Lecture by Alan Chadwick in New Market, Virginia, 1979
Lecture 4: Man, Nature and the Garden, Part 5
An Introduction to Alan Chadwick's Lectures and a Glossary of Terms
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Conservatoir. Thermal control within the French Intensive beds. The sun's sun. Alan Chadwick tells the fairy tale of The Merchant and the Seer. (11:45)
New Market, Virginia, 1979
Lecture 4, Man, Nature, and the Garden, Part 5
... into the crevices in the wall, and there they germinate, and make new plants. These laws go on ad infinitum. They go on with tansy, and I would like to relate it to you now, I would like to relate many of them to you, so as to prove to you that I am not talking nonsense, that all of them have mysteries and magics.
But I need to tell you another story, and that story is a very different story, as is conservatoiree, in a sense is the very opposite of totemism. Do you see, conservatoiree is the holding onto the birth of individuality. That is the only way in which individual birth in the world is made possible. It is the only way in which this earth can hold itself against the sun. Do you realize, after yesterday’s conversation, that the sun’s sun, cannot have any inference on this earth, but would hurl it [ ] into atoms into space. And yet how wrong it is to say that it has no inference. It has complete inference through our sun. Now you see God and the holy trinity, if I may make such a reference…
Though next week we are going to go into those whole subjects, that begin to get us, also connected with the technical world through nature’s laws. And we will begin to become, what some people might call, “garden-minded.” When somebody came to one of the lectures at the University at Santa Cruz, a very, very, famous, extremely famous horticulturalist, one of the most famous in the world. Said “Oh, that isn’t a bit what I expected.”
Some long time ago there was a merchant, who was a youngish man. And had not been at all successful in the recent period, and had lost a great deal of his possessions and money, and was reduced to one camel, and the goods carryable on that camel. And such were his limitations. And apart from merely having a town in which he lived, he had nothing else but that. And so he decided, out of force majeure, to set off, for he could not do any business any longer in this town that owned him. He decided to set off across the desert and search for business.
And so he loaded all that he possessed in goods upon his camel and set off early in the morning. And towards late in the afternoon he was very fortunate in seeing in the distance, nearly on the horizon, a caravanserie. He could tell by the dust, and the outlines in the dust, that there was a large caravanserie, And so he decided, for safety, because of beggars and thieves that all lived and marauded, especially at night, he decided to put on all the speed he could and try to catch up with this, in order to have sharings and some sort of safety. Whereupon he galloped as fast as he could, and towards evening caught up with what he began to see as twenty camels, with one owner. And as he came up, he found, leading, the one owner was a very, very old, white-haired seer, seated complacently upon the camels, proceeding. And he hailed the seer. And the seer halted his caravanserie and gave him greeting. And the merchant explained his position, showed him his one camel and his goods, and explained that that was all he had in the world, and could he possibly, at least for tonight, proceed with this caravanserie for some degree of safety? The seer said “Of course.”
Whereupon, when they had bivouacked the camels and given them water and their foods, they themselves sat down. And the seer shared a very excellent meal with this merchant, who was very glad to partake of it. And after they had fed and enjoyed their wine, the merchant having been observing matters and the camels and having helped the seer with his camels, realized that he was indeed, somewhere, a very rich man. And he felt he should waste no time but in improving himself, and therefore he said to the seer, that he reminded him again of his misfortunes, and that his position was extremely precarious, and that was all he had. And that he wondered, if by any chance, seeing the excellent condition of everything that the seer had with him, if the seer could possibly suggest aids to doing any business with his goods. And so the seer, when he had finished, replied: “Of course, if you will.”
And the merchant was indeed a little surprised, for he would rather expect at this stage, to be cold-shouldered. And so he was taken aback, but seized the opportunity, and said “Well, in that case, I am assuming by what you are saying, that you not only are being generous and kind in your thinkings about me, but that you also have something in your mind, some place where I could go, possibly, in order that I could do business, and improve my position.” And so the seer said: “Certainly, if you will.”
Then the merchant became a little bit more suspicious, and really had expected the cold-shoulder at this stage, as much to say: “Well, wouldn’t you like to take that for granted and let’s get on?” But instead, this generosity. And therefore he said to the seer: “Are you suggesting that it is possible that you yourself are going to a town where you are intending to do business, and where you will actually introduce me, and take me, that I could do my business?” And the seer said: “Of course, if you will.”
And now the merchant really became non plussed. And he really suspected some trick, and he was on the lookout, you know, for either being robbed or attacked at any moment. But the seer was very old, and the merchant was well armed. And the seer did not appear to be armed in any form at all. So he couldn’t [ ]. And so after some time of smoking together, and sitting together and it nearly being time to retire, the merchant thought he would try once more, and see his position. He said: “You know, you must forgive me, I’ve not been used to this kind of kindness and generosity for a long time, and I am taken aback. And therefore I must tell you, and expose to you that you have, definitely bewildered me, and I can’t quite understand what it is that you are suggesting to me. You actually tell me that there is a town that we could get to, it is possibly tomorrow that we could get? "Yes, we shall get there tomorrow." That there is a town that we will get to tomorrow, whereby you will do all your business, and improve everything, and that I, with my one camel and goods can do also such business, and multiply everything, tomorrow?” And the seer said: “Yes, of course, if you will.”
So now the merchant realized he was in a complete position: He was either caught, or he was made. And he couldn’t believe the latter. And so he said: “I must confess to you my extreme gratitude for your generosity. Is there any way in which you could explain to me, or tell me of this, for I find it impossible to believe. I have known the desert and I have known the towns, and I do not know of this town, and I have travelled these deserts.” So the seer said: “Of course, very well, if you will.” And he took from his girdle, a little vial of ointment, and he held it out in his hand, and he said: “If you will place the second finger of your left hand in the ointment, and place it upon the left eye, you will see not only this town, and all of its goods, but you will see all the possessions of the world. But I warn you, go no further. Ask no more of the vial. Do not apply it further than the left eye.”
Now the merchant was almost itching, hardly knew how to contain himself in any form at all, how to do this hands down. And so he said immediately to the seer, completely suspecting a trick: “Then if that is so, and this is what you are offering me, I may try it?” And the seer said: “Of course, if you will. But I warn you, go no further!” And the merchant said: “I will not.” And the seer handed him the vial, and he placed the small, second small finger of the left hand into the vial, and he applied it to the eye, and when he opened the eye, he saw the town...