INTERVIEW — TAPE #31, SIDE #1
Q: Mark Russell Bell
I: Marie Todd (friend)
P: Pierre Grimes, Ph.D., PRS faculty member
S: Stephan Hoeller, Ph.D., PRS faculty member
H: Obadiah Harris, Ph.D., PRS president
I: He was telling me about this argument he had. He was playing some alien creature in a new (“SSS”) pilot that was done over at Paramount called “The Osiris Chronicles.” I think it was a Joe Dante project. Anyway, people he was working with were in some argument about who was the first James Bond and all these different subjects. And he was going on and on about how everybody’s into reading these books right now about aliens and the Bible’s references to extra-terrestrials and different things like that. It’s like everybody’s reading those types of subject matter right now and arguing profusely about it so it’s a controversial subject.
Q: And we just traded gifts. I gave her the painting I made for her and a Siouxsie & The Banshees CD (“CA” “SIOUXSIE” “OOOOOOO”) which is called —
I: “The Rapture.”
Q: I showed her the Declaration of Independence, the Ark of the Covenant, the painting for the cover of my book and the George Washington portrait.
I: I’m in shock. (“DIDN’T” “DO” “YOU LIKE”)
Q: The original?
I: Well, it looks like it to me and I agree with what Timothy Fielding said. You see all the brush strokes except on the face. And I remember when you got that trunk for your press kits and things. It blew me away then because it had that very mystical quality about it. And that Declaration of Independence with the eraser marks on it — I mean nobody erases a copy of anything.
Q: Right. (“NO”)
I: Anyway, (“SO”) it looks like it to me.
Q: I was just reading (“A”) a movie magazine last night before going to bed. I think it was Movieline. (“AND”) I was reading an interview with actor David Duchovney of “The X-Files” and it was interesting because one of the people I thought might be an undercover agent kept asking me about him. And in the interview he says that maybe the FBI is tapping his phone line. So maybe they (“HIM”) have him under surveillance as well. Even though — (“I”) why? (“BUT”) But this woman who I think is a CIA agent kept asking me about him.
I: Well, why do they worry about that and why don’t they go worry about international crime or some other BS? (“WELL”)
Q: I can’t understand why would they worry about an actor who’s just playing a character in a TV series? (“HIGHER”)
I: ‘Doing their job,’ you know? (“NO BUT”)
Q: I don’t — but why would the FBI or CIA be interested in an actor (“THEY DON’T HAVE”) playing in (“TAPE”) “The X-Files”?
I: Because they don’t have anything else to do. (“I”) It’s diversion publicity. With all the international commotion going on in the world, there must be something else they could be interested in other than an actor that finally has a job with a successful show and I understand that irritates a lot of people.
Q: But why would they be interested in him? Is it because the series is about the strange and paranormal? Is that enough reason to be interested in someone?
I: I guess. I mean they’re paranoid, why else? (“WELL ANYWAY IT”)
Q: But, of course, (“HE”) he was having —
I: I believe a lot of that. Our society is based on inducing paranoia. (“ANOTHER”) And who needs it? (“NO — NO — NO”)
Q: Another possibility is — during the interview apparently (“NO”) their telephone line had strange static like I have sometimes on my interviews (“NO”) so it might have been Michael just proving His existence. (“NO”) Or it might have been Michael and the CIA, which is probably what I have going on with my phones. Have you noticed problems in calling me or with your own phone lines?
I: Well, yes — not so much with my own. (“I WOULD”) I think — (“SSS”) some time ago I had weird static but sometimes the cable goes in and out in a canyon or whatever from time to time so I don’t know about that but I tried to call you one day last week and your phone didn’t ring in. It went into some strange ringing system.
I: It made this really weird noise and I don’t know if some lines had crossed (“YEAH”) or whatever. It made this really funny tone. (“HUHH I”) And then it rang in a strange tone. (“WELL SOME”) And it was just weird and I hung up.
Q: Well, sometimes too — I know one time my brother’s secretary called and for some reason I didn’t hear it ring and I was home. It transferred automatically to my Pacific Bell Message Center. (“UH-HUH”) I think Michael wanted me (“TO BE”) transcribing and didn’t want me bothered by some inane question. (“BECAUSE THEY WANTED”) They were asking me some stupid question at the time. (“UH-HUH”) How to get hold of Larry who was out on location doing his unit publicity work. (“UH-HUH” “BUT”) The point I’m trying to make is (“NO” “OH”) I was (“IN”) transcribing Larry’s interview with me and I was trying to figure out what things I said to people during the time when I (“GOT”) just got back from Oklahoma and was feeling a little bit overwhelmed. Were you the one (“I”) I told that (“LLL”) line about the movie “The Fly”?
