person who can love “…even there where he isn’t loved.  And a child is a person which is loved, although it cannot yet love.” (p.15)

7.Wisdom is one thing that can’t be bought; we pray for it, in church.

8.Willing, feeling, and thinking are on the way to detachment.  On the path to analysis, to production, objectivity is appropriate.  One must step outside,  use will,  suppress feelings and   think.  Is man acting in one direction only?   One must have time (to analyze).


Lecture 16

1.Married people cannot live by having only the interest of the other.  That is, each person must have some other center to his/her life, otherwise tyranny sets in.  ERH gives an example of a bride who demanded (and received) the promise that her new husband would not have other friendships that could come between them, that SHE was to be his major concern!   And of course this led to serious problems in the relationship.

2.HOW IS ATTACHMENT ESTABLISHED? By a spoken commitment! The only real speech is that which still has meaning 100 years later. i.e. a girl’s whispered “yes” to a proposal, a man’s oath to fight for his country. Attachment requires the spoken word, “yes.”   Power and  truth occur only after the fact, when the word has been verified by your actions. (p.11-16)

                   (Social) truth can never be verified by any objective index.  It can only be verified by your own action. If that word is true, then it has to come true…You have to make it come true.  So the truth is always planted into this world, gentlemen, by a word, and the acts follow. (p.12)

3.The declaration of faith in an idea represents and generates power by guiding things to their place in the scheme of things.  To live day-by-day robs one of the power to see the long term, the commitments, the declarations of faith.   To not make the distinction between the spoken word and a spur of the moment idea leads to impotence.

                   I call this impotent, you understand, because they cannot distinguish when the word is spoken with power, and when it is just said on the spur of the moment because they are drunk……Man creates attachments from nothing out of the power of the word.  (p.19)

4.When we make commitments, we speak ourselves and our lives into existence.

5.Words are general, but when we speak them in a specific situation and with honesty  they take on a new meaning, or perhaps the only meaning for us.

                   …between a lover and his bride, there is nothing in general.  There is something specific which nobody else can even understand.  In other words, the secret of human logos, of speech, is not 9,000 years ago.  You find one good woman who is willing to listen to you and to confide in you, you experience the creation of speech as though there had never been a word spoken on this earth.  (p.23)

6.Words should be spoken with ambiguity.  Why?  Because we are never sure of ourselves, how to speak our thoughts, nor how to connect with what others are intended to perceive.  Thus:

                   In any poet’s poem, the word bristles with all the connotations it ever had in thousands of years of meaning.  Then the word is polished  like a jewel, a diamond is in all its facets, it’s used by the man who speaks with love.  p.24


SUMMARY of first 16 lectures:

1.ERH begins distinguishing between “the tyranny of living, or real life” and play (including thought-games like theorizing.

a.Play is toying with serious reality – that which makes a difference in our lives.

b.Science is based on a philosophy of space (concreteness of reality).

c.Social science is based on a philosophy of time (the right time to act in order to influence others.

2.Time holds different meaning for natural science and social science. In the world of concreteness, time flows from beginning to end of events.

In the social world, where growth and change are  essential to survival, where such transformations are the product of past actions that are either coming to an end or require transformation, it is more useful to say that time unfolds from the end to the beginning.  This means  the purpose for the change determines the change.

3.In social science, time has four different “declensions” (or meanings). In natural science time has only one meaning; that is from beginning to end.  In social science then, to this one dimension must be added must be added three others that are psychological.  That is, how events effect us emotionally.

a.Time goes by quickly – we speed up time – and in this case we are super-conscious of time, thinking of efficiency.  We are  trying to do more with our time, hurrying to accomplish things. The older we get, the faster it seems to pass.

b.Time goes slowly  when we are bored, when our actions need to be routine, or repetitious, as contrasted with attempting to be creative and excited. Time seems to stand still!

c.Time is forgotten  when we live in our thoughts only.  It seems to stand still. The intensity of joy, in an exalted lyrical state, is a good example.

d.Finally, there is the epochal nature of time when high drama occurs, when there is an epiphany, either individually, or socially as a great moment in history.  Such events as the signing of the Declaration of Independence are so momentous as to be a milestone. They are  pivotal in that we think of them as “before,” and “after.”

Such a consciousness of time frees one to understand one important dimension of one’s experience and thus judge it more accurately.

4.Drama occurs in both real life and in play.  Play as ERH defines it reflects life:

a.Confession of sin allows us to go on, to rise above sin by naming it.

b.Art prizes the moment, captures it in time, in terms of emotional response.

c.Physical strength is to be respected and feared. Our frailty makes us human.

d.Ceremony reminds us that the position is more important than the individual.

All of these elements of serious life can be reflected in play,  but as a reminder.

5.Significant experience is differentiated from play or abstract life, by its inexorability. Play and thought are, by contrast, endlessly manipulable,  can be called into or out of existence at will. Serious experience cannot be.  For instance one cannot retract public behavior  it is always there for the record.  One can admit, or plan to reinforce or counteract it, but never truthfully deny it.

6.The power that creates freedom to choose our behavior lies outside us. “God is the power within us which makes us speak the truth.”


a.Divine power: our power to change, to act courageously, and to know the right time to act.

b.Self power: to choose, to act creatively, also translate an idea into reality ( all translation is creative).

c.Natural power,   to drop out, hang loose, relax, to play, or   not to act (to drift thought life).

All of this is manifest in  our mental life or tendencies; a) to manipulate things (if this includes  manipulating other people, it means we treat them as “things.”   b) to respond to other people honestly or, c) to be open to divine inspiration, i.e. pray for enlightenment.

7.”Play” activities represent the fundamental structure of reality.

a. Sports  reflective of the struggle for life.

b. Study – reflects our inner life.

c. Creativity – reflecting new insights with the potential to lead to a new future.

d. Ceremony, law, tradition – reminds us of what should be remembered and followed from the past.

