It is Fall but the place is still almost entirely green. Just a few maples are piling up on one side. That is always the first, and then, of course, the sycamore. Now I am taking up my rubber gloves. No, my tape does not have AIDS, but I said I’d try it in order to keep my vibrations from ruining the tape recorders. So far I haven’t lost a tape yet. Out of the ordinary for me; I normally lose at least one and have to do it over.
I was thinking about a couple points in your letter and I thought that I would shoot this off to you because it is such a pleasure to trade ideas, even if I am well-headed or do not appreciate the topics that were puzzling me and which I have been thinking about in a subjective manner, but I thought I would share them with you.
First of all, I was thinking about “why people step away from serious conversations about substantive particulars of our being.” I am letting that one percolate for a while because I have often wondered the same thing. I wondered that especially when I was in college. I would take at least 18 hours a semester, sometimes as much as 21, and I entered college as a junior so they were all classes of my own choosing and I don’t think any of them were actually for graduate students, which I was allowed to do.
And if that weren’t enough, my favorite professors tended to ask me to just come and have a talk with them in their offices once a week. Not a tutorial precisely, but just a conversation. It didn’t really matter what the field was. I always have been, I am and I always will be on some projects a very serious person, not to the point of having ambition, but to the point of thinking about something basically ceaselessly. It could be as simple as inheritance of my genes, the nervous habit of a bright person, but I don’t think so.
I think it probably links more closely to not my brain, but my heart. I care about things. I care about myself and my life. I care about the people around me. I care to know as much truth as I can and I care to be as good a person as I can. I have always been totally uncool, very intense, and I guess the joy of teachers everywhere. Except that I wasn’t until I got into the company of teachers who didn’t feel somehow threatened by me just because I find a mistake in the book or in what they said, etc. Even in college I ran into that, but not nearly as much.
And then on top of that, I would spend hours down in the stacks because I loved Irish poetry and I was working whenever we got a gig with a guy who played guitar and I was singing. If it was in Gaelic, with the help of my Russian teacher who knew 42 languages, I could get a decent sense translation out of it and then translate it to English or use somebody else’s l9th century translation if I liked it.
A fascinating, fascinating body of work, the Celtic’s legacy to us.
Thinking for me is like breathing. It is an automatic function of my being, not the other way around. I feel strongly that the accurate statement is “I am, therefore, I think.” And what happens to people who cannot deal with thinking is that they honestly are being driven to think for their own self because they are afraid to know themselves.
When you think about abstraction, one of your basic tools is a rock-hard honesty about what you yourself think and feel. It is also mental exertion, which delights some people far more than it does many. I feel that being very interested in being smart is almost prurient, you know. It is very narcissistic, but what we are looking at here is a large majority of people on this earth who have not acquired the habit of analytical or contemporary thinking, which means that they are governed by what is happening to them as they proceed subjectively. What is happening to them is usually a fairly unhappy mix of pleasure, pain and everything in-between. The purpose, as it is created in this particular illusion, is designed specifically to give us a lot of trouble because it is in challenging situation that we have the opportunity to make the most progress, to make the most advances, to be the most creative, to be the most transformational, to be the most faithful, to be the most witnessing of blind faith.
Also it can be scary. It is like to most people, I think, fear and trembling and sickness unto death. Nobody much wants to take the lead off into thin air and that is what they experience abstract thinking as, especially if you are asking for not only abstract thinking, but some kind of conclusion reached that will eventually lead to action.
As C.S. Lewis said in the “Screwtape Letters, “You can think all you want to, but Screwtapes don’t let him do anything about it. It is only when it gets into action and the world gets involved that he is in danger of going over to the other side.” In case you haven’t read the “Screwtape Letters,” you really would enjoy them I am quite sure. Very funny. Screwtape is a minor devil.
One word about Matthew. He is really trying to teach the kid how to bring people to their Master, but it is wonderfully insightful. It was also a great relief to see C.S. Lewis split an infinitive. I really liked that part simply because I, myself, have difficulty in speaking as I would wish to speak, and it is good to see that I am not the only one who doesn’t catch all of my mistakes.
I think basically what makes people not interested, or seemingly not interested—they may well have an interest, but they can’t define it because they can’t define themselves in any way. By defining oneself, I don’t mean that you don’t change. I think defining yourself as you are right now and then forgiving the you that you are right now is the beginning of free thought, creative thought, because you are not tied into rationalizing things you have thought, done or said.
