Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Part 1 of 2

The Soul of Man under Socialism
by Oscar Wilde

The chief advantage that would result from the establishment of Socialism is, undoubtedly, the fact that Socialism would relieve us from that sordid necessity of living for others which, in the present condition of things, presses so hardly upon almost everybody. In fact, scarcely anyone at all escapes.

Now and then, in the course of the century, a great man of science, like Darwin; a great poet, like Keats; a fine critical spirit, like M. Renan; a supreme artist, like Flaubert, has been able to isolate himself, to keep himself out of reach of the clamorous claims of others, to stand ‘under the shelter of the wall,’ as Plato puts it, and so to realise the perfection of what was in him, to his own incomparable gain, and to the incomparable and lasting gain of the whole world. These, however, are exceptions. The majority of people spoil their lives by an unhealthy and exaggerated altruism – are forced, indeed, so to spoil them. They find themselves surrounded by hideous poverty, by hideous ugliness, by hideous starvation. It is inevitable that they should be strongly moved by all this. The emotions of man are stirred more quickly than man’s intelligence; and, as I pointed out some time ago in an article on the function of criticism, it is much more easy to have sympathy with suffering than it is to have sympathy with thought. Accordingly, with admirable, though misdirected intentions, they very seriously and very sentimentally set themselves to the task of remedying the evils that they see. But their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are part of the disease.

They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor.

But this is not a solution: it is an aggravation of the difficulty. The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible. And the altruistic virtues have really prevented the carrying out of this aim. Just as the worst slave-owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the horror of the system being realised by those who suffered from it, and understood by those who contemplated it, so, in the present state of things in England, the people who do most harm are the people who try to do most good; and at last we have had the spectacle of men who have really studied the problem and know the life –- educated men who live in the East End -– coming forward and imploring the community to restrain its altruistic impulses of charity, benevolence, and the like. They do so on the ground that such charity degrades and demoralises. They are perfectly right. Charity creates a multitude of sins.

Emile de Lavelaye was quite correct in attributing significance to the publication of "Progress and Poverty," though the seed sown by Henry George took root, not in the slums and alleys of our cities—no intellectual seed of any sort can germinate in the sickly, sunless atmosphere of slums—but in the minds of people who had sufficient leisure and education to think of other things than breadwinning. Henry George proposed to abolish poverty by political action: that was the new gospel which came from San Francisco in the early eighties... It proposed to redress the wrongs suffered by the working classes as a whole: the poverty it considered was the poverty of the wage workers as a class, not the destitution of the unfortunate and downtrodden individuals. It did not merely propose, like philanthropy and the Poor Law, to relieve the acute suffering of the outcasts of civilisation, those condemned to wretchedness by the incapacity, the vice, the folly, or the sheer misfortune of themselves or their relations. It suggested a method by which wealth would correspond approximately with worth; by which the reward of labour would go to those that laboured; the idleness alike of rich and poor would cease; the abundant wealth created by modern industry would be distributed with something like fairness and even equality, amongst those who contributed to its production. Above all, this tremendous revolution was to be accomplished by a political method, applicable by a majority of the voters, and capable of being drafted as an Act of Parliament by any competent lawyer.

To George belongs the extraordinary merit of recognising the right way of social salvation.

-- The History of the Fabian Society, by Edward R. Pease

There is also this to be said. It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property. It is both immoral and unfair.

Under Socialism all this will, of course, be altered. There will be no people living in fetid dens and fetid rags, and bringing up unhealthy, hunger-pinched children in the midst of impossible and absolutely repulsive surroundings.
The security of society will not depend, as it does now, on the state of the weather. If a frost comes we shall not have a hundred thousand men out of work, tramping about the streets in a state of disgusting misery, or whining to their neighbours for alms, or crowding round the doors of loathsome shelters to try and secure a hunch of bread and a night’s unclean lodging. Each member of the society will share in the general prosperity and happiness of the society, and if a frost comes no one will practically be anything the worse.

Upon the other hand, Socialism itself will be of value simply because it will lead to Individualism.

Socialism, Communism, or whatever one chooses to call it, by converting private property into public wealth, and substituting co-operation for competition, will restore society to its proper condition of a thoroughly healthy organism, and insure the material well-being of each member of the community. It will, in fact, give Life its proper basis and its proper environment. But for the full development of Life to its highest mode of perfection, something more is needed. What is needed is Individualism. If the Socialism is Authoritarian; if there are Governments armed with economic power as they are now with political power; if, in a word, we are to have Industrial Tyrannies, then the last state of man will be worse than the first. At present, in consequence of the existence of private property, a great many people are enabled to develop a certain very limited amount of Individualism. They are either under no necessity to work for their living, or are enabled to choose the sphere of activity that is really congenial to them, and gives them pleasure. These are the poets, the philosophers, the men of science, the men of culture -– in a word, the real men, the men who have realised themselves, and in whom all Humanity gains a partial realisation. Upon the other hand, there are a great many people who, having no private property of their own, and being always on the brink of sheer starvation, are compelled to do the work of beasts of burden, to do work that is quite uncongenial to them, and to which they are forced by the peremptory, unreasonable, degrading Tyranny of want. These are the poor, and amongst them there is no grace of manner, or charm of speech, or civilisation, or culture, or refinement in pleasures, or joy of life. From their collective force Humanity gains much in material prosperity. But it is only the material result that it gains, and the man who is poor is in himself absolutely of no importance. He is merely the infinitesimal atom of a force that, so far from regarding him, crushes him: indeed, prefers him crushed, as in that case he is far more obedient.

Of course, it might be said that the Individualism generated under conditions of private property is not always, or even as a rule, of a fine or wonderful type, and that the poor, if they have not culture and charm, have still many virtues. Both these statements would be quite true. The possession of private property is very often extremely demoralising, and that is, of course, one of the reasons why Socialism wants to get rid of the institution. In fact, property is really a nuisance. Some years ago people went about the country saying that property has duties. They said it so often and so tediously that, at last, the Church has begun to say it. One hears it now from every pulpit. It is perfectly true. Property not merely has duties, but has so many duties that its possession to any large extent is a bore. It involves endless claims upon one, endless attention to business, endless bother. If property had simply pleasures, we could stand it; but its duties make it unbearable. In the interest of the rich we must get rid of it. The virtues of the poor may be readily admitted, and are much to be regretted. We are often told that the poor are grateful for charity. Some of them are, no doubt, but the best amongst the poor are never grateful. They are ungrateful, discontented, disobedient, and rebellious. They are quite right to be so. Charity they feel to be a ridiculously inadequate mode of partial restitution, or a sentimental dole, usually accompanied by some impertinent attempt on the part of the sentimentalist to tyrannise over their private lives. Why should they be grateful for the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table? They should be seated at the board, and are beginning to know it. As for being discontented, a man who would not be discontented with such surroundings and such a low mode of life would be a perfect brute. Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion. Sometimes the poor are praised for being thrifty. But to recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less. For a town or country labourer to practise thrift would be absolutely immoral. Man should not be ready to show that he can live like a badly-fed animal. He should decline to live like that, and should either steal or go on the rates, which is considered by many to be a form of stealing. As for begging, it is safer to beg than to take, but it is finer to take than to beg. No: a poor man who is ungrateful, unthrifty, discontented, and rebellious, is probably a real personality, and has much in him. He is at any rate a healthy protest. As for the virtuous poor, one can pity them, of course, but one cannot possibly admire them. They have made private terms with the enemy, and sold their birthright for very bad pottage. They must also be extraordinarily stupid. I can quite understand a man accepting laws that protect private property, and admit of its accumulation, as long as he himself is able under those conditions to realise some form of beautiful and intellectual life. But it is almost incredible to me how a man whose life is marred and made hideous by such laws can possibly acquiesce in their continuance.

However, the explanation is not really difficult to find. It is simply this. Misery and poverty are so absolutely degrading, and exercise such a paralysing effect over the nature of men, that no class is ever really conscious of its own suffering. They have to be told of it by other people, and they often entirely disbelieve them. What is said by great employers of labour against agitators is unquestionably true. Agitators are a set of interfering, meddling people, who come down to some perfectly contented class of the community, and sow the seeds of discontent amongst them. That is the reason why agitators are so absolutely necessary. Without them, in our incomplete state, there would be no advance towards civilisation. Slavery was put down in America, not in consequence of any action on the part of the slaves, or even any express desire on their part that they should be free. It was put down entirely through the grossly illegal conduct of certain agitators in Boston and elsewhere, who were not slaves themselves, nor owners of slaves, nor had anything to do with the question really. It was, undoubtedly, the Abolitionists who set the torch alight, who began the whole thing. And it is curious to note that from the slaves themselves they received, not merely very little assistance, but hardly any sympathy even; and when at the close of the war the slaves found themselves free, found themselves indeed so absolutely free that they were free to starve, many of them bitterly regretted the new state of things. To the thinker, the most tragic fact in the whole of the French Revolution is not that Marie Antoinette was killed for being a queen, but that the starved peasant of the Vendee voluntarily went out to die for the hideous cause of feudalism.

It is clear, then, that no Authoritarian Socialism will do. For while under the present system a very large number of people can lead lives of a certain amount of freedom and expression and happiness, under an industrial-barrack system, or a system of economic tyranny, nobody would be able to have any such freedom at all. It is to be regretted that a portion of our community should be practically in slavery, but to propose to solve the problem by enslaving the entire community is childish. Every man must be left quite free to choose his own work. No form of compulsion must be exercised over him. If there is, his work will not be good for him, will not be good in itself, and will not be good for others. And by work I simply mean activity of any kind.

I hardly think that any Socialist, nowadays, would seriously propose that an inspector should call every morning at each house to see that each citizen rose up and did manual labour for eight hours. Humanity has got beyond that stage, and reserves such a form of life for the people whom, in a very arbitrary manner, it chooses to call criminals. But I confess that many of the socialistic views that I have come across seem to me to be tainted with ideas of authority, if not of actual compulsion. Of course, authority and compulsion are out of the question. All association must be quite voluntary. It is only in voluntary associations that man is fine.

But it may be asked how Individualism, which is now more or less dependent on the existence of private property for its development, will benefit by the abolition of such private property.
The answer is very simple. It is true that, under existing conditions, a few men who have had private means of their own, such as Byron, Shelley, Browning, Victor Hugo, Baudelaire, and others, have been able to realise their personality more or less completely. Not one of these men ever did a single day’s work for hire. They were relieved from poverty. They had an immense advantage. The question is whether it would be for the good of Individualism that such an advantage should be taken away. Let us suppose that it is taken away. What happens then to Individualism? How will it benefit?

It will benefit in this way. Under the new conditions Individualism will be far freer, far finer, and far more intensified than it is now. I am not talking of the great imaginatively-realised Individualism of such poets as I have mentioned, but of the great actual Individualism latent and potential in mankind generally. For the recognition of private property has really harmed Individualism, and obscured it, by confusing a man with what he possesses. It has led Individualism entirely astray. It has made gain not growth its aim. So that man thought that the important thing was to have, and did not know that the important thing is to be. The true perfection of man lies, not in what man has, but in what man is.

Private property has crushed true Individualism, and set up an Individualism that is false. It has debarred one part of the community from being individual by starving them. It has debarred the other part of the community from being individual by putting them on the wrong road, and encumbering them. Indeed, so completely has man’s personality been absorbed by his possessions that the English law has always treated offences against a man’s property with far more severity than offences against his person, and property is still the test of complete citizenship. The industry necessary for the making money is also very demoralising. In a community like ours, where property confers immense distinction, social position, honour, respect, titles, and other pleasant things of the kind, man, being naturally ambitious, makes it his aim to accumulate this property, and goes on wearily and tediously accumulating it long after he has got far more than he wants, or can use, or enjoy, or perhaps even know of. Man will kill himself by overwork in order to secure property, and really, considering the enormous advantages that property brings, one is hardly surprised. One’s regret is that society should be constructed on such a basis that man has been forced into a groove in which he cannot freely develop what is wonderful, and fascinating, and delightful in him –- in which, in fact, he misses the true pleasure and joy of living. He is also, under existing conditions, very insecure. An enormously wealthy merchant may be –- often is -– at every moment of his life at the mercy of things that are not under his control. If the wind blows an extra point or so, or the weather suddenly changes, or some trivial thing happens, his ship may go down, his speculations may go wrong, and he finds himself a poor man, with his social position quite gone. Now, nothing should be able to harm a man except himself. Nothing should be able to rob a man at all. What a man really has, is what is in him. What is outside of him should be a matter of no importance.

With the abolition of private property, then, we shall have true, beautiful, healthy Individualism. Nobody will waste his life in accumulating things, and the symbols for things. One will live. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

Wilde's final address was at the dingy Hôtel d'Alsace (now known as L'Hôtel), on rue des Beaux-Arts in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris. "This poverty really breaks one's heart: it is so sale [filthy], so utterly depressing, so hopeless. Pray do what you can" he wrote to his publisher. He corrected and published An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, the proofs of which, according to Ellmann, show a man "very much in command of himself and of the play" but he refused to write anything else: "I can write, but have lost the joy of writing".

-- Oscar Wilde, by Wikipedia

It is a question whether we have ever seen the full expression of a personality, except on the imaginative plane of art. In action, we never have. Caesar, says Mommsen, was the complete and perfect man. But how tragically insecure was Caesar! Wherever there is a man who exercises authority, there is a man who resists authority. Caesar was very perfect, but his perfection travelled by too dangerous a road. Marcus Aurelius was the perfect man, says Renan. Yes; the great emperor was a perfect man. But how intolerable were the endless claims upon him! He staggered under the burden of the empire. He was conscious how inadequate one man was to bear the weight of that Titan and too vast orb. What I mean by a perfect man is one who develops under perfect conditions; one who is not wounded, or worried or maimed, or in danger. Most personalities have been obliged to be rebels. Half their strength has been wasted in friction. Byron’s personality, for instance, was terribly wasted in its battle with the stupidity, and hypocrisy, and Philistinism of the English. Such battles do not always intensify strength: they often exaggerate weakness. Byron was never able to give us what he might have given us. Shelley escaped better. Like Byron, he got out of England as soon as possible. But he was not so well known. If the English had had any idea of what a great poet he really was, they would have fallen on him with tooth and nail, and made his life as unbearable to him as they possibly could. But he was not a remarkable figure in society, and consequently he escaped, to a certain degree. Still, even in Shelley the note of rebellion is sometimes too strong. The note of the perfect personality is not rebellion, but peace.

It will be a marvellous thing -– the true personality of man -– when we see it. It will grow naturally and simply, flowerlike, or as a tree grows. It will not be at discord. It will never argue or dispute. It will not prove things. It will know everything. And yet it will not busy itself about knowledge. It will have wisdom. Its value will not be measured by material things. It will have nothing. And yet it will have everything, and whatever one takes from it, it will still have, so rich will it be. It will not be always meddling with others, or asking them to be like itself. It will love them because they will be different. And yet while it will not meddle with others, it will help all, as a beautiful thing helps us, by being what it is. The personality of man will be very wonderful. It will be as wonderful as the personality of a child.

In its development it will be assisted by Christianity, if men desire that; but if men do not desire that, it will develop none the less surely. For it will not worry itself about the past, nor care whether things happened or did not happen. Nor will it admit any laws but its own laws; nor any authority but its own authority. Yet it will love those who sought to intensify it, and speak often of them. And of these Christ was one.

‘Know thyself’ was written over the portal of the antique world. Over the portal of the new world, ‘Be thyself’ shall be written. And the message of Christ to man was simply ‘Be thyself.’ That is the secret of Christ.

When Jesus talks about the poor he simply means personalities, just as when he talks about the rich he simply means people who have not developed their personalities. Jesus moved in a community that allowed the accumulation of private property just as ours does, and the gospel that he preached was not that in such a community it is an advantage for a man to live on scanty, unwholesome food, to wear ragged, unwholesome clothes, to sleep in horrid, unwholesome dwellings, and a disadvantage for a man to live under healthy, pleasant, and decent conditions. Such a view would have been wrong there and then, and would, of course, be still more wrong now and in England
; for as man moves northward the material necessities of life become of more vital importance, and our society is infinitely more complex, and displays far greater extremes of luxury and pauperism than any society of the antique world. What Jesus meant, was this. He said to man, ‘You have a wonderful personality. Develop it. Be yourself. Don’t imagine that your perfection lies in accumulating or possessing external things. Your affection is inside of you. If only you could realise that, you would not want to be rich. Ordinary riches can be stolen from a man. Real riches cannot. In the treasury-house of your soul, there are infinitely precious things, that may not be taken from you. And so, try to so shape your life that external things will not harm you. And try also to get rid of personal property. It involves sordid preoccupation, endless industry, continual wrong. Personal property hinders Individualism at every step.’ It is to be noted that Jesus never says that impoverished people are necessarily good, or wealthy people necessarily bad. That would not have been true. Wealthy people are, as a class, better than impoverished people, more moral, more intellectual, more well-behaved. There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor. The poor can think of nothing else. That is the misery of being poor. What Jesus does say is that man reaches his perfection, not through what he has, not even through what he does, but entirely through what he is. And so the wealthy young man who comes to Jesus is represented as a thoroughly good citizen, who has broken none of the laws of his state, none of the commandments of his religion. He is quite respectable, in the ordinary sense of that extraordinary word. Jesus says to him, ‘You should give up private property. It hinders you from realising your perfection. It is a drag upon you. It is a burden. Your personality does not need it. It is within you, and not outside of you, that you will find what you really are, and what you really want.’ To his own friends he says the same thing. He tells them to be themselves, and not to be always worrying about other things. What do other things matter? Man is complete in himself. When they go into the world, the world will disagree with them. That is inevitable. The world hates Individualism. But that is not to trouble them. They are to be calm and self-centred. If a man takes their cloak, they are to give him their coat, just to show that material things are of no importance. If people abuse them, they are not to answer back. What does it signify? The things people say of a man do not alter a man. He is what he is. Public opinion is of no value whatsoever. Even if people employ actual violence, they are not to be violent in turn. That would be to fall to the same low level. After all, even in prison, a man can be quite free. His soul can be free. His personality can be untroubled. He can be at peace. And, above all things, they are not to interfere with other people or judge them in any way. Personality is a very mysterious thing. A man cannot always be estimated by what he does. He may keep the law, and yet be worthless. He may break the law, and yet be fine. He may be bad, without ever doing anything bad. He may commit a sin against society, and yet realise through that sin his true perfection.

There was a woman who was taken in adultery. We are not told the history of her love, but that love must have been very great; for Jesus said that her sins were forgiven her, not because she repented, but because her love was so intense and wonderful. Later on, a short time before his death, as he sat at a feast, the woman came in and poured costly perfumes on his hair. His friends tried to interfere with her, and said that it was an extravagance, and that the money that the perfume cost should have been expended on charitable relief of people in want, or something of that kind. Jesus did not accept that view. He pointed out that the material needs of Man were great and very permanent, but that the spiritual needs of Man were greater still, and that in one divine moment, and by selecting its own mode of expression, a personality might make itself perfect. The world worships the woman, even now, as a saint.

Yes; there are suggestive things in Individualism. Socialism annihilates family life, for instance. With the abolition of private property, marriage in its present form must disappear. This is part of the programme. Individualism accepts this and makes it fine. It converts the abolition of legal restraint into a form of freedom that will help the full development of personality, and make the love of man and woman more wonderful, more beautiful, and more ennobling. Jesus knew this. He rejected the claims of family life, although they existed in his day and community in a very marked form. ‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ he said, when he was told that they wished to speak to him. When one of his followers asked leave to go and bury his father, ‘Let the dead bury the dead,’ was his terrible answer. He would allow no claim whatsoever to be made on personality.

And so he who would lead a Christlike life is he who is perfectly and absolutely himself. He may be a great poet, or a great man of science; or a young student at a University, or one who watches sheep upon a moor; or a maker of dramas, like Shakespeare, or a thinker about God, like Spinoza; or a child who plays in a garden, or a fisherman who throws his net into the sea. It does not matter what he is, as long as he realises the perfection of the soul that is within him. All imitation in morals and in life is wrong. Through the streets of Jerusalem at the present day crawls one who is mad and carries a wooden cross on his shoulders. He is a symbol of the lives that are marred by imitation. Father Damien was Christlike when he went out to live with the lepers, because in such service he realised fully what was best in him. But he was not more Christlike than Wagner when he realised his soul in music; or than Shelley, when he realised his soul in song. There is no one type for man. There are as many perfections as there are imperfect men. And while to the claims of charity a man may yield and yet be free, to the claims of conformity no man may yield and remain free at all.

Individualism, then, is what through Socialism we are to attain to. As a natural result the State must give up all idea of government. It must give it up because, as a wise man once said many centuries before Christ, there is such a thing as leaving mankind alone; there is no such thing as governing mankind. All modes of government are failures.
Despotism is unjust to everybody, including the despot, who was probably made for better things. Oligarchies are unjust to the many, and ochlocracies are unjust to the few. High hopes were once formed of democracy; but democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people. It has been found out. I must say that it was high time, for all authority is quite degrading. It degrades those who exercise it, and degrades those over whom it is exercised. When it is violently, grossly, and cruelly used, it produces a good effect, by creating, or at any rate bringing out, the spirit of revolt and Individualism that is to kill it. When it is used with a certain amount of kindness, and accompanied by prizes and rewards, it is dreadfully demoralising. People, in that case, are less conscious of the horrible pressure that is being put on them, and so go through their lives in a sort of coarse comfort, like petted animals, without ever realising that they are probably thinking other people’s thoughts, living by other people’s standards, wearing practically what one may call other people’s second-hand clothes, and never being themselves for a single moment. ‘He who would be free,’ says a fine thinker, ‘must not conform.’ And authority, by bribing people to conform, produces a very gross kind of over-fed barbarism amongst us.

With authority, punishment will pass away. This will be a great gain -– a gain, in fact, of incalculable value. As one reads history, not in the expurgated editions written for school-boys and passmen, but in the original authorities of each time, one is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted; and a community is infinitely more brutalised by the habitual employment of punishment, than it is by the occurrence of crime. It obviously follows that the more punishment is inflicted the more crime is produced, and most modern legislation has clearly recognised this, and has made it its task to diminish punishment as far as it thinks it can. Wherever it has really diminished it, the results have always been extremely good. The less punishment, the less crime. When there is no punishment at all, crime will either cease to exist, or, if it occurs, will be treated by physicians as a very distressing form of dementia, to be cured by care and kindness. For what are called criminals nowadays are not criminals at all. Starvation, and not sin, is the parent of modern crime. That indeed is the reason why our criminals are, as a class, so absolutely uninteresting from any psychological point of view. They are not marvellous Macbeths and terrible Vautrins. They are merely what ordinary, respectable, commonplace people would be if they had not got enough to eat. When private property is abolished there will be no necessity for crime, no demand for it; it will cease to exist. Of course, all crimes are not crimes against property, though such are the crimes that the English law, valuing what a man has more than what a man is, punishes with the harshest and most horrible severity, if we except the crime of murder, and regard death as worse than penal servitude, a point on which our criminals, I believe, disagree. But though a crime may not be against property, it may spring from the misery and rage and depression produced by our wrong system of property-holding, and so, when that system is abolished, will disappear. When each member of the community has sufficient for his wants, and is not interfered with by his neighbour, it will not be an object of any interest to him to interfere with anyone else. Jealousy, which is an extraordinary source of crime in modern life, is an emotion closely bound up with our conceptions of property, and under Socialism and Individualism will die out. It is remarkable that in communistic tribes jealousy is entirely unknown.

Now as the State is not to govern, it may be asked what the State is to do. The State is to be a voluntary association that will organise labour, and be the manufacturer and distributor of necessary commodities. The State is to make what is useful. The individual is to make what is beautiful. And as I have mentioned the word labour, I cannot help saying that a great deal of nonsense is being written and talked nowadays about the dignity of manual labour. There is nothing necessarily dignified about manual labour at all, and most of it is absolutely degrading. It is mentally and morally injurious to man to do anything in which he does not find pleasure, and many forms of labour are quite pleasureless activities, and should be regarded as such. To sweep a slushy crossing for eight hours, on a day when the east wind is blowing is a disgusting occupation. To sweep it with mental, moral, or physical dignity seems to me to be impossible. To sweep it with joy would be appalling. Man is made for something better than disturbing dirt. All work of that kind should be done by a machine.

