WAS TOLSTOY WRONG? Literary critics praise Tolstoy's earlier novels like War and Peace,
but most have little to say about his later books. I disagree with this view. I consider his mature
work, though perhaps not as entertaining, often to be deeper, more important, and more
constructive than his great novels, autobiographies, and short stories. It is true that after he was
55 his style changed. He changed. He became aware that the life he and all Russia lived was
one of deep hypocrisy, and it caused him torment.
The church was a powerful force in Russian life. Most people were Christians, yet few
followed the teachings of Jesus. Surely, he thought, I have misinterpreted the teachings. I must
He began strictly to follow the doctrines of the church, but his torment deepened. His writings
had brought him a fortune, a large estate, a wide correspondence with intelligent and influential
persons in many countries. He set out to find what the real teachings of Jesus were. He found a
passage where Jesus says, "If you would be my disciple, follow my commandments." He began
to follow these teachings rather then the accepted mores of society and dogma of the church. He
soon gained a reputation as an eccentric or worse. Why? Jesus taught five commandments:
BE NOT ANGRY.*DIVORCE NOT THY WIFE.**.TAKE NOT OATHS.RESIST NOT
EVIL.MAKE NOT WAR.
* Some Bibles qualify this by adding "without cause". Tolstoy found that the earliest gospel
did not contain "without cause"
** Some bibles qualify this by adding "except for fornication". Tolstoy found the earliest did
not contain "except for fornication".
Obviously these commandments were disregarded on all sides. However Tolstoy found HE
could follow them and that the result was happiness rather then doubt and stress and self torment.
Tolstoy's great discovery (which was also mostly disregarded) was that these teachings were
not set down as rules to follow in order to please God -- thereby receiving blessings in the after
life. These teachings, if followed, produce happiness and well being in THIS life. How do they
do that? If you never allow yourself to feel anger, you are much more likely to feel joy. Any
one would prefer to be with a joyful person than an angry one. So one's life becomes more
pleasant, likewise do the lives of your family members. Associates become friends. Similar
advantages come from following the other four.
Tolstoy apparently never doubted that Jesus had said those words even though it was known
that none of the writers of the Gospels actually heard Jesus say them. They are thought to have
used an earlier document (the Q document, which has disappeared) as support for the Gospels
they wrote. Obviously, starting a process that continues today, the gospel writers made
changes in the words they ascribe to Jesus, since the same parables in different gospels are
Jesus used a teaching system I call the "light touch". He told stories--the parables. The parable
had a meaning, a moral, but Jesus didn't preach the moral. He allowed the listener to pick that
meaning out of the story in his own way, and to apply it to his own life if he saw fit. This type of
teaching is more effective because it invites thought, it invites comparison with the listener's life.
Even years later, an event may occur which reminds the listener of that old parable, and
sometimes see how it now applies to him.
Compare that to "BE NOT ANGRY". Just that stern manner makes some people angry. This
is the style of Moses. Mark, Matthew, and Luke may have changed Jesus' gentle words into
commandments like Moses'. In a way, John confirms that. He says "The law was given by
Moses. Goodness and truth came by Jesus."
It is out of character for Jesus to proclaim, "COMMIT NOT ADULTRY." He would be more
likely to say, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." Jesus would not say, "TAKE
NOT OATHS" if he really meant "Let your words be "aye, aye" or "nay, nay. Let your words
always be the truth."
I wish Tolstoy had dug even deeper. I wish he had framed the commandments of Jesus in the
words Jesus would have used. He could do better than my clumsy words. Instead of "BE NOT
ANGRY", would he even say, "Let your love for everyone express itself and grow forever". No.
I think "BE NOT ANGRY" could be said better in parable form.
Anger has the effect, especially when repressed, of growing and accumulating force as other
petty angers occur. Months or years later, the build-up is irresistible. A great outburst may
occur. It may do real injustice, be something completely illogical or destructive, which one can
regret for a lifetime. Years later, one finds he cannot even remember the triviality which set it
off. Jesus, and Tolstoy, could have said it better than "THOU SHALT NOT".
Author’s note: As I read these words of my father, I realize that I have often done what he
decries, storing up petty angers until I have enough for a big explosion, then doing something
which, not too much later, I regret. I see it in my mother's life too; in her occasional great rages
over something petty which results in alienating her loved ones.
CONVERSATIONS WITH FRANCOIS
I told Lamereaux about Premdhyan's retreat into a monastery in India and remarked, "I was so
ingrained with Russellism by my parents that now I cannot think of religions sanely."