I think one word would sum it up, “fear.” Until you know yourself well enough to accept responsibility: for the things that you have done; for the things that you haven’t done; have asked forgiveness of yourself; of the other person; unloaded yourself and surrendered yourself to the Creator and the Creator’s will and the Creator’s Love for you as a child, which is given away free, you don’t have the feeling of being free, of being redeemed, of being forgiven, which means that your heart isn’t open to do various thinking. Thinking with the intellect only is like eating cereal without milk.
“Now how to teach people to think?” You can’t, I don’t think. I think they have to want to. I believe that some children are ready to begin learning very, very early. I was reading notes. I could sing a tune off of a page by the time I was 2½. It took me until I was 3½ to figure out the notations for English. But before I was in kindergarten, I was doing algebra.
Now on the other hand, I came from a family of one extraordinarily intelligent man who was not an intellectual. He was a musician. He earned money for his family as an engineer, but in his heart he was a jazz musician and played his drums all of his life. Even after he retired, he played for free in a band that played just for donations and places that couldn’t afford a band, but the old folks really loved to get up and dance. They still had the ability.
[Pause in letter]
That pause is, Jim is working outside. He is digging up the entire garden by hand, something that he relishes doing, even though it takes him a long time. It is hard outdoor work and he really has a need to exercise his muscles. He is a big muscle personality. Fine motor things simply do not fascinate him. He is definitely the wrong person to have graduated in business. Although I am glad he did because he does a great job of running our business.
Back to the subject, I think not knowing a job is a fear that feeds on itself. The fact of it is, until we recognize that we are 360° beings, it is kind of scary to get to know yourself because you could be the murderer on the front page. You could be the thief, the rapist. You could be the person to kill somebody. You could be the one who ran over a child. You could be the one who did anything. The choices that we make as we go along take what is a very malleable personality at birth and by the way, it receives and accepts a catalyst and works with it, a personality with its own biases is born. Usually people are pretty idiosyncratic by the time they are about 5 or 6. They are really pretty well the basic people and it is going to be a given if they don’t work hard.
As I said, my father was a genius according to tests. I think they call genius anything over 140? My family is full of them in that case. At any rate, he was a genius definitely.
I also have a mother whose mind was truly intellectual. She has always had a very hard time getting in touch with her heart. She is very restless. She is driven, always has been, always will be. Even her very heart pumps harder than the doctors have ever seen. It is by a miracle that she lives because when she has a heart beat, the pump empties entirely, usually there is a little bit left. She thinks, and thinks and thinks; loves to do mental things and is an inveterate reader. She was really a big influence on me as far as the thinking process went, as was my father.
Her contribution was largely that she was an avid reader and by the age of 8, the librarian at the main public library down town knew me well enough to allow mother to get me a grownup, adult card. Mother said, “You know, there isn’t anything that I would not mind her reading. She is able to judge for herself.” By golly, the librarian agreed, so from the age of eight, I was not just reading children’s material, I was reading whatever seemed interesting to me. Some of it was children’s stuff and some of it was adult stuff.
Also mother was a person who could never be still. For instance, if we were driving some place, and I also went with mother obviously because I was baby-sitting a kid or two for her, she would ask questions. After I had my numbers pretty well in my head and grasped the nature of them, she would say, “Two plus x is four. What is that?” She wouldn’t say, “Add 2 + 2.” She made me think about it.
My father’s big impression, which actually exists to this day and has a down side as well as an up side, was his feeling and he insisted on it happening too. It manifested. It wasn’t just feeling that the dinner table was a place much misunderstood by Americans. He came from a German family. My great, great grandfather wrote poetry for Brahms and was kind of a poor poet, but good enough to be second water; lots of mathematicians in his family. Very bright. I think daddy had gotten into the habit of debating with his own father, who was a cantankerous individual, indeed, so that daddy had the advantage of excellent logic orchestrated. When we sat down at the table, it didn’t matter. Neither my mother nor my father ever dismissed me as a child who was too young. That just wasn’t their way.
The rule at our table was, if you have something to say, you are allowed to speak in turn. If you don’t really have anything to say, then keep your mouth quiet. And daddy would systematically bring up the affairs of the day. So as an adult, the processes of analysis and deductive reasoning and inductive thinking were instilled a lot earlier, I think, than most people do. And immediately turned it within, because people are always interested in themselves. It is just for the most part, again, there is the fear that you don’t really want to know. So it is rather distractive.