And I have no doubt that it will be so. Up to the present, man has been, to a certain extent, the slave of machinery, and there is something tragic in the fact that as soon as man had invented a machine to do his work he began to starve. This, however, is, of course, the result of our property system and our system of competition. One man owns a machine which does the work of five hundred men. Five hundred men are, in consequence, thrown out of employment, and, having no work to do, become hungry and take to thieving. The one man secures the produce of the machine and keeps it, and has five hundred times as much as he should have, and probably, which is of much more importance, a great deal more than he really wants. Were that machine the property of all, every one would benefit by it. It would be an immense advantage to the community. All unintellectual labour, all monotonous, dull labour, all labour that deals with dreadful things, and involves unpleasant conditions, must be done by machinery. Machinery must work for us in coal mines, and do all sanitary services, and be the stoker of steamers, and clean the streets, and run messages on wet days, and do anything that is tedious or distressing. At present machinery competes against man. Under proper conditions machinery will serve man. There is no doubt at all that this is the future of machinery, and just as trees grow while the country gentleman is asleep, so while Humanity will be amusing itself, or enjoying cultivated leisure -– which, and not labour, is the aim of man –- or making beautiful things, or reading beautiful things, or simply contemplating the world with admiration and delight, machinery will be doing all the necessary and unpleasant work. The fact is, that civilisation requires slaves. The Greeks were quite right there. Unless there are slaves to do the ugly, horrible, uninteresting work, culture and contemplation become almost impossible. Human slavery is wrong, insecure, and demoralising. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends. And when scientific men are no longer called upon to go down to a depressing East End and distribute bad cocoa and worse blankets to starving people, they will have delightful leisure in which to devise wonderful and marvellous things for their own joy and the joy of everyone else. There will be great storages of force for every city, and for every house if required, and this force man will convert into heat, light, or motion, according to his needs. Is this Utopian? A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias.

Now, I have said that the community by means of organisation of machinery will supply the useful things, and that the beautiful things will be made by the individual. This is not merely necessary, but it is the only possible way by which we can get either the one or the other. An individual who has to make things for the use of others, and with reference to their wants and their wishes, does not work with interest, and consequently cannot put into his work what is best in him. Upon the other hand, whenever a community or a powerful section of a community, or a government of any kind, attempts to dictate to the artist what he is to do, Art either entirely vanishes, or becomes stereotyped, or degenerates into a low and ignoble form of craft. A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament. Its beauty comes from the fact that the author is what he is. It has nothing to do with the fact that other people want what they want. Indeed, the moment that an artist takes notice of what other people want, and tries to supply the demand, he ceases to be an artist, and becomes a dull or an amusing craftsman, an honest or a dishonest tradesman. He has no further claim to be considered as an artist. Art is the most intense mode of Individualism that the world has known. I am inclined to say that it is the only real mode of Individualism that the world has known. Crime, which, under certain conditions, may seem to have created Individualism, must take cognisance of other people and interfere with them. It belongs to the sphere of action. But alone, without any reference to his neighbours, without any interference, the artist can fashion a beautiful thing; and if he does not do it solely for his own pleasure, he is not an artist at all.

And it is to be noted that it is the fact that Art is this intense form of Individualism that makes the public try to exercise over it in an authority that is as immoral as it is ridiculous, and as corrupting as it is contemptible. It is not quite their fault. The public has always, and in every age, been badly brought up. They are continually asking Art to be popular, to please their want of taste, to flatter their absurd vanity, to tell them what they have been told before, to show them what they ought to be tired of seeing, to amuse them when they feel heavy after eating too much, and to distract their thoughts when they are wearied of their own stupidity. Now Art should never try to be popular. The public should try to make itself artistic. There is a very wide difference. If a man of science were told that the results of his experiments, and the conclusions that he arrived at, should be of such a character that they would not upset the received popular notions on the subject, or disturb popular prejudice, or hurt the sensibilities of people who knew nothing about science; if a philosopher were told that he had a perfect right to speculate in the highest spheres of thought, provided that he arrived at the same conclusions as were held by those who had never thought in any sphere at all -– well, nowadays the man of science and the philosopher would be considerably amused. Yet it is really a very few years since both philosophy and science were subjected to brutal popular control, to authority -– in fact the authority of either the general ignorance of the community, or the terror and greed for power of an ecclesiastical or governmental class. Of course, we have to a very great extent got rid of any attempt on the part of the community, or the Church, or the Government, to interfere with the individualism of speculative thought, but the attempt to interfere with the individualism of imaginative art still lingers. In fact, it does more than linger; it is aggressive, offensive, and brutalising.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:18 am

Part 2 of 2

In England, the arts that have escaped best are the arts in which the public take no interest. Poetry is an instance of what I mean. We have been able to have fine poetry in England because the public do not read it, and consequently do not influence it. The public like to insult poets because they are individual, but once they have insulted them, they leave them alone. In the case of the novel and the drama, arts in which the public do take an interest, the result of the exercise of popular authority has been absolutely ridiculous. No country produces such badly-written fiction, such tedious, common work in the novel form, such silly, vulgar plays as England. It must necessarily be so. The popular standard is of such a character that no artist can get to it. It is at once too easy and too difficult to be a popular novelist. It is too easy, because the requirements of the public as far as plot, style, psychology, treatment of life, and treatment of literature are concerned are within the reach of the very meanest capacity and the most uncultivated mind. It is too difficult, because to meet such requirements the artist would have to do violence to his temperament, would have to write not for the artistic joy of writing, but for the amusement of half-educated people, and so would have to suppress his individualism, forget his culture, annihilate his style, and surrender everything that is valuable in him. In the case of the drama, things are a little better: the theatre-going public like the obvious, it is true, but they do not like the tedious; and burlesque and farcical comedy, the two most popular forms, are distinct forms of art. Delightful work may be produced under burlesque and farcical conditions, and in work of this kind the artist in England is allowed very great freedom. It is when one comes to the higher forms of the drama that the result of popular control is seen. The one thing that the public dislike is novelty. Any attempt to extend the subject-matter of art is extremely distasteful to the public; and yet the vitality and progress of art depend in a large measure on the continual extension of subject-matter. The public dislike novelty because they are afraid of it. It represents to them a mode of Individualism, an assertion on the part of the artist that he selects his own subject, and treats it as he chooses. The public are quite right in their attitude. Art is Individualism, and Individualism is a disturbing and disintegrating force. Therein lies its immense value. For what it seeks to disturb is monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine. In Art, the public accept what has been, because they cannot alter it, not because they appreciate it. They swallow their classics whole, and never taste them. They endure them as the inevitable, and as they cannot mar them, they mouth about them. Strangely enough, or not strangely, according to one’s own views, this acceptance of the classics does a great deal of harm. The uncritical admiration of the Bible and Shakespeare in England is an instance of what I mean. With regard to the Bible, considerations of ecclesiastical authority enter into the matter, so that I need not dwell upon the point. But in the case of Shakespeare it is quite obvious that the public really see neither the beauties nor the defects of his plays. If they saw the beauties, they would not object to the development of the drama; and if they saw the defects, they would not object to the development of the drama either. The fact is, the public make use of the classics of a country as a means of checking the progress of Art. They degrade the classics into authorities. They use them as bludgeons for preventing the free expression of Beauty in new forms. They are always asking a writer why he does not write like somebody else, or a painter why he does not paint like somebody else, quite oblivious of the fact that if either of them did anything of the kind he would cease to be an artist. A fresh mode of Beauty is absolutely distasteful to them, and whenever it appears they get so angry, and bewildered that they always use two stupid expressions -– one is that the work of art is grossly unintelligible; the other, that the work of art is grossly immoral. What they mean by these words seems to me to be this. When they say a work is grossly unintelligible, they mean that the artist has said or made a beautiful thing that is new; when they describe a work as grossly immoral, they mean that the artist has said or made a beautiful thing that is true. The former expression has reference to style; the latter to subject-matter. But they probably use the words very vaguely, as an ordinary mob will use ready-made paving-stones. There is not a single real poet or prose-writer of this century, for instance, on whom the British public have not solemnly conferred diplomas of immorality, and these diplomas practically take the place, with us, of what in France, is the formal recognition of an Academy of Letters, and fortunately make the establishment of such an institution quite unnecessary in England. Of course, the public are very reckless in their use of the word. That they should have called Wordsworth an immoral poet, was only to be expected. Wordsworth was a poet. But that they should have called Charles Kingsley an immoral novelist is extraordinary. Kingsley’s prose was not of a very fine quality. Still, there is the word, and they use it as best they can. An artist is, of course, not disturbed by it. The true artist is a man who believes absolutely in himself, because he is absolutely himself. But I can fancy that if an artist produced a work of art in England that immediately on its appearance was recognised by the public, through their medium, which is the public press, as a work that was quite intelligible and highly moral, he would begin to seriously question whether in its creation he had really been himself at all, and consequently whether the work was not quite unworthy of him, and either of a thoroughly second-rate order, or of no artistic value whatsoever.

Perhaps, however, I have wronged the public in limiting them to such words as ‘immoral,’ ‘unintelligible,’ ‘exotic,’ and ‘unhealthy.’ There is one other word that they use. That word is ‘morbid.’ They do not use it often. The meaning of the word is so simple that they are afraid of using it. Still, they use it sometimes, and, now and then, one comes across it in popular newspapers. It is, of course, a ridiculous word to apply to a work of art. For what is morbidity but a mood of emotion or a mode of thought that one cannot express? The public are all morbid, because the public can never find expression for anything. The artist is never morbid. He expresses everything. He stands outside his subject, and through its medium produces incomparable and artistic effects. To call an artist morbid because he deals with morbidity as his subject-matter is as silly as if one called Shakespeare mad because he wrote ‘King Lear.’

On the whole, an artist in England gains something by being attacked. His individuality is intensified. He becomes more completely himself. Of course, the attacks are very gross, very impertinent, and very contemptible. But then no artist expects grace from the vulgar mind, or style from the suburban intellect. Vulgarity and stupidity are two very vivid facts in modern life. One regrets them, naturally. But there they are. They are subjects for study, like everything else. And it is only fair to state, with regard to modern journalists, that they always apologise to one in private for what they have written against one in public.

Within the last few years two other adjectives, it may be mentioned, have been added to the very limited vocabulary of art-abuse that is at the disposal of the public. One is the word ‘unhealthy,’ the other is the word ‘exotic.’ The latter merely expresses the rage of the momentary mushroom against the immortal, entrancing, and exquisitely lovely orchid. It is a tribute, but a tribute of no importance. The word ‘unhealthy,’ however, admits of analysis. It is a rather interesting word. In fact, it is so interesting that the people who use it do not know what it means.

What does it mean? What is a healthy, or an unhealthy work of art? All terms that one applies to a work of art, provided that one applies them rationally, have reference to either its style or its subject, or to both together. From the point of view of style, a healthy work of art is one whose style recognises the beauty of the material it employs, be that material one of words or of bronze, of colour or of ivory, and uses that beauty as a factor in producing the aesthetic effect. From the point of view of subject, a healthy work of art is one the choice of whose subject is conditioned by the temperament of the artist, and comes directly out of it. In fine, a healthy work of art is one that has both perfection and personality. Of course, form and substance cannot be separated in a work of art; they are always one. But for purposes of analysis, and setting the wholeness of aesthetic impression aside for a moment, we can intellectually so separate them. An unhealthy work of art, on the other hand, is a work whose style is obvious, old-fashioned, and common, and whose subject is deliberately chosen, not because the artist has any pleasure in it, but because he thinks that the public will pay him for it. In fact, the popular novel that the public calls healthy is always a thoroughly unhealthy production; and what the public call an unhealthy novel is always a beautiful and healthy work of art.

I need hardly say that I am not, for a single moment, complaining that the public and the public press misuse these words. I do not see how, with their lack of comprehension of what Art is, they could possibly use them in the proper sense. I am merely pointing out the misuse; and as for the origin of the misuse and the meaning that lies behind it all, the explanation is very simple. It comes from the barbarous conception of authority. It comes from the natural inability of a community corrupted by authority to understand or appreciate Individualism. In a word, it comes from that monstrous and ignorant thing that is called Public Opinion, which, bad and well-meaning as it is when it tries to control action, is infamous and of evil meaning when it tries to control Thought or Art.

Indeed, there is much more to be said in favour of the physical force of the public than there is in favour of the public’s opinion. The former may be fine. The latter must be foolish. It is often said that force is no argument. That, however, entirely depends on what one wants to prove. Many of the most important problems of the last few centuries, such as the continuance of personal government in England, or of feudalism in France, have been solved entirely by means of physical force. The very violence of a revolution may make the public grand and splendid for a moment. It was a fatal day when the public discovered that the pen is mightier than the paving-stone, and can be made as offensive as the brickbat. They at once sought for the journalist, found him, developed him, and made him their industrious and well-paid servant. It is greatly to be regretted, for both their sakes. Behind the barricade there may be much that is noble and heroic. But what is there behind the leading-article but prejudice, stupidity, cant, and twaddle? And when these four are joined together they make a terrible force, and constitute the new authority.

In old days men had the rack. Now they have the press. That is an improvement certainly. But still it is very bad, and wrong, and demoralising. Somebody -– was it Burke? -- called journalism the fourth estate. That was true at the time, no doubt. But at the present moment it really is the only estate. It has eaten up the other three. The Lords Temporal say nothing, the Lords Spiritual have nothing to say, and the House of Commons has nothing to say and says it. We are dominated by Journalism. In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs for ever and ever. Fortunately in America Journalism has carried its authority to the grossest and most brutal extreme. As a natural consequence it has begun to create a spirit of revolt. People are amused by it, or disgusted by it, according to their temperaments. But it is no longer the real force it was. It is not seriously treated. In England, Journalism, not, except in a few well-known instances, having been carried to such excesses of brutality, is still a great factor, a really remarkable power. The tyranny that it proposes to exercise over people’s private lives seems to me to be quite extraordinary. The fact is, that the public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands. In centuries before ours the public nailed the ears of journalists to the pump. That was quite hideous. In this century journalists have nailed their own ears to the keyhole. That is much worse. And what aggravates the mischief is that the journalists who are most to blame are not the amusing journalists who write for what are called Society papers. The harm is done by the serious, thoughtful, earnest journalists, who solemnly, as they are doing at present, will drag before the eyes of the public some incident in the private life of a great statesman, of a man who is a leader of political thought as he is a creator of political force, and invite the public to discuss the incident, to exercise authority in the matter, to give their views, and not merely to give their views, but to carry them into action, to dictate to the man upon all other points, to dictate to his party, to dictate to his country; in fact, to make themselves ridiculous, offensive, and harmful. The private lives of men and women should not be told to the public. The public have nothing to do with them at all. In France they manage these things better. There they do not allow the details of the trials that take place in the divorce courts to be published for the amusement or criticism of the public. All that the public are allowed to know is that the divorce has taken place and was granted on petition of one or other or both of the married parties concerned. In France, in fact, they limit the journalist, and allow the artist almost perfect freedom. Here we allow absolute freedom to the journalist, and entirely limit the artist. English public opinion, that is to say, tries to constrain and impede and warp the man who makes things that are beautiful in effect, and compels the journalist to retail things that are ugly, or disgusting, or revolting in fact, so that we have the most serious journalists in the world, and the most indecent newspapers. It is no exaggeration to talk of compulsion. There are possibly some journalists who take a real pleasure in publishing horrible things, or who, being poor, look to scandals as forming a sort of permanent basis for an income. But there are other journalists, I feel certain, men of education and cultivation, who really dislike publishing these things, who know that it is wrong to do so, and only do it because the unhealthy conditions under which their occupation is carried on oblige them to supply the public with what the public wants, and to compete with other journalists in making that supply as full and satisfying to the gross popular appetite as possible. It is a very degrading position for any body of educated men to be placed in, and I have no doubt that most of them feel it acutely.

However, let us leave what is really a very sordid side of the subject, and return to the question of popular control in the matter of Art, by which I mean Public Opinion dictating to the artist the form which he is to use, the mode in which he is to use it, and the materials with which he is to work. I have pointed out that the arts which have escaped best in England are the arts in which the public have not been interested. They are, however, interested in the drama, and as a certain advance has been made in the drama within the last ten or fifteen years, it is important to point out that this advance is entirely due to a few individual artists refusing to accept the popular want of taste as their standard, and refusing to regard Art as a mere matter of demand and supply. With his marvellous and vivid personality, with a style that has really a true colour-element in it, with his extraordinary power, not over mere mimicry but over imaginative and intellectual creation, Mr Irving, had his sole object been to give the public what they wanted, could have produced the commonest plays in the commonest manner, and made as much success and money as a man could possibly desire. But his object was not that. His object was to realise his own perfection as an artist, under certain conditions, and in certain forms of Art. At first he appealed to the few: now he has educated the many. He has created in the public both taste and temperament. The public appreciate his artistic success immensely. I often wonder, however, whether the public understand that that success is entirely due to the fact that he did not accept their standard, but realised his own. With their standard the Lyceum would have been a sort of second-rate booth, as some of the popular theatres in London are at present. Whether they understand it or not the fact however remains, that taste and temperament have, to a certain extent been created in the public, and that the public is capable of developing these qualities. The problem then is, why do not the public become more civilised? They have the capacity. What stops them?

The thing that stops them, it must be said again, is their desire to exercise authority over the artist and over works of art.
To certain theatres, such as the Lyceum and the Haymarket, the public seem to come in a proper mood. In both of these theatres there have been individual artists, who have succeeded in creating in their audiences -– and every theatre in London has its own audience -– the temperament to which Art appeals. And what is that temperament? It is the temperament of receptivity. That is all.

If a man approaches a work of art with any desire to exercise authority over it and the artist, he approaches it in such a spirit that he cannot receive any artistic impression from it at all. The work of art is to dominate the spectator: the spectator is not to dominate the work of art. The spectator is to be receptive. He is to be the violin on which the master is to play. And the more completely he can suppress his own silly views, his own foolish prejudices, his own absurd ideas of what Art should be, or should not be, the more likely he is to understand and appreciate the work of art in question. This is, of course, quite obvious in the case of the vulgar theatre-going public of English men and women. But it is equally true of what are called educated people. For an educated person’s ideas of Art are drawn naturally from what Art has been, whereas the new work of art is beautiful by being what Art has never been; and to measure it by the standard of the past is to measure it by a standard on the rejection of which its real perfection depends. A temperament capable of receiving, through an imaginative medium, and under imaginative conditions, new and beautiful impressions, is the only temperament that can appreciate a work of art. And true as this is in the case of the appreciation of sculpture and painting, it is still more true of the appreciation of such arts as the drama. For a picture and a statue are not at war with Time. They take no count of its succession. In one moment their unity may be apprehended. In the case of literature it is different. Time must be traversed before the unity of effect is realised. And so, in the drama, there may occur in the first act of the play something whose real artistic value may not be evident to the spectator till the third or fourth act is reached. Is the silly fellow to get angry and call out, and disturb the play, and annoy the artists? No. The honest man is to sit quietly, and know the delightful emotions of wonder, curiosity, and suspense. He is not to go to the play to lose a vulgar temper. He is to go to the play to realise an artistic temperament. He is to go to the play to gain an artistic temperament. He is not the arbiter of the work of art. He is one who is admitted to contemplate the work of art, and, if the work be fine, to forget in its contemplation and the egotism that mars him -– the egotism of his ignorance, or the egotism of his information. This point about the drama is hardly, I think, sufficiently recognised. I can quite understand that were ‘Macbeth’ produced for the first time before a modern London audience, many of the people present would strongly and vigorously object to the introduction of the witches in the first act, with their grotesque phrases and their ridiculous words. But when the play is over one realises that the laughter of the witches in ‘Macbeth’ is as terrible as the laughter of madness in ‘Lear,’ more terrible than the laughter of Iago in the tragedy of the Moor. No spectator of art needs a more perfect mood of receptivity than the spectator of a play. The moment he seeks to exercise authority he becomes the avowed enemy of Art and of himself. Art does not mind. It is he who suffers.

With the novel it is the same thing. Popular authority and the recognition of popular authority are fatal. Thackeray’s ‘Esmond’ is a beautiful work of art because he wrote it to please himself. In his other novels, in ‘Pendennis,’ in ‘Philip,’ in ‘Vanity Fair’ even, at times, he is too conscious of the public, and spoils his work by appealing directly to the sympathies of the public, or by directly mocking at them. A true artist takes no notice whatever of the public. The public are to him non-existent. He has no poppied or honeyed cakes through which to give the monster sleep or sustenance. He leaves that to the popular novelist. One incomparable novelist we have now in England, Mr George Meredith. There are better artists in France, but France has no one whose view of life is so large, so varied, so imaginatively true. There are tellers of stories in Russia who have a more vivid sense of what pain in fiction may be. But to him belongs philosophy in fiction. His people not merely live, but they live in thought. One can see them from myriad points of view. They are suggestive. There is soul in them and around them. They are interpretative and symbolic. And he who made them, those wonderful quickly-moving figures, made them for his own pleasure, and has never asked the public what they wanted, has never cared to know what they wanted, has never allowed the public to dictate to him or influence him in any way but has gone on intensifying his own personality, and producing his own individual work. At first none came to him. That did not matter. Then the few came to him. That did not change him. The many have come now. He is still the same. He is an incomparable novelist. With the decorative arts it is not different. The public clung with really pathetic tenacity to what I believe were the direct traditions of the Great Exhibition of international vulgarity, traditions that were so appalling that the houses in which people lived were only fit for blind people to live in. Beautiful things began to be made, beautiful colours came from the dyer’s hand, beautiful patterns from the artist’s brain, and the use of beautiful things and their value and importance were set forth. The public were really very indignant. They lost their temper. They said silly things. No one minded. No one was a whit the worse. No one accepted the authority of public opinion. And now it is almost impossible to enter any modern house without seeing some recognition of good taste, some recognition of the value of lovely surroundings, some sign of appreciation of beauty. In fact, people’s houses are, as a rule, quite charming nowadays. People have been to a very great extent civilised. It is only fair to state, however, that the extraordinary success of the revolution in house-decoration and furniture and the like has not really been due to the majority of the public developing a very fine taste in such matters. It has been chiefly due to the fact that the craftsmen of things so appreciated the pleasure of making what was beautiful, and woke to such a vivid consciousness of the hideousness and vulgarity of what the public had previously wanted, that they simply starved the public out. It would be quite impossible at the present moment to furnish a room as rooms were furnished a few years ago, without going for everything to an auction of second-hand furniture from some third-rate lodging-house. The things are no longer made. However they may object to it, people must nowadays have something charming in their surroundings. Fortunately for them, their assumption of authority in these art-matters came to entire grief.

It is evident, then, that all authority in such things is bad. People sometimes inquire what form of government is most suitable for an artist to live under. To this question there is only one answer. The form of government that is most suitable to the artist is no government at all. Authority over him and his art is ridiculous. It has been stated that under despotisms artists have produced lovely work. This is not quite so. Artists have visited despots, not as subjects to be tyrannised over, but as wandering wonder-makers, as fascinating vagrant personalities, to be entertained and charmed and suffered to be at peace, and allowed to create. There is this to be said in favour of the despot, that he, being an individual, may have culture, while the mob, being a monster, has none. One who is an Emperor and King may stoop down to pick up a brush for a painter, but when the democracy stoops down it is merely to throw mud. And yet the democracy have not so far to stoop as the emperor. In fact, when they want to throw mud they have not to stoop at all. But there is no necessity to separate the monarch from the mob; all authority is equally bad.