He replied, "Premdhyan's is not religion in any western sense, but a study of life and its
meaning. There are some in the West who study life too, and without any mystical or religious
bias. We're going to see my cousin Francois. He'll tell you about a teacher in France".
On the far side of Madelaine Island, he slowed and approached a dock which served a big log
cabin and several small ones. The beach was narrow but above was a large, flattish area in
which were several trees. Between two of them stretched a hammock. "Lying on that hammock
is my cousin," said Lamereaux as he indicated with a nodding of his head. He is an invalid but
his mind is active. He had been going to college in France when the Germans invaded. He
joined the French army and fought several years until he was gassed. The rest of the war he
partially recovered his health in the south and married Mimi.
My uncle died a few years ago and left him some property. They moved to the U S and spend
their summers on
the island. The children are all at camp, so we are going to sleep in their rooms tonight. It will be
an improvement over blankets on the sand."
"All of us?" I asked in wonder.
"They have nine bedrooms," he said with a smile.
After a dinner of lake trout sauted in butter with herbs, Mimi passed me a glass of wine and
Francois said, in a soft, breathless voice, "My uncle tells me that you might be interested in a rare
teaching about truth."
"Greatly." I said.
He said nothing for some moments. Then he abruptly began his story. "There is not one truth,
whole truth, and nothing but the truth. There are seven. You perceive truth depending on what
type of person you are. If you are a man--type one, your perception will be of one kind. If you
are a man--type two, your truth will be of the second type. If you are man--type three, your truth
will be of a third type."
"Most men are born type one, two, or three. A type one man perceives with his body--he runs,
or works, or fights. The type two man perceives with his emotions--he loves, hates, fears. A
type three man perceives with his mind. He thinks, studies, theorizes, and plans."
After a long pause, he continued. "All men are mixtures but predominately one, two or three"
He paused and rested again. I said nothing and took a sip of wine. Soon Francois
was ready to give more explanations.
"But these are all elementary, primitive opinions of truth. Man has achieved higher levels.
Type four man is changing. He is no longer one, two or three. Some school or some teacher, or
some teaching has penetrated his being and number four is developing the potential we all have.
Already he perceives reality differently. If he continues, he becomes man number five where he
becomes crystallized. He is no longer partial, a mixture. He is one, unity, not one or two or
three or some combination like man four. He is himself. He sometimes glimpses life totally as it
is, free of illusion.”
“All these types I have known. My teacher says man number six exists. He sometimes sees
All-There-Is for long periods, but he can be distracted and fall back. Even man number seven
exists: he has made the ability, to see All-There-Is, permanent.”
“Man number four periodically feels joy. Man number five feels joy and peace much of the
time,. Man number six feels contentment. Man number seven feels ecstasy.”
After this he rested. I was fascinated. We talked late into the night until, a chilly breeze blew
in off the lake and we decided to go to bed.
At breakfast I said to Francois, "There must be more types, at least four. A woman sees things
differently. There must be woman one, woman two, woman three, and probably woman four.
Perhaps woman and man
number five see the same."
Mimi brought the coffee and poured me a mug. "LOOK OUT, IT"S HOT!" she said as I was
cuddling the mug in my hands.
" That's the way I like it, just after it stops boiling," I said.
Francois held up his empty cup as he said to me in an incredulous, whispery voice, "Woman
Mimi wouldn’t pour into his cup, she said, "Yes, he said woman number five, why not?"
Francois shook his cup impatiently but Mimi still didn't pour. The fresh coffee smell was
quietly pervading the breakfast room.
Francois gave up with a shrug. Mimi smiled victoriously and poured him a steaming cup, and
went back to the kitchen.
"And so, Francois, what is it that turns a number one, or two, or three man into a number
four?" I asked. But Francois did not answer immediately.
"Was it faith?" I persisted. And that seemed to jell his thoughts.
"No, not faith, but rather some failure of faith".
"A failure of faith?" I asked incredulously.
"Yes, you see, man, or woman, or person number one (I wish Mimi could be here) only has
faith. There is very little else in their minds but faith, faith in the mythologies of their religions,
faith in the rules promulgated by their governments, faith in the words of their school teachers, of
the training by their parents, and in the stories in their newspapers, and the news reports on their
“But occasionally someone will notice that the faith is wrong. Something happens in his
experience which upsets the infallibility of the faith and he begins to wonder and to be more
observant. He gradually sees that it is false or at least insufficient. He is shocked that his faith is
in half truths, and he determines to quit living according to the rules and teachings backed up
only by half truths.”
“He then becomes a number four man.”
