Last edited: 8-98
Lecture – 1
One must be reminded that the author spoke to his audiences, always. Never did he read a lecture, as he believed the lecturer, in the process of really communicating with his audience, needed to respond to it on a fresh basis each time. And “each time,” he would always have fresh insights into his topic; thus he never gave the same lecture twice. Continuity was maintained because his major points were generally the same, only reached by different routes, emphasizing different variables depending upon the main issue being discussed.
The new reader of Rosenstock-Huessy needs to be reminded that his topics were not organized the way we have come to expect from our traditional school training. ERH was a generalist in the most insightful sense of the word. That is, individual topics upon which he touches, such as speech, religion, community, grammar, understanding our experience by recognizing a method through which fruitful action proceeds, grammar, a between natural science and social science, etc. are always put into the larger context of the community and the universe. No single topic, he asserted, had any but a limited methodological meaning outside the context of larger human experiences. The ultimate problem to which all his subject matter relates is, “How is the community to be regenerated?”
The topic in this series of lectures was the regeneration of language and its meaning in our lives. To best understand this reading one needs to keep in mind how ERH is relating language and speech to the various facets of this larger fabric of our everyday living.
The following notes are taken in their chronological order from the lectures, rather than re-organizing, which will occur as these notes are used in some future time for a specific audience in addressing a problem of interest.
1.The necessity for speaking: “We are in great danger today that genuine speech will disappear.” Play (small talk) and serious speech are almost indistinguishable, and this is a very destructive tendency.
2.When is the word true, and significant? This is a relevant question because speech is constantly evolving, changing. Humans transcend the world of animals because of our language. Human speech begins about 13 months after birth. With all animals physical development is relatively complete at birth. With this “other” world of humankind, speech, then evolves after physical birth because it represents a crucial arena of development for the child (i.e. his/her ability to change & grow), which requires a gestation period, just as does physical development.
THE MAJOR DISTINGUISHING FEATURE of true speech versus “play” speech (which he dubbed “talk”) is that true speech points toward the future (of society). (p.4/1)
3.A major share of our behavior comes from our environment (in this case, mainly social environment), which is constantly changing. If one is not prepared to know what knowledge should be carried from past to future, or when we cannot know today what human guides to action are to exist in the future, then society turns to anarchy and usually violence. This happened in Germany after WW I, where a lack of leadership, a lack of orientation and a lack of faith resulted in the violent upheaval of Nazism.
4.One cannot know what is a viable guide for creating a future for the society in which one lives by formula. Here is yet another distinction between a science of society and a science of nature. Social truth is a truth that unites the spirit of a people and this can only be ascertained in no less than three generations.
Man, in order to ascertain social truth this, needs a power bigger than himself, which is the power of language; his word must be binding on himself. Bowing to such authority, is usually more powerful than any individual (limited) view.
The power to create a future is to avoid following causes dogmatically (according to formulae). Any principle, when applied, must be reinterpreted at each occasion and meaning changes over time as experience adds new dimensions to the issue at hand.
5.True speech helps us mark reference points in our lives, when a time for change is appropriate, when recognition is spoken at the right time. These reference points occur in the larger paradigm of time and space. The explanation of these reference points moves through most all of ERH’s writing for great events indicate a “before and after” type of thinking. “Yesterday we did so-and-so, tomorrow we will do something else – and here we speak English, south of the border they speak Spanish. But the basic issues are universal.” (p.10)
Power is speech: “God is all the powers that make us speak.” (p.11) To repeat, the power of speech lies in its ability to communicate the reality of our progress through life, what is past and what is to be future, what is inside and what is outside us, as individuals or as applied to our groups. Names have an eternal power because they outlive the person. They are the positive and negative vestiges of eternal life. (p.15)
1.It is not the object of our loves, (i.e. girl/boy, profession, cause) that makes us speak, but rather the fact that we love is that holds the power. This is loves’ divinity.
2.From the gods, and from God, we are inspired (compelled) to speak, and because we each have a name, we participate in a divine power.
