thumbnail of 9 Ultimate Questions; 9
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
The following the following program was originally released in 1969. Nine ultimate questions a series of explorative talks set in contemporary perspective to the vast legacy of world philosophies with Dr. John fee involved. We've come full circle this is the ninth of nine ultimate questions. What then should we do. This is tossed a question of course. The title of the small book which he flung out is the challenge of the naked literal gospel. To the complications and aviation's of Christianity. He not only wrote the book but made a formidable attempt to live it. Giving away all his property and much to the dismay of his family identifying himself even to his food and clothing and dwelling conditions with the moujiks of Slavic serfdom the old Russian allying himself with the young Gandhi at the other end of the world. In the war against violence through the systematic practice of harmlessness
What are they going to do about it. Or as the smug wife says to the disgruntled husband in the recent Stan hunt too. Why don't you stop griping and do something about strikes. Poverty slums drugs overpopulation inflation pollution and traffic congestion. This is the chips down American question isn't it. Its pragmatism is payoff. It's that without which we are apt to view all the other questions as words words words. It is the question with which as the enemy of me it is fitting to try our week to a pause of silence. That has been our custom is a token silence and now the words continue. If in this world you have said something you almost always feel bound to say something else in order to confirm or modify what you just said. If for example you say I see the ocean. You've said nothing overtly about what is beneath the surface
of the ocean or in the ad about it or about what was the situation before there was an ocean or will be after all how or why as we asked in what is beauty talk. Oxygen and Hydrogen continue to form that which reflects the stars and which is so satisfactory to swim in. You see you have begun to ask questions as we have been doing these talks. Only our questions have been about the ocean of existence. I have not been taught modest in this scope. We began by asking about a question passed you remember in an effort to put our present religious power in its historical context. Although if you're willing to change it all the hallmarks of what is supposed to be a religion why ours might not turn out to be quite so pale after all. Something else we ought to find a chance to look at this once more before we sign off. Then we asked What is Man man who to all appearances rules the world but understands himself so little. Who has affected just about everything except the stars and even of them he is the
only known Masha. What is man's self we asked next. That bottomless question. What is this mysterious mirror. If we glimpse that secret we were in and ready for the rest what is love. But as with that final self that true love operates what is death for and that final self it is that death is cradled. What is beauty and meaning. Charged With love the vision of beauty becoming most radiant when anguish is reconciled in the final self what is peace. The result in action of the true nature of the self. But when the link is broken with that self there is no peace everything flies apart and personal misery and mass violence. Can we prevent that chaos. And if so how. So when we come to the climactic question of what was supposed to do about all this we ought to expect it only for symmetry sake that we should turn to the south again to tell us and we
do we do. It's all written there on us so heard about by all that happens to the vehicle of the self that it's hard to listen to the still small voice of the self itself. The first thing is to be there is still or we never will be able to read and construed this cryptic world still enough to let the confused sounds come together and communicate like music still as when you have just disconnected the babble of the television and glance out of the window at the sun setting through the unwinding the eaves of the tree being wiser than the present speaker you will arrange to be still like that full part of every day. Also perhaps under the stars. Not that hard to find in us the smog. Preferably the last thing before going to bed. I don't know why those unimaginable distances helped the discovery of the self but I believe they do.