TRAIL TO RABBI WEISMANN
Dad originally had this in a long section in “The Sailor With Two Names’. He took it out
planning to make a separate tale of Horace’s travels in Palestine before he returned home. Dad
never developed his early draft which was mostly travelogue type material. I preserve this one
piece because it is rarely seen outside Jewish mystical literature.
Jorge lead the next passage, gaining altitude from the Sea of Galilee to the mountainside
village of Safed. Horace glimpsed snow topped Mount Hermon--the source of the lake’s water.
Safed was the traditional home of the great Rabbis, mystics, and Torah students in the past.
Now only Rabbi Weisman remained with a few students of the Kaballah as Jorge had been years
"I have promised this young man, " said Jorge, " that after this trip, he will understand
something of the universe. He is confused about power, thinking power is of this world. As you
once taught me, will you teach him?"
The Rabbi served them tiny cups of carob- flavored Turkish coffee which they sipped in
silence while he spoke.
"We have come to understand that the Cosmos is not a thing created by a personal being or
spirit separate from it. We now feel the Cosmos exists in a dual state of creativity and being. It
is an infinite creative process. It includes us all, human, sub-human, and super-human. We all
are in that state of being and creativity; not bound by space and time.
When a child is made to think that all this is the work (or play) of some great spirit-person
whom he must worship, fear, and obey and whose favor it must curry, pray for, or die, the child
experiences a chill and dread which mounts with constant repetition and elaboration. His soul
reverts to ordinary mind and spirit, which become guarded, wary, and fearful gradually dulling
their great sensitivity. If, as a child you perchance escaped this indoctrination or were able to
recognize it for what it was and reject it, you will advance naturally in wisdom and love. You
will come to perceive the magnificence of the Cosmos.
When you have done so, you will ensoul your spirit and mind. Henceforth, the desire to work
in accordance with Cosmic law will grow and predominate. The will of such a man becomes
harmonious with, and identical to, the will of the absolute--the center of the Cosmos. The spirit
of the human is in touch with the creative forces of the Cosmos, a particle of which lives within
Once you know this, you will no longer simply LOOK at a man, woman, or child, but you will
SEE the other also as bearer of spirit which can or does know all about itself and its existence,
and wants to reveal itself if only the chance were offered. Without this spirit, none of us could
breathe, generate thought, see, hear, nor otherwise experience.
Humans are separated from one another in space but connected to them in the Cosmos. If he
knows this, he cannot be misled or deceived by false doctrines.
The material being identifies himself with his body, his gold, his possessions, his goods, his
utterances and the sound of his voice. If he can also come to identify with the COSMOS, the
ALL, no avarice or hate can live in him. He loses fear and doubt. When he understands this
intimate relationship with the Cosmos, he enjoys peace and tranquility.
SOMETHING TO BE PROUD OF
At 19, I taught in my first school on a temporary certificate. I must have been satisfactory
for they rehired me for another year. After that, I went to college, fulfilled a short list of
requirements, and got a teaching certificate good for "life" under normal circumstances.
But was I a good teacher? I didn't know much yet and you can't teach what you do not
know, and more importantly, you tend to teach what you do know. Should really concerned
parents, rather than agreeing to let the school board select the teachers for their child, examine
the teacher themselves? What criteria would they use to judge him?
Whitehead suggests: Does he teach the art of utilization of knowledge? Does he teach
too many subjects? What he teaches he should teach thoroughly. Does he teach what will be
utilized immediately? He should teach expert knowledge in some special direction. (This will
eventually enable the student to earn his livelihood). Does he teach always a sense of the power,
beauty, and structure of ideas and art?
Confucious suggests: Does he teach religion, social order, the feudal order, history,
ceremonies, discipline, music and dance, love of family, friendliness, piety,
morality, propriety, and courtesy. Knowledge of all of the above alone does not qualify one to
be a teacher. He must also be a person who, when he goes over something he has already
learned, still gains some new understanding. The lack of love of study fosters the other main
shortcomings of teachers--ignorance, unsound ideas, obsession with following routine,
unruliness, and being headstrong.
Jesus said, "Teach only truth to the trusting little ones" and He proclaimed a harsh
penalty for those who violate his commandment. Thus his criteria imply continued study to
ensure that what one teaches is actually and completely true. (See The Monkey Trial)
Gandhi lays stress on education's including manual work (such as spinning) and
spiritual study (he was thinking of Hinduism) but most importantly, thorough teacher training.
He planned training centers which would have a 10 year course and end with the graduates
taking vows of:
1: Truth. No deception may be practiced even for the good of the country and even if
it requires opposition to the parents.