3.Prayer invokes the power to tell us who we are. We can seldom raise this question to a fellow human and obtain a truthful answer, because he is biased and therefore does not give us the truth. Thus, prayer is constantly on our mind. And prayer always takes two – one to speak and one to listen.
One is never self-reliant, or self-made. ” Self reliance leads into the lunatic asylum.” (p.4/2) For 200 years philosophy has begun and ended with having causing (in part at least) the schizoid personalities common today.
God exists only with the weak, because when we listen to others it means we recognize a power greater than ourselves. [RF – the speaker begins with the word “I,” in which case he/she acts as an authority, metaphorically as a god.] And when we listen to ourselves only, we go crazy. One is incapable of love then, when one listens only to oneself.
4.Real speech always begins with an invocation, with an imperative. Analysis cannot tell us what to do directly. It can provide alternatives, but without some goal (and a commitment to it) one has no criteria for analysis. THE NATURAL FLOW OF ACTION, is to commit, to act, to describe what happened, and then to criticize (in terms of goal achievement). Numbers only, or measurement, or analysis, can never be the beginning of any action. (p.17)
5.RELIGION-THEOLOGY-FAITH: Religion is to accept a command [RF – in ERH essays the term “command” or “authority” means an action in the name of God or the community]. Theology means to analyze. Faith is to obey commands; thus, followers must have “faith” that such action will be fruitful. One always needs to have faith in one’s ability to carry out the task.
The sequence of speech is from verb to verb. (see #8 below, end of 2nd paragraph)
6.Every act of mankind has to go through four stages if one wishes to learn from experience.
7.The basic problem is that there is a sickness over the world in which the meaning of our experience is not known because of our methods of analysis. We utilize the methods of physical science for social analysis, and this does not work because these methods provide no basis for change (of attitude). One cannot deduce what future we ought to fashion as a result of narrow analysis from experience. We must be free to change as insight and creativity might dictate.
Terms should be defined after, not before, the experience, as the true learning experience might add new meaning to events. ERH asserts that 1) there are four stages required for fruitful social analysis that leads to solving problems, 2) these stages must be followed in sequence, 3) they are derived from our experience, and 4) they define space and time in a way as to be meaningful reference points. If one does not have reference points, like following a map through new territory, one becomes disoriented.
8.Sensory experience provides metaphors of these four stages: 1) smell comes first [the problem is sensed, if only at the level of intuiting that something is wrong.] In this stage a desired future is imagined, whereby the problem is raised, i.e. how to get there from here. 2) Hearing and obedience is second. 3) Third is touch and contact (getting involved through action). 4) Eyesight is fourth, i.e. the thing is accomplished and can be “seen.” In this country we attempt to “see” clearly first; this is not possible because we cannot accurately predict, the result of our actions. Thus, we must have “faith” that our methods (actions) can give the desired result.
Grammatically, 1) the first step represents the goal being set, and it points toward the future, 2) the “you” (2nd person) is yourself as a listener to the voice of authority from a higher power, from the past, and 3) finally, when the task is accomplished, there is a “we” invoked, the group profits (if only in the sense of having tried) and is included in the benefits. Those having taken action may have been either hero or villain. In general, taking action moves from verb to verb in each step, as the verb is conjugated, completing the process.
From the standpoint of religion, the time perspective is introduced through 1) faith, which points toward the future and requires willingness to believe that our efforts can create the desired future, 2) the present in which we act, in terms of love for the group and doing good work, and finally, 3&4) hope that past methods (or desired states) can be re-established. Thus faith, love, and hope unify time in each single act, and in larger, epochal timespans as well.
9.Authority, God, is powerful only in the weak; we all alternate in feeling weak and strong from hour-to-hour or day-to-day. (p.23) This is important to understand because it describes how we change; to doubt ourselves at times prepares us to change. It is where creation begins, and always the beginning of the “new” needs incubation; change always puts the future in question. Thus the bringing to life (truth) of action, the realization of fruitfulness in action, is brought about by enacting these four stages in proper sequence. (p.25) Another aspect of this notion is that the validation of knowledge only occurs in experience ( with the uniting of commitment, experience, description, and analysis.)
