thumbnail of Listen to the land; Something beyond man
Transcript
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Listen to the land profile of a nation in terms of its living language. By sharing aloud the writings of our country past and present. We can come to a fuller appreciation of those things which are meaningful to us as Americans and perhaps of the nature of our role in the contemporary world. Listen to the land is produced by station w h y y Philadelphia under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Now with this week's programme subtitled something beyond man. Here is your host and narrator Richard S. Burdick. When I am over matched by petty cares and things of earth loom large and look to be of moment how it soothes and comforts me to step into the night and feel the
heirs of heaven find my cheek and best of all gaze up into those all uncharted seas where swim the stately planets such as these make mortal threat seem light and temporal. I muse on what of life may stir among those spaces knowing not of meats nor bars undreamed of dramas plain and out most stars and lyrics by archangels grandly songs I grow familiar with the solar runes and comprehend of worlds the mystic birth ring of Saturn Mars whose fashion apes the Earth and Jupiter the giant with his moons than dizzy with the unspeakable sights above rebuked by vast on VAST my puny heart is threatened for its transitory part. My trouble merged in wonder and in love. Those self-effacing lines the comfort of the stars by the American poet
Richard Burton set the theme of this week's program which as Jim Keeler has already told you is subtitled something beyond man. Recently many people not only here in America but throughout the world have awakened to a realisation that science and technology are not enough. But there is something beyond them that holds the key to man's existence. Each person has his own ideas as to just what theirs is. It's most common and durable name is God but it is not the purpose of this program to try to influence or to channel your particular belief whatever you personally choose to call it. It is difficult to live in a world of such complex and ingenious organization and not believe in something beyond that which we can see and feel and measure and weigh. For example Walt Whitman who lived from 1819 to 1892 has been called the father of American poet
poetry wrote both in prose and in poetry of things that he felt were beyond himself. There are some paragraphs taken from his book Specimen Days which reflect the consciousness of something in keeping with our theme. I write this 11 am sheltered under a dense oak by the bank where I've taken refuge from a sudden rain. I came down here we had sucky drizzles all the morning but an hour ago LOL. Well the daily and simple exercise I'm fond of do pull on that young hickory sapling out there this way and yield to its tough limber upright stem. How play to get into my old sin to lose some of its elastic fiber and clear sap. I hold on to Baal those are slender trees caressingly there in the sun and shade wrestle with their innocent stall witness and know the virtue of their of passes from them into me. But they're all pleasantly imprisoned here in the Big O the
rain dripping in the sky covered with leaden clouds. Nothing but the pond on one side in the other a spread of grass spotted with the milky blossoms of the wild carrot the sound of an ax wielded at some distant wood pile in this dull scene why am I so almost happy here and alone why would any intrusion even from people I like spoil the charm. But am I alone. Doubtless there comes a time. Perhaps it has come to me when one feels through his whole being and pronouncedly the emotional part that identity between himself subjectively and nature objectively which shelling and fictive are so fond of pressing how it is I know not by often realise a presence here in clear moods. I am certain of it and neither chemistry nor reasoning nor aesthetics will give the least explanation. All the past two summers it has been strengthening and nourishing my sick body and soul as
never before. So thanks invisible physician for the nice silent delicious medicine by day and night by waters and by heirs the oaks the grass trees even the weeds. Words from Walt Whitman. Many philosophers have said that one of the firmest proofs of man's superior dimensions as against mere animalistic existence is the ability to laugh. Mark Twain said that man shows a superiority over the animals by the fact that he can blush and that he needs to humor is provoked by a variety of sources we don't for example usually expect to find humor in prayer. In fact it probably never is intended. But I came upon one by a certain Reverend Mr. Rosencrantz recounted by Walter de Edmonds from the period of 1777 and
his book drums along the Mohawk. There were no newspapers or bulletins in the towns of that era. People went to church as much to learn the latest news and gossip as to be saved and a preacher know that to hold his congregation he must give them something to talk about on the way home. Hell and damnation didn't get far when followed by a good Sunday dinner. So there is a typical prayer the one delivered in a New York State village one Sunday in 1777 by the Rev. Mr. Rosencrantz. Although mighty hear us we beseech Thee and ser our prayers and bring succor and guidance and consolation according to the needs of those we are about to bring to the divine notice we are thinking right now of Mary Mark Wahlberg. She is just 15 years old but she is going with one of the soldiers at Fort they can be as a Massachusetts man Laud. And it has come to my attention that he has married in the town of Hingham. I have her mother and father talk to her I have talked to her