2: Non-killing, non-hurting, even non-anger.
4: Vegetarian diet.
5: Non-theft. Theft includes using articles we do not
6: Non-possession. Keeping life simple and devoid of anything unnecessary.
7: Fearlessness of kings, people, caste, families, thieves, animals, and death.
8: The teacher must set the example of performing manual labor.
9: The teacher must know the principle dialects.
10: Teacher and students are to travel on foot through India three months a year.
Rousseau allows the student to run free and to learn from nature and from life until the
early teens. At some point he will have observed enough to have decided what direction his own
life should take. Only then should "teachers" be provided. They should be experts in the field he
has chosen and related studies.
In my present supervisory position, I cannot follow the advice of these great men strictly,
and yet I keep it in mind when looking at a new resume'. My school system has children, almost
every one from an uniquely different family and background. Since I cannot literally allow them
to run free--Rousseau like--I try to find very sensitive teachers for the lower grades where the
most harm can be done and also where the greatest treasures are to be found in precious young
Every resume' too, is unique and can only give a hint of the great force for good which
may be hidden behind the spectacles in the tiny photo the application bears. It is unlikely that
any applicant will tutor a creative genius like Whitehead or Gandhi. Yet, over the years, the
good wrought by the hundreds of graduates may well add up to something to be proud of.
PATANJALI, PASCAL, PAINE, AND POWER
, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.
This widely quoted line of English poetry of powerful cadence, reflects the conviction of
Westerners that Occidentals and such Orientals as the Chinese, Japanese, Siamese, and the
Indians can never understand each other.
No one ever learns the rest of the stanza, but in the next line, Kipling starts to hedge on
'Til Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great judgement seat.'
This seems to be some mystical time in the future, but the British meaning of "presently" is
"before long". Kipling's writings are a century old - for many that future of understanding may
be now. Kipling assumed that spiritually, we are one race. Whether Western or Eastern, our
spirits, our God is one.
And in lines three and four Kipling confirms this interpretation.
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth when
Two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth.
He is saying-- a strong man of the west can understand a
strong man of the east any time. Weak men, eastern or western, may have problems. But what
does he mean by strong? Strong language now means vulgar, a strong man can press a 250#
barbell and sweat profusely smelling strong, a politician can be strong-willed, but Kipling is
talking of none of those, he speaks of spiritual strength.
Patanjoli was strong, Pascal weak, Paine strong. Three or four thousand years ago, Patanjali
catalogued the several steps to take if one wished to raise one's level of awareness. He says a
level or two above ordinary waking consciousness (or awareness), though not automatic are
possible for man to reach. For ages in the East his method has been followed with good results
by those so inclined.
A level of consciousness is not a precisely numbered thing like pulse or blood pressure. Most
humans are in level three, (above minerals and plant/animal life) but they could be in low,
middle, or high three: weak, average, or strong.
Broadly, the third level of consciousness means that one views most events of his life from the
dual standpoint of being an individual and as a member of a group: a family, a race, a village,-- a
city, a region, a nation,-- a continent, the world, etc.
To advance one step in awareness (from high third to fourth) means that you now view events
as a part of the whole--all people, all animals, all plants, all mountains, all rivers, all oceans, all
fields, and all the universe.
To advance two levels! Well! You can't even imagine it until you've moved to fourth level.
All religions are from Asia--the Near East or the Far East. In the West, though, (substantiating
Kipling's first line), the basic concept behind (eastern) religions is not understood. It is that by
raising our level
of conscious-awareness we will be closer to that of God so we can begin to comprehend the
purpose, opportunities, and responsibilities of human life.
The Jews, as well as their Christian and Muslim offspring, are content to let an intermediary do
this for them, while they concern themselves with pleasurable or estate-building activities, or
As an example, Pascal, supposedly an intelligent scientist in the late 1600's, thought of a way
to attract religious skeptics into the Christian fold. This is called Pascal's Wager. He said, "If
God does not exist, you lose nothing by being a Christian. But if He does exist, by becoming a
Christian you will receive eternal life. So Christianity," he said, "is a good bet. You can lose
nothing and may gain eternal life."
Pascal's Wager is a sham. Merely believing, or saying you believe and going through the
motions will not raise your consciousness.
In rebuttal, Paine, a strong man, says, "... for happiness, it is necessary to be faithful to oneself.
It is infidelity to profess to believe what one does not believe. Doing this is destructive of one's
native moral sense."