Perhaps they contribute to the shattering of the customer's self that we take for granted and so become allies in the mental fight every day to defend the first of those seven principles which we announced at the beginning as lying at the base of all talks take nothing for granted. Besides which the stars are the guardians of peace in a world of ever mounting pressures because Robert Louis Stevenson is right. We're in such haste to be doing to be writing to be gathering give to make our voice orderable a moment in the derisive silence of the tendency that we forget that one thing of which these are but the pot namely to live to sit still and contemplate to be everything and everywhere in sympathy and yet content to remain where we are. Is not this to know both wisdom and virtue and to dwell with happiness. The pressure is mounting All right the wonder is that the nervous system doesn't crack more often Heaven knows as things stand. Control is not showing a marked increase of
stability. So many of us seem perfectly equable who nevertheless take a nosedive. Well sometimes that to wonder how safe are the rest of us that the little men in white have not yet come fall. The danger is largely a douceur is since what we call sanity is itself the description of what the great majority are content to think is sane so sadly it is little better than a name for the prevailing conception of the norm. We could we could like the Gadarene swine in our own scripture be rushing down a steep slope into the sea and still feel the cheerful confidence that the only one who was mad or as we say sick was the one grazing peacefully on the hall. Humanity as a whole has never behaved well and portions of humanity of course worse than others. Tribal friends is seize the mind of millions with more or less intensity and then the individual must only do the best he can not to be swept away by the impetus of mass passion as past a new motto stood against the Nazi party
or do his best not to allow his creative Flash to be numbed by the general indifference or ineptitude as the composer personnel gave forth great works alone at a mostly unmusical England. Or conduct and achievement are occasional and recede that impress and valuation from a shifting currency whilst beauty remains beauty and the good remains the good. Nevertheless and whatever the context of conduct may be what Stevenson calls wisdom of the Jew is essentially an individual thing. Myself alone with my capital s self. Whatever may impinge whether I'm hoisted on the back of the Bitch Goddess success or disgrace by fate whether for richer or poorer in sickness or health whether it's quiet or noisy alone or with one's love up against the mob or merely milled around by same. But just as we saw that there's no such thing as beauty in the abstract. Or a
rock that isn't thought about so there's no such thing as sin or virtue in vacuo. Think how ugly something so beautiful as a kiss could be when Judas used it and unpleasant as it is to cut off people's is how much more admirable it was than the kiss on that same occasion when a certain one that was with Jesus hacked off the ear of the High Priest seventh who came to arrest him. In fact I wonder if there is a single crime which may not in its time and place be about you or the other way around. Isn't it true in general don't you think that the most food proof righteousness taken canned out of the refrigerator is less loudly than the impulsive enthusiasm that falls on its face. Don't you think that prudence and Blakes shucking saying can be a rich ugly old maid courted by incapacity and that to quote him again. It's an energy that we find eternal delight. Oh the good is the good. But you have to know how to see through his
disguises. Eighteen hundred years late in the day Blake may have been the very first to grasp the true nature of the modern revolution affected by Christ who reduced the Ten Commandments to two you remember I love God and my neighbor as myself and for whom those two were neither prohibitions nor even prescriptions but descriptions of a certain kind of enthusiasm a pretty subversive guide one which gave great offense to the Guardians of the law and the prophets. Blake seized upon what was most iconic plastic in Christ's eventual and especially in a prime called the everlasting Gospel stripping away the pot to stick disguises to which it has been subjected he crystallized the revolution in a series of paradoxes which were both violent and true. Was Jesus gentle or did he give any marks of gentility when he ran away and left his penance and dismay. He cussed the scribe in fantasy trampling down hypocrisy. Was Jesus humble. Or did he give any proofs of