I think part of it has to do with the fact that hardly anybody talks any more, or corresponds or uses words carefully. Although no one concedes of his life being whole, an entirety, a unit that—it like a stone, a gem, you facet it as best you can and you give it back to the Creator as you give up the mortal part.
Once at college, really it was a true challenge to awaken people’s desire to know themselves and to learn how to create as much as their own experience is comfortable. Most people just let things happen to them and basically feel pretty helpless, so questions of real substance simply demand tools that most people are not developing these days.
Paradoxically enough, it was in the days when tools and resources were extremely rare and had to be hand-copied: books, ideas, letters, anything like that. All of the hand-copies, the correspondences between some of the scientists still make fascinating reading. I guess people felt more that they were on an adventure and people now feel that there is so much to know, that they can’t really know. We never could really know.
We can make a stab at grasping the essence of what intelligent people, with something to say, have said before us within studies in such a way as to furnish our minds with sufficient detail that we can understand other people who have done the same when we speak. That to a lot of people already is a toll, and they don’t realize that it is the path to freedom because the difference between what is happening to you and your participating fully in your existence is the fundamental realization that you can be what you want to be, but you have to do it. And you accept whatever condition you are in, given you are doing what you think you should be doing, which, for most people is a very scary concept too. Most people don’t enjoy figuring and it doesn’t occur to them to sit down with themselves and mull over what they would enjoy doing, and if there is less money in it, are they willing to give up some comfort factors for doing what is really enjoyable?
I always thought I would rather live in a hogan and do something I liked than be wealthy and have no passion, and that is another thing people are afraid of. I think the last thing is that intensity, and passion, and caring about things. Theoretically in general, these are looked at with quite a jaundiced eye if people do not have an intellectual interior that is furnished at all. If you are walking in a bare apartment when you say, “Well what do you think about?” and a person looks around for a mental chair to sit on while he thinks about it and doesn’t find anything as far as his mind, he has nothing to think with.
He simply has remained hopeless so I don’t think anything much of people who do all of their thinking intellectually. As I said before, I think that the truest wisdom is from the heart and our best thinking is done with the heart. You have to trust that. A lot of times the heart will have wisdom that is coming from much deeper within us, telling us more of who we are at a deeper level, and the more we listen to that, the more creative we will be with our lives.
Basically, I probably will thank you. You need to learn to read; you need to learn to write; you need to learn to work the calculator. You need to learn how soul skills go and you need to learn human skills. You need to learn how to work at a job. And as soon as you have done that, go your way if you do not wish to go further. And quit pumping everybody in the college, where most of them don’t really belong if you took a national poll.
I am not talking about the select few that make it to the Ivy League or one of the big schools. But people that end up at places like the University of Kentucky, the state university where you can go for cheap or for free if you come from that state, and your parents want you to get that degree so badly because one of them never had this. They want you to have what they didn’t have. “We want you to go to college.” Of course, once you get your first job, everything having to do with college becomes irrelevant, but the piece of paper that says that you got a degree.
I have always thought that there are far too many people in college who didn’t belong in college. They didn’t want to be there. They weren’t enjoying it. They weren’t going to use it in later life. Better that they should go to some place that was like a perpetual camp and people just played football and got married. Actually, no, I think what I would do is offer people as a matter of course, either a one-year or a two-year term. I really haven’t thought about it enough to decide which would be better. Probably one-year, with an option for two after graduating from either high school or vocational school, and giving a year to the country.
You can do that in lots of ways by joining the Army, you can join the Peace Corps, and you can find jobs that are acceptable in several different fields.
I think the Peace Corps would probably be of interest to most people because you would be traveling to some places totally different, and dealing with completely different conditions, and I think people really enjoy that at the age of somewhere around 17, 18. A lot of people at that age simply are not ready to make a decision about what they want to do with their lives. Some are, and the ones who are probably also have a good time in the Peace Corps or serving the nation one way or the other. Inner-city kids. I mean the possibilities are great, AIDS and Hospice work. Kids could be very, very sensitive to that. Much more fearless than the people that treat them now.
But everybody would do that. It wouldn’t be a question of being drafted. It wouldn’t be about war. It would be about No. 1: Giving something back to a country that has done well for you and your family. Giving life experience when you are still young enough to really go after it. And resting on the question of what next for a year or two.