There are three kinds of despots. There is the despot who tyrannises over the body. There is the despot who tyrannises over the soul. There is the despot who tyrannises over the soul and body alike. The first is called the Prince. The second is called the Pope. The third is called the People. The Prince may be cultivated. Many Princes have been. Yet in the Prince there is danger. One thinks of Dante at the bitter feast in Verona, of Tasso in Ferrara’s madman’s cell. It is better for the artist not to live with Princes. The Pope may be cultivated. Many Popes have been; the bad Popes have been. The bad Popes loved Beauty, almost as passionately, nay, with as much passion as the good Popes hated Thought. To the wickedness of the Papacy humanity owes much. The goodness of the Papacy owes a terrible debt to humanity. Yet, though the Vatican has kept the rhetoric of its thunders, and lost the rod of its lightning, it is better for the artist not to live with Popes. It was a Pope who said of Cellini to a conclave of Cardinals that common laws and common authority were not made for men such as he; but it was a Pope who thrust Cellini into prison, and kept him there till he sickened with rage, and created unreal visions for himself, and saw the gilded sun enter his room, and grew so enamoured of it that he sought to escape, and crept out from tower to tower, and falling through dizzy air at dawn, maimed himself, and was by a vine-dresser covered with vine leaves, and carried in a cart to one who, loving beautiful things, had care of him. There is danger in Popes. And as for the People, what of them and their authority? Perhaps of them and their authority one has spoken enough. Their authority is a thing blind, deaf, hideous, grotesque, tragic, amusing, serious, and obscene. It is impossible for the artist to live with the People. All despots bribe. The people bribe and brutalise. Who told them to exercise authority? They were made to live, to listen, and to love. Someone has done them a great wrong. They have marred themselves by imitation of their inferiors. They have taken the sceptre of the Prince. How should they use it? They have taken the triple tiara of the Pope. How should they carry its burden? They are as a clown whose heart is broken. They are as a priest whose soul is not yet born. Let all who love Beauty pity them. Though they themselves love not Beauty, yet let them pity themselves. Who taught them the trick of tyranny?

There are many other things that one might point out. One might point out how the Renaissance was great, because it sought to solve no social problem, and busied itself not about such things, but suffered the individual to develop freely, beautifully, and naturally, and so had great and individual artists, and great and individual men. One might point out how Louis XIV., by creating the modern state, destroyed the individualism of the artist, and made things monstrous in their monotony of repetition, and contemptible in their conformity to rule, and destroyed throughout all France all those fine freedoms of expression that had made tradition new in beauty, and new modes one with antique form.
But the past is of no importance. The present is of no importance. It is with the future that we have to deal. For the past is what man should not have been. The present is what man ought not to be. The future is what artists are.

It will, of course, be said that such a scheme as is set forth here is quite unpractical, and goes against human nature. This is perfectly true. It is unpractical, and it goes against human nature. This is why it is worth carrying out, and that is why one proposes it. For what is a practical scheme? A practical scheme is either a scheme that is already in existence, or a scheme that could be carried out under existing conditions. But it is exactly the existing conditions that one objects to; and any scheme that could accept these conditions is wrong and foolish. The conditions will be done away with, and human nature will change. The only thing that one really knows about human nature is that it changes. Change is the one quality we can predicate of it. The systems that fail are those that rely on the permanency of human nature, and not on its growth and development. The error of Louis XIV. was that he thought human nature would always be the same. The result of his error was the French Revolution. It was an admirable result. All the results of the mistakes of governments are quite admirable.

It is to be noted also that Individualism does not come to man with any sickly cant about duty, which merely means doing what other people want because they want it; or any hideous cant about self-sacrifice, which is merely a survival of savage mutilation. In fact, it does not come to man with any claims upon him at all. It comes naturally and inevitably out of man. It is the point to which all development tends. It is the differentiation to which all organisms grow. It is the perfection that is inherent in every mode of life, and towards which every mode of life quickens. And so Individualism exercises no compulsion over man. On the contrary, it says to man that he should suffer no compulsion to be exercised over him. It does not try to force people to be good. It knows that people are good when they are let alone. Man will develop Individualism out of himself. Man is now so developing Individualism. To ask whether Individualism is practical is like asking whether Evolution is practical. Evolution is the law of life, and there is no evolution except towards Individualism. Where this tendency is not expressed, it is a case of artificially-arrested growth, or of disease, or of death.

Individualism will also be unselfish and unaffected. It has been pointed out that one of the results of the extraordinary tyranny of authority is that words are absolutely distorted from their proper and simple meaning, and are used to express the obverse of their right signification. What is true about Art is true about Life. A man is called affected, nowadays, if he dresses as he likes to dress. But in doing that he is acting in a perfectly natural manner. Affectation, in such matters, consists in dressing according to the views of one’s neighbour, whose views, as they are the views of the majority, will probably be extremely stupid. Or a man is called selfish if he lives in the manner that seems to him most suitable for the full realisation of his own personality; if, in fact, the primary aim of his life is self-development. But this is the way in which everyone should live. Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. And unselfishness is letting other people’s lives alone, not interfering with them. Selfishness always aims at creating around it an absolute uniformity of type. Unselfishness recognises infinite variety of type as a delightful thing, accepts it, acquiesces in it, enjoys it. It is not selfish to think for oneself. A man who does not think for himself does not think at all. It is grossly selfish to require of ones neighbour that he should think in the same way, and hold the same opinions. Why should he? If he can think, he will probably think differently. If he cannot think, it is monstrous to require thought of any kind from him. A red rose is not selfish because it wants to be a red rose. It would be horribly selfish if it wanted all the other flowers in the garden to be both red and roses. Under Individualism people will be quite natural and absolutely unselfish, and will know the meanings of the words, and realise them in their free, beautiful lives. Nor will men be egotistic as they are now. For the egotist is he who makes claims upon others, and the Individualist will not desire to do that. It will not give him pleasure. When man has realised Individualism, he will also realise sympathy and exercise it freely and spontaneously. Up to the present man has hardly cultivated sympathy at all. He has merely sympathy with pain, and sympathy with pain is not the highest form of sympathy. All sympathy is fine, but sympathy with suffering is the least fine mode. It is tainted with egotism. It is apt to become morbid. There is in it a certain element of terror for our own safety. We become afraid that we ourselves might be as the leper or as the blind, and that no man would have care of us. It is curiously limiting, too. One should sympathise with the entirety of life, not with life’s sores and maladies merely, but with life’s joy and beauty and energy and health and freedom. The wider sympathy is, of course, the more difficult. It requires more unselfishness. Anybody can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature -– it requires, in fact, the nature of a true Individualist -– to sympathise with a friend’s success.

In the modern stress of competition and struggle for place, such sympathy is naturally rare, and is also very much stifled by the immoral ideal of uniformity of type and conformity to rule which is so prevalent everywhere, and is perhaps most obnoxious in England.

Sympathy with pain there will, of course, always be. It is one of the first instincts of man. The animals which are individual, the higher animals, that is to say, share it with us. But it must be remembered that while sympathy with joy intensifies the sum of joy in the world, sympathy with pain does not really diminish the amount of pain. It may make man better able to endure evil, but the evil remains. Sympathy with consumption does not cure consumption; that is what Science does. And when Socialism has solved the problem of poverty, and Science solved the problem of disease, the area of the sentimentalists will be lessened, and the sympathy of man will be large, healthy, and spontaneous. Man will have joy in the contemplation of the joyous life of others.

For it is through joy that the Individualism of the future will develop itself. Christ made no attempt to reconstruct society, and consequently the Individualism that he preached to man could be realised only through pain or in solitude. The ideals that we owe to Christ are the ideals of the man who abandons society entirely, or of the man who resists society absolutely. But man is naturally social. Even the Thebaid became peopled at last. And though the cenobite realises his personality, it is often an impoverished personality that he so realises. Upon the other hand, the terrible truth that pain is a mode through which man may realise himself exercises a wonderful fascination over the world. Shallow speakers and shallow thinkers in pulpits and on platforms often talk about the world’s worship of pleasure, and whine against it. But it is rarely in the world’s history that its ideal has been one of joy and beauty. The worship of pain has far more often dominated the world. Mediaevalism, with its saints and martyrs, its love of self-torture, its wild passion for wounding itself, its gashing with knives, and its whipping with rods -– Mediaevalism is real Christianity, and the mediaeval Christ is the real Christ. When the Renaissance dawned upon the world, and brought with it the new ideals of the beauty of life and the joy of living, men could not understand Christ. Even Art shows us that. The painters of the Renaissance drew Christ as a little boy playing with another boy in a palace or a garden, or lying back in his mother’s arms, smiling at her, or at a flower, or at a bright bird; or as a noble, stately figure moving nobly through the world; or as a wonderful figure rising in a sort of ecstasy from death to life. Even when they drew him crucified they drew him as a beautiful God on whom evil men had inflicted suffering. But he did not preoccupy them much. What delighted them was to paint the men and women whom they admired, and to show the loveliness of this lovely earth. They painted many religious pictures –- in fact, they painted far too many, and the monotony of type and motive is wearisome, and was bad for art. It was the result of the authority of the public in art-matters, and is to be deplored. But their soul was not in the subject. Raphael was a great artist when he painted his portrait of the Pope. When he painted his Madonnas and infant Christs, he is not a great artist at all. Christ had no message for the Renaissance, which was wonderful because it brought an ideal at variance with his, and to find the presentation of the real Christ we must go to mediaeval art. There he is one maimed and marred; one who is not comely to look on, because Beauty is a joy; one who is not in fair raiment, because that may be a joy also: he is a beggar who has a marvellous soul; he is a leper whose soul is divine; he needs neither property nor health; he is a God realising his perfection through pain.

The evolution of man is slow. The injustice of men is great. It was necessary that pain should be put forward as a mode of self-realisation. Even now, in some places in the world, the message of Christ is necessary. No one who lived in modern Russia could possibly realise his perfection except by pain. A few Russian artists have realised themselves in Art; in a fiction that is mediaeval in character, because its dominant note is the realisation of men through suffering. But for those who are not artists, and to whom there is no mode of life but the actual life of fact, pain is the only door to perfection. A Russian who lives happily under the present system of government in Russia must either believe that man has no soul, or that, if he has, it is not worth developing. A Nihilist who rejects all authority, because he knows authority to be evil, and welcomes all pain, because through that he realises his personality, is a real Christian. To him the Christian ideal is a true thing.

And yet, Christ did not revolt against authority. He accepted the imperial authority of the Roman Empire and paid tribute. He endured the ecclesiastical authority of the Jewish Church, and would not repel its violence by any violence of his own. He had, as I said before, no scheme for the reconstruction of society. But the modern world has schemes. It proposes to do away with poverty and the suffering that it entails. It desires to get rid of pain, and the suffering that pain entails. It trusts to Socialism and to Science as its methods. What it aims at is an Individualism expressing itself through joy. This Individualism will be larger, fuller, lovelier than any Individualism has ever been. Pain is not the ultimate mode of perfection. It is merely provisional and a protest. It has reference to wrong, unhealthy, unjust surroundings. When the wrong, and the disease, and the injustice are removed, it will have no further place. It will have done its work. It was a great work, but it is almost over. Its sphere lessens every day.

Nor will man miss it. For what man has sought for is, indeed, neither pain nor pleasure, but simply Life. Man has sought to live intensely, fully, perfectly. When he can do so without exercising restraint on others, or suffering it ever, and his activities are all pleasurable to him, he will be saner, healthier, more civilised, more himself. Pleasure is Nature’s test, her sign of approval. When man is happy, he is in harmony with himself and his environment. The new Individualism, for whose service Socialism, whether it wills it or not, is working, will be perfect harmony. It will be what the Greeks sought for, but could not, except in Thought, realise completely, because they had slaves, and fed them; it will be what the Renaissance sought for, but could not realise completely except in Art, because they had slaves, and starved them. It will be complete, and through it each man will attain to his perfection. The new Individualism is the new Hellenism.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:21 am

Malthusian League
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/5/20

The Malthusian League was a British organisation which advocated the practice of contraception and the education of the public about the importance of family planning. It was established in 1877 and was dissolved in 1927. The organisation was secular, utilitarian, individualistic, and "above all malthusian." [1] The organisation maintained that it was concerned about the poverty of the British working class and held that over-population was the chief cause of poverty.


The league was initially founded during the "Knowlton trial" of Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh in July 1877.[2] They were prosecuted for publishing Charles Knowlton's Fruits of Philosophy which explained various methods of birth control.[3] The League was formed as a permanent body to advocate for the elimination of penalties for promoting birth control as well as to promote public education in matters of contraception. The trial demonstrated that the public was interested in the topic of contraception and sales of the book surged during the trial.[4]


The first president was Charles Robert Drysdale, who was succeeded by his free union partner Alice Vickery. The league initially restricted itself primarily to an "educative role" which emphasised the importance of Malthus' economic arguments rather than practical information about birth control. The league had an increasingly socially and economically conservative tone as the 19th century wore on. Thus some earlier agreement between Malthusians and social reformers was replaced by mutual distrust. The league believed that the sole cause of poverty was an excess of births, and therefore opposed socialism, considered strikes and reforms of labour laws to be "useless."[4] League members were primarily middle class and did not make many serious efforts to communicate with the working class aside from some debates with socialists during the 1880s. Although the league doctrine as a whole was hostile to socialism, some members were indeed socialists who were sympathetic to arguments in favour of birth control. The league also maintained some overlap with the women's rights movement, which was concerned with birth control. The League began plans for a birth control clinic in 1917 but these stalled until they received funds from the philanthropist Sir John Sumner and finally the clinic opened on 9 November 1921 at 153a East Street, Walworth with Norman Haire as their honorary medical officer, three afternoons a week. Marie Stopes and her husband had opened their clinic nine months earlier. Stopes’ clinic was the first in the British Empire (but not the first in the world) and the League always emphasised that theirs was the first English clinic where birth control instruction was given under medical supervision.[5]

International Movements

Similar leagues were founded in several other European countries including Germany, France, and the Netherlands in the following years. In 1892, the Dutch league became the first to set up a medical clinic to provide information directly to the poor.[6]

The period of the league's activity coincided with a substantial drop in the birth rate in Britain, and many European countries. Some have credited its activities, but others have disputed this conclusion, citing the general fall in birth rates even in countries without active league activity.[7]

The Malthusian League forms part of the society within Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World.

See also

• List of population concern organizations


1. Simms, Madeleine (27 January 1977). "Revie w: A History of the Malthusian League 1877-1927". New Scientist.
2. D'Arcy, F. (November 1977). "The Malthusian League and the resistance to birth control propaganda in late Victorian Britain". Population Studies: A Journal of Demography. 31 (3): 429–448. doi:10.1080/00324728.1977.10412759. JSTOR 2173367.
3. Knowlton, Charles (October 1891) [1840]. Besant, Annie; Bradlaugh, Charles (eds.). Fruits of philosophy: a treatise on the population question. San Francisco: Reader's Library. OCLC 626706770. A publication about birth control. View original copy.
4. McLaren, Angus (1978). Birth control in nineteenth-century England. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780856645044.
5. Diana Wyndham. (2012) "Norman Haire and the Study of Sex". Foreword by the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG. (Sydney: "Sydney University Press)"., p. 77
6. Sanger, Margaret (2003). The selected papers of Margaret Sanger, Volume 1. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 9780252027376.
7. McLaren, Angus (1978). Birth control in nineteenth-century England. Taylor & Francis. p. 107. ISBN 9780856645044.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:21 am

Part 1 of 2

The Decay of Lying
by Oscar Wilde
1905 [1889]

Persons: Cyril and Vivian.
Scene: the library of a country house in Nottinghamshire.

CYRIL (coming in through the open window from the terrace). My dear Vivian, don't coop yourself up all day in the library. It is a perfectly lovely afternoon. The air is exquisite. There is a mist upon the woods like the purple bloom upon a plum. Let us go and lie on the grass, and smoke cigarettes, and enjoy Nature.

VIVIAN. Enjoy Nature! I am glad to say that I have entirely lost that faculty. People tell us that Art makes us love Nature more than we loved her before; that it reveals her secrets to us; and that after a careful study of Corot and Constable we see things in her that had escaped our observation. My own experience is that the more we study Art, the less we care for Mature. What Art really reveals to us is Nature's lack of design, her curious crudities, her extraordinary monotony, her absolutely unfinished condition. Nature has good intentions, of course, but, as Aristotle once said, she cannot carry them out. When I look at a landscape I cannot help seeing all its defects. It is fortunate for us, however, that Nature is so imperfect, as otherwise we should have had no art at all. Art is our spirited protest, our gallant attempt to teach Nature her proper place. As for the infinite variety of Nature, that is a pure myth. It is not to be found in Nature herself. It resides in the imagination, or fancy, or cultivated blindness of the man who looks at her.

CYRIL. Well, you need not look at the landscape. You can lie on the grass and smoke and talk.

VIVIAN. But Nature is so uncomfortable. Grass is hard and dumpy and damp, and full of dreadful black insects. Why, even Morris' poorest workman could make you a more comfortable seat than the whole of Nature can. Nature pales before the furniture of "the street which from Oxford has borrowed its name," as the poet you love so much once vilely phrased it. I don't complain. If Nature had been comfortable, mankind would never have invented architecture, and I prefer houses to the open air. In a house we all feel of the proper proportions. Everything is subordinated to us, fashioned for our use and our pleasure. Egotism itself, which is so necessary to a proper sense of human dignity' is entirely the result of indoor life. Out of doors one becomes abstract and impersonal. One's individuality absolutely leaves one. And then

Nature is so indifferent, so unappreciative. Whenever I am walking in the park here, I always feel that I am no more to her than the cattle that browse on the slope, or the burdock that blooms in the ditch. Nothing is more evident than that Nature hates Mind
. Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any other disease. Fortunately, in England at any rate, thought is not catching. Our splendid physique as a people is entirely due to our national stupidity. I only hope we shall be able to keep this great historic bulwark of our happiness for many years to come; but I am afraid that we are beginning to be overeducated; at least everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching -- that is really what our enthusiasm for education has come to. In the meantime, you had better go back to your wearisome, uncomfortable Nature, and leave me to correct my proofs.

CYRIL. Writing an article! That is not very consistent after what you have just said.

VIVIAN Who wants to be consistent? The dullard and the doctrinaire, the tedious people who carry out their principles to the bitter end of action, to the reductio ad absurdum of practice. Not I. Like Emerson, I write over the door of my library the word " Whim." Besides, my article is really a most salutary and valuable warning. If it is attended to, there may be a new Renaissance of Art.

CYRIL. What is the subject?

VIVIAN. I intend to call it "The Decay of Lying: A Protest."

CYRIL. Lying! I should have thought that our politicians kept up that habit.

VIVIAN. I assure you that they do not. They never rise beyond the level of misrepresentation, and actually condescend to prove, to discuss, to argue. How different from the temper of the true liar, with his frank, fearless statements, his superb responsibility, his healthy, natural disdain of proof of any kind! After all, what is a fine lie? Simply that which is its own evidence. If a man is sufficiently unimaginative to produce evidence in support of a lie, he might just as well speak the truth at once. No, the politicians won't do. Something may, perhaps, be urged on behalf of the Bar.
The mantle of the Sophist has fallen on its members. Their feigned ardours and unreal rhetoric are delightful. They can make the worse appear the better cause, as though they were fresh from Leontine schools, and have been known to wrest from reluctant juries triumphant verdicts of acquittal for their clients, even when those clients, as often happens, were clearly and unmistakeably innocent. But they are briefed by the prosaic, and are not ashamed to appeal to precedent. In spite of their endeavours, the truth will out. Newspapers, even, have degenerated. They may now be absolutely relied upon. One feels it as one wades through their columns. It is always the unreadable that occurs. I am afraid that there is not much to be said in favour of either the lawyer or the journalist. Besides what I am pleading for is Lying in art. Shall I read you what I have written? It might do you a great deal of good.

CYRIL. Certainly, if you give, me a cigarette. Thanks. By the way, what magazine do you intend it for?

VIVIAN. For the Retrospective Review. I think I told you that the elect had revived it.

CYRIL. Whom do you mean by "the elect"?

VIVIAN. Oh, The Tired Hedonists of course. It is a club to which I belong. We are supposed to wear faded roses in our buttonholes when we meet, and to have a sort of cult for Domitian. I am afraid you are not eligible. You are too fond of simple pleasures.

CYRIL. I should be blackballed on the ground of animal spirits, I suppose?

VIVIAN. Probably. Besides, you are little too old. We don't admit anybody who is of the usual age.

CYRIL. Well, I should fancy you are all a good deal bored with each other.

VIVIAN. We are. That is one of the objects of the club. Now, if you promise not to interrupt too often, I will read you my article.

CYRIL. You will find me all attention.

VIVIAN (reading in a very clear, musical voice). "THE DECAY OF LYING: A PROTEST. -- One of the chief causes that can be assigned for the curiously commonplace character of most of the literature of our age is undoubtedly the decay of Lying as an art, a science, and a social pleasure. The ancient historians gave us delightful fiction in the form of fact; the modern novelist presents us with dull facts under the guise of fiction. The BlueBook is rapidly becoming his ideal both for method and manner. He has his tedious ' document humain,' his miserable little 'coin de la creation,' into which he peers with his microscope. He is to be found at the Librairie Nationale, or at the British Museum, shamelessly reading up his subject. He has not even the courage of other people's ideas, but insists on going directly to life for everything' and ultimately, between encyclopaedias and personal experience, he comes to the ground, having drawn his types from the family circle or from the weekly washerwoman, and having acquired an amount of useful information from which never, even in his most meditative moments, can he thoroughly free himself.

"The loss that results to literature in general from this false ideal of our time can hardly be overestimated. People have a careless way of talking about a 'born liar,' just as they talk about a 'born poet.' But in both cases they are wrong. Lying and poetry are arts -- arts, as Plato saw, not unconnected with each other -- and they require the most careful study, the most disinterested devotion. Indeed, they have their technique, just as the more material arts of painting and sculpture have, their subtle secrets of form and colour, their craft mysteries, their deliberate artistic methods. As one knows the poet by his fine music, so one can recognize the liar by his rich rhythmic utterance, and in neither case will the casual inspiration of the moment suffice. Here, as elsewhere, practice must precede perfection. But in modern days while the fashion of writing poetry has become far too common, and should, if possible, be discouraged, the fashion of lying has almost fallen into disrepute. Many a young man starts in life with a natural gift for exaggeration which, if nurtured in congenial and sympathetic surroundings, or by the imitation of the best models, might grow into something really great and wonderful. But, as a rule, he comes to nothing. He either falls into careless habits of accuracy "

CYRIL. My dear fellow!

VIVIAN. Please don't interrupt in the middle of a sentence. "He either falls into careless habits of accuracy, or takes to frequenting the society of the aged and the well-informed. Both things are equally fatal to his imagination, as indeed they would be fatal to the imagination of anybody, and in a short time he develops a morbid and unhealthy faculty of truth-telling, begins to verify all statements made in his presence, has no hesitation in contradicting people who are much younger than himself, and often ends by writing novels which are so like life that no one can possibly believe in their probability. This is no isolated instance that we are giving. It is simply one example out of many; and if something cannot be done to check, or at least to modify, our monstrous worship of facts, Art will become sterile and Beauty will pass away from the land.