All of this is present in serious reality as well, and being conscious of this structure frees us to understand these events and utilize them appropriately.  All are essential to a vital life. To understand these elements is to be capable of finding one’s direction.  THIS STRUCTURE REPRESENTS THE REALITIES AND DEMANDS OF BOTH THE WORLD OF CONCRETE EXPERIENCE, AND OF MENTAL EXPERIENCE – OF  BOTH SPACE AND  TIME.

8.The problem today is that many institutions have lost sight of their direction.  Education focuses mainly on memorization, or description, but only in the rarest exceptions on how to transform those facts into action that will revitalize society. Likewise, the church seems to practice forms, but fails to instill the courage to live and act truthfully.  AN UNCONSCIOUSNESS OF THIS RESULTS IN THE EXERTION OF CONCRETE POWER, BUT NEITHER FREEDOM TO CHANGE, NOR INSIGHT INTO WHAT WOULD BE REGENERATIVE (DIVINE) DIRECTION, all of which results in inhumanity, and consumption of resources with little  regard for preservation or regeneration of living forms (including human life).

9.ONLY WHEN ONE BECOMES CONSCIOUS OF THESE DIMENSIONS IS ONE FREE TO CHANGE FROM ONE TO THE OTHER, to know the state of some situation and respond directly.  For instance, we must recognize when a situation demands ignoring, or planning, or action, or description, or analysis. These are the four elements of all situations, but to respond appropriately one needs to know which stage is called for at a particular point in time.

There is a time to suspend time, to be super conscious of it, to slow it down, or to divide it. Science  practices only the single dimension of super consciousness. There is a time to listen (to authority), to act, to describe what happened, and finally to analyze (and generalize). The sequence of these events is crucial.

10.Aristotle asks, “That are the facts?”  Socrates asks, “What question should be asked?”,  Plato (reflecting idealism)  asks, “How shall we have a better state?”  This portrait of Greek philosophy is represented in the modern liberal arts college, – too much Aristotle, Too much star-eyed Idealism, almost no Socrates. (p.16, lecture 4)

11.TO CREATE A FUTURE, one must do with less than one can get (i.e. to sacrifice), in order to acquire a surplus upon which one can experiment.  (p.3)

TO CREATE A FUTURE, the question is never, “should there be thought control?” Of course there should be, otherwise there is never order to thought.  The question then is, “who’s and what type of thought control?”

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

12.Serious events in life force us to take a stand if we are to live life and not just drift (which ultimately destroys society).  One needs to recognize a situation  and ponder its nature.  But, ultimately, one must take a stand, try some solution; otherwise life is not only impotent, but boring.

Contrarily, we tend to be ambiguous, avoid commitment, avoid offending, avoid meaningful action, being nice to people when the situation demands frankness.

13.ERH MAKES THE POINT AGAIN & AGAIN THAT IT IS IMPORTANT TO DISTINGUISH A SPACIAL DIMENSION THAT IS UNNECESSARY IN NATURAL SCIENCE. No “object” of research is considered to have thought. In social science, on the other hand,it is crucial to separate thought and action. We must distinguish what is outside from what is inside,  and this sense represents the spacial symbolism in the model of the CROSS. Creativity and God are cases in point.  Original thought is one thing, the inner strength to speak out what we believe to be a valued truth is quite another. While our creativity may originate within us, the power to maintain that truth, possibly at great risk to career or even life, lies outside us.  The power of this, “outside” seems to be ultimate in overcoming barriers, regardless of how one may wish to call it.

There is yet another psychological  barrier to be overcome which is our sense of humility.  We are not all- powerful and we know it.  As a matter of fact, humankind seems to have two extremes of weaknesses. One is that we believe we are, indeed, in control of our lives and have this power.  THIS ISSUE ERH TO TREATS IN HIS ESSAY, “PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE SOUL” WHERE HE MAKES THE POINT THAT MYSTICS BELIEVE THIS  However the weakness of mystics should be  self evident  They would have torn the world apart long ago had this been the reality because the power can be used for evil as well as good. The other extreme is that we feel helpless, in which case we become impotent to create and therefore fulfill our potential destiny.

Yet another conformation of this idea is that he says, “All creative power in men is gratuitous.”  It seems to be a gift, but from where? If not from a divine power (which is to say a power for good),  then why are not all people evil?  Why are so many willing to sacrifice, to be fair, to speak truthfully,  even when they suffer upon doing so?  Atheists and agnostics have no answer for this question.

The great truth of all religions is that we are OF THIS EARTH, and therefore receivers of the ultimate creator.

14.ANOTHER FUNDAMENTAL POINT HE MAKES CONSISTENTLY IS PAST EVENTS HAVE THAT CANNOT BE CHANGED.  WHAT CAN BE CHANGED IS OUR THOUGHT ABOUT IT.   Knowledge (the context here is the school) is unimportant until we apply it, and that quite literally “brings knowledge to life.”   In all artificial learning situations it is not possible to apply much, if any knowledge, however the goal of all education must be to prepare one for application.

15.THE GOOD TEACHER  teaches when he/she presents himself as a model, allowing students to see and understand his passion, why he does what he does.  HE THEREBY CREATES THE POSSIBILITY OF MAKING AN ASS OF HIMSELF. But this is a price one pays to be a good teacher.  One commits one’s self publically.  THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF UNDERSTANDING KNOWLEDGE ONLY AT THE MOMENT OF APPLICATION.   Knowing ourselves (however painful) is the road to growth.  “Reculer pour mieux sauter”, step back so that you may jump higher. (p.6-1)

16.With reference to the CROSS, one of its representations is of four roles we act out. We  either play, (as in sports,  or in the classroom with ideas), or  make a decision, take action, or participate in ritual ceremony. Each activity calls for the others, but no one is complete in itself.

17.Humanity, in order to grow,  must be capable of communicating. ANY PART THAT CANNOT COMMUNICATE WITH ANOTHER has no choice but to be at war. But war, whether between two people, two institutions, or nations – it is all the same – is all absorbing, excluding all other activity. HOW THEN DOES ONE CREATE PEACE?

The only way is to find common ground (common spirit, a frame of reference)  with another Only then is there potential for peace.  The Middle East Arab/Israel, or Irish Catholic/Protestant conflicts are examples.  Each side must recognize the other, capable of putting oneself in that other context to believe that one, in that instance, would do the same as the “enemy.” Only them can one find peace – and only then begin to progress.