myself but she won't pay attention. We ask if I help and bring her back to the path of virtue from which we believe she has strayed already far. Oh Almighty you have brought us an early spring. Keep off the frosts until the fruit has sucked the apple trees are starting to bloom and the English Cod learn Nicolas Herkimer is grafted onto his Indian apple tree has bloomed this year may it bear fruit. It is a wonderful example of the highways and worth going out to see and Nicolas Herkimer will show it to anybody who cares to come out to look at it. Also we return thanks for the good lambing we have had this year particularly Joe Ballenger who has had 11 couples lammed from his 12 use which is a record in this county. Although almighty we ask my compassion and aid for all of us who are in sickness. We asked for Petey Perez who got the
flux real bad on Saturday. Is Uncle Isaac Parris sent the news up to us and asks our prayers and says he has got a new supply of merchandise calicoes broad cloths French Reds fancy anchor chairs some new apps and heavy boots. Sides and grindstone prices as always remain reasonable. Oh a large dot of bottles come to our aid we beseech thee hear the prayers of thy people gathered here before thee. Bring them aid against the British. It surely looks like war was coming on us directly. Oh Lord we ask only to be allowed to lead our lives here in peace and fruitful cultivation of the land. It will be a muster at 8 o'clock sharp Monday morning everybody please be prompt in the name of the Savior. Amen. There was a man named Thomas Payne an Englishman who came to America in 1774 at the age of 37. He was a man
whose writings above all others ignited in the people of this country the flame of the revolution. Tom Paine wrote a series of pamphlets under the headings of common sense and the crisis in the crisis you'll find eight of the most famous words ever written by an American native were transplanted there as follows. These are the times that try men's souls. Here is one of the paragraphs that follows those words and the words in this paragraph certainly are grounded in a belief in something beyond man. These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier in the sunshine patriot will in this crisis shrink from the service of their country. But he that stands at Nol deserves the love and thanks of man and woman tyranny like Hell is not easily conquered
yet we have this consolation with us that the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap we esteem too likely it is dear knows only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods and it will be strange indeed of so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. Britain with an army to enforce their tyranny has declared that she has a right not only to tax but to bind us in all cases whatsoever and of being bound in that manner is not slavery then there is not such a thing as slavery upon the earth. Even the expression is impious was so Unlimited a power can belong only to God. In his book Triumph over odds published by dual Sloan and pairs J Donal Adams writes in an introduction to two selections from books by Colonel Charles a Lindbergh.
There is little need for me to appear in my eyes here the story of one of the most famous men of our time at the age of twenty five he electrified the world by his lone flight across the Atlantic. The rather inarticulate boy who had won the world's affection and admiration has in the intervening years developed into a thoughtful and eloquent writer with a keen awareness of man's spiritual needs in the midst of his technological triumphs. The man who did so much to advance the cause of avocation has come to the point where he can even question the desirability of man's increasing conquest of the air unless his moral strength and wisdom can match his technical achievement. The following excerpt entitled back from the border of death is taken from Lindbergh book of flight and Life published by Charles Scribner's and sons. 40000 feet and still climbing. I am running an ignition breakdown test on the
engine of a thunderbolt fighter research and a higher air as a relief from my wartime routine of conferences production lines and Bomber shakedown flights under one wing and off shaded patch in the great gold of Earth. Is the city of Detroit under the other slightly hazed by smoke lies Toledo the farm of Michigan presses flat against the grey waters of Lake Huron to the eastward Canada and Lake Erie merge into five while a dim band on the western horizon marks Wisconsin's shore almost lost in the expanse of land and water requiring a careful search of the eyes to locate them. Find parallel and intersecting lines on a postage stamp size field are actually the mile long runways of Willow Run 8000 feet closer to Earth. Edging a thin veil of cirrus cloud an angular vapor trail shows where my ascending fighter has pierced the crystalline sky. Temperature Gauge registers 55 degrees below zero outside my cockpit.
At 41000 feet I level offset the trim tabs and adjust the turbo must hold 5 minutes of level flight while the plane engines settle down to normal readings. The oil temperature is at the peg again Miles probably foaming out of the vent. I'll add Jenny about that up here. I'll let it phone as long as the pressure holds but I don't need another cleaning job for the Ground Zero. They just as in enough air above 40000 feet to keep an arc 28 hundred engine cool. So I try radio contact with the tower. Yeah not much use at this altitude perceptions batting with the thinness of atmosphere the best you can do is a word to a breath. Still they'd probably like to hear from me. I must try to get each words last syllable formed before my lungs run out of air. I press the mike button Willow Run over. For a.