I remember that time. It is quite likely that one question has not been thought about, “What next?” And I really don’t think that very many people would go and get degrees and things like “Women’s Lib” or whatever if they had the time to think about it. Colleges used to be for a few people who wanted to learn stuff. I wish it still were that way. I really do.
The second thing that I have been turning over in my mind was what you said about language, starting with primitive like the alphabet, and then words, and then syntax and grammar to arrange the words in a form which makes consensual sense. Of course, I think that is putting the cart before the horse, which is what I said in the tape. But still, I really haven’t exhausted that part at all and I knew it so I kept thinking about it. And some things came to me, which I would have no more to do with because I have no training, but see how it strikes you. And maybe you could make some connections, but I couldn’t.
Languages are highly idiosyncratic, just like the people who make them, and there is so much from culture to culture. Many, many words are not translated from one language to another. Probably, the one I have the most experience with is French because I don’t know it anymore, but mother taught it to me when I was a kid, a little one.
My brother was born when I was 3½ and he was very, very ill so after he was born, mother had his hands completely full with him. He had to be fed every fifteen minutes because at birth, he was damaged by the doctor who hit him in the head with his forceps. Dented in his scalp in the back, right in those lobes there, a big dent. You could feel it and he was retarded. He didn’t speak and he was such a good person. He understood. He just would come to me and I would give him something to do like two sticks in the front yard and off he would go, happy as a clam. He is still a really nice guy.
But in those early years, I learned enough French to have got back then that there is no word for this in English. That nuance doesn’t even get into the English language and mother said, “That is right. That’s right.” I remember that realization.
Another example: the Eskimos have hundreds of words for snow so I understand from reading an article somewhere. It would not take the intelligentsia to figure out that these people live somewhere where there was a lot of snow. A hunting people, such as we are basically biologically, have many elements in our language connected with prey—hunting and prey is in every language, but it exhibits itself in different cultures in different ways. In our country, we have always had a very optimistic feeling. We have always wanted to go forward and you hear a lot of that kind of talk, which is great.
Each language, I think, has a flavor like wine. There is an art to language before there is language. And each person, of course, uses it uniquely.
I knew more about the Russian people from studying Russian literature. The reason I took Russian was because one fantastic, absolutely wonderful professor only taught Russian. He knew 42 languages, but he thought people should know Russian—Russia was a super power. If he taught Spanish or something, I’d still be able to use that. He was an enormously gifted man. A wonderful man and my request, and a friend of mine who graduated first in her class at U of L and is now a Ph.D. in Russian lit, and head of the foreign language department at the university, would go to him once a week and take another language. We looked at Latin again. We looked at Greek. We did not look at Hebrew. We just ran out of time at school. We looked at Turkish, Czechoslovakian, Swedish, French. Those were fun days.
It was quite obvious, simply from the way languages are put together, that even syntax tells you a lot about the people. For instance, in Turkish, a word isn’t a word. It is a clump; it’s a whole clause sometimes, or it might be a noun. It is an all different way of thinking. It is a different culture. I think that linguistics is a fascinating study and much can be learned about a people by the language.
Now when we apply this to mathematics, what happens? I think every mathematician has his own hallmark, just like every writer. It is after all a language of notations, used elegantly or inelegantly. Think in baby steps or think in quantum leaps, depending on who they are.
But what if we had six fingers on each hand, which would give us base 12 and six toes on each foot. I wonder if we would have come up with tens and powers of tens as the basic method of calculation. I wonder what a society based on base 12 would be like. In other words, I am looking at the people who write the mathematics and saying, “How can we get a deeper understanding of mathematics as a language, as an art form, as something aesthetic as well as functional? I don’t know the answer to that.
I don’t have any real way of gaining insight into the heart of mathematics, which I am sure is there. Finally because it feels right to me to be sure it is there, I think perhaps there is something in my personality that would tend to make me think that on a hunch without knowing anything about it, That is simply, that I, myself, am, although I am not at all trained in mathematics, I have apparently a very good potential in that area because when I took the graduate record exam for my library service masters with all the Ph.D. and Master candidates all over the country in all the arts, all the sciences, and engineering and anybody who was going to get a degree, I came out in the 93 percentile of mathematics, which surprised me very much. But apparently there was something in just the shape of the right answer that jumped out at me.