18.GREEK THINKING, another recurring theme in ERH, separates mind from body, thought from action. It elevates the importance of the mind.  Education, knowledge, art all for their own sakes,  have no meaning in life experience.  Only the consequence of use provides social meaning.

Psychology in America likewise confuses mind and spirit as the same.  One is for logic, the other is of the heart.  One doesn’t decide on a marriage, or what profession, or produce art, or decide loyalty – logically – these important decisions come from the heart.

19.LANGUAGE ISSUES; four verbs describe “any normal human” – to love, to will, to reflect, and to serve a role. We love others and ideas. Mind is to reflect, the body is to will (must be satisfied). To take on a  role is to represent.


Lecture – 17

The general sense I get about the Cross of Reality is that  in order to be capable of examining our experience fully, and capable of evolving into a full person, we must utilize at the right time one or more of four social roles or attitudes.  And because these roles or attitudes tend to be represented in the balanced family, the family becomes the primary means to achievement.  That is the importance of creating the full family!  All of this seems to be represented in the following, rather long quote:

              …I’ve accepted something from my ancestors and my founders. I have to hand it over.  I try my best to transmit it.  And in this process, I need help.  I may make blunders.  I may not be able to revive the spirit in you.  But at least what I’m doing is something within the process of the society in which I move…I’m not self-contained.  Words have come into me, streaming into me, thoughts, truth, experiments, experiences, traditions; I’m trying to revive them and make all of us again aware of their meaning, and of their direction.  That’s after all what I have been trying to do in this course.  And there is no miraculous thing….Because we are speakers and listeners, we are accepting ritual from the past,..and reinterpreting it in our own marriage of love, in our own affections, in our own passions.

              The corollary, gentlemen, of this for the family now has to be shown.  If you take these four attitudes of the – ritualist, of the lover, of the rationalist, and of the mystic, they are the vicious, vicious disintegrations of the body of the family.  Because if you now turn these four people into reasonable, living social members of a group, you will find that the mother is the ritualist; that the father is the rationalist; that the boy is the mystic, the lyricist; and that the daughter is the bride, waiting to be loved, and to be allowed to say “yes”, or “please.”

              It is that you and I spread into these four directions.  We go from the kernel of manhood into bridal state, into a motherly state, into a fatherly attitude, and into a filial attitude at the several points of our life. (pp.4,5)

He defines the rationalist as one who discerns means, and the mystic as one who dreams. The rationalist cannot determine what is important and unimportant,while  the mystic cannot correlate with the outside world.  Neither listens to commands from others, nor has an end.  ONLY WHEN ONE HAS AN END IN MIND DOES ONE KNOW WHAT MEANS TO CHOOSE OR HOW TO DIRECT ONE’S EMOTIONS. To live fully we need both rationalism and mysticism, logic and feeling, but at the right time and under the right direction.

That direction comes from the past, is filtered through ourselves, and thus reinterpreted in order to produce (create) a future.  A future not only for ourselves, but for the community also, – they must be the same.  We must love what we do, and thus be willing to accept the command (from the past), and be humble and say “please” and “thank you” to those who inspire us to follow, and help us along the way.   In another context, when we atomize our attitudes toward the direction of scientific (rationalist) thought only, or emotional thought only, we become destructive and end in the insane asylum. Thus, the rationalist and the mystic are “…dealing with conditions of achievement, but not with achievement…” (p.1)   In the same way, we must fulfill different social roles as individuals if we are to be complete.  THE GREAT SIN OF THE WORLD, THE BASIS FOR PEOPLE GOING WRONG, LIVING NARROW, FRUSTRATED OR TRAGIC LIVES,  IS THAT THEY DO INDEED FOLLOW ONLY ONE BEHAVIOR, OR SOCIAL ROLE AT ALL TIMES,OR MOST OF THE TIME.

He commonly uses the phrase, “the end determines the beginning”, and here tells the story of the boy who, when asked to circle what he wanted from the Sears catalogue for Christmas, circled every item.  No discrimination! Thus,  “If you do not have the answer to what end you will put all the content of the Sears Roebuck catalogue, you are a child.”  Some direction comes from the past, we need to listen to it.

What is important is what, from the past is important yet incomplete and therefore must be completed.  At the same time there are projects begun in the past  which should be ended.  Bureaucracies, for example whose purposes are no longer needed and therefore superfluous.

We are led by the word, and called by the word;  the word carries the power  to direct us,  harboring energy to motivate us. “The word” refers here to an act of speech which is a commitment by you that reflects your true belief and intent which prove themselves by your actions.

              “…these four powers — yes, no, please, and thank you — may not strike you as very important. As long as they do not strike you as very important, you do not know what the difference between talking and speech is, or between thinking and speaking….These four words are all said to the outside, humanity, in encounter, in meeting them.  And they take you up on these four words.” (p.8)

To say the it will rain tomorrow and it doesn’t is not to be called a liar.  Everyone will know you were giving an opinion. That is talk.    But, to make a promise then not keep it is real speech.  It puts your honor on the line.  That indicates the true power of speech to influence.


Lecture – 18

1.We live in a constant dualism of play and seriousness.  Play is time out to rest and to not be serious, time   to follow the role of the subordinate. With subordination a boss is in charge and must carry the burden of worrying about the world.  The subordinate only needs to worry about following orders.  THE PROBLEM IS TO KNOW, TO BE CONSCIOUS of our role in a given situation and to act accordingly.  ERH cites the example of Prince Hal in Henry IV, who whores around with Falstaff, but knows he is playing and enjoying himself, and will have to be serious one day.  We need play because we cannot live all through life by the same standards of performance.  One needs rest from the “burdens” of seriousness.