humility. I was standing by when Jesus died what I call humility they call pride he did not die with a question he is asking pardon of his enemies. If he had Caiaphas would forgive sneaking into submission and can always live. This is the race that Jesus ran. Humble to god whole to a man cursing the rulers before the people and when he humbled himself to God then descended the cruel rod. If humble as thyself the humblest me thou also dwells to eternity Valot A Man God is no more by own humanity into a dull fall that is my spirit of life. Just one after another takes the shoe is commonly attributed to Jesus and shows that Jesus denied and defied them all and finally comes to the woman taken in adultery says was Jesus chaste or did he give any lessons of chastity. What was the dialogue. Let me see it wasn't love or Doc deceit. They may call a shaman send love's temple that God what of him and hide in secret hidden
shrine the naked human form divine and grand. That's a lawless thing on which the so extends its wing and apply mans I am sure this Jesus will not do either for Englishman or Jew. Now why the English man and Americans Jews all want to have oral fall short of the glory of this impetuous model like Othello when he first works on stage and says the night broad was put up to a bright soldier The dew will rust them and the old that a prop to shade the swords. Jesus also invariably made his presence felt at once he spoke and speaks with authority and not as the scribes so it's not that his authority is lacking. No the difficulty is not his authority the difficulty is otherwise and I think it is twofold. First when in his lifetime they felt this authority. It didn't do them any good because they didn't know what he was talking about and they still don't
to know what Jesus was talking about requests an imagination you know a virtue which is that it closely akin to love. People knew in theory how to behave both before and after Jesus arrived on the scene but this didn't do them much good because there was nothing to give flesh and blood to the basic conjunctions love of God and by neighbor do you want to be loved by your neighbor because he has been told to love you. Sounds almost as bad as the holier than thou strangers praying for thee without asking by permission. Love is either joy or pain in the neck and joy though it doesn't require brains does require imagination. Jesus himself had trouble with people over this. When a woman of dubious reputation broke a bottle of perfume over his feet. You remember I came into the raised eyebrows department as it probably would still. And how about that time when he came across his disciples wrangling over who would sit on his left and on his right in the kingdom about whose true character they hadn't the foggiest notion of to snus the abyss adjusted after his death and was responsible for many subsequent
distortions to which his life and teaching have been subjected. If the first difficulty has been lack of imagination the second has been lack of integrity. Key virtue not only of the Sermon on the mount but of the gate the Dhammapada the Koran. You might say all the world's most precious scriptures. Knowing how to behave is useless without the detail that gives warm shape color and movement to action. The most praiseworthy intentions in the world may be and are undermined by credibility gap. Here again Jesus Himself had an uncomfortable way of calling people's bluff. Not just the Pharisees but the people that he like to such as the rich young ruler to whom he suggested that he should give away all his money. Already busy busy homie compassion and favor bit to his sister more especially the people closest to him his disciples to whom he served notice with devastating shrewdness that one of them would deny him three times another betray him for a bounty. That you have a loaded symbol
if ever there was one. How about unconscious on the part of the evangelists who recorded it for Christians had been betraying Christ and denying his teaching ever since from the second century through to the twentieth. I mean the professing ones and that's why people especially youth are getting sick of Christianity which considered as an institution is about headed. Why the two chief enemies of Christ which we have repeatedly seen to be hypocrisy and pride stood in control of affairs among professing Christians who mouth feed my lambs and sic the cops onto the black ones in the name of justice who intoned verses about giving away their cloak and wouldn't give away a dime except to build a bigger vestry and then the organization will see to it that they give away plenty who get in up to the neck in a gospel of drastic nonviolence and froth at the mouth about unwashed un-American peaceniks away posters while the boy is a die. Read patriot for zealot and how good a patriot was Jesus.