Harmony. 6. 0. 3 8. HOOVER You don't speak you pad out words at high altitude. I turn up the volume control a maximum of voice replies in my earphones but the words don't come through. It's for me all right. Maybe they can hear better. I repeat my position and altitude. There are more jumbled noises in my earphones. I don't know how much of the message they're received. I'm not going to send it again my head's already swimming slightly from the effort and it's time to take instrument readings. Airspeed manifold pressure engine RPM careful ones mind doesn't work as clearly at altitude and each finger has got to go right in the box on the log sheet. Oil
pressure fuel pressure. There goes the rate of climb needle. Left rudder level up wing and nose watch the turbo speed. These fighters balance on a pin point at high altitude cylinder head temperatures base temperatures carburetor air the engines a little rough on the left magnet on ambient. Smooth on each mag pressurized. Pretty good results for the new distributor heads. I might make forty three thousand feet just. All goes well until test run and reading ratings log I start to descend then at 36000 feet something happens to clarity of air the pulse of life perception of I. I grow aware of that vagueness of mind and emptiness of breath which warn a pilot of serious lack of oxygen. I force myself to alertness. I must think or die. The idea lashes brain and body like a ball of a whip a mask leaking. I shove it up with my left hand tight against my
face of oxygen. A glance of the gauge shows 50 pounds and something must be wrong with the oxygen system. I know from the altitude chamber experience that I have about 15 seconds of consciousness left at this altitude. Neither time nor clearness of mind to check hoses and connections. Life demands oxygen and the only sure supply lies for miles beneath me. I shove the stick for the earth slants upward in the dive begins 35000 feet to 34000. My cockpit roars through the air the earth fades up the instrument dials dark and breaths then lungs empty. I'm blacking out losing sight. I push the nose down farther. Faster. Thirty three thousand. Thirty thousand. The dials become meaningless. Dolly. Doll I'm dimly aware of a great
shriek as though a steam whistle were blowing near my ears compressibility dive. I'm not thinking about invisibility. It's oxygen I need. I'm blind. I can't see the needles. There are no more seconds left it's a razor edge a race between decreasing consciousness and increasing density of air. Seventeen thousand. Sixteen thousand. Fifteen thousand light needle moves over white figures. It's the altimeter. I can see. I'm reading its dial again. I'm aware of the cockpit. The plane. The earth. The sky. I've already begun to pull out of the dive. The stick is free. The nose rising. The seat pressing against me.
The air in my lungs has substance perception floods through nerve and tissue how clear the sky is above me how wonderful the earth below its villages and farms its forests lakes and fields they seem a part of me not distant as before I'm no longer confined to my cockpit no longer imprisoned by plane or body. I become a part of all things feeling them being them as well as seeing them through my eyes. What could be more desired than the pure joy of existence the beauty of planet sun and space. How could I have been so blinded by instrument panels dials and figures of false material values are how trivial human problems simply to appreciate is more important than any material accomplishment of man. Returning from the border of death always makes one more aware
of life. Relationships take on a higher value when the senses penetrate to new depths with new perspective. I brought life rather than airplane back to ground my fighter was only a method of carrying it. The rows of camouflaged bombers in the line of huge brick hangers I taxied past seem unimportant. The flight report was a rule sheet of paper to be filled in quickly. The mechanic told me that my pressure gauge read fifty pounds too high I carried no news. Then the oxygen tank can simply run empty at 36000 feet. That had caused all my trouble a quarter inch error of a needle. I felt a sudden revulsion for such details and impatience with needles instruments and readings. What fools men were to impress their minds and slave their bodies with figures and machines. When life lay everywhere around them free for the taking and perceived. My office was at the opposite end of the factory from the airfield. As I drove
back the great door of an assembly line opened and a four engine bomber rode out onto the concrete apron behind it stretching as far as the eye could see were dozens of uncompleted bombers. A few hours before I would have viewed this production line as a marvelous feat of engineering I would have felt proud of even the small part I had taken and bringing it into being. Now it seemed a terrible giants womb rolling clanging giving birth to robots which were killing people by the thousands each day as they destroyed the culture of Europe inside crawling over jigs and wings like ants with thousands of men and women sacrificing sunlit hours home and family shop and farm to serve this hellish monster. This was a temple of the god of science at which we moderns worshiped. Here was the power of the efficiency that a superhuman magic of which we had dreamed only two years before on the same spot. I would have been surrounded by hickories and
maples and oaks. Scientific man could now touch a forest in Michigan with his wand and by doing so wipe out European cities in temples such as this the western world is prostrating itself in peace and war for what. For material possessions for speed for power some home man must be made to see that science was hypnotising in with its machines dulling his senses with its knowledge destroying his culture with its bombs. How blind we were how time and space misled our eyes. Here I watched a steel door lift and an airplane rolled outside while in reality the walls of a cathedral fell and children died. Why squander life slaving in factories gathering technical data building planes to fly faster and higher. Why risk death for a thousand feet of height or 10 extra miles an hour. How can we further human progress by striving for such
scientific goals when the very concentration on them blinded us to higher values mocked the brotherhood of man shielded us from God. This altitude flight will run talk me that in worshipping science man gains power but loses the quality of life. Well eloquent words indeed from the shy and once inarticulate flier nicknamed by an adoring country Lucky Lindy. Charles Laughton the leading oral reader of our day has said that during his naturalization proceeding while the judge was preparing to administer the oath of allegiance he locked and kept thinking to himself that he was about to become a citizen of Thomas Wolf's fabulous country.