              What I’m trying to say is, at this moment that here really every hour of your life differs, that you can even not know in the morning when you wake…whether you can keep up this idea of definiteness all day long.  You may relapse into a juvenile and childish state, and take to playing.  I mean  any man, hardworking man may be just taken by a complete desire to complete relaxation. I think society understands these two states…the people who are one-gage minds, so to speak, and hearts, are not very much alive.  (p.5)

2.These many definitions Rosenstock-Huessy brings forth are essential for us if we wish to understand our experience more fully. The ability to Identify a situation, such as the difference between talk (speculation and opinion) and speech (the making of commitments that shape future events in our lives), make the difference between a vague consciousness of life and  enriched insight.  Play takes place in the present; in one sense the need for rest (time out) is necessary, but not serious in the sense that it leads us toward a future (growth). To create a future for ourselves is to take certain steps in sequence.  For instance, one must first commit to a goal and take the attitude that the many distractions will not alter that course. One takes the attitude of the suitor courting an idea, or a career with humility and anxiety.  One commits, one waits to be recognized, one is diligent. In the process one suffers attitudes of insecurity, anxiety, pain.  One waits for a response from others, and when one step is completed the next must be taken. .  This process of growth is never carried out alone.  There must always be someone who has faith in your possibilities, just as marriages and lasting friendships are first built upon anticipation that you have potential, yet unseen by others.

              Everything that points towards the future, gentlemen, has to have this now-or-never, this, this-and-nothing-else attitude…the first person who really takes you up on what you can be, that is the wife of your choosing.  And it takes 30 years before the rest of the world comes to the conclusion that she saw in you the person they didn’t see in the beginning at all.  (pp.8,9)

3.We must learn that we cannot live by ourselves, under our own steam.  We live by gradual discoveries the world makes about us…

              because without their complying with your offer, with your constant, making efforts, if there is not give and take, answer and response, you wouldn’t be able to live on.  (p.9)

He cites the example of the Canadian immigrant attempting to join the club, and the clerk who announced that he can do better, and the business man who woos customers.  Offer and response – and a third element, the time it takes to complete the response. This aspect of time will vary enormously from one situation to another and it is difficult to be patient, and at times the response may never come. When all is said and done, there is no such thing as a self-made person!

In general the chapter emphasizes the difficulty of creating a “unity,” a compatibility between the many different roles we play, attitudes toward situations we must face and people with whom we must deal.  We must depend upon mentors and critics, loves and enemies. A real marriage depends upon the husband and wife discussing and sharing work as equals; otherwise there is no true marriage.


Lecture – 19  The Cross

1.A definition of society:    a) a universe of situations, i.e. man at war,  at work, at play, in love, alone.  All of this as individuals, but in addition,  b) all of these must add up to a unified society.  Society makes demands for unity.

2.Economics:  Because the distribution of goods and services is so central to any group, economics is related to all major facets of the society.

a.  First ERH points out that in a “planetary” economy, war must be a central part.

b. Total war, or peace never occurs, we always have both at once. The difference is relative.

c.Nature of the economy (wealth).

d.There are many economies; war, peace, cities/rural, national/international, employment/unemployment, etc.

e.All economies are interrelated and must become integrated.  And one may assume by inference that an advantage for one may disadvantage another, thus to be integrated is to strike a balance between all these forces.

f.No more than perhaps one third of an integrated economy should be national (i.e. trade totally within national borders).

3.Soul is the power that controls  decision-making in all realms of reality, i.e. physical, mental, – economic, and political.

To sustain the “soul” we may at times need to abdicate from a situation, i.e. when it becomes unmanageable or intolerable.  At these times we become spiritually invisible, retracted into our inner world.

4.The soul is what unifies all of our social roles (as family member, work team member, husband or wife, intimate friend, and community member) into our individuality. The individual is thus “Multiform.”  ERH asserts that the notion of “individual” as the sole description of the person is a fallacy, an impossibility.  If all these roles were fragmented, one becomes schizoid; the roles must be unified for a healthy, functioning person to emerge.

5.In order for “man” to remain potent, to deal with the problems of life in some balanced, satisfying, fulfilling way, he must form a set of balancedattachments, i.e. in order to become multiform.  Dis-equilibrium means that onefactor dominates the others, or is missing.  “Committing suicide reflects the lack of ability to maintain those vital attachments.”  (pp.17,18,19)

A crucial aspect of “attachment” is to remain capable of detaching from any group, and re-attaching to some other group.  It would seem therefore that suicide can be a metaphor for detachment.

6.Founders of religious regeneration, a medicine against suicide!  There is a crucial difference between “can” and “may.” We can drop the atomic bomb, but we may not without causing suicide of the world by atomic war.  We become suicidal by being totally objective.  To be objective is to be detached from one’s subject. It is in this sense that ERH evokes the names of Buddha, Lao-Tzu, Abraham, Jesus. “they have in a strange manner put something in the place of suicide.” This is the role of a universal religion.

              “religion identifies the can, and the may.  Factually, we can do certain things, like murder, lie, ignore, but if we desire to sustain society into the future we may not.  This is the need for ethics and religion, which are to engender in us the strength to sustain the `may nots.'”  (p.22)


Lecture – 20

The question raised here is, “What is the place of religion in the process of attachment and detachment?”  Religion is needed precisely because of “… man’s power to destroy his own rhythm between attachment and detachment.” (p.1)

1.Detachment is death, as is objectivity (looking at things from the outside), viewing essentials as unessential to your life.  Detachment is the devil, and ultimately is boring.  Attachment, contrarily, is life, is feeling, is meaningful to one, and it is subjective. (p.2)  DETACHMENT IS NOT THE LIFE AND DEATH OF THE OBSERVER, BUT RATHER LIFE AND DEATH OF THE THING BEING OBSERVED; THE CLUB, ANIMAL, MINORITY GROUP, FOREST, ETC.

2.We cannot be objective toward others and expect them to be subjective toward us.  If we wish to know another we must pay for that knowledge by revealing ourselves.  Relationships are reciprocal: “…the funny thing about real life is that the other fellow calls you by the reciprocal name that you call him.” (p.7-20)  DETACHMENT MEANS DETACHMENT FROM HALF OF OURSELVES, because our lives include the necessity to belong to other groups, i.e. in the army, work, play, love affairs etc.