"Even Mr. Robert Louis Stevenson, that delightful master of delicate and fanciful prose, is tainted with this modern vice, for we know positively no other name for it. There is such a thing as robbing a story of its reality by trying to make it too true, and The Black Arrow is so inartistic as not to contain a single anachronism to boast of, while the transformation of Dr. Jekyll reads dangerously like an experiment out of the Lancet. As for Mr. Rider Haggard, who really has, or had once, the makings of a perfectly magnificent liar, he is now so afraid of being suspected of genius that when he does tell us anything marvellous, he feels bound to invent a personal reminiscence, and to put it into a footnote as a kind of cowardly corroboration. Nor are our other novelists much better. Mr. Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty, and wastes upon mean motives and imperceptible 'points of view' his neat literary style, his felicitous phrases, his swift and caustic satire. Mr. Hall Caine, it is true, aims at the grandiose, but then he writes at the top of his voice. He is so loud that one cannot hear what he says. Mr. James Payn is an adept in the art of concealing what is not worth finding. He hunts down the obvious with the enthusiasm of a shortsighted detective. As one turns over the pages, the suspense of 'the author becomes almost unbearable. The horses of Mr. William Black's phaeton do not soar towards the sun. They merely frighten the sky at evening into violent chromolithographic effects. On seeing them approach, the peasants take refuge in dialect. Mrs. Oliphant prattles pleasantly about curates, lawn-tennis parties, domesticity, and other wearisome things. Mr. Marion Crawford has immolated himself upon the altar of local colour. He is like the lady in the French comedy who keeps talking about 'le beau ciel d'Italie.' Besides, he has fallen into a bad habit of uttering moral platitudes. He is always telling us that to be good is to be good, and that to be bad is to be wicked. At times he is almost edifying. Robert Elsmere is of course a masterpiece -- a masterpiece of the 'genre ennuyeux,' the one form of literature that the English people seem to thoroughly enjoy. A thoughtful young friend of ours once told us that it reminded him of the sort of conversation that goes on at a meat tea in the house of a serious Noncomformist family, and we can quite believe it. Indeed it is only in England that such a book could be produced. England is the home of lost ideas. As for that great and daily increasing school of novelists for whom the sun always rises in the East-End, the only thing that can be said about them is that they find life crude, and leave it raw.

"In France, though nothing so deliberately tedious as Robert Elsmere has been produced, things are not much better. M. Guy de Maupassant, with his keen mordant irony and his hard vivid style, strips life of the few poor rags that still cover her, and shows us foul sore and festering wound. He writes lurid little tragedies in which everybody is ridiculous; bitter comedies at which one cannot laugh for very tears. M. Zola, true to the lofty principle that he lays down in one of his pronunciamientos on literature, ' L'homme de Genie n'a jamais d'esprit,' is determined to show that, if he has not got genius, he can at least be dull. And how well he succeeds! He is not without power. Indeed at times, as in Germinal, there is something almost epic in his work. But his work is entirely wrong from beginning to end, and wrong not on the ground of morals, but on the ground of art. From any ethical standpoint it is just what it should be. The author is perfectly truthful, and describes things exactly as they happen. What more can any moralist desire? We have no sympathy at all with the moral indignation of our time against M. Zola. It is simply the indignation of Tartuffe on being exposed. But from the standpoint of art, what can be said in favour of the author of L'Assommoir, [Vane, and PotBouille? Nothing. Mr. Ruskin once described the characters in George Eliot's novels as being like the sweepings of a Pentonville omnibus, but M. Zola's characters are much worse. They have their dreary vices, and their drearier virtues. The record of their lives is absolutely without interest. Who cares what happens to them? In literature we require distinction, charm, beauty, and imaginative power. We don't want to be harrowed and disgusted with an account of the doings of the lower orders. M. Daudet is better. He has wit, a light touch, and an amusing style. But he has lately committed literary suicide. Nobody can possibly care for Delobelle with his 'II faut lutter pour l'art,' or for Valmajour with his eternal refrain about the nightingale, or for the poet in Jack with his 'moss cruels,' now that we have learned from Vingt Ans de ma Vie Litéraire that these characters were taken directly from life. To us they seem to have suddenly lost all their vitality, all the few qualities they ever possessed. The only real people are the people who never existed, and if a novelist is base enough to go to life for his personages he should at least pretend that they are creations, and not boast of them as copies. The justification of a character in a novel is not that other persons are what they are, but that the author is what he is. Otherwise the novel is not a work of art. As for M Paul Bourget, the master of the 'roman psychologique,' he commits the error of imagining that the men and women of modern life are capable of being infinitely analysed for an innumerable series of chapters. In point of fact what is interesting about people in good society -- and M. Bourget rarely moves out of the Faubourg St. Germain, except to come to London, -- is the mask that each one of them wears, not the reality that lies behind the mask. It is a humiliating confession, but we are all of us made out of the same stuff. In Falstaff there is something of Hamlet, in Hamlet there is not a little of Falstaff. The fat knight has his moods of melancholy, and the young prince his moments of coarse humour. Where we differ from each other is purely in accidentals: in dress, manner, tone of voice, religious opinions, personal appearance, tricks of habit, and the like. The more one analyses people, the more all reasons for analysis disappear. Sooner or later one comes to that dreadful universal thing called human nature. Indeed, as any one who has ever worked among the poor knows only too well, the brotherhood of man is no mere poet's dream, it is a most depressing and humiliating reality; and if a writer insists upon analysing the upper classes, he might just as well write of matchgirls and costermongers at once." However, my dear Cyril, I will not detain you any further just here. I quite admit that modern novels have many good points. All I insist on is that, as a class, they are quite unreadable.

CYRIL. That is certainly a very grave qualification, but I must say that I think you are rather unfair in some of your strictures. I like The Deemster, and The Daughter of Heth, and Le Disciple, and Mr. Isaacs, and as for Robert Elsmere I am quite devoted to it.

Not that I can look upon it as a serious work. As a statement of the problems that confront the earnest Christian it is ridiculous and antiquated. It is simply Arnold's Literature and Dogma with the literature left out. It is as much behind the age as Paley's Evidences, or Colenso's method of Biblical exegesis. Nor could anything be less impressive than the unfortunate hero gravely heralding a dawn that rose long ago, and so completely missing its true significance that he proposes to carry on the business of the old firm under the new name. On the other hand, it contains several clever caricatures, and a heap of delightful quotations, and Green's philosophy very pleasantly sugars the somewhat bitter pill of the author's fiction. I also cannot help expressing my surprise that you have said nothing about the two novelists whom you are always reading, Balzac and George Meredith. Surely they are realists, both of them?

VIVIAN. Ah! Meredith! Who can define him? His style is chaos illumined by flashes of lightning. As a writer he has mastered everything except language: as a novelist he can do everything, except tell a story: as an artist he is everything, except articulate. Somebody in Shakespeare -- Touchstone, I think -- talks about a man who is always breaking his shins over his own wit, and it seems to me that this might serve as the basis for a criticism of Meredith's method. But whatever he is, he is not a realist. Or rather I would say that he is a child of realism who is not on speaking terms with his father. By deliberate choice he has made himself a romanticist. He has refused to bow the knee to Baal, and after all, even if the man's fine spirit did not revolt against the noisy assertions of realism, his style would be quite sufficient of itself to keep life at a respectful distance. By its means he has planted round his garden a hedge full of thorns, and red with wonderful roses. As for Balzac, he was a most wonderful combination of the artistic temperament with the scientific spirit. The latter he bequeathed to his disciples: the former was entirely his own. The difference between such a book as M. Zola's L'Assommoir and Balzac's Illusions Perdues is the difference between unimaginative realism and imaginative reality. "All Balzac's characters," said Baudelaire, "are gifted with the same ardour of life that animated himself. All his fictions are as deeply coloured as dreams. Each mind is a weapon loaded to the muzzle with will. The very scullions have genius." A steady course of Balzac reduces our living friends to shadows, and our acquaintances to the shadows of shades. His characters have a kind of fervent fiery-coloured existence. They dominate us, and defy scepticism. One of the greatest tragedies of my life is the death of Lucien de Rubempre'. It is a grief from which I have never been able to completely rid myself. It haunts me in my moments of pleasure. I remember it when I laugh. But Balzac is no more a realist than Holbein was. He created life, he did not copy it. I admit; however, that he set far too high a value on modernity of form and that, consequently, there is no book of his that, as an artistic masterpiece, can rank with Salammbô or Esmond, or The Cloister and the Hearth, or the Vicomte de Bragelonne.

CYRIL. Do you object to modernity of form, then?

VIVIAN. Yes. It is a huge price to pay for a very poor result. Pure modernity of form is always somewhat vulgarising. It cannot help being so. The public imagine that, because they are interested in their immediate surroundings, Art should be interested in them also, and should take them as her subject matter. But the mere fact that they are interested in these things makes them unsuitable subjects for Art. The only beautiful things, as somebody once said, are the things that do not concern us. As long as a thing is useful or necessary to us, or affects us in any way, either for pain or for pleasure, or appeals strongly to our sympathies, or is a vital part of the environment in which we live, it is outside the proper sphere of art. To art's subject-matter we should be more or less indifferent. We should, at any rate, have no preferences, no prejudices, no partisan feeling of any kind. It is exactly because Hecuba is nothing to us that her sorrows are such an admirable motive for a tragedy. I do not know anything in the whole history of literature sadder than the artistic career of Charles Reade. He wrote one beautiful book, The Cloister and the Hearth, a book as much above Romola as Romola is above Daniel Deronda, and wasted the rest of his life in a foolish attempt to be modern, to draw public attention to the state of our convict prisons, and the management of our private lunatic asylums. Charles Dickens was depressing enough in all conscience when he tried to arouse our sympathy for the victims of the poor-law administration; but Charles Reade, an artist, a scholar, a man with a true sense of beauty, raging and roaring over the abuses of contemporary life like a common pamphleteer or a sensational journalist, is really a sight for the angels to weep over. Believe me, my dear Cyril, modernity of form and modernity of subject matter are entirely and absolutely wrong. We have mistaken the common livery of the age for the vesture of the Muses' and spend our days in the sordid streets and hideous suburbs of our vile cities when we should be out on the hillside with Apollo. Certainly we are a degraded race, and have sold our birthright for a mess of facts.

CYRIL. There is something in what you say, and there is no doubt that whatever amusement we may find in reading a purely modern novel, we have rarely any artistic pleasure in rereading it. And this is perhaps the best rough test of what is literature and what is not. If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use reading it at all. But what do you say about the return to Life and Nature? This is the panacea that is always being recommended to us.

VIVIAN. I will read you what I say on that subject. The passage comes later on in the article, but I may as well give it to you now: --

"The popular cry of our time is ' Let us return to Life and Nature; they will recreate Art for us, and send the red blood coursing through her veins; they will shoe her feet with swiftness and make her hand strong.' But, alas! we are mistaken in our amiable and weII-meaning efforts. Nature is always behind the age. And as for Life, she is the solvent that breaks up Art, the enemy that lays waste her house."

CYRIL. What do you mean by saying that Nature is always behind the age?

VIVIAN. Well, perhaps that is rather cryptic. What I mean is this. If we take Nature to mean natural simple instinct as opposed to self-conscious culture, the work produced under this influence is always old-fashioned, antiquated, and out of date. One touch of Nature may make the whole world kin, but two touches of Nature will destroy any work of Art. If, on the other hand, we regard Nature as the collection of phenomena external to man, people only discover in her what they bring to her. She has no suggestions of her own. Wordsworth went to the lakes, but he was never a lake poet. He found in stones the sermons he had already hidden there. He went moralizing about the district, but his good work was produced when he returned, not to Nature but to poetry. Poetry gave him Laodamia, and the fine sonnets, and the great Ode, such as it is. Nature gave him Martha Ray and Peter Bell, and the address to Mr. Wilkinson's spade.

CYRIL. I think that view might be questioned. I am rather inclined to believe in the "impulse from a vernal wood," though of course the artistic value of such an impulse depends entirely on the kind of temperament that receives it, so that the return to Nature would come to mean simply the advance to a great personality. You would agree with that, I fancy. However, proceed with your article.

VIVIAN (reading). "Art begins with abstract decoration with purely imaginative and pleasurable work dealing with what is unreal and non existent. This is the first stage. Then Life becomes fascinated with this new wonder, and asks to be admitted into the charmed circle. Art takes life as part of her rough material, recreates it, and refashions it in fresh forms, is absolutely indifferent to fact, invents, imagines, dreams, and keeps between herself and reality the impenetrable barrier of beautiful style, of decorative or ideal treatment. The third stage is when Life gets the upper hand, and drives Art out into the wilderness. This is the true decadence, and it is from this that we are now suffering.

"Take the case of the English drama. At first in the hands of the monks Dramatic Art was abstract, decorative, and mythological. Then she enlisted Life in her service, and using some of life's external forms, she created an entirely new race of beings, whose sorrows were more terrible than any sorrow man has ever felt, whose joys were keener than lover's joys, who had the rage of the Titans and the calm of the gods, who had monstrous and marvellous sins, monstrous and marvellous virtues. To them she gave a language different from that of actual use, a language full of resonant music and sweet rhythm, made stately by solemn cadence, or made delicate by fanciful rhyme, jewelled with wonderful words, and enriched with lofty diction. She clothed her children in strange raiment and gave them masks, and at her bidding the antique world rose from its marble tomb. A new Caesar stalked through the streets of risen Rome, and with purple sail and fluteled oars another Cleopatra passed up the river to Antioch. Old myth and legend and dream took shape and substance. History was entirely rewritten, and there was hardly one of the dramatists who did not recognize that the object of Art is not simple truth but complex beauty. In this they were perfectly right. Art itself is really a form of exaggeration; and selection, which is the very spirit of art, is nothing more than an intensified mode of overemphasis.

"But Life soon shattered the perfection of the form. Even in Shakespeare we can see the beginning of the end. It shows itself by the gradual breaking up of the blank verse in the later plays, by the predominance given to prose, and by the over-importance assigned to characterisation. The passages in Shakespeare -- and they are many -- where the language is uncouth, vulgar, exaggerated, fantastic, obscene even, are entirely due to Life calling for an echo of her own voice, and rejecting the intervention of beautiful style, through which alone should Life be suffered to find expression. Shakespeare is not by any means a flawless artist. He is too fond of going directly to life, and borrowing life's natural utterance. He forgets that when Art surrenders her imaginative medium she surrenders everything Goethe says, somewhere -- In der Beschränkung zeigt sich erst der Meister, 'It is in working within limits that the master reveals himself,' and the limitation, the very condition for of any art is style. However, we need not liege' any longer over Shakespeare's realism. The Tempest is the most perfect of palinodes. All that magnificent work of the Elizabethan and Jacobean artists contained within itself the seeds of its own dissolution, and that, if it drew some of its strength from using life as rough material, it drew all its weakness from using life as an artistic method. As the inevitable result of this substitution of an imitative for a creative medium, this surrender of an imaginative form, we have the modern English melodrama. The characters in these plays talk on the stage exactly as they would talk off it; they have neither aspirations nor aspirates; they are taken directly from life and reproduce its vulgarity down to the smallest detail; they present the gait, manner, costume, and accent of real people; they would pass unnoticed in a third-class railway carriage. And yet how wearisome the plays are! They do not succeed in producing even that impression of reality at which they aim, and which is their only reason for existing. As a method, realism is a complete failure.

"What is true about the drama and the novel is no less true about those arts that we call the decorative arts. The whole history of these arts in Europe is the record of the struggle between Orientalism, with its frank rejection of imitation, its love of artistic convention, its dislike to the actual representation of any object in Nature, and our own imitative spirit. Wherever the former has been paramount, as in Byzantium, Sicily, and Spain, by actual contact, or in the rest of Europe by the influence of the Crusades, we have had beautiful and imaginative work in which the visible things of life are transmuted into artistic conventions, and the things that Life has not are invented and fashioned for her delight. But wherever we have returned to Life and Nature, our work has always become vulgar, common, and uninteresting. Modern tapestry, with its aerial effects, its elaborate perspective, its broad expanses of waste sky, its faithful and laborious realism, has no beauty whatsoever. The pictorial glass of Germany is absolutely detestable. We are beginning to weave possible carpets in England, but only because we have returned to the method and spirit of the East. Our rugs and carpets of twenty years ago, with their solemn depressing truths, their inane worship of Nature, their sordid, reproductions of visible objects, have become, even to the Philistine, a source of laughter. A cultured Mahomedan once remarked to us, 'You Christian are so occupied in misinterpreting the fourth commandment that you have never thought of making an artistic application of the second.' He was perfectly right, and the whole truth of the matter is this: The proper school to learn art in is not Life but Art."

And now let me read you a passage which seems to me to settle the question very completely.

"It was not always thus. We need not say anything about the poets, for they, with the unfortunate exception of Mr. Wordsworth, have been really faithful to their high mission, and are universally recognized as being absolutely unreliable. But in the works of Herodotus, who, in spite of the shallow and ungenerous attempts of modern sciolists to verify his history, may justly be called the 'Father of Lies'; in the published speeches of Cicero and the biographies of Suetonius; in Tacitus at his best; in Pliny's Natural History in Hanno's Periplus; in all the early chronicles; in the Lives of the Saints; in Froissart and Sir Thomas Mallory; in the travels of Marco Polo; in Olaus Magnus, and Aldrovandus, and Conrad Lycosthenes, with his magnificent Prodigiorum et Ostentorum Chronicon; in the autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini; in the memoirs of Casanuova; in Defoe's History of the Plague; in Boswell's Life of Johnson; in Napoleon's despatches, and in the works of our own Carlyle, whose French Revolution is one of the most fascinating historical novels ever written, facts are either kept in their proper subordinate position, or else entirely excluded on the general ground of dulness. Now, everything is changed. Facts are not merely finding a footing-place in history, but they are usurping the domain of Fancy, and have invaded the kingdom of Romance. Their chilling touch is over everything. They are vulgarising mankind. The crude commercialism of America, its materialising spirit, its indifference to the poetical side of things, and its lack of imagination and of high unattainable ideals, are entirely due to that country having adopted for its national hero a man, who according to his own confession, was incapable of telling a lie, and it is not too much to say that the story of George Washington and the cherrytree has done more harm, and in a shorter space of time, than any other moral tale in the whole of literature."
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:22 am

Part 2 of 2

CYRIL. My dear boy!

VIVIAN. I assure you it is the case, and the amusing part of the whole thing is that the story of the cherrytree is an absolute myth. However, you must not think that I am too despondent about the artistic future either of America or of our own country. Listen to this:--

"That some change will take place before this century has drawn to its close we have no doubt whatsoever. Bored by the tedious and improving conversation of those who have neither the wit to exaggerate nor the genius to romance, tired of the intelligent person whose reminiscences are always based upon memory, whose statements are invariably limited by probability, and who is at any time liable to be corroborated by the merest Philistine who happens to be present, Society sooner or later must return to its lost leader, the cultured and fascinating liar. Who he was who first, without ever having gone out to the rude chase, told the wondering cavemen at sunset how he had dragged the Megatherium from the purple darkness of its jasper cave, or slain the Mammoth in single combat and brought back its gilded tusks, we cannot tell, and not one of our modern anthropologists, for all their much-boasted science, has had the ordinary courage to tell us. Whatever was his name or race, he certainly was the true founder of social intercourse. For the aim of the liar is simply to charm, to delight, to give pleasure. He is the very basis of civilized society, and without him a dinner party, even at the mansions of the great, is as dull as a lecture at the Royal Society, or a debate at the Incorporated Authors, or one of Mr. Burnand's farcical comedies.

"Nor will he be welcomed by society alone. Art, breaking from the prison-house of realism, will run to greet him, and will kiss his false, beautiful lips, knowing that he alone is in possession of the great secret of all her manifestations, the secret that Truth is entirely and absolutely a matter of style; while Life -- poor, probable, uninteresting human life -- tired of repeating herself for the benefit of Mr. Herbert Spencer, scientific historians, and the compilers of statistics in general, will follow meekly after him, and try to reproduce, in her own simple and untutored way, some of the marvels of which he talks.

"No doubt there will always be critics who, like a certain writer in the Saturday Review, will gravely censure the teller of fairy tales for his defective knowledge of natural history, who will measure imaginative work by their own lack of any imaginative faculty, and will hold up their ink-stained hands in horror if some honest gentleman who has never been farther than the yewtrees of his own garden, pens a fascinating book of travels like Sir John Mandeville, or, like great Raleigh, writes a whole history of the world, without knowing anything whatsoever about the past. To excuse themselves they will try end sheller under the shield of him who made Prospero the magician, and gave him Caliban and Ariel as his servants, who heard the Tritons blowing their horns round the coral reefs of the Enchanted Isle, and the fairies singing to each other in a wood near Athens, who led the phantom kings in dim procession across the misty Scottish heath, and hid Hecate in a cave with the weird sister. They will call upon Shakespeare -- they always do -- and will quote that hackneyed passage about Art holding the mirror up to Nature, forgetting that this unfortunate aphorism is deliberately said by Hamlet in order to convince the bystanders of his absolute insanity in all art-matters."

CYRIL. Ahem! Another cigarette, please.

VIVIAN. My dear fellow, whatever you may say, it is merely a dramatic utterance, and no more represents Shakespeare's real views upon art than the speeches of Iago represent his real views upon morals. But let me get to the end of the passage:

"Art finds her own perfection within, and not outside of, herself. She is not to be judged by any external standard of resemblance. She is a veil, rather than a mirror. She has flowers that no forests know of, birds that no woodland possesses. She makes and unmakes many worlds, and can draw the moon from heaven with a scarlet thread. Hers are the 'forms more real than living man,' and hers the great archetypes of which things that have existence are but unfinished copies. Nature has, in her eyes, no laws, no uniformity. She can work miracles at her will, and when she calls monsters from the deep they come. She can bid the almond tree blossom in winter, and send the snow upon the ripe cornfield. At her word the frost lays its silver finger on the burning mouth of June, and the winged lions creep out from the hollows of the Lydian hills. The dryads peer from the thicket as she passes by, and the brown fauns smile strangely at her when she comes near them. She has hawkfaced gods that worship her, and the centaurs gallop at her side."

CYRIL. I like that. I can see it. Is that the end?

VIVIAN. No. There is one more passage, but it is purely practical. It simply suggests some methods by which we could revive this lost art of Lying.

CYRIL. Well, before you read it to me, I should like to ask you a question. What do you mean by saying that life, "poor, probable, uninteresting human life," will try to reproduce the marvels of art? I can quite understand your objection to art being treated as a mirror. You think it would reduce genius to the position of a cracked Iooking-glass. But you don't mean to say that you seriously believe that Life imitates Art, that Life in fact is the mirror, and Art the reality?

VIVIAN. Certainly I do. Paradox though it may seem -- and paradoxes are always dangerous things -- it is none the less true that Life imitates art far more than Art imitates life. We have all seen in our own day in England how a certain curious and fascinating type of beauty, invented and emphasised by two imaginative painters, has so influenced Life that whenever one goes to a private view or to an artistic salon one sees, here the mystic eyes of Rossetti's dream, the long ivory throat, the strange squarecut jaw, the loosened shadowy hair that he so ardently loved, there the sweet maidenhood of The Golden Stair, the blossomlike mouth and weary loveliness of the Laus Amoris, the passionpale face of Andromeda, the thin hands and lithe beauty of the Vivien in Merlin's Dream. And it has always been so. A great artist invents a type, and Life tries to copy it, to reproduce it in a popular form, like an enterprising publisher. Neither Holbein nor Vandyck found in England what they have given us. They brought their types with them, and Life, with her keen imitative faculty, set herself to supply the master with models. The Greeks, with their quick artistic instinct, understood this, and set in the bride's chamber the statue of Hermes or of Apollo, that she might bear children as lovely as the works of art that she looked at in her rapture or her pain. They knew that Life gains from Art not merely spirituality, depth of thought and feeling, soul-turmoil or soul-peace, but that she can form herself on the very lines and colours of art and can reproduce the dignity of Pheidias as well as the grace of Praxiteles. Hence came their objection to realism. They disliked it on purely social grounds. They felt that it inevitably makes people ugly, and they were perfectly right. We try to improve the conditions of the race by means of good air, free sunlight, wholesome water, and hideous bare buildings for the better housing of the lower orders. But these things merely produce health; they do not produce beauty. For this, Art is required, and the true disciples of the great artist are not his studio imitators, but those who become like his works of art, be they plastic as in Greek days, or pictorial as in modern times; in a word, Life is Art's best, Art's only pupil.