10.To summarize, in terms of our sensory system, these four stages are smell, hearing, touch, and finally sight. We can concentrate on only one stage at a time and in this sequence if we are to understand the detail of our experience.. One becomes schizophrenic if one attempts to experience all four at once, as many seem to think they can do in society today. Understanding this ordering of events empowers people and is essential for empowering society.
1.We tend to abuse our senses of seeing and hearing, putting them out of a fruitful sequence FOR SOLVING OF SOCIAL PROBLEMS. In our scientific age today we tend to begin with analysis, with methods out of physics. The regeneration of people and of society is not a “scientific” process, except that scientific methods can be a small part of it at times. For instance, to judge someone by “seeing” only is to misconstrue their character. Rather to see them in action, over time, is to see them more truly, to understand their attitudes, their soul.
2.Upon death a person becomes super-human because he/she achieves life beyond, through the memory of friends. “That’s super-human.” (p.3/3)
ERH believed St.Paul suffers an undeserved reputation of misogyny; he admonished women to be quiet in church, to listen so as to learn to speak. Paul’s goal was to prepare women for a new role, of becoming speakers rather than only as wailers in church. (p.4)
Death is important to understand in order to give continuity to the times. Each generation is free to change, of course, but the beginning of change is first to learn what is necessity, and this must be handed down from the past generation. Therefore each generation is rightfully present at the death bed. The major question for us today is, what do we have in common with both parents and children? Of course it is the necessary principles to insure survival of the community, to be received from the past, and passed on to the next generation. Thus, “…if death is not conquered, or realized, or faced, there’s no hope. … “THE QUESTION FOR THE DAY IS, WHICH POWER ENABLES US TO ESTABLISH WHAT IS CALLED HISTORY, AND WHAT IS CALLED SOCIETY AND WHAT IS CALLED CONTINUITY?” (p.5)
3.ERH differentiates between man and animal in that man, in addition to basic animal senses, has an ability to “scent” present conditions. Here he tells the story of the biologist who believes that man takes 22 months to gestate, 9 months inside the womb of the mother and 13 months in the womb of language after birth. (p.7) He focuses on our ability to tell if something (group or cause) is alive or dead. MAN MUST FACE DEATH, in order to overcome it.
4.Our speech consists of three layers; names given us, the truth sought and finally, words we utter to communicate. Names are universal and international, therefore one third of all languages, are already international.
In another context, “Man’s common language begins when he names the dead (remembers heros, creates myths, etc.) and doesn’t forget them…” (p.10)
Three words are specialized: they are hope, love, and faith, which also unite times into one larger epoch. Hope builds on knowledge we have already touched, for a return to the past glory that we have shared with others. Faith is built on a return to invigorate a name, and love builds on motivating (empowering) us in the present to act in creating a future. (RF – this concept of unity is crucial throughout ERH’s thought, i.e. fragmentation leads to death, while unity leads to fruitful life within the community.)
5.To live only in the present, or past, or future is to lose touch with much of reality. The world is constantly changing around us; our reference points to finding our way must locate us in time and space at any moment. To do this we must constantly decide what will guide us best – consciousness, unconsciousness, looking to past knowledge, or present or future, looking inside (the group or our personal thoughts) or outside. We can never focus in all these directions at once, but one of these reference points, or some combination, will be our best guide to action in each instance that calls for a response.
6.A fundamental need for all humans is to be spoken to; no other action will indicate so much respect.
