thumbnail of The Chicago lectures; James M. Redfield, part 2
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Well the doctors discovered Reuel mixing a small quantity of strong food with a great amount of water and moderating the strength of the food by mixing and cooking it and in some cases the patient could not digest the rule. So the doctors went on and prescribed a liquid diet taking care in each case not to prescribe anything stronger or weaker than what was required. In a certain sense technique moves away from nature. Technique transforms the natural environment just as we see Hippocrates transforming the diet of man. But in another sense technique moves toward nature. For every step of the process you tested against a standard of nature the aim of technique is to produce a kind of second nature by fitting out man with the skills and the habits that he needs to live comfortably in his environment. The invention of the technique the remaking of human life is full of effort. But if the technique is successful human life to the degree of its success becomes effortless. There walk it is so the nature and
teaching are similar for teaching transforms man. And as it transforms him it creates nature and uniqueness. The practice my friend takes a long time. But then as it comes to completion it is nature. So as man moves from the primitive to the cultivated. He doesn't simply struggle with the difficulties of his world. He actually creates a new world for himself and to this creation we give the name of progress. In fact he sees it very clearly for him progress does not exist merely in the specialized arts but in the general habits a practice characteristic of cultivated life to start from the earliest times he said. I don't think a diet now in use among the healthy would have been discovered. You put it suited man to eat what oxen and horses eat raw grain and twigs and grass. The animals tour is on this food they have no need of any other diet. And in the beginning I imagine men to eat such things
are prison food. I imagine it was discovered and worked out over a long period of time. Since men suffered greatly from this animal die and just as we would now suffer from it. Well perhaps not so much the same as they were used to it but they suffered all the same so that the majority and those were the weakest natures dime one of the strongest held out a little longer because of this suffering I imagine men developed a diet fitting to their nature and found it. I mean the diet we now use. They took the grain and soaked it in hospital and ground it and sifted it and mixed it and main bread fitting it to the nature and to the capacity of man. Here again a sense of society and a sense of nature echo one another as men began to reform the state they became confident of their ability to master nature. The late archaic period was a time of hope. Men were proud of what they had accomplished and they
expected to accomplish more. Hippocrates again there is a path of discovery by Yet we have discovered all that we have discovered over this expanse of time and the rest can be discovered too. If only starting from what we already know we go on and look for it. Earlier I said that Solon state was an artificial product. But it's not really an artifact. Rather it's an invention. It's not a thing but a way of doing things. It's creation is analogous not to making a pop but to inventing the potter's wheel. Like any inventor Saul intended his way of doing things to be a permanent addition to the cultivated life of man. And like any invention so one state was subject to improvement as it was tested and retested against the ground of nature. So when the reforms were completed around 5 but for the next 150 years Fenian
history is in the hands of a sequence of political innovators. Each building on its predecessors work so on I says try to place the knee Themistocles and parakeet. And a parent whose funeral oration to cities gives us a description of the state which was the culmination of this process. The Athenians as parties have conquered material nature and the mark of this conquest is their high standard of living and their leisure. Our public order he says cures us the greatest risk from labor. We have institutionalized games an annual festival along with fine private parties whose daily delight drives out sorrow and because of the strength of our city there come here all the products of the earth so that as a consequence we expect to enjoy other people's productive produce just as certainly as our own. More important
Athens has conquered man's animal nature by providing a moderated arena for the competitive pursuit of self-interest. Athens has assimilated into the social order the commercial economy and made it into a political stunt he said. Will we value rather for the occasion of its use than for boasting about it. A very middle class background. No one thinks poverty is shameful but rather not to attempt to escape poverty. Furthermore economic activity and political activity belong to the same people. We are the only city which holds that a man who takes no part in politics is not a decent sort of fellow but rather simply useful for the oligarchy tradition human excellence lay in withdrawal from the competitive life in the public arena. ATHENIAN political reform on the other hand develop the public arena so that all human activity could become a part of public excellence. So Athens did
succeed in a way in reconstructing the Homeric famous the standard of the community as in Homer became a standard not of restraint but of action. Athens was an open society around no less a Fair Economy which created a less a fair state of our political life as Parakey is conducted on a basis of liberty. And in our day to day relations with one another we are not suspicious of the behavior of our neighbor nor are we angry with him if he lives in a way which suits himself. Nor do we show him the kind of annoyance which while it does no actual harm is unpleasant to the person who observes it. Furthermore Athens is a developed society and her citizens have acquired the second nature characteristic of such society. The Athenians have developed a new sort of personal excellence no longer laborious and habitual but easy and intellectual.