Paine does not believe the creeds of the Jewish, the Roman, the Greek, the Turkish, or the
Protestant churches or any church he knows of. "My own mind is my church," he says. To
Paine, religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our
fellow creatures happy. You can tell by the clearness and assuredness of his thought and writing
that Paine has arrived independently at a higher level of consciousness not unlike that to which
Patanjali tries to guide us.
THE MONKEY TRIAL
The press gave the nickname "Monkey Trial" to Tennessee vs Scopes in July, 1925. Scopes
was accused of violating a law signed by the governor only in the previous March declaring it a
crime to teach "...any theory which denies the story of creation of man as given in the Bible and
to teach instead that man is descended from a lower order of animals".
The Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immediately offered to defend any teacher willing to test
the law's legality. Scopes, a biology teacher in Dayton, Tenn. volunteered.
National figures jumped into the case--William Jennings Bryan (the orator and once candidate
for president) for the prosecution, and Clarence Darrow (the criminal lawyer and proud atheist)
for the defense. The trial was well named. Little Dayton became a zoo for the two-week trial
with press reporters from major city newspapers in the U S and abroad.
Scopes was found guilty and fined $100. But the press hoopla was so great that readers were
confused and came to believe that Evolution was found to be a fact by the court, and
"Creationism" was demoted to the status of myth maintained only by the stubbornness of
fundamental Christians in the Bible belt of the south and the laws of Tennessee, Arkansas, and
What led the press corps to print such confused reports? They did not realize that neither
Bryan nor Darrow was interested in the truth. From Bryan's standpoint, literally everything in
the Bible was historically, and factually true.
Darrow's bias was that anything to do with organized religion was suspect and a great deal was
evil. He relished exposing it. The press was enchanted with the drama.
Thus an opportunity to penetrate a little into the mystery of life was lost, many teachers were
confused and passed their confusion to countless children.
Until 100 years ago it was physically dangerous to question a word of the Bible. Darwin led
the way in publicizing the fossil record of living beings since in some places remains were found
preserved in sedimentary rock or clay beds which could be dated with a degree of accuracy. He
estimated that plant and animal life was millions of years older than indicated in the "official"
interpretation of the Bible. Even man, though a recent development, he found to be more ancient
than the church maintained, and had been preceded by an earlier (now extinct) species of man,
The fossil record was sketchy at the time, but enthusiastic scholars and explorers methodically
discovered thousands, then millions, of pieces of hard to dispute evidence. They called this
"evolution" and painted a picture of the earliest plants and animals millions of years ago being
very simple little affairs. They showed that more complex life forms appeared from time to time
culminating, they said, in the most complex species, man, who was much more modern, less than
100,000 years old.
Dating fossils is not a precise thing, and only a few areas of the globe have been thoroughly
combed. The so-called fossil record is far from complete and contains many anomalies and
mysteries. For instance, fossil remains of homo sapiens, from Cro-Magnon in France, are much
older than remains of the felis catuis, the common house cat. Was the ultimate creation tabbie
Nevertheless, it was obvious to Darwin and other scientists of his period (circa 1860) that the
brief description in Genesis left much to be explained and they eagerly arose to the task. They
prepared an ever growing chart showing the new species and all the branches they had
However when it came to answering the question, "How did the first living being arise and
each of the millions of new species come to be?", scientists were not so successful.
Darwin had theorized that "Natural Selection would do the trick. That is, a new species
happened accidentally". Darwin had observed that the offspring of an existing species might be
born deformed or different in some way. If the deformity made him less capable of providing for
himself than his parents, he would die. But if the difference made him more capable of dealing
with his parents' habitat, he would flourish and perhaps father a new race.
This came to be called "The survival of the fittest." Although this phrase was not coined by
Darwin, it became a part of the theory of evolution as far as the press (and thus the public) was
Although it is an elegant bit of reasoning, there is very little evidence that selection actually
fosters new species, and quite a few facts cannot be explained by this part of the theory.
The scientific community does not talk about this, and has not been able to develop a more
workable theory of the origin of species in 75 years. So, Mr Scopes and other biology teachers
teach the theory of evolution and school books are printed stating that the origin of species is a
tremendously long series of beneficial mutations (chance accidents to the genes) and that man,
the most highly evolved primate, got his mind and power of speech, and his tendency to express
love and feel emotions down in Africa on the slopes of Mount Kilamenjaro.
At some point, a man said, "Enough!" He took his mate and went out and peopled the world.
In most states children are graduated accepting that evolution is a fact and that the origin of
species is natural selection.
Only those who study the historical record carefully realize that the origin of life and the origin
of species is as deep a mystery as ever.
They may very well ask, "If God didn't do it, then who?"