The world is never static; therefore all meaning derives from seeing any single event in the context of some movement. It is the same with architecture; a liveable home respects normal human movements reflecting a compatibility between them in the course of the life style it is designed for. “You should only build where movement has already been experienced in which form it should develop.” (p.19)
7.Tenets of human nature:
a.To speak to another is the highest show of respect.
b.Affluence is usually (almost always) a curse. It doesn’t give direction to the destiny of mankind, rather it gives only a superficial sense of the world, non-hearing, non-loving, self-indulgent.
c.Modern society will be wiped out if its goal is to enjoy itself. We were not put here to enjoy ourselves.
I have tried to tell you last time that to understand means to have the courage to stand under the impact of these four states of our own existence, to confess that we are in love and passionate (about some one, or some cause, or something), to confess that we hear orders and want to obey them, to confess that in order to obey, we have to join the company of saints, or of the soldiers, or of the professors, of the student–always joining in with others, always becoming social. No man can hear an order and end up alone. You cannot even become a nun without finding an abbess who will hear your vows. (p.20)
d.Mankind tends to want to see an unchanging world, during his life. That’s why the rationalist is the most annoying creature… he’s always the same type. (p.21)
e.The secret of human creativity is that we can become conscious of the stages of our development, and can thereby pass them on to the next generation. No animal can do this, and this quality rests on maintaining a vital language. Communication. Each of us has a biography, and only through language can we integrate our knowledge of these stages and thereby prepare the next generation to complete the creation for a future. We owe our present state to our predecessors, in part at least.
8.ERH makes a strong and important distinction between action and passion. He says today these terms are often confused as the same. Passion is the drive, but at times it may not at all mean action, it may mean listening, or waiting, or being obedient. Action, on the other hand, means to be in motion all the time.
9.When we love something or someone we must bring something to our love, and eventually, through the expression of action, change that which we love, (add something to it, improve it). Just as the love object changes you, you should seek to change it.
To act fruitfully is to carry through these four stages, to thereby change the community and, in the process, ourselves. It is always painful. It is not easy to change. Simply being alive extracts a high price.
Every human being is at every one moment in all four states, and that’s why we are deeply torn. Man is not a harmonious being. But only if these four situations are connected with other people, and they bear with us, can you ever find peace. Not in one of these states can you be all by yourself. And the problem of man is that he is not self-reliant. That’s the only thing he certainly is not. (p.27)
1/4Change is reflected in the action of speech, organically, and in our grammar: 1) In speech, listening and commitment, the experience, the narration and analysis require a different attitude of the soul. 2) Organically, seeing, hearing etc. are as described above. 3) In grammar the beginning is imperative, not rational and not based on memory. Getting through experience will often call for the lyrical, to reinforce our emotional state to “hang in there.”
Only when the job is done can analysis then be appropriate and anniversary celebrations can occur, reminding us always of what had become necessary.
This seems to go against our present penchant to begin with a goal. This paradox, it seems to me, is answered by suggesting that the goal must “feel” right, it must capture our imagination, and that is what is irrational.
2/4Time, in terms of sequence, is also important to the formula of change. Each stage must be recognized and acted on at the right time ( not mechanically determined), and never can they be contemplated all at once. Sight, for instance, is fleeting, and regeneration will take perhaps 30 years. Smell requires perhaps weeks.
3/4Another important point he makes is that significant projects which we begin will usually not be completed in our life-times. He pointed out that Jesus depended upon the apostles to complete his work. This is why institutions are created, to carry on an idea which cannot be completed within a life time, i.e. creating a great university for instance. TIME THEN BECOMES AN IMPORTANT REFERENCE AND ELEMENT TO UNIFICATION IN CHANGE.
4.ERH coins the four attitudes in terms of “verts:” introvert looks inside us for contemplation, extrovert looks at things outside us. If one looks toward the past one is a retrovert, and to the future, an ultravert. (p.7)
5.To be objective is to speak of dead things. “Dead things can be weighed and measured. Living things cannot. (p.8) To be subjective, is to express one’s unique opinion. To look into the future and create, one is “prejected” – the task is yet unfulfilled.
