9 Ultimate Questions; 4
A. The following program was originally released in 1969. Nine ultimate questions a series of explorative talks citing contemporary perspective to the vast legacy of world philosophies with Dr. John Theobald. Love is the subject of this Fourth of nine ultimate questions. And in the future the subjects death beauty and God will be treated. Here is Dr. Theobald. What is love. And we should be keeping in mind especially the US the fourth and the fifth of the seven principles everything is special eternity is now and love is transpersonal also as always the seventh the divine self as a whole. And now for the brief silence. We have spoken of the self which is the same in you and me and the
sun in a grain of sand in the infinite depths of the sky. It is a mystery when you look out at the sky day or night you guessed that something mighty strange is going on. Unless you've acquired the habit of taking it all for granted you have the same feeling when you look up from the bottom of the sea from the roof of your house in a great city at night or lying in long grass where cicadas assert their eager little vibration. You're dimly aware that something is going on that you can't quite grasp but the point we've been making is that the clue to the whole modeless business and as we shall now see the clue to love is given if you look within it all has a self and it is the same self as your own. Be still and know that I am God. Why not be a verbal inspiration is about that why not take that literally. It means that God is no more at the center of everything that I am. Now it is this divine who is the serene agent of love. The lab being its signature and principal
occupation. The difficulty is as we've seen that few of us know what this is we confuse it with a personality which quickly becomes identified with the varieties of self aggrandizement with the protection of our identity as an individual who owns a house and a wife or husband. Eight thousand dollars a year. A right to vote a country is a philosophy and a religion. It's in fact difficult to say whether we use things are they own us whether we believe something because we have been convinced of its truth or because we have established ownership over this belief or to get it over us. Anyway once the identification with the object of craving has been made it cripples in us first the capacity to share compassionately in the sufferings of fellow human beings by which we share in the underlying unity which is love. And second the capacity for sheer delight in another's existence. Such as finds expression in shadows Ode to Joy as it explodes in Beethoven's night. So the identification with what
we destroy is both pity and love. Only a temporary blindness can keep us from seeing that the self in whom we live and move and have our being nothing. This Self is the origin of being and its nature has been named by our own scripture as love not us having love but as being love which is an important distinction. The lab we have like everything else that we have that we own is what we feel possessive of. And this to us. Perhaps the one we love is dying or has died. And like the woman who came to see Krishna Murti because her husband was dying. We have to be terribly hurt and upset if someone questions the real object of our love and suggests that the lab is less for the individual that we are losing than it is for the life and hopes and inward status that were built around him. Much of the beauty of the word dispensation under which we live derives from the
mutual dependence of love and death. What we call death neither of which could retain its meaning without the other because without the so-called death. Love would be stranded in a terminus monotonous stuck in a world with no passage to anything different from itself. And this wouldn't be at all good for love lost without love. Death wouldn't be any good at the end of life would be a full on accident like a foot crushing a beetle or a pane of glass the brakes a sparrow's neck. Worse because Jesus was quite right about what he called the father's involvement with the spout of the poles. Curious verse that are most frequently misquoted agreed best in the King James version of Matthew are not to spouse so for a farthing and one of them shall not fall to the ground without your father. Which more than suggest that something of the divine falls along with the sparrow. So naturally if there is an equivalence between God and all nothing is by him or it in us. The point Wordsworth makes the
point less theologically and one of the Lucy poems a slumber did my spirit seal. I had no human fears. She seemed a thing that could not feel the touch of earthly years. No emotion has she now. No force she needed to hear nor CVS rode around in Earth's diurnal course with rocks and stone and trees. Is this a cold poem do you think. It's not about a cozy one previous to the death of the one lab the lab's spirit is asleep to the possibility that she could ever do anything so in Congress as die. And this is of course the way it always is love being taken for granted. West then and what was it that awoke from this sleep. Why the fact that she is the one who is now asleep is now in it. And how does this inertness transpire in the poem by making the Spica and the run allowed to be both wrong around in the same motion. And what's the effect
of this strange communion. You'd have to say love transcendent. If the problem seems cold it is because it completely bypasses the self pity that passes for love. Love becomes in fact a sort of person in a big Oblivion which takes place only when the possessive self blanks out in order that love may transcend its personal subject Endace personal object. So what's left of it transcends both the subject and the object what's left. Just love which neither hears nor sees or hears beyond hearing sees beyond seeing makes possession itself fictitious and becomes definable as what God it is the final fact. But what is nothing in the first place what is it to love. Some languages have more than one word for all the emotions and conditions to which we apply this one word Greek especially which is you know has the widely diverging Eros and AG appear not to speak of the sort of dinners could be had by Philip Glass which is incorporated into so many of our words implying intellectual
love eros conveys desire most to sexual and Agathe is the word of that sustained lyrical effusion of definition 1 Corinthians 13 which says of it that it suffers long and is kind. But now Iraq certainly suffers and can be a more unkind and you know us we remember was a god. If we're bent on distinctions I think we'd do better to look toward the verse about peace seeking not its own. But this could scarcely be said of us. But although there are certain advantages to having these distinct tags for various shades of meaning. Still I am mostly glad that notwithstanding all these possibilities of confusion we and the Latin languages essentially have the one word love. I am a lot a May. The solitary word law suggests that some thing of lob remains the same whether it inclines more to desire or to devotion and when the lover says I