As it is with the visible arts, so it is with literature. The most obvious and the vulgarest form in which this is shown is in the case of the silly boys who, after reading the adventures of Jack Sheppard or Dick Turpin, pillage the stalls of unfortunate apple-women, break into sweet shops at night, and alarm old gentlemen who are returning home from the city by leaping out on them in suburban lanes, with black masks and unloaded revolvers. This interesting phenomenon, which always occurs after the appearance of a new edition of either of the books I have alluded to, is usually attributed to the influence of literature on the imagination. But this is a mistake. The imagination is essentially creative and always seeks for new form. The boy burglar is simply the inevitable result of life's imitative instinct. He is Fact, occupied as Fact usually is with trying to reproduce Fiction, and what we see in him is repeated on an extended scale throughout the whole of life. Schopenhauer has analysed the pessimism that characterises modern thought, but Hamlet invented it. The world has become sad because a puppet was once melancholy. The Nihilist, that strange martyr who has no faith, who goes to the stake without enthusiasm, and dies for what he does not believe in, is a purely literary product. He was invented by Tourgenieff, and completed by Dostoieffski. Robespierre came out of the pages of Rousseau as surely as the People's Palace rose out debris of a novel. Literature always anticipates life. It does not copy it, but moulds it to its purpose. The nineteenth century, as we know it, is largely an invention of Balzac. Our Luciens de Rubempre, our Rastignacs, and De Marsays made their first appearance on the stage of the Comedie Humaine. We are merely carrying out, with footnotes and unnecessary additions, the whim or fancy or creative vision of a great novelist. I once asked a lady, who knew Thackeray intimately, whether he had had any model for Becky Sharp. She told me that Becky was an invention, but that the idea of the character had been partly suggested by a governess who lived in the neighbourhood of Kensington Square, and was the companion of a very selfish and rich old woman. I inquired what became of the governess, and she replied that, oddly enough, some years after the appearance of Vanity Fair, she ran away with the nephew of the lady with whom she was living, and for a short time made a great splash in society, quite in Mrs. Rawdon Crawley's style, and entirely by Mrs. Rawdon Crawley's methods. Ultimately she came to grief, disappeared to the Continent, and used to be occasionally seen at Monte Carlo and other gambling-places. The noble gentleman from whom the same great sentimentalist drew Colonel Newcome died, a few months after The Newcomes had reached a fourth edition, with the word "Adsum" on his lips. Shortly after Mr. Stevenson published his curious psychological story of transformation, a friend of mine, called Mr. Hyde, was in the north of London, and being anxious to get to a railway station, took what he thought would be a short cut, lost his way, and found himself in a network of mean, evil-looking streets. Feeling rather nervous he began to walk extremely fast, when suddenly out of an archway ran a child right between his legs. It fell on the pavement, he tripped over it, and trampled upon it. Being of course very much frightened and a little hurt, it began to scream, and in a few seconds the whole street was full of rough people who came pouring out of the houses like ants. They surrounded him, and asked him his name. He was just about to give it when he suddenly remembered the opening incident in Mr. Stevenson's story. He was so filled with horror at having realized in his own person that terrible and well written scene, and at having done accidentally, though in fact, what the Mr. Hyde of fiction had done with deliberate intent, that he ran away as hard as he could go. He was, however, very closely followed, and finally he took refuge in a surgery, the door of which happened to be open, where he explained to a young assistant, who was serving there, exactly what had occurred. The humanitarian crowd were induced to go away on his giving them a small sum of money, and as soon as the coast was quite clear he left. As he passed out, the name on the brass doorplate of the surgery caught his eye. It was "Jekyll." At least it should have been.

Here the imitation, as far as it went, was of course accidental. In the following case the imitation was self-conscious. In the year 1879, just after I had left Oxford, I met at a reception at the house of one of the Foreign Ministers a woman of very curious exotic beauty. We became great friends, and were constantly together. And yet what interested most in her was not her beauty, but her character, her entire vagueness of character. She seemed to have no personality at all, but simply the possibility of many types. Sometimes she would give herself up entirely to art, turn her drawing-room into a studio, and spend two or three days a week at picture galleries or museums. Then she would take to attending race-meetings, wear the most horsey clothes, and talk about nothing but betting. She abandoned religion for mesmerism, mesmerism for politics, and politics for thematic excitements of philanthropy. In fact, she was a kind of Proteus, and as much a failure in all her transformations as was that wondrous sea-god when Odysseus laid hold of him. One day a serial began in one of the French magazines. At that time I used to read serial stories, and I well remember the shock of surprise I felt when I came to the description of the heroine. She was so like my friend that I brought her the magazine, and she recognized herself in it immediately, and seemed fascinated by the resemblance. I should tell you, by the way, that the story was translated from some dead Russian writer, so that the author had not taken his type from my friend. Well, to put the matter briefly, some months afterwards I was in Venice, and finding the magazine in the reading-room of the hotel, I took it up casually to see what had become of the heroine. It was a most piteous tale, as the girl had ended by running away with a man absolutely inferior to her, not merely in social station, but in character and intellect also. I wrote to my friend that evening about my views on John Bellini, and the admirable ices at Florio's, and the artistic value of gondolas, but added a postscript to the effect that her double in the story had behaved in a very silly manner. I don't know why I added that, but I remember I had a sort of dread over me that she might do the same thing. Before my letter had reached her, she had run away with a man who deserted her in six months. I saw her in 1884 in Paris, where she was living with her mother, and I asked her whether the story had had anything to do with her action. She told me that she had felt an absolutely irresistible impulse to follow the heroine step by step in her strange and fatal progress, and that it was with a feeling of real terror that she had looked forward to the last few chapters of the story. When they appeared, it seemed to her that she was compelled to reproduce them in life, and she did so. It was a most clear example of this imitative instinct of which I was speaking, and an extremely tragic one.

However, I do not wish to dwell any further upon individual instances. Personal experience is a most vicious and limited circle. All that I desire to point out is the general principle that Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life, and I feel sure that if you think seriously about it you will find that it is true. Life holds the mirror up to Art, and either reproduces some strange type imagined by painter or sculptor, or realizes in fact what has been dreamed in fiction. Scientifically speaking, the basis of life-- the energy of life, as Aristotle would call it -- is simply the desire for expression, and Art is always presenting various forms through which this expression can be attained. Life seizes on them and uses them, even if they be to her own hurt. Young men have committed suicide because Rolla did so, have died by their own hand because by his own hand Werther died. Think of what we owe to the imitation of Christ, of what we owe to the imitation of Caesar.

CYRIL. The theory is certainly a very curious one, but to make it complete you must show that Nature, no less than Life, is an imitation of Art. Are you prepared to prove that?

VIVIAN. My dear fellow, I am prepared to prove anything.

CYRIL. Nature follows the landscape painter then, and takes her effects from him?

VIVIAN. Certainly.
Where, if not from the Impressionists, do we get those wonderful brown fogs that come creeping down our streets, blurring the gas-lamps and changing the houses into monstrous shadows? To whom, if not to them and their master, do we owe the lovely silver mists that brood over our river, and turn to faint forms of fading grace curved bridge and swaying barge? The extraordinary change that has taken place in the climate of London during the last ten years is entirely due to this particular school of Art. You smile. Consider the matter from a scientific or a metaphysical point of view, and you will find that I am right. For what is Nature? Nature is no great mother who has borne us. She is our creation. It is in our brain that she quickens to life. Things are because we see them, and what we see, and how we see it, depends on the Arts that have influenced us. To look at a thing is very different from seeing a thing. One does not see anything until one sees its beauty. Then, and then only, does it come into existence. At present, people see fogs, not because there are fogs, but because poets and painters have taught them the mysterious loveliness of such effects. There may have been fogs for centuries in London. I dare say there were. But no one saw them, and so we do not know anything about them. They did not exist till Art had invented them. Now, it must be admitted, fogs are carried to excess. They have become the mere mannerism of a clique, and the exaggerated realism of their method gives dull people bronchitis. Where the cultured catch an effect, the uncultured catch cold. And so, let us be humane, and invite Art to turn her wonderful eyes elsewhere. She has done so already, indeed. That white quivering sunlight that one sees now in France, with its strange blotches of mauve, and its restless violet shadows, is her latest fancy, and, on the whole, Nature reproduces it quite admirably. Where she used to give us Corots and Daubignys, she gives us now exquisite Monets and entrancing Pisaros. Indeed there are moments, rare, it is true, but still to be observed from time to time, when Nature becomes absolutely modern. Of course she is not always to be relied upon. The fact is that she is in this unfortunate position. Art creates an incomparable and unique effect, and, having done so, passes on to other things. Nature, upon the other hand, forgetting that imitation can be made the sincerest form of insult, keeps on repeating this effect until we all become absolutely wearied of it. Nobody of any real culture, for instance, ever talks nowadays about the beauty of a sunset. Sunsets are quite old fashioned. They belong to the time when Turner was the last note in art. To admire them is a distinct sign of provincialism of temperament. Upon the other hand they go on. Yesterday evening Mrs. Arundel insisted on my coming to the window, and looking at the glorious sky, as she called it. Of course I had to look at it. She is one of those absurdly pretty Philistines, to whom one can deny nothing. And what was it? It was simply a very second-rate Turner, a Turner of a bad period, with all the painter's worst faults exaggerated and overemphasized. Of course, I am quite ready to admit that Life very often commits the same error. She produces her false Renes and her sham Vautrins, just as Nature gives us, on one day a doubtful Cuyp, and on another a more than questionable Rousseau. Still, Nature irritates one more when she does things of that kind. It seems so stupid, so obvious, so unnecessary. A false Vautrin might be delightful. A doubtful Cuyp is unbearable. However, I don't want to be too hard on Nature. I wish the Channel, especially at Hastings, did not look quite so often like a Henry Moore, grey pearl with yellow lights, but then, when Art is more varied, Nature will, no doubt, be more varied also. That she imitates Art, I don't think even her worst enemy would deny now. It is the one thing that keeps her in touch with civilized man. But have I proved my theory to your satisfaction?

CYRIL. You have proved it to my dissatisfaction, which is better. But even admitting this strange imitative instinct in Life and Nature, surely you would acknowledge that Art expresses the temper of its age, the spirit of its time, the moral and social conditions that surround it, and under whose influence it is produced.

VIVIAN. Certainly not! Art never expresses anything but itself. This is the principle of my new a aesthetics; and it is this, more than that vital connection between form and substance, on which Mr. Pater dwells, that makes music the type of all the arts. Of course, nations and individuals, with that healthy, natural vanity which is the secret of existence, are always under the impression that it is of them that the Muses are talking, always trying to find in the calm dignity of imaginative art some mirror of their own turbid passions, always forgetting that the singer of Life is not Apollo, but Marsyas. Remote from reality, and with her eyes turned away from the shadows of the cave, Art reveals her own perfection, and the wondering crowd that watches the opening of the marvellous, many-petalled rose fancies that it is its own history that is being told to it, its own spirit that is finding expression in a new form. But it is not so. The highest art rejects the burden of the human spirit, and gains more from a new medium or a fresh material than she does from any enthusiasm for art, or from any lofty passion, or from any great awakening of the human consciousness. She develops purely on her own lines. She is not symbolic of any age. It is the ages that are her symbols.

Even those who hold that Art is representative of time and place and people, cannot help admitting that the more imitative an art is, the less it represents to us the spirit of its age. The evil faces of the Roman emperors look out at us from the foul porphyry and spotted jasper in which the realistic artists of the day delighted to work, and we fancy that in those cruel lips and heavy sensual jaws we can find the secret of the ruin of the Empire. But it was not so. The vices of Tiberius could not destroy that supreme civilization, any more than the virtues of the Antonines could save it. It fell for other, for less interesting reasons. The sibyls and prophets of the Sistine may indeed serve to interpret for some that new birth of the emancipated spirit that we call the Renaissance; but what do the drunken boors and brawling peasants of Dutch art tell us about the great soul of Holland? The more abstract, the more ideal an art is, the more it reveals to us the temper of its age. If we wish to understand a nation by means of its art, let us look at its architecture or its music.

CYRIL. I quite agree with you there. The spirit of an age may be best expressed in the abstract ideal arts, for the spirit itself is abstract arid ideal. Upon the other hand, for the visible aspect of an age, for its look, as the phrase goes, we must of course go to the arts of imitation.

VIVIAN. I don't think so. After all, what the imitative arts really give us are merely the various styles of particular artists, or of certain schools of artists. Surely you don't imagine that the people of the Middle Ages bore any resemblance at all to the figures on mediaeval stained glass or in mediaeval stone and wood carving, or on mediaeval metalwork, or tapestries, or illuminated MSS. They were probabIy very ordinary-looking people, with nothing grotesque, or remarkable, or fantastic in their appearance. The Middle Ages, as we know them in art, are simply a definite form of style, and there is no reason at all why an artist with this style should not be produced in the nineteenth century. No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist. Take an example from our own day. I know that you are fond of Japanese things. Now, do you really imagine that the Japanese people, as they are presented to us in art, have any existence? If you do, you have never understood Japanese art at all. The Japanese people are the deliberate self-conscious creation of certain individual artists. If you set a picture by Hokusai, or Hokkei, or any of the great native painters, beside a real Japanese gentleman or lady, you will see that there is not the slightest resemblance between them. The actual people who live in Japan are not unlike the general run of English people; that is to say, they are extremely commonplace, and have nothing curious or extraordinary about them. In fact the whole of Japan is a pure invention. There is no such country, there are no such people. One of our most charming painters went recently to the Land of the Chrysanthemum in the foolish hope of seeing the Japanese. All he saw, all he had the chance of painting, were a few lanterns and some fans. He was quite unable to discover the inhabitants, as his delightful exhibition at Messrs. Dowdeswell's Gallery showed only too well. He did not know that the Japanese people are, as I have said, simply a mode of style, an exquisite fancy of art. And so, if you desire to see a Japanese effect, you will not behave like a tourist and go to Tokio. On the contrary, you will stay at home, and steep yourself in the work of certain Japanese artists, and then, when you have absorbed the spirit of their style, and caught their imaginative manner of vision, you will go some afternoon and sit in the Park or stroll down Piccadilly, and if you cannot see an absolutely Japanese effect there, you will not see it anywhere. Or, to return again to the past, take as another instance the ancient Greeks. Do you think that Greek art ever tells us what the Greek people were like? Do you believe that the Athenian women were like the stately dignified figures of the Parthenon frieze, or like those marvellous goddesses who sat in the triangular pediments of the same building? If you judge from the art, they certainly were so. But read an authority, like Aristophanes for instance. You will find that the Athenian ladies laced tightly, wore high-heeled shoes, died their hair yellow, painted and rouged their faces, and were exactly like any silly fashionable or fallen creature of our own day. The fact is that we look back on the ages entirely through the medium of Art, and Art, very fortunately, has never once told us the truth.

CYRIL. But modern portraits by English painters, what of them? Surely they are like the people they pretend to represent?

VIVIAN. Quite so. They are so like them that a hundred years from now no one will believe in them. The only portraits in which one believes are portraits where there is very little of the sitter and a very great deal of the artist. Holbein's drawings of the men and women of his time impress us with a sense of their absolute reality. But this is simply because Holbein compelled life to accept his conditions, to restrain itself within his limitations, to reproduce his type, and to appear as he wished it to appear. It is style that makes us believe in a thing -- nothing but style. Most of our modern portrait painters are doomed to absolute oblivion. They never paint what they see. They paint what the public sees, and the public never sees anything.

CYRIL. Well, after that I think I should like to hear the end of your article.

VIVIAN. With pleasure. Whether it will do any good I really cannot say. Ours is certainly the dullest and most prosaic century possible. Why, even Sleep has played us false, and has closed up the gates of ivory, and opened the gates of horn. The dreams of the great middle classes of this country, as recorded in Mr. Myers's two bulky volumes on the subject and in the Transactions of the Psychical Society, are the most depressing things that I have ever read. There is not even a fine nightmare among them. They are commonplace, sordid, and tedious. As for the Church I cannot conceive anything better for the culture of a country than the presence in it of a body of men whose duty it is to believe in the supernatural, to perform daily miracles, and to keep alive that mythopoetic faculty which is so essential for the imagination. But in the English Church a man succeeds, not through his capacity for belief but through his capacity for disbelief. Ours is the only Church where the sceptic stands at the altar, and where St. Thomas is regarded as the ideal apostle. Many a worthy clergyman, who passes his life in admirable works of kindly charity, lives and dies unnoticed and unknown; but it is sufficient for some shallow uneducated passman out of either University to get up in his pulpit and express his doubts about Noah's ark, or Balaam's ass, or Jonah and the whale, for half of London to flock to hear him, and to sit open-mouthed in rapt admiration at his superb intellect. The growth of common sense in the English Church is a thing very much to be regretted. It is really a degrading concession to a low form of realism. It is silly, too. It springs from an entire ignorance of psychology. Man can believe the impossible, but man can never believe the improbable. However, I must read the end of my article:--

"What we have to do, what at any rate it is our duty to do, is to revive this old art of Lying. Much of course may be done, in the way of educating the public, by amateurs in the domestic circle, at literary lunches, and at afternoon teas. But this is merely the light and graceful side of Iying, such as was probably heard at Cretan dinner parties. There are many other forms. Lying for the sake of gaining some immediate personal advantage, for instance -- lying with a moral purpose, as it is usually called -- though of late it has been rather looked down upon, was extremely popular with the antique world. Athena laughs when Odysseus tells her 'his words of sly devising,' as Mr. William Morris phrases it, and the glory of mendacity illumines the pale brow of the stainless hero of Euripidean tragedy, and sets among the noble women of the past the young bride of one of Horace's most exquisite odes. Later on, what at first had been merely a natural instinct was elevated into a self-conscious science. Elaborate rules were laid down for the guidance of mankind, and an important school of literature grew up round the subject. Indeed, when one remembers the excellent philosophical treatise of Sanchez on the whole question one cannot help regretting that no one has ever thought of publishing a cheap and condensed edition of the works of that great casuist. A short primer, 'When to Lie and How,' if brought out in an attractive and not too expensive a form, would no doubt command a large sale, and would prove of real practical service to many earnest and deep-thinking people. Lying for the sake of the improvement of the young, which is the basis of home education, still lingers amongst us, and its advantages are so admirably set forth in the early books of Plato's Republic that it is unnecessary to dwell upon them here. It is a mode of Iying for which all good mothers have peculiar capabilities, but it is capable of still further development, and has been sadly overlooked by the School Board. Lying for the sake of a monthly salary is of course well known in Fleet Street, and the profession of a political leader-writer is not without its advantages. But it is said to be a somewhat dull occupation, and it certainly does not lead to much beyond a kind of ostentatious obscurity. The only form of Iying that is absolutely beyond reproach is Lying for its own sake, and the highest development of this is, as we have already pointed out, Lying in Art. Just as those who do not love Plato more than Truth cannot pass beyond the threshold of the Academe, so those who do not love Beauty more than Truth never know the inmost shrine of Art. The solid stolid British intellect lies in the desert sands like the Sphinx in Flaubert's marvellous tale, and fantasy La Chimere, dances round it, and calls to it with her false, flute-toned voice. It may not hear her now, but surely some day, when we are all bored to death with the commonplace character of modern fiction, it will hearken to her and try to borrow her wings.

"And when that day dawns, or sunset reddens how joyous we shall all be! Facts will be regarded as discreditable, Truth will be found mourning over her fetters, and Romance, with her temper of wonder, will return to the land. The very aspect of the world will change to our startled eyes. Out of the sea will rise Behemoth and Leviathan and sail round the high-pooped galleys, as they do on the delightful maps of those ages when books on geography were actually readable. Dragons will wander about the waste places, and the phoenix will soar from her nest of fire into the air. We shall lay our hands upon the basilisk, and see the jewel in the toad's head. Champing his gilded oats, the Hippogriff will stand in our stalls, and over our heads will float the Blue Bird singing of beautiful and impossible things, of things that are lovely and that never happened, of things that are not and that should be. But before this comes to pass we must cultivate the lost art of Lying."

CYRIL. Then we must certainly cultivate it at once. But in order to avoid making any error I want you to tell me briefly the doctrines of the new aesthetics.

VIVIAN. Briefly, then, they are these. Art never expresses anything but itself. It has an independent life, just as Thought has, and develops purely on its own lines. It is not necessarily realistic in an age of realism, nor spiritual in an age of faith. So far from being the creation of its time, it is usually in direct opposition to it, and the only history that it preserves for us is the history of its own progress. Sometimes it returns upon its footsteps, and revives some antique form, as happened in the archaistic movement of late Greek Art, and in the pre-Raphaelite movement of our own day. At other times it entirely anticipates its age, and produces in one century work that it takes another century to understand, to appreciate, and to enjoy. In no case does it reproduce its age. To pass from the art of a time to the time itself is the great mistake that all historians commit.

The second doctrine is this. All bad art comes from returning to Life and Nature, and elevating them into ideals. Life and Nature may sometimes be used as part of Art's rough material, but before they are of any real service to art they must be translated into artistic conventions. The moment Art surrenders its imaginative medium it surrenders everything. As a method Realism is a complete failure, and the two things that every artist should avoid are modernity of form and modernity of subject-matter. To us, who live in the nineteenth century, any century is a suitable subject for art except our own. The only beautiful things are the things that do not concern us. It is, to have the pleasure of quoting myself, exactly because Hecuba is nothing to us that her sorrows are so suitable a motive for a tragedy. Besides, it is only the modern that ever becomes old-fashioned. M. Zola sits down to give us a picture of the Second Empire. Who cares for the Second Empire now? It is out of date. Life goes faster than Realism, but Romanticism is always in front of Life.

The third doctrine is that Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life. This results not merely from Life's imitative instinct, but from the fact that the self-conscious aim of Life is to find expression, and that Art offers it certain beautiful forms through which it may realize that energy. It is a theory that has never been put forward before, but it is extremely fruitful, and throws an entirely new light upon the history of Art.

It follows, as a corollary from this, that external Nature also imitates Art. The only effects that she can show us are effects that we have already seen through poetry, or in paintings. This is the secret of Nature's charm, as well as the explanation of Nature's weakness.

The final revelation is that Lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things, is the proper aim of Art. But of this I think I have spoken at sufficient length. And now let us go out on the terrace, where "droops the milk-white peacock like a ghost," while the evening star "washes the dusk with silver." At twilight nature becomes a wonderfully suggestive effect, and is not without loveliness, though perhaps its chief use is to illustrate quotations from the poets. Come! We have talked long enough.
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So far as I could make out the trouble had started, as trouble so often does, with gossip, in this case gossip about my relationship with Terry. Dr Edward Conze, who had his own sources of information, later told me that the gossip had originated with 'the old ladies of Kensington', and I had no reason to dispute this. The ladies in question, as I well knew, were a group of some four or five middle-aged women, all of them staunch Theravãdins, who lived in West London and were connected either with the Chiswick Vihara or with the Pali Text Society. Some of them regularly attended the Buddhist Society's annual Summer School, and the gossip seems to have started at the Summer School of 1966, which Terry and I had both attended, and to have reached Walshe not long after our departure for India.

By what means the gossip of the old ladies had reached Walshe, and whether they had gone so far as actually to slander Terry and me, was not clear. What was clear was that Walshe had panicked, as he tended to do in a crisis, that he had called a meeting of the Trust, and that he had proposed that I be dismissed as incumbent of the Hampstead Vihara. Alf Vial and Mike Hookham had, of course, objected to this high-handed and unjust proceeding, and on being out-voted by Walshe, Goulstone, and Marcus, had resigned in protest. Walshe was thus able to assure Humphreys that the trustees had voted for my dismissal unanimously and that, in any case, their action was justified by my behaviour.
In these circumstances it was not surprising, perhaps, that Toby [Christmas Humphreys] had agreed, albeit with genuine regret, that it would be better if I did not return to England. Both he and the three remaining trustees evidently assumed that in the absence of any support from either the Sangha Trust or the Buddhist Society, it would be impossible for me to continue my work in England and that I would have no alternative, therefore, but to accept the face-saving formula that Goulstone's letter was shortly to offer me. They assumed, in other words, that I would agree to go quietly, thus enabling the Trust to announce that I had resigned as incumbent of the Hampstead Vihara, and would be staying in the East, without anyone knowing what had really happened.