What we get from the past is trajected to us, bridged from the past – such as our language. THE AUTHORITY OF THE TEACHER IS BASED ON THIS POWER TO CONNECT ALL TIMES AND CONDENSE THEM INTO SPEECH, to pass on to the next generation, instilling it with life.
“If he doesn’t do this..he only teaches his own nonsense…it isn’t worth anything…he has no right to teach.” (p.10)
IT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING ONLY AN INDIVIDUAL OR BEING A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE WISDOM OF THE AGES.
6.For the student’s part, he/she must put themselves into the study, happiness has nothing to do with it; the corollary is that the student must be more than just a student, he must take his part in receiving the wisdom of the ages, gaining his authority and integrity by way of participating in the regeneration of life of the community.
that wisdom includes the four modes, that is, traject, preject, object and subject roles, past, future, present, inside and outside. In sum, the time and space elements of experience.
7.Another way of stating the difference between natural science and a science of society is that the natural scientist assumes all knowledge is available to him at all times. In society, if we are to be creative, to see anew and think anew, if we are to understand new conditions of our environment, there is knowledge we cannot know; primarily, this would be what we will commit ourselves to. Such knowledge is subjective and only available to us at the right time. This type of revelation is not predictable. (p.12)
Having had our experience, we may not understand it until a much later time. This type of understanding we cannot know until the right time.
Furthermore, the types of moods of knowledge – lyrical, dramatical, epochal, and analytical – also are a dimension of the stages of the process. To have the end point only is not to know how it was generated, and therefore, how it might be re-generated. At any one time we live at a different front of knowledge – forward, backward, inward or outward; each stage is a reference point telling us where we are along a journey of problem-solving. This is the only measurement possible in social science, as compared to numerical measurement in natural science.
Passing from one stage to another, we must be “transformed,” otherwise the stage cannot be accomplished.
William James defines scientific psychology, as the science of mental processes. What he meant was objectivity as the principle mode of thought.
“Such a narrow and fruitless view of the mind.” (p.13)
8.ERH defines the “soul” as that power to be transformed in the sense of changing from one stage or front to another. One literally becomes a different person. It is the power to change our consciousness. (p.14)
9.Regenerating community lies at the heart of our human-ness. To know we will die, but can conquer death by regenerating the community, is our “super-natural” ability. The animal kingdom achieves continuation by mere procreation, in which case their development is genetically determined. Human-ness means that our spirit can be made to live longer than our own lifetime, because it is carried on by the next generation. Spiritually and intellectually we become something new by this process.
The whole problem for every human being is to decide what is mortal and what is eternal…Every act or process that the divine creator expects to perform — peace among men, the building and settling of the cultivated area, the bringing up of animals or of children, the building of schools, whatever we do with the knowledge that this is what we are expected to do, runs though this gamut of command, of getting involved, of looking back and holding on and fast to it, and of saying one day, `It’s all over.’ (p.17)
10.When we are in one stage we are blind, deaf, and dumb to what goes on in other stages.
“Because we all change between moments of ecstasy and megalomania and moments of humiliation, and clumsiness, and blindness or deafness. I think this is the most important handicap today for any spread of spiritual unity among mankind.” (p.19)
11.The (natural) scientist believes that he must be guided by principles rather than by experience. For understanding sticks and stones, “principles” will suffice, but for society this doesn’t work in the same narrow, measurable, predictable sense. When we change our attitude, for instance, everything needs to be looked at anew, one needs to start all over again. Scientists have been unable to explain the source of their own creativity. Max Planck “began all over again,” as did Einstein. In a like way, to re-invent society, as we must do each generation, we must say that past knowledge isn’t good enough. (p.21)
1/5Other distinctions between natural and social science: natural science believes the past creates the present, and the present the future. IN SOCIAL SCIENCE THIS CANNOT BE, IF ONE IS TO REGENERATE COMMUNITY.