I: I can’t remember. What was the line? Because I was slightly overwhelmed at that time, myself.
Q: I said, “I’m changing. I feel my body changing.”
I: Oh, yes, you told me that.
Q: “Have you ever seen the movie ‘The Fly’?”
I: Yes, you did tell me that. That you were having physical changes and — (“SEE YOU I”)
Q: I don’t think anyone would forget that line once they heard it.
I: Oh, no. No. I have a scattered brain sometimes.
Q: What was your reaction to all of this?
I: I was breathless or something. Because (“HEAVEN” “I WAIT”) it was as though you were telling me that you were experiencing a transformation.
Q: And I was.
I: That’s what was happening and I was speechless.
Q: What are some of the other funny lines you might have remembered? ([LIKE A COUGH] “UH-HUH”) Not funny but just lines.
I: I can’t think at this moment. There were so many. I don’t know which one — (“WORD”)
Q: You don’t have to say them word for word. Just generally (“KA”) what did you get out of what I was saying? What was your reaction? You probably thought I was crazy and I don’t blame you.
I: No, I didn’t think you were crazy because I’ve been around creative people my entire life and I never block out or think somebody’s nuts about what they’re saying because everybody has different experiences in life and creative people communicate them much easier and freer than everybody else that represses them. And I just figured that you were experiencing something (“LUCKY”) and I was lucky enough to (“MY PHONE”) share in listening to what you were going through. And I think you were very over-stimulated at the time too because you were participating in something that was bigger than a lot of people’s lives. (“NO”)
Q: Did I ever tell you like I told Larry that I thought I was the reincarnation of Jesus?
Q: And I told you that I thought you were the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary.
Q: But it turns out we’re just close to their energy.
I: Well, I didn’t know what to think of that because that was (laughs) — it just was hysterical. I went, “Oh my goodness. I can’t believe somebody’s saying that. (“SAYING”) You know? And I didn’t think that you were nuts because —
Q: Who would say that?
I: Nobody. (“ELTON JOHN”) It’s not a typical analogy or comparison or anything else. Plus, also, how do you really knock that? I mean then you look back in time through history and how these different events happened throughout the world, I’m sure when the Christmas story happened nobody believed anything either. You hear different religions say about how, “And they were turned away here. Nobody believed this and nobody believed that.”
Q: Okay, well, we better be leaving for the PRS Christmas party.
I: When you told me that, my reaction was like, “Oh, wow, that is way larger than life.” I didn’t think that you were crazy and blow it off and all the rest of that. However, I just had to laugh hysterically because I thought, “Oh, I could write a list of people that if they heard someone compare me to this —” (“ALSO”)
Q: In the back of your mind did you think, “Boy, I’d better start being politically correct.”
I: Well, I never really worry about being politically correct. I just drift through my own little life or whatever.
Q: That sounds like something that the Virgin Mary would do.
I: Well, I don’t know but I just really don’t worry about pleasing everybody else because you can’t do it. It was a very interesting time period because we were speaking to each other at all different times of the day and night over things that you were experiencing (“OH”) and reacting to.
Q: I remember saying, (“UM-HUH”) “Marie, I’ve got to finish the book in three weeks. I don’t want you to go to your temp job tomorrow. I mean it’s ridiculous that the Virgin Mary is working temp so I want you over here.”
I: Oh, it’s vulgar. It’s just vulgar. (laughs) (“I”)
Q: “I want you and Fiona over here helping me transcribe. Okay? I’ll pay you whatever you’re getting.”
I: Ohh, it was just hysterical and I never heard anybody have to write a book in three weeks and have some major crisis deadline or whatever else. I knew what you were doing was extremely important and I also remember driving on Doheny Drive in July when we came back from seeing the movie “Smoke.” (“MMHH”) And you were talking about possibly going to Oklahoma to do this research and I remember just telling you, “You’ve just got to go.”
Q: And that was right after you had an illness in your family at the time.
I: Within the same time period, one of my relatives that was a very close friend of my father when I was growing up had something burst in her head. She became paralyzed and had to go to the hospital.
Q: Is she better now?
I: Yeah. Eleanor’s (“RE”) at home recovering and she’s improving but it’s a slow healing process.
Q: Did they diagnose it? (“PIA”)
I: Well, I can’t remember exactly. She was in her house and I think she was near the phone. She passed out and was rushed to the hospital.
Q: And then she met your other family member, the doctor?