love you all even I adore you. He may be lying but not necessarily a lot of treason will begin any of it next time he said to her I love you. There were to anything in our remarks to make her say define it. It's hard to think what sort of love and adoration it could be that I would not lose its wings if totally bereft of desire. Shelly speaks of the desire out of the mouth of the star of the night for the morrow. The devotion to something a far from the sphere of our sorrow. This is no poetic Sophos tree how could the Lord of time have breathed upon the face of the waters if there had been no yearning. How could. Let there be light had been said. If something of what speaks in the leaves of the waves were not already present in the soul of what would be and if the idea of all this beauty were present but not yet manifest in that so how could the idea become manifest without desire. Desire must be in the seed to be a leaf in the chrysalis to be a mark and in the
boy to be a man. Life has so much pulsating energy the procreative impulse is an ecstasy. Even the shadows as an old May or a poem says screen the faintest faintest ray of light the entire chorus is bursting with desire. And yet the desire in us men appears as the root of evil It lies behind injustice and violence and deceit. If we can do results in jury or death to the person desired or to the desire who may suffer all the tortures of Othello or Antony if it is a woman this is sad of Macbeth if it is a throne or Coriolanus if it is his personal pride that's involved to desire and to be at the same time calm is to throw doubt on the strength and sincerity of the desires and that of others in the throes of desire I've always been represented designed happy and although in recent times they may seem to have handled themselves in a somewhat less melancholy
fashion than of old. One suspects that their frustrations have changed in style rather than intensity. So when the Buddha sat down under the bocce and vowed that he would not get up until he had found the way to enlightenment. It's small wonder that the second of the fourth so-called Four Noble Truths is that he rose up with should have been that human sorrow is due to desire to craving. We seem to have been an end to me as the philosopher say don't we on the one hand desire is the mainspring of creation a magnificent pulse and eagerness in all things and especially is this force the mainspring of love the one thing we all would say is good and on the other hand desire is inseparable from conflict disappointment torment and perpetual have to want what is different from the status quo is a continual confession that something is inherently wrong either with us or with the status quo.
I'm not sure that we can readily obvious solution to so huge a lemma without subtracting something from what seems to be the truth on either one side or the other. But perhaps the problem may become more realizable at least in the light of the following parable. As Christianity interpretes love I had a friend who sustained an unusually cruel mockery of his hopes all his working life as a minister of religion he had striven to sustain a wrong personal relationship with his flock and on Sunday mornings to make his sermons eloquent and exciting as well as helpful. He sincerely believed that he had consciously sekret many other ambitions to this ideal the ambition to make man a tool to be a successful author. And finally the ambition to retire from the world and pursue a life of unfettered prayer and meditation in which he might as he put it draw closer to God. His church wasn't it was not crowded
and this you attribute it to the fact that he avoided cheap appeals to popularity and insisted on remaining true to his unadulterated sense of vocation. So Sunday after Sunday he worked up his sermons. Unable to resist the feeling that they were considerable works of art the few parishioners who were personal friends assured him how wonderful these sermons were you felt a special concern for the young people of his church and it was these that he would shake hands with the most warmly as he stood at the door after the service. He became increasingly active with the youth groups. The project he was proudest of was a literary magazine entitled a bit self-conscious to perhaps just youth. This magazine was his own idea but he impressed it on his young contributors that all the stories an article poms were to be completely fit us the sky's the limit he told them and he was rather pleased that the very first issue contained somewhat bold nudes and also the words and music of an original rock n roll having no
recognizable connection certainly with the founder of Christianity. He had appointed as editor of a young business administration major at the City College who was quite irregular in his church attendance. But the minister was proud to have him belong to his congregation and all he was brisk and efficient with a. Sort of a no nonsense approach to life and literature. And he told this somewhat enigmatic young man not to consult him about what went into the magazine it's all yourn he said don't expect me to break down your neck. It was the fourth number of this magazine that crush my friend because it contained a description and a cock to himself as a distinctly ludicrous figure placing his lower crown on an ornate altar to himself. The hand behind the drawing was not kind of funny it was ugly funny. The victim repeated to me by heart and with a smile of suppressed anguish the caricature of his own Symon pair or ations with which this most of the skit concluded and
so my dearly and professionally beloved we should advance through bogs and boarding doesn't serve rhetoric to plant our frayed flag once a week on the abandoned slag heaps of love. And now may the Lord bless you and keep you. He looked up the light of his counterfeit countenance upon you and give you the peace of an unexamined life. Amen. I didn't know what to say he was crying as assassinations go I guess it was quite capable of performing though subtle like a meat axe. At least the anonymous author was something of a Deadeye Dick for the virtues that my poor friend felt entitled to pride himself on. And one by one he shot them down eloquence insight honesty mundanity. It was a bloody mess but she emerged as nothing but a fourth rate fake. How could this piece of mooching Monaco have a risen in his own adoring as he thought congregation and then won enough assent to our best indifference to permit is getting into print.