Mankind is stretched between past and future, and MUST CREATE A PRESENT. Creating a present means becoming conscious of and taking planned action toward some goal. What ERH means by this is that our present actions must be guided by what it takes to create the (social) future we wish. “The past and the future then form the present.” (p.2/5)
2/5He goes on about different parts of “time” in our lives. The part of time that seems most meaningful to us is that which is dictated by the future. Thus, if we love our work, the “present” has meaning to us and is fulfilling. The same with the historian, who must select topics relevant to building that future. Otherwise history is nothing more than a dead sequence of facts, meaningless. “That’s why history has to be rewritten every generation, because our future reveals itself as a changeling…” (p.3) New insights call for redefining the past.
3.The changing environment requires that knowledge also be regenerated. One is reminded of Whitehead’s famous aphorism, “Knowledge keeps like fish.” Each new age requires a new slant on knowledge (all knowledge), and therefore a changed curriculum in schools.
He points out that the seven liberal arts, (astronomy, music, geometry, arithmetic, logic, rhetoric and grammar) are all pre-Christian. The conception of knowledge had to change after the Greeks, as it must with any new age. Mathematics changed in the light of the new forces of Christianity. MOST OF ALL, CHRISTIANITY MEANT NEW MEANINGS FOR GRAMMAR (a higher grammar ERH later explains) – WHICH IS TO SAY, THE PURPOSE OF THE NEW GRAMMAR WAS TO RECOGNIZE HOW MAN MUST CHANGE, PULLED BETWEEN THE PAST AND THE FUTURE. THEREFORE THE NEW GRAMMAR MUST SPEAK ABOUT BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER, (past, present, and future) as a single unit of time.
The old grammar of the Greeks and Chaldeans saw grammar in terms of individual words and sentences. This new concept (Christianity) called for a super grammar. This was a new notion for mankind, that life was not an endless succession of repeated cycles. Therefore, if humans were to participate in the creation of their own future, reference points had to be created by which to gauge the progression (or retrogression) when it occurs.
This new grammar was necessary (is necessary) because Christian doctrine meant that we had to continue to learn from the past, and take from it what we needed in the light of new “futures” we conceived of. (p.4-7)
The alternative was to remain as simple animals, pushed about by natural forces. This may be what is meant (in part) by “go forth and conquer the earth,” THE CONQUEST IS MEANT TO MEAN, THAT OF SOCIETY RISING ABOVE THE ANIMAL STATE.
4.This whole idea of “change” was therefore codified by Christian doctrine – that man could change based on new insights and new demands, and a new vision of a possible future for society. Previous to this time, once a Jew, always a Jew, once a Roman, always a Roman, once a Greek, a slave, a nobleman – always. And that aspect of Christianity meant that all humanity was one family, which in turn required new learning and change. For one thing, we must mine the historical record to see the cause/effect of some aspect of behavior – as a starting point for renewal. And, since we cannot know what the future will hold, it must be lived by faith alone, that the change will be fruitful.
What has taken shape before can be seen and must be seen. And therefore, funny as it may sound, man can only go forward, as long as he also looks backward. (p.14)
5.Back to grammar. The basic forms of literature are drama, lyrics, epics, and narrative. Drama creates expectations, lyrics expresses emotion, epic looks at the facts, and narrative is analytical (concerned with states of mind). Thus we have the cross of reality, in that epic = past tense, lyric the subjective present, drama = imperative; this is the type of higher grammar, just as math changed from Euclidian to higher math with Einstein.
6.The Old Testament laid down laws of right and wrong, but Christianity says that since the environment changes each generation, those old laws must be re-interpreted each generation. In a smaller timespan, each decision we make calls for the same consideration, and this process adds to the meaning of the moral principle. (p.20)
7.ERH states several ethical rules which he derived from Christian principles. 1) We speak to ourselves, reflecting how we think of ourselves, 2) We are spoken to and respond to others speaking to us and, 3) Others speak of us outside our presence. These are three basic grammatical forces we live under.