3.Biology is objectively studying other animals, but sociology, psychology, physiology, and other social sciences utilize the same methodology, they are “…glorified biologies.” (p.7)  If mankind is one, which ERH asserts, how can we be unbiased about studying  a humanity of which we are a part?

4.We are called by the name of our role in life – father, son, mother, daughter, secretary, captain – and when addressed,  those role characters in return call the caller by his corresponding role.  For instance, if the father is addressed, he replies “son.” WE ARE NEVER SELF RELIANT, WE ARE ALWAYS MUTUALLY RELIANT.  “This mutual reliance…is the real story of life…”   (p.7)

5.PARADOXICALLY, passion and agreement must go hand-in-hand.  This is a necessity for all groups.  All groups harbor different types of people, different attitudes that are held passionately.  The problem is, “How do we integrate these differences?”  With difficulty, one would say, but what we cannot do is exile persons with whom we disagree.  In today’s world that is no longer possible. In a like manner, in the family one needs to integrate power, beauty, ideals, and dignity (respectively symbolized by the father, daughter, son and mother). (p.10-20)  The opinions of each must be respected and compromise made.

6.Cooperation is illustrated by the story of getting 5 horses pulling a wagon to work together,  otherwise they injure each other.  It is the same with people, to get them to agree to a single direction.

7.Will and love:  One cannot will another to love oneself, one has to act so that the other person desires to love.  It must be the same with getting agreements between groups. (p.13)

8.Religion is an attempt to heal the evils of the world, which is to say, heal scars created by the wrong rhythms between attachment and detachment. ONE DOES A THING BECAUSE IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO, NOT FOR SOME PURPOSE BEYOND IT.   To do good for reward is the wrong reason to act.

              The purpose of living is to live.  There is no other purpose.  The purpose of religion is to give the most complete life under devastating circumstances.  …You can live the good life under the most trying and impossible deadlocks…

              When your detachments and attachments are completely wrong, when you have a tyrant as your master, you see, or when life, which is an end in itself, which has no ulterior motive, and no ulterior purpose.  That is, you can lead the good life in any minute on this earth, which is quite some promise, and really sounds like a terrible exaggeration….But there is a promise in all religion…that man’s life can be lived right in any minute.  (p.14)

(RF – I take this to mean that when one attempts to live consciously at each moment and makes decisions that are right at that time for that situation, one then lives the best life possible.)   This is the method for moving toward creating heaven on earth – there is no other heaven or hell. This may sound exaggerated, but those who use religion as a drug, as opium, as a false promise cannot find the same rewards, and certainly do not live truly.

9.When we live a “blissful life,” one in which we fulfill intended roles according to “reality,” the rules are likely to properly guide the rhythm of attachments and detachments.  Religion, like the family, exists for its own sake.  “There is nothing beyond them.” (p.15)

10.Anything that has a purpose must be guided totally by that purpose. Anything that has some end beyond it is mere method. If life is a means for some other end it is no more than a cog in a machine. Life is far more marvelous than that!

11.The raw material for a good life is always “there” at each moment, because life allows for the possibility to live right, to create a family, friends, proper relationships, to call others and be called. It is precisely the function of religion to allow us to see this.   (RF – And one might add, “Engender the courage to act accordingly.”)

12.The family is the most vital institution in the world, and it is the most complex,

              “…much more complex than a state, or a church, or an army, or a factory.  It contains the greatest opponents of each other…and it contains the two sexes and ages.” (p.18)

13.Here you have it, the reason the family is so fundamental to the regeneration of the spirit, because it is the forum in which it is possible for the individual to find and learn completeness.  That is, the complete roles of different individuals.  The family is by far the most complex institution.  Every other takes people to be equal, regardless of age or sex, or religion, because it sees them as contributors to some “other” goal.  But the family contains and forces the recognition of basic divisions of men, and teaches us how to deal with them in an amicable way.  It symbolically represents power (father), dignity and history (mother), soul and love (daughter), and ideals and future (son).  These are  qualities that we, and every group on earth needs.

The Bible represents a solution to the problems of divisions.  All roles can be changed and exchanged – employer/employee, private/general, – etc. except sex.  Adam and Eve represent the merging of this division.

Lecture – 21

On shame.  Shame is a very healthy and necessary thing.  In this age of science, people believe it is good to see everything, to “…turn everything inside out.” (p.1-21)  But this is just the reverse of what we should do in some cases.

1.The family represents mankind’s conquest of space and time. The mother looks back (at Adam and Eve with the first day of creation); the daughter with the last judgment day (with the whole selection of the human race in terms of heredity and whom she marries); the father represents the whole expanse of space (i.e. the dangers of the concrete world – by providing the “bacon” he, gives the time to do its thing).  And the son represents  the sense of conquest (pioneer of new ideas).  (p.5)

2.The institutions of the church and state and economy are the formal organizations through which the society continues.  “MAN IS THIS STRANGE ONE BEING THAT BY PERPETUAL CHANGE CAN CONTINUE.” (p.6-21)  He is capable of doing this, of regenerating, only if the family, the most complex institution, is fully represented and its roles performed.


3.Time and space are conquered by the four faces of outer and inner, past and future.

              “…keep the oldest prayers of the human race, the the same time allow novelty and fashion to enter your home, you have represented the secret of life in the midst of your home.  If you over‑stress any one aspect of it, the whole — the unit explodes…” (p.7)

When the family is not made justification of all institutions and the whole of life, there is fragmentation; one institution cannot communicate with another.  The church, speaking about the fall of Adam, about hell, fire and brimstone, about the last judgment (represented by mother and daughter), cannot communicate with father and son, who speak about science and philosophy, (separating space and time. The abstract process of categorizing, sans narrative context, is an act of destruction of meaning). Thus, in universities, departments of theology, business and the rest are separate, and in their separation become sterile.