These tactics having failed, and opposition to my dismissal having steadily grown among members of the Sangha Association, Walshe had dug in his heels, insisting on the Trust's legal right to dismiss me, which was incontestable, and covertly assuring people that I had been dismissed for reasons much more serious than those that had been made public. By the end of the year, however, he had become quite isolated, support for him probably being limited to a few former disciples of Ananda Bodhi. He also seems to have been apprehensive of what might happen once Terry and I were back in England, as we had originally planned. Be that as it may, in January he had agreed to publish in The Buddhist, of which he was now editor, a statement in which the trustees appeared to retract the charges levelled against me in Goulstone's letter. The idea of the statement had originated with Toby, who by this time was ready to dissociate himself from Walshe, and the exact wording had been hammered out in discussions between him and John Hipkin. As published in the February 1967 issue of The Buddhist, shortly before my return to the scene, the statement read as follows:

The Directors of the English Sangha Trust Ltd. wish it to be known that in deciding to replace the Ven. Sthavira Sangharakshita in the office of Chief Incumbent at the Hampstead Buddhist Vihara they are not making any charge of impropriety or misconduct against him. The Directors hope that whatever may have been said to the detriment of his character in the course of recent speculation and gossip may now be withdrawn, and that all concerned may turn their energies to the study and practice of the Dhamma....

Whatever Walshe's reasons may have been for wanting the trustees' statement published, its appearance in the February Buddhist put him and his fellow trustees in a curious position. On the one hand, they denied that in deciding to replace me they were making any charge of impropriety or misconduct against me; on the other, they continued to resist the Sangha Association's demand for my reinstatement. Indeed, within a month of the statement's publication, Walshe was not only insisting, at the EGM, on the Trust's right to dismiss me, but also repeating the old allegations. Why was he so against me? Was it because I was in favour of closer cooperation between the Sangha Association and the Buddhist Society and he was not? Or was it because I had serious reservations about the insight meditation with which, according to Ruth, his whole emotional security was bound up? Then there was my article 'The Meaning of Orthodoxy in Buddhism: A Protest', serialized in the January, February, and March issues of The Buddhist, in which I ventured to criticize an assertion by Miss I.B. [Isaline Blew] Horner, the President of the Pali Text Society, that the Theravãda was 'certainly the most orthodox form of Buddhism.' Were these the reasons why Walshe was so against me, I asked myself, and so opposed to my reinstatement as incumbent of the Hampstead Vihara? And how big a part had they played in my dismissal? Though Walshe had panicked when the gossip of the old ladies reached him, the gossip and the fact that I was out of the country may well have given him and Goulstone the opportunity to do what they had been wanting to do even before my departure. Had there, then, been a conspiracy to replace me with a Thai monk, and had Vichitr, whom Walshe saw regularly, perhaps been a party to that conspiracy? It was not easy to tell. Events had moved rapidly, a number of people had been involved, and men's real motives were in any case difficult to fathom. Perhaps instead of enquiring too closely into motives I should ask, as the lawyers sometimes did when seeking an explanation for a crime, cui bono? To whose benefit was the crime?

Clues were to be found in the January, February, March, and April issues of The Buddhist, especially in Walshe's editorials. His January editorial was entitled New Beginnings. In Hampstead they had started the New Year with a new incumbent, he announced, after a few generalities, and they would be making a new beginning by going back to the fundamentals of Buddhism, in other words, by going back to the Theravãda. Evidently he believed that during the period of my Incumbency there had been a distinct move in the direction of the Mahãyãna and, to that extent, a move away from the Theravãda. In this there was an element of truth. Though I had regularly lectured on the principal Theravãdin teachings, teachings that were in fact common to all forms of Buddhism, I had not lectured on the Theravãda exclusively. I had also spoken on, or referred to, the teachings of some of the Mahãyãna schools, besides once presenting the Buddhist spiritual path in evolutionary terms. In my meditation classes I had confined myself to teaching respiration-mindfulness (ãnãpãna-sati), and the development of loving-kindness (mettã-bhãvanã), both of which were regarded as Theravãdin methods. Only to the Three Musketeers had I taught any distinctively Mahãyãna (Vajrayãna) practices, and Alf, Mike, and even quiet and unobtrusive Jack may well have been among those whom The Buddhist's new editor described as seeking to run before they can walk, or even to fly before they can run. In his February editorial, entitled 'What is the Sangha?', Walshe was concerned to emphasize two things: that apart from the community of 'Noble Ones' the Sangha consisted exclusively of fully-ordained monks (there was no such thing as a 'lay sangha'), and that, basically, the monks were the preceptors of the lay people and the lay people the supporters of the monks. This was, of course, the traditional Theravãdin position, the rigidity of which I had sought to moderate in my February 1965 editorial entitled 'Sangha and Laity,' and Walshe may have had it in mind when writing his own editorial exactly two years later. In any case, he took occasion to remind the reader that according to one of the rules of the Sangha Association, members should honour their obligations to support the Sangha, by which he meant support it financially on a regular basis, which not all those attending my lectures and classes at the Vihara had been doing.

An announcement elsewhere in the March issue drew the readers attention to other rules. The meetings of the Association were to be concerned solely with the Buddhadhamma; speakers had to have the prior authority of the Sangha; meetings and classes, with the exception of those specifically stated to be public meetings, were to be open only to members of the Association, and members had to produce their membership cards when asked to do so. These rules had fallen into abeyance long before my arrival in Hampstead, and it was obvious why Walshe had decided to reinstate them. He wanted to make it clear that members of the Association should regard themselves as being lay people in the traditional Theravãdin sense, that they should be subordinate to the monks, and that the Association itself should be under the control of the Sangha Trust. An article in the April Buddhist suggested that it was 'back to the Theravãda' at the Biddulph meditation centre too. The article was by John Garrie, a Mancunian 'insight meditation' evangelist whom I had met once or twice, and who was now in charge of activities at Old Hall. In recent months, a programme of decoration and alteration had been completed, he declared towards the end of his article, and in fact Biddulph could well have a sign outside its door saying under new management. As Garrie was a former disciple of Ananda Bodhi, like other members of his team of 'Biddulph enthusiasts,' new management naturally meant Theravãdin management. The team, he moreover went on to say, was the management board of a completely new organization which had no connection with any other society or association and was only responsible to the English Sangha Trust. Thus the Sangha Association was now a Theravãda-type lay body, as was Garrie's team at Biddulph.

To whose benefit, then, was my dismissal as incumbent of the Hampstead Vihara? Evidently it was to the benefit of the Theravãda, or rather, to the benefit of the Theravãdins as represented by Walshe, Goulstone, Vichitr, a minority within the Sangha Association and, no doubt, the old ladies of Kensington.

-- Moving Against the Stream: The Birth of a new Buddhist Movement, by Sangharakshita [Dennis Lingwood]

Isaline Blew Horner, OBE
Born: 30 March 1896, Walthamstow, England
Died: 25 April 1981 (aged 85)
Relatives: Ajahn Amaro [Jeremy Charles Horner] (cousin)
Academic background
Alma mater: Newnham College, Cambridge
Academic work
Discipline: Indologist
Main interests: Pali literature

Isaline Blew Horner OBE (30 March 1896 – 25 April 1981), usually cited as I. B. Horner, was an English Indologist, a leading scholar of Pali literature and late president of the Pali Text Society (1959–1981).[1]


On 30 March 1896 Horner was born in Walthamstow in Essex, England. Horner was a first cousin once removed of the British Theravada monk Ajahn Amaro [Jeremy Charles Horner].[2]


Her Majesty the Queen meeting with Ajahn Amaro, abbot of fAmaravati Monastery, the venerable Bogoda Seelawimala, Head of the London Buddhist Vihara and Dr. Desmond Biddulph, President of the Buddhist Society.

-- The 90th Anniversary of The Buddhist Society 1924–2014, by The Buddhist Society

Cambridge years


In 1917, at the University of Cambridge's women's college Newnham College, Horner was awarded the title of a B.A. in moral sciences.[3][4]

After her undergraduate studies, Horner remained at Newnham College, becoming in 1918 an assistant librarian and then, in 1920, acting librarian. In 1921, Horner traveled to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), India and Burma where she was first introduced to Buddhism, its literature and related languages.[5] In 1923, Horner returned to England where she accepted a Fellowship at Newnham College and became its librarian. In 1928, she became the first Sarah Smithson Research Fellow in Pali Studies. In 1930, she published her first book, Women Under Primitive Buddhism. In 1933, she edited her first volume of Pali text, the third volume of the Papancasudani (Majjhima Nikaya commentary). In 1934, Horner was awarded the title of an M.A. from Cambridge. From 1939 to 1949, she served on Cambridge's Governing Body.


From 1926 to 1959, Horner lived and traveled with her companion "Elsie," Dr. Eliza Marian Butler (1885–1959).[6][7][8][9]

Eliza Marian Butler (29 December 1885 – 13 November 1959),who published as E. M. Butler and Elizabeth M. Butler, was an English scholar of German, Schröder Professor of German at the University of Cambridge from 1945. Her most influential book was The Tyranny of Greece over Germany (1935), in which she wrote that Germany has had "too much exposure to Ancient Greek literature and art. The result was that the German mind had succumbed to 'the tyranny of an ideal'. The German worship of Ancient Greece had emboldened the Nazis to remake Europe in their image." It was controversial in Britain and its translation was banned in Germany.

Eliza Butler, known as "Elsie", was born in Bardsea, Lancashire in a family of Irish ancestry. She was educated by a Norwegian governess (from whom she learned German) and subsequently in Hannover from age 11, Paris from age 15, the school of domestic science at Reifenstein Abbey from age 18, and Newnham College, Cambridge from 21. As a teenager, she watched Kaiser Wilhelm II inspect his troops. In the First World War she worked as an interpreter and nurse in Scottish units on the Russian and Macedonian fronts (she had learned Russian from Jane Harrison) and treated the victims of the German assault.

Jane Ellen Harrison (9 September 1850 – 15 April 1928) was a British classical scholar and linguist. Harrison is one of the founders, with Karl Kerenyi and Walter Burkert, of modern studies in Ancient Greek religion and mythology. She applied 19th-century archaeological discoveries to the interpretation of ancient Greek religion in ways that have become standard. She has also been credited with being the first woman to obtain a post in England as a ‘career academic’. Harrison argued for women's suffrage but thought she would never want to vote herself. Ellen Wordsworth Crofts, later second wife of Sir Francis Darwin, was Jane Harrison's best friend from her student days at Newnham, and during the period from 1898 to her death in 1903.

Harrison was born in Cottingham, Yorkshire on 9 September 1850 to Charles and Elizabeth Harrison. Her mother died of puerperal fever shortly after she was born and she was educated by a series of governesses. Her governesses taught her German, Latin, Ancient Greek and Hebrew, but she later expanded her knowledge to about sixteen languages, including Russian.

Harrison spent most of her professional life at Newnham College, the progressive, recently established college for women at Cambridge. At Newnham, one of her students was Eugenie Sellers, the writer and poet, with whom she lived in England and later in Paris and possibly even had a relationship with in the late 1880s. Mary Beard described Harrison as '... the first woman in England to become an academic, in the fully professional sense – an ambitious, full-time, salaried, university researcher and lecturer'.

Between 1880 and 1897 Harrison studied Greek art and archaeology at the British Museum under Sir Charles Newton. Harrison then supported herself lecturing at the museum and at schools (mostly private boy's schools). Her lectures became widely popular and 1,600 people ended up attending her Glasgow lecture on Athenian gravestones. She travelled to Italy and Germany, where she met the scholar from Prague, Wilhelm Klein. Klein introduced her to Wilhelm Dörpfeld who invited her to participate in his archaeological tours in Greece. Her early book The Odyssey in Art and Literature then appeared in 1882. Harrison met the scholar D. S. MacColl, who supposedly asked her to marry him and she declined. Harrison then suffered a severe depression and started to study the more primitive areas of Greek art in an attempt to cure herself.

In 1888 Harrison began to publish in the periodical that Oscar Wilde was editing called The Woman's World on "The Pictures of Sappho." Harrison also ended up translating Mythologie figurée de la Grèce (1883) by Maxime Collignon as well as providing personal commentary to selections of Pausanias, Mythology & Monuments of Ancient Athens by Margaret Verrall in the same year. These two major works caused Harrison to be awarded honorary degrees from the universities of Durham (1897) and Aberdeen (1895)...

She became the central figure of the group known as the Cambridge Ritualists. In 1903 her book Prolegomena on the Study of Greek Religion appeared... She then made a new friendship with Hope Mirrlees, whom she referred to as her "spiritual daughter".

Harrison retired from Newnham in 1922 and then moved to Paris to live with Mirrlees. She and Mirrlees returned to London in 1925 where she was able to publish her memoirs through Leonard and Virginia Woolf's press, The Hogarth Press...

Harrison was an atheist...

Harrison's first monograph, in 1882, drew on the thesis that both Homer's Odyssey and motifs of the Greek vase-painters were drawing upon similar deep sources for mythology, the opinion that had not been common in earlier classical archaeology, that the repertory of vase-painters offered some unusual commentaries on myth and ritual.

Her approach in her great work, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion (1903), was to proceed from the ritual to the myth it inspired: "In theology facts are harder to seek, truth more difficult to formulate than in ritual." Thus she began her book with analyses of the best-known of the Athenian festivals: Anthesteria, harvest festivals Thargelia, Kallynteria [de], Plynteria, and the women's festivals, in which she detected many primitive survivals, Arrophoria, Skirophoria, Stenia and Haloa...

After a socially Darwinian analysis of the origins of religion, Harrison argues that religiosity is anti-intellectual and dogmatic, yet she defended the cultural necessity of religion and mysticism. In her essay The Influence of Darwinism on the Study of Religion (1909), Harrison concluded:

Every dogma religion has hitherto produced is probably false, but for all that the religious or mystical spirit may be the only way of apprehending some things, and these of enormous importance. It may also be that the contents of this mystical apprehension cannot be put into language without being falsified and misstated, that they have rather to be felt and lived than uttered and intellectually analyzed; yet they are somehow true and necessary to life. (176, Alpha and Omega)

-- Jane Ellen Harrison, by Wikipedia

From 1926 to her death Butler lived and travelled with her companion Isaline Blew Horner. After working in hospitals, she taught at Cambridge and in 1936 became a professor at the University of Manchester. Her works include a trilogy on ritual magic and the occult, especially in the Faust legend (1948–1952).

-- Eliza Marian Butler, by Wikipedia

PTS years

In 1936, due to Butler's accepting a position at Manchester University,[8][9] Horner left Newnham to live in Manchester. There, Horner completed the fourth volume of the Papancasudani (published 1937). In 1938, she published the first volume of a translation of the Vinaya Pitaka. (She was to publish a translation of the last Vinaya Pitaka volume in 1966.)

In 1942, Horner became the Honorary Secretary of the Pali Text Society (PTS). In 1943, in response to her parents' needs and greater PTS involvement, Horner moved to London where she lived until her death.[8] In 1959, she became the Society's President[10] and Honorary Treasurer.


In 1964, in recognition of her contributions to Pali literature, Horner was awarded an honorary Ph.D by Ceylon University.[3][8]

In 1977, Horner received a second honorary Ph.D from Nava Nalanda Mahavihara.[8]

In 1980, Queen Elizabeth II made Horner an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her lifelong contribution to Buddhist literature.[6][8]


Horner's books (ordered by first identified publication date) include:

• Women under primitive Buddhism : laywomen and almswomen (1930/1975)
• Papañcasūdanī: Majjhimanikāyaṭṭhakathā of Buddhaghosâcariya (1933)
• Early Buddhist theory of man perfected: a study of the Arahan concept and of the implications of the aim to perfection in religious life, traced in early canonical and post-canonical Pali literature (1936/1975)
• Book of the discipline (Vinaya-pitaka) (1938), translated by I. B. Horner
• Alice M. Cooke, a memoir (1940)[11]
• Madhuratthavilāsinī nāma Buddhavaṃsaṭṭhakathā of Bhadantâcariya Buddhadatta Mahāthera (1946/1978), ed. by I.B. Horner.
• Living thoughts of Gotama the Buddha (1948/2001), by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy and I.B. Horner
• Collection of the Middle Length Sayings (1954)
• Ten Jātaka stories (1957)
• Early Buddhist poetry (1963)
• Milinda's questions (1963), translated by I. B. Horner
• Buddhist texts through the ages (1964/1990), translated and edited by Edward Conze in collaboration with I.B. Horner, David Snellgrove, Arthur Waley
• Minor anthologies of the Pali Canon (vol. 4): Vimanavatthu and Petavatthu (1974), translated by I. B. Horner
• Minor anthologies of the Pali Canon (vol. 3): Buddhavamsa and Cariyapitaka (1975), translated by I. B. Horner
• Apocryphal birth-stories (Paññāsa Jātaka) (1985), translated by I.B. Horner and Padmanabh S. Jaini

See also

• Pali Text Society


1. Olivia, Nona (2014). "Editorial" (PDF). Sati Journal. Sati Center for Buddhist Studies. 2 (1): 3. ISBN 978-1495260049. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
2. Amaro, Ajahn (2014). "I B Horner – Some Biographical Notes" (PDF). Sati Journal. Sati Center for Buddhist Studies. 2 (1): 33–38. ISBN 978-1495260049. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
3. Jayetilleke (2007).
4. At the time, Newnham was one of two women's colleges at Cambridge, the other being Girton College. At Cambridge women were awarded "titles" but not degrees until 1947.
5. Burford 2014, pp. 75-76
6. University of Cambridge (2007).
7. Boucher (2007), p. 121.
8. Burford (2005).
9. Watts (2006).
10. Norman (1982), p. 145
11. Alice M. Cooke. Manchester University Press. 1940.


• Boucher, Sandy (2007). "Appreciating the Lineage of Buddhist Feminist Scholars", in Rosemary Radford Ruether (ed.) Feminist Theologies (2007). Minneapolis: Fortress Press. ISBN 0-8006-3894-8. Retrieved 2008-08-21 from
• Burford, Grace (2005). "Newnham Biographies: Isaline B. Horner (1896-1981)." Retrieved 2008-08-21 from "Newnham College" at
• Burford, Grace G. (2014). Isaline B. Horner and the Twentieth Century Development of Buddhism in the West. In Todd Lewis (ed), Buddhists: Understanding Buddhism Through the Lives of Practitioners. Wiley. pp. 73–. ISBN 978-1-118-32208-6.
• Jayetilleke, Rohan L. (2007). "The pioneer Pali scholar of the West." Retrieved 2008-08-20 from "Associated Newspapers of Ceylon".
• Norman, K.R. (1982). Isaline Blew Horner (1896-1981) (Obituary), Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 5 (2), 145-149
• University of Cambridge (2007). "Isaline Blew Horner (1896-1981), Pali scholar." Retrieved 2008-08-20.
• Watts, Sheila (2006). "Newnham Biographies: Eliza Marian (Elsie) Butler (1885 – 1959)". Retrieved 2008-08-21
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:28 am

Edward Conze
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/9/20

Edward Conze

Edward Conze, born Eberhard Julius Dietrich Conze (1904–1979), was an eminent scholar of Marxism and Buddhism, known primarily for his commentaries and translations of the Prajñāpāramitā literature.


Conze's parents, Dr. Ernst Conze (1872–1935) and Adele Louise Charlotte Köttgen (1882–1962), both came from families involved in the textile industry in the region of Langenberg, Germany. Ernst had a doctorate in Law and served in the Foreign Office and later as a judge.[1] Conze was born in London while his father was Vice Consul[2] and thus entitled to British citizenship.

Conze studied in Tübingen, Heidelberg, Kiel, Cologne and Hamburg. In 1928 he published his dissertation, Der Begriff der Metaphysik bei Franciscu Suarez, and was awarded a doctorate in philosophy from Cologne University.[3] He did post-graduate work at several German universities and in 1932 he published Der Satz vom Widerspruch (The Principle of Contradiction) which he considered his master work.[4] Because it was a Marxist work on the theory of dialectical materialism it attracted hostile attention from the Nazis and most copies were publicly burnt in a campaign conducted by the German Student Union in May 1933.[5] In the early 1930s Conze associated with and helped to organize activities for the Communist Party of Germany. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, he fled to Britain.[6][7]

In England, Conze taught German, philosophy, and psychology at evening classes, and later lectured on Buddhism and Prajñāpāramitā at various universities. However, the only permanent academic post he was offered had to be turned down because US immigration officials declined him a work permit on the basis of his past as a Communist.

A midlife crisis in 1941 saw him adopt Buddhism as his religion, having previously been influenced by Theosophy and astrology. He spent a brief period in the New Forest pursuing meditation and an ascetic lifestyle (during which he developed scurvy). At the end of this period he moved to Oxford where he began to work on Sanskrit texts from the Prajñāpāramitā tradition. He continued to work on these texts for the rest of his life.

Conze was married twice: to Dorothea Finkelstein and to Muriel Green. He had one daughter with Dorothea.

In 1979 Conze self-published two volumes of memoirs entitled Memoirs of a Modern Gnostic. Conze produced a third volume which contained material considered to be too inflammatory or libelous to publish while the subjects were alive.[8][9] No copy of the third volume is known to exist. The Memoirs are the principal sources for Conze's biography and reveal much about his personal life and attitudes.


Conze was educated in several German Universities and showed a propensity for languages. He claimed that by twenty-four, he knew fourteen languages.[10]

Conze's first major published work was on the theory of dialectical materialism. This continues to receive attention, with his book The Principle of Contradiction being reprinted in 2016.[11]

Following a mid-life crisis Conze turned to Buddhism and was particularly influenced by D. T. Suzuki. He made his name for his editions and translations of Sanskrit texts of the Buddhist Prajñāpāramitā literature. He published translations of all the principal texts of the genre, including the Aṣṭasāhasrikā (8000 Line), Ratnaguṇasamcayagāthā, Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā (25,000 Line), Vajracchedikā, and Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya. All of these show the explicit influence of Suzuki's Theosophy infused Zen Buddhism.[citation needed]

A glance at a complete bibliography of Conze's oeuvre confirms that he was a man of industry and focus. His contribution to the field of Buddhist Studies, particularly of the Prajñāpāramitā literature, has had a major influence on subsequent generations.