Oh come to that how often do you get a chance take a bus and there isn't a Galilee. I mean the inconsistence is a so huge and sickening that just won't bear looking into. We could stand it a little better at those most responsible for conducting the live well less vocal in promoting it. But it seems possum ending and so more and more serious ex church members are going to work outside the food and what preserves the impetus of the lie. Well you know the church itself should have placed its finger on the answer by giving priority to pride at the top of the seven deadly sins personal pride national pride human pride hubris as the Greeks called it all ugly as hell. Directly we see pride as it is the condition behind the Representing of our actions as conforming with what those actions contradict is what is called being stuck on ourselves and so we're stuck. Whatever happens we must prepare to face to meet the faces that we meet. And that of course nothing
must happen to enjoy that precious image in other's eyes. And so nothing must be allowed to happen to injure it in our own eyes either. You must have noticed that the more public the morality is the more hypocritical it is. Johnny Carson of The Tonight Show recently complained that it's perfectly OK to kill somebody on television so long as you don't say damage or strike your victim down. There's nothing the matter with callousness cruelty mischievousness. So I was accompanied by a suitably antiseptic process stations a philanthropy reconstruction or the conferring of freedom in our own image. The more feared and hated that freedom the more essential to progress. And all this falsity and pride arises from the same thing. The delusion of the self enclosed within what Mr. Alan Watts aptly labels the bag of skin. Once it's seen that the entire universe is a single beautifully articulated consciousness from which no man is in any way separated then your life is no longer either
chocking us or subject to the boss it is an ABA tree dogma. But now the start of every wandering BOC a supreme fact to which everything can be referred. We hear ourselves saying by God now I know what I am. It results of meaninglessness slips into place. Why didn't we see it before. Or the great words begin to find that depth ya members one of another. Thou shalt see all things end by hot and thou shalt see thy heart in me. The being who is in the lightning and at the same time in the hot him. Have I meditated upon as Brahman love thy neighbor as thyself. How easy now to reconvert those holy words from colored metaphors drenched in the odor of sanctity to the plain statements of truth that they always were. I mean now everything comes together makes sense. Like the thematic components of a piece of music or the lines and colors of the visual
masterpiece or the formula for the relation of the speed of light to the space that it traverses such. Now suddenly if they hit the two in comprehensible head it was them of the same age relative to the behavior of the Ching galaxy what an incomparable satisfaction it is to see a principle of coherence to have found as the clue. After all the only reason why we resent and resist the sense of beauty is that we see no absolute ground for it. So the duty is unprincipled. The only reason why we conceive the daughter of the voice of God as a rich ugly old maid is that we mistake it for somebody else. If she would read it is so formidable No wonder the courtship is so often disfigured by masochistic perversity is that true against the grain where such a mere gross expression why should it ever beloved. Well what are we then saying. We who give talks on the radio are fortunate
enough to be on intimate terms with this lady who tells us what we should do. Too bad for the rest of you who don't know her so well. It's that you have all known as long as you can remember the four you can remember. It's a knowledge that belongs to those first affections those shadowy recollections which be they rock they may get the thumbs and bite of all day. I guess I'm M. Night of all seeing a poultice cherish and have part to make on noisy seeme moments in the being of the eternal silence the first such encounter that you remember may have been one day when you were six. Stooping to tap a shoe lace and consciousness stepped back about one yard instead of watching the shoe. Watch the watch and then the watch of that and then as you glanced up and listened to the strange stillness surrounding a tree there was the momentary doubt as to which was which the trail you.
So what is all this to do with what we are supposed to do about it. Well perhaps everything you know. Think first of the moment most closely resembling such a time of sudden awareness as I've just described. You may have been quite a bit older than six. Love may have triggered it all. Mountain climbing. All pain. OK amping out. Being woken just before dawn by the chilling of the ashes of the fire looking up at the padded stars one by one vanishing. Hearing the earliest charm of half awakened goods were not so much waking up then in the woods or in the desert but later tobe welcomed by the alarm clock when the thickening fog of routine hung around Joe bed and on rising to meet the day at the shop in the office something of the grace and sweetness of that other door and came back in a rush of remember the song and was actually able to hold aloft a certain idea living for the day in which case academically speaking perhaps you were guilty of the confusion
