Alan Chadwick and Joseline Stauffacher in Santa Cruz

Alan Chadwick a Gardener of Souls

Jasper Rose Remembers Alan Chadwick (Part 2)

At one point in his interview with Bernard Taper, Jasper Rose makes the following observation about Alan Chadwick:


Jasper Rose

"Alan lacks the ability to really appreciate and love people. He lacks the ability to get the best work out of other people.

In one sense, I suppose, Alan gets the best work out of people, but it’s by the hardest and most unhappy methods. Whereas others get the best out of people by something much more direct and much more inspiriting for them. I could only work with Alan for about two days, and then I’d have to say, “Well, Alan, you have to respect me a bit more when you work. And you also have to realize my limitations, which are not yours.”

Jasper Rose

It is understandable that an ordinary observer might draw the same conclusion (as the one expressed above) upon witnessing the tempestuous nature of Alan Chadwick’s personality. Alan certainly could be intolerant of people who were incompetent or insensitive, and his vexation frequently took the form of verbal outbursts directed at the offenders. Jasper Rose, who was more or less Alan’s social equal, quite reasonably states,

I could only work with Alan for about two days, and then I’d have to say, “Well, Alan, you have to respect me a bit more when you work. And you also have to realize my limitations, which are not yours.

Alan’s apprentices were mainly college age youths, who lacked his maturity in age, world experience, strength, endurance, technical training, communication skills, artistic vision, leadership ability, and social consciousness. Consider how much more difficult it was for those untested novices to confront Alan with demands for respect than it would be for Jasper Rose.

And yet, many succeeded in doing just that. By dint of hard work and concentration they became competent, independent and self-reliant individuals. By learning to see themselves objectively, they put aside inflated egocentric illusions of their own importance relative to others. Those who persevered steadily increased in confidence and courage to the point where they could actually do what Jasper Rose, with all his fully developed powers, would have done on the second day.

Jasper could do that because his aristocratic upbringing, his years at prestigious schools and universities, and his successful career in academia had developed in him the force of character to meet a larger-than-life personality like Chadwick on equal terms. Most of Alan’s students were in their late teens or early twenties. But despite this difference in age and life-experience, they often developed, in the span of a single year, the inner strength and knowledge to earn themselves an unequivocal nod of respect and deference from Alan Chadwick.

The rate at which such personal improvement proceeded was remarkable, and the changes in character were profound. Because Alan’s presence was so powerful, when one learned to stand up to him, then he or she could stand up to most anyone. That person achieved their true “classic stance” as Alan called it, when one’s authentic individuality was fully asserted –an attainment which was Chadwick’s ultimate goal for those who shared in his higher transcendent vision of life. As a result of undergoing this rigorous training program, those who endured were now capable of setting their own course in life, having developed the fortitude to confront ever greater obstacles.

This process of positive personal development was lovingly guided by the hand of Alan Chadwick. But it wasn’t an easy road, since many personal impediments had to be faced, many elements of an ingrained materialistic education had to be unlearned, and many fears confronted. Both body and mind were subjected to intense strengthening, which meant strenuous exercise and conditioning. It was a kind of esoteric boot camp, where the skills and endurance were not for any military or destructive purpose, but rather in the service of truth, aesthetic ideals and the overall good of the world.

I think a person had to experience this first-hand in order to recognize the true appreciation and underlying love for his most ardent followers that motivated Chadwick to provide this higher kind of guidance. He personally got very little compensation out of the process, other than the satisfaction of seeing his students develop and thrive. And he endured much criticism from the shirkers and detractors who couldn’t abide the rigor and intensity of his unique and profound style of teaching. It was not a school for the faint-hearted.  But for those stout souls with the necessary will to persevere in the training, it was like a fresh awakening and regeneration of one’s spirit.

Jasper can be forgiven for not seeing this, since character-building is not so obvious or apparent to the casual observer. But I think that most former Chadwick students would agree that Jasper’s assessment on this score misses a deeper and more enduring element of Alan’s true nature. I personally worked with many students who share this perspective, and have subsequently come to know many others too who participated at a later or earlier time than my own involvement with Chadwick and his remarkable gardens.

Jasper Rose


See: A Gardener of Souls for an added perspective on Alan’s character

Back to Part 1




Jasper Rose


Contributed by Greg Haynes, March 5, 2022




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