              “…I go to the clergymen, and they tell me about my bad conscience, and they tell me that — everything will be visited, that I have to confess my sins, and that there will be a judgment day, and that we all are sinners,..and must become saints, and that’s again to the exclusion of all geography, and all politics, …”

              “I’m again hungry because..that’s very nice for my inner man, but I think…I don’t know what to do in this world when I go to these ministers…obviously, they don’t know……so you have this cleavage between the secular knowledge which is for men in their professions…Then you get the knowledge of the soul, of women’s part in all of us, you see, by which we try to solve this great riddle of what we are for in this world, really, and what we are dying for, and what are we living for.” (p.8)

4.Only science, or only religion (or to say it another way, only space and only time), when separated become an impotent absurdity. Space, is said to be the assignation for father and son because they are the traditional physical providers,  and time defines the role of daughter and mother because they are in charge of the family calendar – past and future), family life trains us to see this.  Otherwise, when separated, we do not understand the commonality between any woman and our wives and sisters, and therefore we rape them.  Or, speaking from the woman’s standpoint, we do not understand the necessity of concrete accomplishment and idealist progress in this world (i.e. father and son).

ERH also speaks about the fact that all of this is metaphor, that a whole individual needs to think in terms of all four of these factors, the inner and outer, past and future.

5.No doubt the numbers of rape and other crimes against the sexes, of divorces of people seeing psychiatrists, is evidence of broken families.  Women and men cannot cope with each other without religion (never to compromise, never to turn the other cheek, to forgive, to have faith). This means more war between the sexes, nations, organizations, etc.  Science and philosophy say nothing about not raping a girl or getting along between father and son.


Lecture – 22

1.Man, just as any bacterium or other form of life, strives to regenerate, to embrace the world and to live. In all creation only the family of man engenders the life of the spirit.

              “You are drawn into these four directions, and you are cursed if you do not fulfill them.” ( p.2-22)

2.Men in the plural are small, everyone like anyone else.  But when one man stands up and pronounces what is alive and what is dead,  he represents God; that is,  he acts in the image of God.

              “God’s power is to decide what’s dead and what’s alive…..Now whenever we have this decide what is dead and what is alive, we are the single man whom God has created.”  (p.2)

3.The uniqueness of man.  All unique experience becomes, in time, routine. We retain our uniqueness, our individuality, by having new experience.  In doing this we manifest the singular person in the best sense.  But this is not all. In the process of being, of living fully and singularly fulfilled, we act according to past laws, according to future goals, according to survival in the concrete world, and according to our inner souls. (p.8-22)

4.Any life is full of pain, bliss (interesting he uses the same term as does Joseph Campbell, and with the same meaning) anger, friction, etc, and the amount of happiness is relatively small.  Goethe at 82 was quoted as saying he had never had more than 6 weeks of happiness during his life.  The idea is that life is unique.  Most people don’t really live at all, ERH claims; they don’t feel intensely, and therefore are neither really happy or unhappy.

He illustrates the point with a story about the girl who lived in perfect bliss for 6 months with her lover, then committed suicide because there was nothing left, she believed, to live for.   It is the same with all life. It was a unique experience, and such happiness was unusual.


5.The way we consume our lives is our own judgment as to is what is unique. ERH uses the simile of carrying a glass of water (life), and in the process one must decide “at every moment” when to drink it and when to throw it away.  He cites Hamlet, declaring  that the greatness of the play is that Hamlet goes from incident to incident, taking  on each until all of the scoundrels have been unveiled, and that he has the courage to stand up to the possibility of being killed. He is a hero.  At times one might need to run and hide (as did Jesus), and at another time stand up and face evil. That takes courage.  To do this with a reverence for life takes courage.  Life is frail and delicate.

We cannot live life fully in this way without a personal dogma, without passion!  We must trust that our lives will not become common-place.  To do this we must feel each moment, not live like a thinking machine (as is the tendency of many).  We must speak to situations with a sense of their uniqueness. What is the greatness of Jesus’s words in the New Testament? That they had never been said before. (p.13-23)

6.ERH tells the story of a boy, the lover of the girl (cited above) who he could have saved from suicide if he had been able to point out other things in life that she could fulfill by trying to live fully.  SUCH IS THE POWER OF THE WORD TO CHANGE US.  But he was not up to it. He didn’t know what the situation was.

7.Life and death are not ultimate choices: There can be a good life and a good death, and vice versa. The point is, there are four possibilities:  life can be both positive and negative, and death is both plus and minus.  To understand this means that death, the be the effect of the way we live?  Part of the answer is the way we choose to die. That is an important consideration if we have the courage to think that way.

8.To live life, one must do what one must do, regardless of the outcome personally. “A man who doesn’t say this, cannot be spoken to.  He is just a prattler.” (p.15-22) We are fulfilled by finding the truth about ourselves, but if we have no truth, no standards for which we are willing to die, or sacrifice,  then we are not living.

              “…the essence of any knowledge about real life depends on your power to treat life and death with equanimity.  Otherwise you are just biased.  You are partisan.  And if your life comes first, certainly are not apt to know the truth….the knowledge of the truth depends on your indifference to life.  And that’s why so very few people know the truth, and why the truth is hated…any Quaker who risked his life in Massachusetts when he confessed that he was a Quaker.  Take any Jew who, under Hitler, forfeited his existence when he said that he was a Jew…one name you give to yourself can mean  your very existence.” (p.16)  

That is the price of truly living. To be willing to face death.

9.       “…we speak in order to relate, in order to relate the present moment to its proper place in space and time.” (p.17)

This quotation relates to the story about the couple in love, but the man is unwilling to marry.  After 2 years she leaves.  His point is that the man was not really interested in the girl beyond a temporary arrangement.  Thus, in personal relations, we need to be honest, to use our speech to declare our view of our experience truly.  This often takes courage.  To speak this way, truly, is to be possessed with the spirit of God.

              “The only thing a woman has to receive from her husband is his belief in God. All the rest is money….THAT’S YOUR HONOR, GENTLEMEN.”(p.17-22)

10.The relationship between man and wife is that the husband’s role is to herald the future, and the wife’s is “…holding onto what is created; the man is bringing in the next chapter…”  The woman holds onto faith in the past and present, the husband looking into the future.

11.WE BECOME FREE WHEN WE GET IN TOUCH WITH OUR MORTALITY. The church, the Old Testament is based on the idea that the prophet does not live to see his prophecy. With the spirit, death precedes life.  Each of us is here because somebody in the past died for us. Moses had to die in order for the next generation to get into the Promised Land.