Some people my own characters means the Spartans make education a matter of laborious practice. From earliest childhood and so they get some share of courage. We live at ease and none the less when we approach danger we are equal to it. After all if we are willing to run risks in an easy frame of mind and not because of the glorious training not because of our conditioning but because of the courageousness of our character. We get the added advantage of not having to suffer for difficulties which are to come. Well when it does come to the point we show ourselves as bold as those who are always working at it. We do not think debate an obstacle to action. Rather we think we ought to have fully explained to us what we are going to do. So here is another way in which we are exceptional. We are both able to be daring and to think through what we are going to bear. In other people ignorance produces boldness and systematic thought as a Titian.
But surely one would be right to say that those have most developed their souls who have come to a clear understanding of what is fearful and what is desirable. And for that very reason do not shrink from danger. By her conquest of nature material and human Athens has built a human world. Athens is a comfortable interesting place in Hippocrates praise. It is a society fitted to the capacities and nature of Main and in conquering nature and in remaking society. Athens is constructing her own history. She is a pioneering progressive society. Apparently I would say that our whole city has become an education for Greece. We didn't develop our public order in imitation of other people's ways. Rather we ourselves have become a pattern for our neighbors.
Or as the Corinthians tell the Spartans in book 1 You're a way of life is rather old fashioned in comparison to theirs and of necessity just as in the case of technology the new developments always make obsolete the old. When people are compelled to do many things they produce a stream of technical innovations and that is why the Athenians far Excel you in their modernity. So I would some for parroting society as open nature is malleable and history is progressive and those three points I would sum up the world view of what we call the golden age. But a golden age is a fragile historical experience. It never lasts very long. It never includes a whole society always it is something that is felt for a
while by a few people. Given man's fallen nature such a synthesis can never be complete. Oh is it has incited the seeds of its own dissolution and of the parroting and synthesis also. This is true. I'm 10 years before the funeral oration Sophocles saw this and put it in his great own integrity wonders are many and none so wonderful as humankind. It walks across the stormy back of the gray sea fairing her wave swallows wave. The eldest of the gods the slackness tireless earth that has turned to its use twisting the furrows year by year as the mules turn. The tribe of frivolous beasts he hunts and the nation of ranging birds and the sea spawn of the deep with nets spawn man the inventor. He prevails with his craft in the wild over hill creating creatures so that the
thick mean horse he brings under his double gold and the tireless ill bred ox speech and fought like wind and a spirit bred to the habits of towns he has taught himself to escape from the misty hospital frost and the darts of rain. Ever resourceful is he. Resource must he comes against nothing from death alone he has found no escape but against the most difficult sickness he has contrived to release. This clever contriver holding to a skill beyond hope sometimes moves to evil sometimes to good. Walking in the laws of his country and keeping his oath in just a high city to he but city it was he who is glad to dare what is shameful. May he never share my hearth or join me and console the man who would do such
things. Man has conquered nature but he has not conquered himself and all his technical inventiveness will not enable him to do so. Technique because it arises from the needs of nature can provide us only with the natural good survival abundant luxury and health. Morality. The characteristic of human remains beyond the reach of skill. And that is why we are always surest about the reality of progress. When we think about agriculture and medicine that is why hypocrisy is the most optimistic of Greek writers. Because medicine in pursuing health pursues a positive good. Not the highest of human good but a good unless. The products of most technique are unvalued. There are good or evil according to their use. Socrates says in The Guardian the
helmsman is a very clever man. He can take you to Egypt all right but he doesn't know if it's a good thing for you to go there and you wouldn't necessarily want to marry your daughter. Human excellence cannot be defined in relation to the conquest of nature but only in relation to the human. And that is why however much of an artifact the state becomes it still requires the comedian point a moral sense of its maker characters held such a position in the Athens that he ruled his city says of him. He held his power by the excellence of his reputation and his judgment. It was obvious that he could not be bribed so he ruled the city like a free man. Since he had not got his power going under the means was called a democracy but it was in fact the work of one man. But those who came after him or more on a par with one another and his Each of them strove to be first. They lost their hold on affairs. Even