So I think probably I have an unusually strong balance between creativity, intuition, etc. all of the things that go on in one side of the brain and the analytical and theoretical confluences of thought, progressions that go on for me irresistibly and unendingly. It takes a minor miracle to shut me down, even during meditation. If I can get all the thoughts to go away, there is still something playing in my head, some music, because it has been a part of my life for so long. My suspicion is that the mathematicians and scientists of the future and the religious or spiritual-related will at some point (perhaps not in this density, but I do feel it coming) be the same person.
Mary Baker Eddy, of course, made a great stab at trying to link science and religion. Those results were not half bad and helped a lot of people, but unfortunately the way she did it, she fell into the trap that almost all myth makers fall into. She created a dogma, a doctrine, a hard-hidebound structure and whatever structure we are given, our tendency is to overflow it.
I think that at the bottom of all philosophical or metaphysical thinking, there has to be some basic logic involved as to why you are doing something so foolish as to believe blindly and to worship, which I understand is most uncool these days.
On the other hand, a mathematician that is not a mystic is a mathematician who is not paying attention. The only reason I know that for sure is because Einstein said it. And I am sure you can name me off a lot of other scientists that have said roughly the same thing—that studying the creation in the scientific, traditional method, it became impossible to feel that we were here by chance. That we had no purpose. That we had no destiny. That we just began and ended, and scientists have progressively shown us more and more clearly that what we are looking at isn’t real, but basically motion and energy fields.
Science looked at from that standpoint may yield a good deal and I think that people like, I don’t know how to pronounce his name, Fritjof Capra, the Tao of physics anyway, are on to that and are really thinking along those lines, but I think it will perhaps be our children, or our children’s children that finally become disenchanted enough with our very lethal pose, and I just don’t stop at guns. I am talking about computers and the centralization and accessibility of information that is private to people who have no business in your affairs. I am talking about the use of computers that go wrong and end up causing everybody more hassle than other old-fashioned and slower ways simply because the computer is down again. And it seems the bigger the computer network, the more often it is down.
We have created our own demons. We have created the distillers of thought. We have created the media. With radio, at least it was possible to imagine, not so much as you could imagine with books because there was the narrative to follow, but simply the exchange of dialogue, a very simplified way of telling a story. But you could imagine the richness of the tapestry surrounding that story, or comedy, or song or whatever it was. There was room. There was spaciousness in the mind for considering. With television and especially with the VCR, which brings not just television, but any kind of movie you want to rent, into ready availability to all but the very poorest of people.
You have a machine tailor-made for distraction. In fact, I call it the baby-sitter. L/L bought one several years ago. At that time there were quite a few kids that were coming to the meditation with their parents. The meditations go through stages. Ten years ago there were a lot more people in the group and they had really young children, so when we had enough money, we bought a nice TV for them and appointed the oldest child just to see that the room wasn’t destroyed. And we put them up there with the TV on low enough so that we could still meditate and hear the TV, and asked the kids to stay quiet. The kids were quiet. They would be watching TV. Kids watch TV commercials and everything. One thing was as interesting at the next. A very effective baby-sitter.
It is a very effective LCD. It generates thoughts that anybody can understand and make people feel comfortable. Of course, it doesn’t make me feel very comfortable. I can’t watch the soap operas very easily although I have to when my mother-in-law comes for two weeks every year. At any rate, I did feel that we have sort of painted ourselves into a corner in this culture and that it well may be time to let it be and look ahead.
Many people are abstaining from voting, for instance. Why would they do that? Because they no longer believe in the process. It is a very disaffected population and it is not looking at itself carefully. Underneath the bonhomie and the 4th of July parades, there is an increasing amount of cynicism in situational ethics, which came obviously to the fore with Poindexter and that lot.
Situational ethics, if you take away one’s ideas of right and wrong, which I am sure he would call provincial, is the way the world wags. And to him, the situation justified breaking the law. I thought that he had a good point, but that is only because I have been observing that people do not have ethics any more. They don’t have ideals that don’t get abridged. It is getting to the point where people really do have their price, one kind or another. The authenticity of a person is sort of up for sale. That is part of this culture.
Just wanted to send these thoughts out to you because it is so seldom that somebody asks me a question that really appeals to me and you have a marvelous way of doing that. And I guess thinking this is a kind of a hobby of mine or something. I don’t know. I really enjoy considering and mulling over unlikely and completely unprovable things like whether the essence of language comes from the people to the word or whether the essence of language is its notation. I know people that feel that the essence of mathematics is the purity of its notation. That is a popular belief, I would say. If it is clean, and pure, etc. and, of course, it isn’t. Very messy business. When you get down to the bottom lines of why is there a mathematical constant? Why is Pi that number, 3.14159265358979323846 ad infinitum? Why is there action in distance? How does gravity work? Why are there so many things we don’t know? Why don’t we know why electricity works? Why can we only use it? Why can’t we understand it?