In his essay Great Buddhists of the Twentieth Century (Windhorse Publications: 1996), British writer and teacher of Buddhism, and personal friend of Conze's, Sangharakshita writes that "Dr. Conze was a complex figure, and it is not easy to assess his overall significance.... He was a self-confessed élitist, which is usually something people are ashamed of nowadays, but he wasn’t ashamed of it at all.... Nor did he approve of either democracy or feminism, which makes him a veritable ogre of ‘political incorrectness’." Nevertheless, Sangharakshita summarizes Conze's legacy as a scholar of Buddhism as follows:

Dr Conze was one of the great Buddhist translators, comparable with the indefatigable Chinese translators Kumarajiva and Hsuan-tsang of the fifth and seventh centuries respectively. It is especially significant, I think, that as a scholar of Buddhism he also tried to practise it, especially meditation. This was very unusual at the time he started his work, and he was regarded then – in the forties and fifties – as being something of an eccentric. Scholars were not supposed to have any personal involvement in their subject. They were supposed to be ‘objective’. So he was a forerunner of a whole new breed of Western scholars in Buddhism who are actually practising Buddhists.[12]

Ji Yun, Professor of the Buddhist College of Singapore, describes Conze's legacy as follows:

Even to this day, Edward Conze (1904-1979) the German British scholar has to be regarded, not as one of many, but as the most important researcher on Prajñāpāramitā literature. This genius of Buddhist linguist [sic.] and philologist devoted his whole life to the collation, translation and research of Prajñāpāramitā literature in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese – a language relatively neglected by European scholars before him. Although the research of this prolific writer covers well beyond the Prajñāpāramitā category, his works dedicated solely to this, according to an incomplete count by the Japanese scholar Yuyama Akira 汤山明, include 16 books and 46 articles.... In the history of Prajñāpāramitā research Conze can be regarded as a formidable scholar with no comparison, suprpassing [sic.] all past and perhaps even future researchers in his achievement.[13]

Selected bibliography

For a complete bibliography of Conze's works see the website, Conze Memorial

• 1932. Der Satz vom Widerspruch. Hamburg, 1932.
• 1951. Buddhism: Its Essence and Development.
• 1956. Buddhist meditation. London: Ethical & Religious Classics of East & West.
• 1958. Buddhist Wisdom Books: The Diamond Sutra and the Heart Sutra. George Allen & Unwin. Second edition 1976.
• 1959. Buddhist Scriptures. Haremondsworth: Penguin Classics.
• 1960. The Prajñāpāramitā Literature. Mouton. Second Edition: [Bibliographica Philogica Buddhica Series Maior I] The Reiyukai Library: 1978
• 1967. Materials for a Dictionary of the Prajñāpāramitā Literature. Tokyo, Suzuki Research Foundation.
• 1973. The Large Sutra of Perfect Wisdom. University of California Press.
• 1973. The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines and its Verse Summary. San Francisco: City Lights, 2006.
• 1973. Perfect Wisdom: The Short Prajñāpāramitā Texts. Buddhist Publishing Group.
• 1975. Further Buddhist Studies: Selected Essays. Oxford, Bruno Cassirer


1. Heine 2016; Langenberger Kulturlexikon.
2. Humphreys 1980, p. 147
3. de Jong 1980, p. 143
4. Conze 1979
5. Heine 2016, xiv
6. Jackson 1981, pp. 103-104
7. Humphreys 1980, p. 147
8. Jackson 1981, p. 102
9. Houston 1980, p.92
10. Conze 1979: I 4
11. Heine 2016
12. Sangharakshita 1996
13. Yun 2017, 9-113


• Conze, Edward (1979). Memoirs of a Modern Gnostic. Parts I and II. Privately Published.
• de Jong, J.W. (1980). Edward Conze 1904–1979, Indo-Iranian Journal 22 (2), 143-146. – via JSTOR (subscription required)
• Heine, Holger (2016). 'Aristotle, Marx, Buddha: Edward Conze's Critique of the Principle of Contradiction', in Conze, Edward, The Principle of Contradiction. Lexington Books, pp. xiii–lxiii. First published in German as Der Satz vom Widerspruch. Hamburg, 1932
• Houston, G.W. (1980). Review: The Memoirs of a Modern Gnostic by Edward Conze, The Tibet Journal, 5 (1/2), 91-93. – via JSTOR (subscription required)
• Humphreys, Christmas (1980). Edward Conze, 1904-1979, The Eastern Buddhist (new series), 13 (2), 147-148. – via JSTOR (subscription required)
• Jackson, Roger R. (1981). Review: The Memoirs of a Modern Gnostic, Parts I and II (Edward Conze), Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 4 (2), 102-105
• Langenberger Kulturlexikon: Immaterielles Kulturerbe der UNESCO.
• Sangharakshita (1996). Great Buddhists of the Twentieth Century, Windhorse Publications
• Yun, Ji . 纪赟 —《心经》疑伪问题再研究, Fuyan Buddhist Studies no. 7 (2012): 115-182. Trans. Chin Shih-Foong, Is the Heart Sūtra an Apocryphal Text? – A Re-examination, Singapore Journal of Buddhist Studies (2017), 4: 9-113.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:16 am

Ajahn Amaro [Jeremy Charles Julian Horner]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/9/20

Ajahn Amaro
Ajahn Amaro in Bangkok in June 2019
Born: Jeremy Charles Julian Horner, 2 September 1956 (age 63), Kent, England
Religion Buddhism
Nationality British/American
School: Theravāda
Lineage: Thai Forest Tradition
Education: Bedford College, London (BSc)
Order: Maha Nikaya
Senior posting
Teacher: Ajahn Chah
Ordination: 1979 (41 years ago)
Previous post: Co-Abbot of Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery (1996–2010)
Present post: Abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery (since 2010)

Ajahn Amaro (born 1956)[1] is a Theravāda Buddhist monk and teacher, and abbot of the Amaravati Buddhist Monastery at the eastern end of the Chiltern Hills in South East England.

Amaravati is a Theravada Buddhist monastery at the eastern end of the Chiltern Hills in South East England. Established in 1984 by Ajahn Sumedho as an extension of Chithurst Buddhist Monastery, the monastery has its roots in the Thai Forest Tradition.

Cittaviveka (Pali: 'discerning mind'), commonly known as Chithurst Buddhist Monastery, is an English Theravada Buddhist Monastery in the Thai Forest Tradition. It is situated in West Sussex, England in the hamlet of Chithurst between Midhurst and Petersfield. It was established in 1979 in accordance with the aims of the English Sangha Trust, a charity founded in 1956 to support the ordination and training of Buddhist monks (bhikkhus) in the West. The current abbot, since 2014, is Ajahn Karuniko.

The monastery was established by Ajahn Sumedho under the auspices of his teacher, Ajahn Chah of Wat Pah Pong, Ubon, Thailand. Ajahn Chah visited the monastery at its inception as the first branch monastery of Wat Pah Pong to be established outside of Thailand. Although the style of the monastery has been modified to accommodate Western social and cultural mores, it retains close links with Thailand especially monasteries of the Thai Forest Tradition and is supported by an international community of Asians and Westerners.

"Cittaviveka" is a term used in the Pāli scriptures of Theravada Buddhism. The monastery was so named by Ajahn Sumedho, the first abbot (1979–1984) as a suitable word-play on "Chithurst," the hamlet in which its main house is situated. The title "Chithurst Buddhist Monastery" is also commonly used, although the approximately 175 acres/70 hectares of the monastery’s land extend into the adjacent parish.

Subsequent abbots have been Ajahn Ānando (1984–1992), Ajahn Sucitto (1992-2014) and Ajahn Karuniko (2014-). The monastery is supported by donations, and lay people may visit or stay for a period of time as guests free of charge. Teachings are given on a regular basis, generally on weekends.

-- Chithurst Buddhist Monastery, by Wikipedia

It takes inspiration from the teachings of the community's founder, the late Ajahn Chah. Its chief priorities are the training and support of a resident monastic community, and the facilitation for monastic and lay people alike of the practice of the Buddha's teachings.

It is not to be confused with the ancient Amaravati Stupa in India.

-- Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, by Wikipedia

The centre, in practice as much for ordinary people as for monastics, is inspired by the Thai Forest Tradition and the teachings of the late Ajahn Chah.[1] Its chief priorities are the practice and teaching of Buddhist ethics, together with traditional concentration and insight meditation techniques, as an effective way of dissolving suffering.

Chah Subhaddo (Thai: ชา สุภัทโท, known in English as Ajahn Chah, occasionally with honorific titles Luang Por and Phra) also known by his honorific name "Phra Bodhiñāṇathera" (Thai: พระโพธิญาณเถร, Chao Khun Bodhinyana Thera; 17 June 1918 – 16 January 1992) was a Thai Buddhist monk. He was an influential teacher of the Buddhadhamma and a founder of two major monasteries in the Thai Forest Tradition.

Respected and loved in his own country as a man of great wisdom, he was also instrumental in establishing Theravada Buddhism in the West. Beginning in 1979 with the founding of Cittaviveka (commonly known as Chithurst Buddhist Monastery) in the United Kingdom, the Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah has spread throughout Europe, the United States and the British Commonwealth. The dhamma talks of Ajahn Chah have been recorded, transcribed and translated into several languages.

More than one million people, including the Thai royal family, attended Ajahn Chah's funeral in January 1993 held a year after his death due to the "hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend". He left behind a legacy of dhamma talks, students, and monasteries.

-- Ajahn Chah, by Wikipedia


Ajahn Amaro was born J. C. Horner[2] in Kent. He was educated at Sutton Valence School and Bedford College, University of London. Ajahn means teacher. He is a second cousin of I.B. Horner (1896–1981), late President of the Pali Text Society.[3][4]

Apart from a certain interest in the theories of Rudolf Steiner—to which he had been introduced by Trevor Ravenscroft,[2] Amaro's principal enthusiasms on leaving university were, by his own admission, pretty much those standard-issue among sceptical students of the day: sex, drugs and rock'n'roll.

Having completed his honours degree in psychology and physiology,[2] in 1977 he went to Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand on an undefined "open-ended" spiritual search. He somehow found himself in northeast Thailand, at the forest monastery of Wat Pah Nanachat.

Wat Pah Nanachat (Thai: วัดป่านานาชาติ; Bung Wai International Forest Monastery) is a Thai Theravada Buddhist Monastery in northeast Thailand about 15 kilometres from the city of Ubon Rachathani. It was established in 1975 by Ajahn Chah as a training community for non-Thais according to the norms of the Thai Forest Tradition. Resident monks, novices and postulants include a wide range of nationalities. The primary language of communication and instruction is English.

The monastery was founded in response to increasing international interest, particularly from the United Kingdom, in the Theravadin forest tradition of Thailand. The first abbot of Wat Pah Nanachat was Ajahn Sumedho, an American bhikkhu trained by Ajahn Chah at Wat Nong Pah Pong, the mother house of Wat Pah Nanachat.

Luang Por Sumedho or Ajahn Sumedho (Thai: อาจารย์สุเมโธ) (born Robert Karr Jackman, July 27, 1934) is one of the senior Western representatives of the Thai forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism. He was abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, UK, from its consecration in 1984 until his retirement in 2010. Luang Por means Venerable Father (หลวงพ่อ), an honorific and term of affection in keeping with Thai custom; ajahn means teacher. A bhikkhu since 1967, Sumedho is considered a seminal figure in the transmission of the Buddha's teachings to the West.

Ajahn Sumedho was born Robert Karr Jackman in Seattle, Washington, in 1934. During the Korean War he served for four years from the age of 18 as a United States navy medic. He then did a BA in Far Eastern studies and graduated in 1963 with an MA in South Asian studies at the University of California, Berkeley. After a year as a Red Cross social worker, Jackman served with the Peace Corps in Borneo from 1964 to 1966 as an English teacher. On break in Singapore, sitting one morning in a sidewalk café, he watched a Buddhist monk walk by and thought to himself, "That looks interesting." In 1966, he became a novice or samanera at Wat Sri Saket in Nong Khai, northeast Thailand. He ordained as a bhikkhu (Buddhist monk) in May the following year.

From 1967-77 at Wat Nong Pah Pong, he trained under Ajahn Chah. He has come to be regarded as the latter's most influential Western disciple. In 1975, he helped to establish and became the first abbot of the International Forest Monastery, Wat Pa Nanachat in northeast Thailand founded by Ajahn Chah for training his non-Thai students. In 1977, Ajahn Sumedho accompanied Ajahn Chah on a visit to England. After observing a keen interest in Buddhism among Westerners, Ajahn Chah encouraged Ajahn Sumedho to remain in England for the purpose of establishing a branch monastery in the UK. This became Cittaviveka Forest Monastery in West Sussex.

Ajahn Sumedho was granted authority to ordain others as monks shortly after he established Cittaviveka Forest Monastery. He then established a ten precept ordination lineage for women, "Siladhara".

Until his retirement, Ajahn Sumedho was the abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery near Hemel Hempstead in England, which was established in 1984. Amaravati is part of the network of monasteries and Buddhist centres in the lineage of Ajahn Chah, which now extends across the world, from Thailand, New Zealand and Australia, to Europe, Canada and the United States. Ajahn Sumedho played an instrumental role in building this international monastic community.

Ajahn Sumedho's imminent retirement was announced in February 2010, and he retired in November of that year. His successor is the English monk Ajahn Amaro, hitherto co-abbot of the Abhayagiri branch monastery in California's Redwood Valley. Ajahn Sumedho now dwells as a "free agent" in Thailand.

-- Ajahn Sumedho, by Wikipedia

Today, as a consequence, students of the Thai forest tradition are found in branch monasteries around the world under the collective label of The Forest Sangha. The largest monastery of this network is Amaravati Monastery, about 30 miles north of London. Its abbot was Ajahn Sumedho, who recently relinquished the post to Ajahn Amaro (ex-co-abbot of Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in California).

Buddhist meditation practice of all types is encouraged at Wat Pananachat, though breathing meditation predominates. In the spirit of Ajahn Chah's teachings, vipassanā, or insight, and samatha, or concentration, are regarded as two sides of a coin rather than two distinct categories. Lay visitors are expected to observe the eight precepts version of sila, or the practice of virtue. For monks, strict adherence to the Vinaya, the 2,500-year-old code of discipline, is not only required but is the distinguishing characteristic of the lineage. For lay visitors, no formal meditation teaching is available beyond Dhamma talks and what may be derived from freely available reading matter, the priority being the formal training of the full-time mendicants.

-- Wat Pah Nanachat, by Wikipedia

Ajahn Chah's charismatic impact and the encouragement of the senior American monk Ajahn Pabhakaro were decisive.

Joseph Kappel lived as a Buddhist monk for 20 years as Bhikkhu Pabhakaro, with Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Sumedho in Thailand and Great Britain. His initial interest in Buddhism was inspired by visits to Thailand from Vietnam where he served as a combat helicopter pilot in 1969-70. During his sojourns to Thailand, Joseph was deeply moved by a country and people that were steeped in Buddhist teachings. In short, combat in Vietnam paved the way for him to embrace a way of life that leads us on a path that demonstrates how suffering is created and how to avoid it. In this way, we open our eyes to witness ourselves in others with compassion and understanding.

Since leaving monastic life in 1991, Joseph has taught MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) in Massachusetts’s prisons, received a Masters Degree in Education from Harvard University, and worked with college athletes to facilitate “mental fitness” and the inner game. He has also led meditation courses and retreats in numerous settings in the US, and has co-led retreats with Ajahn Amaro at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in England. Joseph and his wife Catherine live in Leominster, Massachusetts.

-- Joseph Kappel, by Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives

It changed his life. Having become a lay renunciate, four months later he became a novice and in 1979 he received upasampada from Ajahn Chah and took profession as a Theravadin bhikkhu.[1] He stayed in Thailand for two years. Amaro then went back to England to help Ajahn Sumedho establish Chithurst Monastery in West Sussex.[1] With the blessing of his abbot, in 1983 he moved to Harnham Vihara in Northumberland. He made the entire 830-mile journey on foot, chronicled in his 1984 volume Tudong: The Long Road North.[5][6]

Origins of California's Abhayagiri Monastery

Abhayagiri Monastery

In the early 1990s Amaro made several teaching trips to northern California. Many who attended his meditation retreats became enthusiastic about the possibility of establishing a permanent monastic community in the area.

Amaravati, his mother house back in England, meanwhile received a substantial donation of land in Mendocino County from Chan Master Hsuan Hua, founder of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Talmage. The land was allocated to establish a forest retreat. Since for some years Ajahn Sumedho had venerated the Chinese master, both abbots hoped that, among its other virtues, the center would serve as a symbolic bond between the otherwise distinct Theravāda and Mahayana lineages.

Hsuan Hua (Chinese: 宣化; pinyin: Xuānhuà; lit.: 'proclaim and transform'; April 16, 1918 – June 7, 1995), also known as An Tzu and Tu Lun, was a monk of Chan Buddhism and a contributing figure in bringing Chinese Buddhism to the United States in the 20th century.

Hsuan Hua founded several institutions in the US. The Dharma Realm Buddhist Association[1] (DRBA) is a Buddhist organization with chapters in North America, Australia and Asia.

The Dharma Realm Buddhist Association (shortened to DRBA, Chinese: 法界佛教總會, PY: Fajie Fuojiao Zonghui, formerly known as the Sino-American Buddhist Association) is an international, non-profit Buddhist organization founded by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in 1959 to bring the orthodox teachings of the Buddha to the entire world. DRBA has branch monasteries in many countries and cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Vancouver, as well as in Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Australia.

The Sino-American Buddhist Association was founded in San Francisco, California in 1959. A small temple, the Buddhist Lecture Hall was started. The Venerable Master Hsuan Hua came over from Hong Kong in 1962 by plane, stopping over at Japan and Hawaii before arriving at San Francisco.

From 1962 to 1968 the Venerable Master lectured on the Lotus Sutra, the Diamond Sutra, and the Amitabha Sutra among many other Buddhist sutras and texts. Many of his Dharma talks and line-by-line explanations of sacred Buddhist texts have been published in book form by the Buddhist Text Translation Society, both in the original Chinese and in English translation. See TfM [failed verification]

The Buddhist Text Translation Society (BTTS) is dedicated to making the principles of the Buddhadharma available to Western readers in a form that can be directly applied to practice. Since 1972, the Society has been publishing English translations of sutras, instructional handbooks on meditation and moral conduct, and biographies. Most of the Society’s sutra translations are accompanied by contemporary commentary, based on lectures spoken by Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua.

The accurate and faithful translation of the Buddhist Canon into English and other Western languages is one of the primary objectives of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association (DRBA), the parent organization of the Buddhist Text Translation Society. Translators, bilingual reviewers, English editors, and bilingual certifiers are anonymous members of BTTS.

When Buddhism first came to China from India, one of the most important tasks required for its establishment was the translation of the Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into Chinese. This work involved a great many people, such as the renowned monk National Master Kumarajiva (fifth century), who led an assembly of over 800 people to work on the translation of the Tripitaka (Buddhist canon) for over a decade. Because of the work of individuals such as these, nearly the entire Buddhist Tripitaka of over a thousand texts exists to the present day in Chinese.

Now the banner of the Buddha’s Teachings is being firmly planted in Western soil, and the same translation work is being done from Chinese into English. Since 1970, the Buddhist Text Translation Society has been making a paramount contribution toward this goal. Aware that the Buddhist Tripitaka is a work of such magnitude that its translation could never be entrusted to a single person, the BTTS, emulating the translation assemblies of ancient times, does not publish a work until it has passed through four committees for primary translation, revision, editing, and certification. The leaders of these committees are Bhikshus (monks) and Bhikshunis (nuns) who have devoted their lives to the study and practice of the Buddha’s teachings. For that reason, all of the works of the BTTS emphasize the application of the Buddha’s teachings in terms of actual practice.

-- About the Buddhist Text Translation Society, by Buddhist Text Translation Society

In June 1968 he began a 96-day intensive Study and Practice Summer Session for students and faculty from the University of Washington in Seattle. After the session had concluded, many of the participants remained in San Francisco to continue their studies with the Venerable Master. In that year five Americans (three Bhikshus, two Bhikshunis) were ordained, marking the beginning of the Sangha in the United States.

In 1970 Gold Mountain Monastery, one of the first Chinese Buddhist temples in the United States was founded in San Francisco, and a Hundred Day Chan Session was begun. Vajra Bodhi Sea, a monthly journal of DRBA about Buddhist topics and teachings, was also founded in 1970.

In 1972 the first Threefold Ordination Ceremony for the transmission of the complete precepts was held at Gold Mountain Monastery.

In 1973 the Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts and Instilling Goodness Elementary School were founded in San Francisco. In the same year, Bhikshus Heng Ju and Heng Yo began a Three Steps One Bow pilgrimage from San Francisco to Seattle to pray for world peace - a hard journey over 1,000 miles. This was the first such pilgrimage in the history of American Buddhism.

The site of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas was purchased in 1974, and in November of that year the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua led a delegation to propagate the Dharma in Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan and other places. The delegation lasted for three months, ending on January 12, 1975.

The Dharma Realm Buddhist Association purchased the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas site in 1974 and established an international center there by 1976. In 1979, the Third Threefold Ordination Ceremony at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas was held, in which monks from China, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and the US transmitted the precepts. It was considered unique, as it represented both the Mahayana and Theravada traditions.

Originally the site housed the Mendocino State Asylum for the Insane (later renamed the Mendocino State Hospital), founded in 1889. There were over seventy large buildings, over two thousand rooms of various sizes, three gymnasiums, a fire station, a swimming pool, a refuse incinerator, fire hydrants, and various other facilities. A paved road wound its way through the complex, lined with tall street lamps and trees planted during the asylum's initial construction. The connections for electricity and pipes for water, heating, and air conditioning were all underground, but centrally controlled.

Considering the natural surroundings to be ideal for cultivation, Hsuan Hua visited the valley three times and negotiated with the seller many times. He wanted to establish a center for propagating the Buddhadharma throughout the world and for introducing the Buddhist teachings, which originated in the East, to the Western world. Hsuan Hua planned to create a major center for world Buddhism, and an international orthodox monastery for the purpose of elevating moral standards and raising people's awareness.

The city comprises 488 acres (197 hectares) of land, of which 80 acres (32 hectares) are developed. The rest of the land includes meadows, orchards, and forests. Large institutional buildings and smaller residential houses are scattered over the west side of the campus. The main Buddha hall, monastic facilities, educational institutes, administrative offices, the main kitchen and dining hall, Jyun Kang Vegetarian Restaurant, and supporting structures are all located in this complex.

-- City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, by Wikipedia

Gold Wheel Monastery was founded in Los Angeles in 1975.

In 1976 the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas completed the second Threefold Ordination Ceremony. Developing Virtue Secondary Schools and Dharma Realm Buddhist University were also founded. The next year Dharma Masters Heng Sure[2] and Heng Chau began a second Three Steps, One Bow pilgrimage from Gold Wheel Monastery to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.

-- Dharma Realm Buddhist Association, by Wikipedia

The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB) in Ukiah, California, is one of the first Chan Buddhist monasteries in America. Venerable Master Hsuan Hua founded Dharma Realm Buddhist University at CTTB. The Buddhist Text Translation Society works on the phonetics and translation of Buddhist scriptures from Chinese into English, Vietnamese, Spanish, and many other languages.

-- Hsuan Hua, by Wikipedia

Care for what became Abhayagiri was placed in the hands of a group of lay practitioners, the Sanghapala Foundation.[6]

Abhayagiri, or Fearless Mountain in the canonical language of Pali, is a Theravadin Buddhist monastery of the Thai Forest Tradition in Redwood Valley, California. Its chief priorities are the teaching of Buddhist ethics, together with traditional concentration and insight meditation (also known as the Noble Eightfold Path), as an effective way of completely uprooting suffering and discontent.

About 16 miles (26 km) north of Ukiah, the monastery has its origins in the 1980s when the UK-based Ajahn Sumedho, foremost western disciple of the Thai meditation master Ajahn Chah, started getting requests to teach in California. Visits by Ajahn Sumedho, as well as other senior monks and nuns, resulted in the Sanghapala Foundation being set up in 1988. The monastery's first 120 acres (0.49 km2) were given to the foundation by the devotees of Chan Master Hsuan Hua, founder of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Talmage, before he died in 1995. Currently, the monastery rests on 280 acres (1.1 km2) of mountainous forest land.

Six months after the monastery was settled by Ajahn Amaro, Ajahn Pasanno arrived to join him as co-abbot. They served together in this role until July, 2010, when Ajahn Amaro departed to take up the invitation to serve as abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in England. Ajahn Pasanno was the sole abbot of Abhayagiri between July, 2010 and July, 2018.[4]

Abhayagiri Monastery developed significantly under Ajahn Pasanno's and Ajahn Amaro's leadership and guidance, along with the support of the monastic and lay community, and more specifically, the Abhayagiri Building Committee. Over 25 kutis, monastic huts, were built in the mountainous monastery forest during their time as co-abbots as well as when Ajahn Pasanno was the lone abbot. In addition, during the early years, the co-abbots converted both current and new buildings into a Dhamma Hall, kitchen, office spaces, a room for disabled visitors, a laundry room and bathrooms/showers for lay women and men, along with monastery infrastructure and extensive creation of forest paths and roads.

The co-abbots also contributed to the building of the Bhikkhu Commons, more affectionately know to the residents as the MUB: Monks' Utility Building, a 1600 square foot complex located in the upper forest of the monastery. The MUB offers monks access to bathrooms, showers, a multipurpose meeting room, a large sewing room, a laundry room, a small kitchenette and a large storage room below. The MUB was dedicated and officially opened on July 4, 2010...