No young person can know himself, but in our old age we can hope that all of these streams of speech are unified; this accomplishment should put us at peace with the world and should be our goal through life. (p.22) ERH points out other examples of grammatical living, i.e. to be loved and have loved, to find uniqueness and be a member of groups, demonstrating needed balance between singular and plural. In general, especially in “Speech and Reality,” he describes in great detail this method.
8.Finally, with reference to the need to regenerate ethical rules, ERH points out that DOING GOOD is a creation of the present. When this is done thoughtfully it takes imagination and cannot be determined by some absolute rule. In one instance murder may be necessary, in another it may be immoral. Shakespeare said, nothing is ever “good or evil”absolutely, it’s of the moment. A slap on the face may be in one instance an act of kindness or love, or in another of hatred and hurt; it all depends. THIS “RELATIVISM” IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT.
1.Culture has nothing to do with “countries” per se, but rather the process within a country of allowing time for processes to develop at their own speed. Observing the laws of growth, like wine aging.
China and Peru have a civilization, but when processes within the civilization are not given their time to evolve, such as dissent, or assent to a new principle like friendship or the healing of hurt, then the civilization sickens. “The Devil tells you, – you can have all your pleasures immediately and patience says you cannot.” (p.1)
2.For movements to be fruitful, one must wait and see if the idea is accepted by the grandchildren, who would also commit to it. We must understand that we are responsible for the future now, which requires conservation, maintaining the Constitution, reminding ourselves of how to treat the poor or our neighbor. Many seem to have forgotten such principles in this country. We are therefore obligated to insure (today) those things that must last into the future. A civilization that successfully achieves the goals of movements, will evolve “culture.”
3.Institutions, churches included, must not sacrifice the future for present fads, or conveniences, or pleasures. For instance, a popular fad of the day is an admonishment from psychologists to “be ourselves.” “We have a right to develop ourselves,” they say. Well, there is some truth to this no doubt, but then we also have an obligation to sacrifice for the future, for our children, for our country if called, to maintain the principles of law. “…all issues are religious, and the relation between man and wife is… of course the central issue of our faith.” (RF – I TAKE IT THAT THIS IS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE TRULY SACRED, WHAT IS CALLED “GOD’S WORK,” OF BEING A HERO, OF WHAT ALL SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH ARE INTENDED TO REMIND US OF, WHAT HOLIDAYS ARE INTENDED TO REMIND US OF.
4. …this earth is always in the throes of death, destruction, annihilation, extinction, drying-up, sterility, and decay. Death is upon us. And every generation has to create a larger humanity. …The power of peace between men is the power of conservation of the human race. And speech is the method by which this is constantly achieved. (p.5)
5.THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE PRINCIPLE OF SOCIAL UNITY: ERH asserts that during the 19th Century the individual was promoted as the atom of society, the indivisible unit. He points out that the individual can be torn apart. There is constant war unless there is peace (unity) between groups of people. And since the individual is created by speech, which in turn is generated in a community at peace, we must create peace. War represents the lack of speech between the parties. Thus, the atom of society must be the community!
6.He makes a distinction between secular thinking and religious thinking. Secular thinking is sociological (the individual is the social atom). Religious thinking requires that the social unit is community, and in community with God. Thus, with church thinking, “that which may not be divided” of society becomes the trinity between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that represents all of mankind. (p.9) (RF – THIS SEEMS TO BE ANOTHER DEFINITION OF THE TRINITY, UNIFYING THE GROUP, IN ADDITION TO UNIFYING KNOWLEDGE OVER TIME. Truth is determined when it can be passed on and acted upon over three generations.)
7.Peace is also to include the notion of mankind as the caretaker of nature, of the earth’s resources, of the environment.