I think the scientists of the future will be visionary enough to create new instrumentation. I don’t know what kind. I’m not a scientist. Believe me, I went no further than algebra and plain geometry. That is arithmetic. But I just feel that the trend is going to be towards those who have the heart wide open and who are actively involved in their lives and not comfortably content, settled and feeling self-satisfied as I think scientists basically do, present company excepted. You are looking. You are seeking.
A lot of people will not want more to go on than what has gone on while they are in the process of getting their dissertation because it would throw out all of their work and they would have to give up the grant that they are on now. They would have to start all over. We all know that our physics isn’t exactly right. It doesn’t explain this. It doesn’t explain that. You could make a long, long list.
I spent long enough, many, many years with Don Elkins who was a scientist to realize how much scientists do not know and it really surprised me. But I really do believe that it is a matter of visionaries, new instrumentation and the accepting of a whole new gestalt as we move into a different vibration of space and time. I mean it is a scientific fact that our whole star system is slowly spiraling into a space that it has never been in before. It isn’t at all surprising that that would change some of the rules, really, if you think about it. We know so little that we shouldn’t be surprised by anything at this point.
But I think that the great pioneers of the future are willing to continue to include the ones who pioneer with their creative minds and I think that the results will undoubtedly end up being a science and a cosmology that don’t square with each other. That doesn’t look alien to each other any more.
Enough of sophomoric thinking for today. You see I am the eternal sophomore and I’m not at all ashamed of that. That is why I had Don Quixote on my stationery. I had it on there before I ever met Don Elkins. Had it as my personal symbol ever since I saw the Picasso print (not the original) when I was in high school. And I thought, That’s who I am. That’s it exactly, the idealist is always the fool, but is he really wrong? I do meander, but I do love to think.
I don’t think I have anything to bring you up to date on. The house is functioning in its usual very champion-economic manner due to the fact that the major domo of the domicile, James, is half-man. I try to stay out of his way as much as possible and let him be that. He is a wonderful person to be around and I treasure that he is appreciated more for the fact that he does really like to be alone a little bit every day. He was going to retreat one day a week and then decided he would go for two days every other week, just to be silent with himself and do whatever he wanted to. Of course, he goes to Avalon on 93 acres in the country and works his tail off there, but to Jim, hard physical work is a real relief and a real stress-buster for him. Or burster.
I am comforted by the fact that William Saphire, Dick Cabot and William Buckley had lunch and as Cabot told the story on an old show (yes, I am a Dick Cabot fan), neither he nor the other two were able to make it through the lunch without making a grammatical or syntactical error, which I thought was very dear and rather redeeming of the whole human race. At least me because I am always trying to speak correctly, but failing. Sometimes I don’t try to speak correctly. Sometimes I just mix street sounds because they are very rhythmical and a very easy way to talk, but when I am trying to communicate, I do try to speak well. When I am just passing the time of day with somebody who could use a little bit more quality to his vocabulary than a lot of “you knows” and “likes” and “uhs” and things like that.
You have come to visit us recently enough ago that not much has changed since you left. We are still shifting over to Schiffer Publishers and will have all four books of the Law of One in a 6½ x 8½ quality paperback format, which had been a goal of mine for some time, but since it was in the realm of worldly things, I thought that it was important as a spiritual principle not to make it happen. I would allow it to happen, but I wouldn’t make it happen, and it did happen by allowing. They just bought the first book and then asked if they could do the whole series and they are so easy to work with. I think that it is a good decision, even though, as I pointed out to Jim (I am the thrifty one of the two of us, also the spendthrift when I get crazy. When something very difficult happens to me, my response tends to be spending too much money on clothing.) I just think it is going to be a marvelous thing to be able to have all four volumes sitting together in the book store and we’ll have the title back to what we titled it, “The Law of One” and the authors will be Ra, a humble messenger of the Law of One and L/L Research, or they might put all our names down. I don’t see any reason for that because we say who we were inside as has already happened.