He kept shaking his head and saying in a subdued tone that must be some mistake I have no I have no hatchet man like this. And why do they print it. I said all those whose opinion you care about know it isn't true. He looked at me mournfully and said slowly. Something must be true. And then the voice changed by what had happened. How can I love them now. I suppose to say Father forgive them for they know not what they do but the whole thing is such a bad joke it isn't nice and simple like being spat at. And again I was stopped except to mutter. Guess it never is simple. He suddenly sprang to his feet his face working who was laying for me why. And then I can never preach again never never because I will never know I shall never meet them again. And he didn't. So he has fled this preacher fled away into the storm. He never writes to me now. The last I heard he was separated from his wife and children who were having a hard time. It seems he's managing some sort of precarious existence among the flower people.
Well I went into some detail in this sad fable. So we better make sure we understand it's bearing. It is a story which for me at least takes the quandary of love and desire out of the realm of the abstract and brings it to Earth in the fierce light of the neck pain such as life may be trusted to exert sooner or later on all of us. Quandaries of desire. Desire is the floral essence and it is the canker in the body. It's the pulse of the world's body that a key to beauty. And it is the future which consumes that body. Beauty is fatal flaw. Desire means victory and defeat because all victory in this world is trans into deceptive. Somehow the desire which affirms our unity with all men have become mixed up in my friend with a desire which asserts our separateness. If you'd really accepted the primacy of love he would have accepted the suffering to his egotism which goes with it. And perhaps if he had got up in the pulpit the
next send is that nothing at all it happened or better still invited his editor to dinner and part of a drink that just might have been quite a retraction in the next issue of youth and his own preaching without becoming less eloquent. Just might have been a little less easily padded. You now are always sympathising we know that certain things can be said and done that will rankle for a long time. Those are only unfair things that no one ever quite sets to rights or even if someone does correct them other things will happen of the same sort Life just is not such as we can rely on to give us a fair shake within the present lifetime. Certainly there were enemies that Jesus Himself had a hard time forgiving. If you ever really did. And they belong to the establishment too after all. The Pharisees were the recognized authorities in things spiritual. And yet Jesus called them some pretty hard names and never took it back I'm glad to say it was asked of the Father forgive them.
I can't think offhand of anything more withering than to add because they don't know what they're doing. What impresses one about Jesus is the way when the crowd became too much he went off by himself especially at the end and get 70 when he asked his disciples to leave him alone. I think that the capacity for what he called Love this unity beneath separateness really demands a lot of solitude. I very much doubt it good mixes really love their companions. They're still love the individuals whom they suspect of undermining them. These lonesome mixes are the people on whom a lack of solitude can and does work such total havoc especially on their capacity for love. Perhaps the real dove attains an altitude higher than the hazards of desire which feeds ravenously on human company of all sorts. Solitude is in any case the most neglected diet of the soul and should be compared not with luxuries but with staples like
bread sleep sex. It may be more essential than bread and water because if you object that without food and water death takes place. One could answer that what we supposed to be death never takes place as we will see. Then the next talk. Whereas lack of solitude could turn what survives the change of death into something scarcely worth talking or writing home about anyway. Meanwhile what happens to the food and sleep and sex when the world is too much with us. They can quickly go tasteless and palate just as when we are too much alone they can turn to either. In first case we may have the popular idols irregular movement from bed to bed till he or she dies drenched in the towel that ust episode all drowned in an eventful drink. And what of the second case the only ones who look for peace by amputating the heart. What about this psalm the bows regard their faces or God their lives then sometimes
it's clear that some but they are not transmitted rather by a more inclusive passion. But then again their hearts may atrophy. And if the set of it decides to marry perhaps St. Paul said it better to marry than to burn. In any case it is the nature of love not to submit to rules but to make those rules. I wrote the stricken parson a letter addressed to his folks I tried to make it brief and I don't know if it ever reached him. It I quoted the following whose source I've been able to trace coming and going all is pure illusion the sow never comes or goes where should be the place of its departing when all space is within the cell. When should be the time of its departing when all time is within the cell. I wanted also to ask him with the timeless and I quote. What is it that way awakens all this passion.