I: One of my uncles who used to be married to my aunt and he (“TALK”) was in the emergency room and none of these people have seen each other in I don’t know how many years. And he had her flown to another hospital for surgery. So her life was saved. (“AND”)
Q: Did you say they had been married at one point?
I: Oh, no, they weren’t (“CORRECT”) married. He was married to another aunt of mine. (“BUT IT’S SORT OF LIKE”)
Q: But these two people who were friends once found each other again. (“JUST BEFORE A PHONE CALL”) Cousins. (“YEAH”)
I: I guess distant or whatever. (“RIGHT”)
( . . . )
(“SO WE’RE ALL”)
Q: We’re driving in the car and I just remembered something else that I told Marie. (“UM”) I told her I was worried that this was some kind of “Total Recall” movie-type situation. (“THAT”) Do you remember that, Marie?
I: Yes, I do.
Q: And Marie told me — what did you tell me? Do you remember?
I: I can’t even remember. I thought it was completely different.
Q: I remember. You said, “I think something a little more profound —”
I: Profound. Yes. That’s exactly what —
Q: “— is going on.” And I think you were channeling Michael at the time. Because when somebody channels Michael they think it’s their own idea but it’s really coming from their subconscious mind where Michael is. Or can be.
I: Well, I would believe that because I remember just reacting (“RIGHT”) quickly.
Q: Exactly. And why would you — if you had time to think — is that something you would have thought would be your response to somebody saying, “I think this is like ‘Total Recall.’ (“I’M”) I’m in a game like ‘Total Recall.'”
I: No, I just wouldn’t. (“HAVE” “YEAH BUT”)
Q: You knew. You knew the answer. By the way, that movie was very weird because it had unresolved questions at the end in terms of just who it was that was dying such a horrible death on that planet. (“NO”) Do you (“FAITH”) remember?
I: Yeah, I do remember that. (“IT WA”) It was weird. And it’s like (“UM-HUH”) life, though. There was a lot of things that were unresolved. There isn’t always resolution. (“UH-HUH”)
Q: Maybe there will be someday.
I: We’ll find out.
Q: Marie, what is the car in front of us?
I: Saturn. And there’s a Saturn that parks next to my car in my garage.
Q: Same with me.
I: Oh, how funny. We’re surrounded by Saturn. Oh, I remember something funny that you told me. You called me on the phone and you said, “Judgement Day is going to be fun.”
Q: But not for everyone.
( . . . )
(“KEY” “SAVE US”)
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: I TURNED ON MY TAPE RECORDER AFTER OBADIAH INTRODUCED PIERRE GRIMES. FOR TRANSCRIBING I ALSO LISTENED TO THE PRS CASSETTE AND FOUND THEY HAD TECHNICAL PROBLEMS, SUCH AS AN EQUIPMENT FAILURE AS GRIMES SAID “HAPPY HANUKKAH” AND RECURRING MICROPHONE INTERFERENCE. SPIRIT VOICES, BREATHING AND SOUNDS CAN ALSO BE HEARD ON THE PRS CASSETTE AND THESE MESSAGES ARE DESIGNATED [PRS]. WHILE I FOUND SOME VOICES TOO FAINT TO BE TRANSCRIBED, I GRADUALLY BECAME ACCUSTOMED TO THE ACOUSTICS OF THE PRS TAPE.)