parity is not a moralist in the archaic sense of the funeral oration contains no mention of justice or God. Pericles praises his state for its size and its success. But for him success and size are valuable not of themselves but because they are honorable. Honor alone is ageless he said. And when you are worn with yours it is not making money as some people suppose but being honored it brings the greatest satisfaction apparently in St.. Like the Homeric mastered nature in order to make possible the human good. The sharing of words in honor may have its roots in material success but like justice it is a transcendent principal character who speaks as a man who stands above his society and contemplates it. No statesman after him achieved his Olympian perspective and the death of
her Achilles left the state of which he was the last inventor to run without the guidance of its maker. And this loss had moral consequences. One hundred fifty years of political innovation had a custom to the Athenians to the notion that the state and its rules are artifice and it's a very short step to the notion that morality as a whole is an artifice. This notion this step. Was the central idea of the Sophos we find it for example set out in Plato's protagonists. The Tigris tells in Plato's dialogue. A fable about the history of man. Man was you know equipped by nature. So Prometheus provided him with technique but technique was not enough at this early time Tiger says. Men lived scattered without cities so they were destroyed by the wild beasts since they were each of them too weak. The skills of the craftsmen were sufficient for their nourishment but they were incapable of making war
on the beasts because they lacked the technique of politics of which one part is the technique of war. So they tried to band together and save themselves by founding cities. When they came together however they wronged one another because they did not possess the technique of politics. So again they were scattered and destroyed. So Zeus was afraid that our race would perish and he sent Hermes to bring to man the sense of restraint and decay so that the cities could be ordered and they could be joined in bonds of friendship. Let them all partake of it said Zeus for our city cannot exist if only some partake of DK and set it down as my law that a man unable to partake of the sense of restraint and a DK is to be killed as a menace to the body politic Protagoras fable is a naturalistic explanation of morality.
Morality like technique he says arises from the needs of nature without morality. Man cannot organize himself against a hostile work. More reality like technique is a means to the natural good. Morality is good because it enables men to survive. Now Protagoras fable appears to be a defense of decay. In fact the fable is an attack on it by giving the human good a grounding nature. Protagoras makes man a part of nature. He did humanize as humanity by denying the human good its special status. Once morality is justified by an explanation of its origins and its use it becomes a means like any other means and as such subject to criticism and this criticism is immediate because just as as Protagoras describes it is a very good thing for men in general but not
for men in particular. The moral law enables a community to survive but in the process every member of this community is restricted in his pursuit of his own interests. So Protagoras fable is restated by calico he's in the gorge. As a criticism of morality I suppose as delicately that those who created laws were the weaker sort of men. The multitude concerned for themselves and for their own advantage they passed these laws and that is why they praise and blame what they praise and what they mean. They were afraid of the stronger sort of man the man who could take advantage of them and in order not to be taken advantage of they say they're taking advantage it is disgraceful and wrong. I suppose the weaker sort are pleased if they can even have an equal share. Worthless though they are. And again by Glaucon in the Republic some people say that doing wrong is good and being wrong is bad
but that being wrong exceeds in evil the goodness of doing wrong so that once people have wronged one another and been wronged and had a taste of both. Since they couldn't have one without the other it seemed better to them to make a contract with one another neither to do nor to suffer wrong. And that was the beginning of our laws and country. And that is the origin and the essence of justice which is between the best thing that one should do wrong without being punished and the worst thing that one should be wrong without the power of revenge. So it turns out in my pursuit of the natural good other people's justice is useful to me and my just as useful to them but not to myself. I would be best placed if I could treat other people dancing while they continue to treat me well. Of course I would have to be careful.