To get in touch with our mortality, to understand that one day we will die, means that we live differently, more freely.  Those who are afraid to pay the penalty of death;

              “…cannot know truth, nor beauty, nor love, nor sacrifice, nor hope, nor faith….”  (p.20)

We only obtain these qualities when we are indifferent to the outcome of our behavior.  To achieve bliss is to live and die at the right time.  Jesus died at 33 (he didn’t do anything significant until he was 30), Lao Tzu at 40 or 45, and Moses lived to be very old.

The meaning of our entire life may be wound up in some series of events that last varying periods of time, but during that time a complete sequence of necessary events will take place, the birth, the development, and denouement. It may be 6 months or 3 years, or not at all.  There is a rhythm in the sequence, and each event has its unique rhythm.  This is what we must learn to feel.  And as individuals, we go through the same phases as civilization has in its entirety before us. (p.23)

              “One war, one crusade, one discovery of America may concentrate into one year so much awareness, so much interest.  And then you get 50 years of drabness, and indifference, and peace, you see, what people call `peace’. ” (p.24)

During those creative periods we are completely aware, and thoughtful, i.e. conscious of the world. During those periods one has lived!

              “The rhythm of real creation contains death as much as life.  And we have just to die as often as we live.  God always is dead in a society which only wants to live.  If you have all the life, then God gets all the death….We have a relation to death which is very practical.  It has nothing to do with your physical death..” (p.25)


Lecture – 23, More on Religion

1.Acquired qualities can be inherited, otherwise there would be no human history. (p.1-23)  Obviously ERH refers to the inheritance of ideas, of the spirit.

2.By implication, – spirit, and ideals are not worth passing  on unless someone was willing to die for them.  Our life is meaningful only to the extent that we  accept the possibility of needing to die if necessary.

              Death is this power to dismiss part of our life in due time…in order to have more life.  God has created death so that we might have more life.  Without death, there is no life, because death is a sacrifice of any given form.  (death is)…the timely dismissal of a stable form…That we survive the death is this part of our existence in order to enter a new life, to rise again. Death is everything which is not given to our will’s fulfillment. (p.5,6-23)

Thus, the martyr is not self made. ERH cites the example of his own life having been regenerated for having to depart Germany because of Hitler.

3.We seldom if ever get what we want out of life.  Life figuratively lasts two generations.  It exists in the interaction between that which we plan and the response given us by our environment (that which lies outside our mind).

The point is that we cannot really live by achieving what we had planned, we live when we are willing to be called, to find out what we should want!

4.On goals: what we usually aim for is below our dignity, our ability, because it comes from the past.

              You are more than any living thing you can aim at…Your life must be more precious.(p.7)

A purpose, general and therefore vague, is different from a concrete goal, such as owning a car or a horse.  We need not be conscious of our purpose, but must move very efficiently toward it nevertheless.

A destiny is the affirmation of the meaningful goal.

              “In destiny, you have the harmony between the cosmic order and the man’s place in the order.  Destiny exists…without aim, without purpose, and even without goal, because in destiny…a man is used who is the most — greatest misfit seemingly, the man who in his own constitution has not…the consciousness in himself to do it.”     (p.8) 

Destiny just happens!

5.If each of us strived only toward our “wills,” our desires, or conscious aims, there would be anarchy in the world.  We must find our place according to events around us, not overrating our place in life.  We therefore must not pray that our wills be done, but that thy will be done.  To see what we are called to do, what is necessary to help regenerate the community.  To do what must be done!  “What should I do to lead things to their destination”? (p.10-23)

6.All conservation starts from this insight, that in order to use things, we have to study their destination.

]             “Wherever you look,…man is asked to lead the creation to its destiny.  And therefore the first move he must make is to brush aside his own accidental will.  His greed, his envy, his avarice, his lust.” (p.10)

Obviously, we all combine doing our own will and doing the will of the community.  Our urges for sex, money, and comfort are for the immediate, the destiny of the universe is always for the long-range.

Western psychology seems to teach us the opposite, that our will is what we must carry out!

7.To live means therefore, both to impose our will on the universe, and to receive the will of the universe in return. p.11  Like breathing in and breathing out, to inspire and expire. Anxiety is the cutting off of inspiring the universe’s will.  To stop doing for others.  Nobody can be happy just doing his own will, because he becomes the slave of the object of his will.

8.Back to the issue of religion:  Religion is the ability to inspire and expire. Denial of this means denial of Jesus, or Abraham, or Buddha or Lao-Tzu.(p.13)  To subject religion to helping us fulfill our own will makes religion smaller than ourselves.  As long as we admit that, the part of our behavior the universe’s will is the best part of us, we are all right.  90% of the time we do our own “thing,”  but to do the other 10% is enough.

9.ERH cites the crucifixion, the failure of Jesus, as a triumph in the end.  Jesus demonstrated that he was willing to die for a cause.  Rockefeller, who achieved his will, and appeared to be a success, was ridiculed in Mexico City.

10.The high points in one’s life, when one makes an important decision, are worth more than other times.  The value of each hour is therefore never equal.   Inspiring, and expiring harmonizes life and death.  Harmony, in many other contexts is thus to be sought. (p.17-23)

11.The purpose of the church is to convince people to abandon their own wills and to receive the will of the universe, so that they can live together in peace.

12.Questions of “What” and “where did it come from?” are not useful. More importantly, we must ask, “What do we do about it?”    ERH makes the distinction between the “functioning” universe, which is social, and the  “resisting” universe, which is natural.  We live between these, in symbiosis with each.  To ask “What?” always produces a biased answer, as it always takes a pre-determined point of view to answer, so “…the answer is contained in the question.” (p.21-23) Therefore the question is of little use, producing a self-fulfilling prophesy.

13.Lao-Tzu suggested that non-function, that being unwilling to will, that incorporating life into death is just as important as willing.  To let things happen and not try to control them.