As of July 2018, there were two abbots (co-abbots), a total of 13 fully ordained bhikkhus (Buddhist monks), two samaneras (novices), and 4 anagarikas (postulants) and a long term female monastic resident. Men and women live in separate locations in the monastery following guidelines of formal celibacy. Male residents live in small huts nestled in the forest. Female residents live in a house and a couple of huts on an adjoining property which was separately donated for the purpose of housing women at the monastery. Guest teachers come from forest monasteries in Thailand, England, as well as other countries in Europe and Australia. Visitors come to the monastery regularly for day visits, and can also stay as overnight guests.

The daily schedule, in keeping with tradition, is rigorous. Most residents (monastics and lay visitors) rise well before sunrise. Morning puja begins at 5:00 am and lasts an hour and a half. It includes chanting in both Pali and English, as well as an hour of silent meditation. This is followed by a half-hour chore period and a simple oatmeal breakfast. At 7:30 am, there is a meeting where a short Dhamma reflection is given and work assignments for the morning period are announced. A three-hour work period follows this meeting, ending with a meal around 11:00 am, which has to be consumed before midday. All lay residents follow the 8 precepts which include not eating food after noon until dawn the next day. Around 1:00 pm, after the post-meal cleanup, the schedule is open for individual practice of sitting and walking meditation as well as Dhamma study. It is at this time that monks, in addition to their meditation and study practice, care for their personal requisites like the huts they live in and the robes they wear. One can also walk around the extensive network of trails that wind about the mountainside. At 5:30 pm, tea is served in the kitchen and on most days one of the Ajahns is available in the Dhamma Hall for questions and answers. Tea time is followed by the evening puja beginning at 7:00 pm, which includes chanting in Pali and another hour of silent meditation. Formal Dhamma talks are offered on Saturday evening and lunar observance days during evening puja just after the period for silent meditation. On lunar observance days, which mark the four moon quarters, sitting and walking meditation continue until 3:00 am the next morning, followed by a morning puja.

-- Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery, by Wikipedia

Mission: To foster and promote the teachings of the Buddha by supporting a resident community of Buddhist monks.

Program 1: Operate Buddhist monastery where 15 to 20 monastics reside at any one time. Provide training in the Buddhist religion to monastery residents and guests. Hold regular religious services at the monastery. Provide conditions suitable for extended meditation and contemplation for residents and guests of the monastery. Provide teachings by senior monastics throughout Northern California and around the world. Maintain website which includes teachings and recorded talks.

Expenses: $339,987

Revenue: $0

Ruling Year: 1996

Principal Officer: MARK A SPONSELLER

Main Address: 16201 Tomki Rd
Redwood Valley, CA 95470

EIN: 94-3212705

-- Sanghapala Foundation, by

Ajahn Pasanno was appointed founding co-abbot of Abhayagiri with Ajahn Amaro. The latter announced on 8 February 2010 that he would be leaving Abhayagiri and returning to England, having accepted a request from Ajahn Sumedho to succeed him as abbot at Amaravati.[7]

Thai honorific ranks

• 5 December 2015 – Phra Videsabuddhiguṇa (พระวิเทศพุทธิคุณ)[8]
• 28 July 2019 – Phra Raj Buddhivaraguṇa Vipulasasanakiccadara Mahaganissara Pavarasangharama Gamavasi (พระราชพุทธิวรคุณ วิบูลศาสนกิจจาทร มหาคณิสสร บวรสังฆาราม คามวาสี)[9][10]


• Tudong: The Long Road North (1984, English Sangha Trust)
• Silent Rain (1994, Amaravati Publications)
• Words of Calm and Friendship – by Ajahn Pasanno & Ajahn Amaro (1999, Abhayagiri Monastery)
• The Pilgrim Kamanita: A Legendary Romance – by Karl Gjellerup, Ajahn Amaro ed. (1999, Amaravati Publications)
• The Dhamma and the Real World – by Ajahn Pasanno & Ajahn Amaro (2000, Abhayagiri Monastery)
• Broad View, Boundless Heart – by Ajahn Pasanno & Ajahn Amaro (2001, Abhayagiri Monastery)
• Food for the Heart – by Ven. Ajahn Chah; Introduction by Ajahn Amaro (2002, Wisdom Publications)
• Small Boat, Great Mountain: Theravadin Reflections on the Natural Great Perfection (2003, Abhayagiri Monastery)
• Who Will Feed the Mice? (2004, Abhayagiri Monastery)
• The Sound of Silence – by Ven. Ajahn Sumedho; Introduction by Ajahn Amaro (2007, Wisdom Publications)
• Rugged Interdependency (2007, Abhayagiri Monastery)
• Like a River – by Ajahn Pasanno, Ajahn Amaro et al. (2008, Patriya Tansuhaj)
• The Island: An Anthology of the Buddha's Teachings on Nibbāna (2009, Abhayagiri Monastery) – by Ajahn Pasanno & Ajahn Amaro
• Rain on the Nile (2009, Abhayagiri Monastery)
• The Long Road has Many a Turn – by Nick Scott with Ajahn Amaro (2013, Amaravati Publications)

Ajahn Amaro at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in September 2007

Ajahn Amaro in California with Franklyn, organiser of the 2007 Buddhist Bicycle Pilgrimage


1. "Ajahn Amaro". Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
2. Talbot, Mary (Winter 1998). "Just Another Thing in the Forest". Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
3. "Ajahn Amaro: "Buddhism and Mindfulness in the West: Where are They Headed and What Challenges Do They Face?"". The Ho Center for Buddhist Studies. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
4. Amaro, Ajahn (2014). "I B Horner – Some Biographical Notes" (PDF). Sati Journal. Sati Center for Buddhist Studies. 2 (1): 33–38. ISBN 978-1495260049. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
5. Kiely, Robert, His Holiness the Dalai Lama (1996). The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus. Wisdom Publications. p. 205. ISBN 0-86171-114-9.
6. Seager, Richard Hughes (2000). Buddhism in America. Columbia University Press. p. 155. ISBN 0-231-10868-0.
7. Amaro announces departure from Abayagiri
8. ราชกิจจานุเบกษา, ประกาศสํานักนายกรัฐมนตรี เรื่อง พระราชทานสัญญาบัตรตั้งสมณศักดิ์พระสงฆ์ในต่างประเทศ, เล่ม 132, ตอนที่ 33 ข, 4 ธันวาคม 2558, หน้า 56
9. ราชกิจจานุเบกษา, พระบรมราชโองการประกาศ เรื่อง พระราชทานสัญญาบัตรตั้งสมณศักดิ์, เล่ม 136, ตอนที่ 40 ข, 28 กรกฎาคม 2562 , หน้า 13
10. Dibdin, Cara (14 August 2019). "Thai King Bestows High Honor on Western Buddhists". Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
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Ajahn Chah [Phra Bodhiñānathera (Chah Subaddho)] [ Luang Por Chah] [Luang Pu Chah] [Chao Khun Bodhinyana Thera] [Subhaddo]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/9/20

Phra Bodhiñānathera (Chah Subaddho)
Title Phra Bodhiñanathera (1973)[1]
Other names Luang Por Chah, Luang Pu Chah, Ajahn Chah, Chao Khun Bodhinyana Thera[2]
Born: Chah Chotchuang, 17 June 1918, Ubon, Thailand
Died: 16 January 1992 (aged 73), Ubon, Thailand
Religion: Buddhism
Nationality: Thai
School: Theravada, Maha Nikaya
Other names: Luang Por Chah, Luang Pu Chah, Ajahn Chah,Chao Khun Bodhinyana Thera[2]
Dharma names: Subhaddo
Occupation: Buddhist monk
Senior posting
Teacher: Ven. Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta, Ven. Ajahn Thongrat, Ven. Ajahn Kinaree
Students: Ajahn Brahm, Ajahn Sumedho

Chah Subhaddo (Thai: ชา สุภัทโท, known in English as Ajahn Chah, occasionally with honorific titles Luang Por and Phra) also known by his honorific name "Phra Bodhiñāṇathera" (Thai: พระโพธิญาณเถร,[1] Chao Khun Bodhinyana Thera;[2] 17 June 1918 – 16 January 1992[3]) was a Thai Buddhist monk. He was an influential teacher of the Buddhadhamma and a founder of two major monasteries in the Thai Forest Tradition.

Respected and loved in his own country as a man of great wisdom, he was also instrumental in establishing Theravada Buddhism in the West. Beginning in 1979 with the founding of Cittaviveka (commonly known as Chithurst Buddhist Monastery)[4] in the United Kingdom, the Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah has spread throughout Europe, the United States and the British Commonwealth. The dhamma talks of Ajahn Chah have been recorded, transcribed and translated into several languages.

More than one million people, including the Thai royal family, attended Ajahn Chah's funeral in January 1993[5] held a year after his death due to the "hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend".[3] He left behind a legacy of dhamma talks, students, and monasteries.

Early life

Ajahn Chah was born on 17 June 1918 near Ubon Ratchathani in the Isan region of northeast Thailand. His family were subsistence farmers. As is traditional, Ajahn Chah entered the monastery as a novice at the age of nine, where, during a three-year stay, he learned to read and write. The definitive 2017 biography of Ajahn Chah Stillness Flowing [6] states that Ajahn Chah took his novice vows in March 1931 and that his first teacher as a novice was Ajahn Lang. He left the monastery to help his family on the farm, but later returned to monastic life on 16 April 1939, seeking ordination as a Theravadan monk (or bhikkhu).[7] According to the book Food for the Heart: The Collected Writings of Ajahn Chah, he chose to leave the settled monastic life in 1946 and became a wandering ascetic after the death of his father.[7] He walked across Thailand, taking teachings at various monasteries. Among his teachers at this time was Ajahn Mun, a renowned meditation master in the Forest Tradition. Ajahn Chah lived in caves and forests while learning from the meditation monks of the Forest Tradition. A website devoted to Ajahn Chah describes this period of his life:

For the next seven years Ajahn Chah practiced in the style of an ascetic monk in the austere Forest Tradition, spending his time in forests, caves and cremation grounds. He wandered through the countryside in quest of quiet and secluded places for developing meditation. He lived in tiger and cobra infested jungles, using reflections on death to penetrate to the true meaning of life.[7]

Thai forest tradition

During the early part of the twentieth century Theravada Buddhism underwent a revival in Thailand under the leadership of outstanding teachers whose intentions were to raise the standards of Buddhist practise throughout the country. One of these teachers was the Venerable Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta. Ajahn Chah continued Ajahn Mun's high standards of practice when he became a teacher.[8]

The monks of this tradition keep very strictly to the original monastic rule laid down by the Buddha known as the vinaya. The early major schisms in the Buddhist sangha were largely due to disagreements over how strictly the training rules should be applied. Some opted for a degree of flexibility (some would argue liberality), whereas others took a conservative view believing that the rules should be kept just as the Buddha had framed them. The Theravada tradition is the heir to the latter view. An example of the strictness of the discipline might be the rule regarding eating: they uphold the rule to only eat between dawn and noon. In the Thai Forest Tradition, monks and nuns go further and observe the 'one eaters practice', whereby they only eat one meal during the morning. This special practice is one of the thirteen dhutanga, optional ascetic practices permitted by the Buddha that are used on an occasional or regular basis to deepen meditation practice and promote contentment with subsistence. Other examples of these practices are sleeping outside under a tree, or dwelling in secluded forests or graveyards.

Monasteries founded

Ajahn Chah welcoming as a novice a New Zealander, later to become Ajahn Munindo, abbot of a monastery in the north of England

After years of wandering, Ajahn Chah decided to plant roots in an uninhabited grove near his birthplace. In 1954, Wat Nong Pah Pong monastery was established, where Ajahn Chah could teach his simple, practice-based form of meditation. He attracted a wide variety of disciples, which included, in 1966, the first Westerner, Venerable Ajahn Sumedho.[7] Wat Nong Pah Pong [9] includes over 250 branches throughout Thailand, as well as over 15 associated monasteries and ten lay practice centers around the world.[7]

In 1975, Wat Pah Nanachat (International Forest Monastery) was founded with Ajahn Sumedho as the abbot. Wat Pah Nanachat was the first monastery in Thailand specifically geared towards training English-speaking Westerners in the monastic Vinaya, as well as the first run by a Westerner.

In 1977, Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Sumedho were invited to visit the United Kingdom by the English Sangha Trust who wanted to form a residential sangha.[10] 1979 saw the founding of Cittaviveka (commonly known as Chithurst Buddhist Monastery due to its location in the small hamlet of Chithurst) with Ajahn Sumedho as its head. Several of Ajahn Chah's Western students have since established monasteries throughout the world.

Later life

By the early 1980s, Ajahn Chah's health was in decline due to diabetes. He was taken to Bangkok for surgery to relieve paralysis caused by the diabetes, but it was to little effect. Ajahn Chah used his ill health as a teaching point, emphasizing that it was "a living example of the impermanence of all things...(and) reminded people to endeavor to find a true refuge within themselves, since he would not be able to teach for very much longer".[7] Ajahn Chah would remain bedridden and ultimately unable to speak for ten years, until his death on January 16, 1992, at the age of 73.[11]

Notable Western students

• Ajahn Sumedho, former abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire England
• Ajahn Viradhammo, abbot of Tisarana Buddhist Monastery in Perth, Ontario, Canada
• Ajahn Khemadhammo, abbot of The Forest Hermitage, Warwickshire, England
• Ajahn Pasanno, abbot of Abhayagiri Monastery, Redwood Valley, California, USA
• Ajahn Amaro, abbot of Amaravati Monastery, Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire England
• Ajahn Brahm, abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery, Western Australia
• Ajahn Jayasaro, author of Stillness Flowing, the biography of Ajahn Chah, and former abbot of Wat Pah Nanachat
• Jack Kornfield, co-founder of Insight Meditation Society, Barre, Massachusetts, USA and Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California, USA


• Still Flowing Water: Eight Dhamma Talks (Thanissaro Bhikkhu, ed.). Metta Forest Monastery (2007).
• A Still Forest Pool: The Insight Meditation of Achaan Chah (Jack Kornfield ed.). Theosophical Publishing House (1985). ISBN 0-8356-0597-3.
• Being Dharma: The Essence of the Buddha's Teachings. Shambahla Press (2001). ISBN 1-57062-808-4.
• Food for the Heart (Ajahn Amaro, ed.). Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2002. ISBN 0-86171-323-0.


1. "แจ้งความสำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี เรื่อง พระราชทานสัญญาบัตรตั้งสมณศักดิ์", 24 ธันวาคม 2516. ราชกิจจานุเบกษา. ฉบับพิเศษ เล่มที่ 90 ตอนที่ 177, หน้า 8
2. Breiter, Paul (2004). Venerable Father. Paraview Special Editions. p. xi. ISBN 1-931044-81-3.
3. "Ajahn Chah Passes Away". Forest Sangha Newsletter. April 1992. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
4. Website of Chithurst Buddhist Monastery
5. "The State Funeral of Luang Por Chah". Ajahn Sucitto. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
6. Jayasaro, Ajahn (2017). Stillness Flowing: The life and teachings of Ajahn Chah. Panyaprateep Foundation. ISBN 978-616-7930-09-1.
7. "Biography of Ajahn Chah". Wat Nong Pah Pong. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
8. Wat Nong Pah Pong. "A Collection of Dhammatalks by Ajahn Chah". Everything Is Teaching Us. Retrieved 30 December2013.
9. "Website of Wat Nong Pah Pong". Archived from the original on March 24, 2016. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
10. "Ajahn Sumedho (1934-)". BuddhaNet. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
11. "Ajahn Chah: biography". Forest Sangha. Retrieved March 18, 2016.

External links

• Short biography and picture
• Video: detailed biography of Ajahn Chah
• Website of Wat Nong Pah Pong
• International branch monasteries of Wat Nong Pah Pong
• Ajahn Chah website – in English and other languages, with useful links and info
• PDF ebook: Recollections of Ajahn Chah, by various authors
• Ajahn Pasanno. Recollections of Ajahn Chah, Part 1 First of a series of 3 talks about Ajahn Chah, mp3 format
• Website of the Memorial to Ajahn Chah in Thai


• PDF ebook: The Teachings of Ajahn Chah – main collection of Dhamma talks
• Dhamma talks by Ajahn Chah
• MP3 Dhamma talks by Ajahn Chah
• Ajahn Chah's talks in English and other languages
• Dhamma talks in MP3 audio format, with English translation
• Portal of the Ajahn Chah Sangha, including MP3s
• The Memorial to Ajahn Chah: Teachings in English and other languages
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Mon Aug 10, 2020 6:38 am

Ajahn Sumedho [Robert Karr Jackman] [Luang Por Sumedho] [Tan Chao Khun Thep Nyanavithet]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/9/20

Ajahn Sumedho
Born: Robert Karr Jackman, July 27, 1934 (age 86), Seattle, Washington, USA
Other names: Luang Por Sumedho, Tan Chao Khun Thep Nyanavithet
Occupation: Buddhist teacher
Title: Ajahn Sumedho
Predecessor: Ajahn Chah

Luang Por Sumedho or Ajahn Sumedho (Thai: อาจารย์สุเมโธ) (born Robert Karr Jackman, July 27, 1934) is one of the senior Western representatives of the Thai forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism. He was abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, UK, from its consecration in 1984 until his retirement in 2010. Luang Por means Venerable Father (หลวงพ่อ), an honorific and term of affection in keeping with Thai custom; ajahn means teacher. A bhikkhu since 1967, Sumedho is considered a seminal figure in the transmission of the Buddha's teachings to the West.


Ajahn Sumedho was born Robert Karr Jackman in Seattle, Washington, in 1934.[1][2] During the Korean War he served for four years from the age of 18 as a United States navy medic. He then did a BA in Far Eastern studies and graduated in 1963 with an MA in South Asian studies at the University of California, Berkeley. After a year as a Red Cross social worker, Jackman served with the Peace Corps in Borneo from 1964 to 1966 as an English teacher. On break in Singapore, sitting one morning in a sidewalk café, he watched a Buddhist monk walk by and thought to himself, "That looks interesting." In 1966, he became a novice or samanera at Wat Sri Saket in Nong Khai, northeast Thailand. He ordained as a bhikkhu (Buddhist monk) in May the following year.

From 1967-77 at Wat Nong Pah Pong, he trained under Ajahn Chah. He has come to be regarded as the latter's most influential Western disciple. In 1975, he helped to establish and became the first abbot of the International Forest Monastery, Wat Pa Nanachat in northeast Thailand founded by Ajahn Chah for training his non-Thai students. In 1977, Ajahn Sumedho accompanied Ajahn Chah on a visit to England. After observing a keen interest in Buddhism among Westerners, Ajahn Chah encouraged Ajahn Sumedho to remain in England for the purpose of establishing a branch monastery in the UK. This became Cittaviveka Forest Monastery in West Sussex.

Ajahn Sumedho was granted authority to ordain others as monks shortly after he established Cittaviveka Forest Monastery. He then established a ten precept ordination lineage for women, "Siladhara".

Until his retirement, Ajahn Sumedho was the abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery near Hemel Hempstead in England, which was established in 1984. Amaravati is part of the network of monasteries and Buddhist centres in the lineage of Ajahn Chah, which now extends across the world, from Thailand, New Zealand and Australia, to Europe, Canada and the United States. Ajahn Sumedho played an instrumental role in building this international monastic community.

Ajahn Sumedho's imminent retirement was announced in February 2010, and he retired in November of that year. His successor is the English monk Ajahn Amaro, hitherto co-abbot of the Abhayagiri branch monastery in California's Redwood Valley. Ajahn Sumedho now dwells as a "free agent" in Thailand.


Ajahn Sumedho (left) with a visiting Thai monk (Phra Root Chumdermpadetsuk).

Ajahn Sumedho (seated beneath the shrine) in conversation with a bhikkhu, just before Amaravati's daily meal

Ajahn Sumedho is a prominent figure in the Thai Forest Tradition. His teachings are very direct, practical, simple, and down to earth. In his talks and sermons he stresses the quality of immediate intuitive awareness and the integration of this kind of awareness into daily life. Like most teachers in the Forest Tradition, Ajahn Sumedho tends to avoid intellectual abstractions of the Buddhist teachings and focuses almost exclusively on their practical applications, that is, developing awareness and wisdom in daily life. His most consistent advice can be paraphrased as to see things the way that they actually are rather than the way that we want or don't want them to be ("Right now, it's like this..."). He is known for his engaging and witty communication style, in which he challenges his listeners to practice and see for themselves. Students have noted that he engages his hearers with an infectious sense of humor, suffused with much loving kindness, often weaving amusing anecdotes from his experiences as a monk into his talks on meditation practice and how to experience life ("Everything belongs").[3]

Sound of Silence

A meditation technique taught and used by Ajahn Sumedho involves resting in what he calls "the sound of silence".[4] He talks at length about this technique in one of his books titled The Way It Is.[5] Ajahn Sumedho said that he was directly influenced by Edward Salim Michael's book, The Way of Inner Vigilance (republished in 2010 with the new title, The Law of Attention, Nada Yoga and the Way of Inner Vigilance and for which Ajahn Sumedho wrote a preface).

The Sound of Silence is also the title of one of Ajahn Sumedho's books (published by Wisdom Publications in 2007).[6]

Thai honorific ranks

• 5 December 1992 - Phra Sumedhacarya (พระสุเมธาจารย์)[7]
• 12 August 2004 - Phra Rajasumedhajahn Pisanbhavanakit Mahakanisorn Bovornsangaram Kamavasi (พระราชสุเมธาจารย์ พิศาลภาวนากิจ มหาคณิสสร บวรสังฆาราม คามวาสี)[8]
• 28 July 2019 - Phra Thep Nyanavithet Visethbodhidhammakhun Viboonbhavananusit Mahakanisorn Bovornsangaram Kamavasi (พระเทพญาณวิเทศ วิเศษโพธิธรรมคุณ วิบูลภาวนานุสิฐ มหาคณิสสร บวรสังฆาราม คามวาสี)[9]

See also

• Thai Forest Tradition
• Ajahn Chah


1. Ajahn Sumedho on Amaravati's Sangha Page
2. Ajahn Sumedho on Buddhanet
3. "Ajahn Sumedho - teachings". Retrieved 18 January 2016.
4. "The Sound of Silence" (PDF). Retrieved 28 September 2016.
5. "The Way It Is". Retrieved 18 January 2016.
6. "The Sound of Silence". Wisdom Publications. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
7. ราชกิจจานุเบกษา, ประกาศสำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี เรื่อง พระราชทานสัญญาบัตรตั้งสมณศักดิ์, เล่ม 109, ตอนที่ 155 ง ฉบับพิเศษ, 5 ธันวาคม 2535, หน้า 17
8. ราชกิจจานุเบกษา, ประกาศสำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี เรื่อง พระราชทานสัญญาบัตรตั้งสมณศักดิ์พระสงฆ์ไทยในต่างประเทศ, เล่ม 121, ตอนที่ 17 ข, 15 กันยายน 2547, หน้า 15
9. ราชกิจจานุเบกษา, พระบรมราชโองการประกาศ เรื่อง พระราชทานสัญญาบัตรตั้งสมณศักดิ์, เล่ม 136, ตอนที่ 40 ข, 28 กรกฎาคม 2562 , หน้า 11

External links

• BuddhaNet entry on Ajahn Sumedho
• Biography of Ajahn Sumedho at Amaravati Buddhist monastery.
• Compilation of 108 mp3 talks or reflections given by Luang Por Sumedho from 1978 until 2010.
• Collection of 1,298 mp3 talks or the entire collection of Dhamma talks given by Luang Por Sumedho until 2014.
• Books by Ajahn Sumedho (online, in epub, mobi or pdf format)
• Mp3 talks by Ajahn Sumedho at
• Video of interview on YouTube English with Portuguese sub titles.
• Ajahn Sumedho's eBooks in English and other Languages.
• Ajahn Sumedho Interviewed
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