At any rate, that is happening. We didn’t ask for any money whatsoever to sell them, the rest of the book. I asked Jim to do that, but Jim did not feel that it was appropriate so we simply gave them the books to publish. All we will get out of it are royalties. You know, of course, that we don’t use any L/L on ourselves. Everything goes into it, regardless of how broke we are and we are beyond broke right now because a lot of things happened at once. I got real sick and we had to get a new truck. Basically that is what happened plus we had to get a new furnace and we had to get the house rewired because things started falling apart. So right now we are in dutch, but we won’t take any money from L/L because we just have this strong feeling that operating on metaphysical principles is the way to go and we don’t want any money for this work, this labor of love.
We are delighted to see a nice contribution come in, of course; that is because we can make the stuff available. That money allows us to reprint the books that we need and hopefully every once in a while put out something new.
Jim is thriving. I am thriving insofar as a person with arthritis can. I still can’t sit up very long at a time, but I am doing it anyway when there is something I really want to do which is basically sacred music and worship.
I sing at the local Box Society. We are doing the Brahms German Requiem October 14th, Sunday next and I will be glad when it is over, although it is a lovely piece. It is a dark, moody piece that Brahms himself seems to be as a troubled person when he wrote it, of course, the year that his mother was dying. He was very attached to his mother. In fact, I think after his mother died, which was after it was first performed, he added another part to it. I think it is part five specifically for his mother.
But that is not the only reason that I don’t particularly want to do it right now. It is a piece that is highly sensitive to the musicians involved. It is a very exposed, naked, vulnerable piece of music, one of Brahms’ specialties, and we will only have one orchestra rehearsal. It has always been my observation that it takes more than one orchestra rehearsal to coincide in our dynamics and in our (speaking as a jazz musician’s daughter) groove, basically we have got to get in the groove that the conductor is in. Once you are in that groove, and hopefully the conductor is a steady one and has a good groove, which our conductor does, we can really make it happen.
Most people that are in the Box Society chorus are there, not because they love the music specifically, but because they are students of the music school, many of them instrumentalists and not singers at all, but they are headed for a career in music somewhere. They need to know the repertoire and the best way to get the repertoire is to sing it so every year a new bunch of fresh faces show up in the Box Society, most of whom can’t sing very much. They can read the music all right, but they are not going to be aficionados. They are not going to want to memorize the music. They are not going to want to watch Melvin’s every move (the conductor). Of course, by the time of the concert, the conductor has pretty much whipped the musicians in the chorus into some type of shape because there is a satisfaction that you finally derive when you do it right and hear it. And of course, there is the adrenalin rush of an audience.
In this particular piece, the orchestra players are at as much risk as an orchestra player can be if he isn’t trained to play something from the twentieth century that doesn’t have a 4/4 beat. One of those thing that has a 4/4 measure and then a three four measure and then a seven four measure and then a five four measure, and things and you just squeal. Let me out of here. But I don’t think we can get it together in one orchestra rehearsal and then do a good job with that very beautiful, but very difficult piece simply because individual instruments and individual parts are vulnerable. It is almost like each of us has our solos. At some point there are as many as eight parts just in the chorus, usually five or four, but as is usual with music that you have the kinds of things where you have people repeating a subject and then counter-subject. Trained ears know when the violins have got the subject and the counter-subject and all we had was accompaniment and follow the dynamics.
This is true of orchestra members a lot of times. They play too loudly during times when the chorus is carrying the basic burden of the melody and they are accompanying. The piece is written with many exposed single parts. We shall see. I won’t give it a bad review until we earn it, but I’ll give it my best shot and just hope. But I have done this before and I know the problems involved in putting it forth as I feel the problems want it to be.
After that we are doing ho hum, Handel’s Messiah for the third year in a row. We have two to go after this. We were the victims of a grant. I am yearning for the Christmas oratorio with all of my heart. We get to sing the Easter part every year for Calvary, so I don’t miss that so much, but who can sing the oratorio? It’s got twelve parts and you can’t sing that before the midnight service unless you want to start about 8:30 and I don’t think people would put up with it.
That pretty well does it for personal news. I am slowly finding some exercises that will keep me out of a wheelchair. I think it is time to say good-bye to trying to work on anything above the waist. I have crashed and burned too many times doing that since the accident. I do finally accept this new limitation as permanent. I take it day by day.
I really, really enjoyed your letter. It was a whole lot of fun to think about the things you asked and look forward to your next notes from the road or your very presence from the road. Otherwise God bless you where you are and Love and Light. Carry on, old chap.