Lecture by Alan Chadwick in New Market, Virginia, 1979
Lecture 4: Man, Nature and the Garden, Part 6
An Introduction to Alan Chadwick's Lectures and a Glossary of Terms
The full text of this lecture segment
Contents of this Segment:
Continuation of the fairy tale of The Mercant and the Seer. Questiions and answers. The analogy of the sedge to humanity. Reclaimation as destiny. The sedge as parable in contrast to the madness of mechanization. Never question the possibility of renewal. (11:06)
New Market, Virginia, 1979
Lecture 4, Man, Nature, and the Garden, Part 6
... and he saw all the goods and the riches of that town. And he began to see all the riches of the world. He gasped. And the seer said: “Now, we will retire, and sleep, will we not?” And so he lay down, the seer lay down and slept. And the camels were all tethered safely.
And as you can well imagine, the merchant did not sleep. He went through one vicissitude of thinking about this and another. He was absolutely bewildered about this to the last degree and he could not stop thinking. He rolled over from side to side, and when dawn came, the seer was not awake. Ready. Got the camel. Loaded it. He was all ready to proceed, and still the seer was asleep. So he woke him. The seer said: “Yes, yes. Very well. Let us break fast.” And the merchant of course, was only anxious for one thing, to leap on this camel and get going. All the time he was being held back with this slowness.
But eventually, the seer and his camel were ready, and away they galloped. And they came to the city. And when they had entered it, the seer said: “Well, there is what you asked for. There it is. You will find all the business you can do, and you will do tremendous business. And from then on, you will never cease to do tremendous business.” And so they went their ways and did their business.
Now it so happens that the morning following the day between, both the seer and the merchant were now approaching the city gates to go out with their loads. And so they left together, which they had not expected to do. And now the merchant was almost convulsed and non plussed. He did not know what to say to the seer except to pour forth almost ludicrous words performing thanks and gratitude. For indeed his camel was now loaded with the most enormous quantity of riches and goods, which was enough to keep him almost for life. And so he thanked, and thanked, and thanked. But as he said to the seer: “It is dangerous for both of us crossing the desert again, especially loaded in this manner. Should they not travel together?” And the seer happily agreed. And so they spent that time in travelling day and night until they came to a certain point in the desert. Where the seer pulled up his caravanserie and said: “Here is where we part. You travel to the north and I travel to the south.” And again the merchant salamed and gave all his gratitude and thanks, and then headed his camel to the north, and the seer to the south. And they parted.
And as the merchant began to travel, he began to think. He began to look at the picture. He was on one camel—oh, yes, superbly loaded with the most riches and goods, unfathomable. They would indeed last for all… Well, a lot of times… It might go wrong. Of course, it could go wrong. It should last forever, but it might not. But that’s not the point. The point is: It’s ludicrous. Here is a very, very old, incapable, decadent man, sitting on twenty camels loaded with voluptuous goods beyond all the wealth of any of these, proceeding with twenty… Of course, there’s the trick. Of course, it was a trick in the first place. Of course it’s easy to allow me to load up one camel in order to get away completely with twenty.
So he had not gone more than a mile or two, when he pulled up his camel, turned it right around and faced it south, and galloped. And as he came up with the seer’s caravanserie, he hailed, he said “Hey!” And the seer pulled up his caravanserie and said: “Yes, what is it?” And at first the merchant decided to threaten and he said: “You see that I am well armed, that I am young and strong, and that you’re very old? I see the trick. I just want you to know. I want you to understand properly so that you can be perfectly easy. You have twenty camels all loaded. Here you are, galloping to the south, and I have only one. And you thought, you thought that you would escape with this trick. Why don’t you give me ten. Give me ten of those camels, loaded.”
The seer looked, and he said: “But of course, if you will.” The merchant said: “You mean you, you’ll just give me ten camels, loaded as they are, no fuss, [ ]?” “Of course, if you will,” said the seer. And so he took these ten camels, and attached them to his, and he turned to the north, and he galloped. And then he rode, and then he thought what he’d got. He thought of his possessions, and then he thought, and realized that ten camels loaded with these could not go wrong. Whatever happened, they could not exhaust the whole of his lifetime. And then, “…Oh, but there it is. Now! …Of course the trick isn’t in the goods and camels at all! He never got the goods and the camels that way. It’s all in the vial, the vial is the source of all the possessions in the world. This is what he’s got to get away with. So it is a trick. Of course he’s kept ten camels to get away with the vial. The whole thing about that is a trick. Of course it is. I see it, absolutely clearly. There’s no question. He worked it out from every angle, and there’s no doubt!”
So he put about the camels and tore south. And it took him all day to catch up with the seer. And he hailed him. And the seer pulled up his caravanserie and said: “Yes, what is it now?” And the man leapt off his camel, and he drew his scimitar. He said: “You have no standing, you have no chance at all, because I see the whole trick now. I see right through it. Everything is the vial. And the seer said: “Stop. I warned you. I warn you!” And the merchant said: “And a first class trick, and it nearly worked. I said you have no capacity of holding that from me, none at all!” And without any warning he rushed at the seer. He seized his girdle and rent it off of him. And he took the vial. And he put his left finger in the left... and he applied the left eye, and he applied it to the right eye! And he… fell down in the desert and was totally blind, and was a beggar for the rest of his life.
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Do you want to talk about the subject?
Question: If I may return to an earlier part of the lecture, you spoke about the areas where the sedge grew, the areas of discontinuity, and how that… I was wondering if we could perceive the way the sedge grows in those areas of discontinuity, in any relationship to humanity in the garden...and…
Answer: What of. Is not all participant? Are you still going to attempt not to be a part of the garden? That we are divorced. We are so divorced. You see that each one of us does not think of ourselves as part of the garden at all. You’re either a dictatum of it, or we’re with this separate hierarchy of entity that can’t even come under an ordinance of thinking of it at all. So what other, but in order to reclaim? So the fertility that we’re speaking of... It’s not only in fruit and vegetables and flowers, in the soil and the animals. It’s in our lives, is it not? Isn’t that what you were referring to? That? That was the whole parable of the sedge, really, of course. Does not the whole procedure of mechanical, commercial existence today look a thousand-million times worse than the sedge, which after all is something natural? Do you see, you must never question, you must never question belief, hope, fulfillment. Because it’s there.