A community has sanctions against injustice. I would have to avoid getting caught. And also I like any citizen am dependent upon the stability of the community and I don't want my injustice to threaten the community as a whole. I want to steal it from other people's houses but I certainly don't want the police to become so demoralized that they stop protecting my house. But these are merely technical problems. Difficult perhaps not in sun. Perhaps I could become such a clever talker that I could talk my way out of any kind of trouble. Perhaps I could become a tyrant and turn to my own use. The whole apparatus of the state. I could be the kind of man Glocken describes like a skilled steersman or a doctor able to distinguish what is within the range of his technique from what is not and attempting only the former. And then if he gets into difficulties able to recover himself and then going unnoticed for the man who is caught is a poor sort of criminal. The most radical injustice is to seem to be just
without being so and then able to speak and to persuade people if somebody informs on his injustice and to use force where force is required. I quipped with courage and strength with a well-organized friend and with money. Primitive man pursued his own interest and was incapable of living in a community. Later man learned to set aside their own interest and live in the interest of the community. But the most sophisticated mean could successfully pursue his own interest within the community. That's the doctrine of the natural origin of morality became a program for the political radicals and the post parroting instinct Antiphon the soffit set it on. A man would imply that form of justice most beneficial to him self. If you should treat the laws as a great importance when he's in front of witnesses and when he is without
witnesses he should pay attention to nature. The laws have been constructed but nature is by necessity the standards of the law are not by nature but by agreement. If a man transgressed the law without being seen by those who agreed to it he is not subject to punishment. If they do notice him yes but if someone violates the order of nature it doesn't matter if no one notices him he suffers no less. It doesn't matter. Everyone sees him. He suffers no more for he is not injured by opinion but in truth. And if one denies the reality of that second nature which is a product of history for him there is only one ground of nature from it all action originates and toward its needs. All action and everything between Lucian Imperator his notion of the state man's animal nature was to be turned to the ends of society for Kalik reason antiphon
society was to be turned to the ends of man's animal nature. The radicals celebrated the animal nature of humanity the wild beast hidden inside the civilized clothes. Calico he says according to what sort of justice did Xerxes invaded Greece or his father said the young. I think that in accordance with the justice of nature they did these things. Yes by Zeus according to the laws of nature but not perhaps the kind of laws that we enact. We shape the best and the strongest among us getting hold of them in childhood as one might a lion cub. We charm and bewitched them and make them our slaves saying that men should share equally. This is justice and nobility. But if I think a man should grow up with a nature great enough he would shake off all these things and break through them and make his escape treading under foot all regulations and jugglery them charms of laws that all are restrictions on nature. Then he would stand up and show himself a master who had been our slave and then would
shine forth the justice that is nature's now in a sense the difference between this position and a parity in position is a very small but it is the difference between saying society is artifice and saying society is mere artifice. Apparently man is an aggressive animal whose aggression can be shaped by a society so that it leads to history a monument of honorable action for chemically as an add upon man is an aggressive animal pure and simple. Back of all the complexities of society he remains an animal still the greatest man further will understand this and will pursue their own interest without restraint or shame. They will recover for themselves the primitive state. So when your repartees in the late fifth century wrote his play about the Cyclops he made his monster talk the language of the sophisticated Athenian Radek.
Will you human weekly is the wise man's got everything else these fancy shapes of words. I don't know that Zeus exists. A stronger God than I am and the rest of it does not concern me. The earth by its necessity whether it likes or not brings forth the grass to feed my sheep and I sacrifice to no one but myself and to the greatest God of All My God to drink and eat. Day after day that is Zeus for men of sense and not to hurt themselves. As for the ones who made up laws to complicate the lives of man. To hell with them. I will not restrain myself from doing good to my own soul by eating you. And that is the ultimate statement of the pursuit of the natural good. Here the story comes full circle at the end of the Lon history of Greek
social progress. We are back among the cannibals. So to sum up the radical position society is a weak illusion. Nature is a harsh reality and history is meaningless with the appearance of this position on the stage of society that produced the Greek sense of Christ. Our progress has been in the mastery of material nature and we have tended to believe that if we could master material nature and society would take care of itself for us not society but nature's primary. We have come where we are by exploring the natural order. And now we can if we wish destroy that order and with this power in our hands we stand puzzles. So we share with the greats of the late fifth century a common dilemma. What is our role in the world we have created. As they seeking
to realize the human world created the means for dehumanizing the world. So we in seeking to perfect nature have created the means for destroying power again has outrun purpose and as man has learned to dominate his world he seems to have lost the ability to turn that domination to his own good. You heard James M. Redfield assistant professor of social thought at the University of Chicago as he spoke on the topic. The sense of crisis this program concludes a group of lectures given at the University of Chicago to initiate a new discussion on the nature of man. The lectures will be available in book form under the title on the nature of man to be published in late fall by the University of Chicago Press. These lectures were recorded by the Office of radio and television on the University of Chicago. The programs were prepared and distributed for broadcast by national educational radio.
This is the national educational radio network.
The Chicago lectures
James M. Redfield, part 2
Producing Organization
University of Chicago
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-zk55k893).
Episode Description
This program features the second part of a lecture by James M. Redfield of the University of Chicago: "The Sense of Crisis."
Series Description
This series presents lectures given at University of Chicago, focusing on the nature of human beings, their place in the universe, and their potentialities. The lectures were also published in The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, beginning in September 1965.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: University of Chicago
Speaker: Redfield, James M., 1935-
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 65-40-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:14
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “The Chicago lectures; James M. Redfield, part 2,” 1965-10-07, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 25, 2023,
MLA: “The Chicago lectures; James M. Redfield, part 2.” 1965-10-07. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 25, 2023. <>.
APA: The Chicago lectures; James M. Redfield, part 2. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from