              That is the ideal of the Tao people in China, be a still, as noiseless, as indifferent as a drop of dew, distilled into this absolute elegancy of taking up as little space as possible… (p.24) 

This is where the metaphor of being at the hub of the turning wheel comes from.  It is important to see our unimportance, to be ambivalent, even  indifferent at times.

14.The important point is that when we have no reason, or insufficient information to make a decision about some issue, then we must be ambiguous about it.  In other instances, when a decision is called for, of course we must be specific!.

15.”…that you may be a person,…is the greatness of your place in the universe.” (p.28) Evolving into a person   is the product of our facing problems, of making important decisions toward growth and acting on them. “Nobody is born a person. You are born just brutal selves. Al Capone is not a person.  He’s a gangster.” (p.28)

(RF – This notion is expanded in his essay on the practical knowledge of the soul.)


Lecture – 24

This course is to be summarized by speaking about the religious leaders, Lao-Tzu, Abraham, Buddha and Jesus.

1.These men, like all great men and women, do not belong only to the country of their origin, or culture, or religion, but to humanity.  They are not interested in origins in general, but rather, “…as the name itself says, in a time in which we will have fulfilled our role within humanity.” (p.1)

2.The classroom is not the place to speak about religion because that is personal.  The classroom is not the place to make decisions, but the place where one prepares to make decisions.  One cannot speak about religion because one’s mind cannot be taken everywhere at any moment. We, in the classroom, play with ideas; decisions are to be  at the right moment.

3.All four of these men believed in death as part of life, in the fact that, in order for us to have been here now, someone died so that this was possible; someone left us a heritage.  This is the main difference between animals and man, “…somebody’s death preceded his life.” (p.2)  Parents give up some of their individuality to become a unit of a true marriage, as the husband and wife must appear to the children as one.

4.We enter our lives and our loves under the mask of death.  In the case of marriage, death means the end of bachelorhood. The black of nuns and priests symbolize the death of part of their lives, of giving up a potential that they might have.  In sum, we all must act on the basis of death as much as we act on the basis of life. (p.6-24)

5.The notion of “beyond” (heaven or future) is not the notion of a place (although that is a common interpretation). The real “beyond” is in the children of the person who has died.  “And therefore you must anticipate your death in your actions.” (p.6)

6.EDUCATION must emphasize that the children, as the descendants of those who have died, must carry on, making students capable of doing what we do before we die.

              Education cannot be sold.  Education is participation of the next generation in the great army of people (who count) in reality, because they encompass life and death in their consciousness, who are perfectly indifferent [to the risk they take in their decisions] and who are, because they have overcome this fluctuation of thought, which arises when you want to live forever…Only the man who acts indifferently, whether life or death follows, can act as a free man. (p.7,8)

7.Buddha represents the eye, and hub of the wheel, always open, but blind to the consequences of action.  Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son upon the request of God represents his willingness to give up his personal will for that of the lord’s.  In this action He made room for free people by teaching this lesson.  ERH cites an opposite example, what human sacrifice actually amounted to. mean. – the Swedish king in 1070 and Aztecs who performed human sacrifice so that the living may remain at the expense of the next generation. Both customs were eventually ended by the common sense of the people. – The point is, the lesson from the Old Testament Jews is that the next generation has as much right to freedom and life as did the previous.  (p.9-24)

8.The life of these four men is a double paradox, 1) because 1900 years ago (Christ), and 2250 years ago (Buddha), and 2600 yrs. ago (Lao-Tzu and Moses) and 3200 yrs ago (Abraham), all knew something that we do not know today.  They  are therefore ahead of us, and are models to follow, “…because in a way they are more alive than you, they have laid the principles of your own future life.” (p.11,12)

[RF – All of this seems totally analogous to our present day destruction of environment and insensitivity to over population.  Both of these acts may facilitate our own lives, but destroy the future of our children!]

9.It is not relevant from whom we learned our lessons. Great people, living models in the community who give witness to deeds of these four, are just as valuable to us as from the saints themselves.  THE IMPORTANT POINT IS THAT WE FOLLOW THAT DIRECTION. (The opposite philosophy from that of the Christian evangelicals.) TO TAKE SUCH DIRECTION IS TO MAKE ONE’S LIFE AND DEATH MEANINGFUL!  (p.13-24)

10.Second point, the messages have been passed down so that everyone can understand them.  Now we must respond to them as though they were being said to us personally. Resurrection must occur in our lives, martyrdom must occur, turning the other cheek, acting regardless of consequence etc. (p.15-24)

11.Four rooms in an apartment: kitchen, representing modern technology, living room representing history of past ages, bedroom representing peace and love (to last 50 years – two generations of the marriage), the studio (representing the present).  To be capable of moving between these different times and to be able to change one’s mind as the issue demands, is to find meaning. Space by itself is meaningless.  It must be injected with the times of lives.

12.Mind and soul are worlds apart.  Mind is the physical manifestation, representing death, while soul is spirit, attitude, the power of decision and commitment, where passion resides.

13.Multiformity in roles we play places on us an obligation to represent all of society at one time or another.  We are not only representatives of ourselves, we represent the group in which we claim membership. A professor represents all professors, as do doctors, lawyers etc.  Only sometimes are we our own representative.

14.Names and numbers:  We invoke the names of Jesus, Abraham, Lao-Tzu or Buddha because they were distinctive.  One is not born a “person,” one must act to become one.  Numbers, by contrast, are for non-living things.

15.To do God’s work is to help perpetuate life on the planet. (p.23) Our role is to play out the roles representative of the cross, to be a team member (man at work), to be a lover and friend, to be a contributing member of a community, and finally, to develop as a “person” (with a soul) These represent our mortal, unique roles. To fulfill all of these roles in a way that will point beyond our individual lives, that is the meaning of religion.  All of these roles must blend together into one whole society and one whole “person.”

              They call it unity.  But the unity and solidarity of mankind is something every one of you expected to achieve by being not satisfied with his roles in society….with his mind…with his physical endowment..but by knowing that what  mattered — whether you act as a lover, whether you act as a worker, or whether you act as a lady of society, to do in this moment that which will testify to the solidarity of the human race. (p.24)