("Quid coniuratio est?")
DAVE EMORY -- JULY 5, 1992
Observations on America's 216th Birthday
DAVE EMORY [continues]:
There are a number of things in this particular tape that I would ask you to observe. (It's about 15 or 20 minutes in length.) I would note George Bernard Shaw's observations about the nature of intellectual reality; his observation that it is basically reactionary, and that if you want to be popular, you're gonna have to do what everybody else does. However, if you do what everybody else does, you are gonna share all of their faults. And that's a very, very important observation, in my opinion.
I would also take note of George Bernard Shaw's observations that people basically, they basically do what everybody else does. That is one of the problems. And again, if you want to be popular, do what everybody else does. But you will also share their faults.
I would also note that George Bernard Shaw emphasizes that if you deal with people you don't like, if you see things that you don't like, you should set about trying to correct those things. Because that's what it's all about.
Well those are words of advice that I, myself, believe in very strongly. And I'm gonna play you now this section of tape. And again, George Bernard Shaw is speaking upon the occasion of his 80th birthday, and he's talking to young students of the sixth form. He talks about school, he talks about the nature of intellectual reality, social reality, and ultimately, an encouragement to committment and to non-conformity. Again, as George Bernard Shaw said, "Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people."
Well in that context, I like to think of myself as an "unreasonable" person. I would encourage you to become the same.
The following tape segment comes about as close as I could to presenting "Dave Emory's Credo." This is a rigorous credo, one which I have lived up to only imperfectly to date. Indeed, I think the moral, intellectual, and social principles presented by George Bernard Shaw would do well, would serve well as the established principles, the goals of a lifetime. And he lived to be considerably older than I am now: this was on the occasion of his 80th birthday; I'll be 43 in September.
So those of you who are taping, get ready to go for about 15 or 20 minutes. This is George Bernard Shaw, talking to young students:
Hello, sixth. I have been asked to speak to you, because I have been celebrated through my eminence in the profession of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Shakespeare.
Aeschylus wrote in school Greek, and Shakespeare is English literature, which is a school subject. In French schools, I am English literature! Consequently, all the sixth forms in France shudder when they hear my name.
However, don't be alarmed. I'm not going to talk to you about English literature. To me, there's nothing in writing a play. Anyone can write one if he has the necessary and natural turn for it, and if he hasn't, he can't. And that's all there is to it.
However, I have another trick for imposing on the young: I am old. Over 80, in fact. Also, I have a white beard. And these two facts are somehow associated in people's minds with wisdom. That's a mistake. If a person's a born fool, the folly will get worse, not better, by a long life's practice.
My having lived four times over you gives me only one advantage over you: I have carried small boys in my arms, and girls, and seen them grow into sixth form scholars. Then into young men and women in the flower of youth and beauty. Then into brides and bridegrooms, who think one another much better and lovelier than they really are. Then into middle- aged pater familias and anxious mothers with elderly spreads. And finally, I've attended their cremations.
Well now you may think much of this, but just consider: some of your school fellows may surprise you by getting hanged! Others, of whom you have the lowest opinion, will turn out to be geniuses, and become one of the great men of your time. Therefore, always be nice to young people. Some little beast, who is no good at games and whose head you may possibly have [unclear] for indulging a sarcastic wit and a sharp tongue at your expense, may grow into a tremendous swell. Like Rudyard Kipling. You never can tell.
Well it's no use, you know, brooding about such things or being told about them by your father. You must have known the people personally, as I have. Now that's what makes a difference between your outlook on the world and mine. When I was as young as you, the world seemed to me to be unchangeable, and a year seemed a long time. Now the years fly past before I have time to look around. I am an old, old man before I have got over the habit of thinking of myself as a boy. You have 50 years before you. And therefore must think carefully about your future and about your conduct. I have no future, and need not care what I say or do.
Now you all think, don't you, that you're nearly grown up. I thought so, when I was your age. And now, after 81 years of that expectation, I've not grown up yet. The same thing will happen to you. You will escape from school, only to discover that the world is a bigger school, and that you're back again in the first form. Before you can work your way up into the sixth again, you will be as old as I am.
The hardest part of schooling is the earliest part, when you are a very small kid and have to be turned into a walking [unclear]. You have to know up to 12 times 12, and how many shillings there are in any number of pence up to 144 without looking in a book. And you must understand the printed page, just as you understand people talking to you. That's a stupendous feat of sheer learning! Much the most difficult I have ever achieved. Yet I haven't the faintest recollection of being put through it. (Though I remember the governess who did it.) I can't remember any time at which a printed page was unintelligible to me, nor at which I did not know without counting that 56 pence make 4 and 8 [i.e., 4 shillings, 8 pence]. This seems so magical to me now, that I sometimes regret that my governess did not teach me the whole table of logarithms and the binomial theorem and all the other mathematical shortcuts and [unclear] as well. Perhaps she would have, if she'd known them herself.
It's strange, that if you learn anything when you are young, you'll remember it forever. Now that I'm old, I forget everything in a few seconds and everybody five minutes after they've been introduced to me. That's a great happiness, as I don't want to be bothered with new things and new people. But I still can't get on without remembering what my governess taught me. So cram in all you can while you're young.
But I'm rambling.
Let us get back to your escape from your school or your university into the great school of the world. And remember that you will not be chased and brought back. You will just be chucked out, neck and crop, and the door slammed behind you.
You will find the new school a very disorderly one. What makes school life irksome until you get used to it, and easy when you do get used to it, is that it's a routine. You have to get up at a fixed hour, wash and dress, take your meals and do your work -- all at a fixed hour.
Now the [unclear] routine is that though it is supposed to suit everybody, it really suits nobody! Sixth form scholars are like other people: they are all different. Each of you is what is called an "individual case", needing individual attention. But you can't have it at school. Nobody has time enough nor money enough to provide each of you with a separate teacher and a special routine, carefully fitted to your individual personality like your clothes and your boots. I can remember a time when English people going to live in Germany were astonished to find that German boots were not divided into "rights" and "lefts". A boot was a boot and it did not matter which foot you put it on. Your foot had to make the best of it. You may think that funny, but let me ask how many of you have your socks knitted as "rights" and "lefts". I've had mine knitted that way for the last 50 years.
To get properly stuck into a moneymaking profession, you have to pass examination. And this you must set about very clearly to do, or you will fail. You must not let yourself get interested in the subject, or be overwhelmed by their magnitude and by the utter impossibility of any human being mastering them all. The scholar who knows everything is like the little child who is perfectly obedient and perfectly truthful -- it doesn't exist and never will. Therefore, you must go to a crammer.
[...to be continued...]
I encourage distribution of "Conspiracy Nation."
"Justice" = "Just us" = "History is written by the assassins."