8.Underpinning the seeking of truth is the need to learn from our experience. Describing this process in terms of changing relationships is reflected in grammatical names of roles and their meaning. Thus, the sequence of fruitful learning is: to receive a command (from the holy spirit that may also be described as “authority,” but always coming to us through other persons – e.g. through speech). This ERH calls “higher grammar” to distinguish the concepts from traditional grammar. 1) First comes the 2nd person (me) listening to the command. 2) “Me” the listener changes into an “I,” willing to do it (first person). Then the “I” working with others becomes a “we,” plural. “We” transforms the event into 3rd person, changing its role into one of objective observer, into an “it.”. “It has been accomplished.” (p.10)
9.The “I”, is an AUTHORITATIVE ROLE. Authority may be thought of in many forms, a cultural more, an expert in any field, a parent or president. BUT IT MUST BE REMEMBERED THAT BELOW THE LEVEL OF THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE, ALL AUTHORITY MUST BE UNDERSTOOD TO REPRESENT SOMETHING HIGHER THAN OURSELVES THAT WE AS INDIVIDUALS REPRESENT, i.e. the law, a profession, an accepted scientific principle or moral principle. Children, beyond a certain age will not pay attention to parents unless they understand the parents to be representative of something beyond themselves. “We are all either priests of the word, or we are nobodies.” We are never self-made, we must always receive from others in order to grow. SOMEONE ELSE ALWAYS CREATES US.
10.History is therefore not analysis (which is scientific, which cuts actual experience down to the bone of generalizations, omitting the unique.) History is the “we” part of the grammatical method; it tells the story of past experience, as narrative, an essential step in the process of finding truth.
11.ALL SPEECH IS METAPHORICAL (p.15) The visible hints at the invisible, “seeing with the eye of God,” or of Horus, etc. The invisible explains, and gives meaning to the visible. Thus, all speech is metaphor.
12.ERH provides another definition of God. (p.17) The creator of the universe is such a power that we cannot define it. Those things that cannot be defined are by definition living, if only through humans. God is life to us and therefore cannot be defined any more than the U.S. or England could be defined.
Only those things to which we are indifferent can be defined. An emotional relationship thus precludes defining. (RF – I will not try to summarize the next few pages which provide ERH’s logic of how God and ethics are superior to all our institutions explaining, that these institutions must recognize and bow to the authority that created them. I believe the text must be read directly.)
13.ERH points out that one of the great moral decisions we have to make is how much we must give (bow to) ourselves and our fellow men, and how much to conservation of the earth. One might put it similarly, how much to ourselves and how much to the community welfare?
14.A distinction between play and seriousness is paralleled as that between mere talk ( “the water is cold,”) and serious speech,( “we must come to agreement”). Serious issues cannot be controlled; they begin and end, but in between we only participate in a larger process we cannot control. Games and small talk can, by contrast, be under our control. (p.21)
In serious speech or real issues, we learn something (or should). Play is paid for in time consumed. serious issues are matters of life and death whereas, play can be practiced and mistakes corrected. Serious life cannot be erased once enacted; it can only be learned from and a new situation responded to.
15.There is a distinction also between thought and speech. Thought attempts to explain things logically, while speech tells the listener of the meaning, of the emotional commitment to the issue. Thus, tone in speech defies all rules of grammar. It reveals the spirit. ERH asserts that the Old Testament and Greek philosophy put thought above spirit. Christianity puts spirit ahead of thought.
17.Christianity, he asserts also, is embedded in the notion of one world, one unity, one creation.
…Christians of course had to emphasize that man is embedded in this one creation. There is no beyond. Christianity has never believed in what the children now are made to believe, and beyond outside this. God has created one Heaven and one earth, and not a second heaven and a third earth. And we are His children when we extend our power to breathe to our brethren and sisters. And then we are filled with the spirit and we can make peace in His name. (p.24)
17.Ultimately then our lives should be guided by a dedication to following the ways which will regenerate community, they should “emblemize” ethical behavior. Therefore, when we speak (true speech, that is):
We are transformed into conductors of this speech. And a good speaker, of course, trembles in his whole body when he speaks, and the listener can be made to tremble….The human being who speaks has to stand under his own word–it returns to him–and binds him to the future. (p.26)
18.When one speaks, then, he is committing himself to a new future for himself, he may have changed, – and by indirection, he speaks to mankind.