But this would sound as if I might have handled his difficulties any better than he did. Besides I figured he wouldn't care to listen to any more sevens anyway for all I knew he could be diffusing the purest love of humanity is somewhere at a level to which we have not attained. Which started me thinking one small for myself more than for him. How this dauntless love which we have equated with God death as form desire. Desire is in bondage. Love is not. Can you examine this for a minute. Does the feeling I WANT I WANT must necessarily arise from discontent must it not and this discontent must be a remembered thing. My memory is haunted by something I want to get rid of or or have more of. At its most miserable desire is an addiction. Admit it or not. I want this experience or this person and I am unable to discontinue wanting it or think I am stuck with it. Not so love. Love makes all things new from
moment to moment. It doesn't grab it desires to Paul. And then nothing can make it stop and need a distraction nor the others faltering nor change. Love is not love which alters when it alteration tightens or bends with the removal of it will know it is and ever fix it mark or in less colored words than Shakespeare's. If say out of pique or a spasm of hurt or or a well-founded bitterness will lead to say The heck with it. Be Another bus along shortly. Then we may justify this reaction by by justice by good tactics by psychological sound sense or anything else so long as we don't kid ourselves that it's a love love accepts all things including pain in the total good. Takes death itself in its stride. As for selfish love well that's a contradiction in terms. I expect many of you have read the novel called The idiot by Dostoevsky
dust Esky had observed that the heroes of Norse novels and plays got their glamour from their animal nature. He mentions toss toys constant reference to the strong teeth the brown skin and a Karen Ian. So does Joe excuse it himself. The problem of creating a hero whose attractiveness was spiritual and his answer was Prince Michigan who could charm a bird off a tree. And yet who has absolutely no thought for his own interest in short a saint. The novel contains a powerful scene in which the prince is compelled by two women to choose between them with one he is in love. The other is a harlot for whom he has deep compassion and she deals with whom he stays. Now strip away the misleading reversals and we have here a direct confrontation between the in the Law of Desire and a lot of similar to Christ but the Magdalen of the borders for the cause as an amber parlay.
Now the question is whether it is the same Miskin who looks at these two women. Is the self that is in human bondage. However tender and devoted. The same as the self for whom love is a pure gift with no strings attached. And if you ask what one smart is this second thing in Michigan which is so eccentric and sublime The answer must be the love of God. Love by God and love towards him. Which are in the end both the same we circle back to where this talk again because God you remember is the absolute self in whom we live in mall and live is the action vital to this selfless self for this self it is not possible to be selfish or to crave possession because this self is identical in all things all creatures all beings.
It embraces with love what is already its own. How could it be insulted by a skit in a magazine. How could it be impoverished by denial of men or betrayed by the false desire is life's energy. Oblivious of its source. In that self love returns to that source has it occurred to you that this is the cell that is playing each one of us. Think of an act in a tragedy as distinct from the character whose role that actress playing the character is quite trapped. What has been written in the play has him ineluctably in its grip. The actor is to play these unlucky deeds this this karma as they would say in India he has to play it to the top of his bent. He even without a trace of masochism takes a sort of joy in his pain let alone joy in the life abounding of the play.
Because his love is a skill in eliciting the most from what is given so he the player is Othello and at the same time he is not. I am sure that the great damages the Greeks and Shakespeare understood this mystic ambiguity and this is what gives meaning to the serene exhortation and so many of the closing scenes a calmness that sings in the very words when all the fury and hate engendered by desire is burned away. Works of art are of an infinite loneliness Ricker said. Only love can grasp and judge unfairly hold them. Hamlet absent from Felicity awhile and in this hot dog I breath in pain until I tell my story and need to patch it. She looks like sleep as she would take another Antony and her strong talk of grace. Julius Caesar Ripeness is all King Lear
will take upon us the mystery of things as if we were gods spies. I thought of himself a little earlier than the end. The sort I was most heaven Nay I think it's a guy who at the end of Faust. Best of all construes the action of this love in the strife of human hearts all things corruptible he says. But a parable Earth's insufficiency here finds fulfillment here. The ineffable winds life through love. This is the love that moves the sun and the other stars. You heard the fourth of nine ultimate questions with Dr John D about continuing his explorative talks into contemporary application of a vast legacy of the philosophies of man. Should you wish to communicate with Dr Theobald write to him in care of the Department of English. San Diego State College San Diego California 12:51 15 join us next time for the fifth of nine ultimate questions. Originally released in 1069 the program you've just heard is from the
- 9 Ultimate Questions
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