That's the impact will had on him. Wilson novels McComb an angel of time in the river the web and the rock you can't go home again. EXPRESS A fervent sense of American life. Its range and richness its vast pride and intemperate gusto. Its unhappy adolescent yearnings and insatiable appetite. And yet wealth could be concise trenchantly eloquent when the mood was upon him. As for example here in a few brief words among the most famous and most often quoted I guess of wolves. Poetic writings and therefore they must be included in a program such as this in which he states his sense of an awareness of something beyond man man's yearning to find the answer for example to his destiny and birthright. A stone a leaf an unfound door
of a stone a leaf a door and of all the forgotten faces naked and alone. We came into exile in her dark womb. We did not know our mother's face from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth. Which of us has known his brother. Which of us has looked into his father's heart. Which of us has not remained forever prison pen. Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone. Oh waste of loss in the HOC mazes lost among bright stars on this most weary and bright cinder last remembering speechlessly we seek the great foreign language the lost lane and into heaven a stone a leaf and unfound door.
In his final novel you can't go home again sometimes called his best novel the most wealth foresaw his own death tragically realised not long after. Here again he leaves no doubt of his sense of something beyond man when he says something has spoken to me in the night. Burning the tapers of the waning year something has spoken in the night and told me I shall die. I know not where saying to lose the earth you know for greater knowing to lose the life you have. For greater life to leave the friends you love for a greater loving to find a land more kind than home more large than Earth where on the pillows of this earth are founded toward which the conscience of the world is tending. A wind is rising and the rivers flow.
And so we have listened to the lines and words that express man's consciousness of something beyond the land and beyond himself. Particularly in these days of international strife and strain. Well there is the question of the very continuity of civilization itself. It is natural that we should look to the unknown for comfort and reassurance. We might take is our theme for this feeling. Stephen Crane's poem entitled simply hymn a slant of sun and dull brown walls a forgotten sky of bashful blue toward God a mighty him a song of collisions and cries rumbling wheels hoof beats bells welcomes farewells love calls final moans voices of joy idiocy warning despair the unknown appeals of brutes the chanting of flowers the screams of the trees the senseless babble of hens and wise men a cluttered incoherency that says to the stiles Oh God save us.
Please note: This content is only available at GBH and the Library of Congress, either due to copyright restrictions or because this content has not yet been reviewed for copyright or privacy issues. For information about on location research, click here.
Series
Listen to the land
Episode
Something beyond man
Producing Organization
WHYY (Radio station : Philadelphia, Pa.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
AAPB ID
cpb-aacip/500-dj58hx5h
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-dj58hx5h).
Description
Episode Description
This program focuses on American writings that look for "something beyond man."
Other Description
America's literary heritage is explored through readings of short stories, poems, folklore, journalism and legends. The series is narrated by Richard S. Burdick.
Broadcast Date
1960-11-15
Topics
Literature
Media type
Sound
Duration
00:29:24
Credits
Announcer: Keeler, James
Host: Burdick, Richard S.
Producing Organization: WHYY (Radio station : Philadelphia, Pa.)
Writer: Schmidt, Karl
Writer: Voegeli, Don
Writer: Reed, Tom
Writer: Eitzen, Lee
Writer: Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892
Writer: Adams, J. Donald (James Donald), 1891-1968
Writer: Crane, Stephen, 1871-1900
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-54-12 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:21
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Citations
Chicago: “Listen to the land; Something beyond man,” 1960-11-15, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 29, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-dj58hx5h.
MLA: “Listen to the land; Something beyond man.” 1960-11-15. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 29, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-dj58hx5h>.
APA: Listen to the land; Something beyond man. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-dj58hx5h