between the idea of beauty and the idea of goodness never mind speaking simply it seemed that this sense of beauty help what you took to be goodness. You didn't say I will be true to the wife or I will be tolerant of minority groups or I resolve not to encourage any more lies about imposition of democracy upon small nations far away or I shall force myself with prayer and fasting to eliminate malice from my comments and even from my thoughts. No all this willed repression against the grain is bad psychology because it's bad philosophy that is contrary to the nature of reality and whether it sounds confused on not something in that pink slant of light through the pines was sovereign was solvent of the part of malice and greed because cleansing the source of desire it restored the so and so its day fall from being impertinent. Pathetic fallacy that George Babbit claims it is. When was it says one impulse from of the world would make more of
man model evil and of God than all the sages can. You may be saying we couldn't care less about impulses in the wood we dig the hum of cities Manhattan faces and voices forever for me. Well that's all right too if that's what you. Is most real to you. I'm trying to say we need a world view that's ours. I'm trying to say that humbly taking orders on blind faith is no use in him all of it ever was. That censorship is out but a biblical and cyclical forensic oral. On nearly hysterical. It's no news to you that applied models of being subjected to this massive revolt though it might be more newsworthy if this revote turned out to be the characteristics pression of a genuine new religion. Alas at its end says faction to the self-appointed guardians of all terrible law the tide of change is quite certain to turn in their favor again after they will have become considerably more stranded than in one hundred sixty eight license as the Puritans call it
has invariably been succeeded by a wave of reaction towards tighten blue laws. Then back again to the Dyson's. Think of this predictable alternation of extremes as a sort of assisted and diastole of the mores. The conscious intelligentsia on both sides go armed with the derision that is special to ignorance concerning the heart of the matter. The swing of the pendulum itself is symptomatic of that ignorance. Wisdom doesn't have to oscillate. The blindness. Well one way in wanting to burn the town and then the other way and calling out the militia. This way you'll blow your mind the other way you raid private homes on suspicion of possession. This way you seriously pin the flag to a consent to massacre the innocents and then swinging in fury and scorn you trample that flag in the dirt. You say have sex and I quote Who needs marriage pretty soon. Who needs love or turning away from sex in fear since that's what it certainly is. You say all this permissiveness belongs in a
syndrome of drugs. Pacifism and Black Politics. One would think that the extreme simplicity of these clustering might be a little suspect that instead one might occasionally allow for a good hippie and a bad or that that hippie might be asleep or around at a peacenik without also being a hothead or a commie or a singer of folk songs to the guitar or well be it all beads or some other of these seven categories instead of all seven inevitably being lumped together as the individual human being is hopelessly lost of you. But don't you see the like the alternations and the lumping lose sight of the master light of all seeing in all these talks. We've tried inevitable thaw from the illumination of that light shed upon us as children searching us out time and again since then. In games like the flashings of the shield there is desire
and there is the will desire without Will dashes this to pieces we're locked into what we don't desire is a person neither is freedom neither resembles the way creation works as understood by a child by a flower by the sky. Except that a child a flower the sky have the secret without knowing that they have. It's up to man to have it and know it. Because the wound is mined and this is why as I'm a tree you punish OWD says. As a man's mind is so he becomes. This is the eternal secret mind projected the world or rather projects it in the eternal present and mind projects. All that we do. But if the wound is mind and mind is thought why it is the coming of thought for most of us have to spawn it all. Why do shades of the prison house begin to close about the growing boy. Because contrary to the true nature of man his thought ceases to be
free and moves instead in servitude either to desire or to the war against desire. If you want to see how thought has been warped from following its own laws try the Freudian process of free associations and see how swiftly thought drifts quite freely toward sex thus justifying the pansexual as of Freud's theories. It's clearly from disenchantment with this bondage that the process of repression takes place with all the consequences of savage compensation for the defeat of desire and deep more devastating dislocations that land us in the psychopathic ward or else we become so miserable that it doesn't matter whether we are actually hauled off to the funny farm or continue to serve the Bitch Goddess success with more or less successful infatuation. Meanwhile at the doors of perception with plans to separate in that situation from which all pride proceeds and thence the greed invents the lies. If we could just allow ourselves to to see then as Blake says
9 Ultimate Questions
Episode Number
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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/500-599z4353).
No description available
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-29-9 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “9 Ultimate Questions; 9,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 11, 2022,
MLA: “9 Ultimate Questions; 9.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 11, 2022. <>.
APA: 9 Ultimate Questions; 9. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from