P: Thank you very much. It’s a distinct pleasure to be here and a Happy Hanukkah. The fact that we are here at a Philosophical Research Society is very significant. What Manley Hall started and what Obadiah is continuing is, I think, one of the most important movements going on in America today. I would like to see if I can present my reasonings for that. First, we really live in a golden age and that’s quite important to recognize. There never has been a time in history where all the wisdom traditions of the world have had their works translated and made available as in our age. Not only the literature but the thinkers, the gurus, the yogis, the psychotherapists, the Jungians — Joseph Campbell, Alan Watt — all of them. They have worked the soil for us and it’s soon time to put in our own seeds and bring it to birth. And what is it? It’s a new kind of dialogue, I believe, that must bring together all of these things in a synthesis. The kind of synthesis, though, I think, that will emerge is going to be quite profound. And I think it’s going to continue something that started long ago. And, therefore, I’d like to be quiet with you for a few moments and I’m going to base my reflection on the Codex Sinaiticus, Syria’s gospel — that one great gospel and Bible that was discovered in 1879. The reason I’m going to choose that to spend a few minutes with you on is because it’s the earliest gospel that was found in the Sinai by Tischendorf, the very gigantic man of the 19th century. You see, that gospel ends at Mark. Especially Mark. We’ll talk only about the gospel of Mark. It ends at the chapter sixteen, verse eight and therefore there is no physical resurrection reference in the gospel of Mark. Therefore, it ends with a tomb. What’s the most significant about that is that it puts a whole mystery into the whole issue of Christianity and Christmas. And I’d like to see whether I can give you something because I have it myself and then that way I can share it with you. In the gospel of Mark there is no identity of Jesus as the son of God. There are no references to that word by anyone. A son of God is mentioned but not the son of God. In chapter nine there is that magnificent scene, therefore, that’s the apex of the work. You can cut the gospel of Mark in half. It’s only 677 verses. At that point is the transfiguration scene. Now what’s significant about that? Jesus took with him Peter, James, John — took them up to the mountain and at that point he’s transfigured through divine luminosity. The total radiance bursts through and out of that comes Moses and Elijah. And they talk together. That’s the key point. Architectonically, that’s the mid-point in the gospels. They talk together. ([PRS] “MMM”) When they finish, Peter says to him, “I’ll build three booths — three tabernacles — three booths. What’s the significance of that? When Moses was told to build the tabernacle, one of the lines that describes the function of the tabernacle is that it contains the presence of God. What is called a shekinah. And, by the way, that’s where the feminine idea of the divine — as feminine in Jewish thought (“NO”) has its origin. Shekinah is the feminine principle. It’s the divine encased in the tabernacle. Therefore, Peter was saying—is he not?—”We must build three tabernacles. No one has built three tabernacles yet. One for Jesus. One for Moses. And one for Elijah.” What do they talk about? This is my gift. ([PRS] “UM-HUH MM — MMMM”) I share it and I’m suggesting you might like to share in it yourselves. What kind of conversation must they have had? It’s the key point in the gospel. Everything stopped and those two figures emerged from the divine luminosity. Moses and Elijah. What did they say? Why the dialogue at that point? I assure you I thought about that for some years. (“YEAH”) I’ve enjoyed it and I’d like to pass my gift on to you. And, therefore, you see that started a conversation. (“NO”) The conversation must be a synthesis of those things brought together into a unity. (“HHH”) We now have a time here where all of the great literature is made available and we have exponents of each of these systems with us. There’s a new synthesis that must emerge. We’re all part of it. This, indeed, is the most exciting time, I believe, in history. And I’d like to therefore pass on to you this gift. It’s a very good colon if you like. It’s a great conundrum and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. (“YEAH”) So merry Christmas.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: APPLAUSE IS HEARD ON TAPE HERE. THERE WERE CHRISTMAS CAROLS SUNG BETWEEN SPEAKERS. I TURNED ON MY TAPE RECORDER AGAIN AFTER OBADIAH INTRODUCED STEPHAN HOELLER. I TRANSCRIBED THE FOLLOWING FROM THE PRS CASSETTE.)
S: Well, as it has been often said, after such an introduction, I can hardly wait to hear what I’ve got to say and I trust that the same sentiments are shared by you. I would like to start, perhaps, on a little personal keynote and then work my way up from there to maybe something a little more transpersonal because that’s usually the best way to proceed. You start from where you are and then from there you go where you are not as yet. And this is the sixth Christmas since the passing from our midst of our great teacher and founder of the society, Manley Palmer Hall. And in that period those of us who were here and were here before have gone through some at times trying conditions. And there were certain real periods when we weren’t all that sure that five or five and a half years after the passing of Manley Palmer Hall we still would be here at Christmastime under these conditions. As you know, there were difficulties and there were struggles (“NO”) and there were sort of on the one hand we believed — what can’t be really described in any other way but forces of larceny and — and on the other side there were forces of unreasoning spite. And this struggle of the opposites has almost torn this noble setting apart. But it did not. And that it did not and that it survived and that we are here now and certainly with the hope and the determination of continuing Mr. Hall’s work is very largely due to the fact that from the wild regions of Arizona there came into our midst Dr. Obadiah Harris and his wife, Jeanne Harris. (“PPP”) And like sort of two mercurial figures, you know, carrying the winged sandals on their feet that have been flying back and forth between Arizona and here. But that’s not all they were doing. They have helped to consolidate and to bring the work to a new level of efficiency and redirected everything. And I think that it’s quite important at this time or at any time that when we receive some blessings that we acknowledge them and that we are grateful for them. For those who are not grateful for the blessings they receive don’t deserve those blessings. And so I would like to express my appreciation to Dr. Harris and to Mrs. Harris for all that they have done and I think that we will to the limit of our abilities stand with them and stand behind them in what is to come. God bless you, Dr. Harris.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: CHURCHGOERS APPLAUSE ON TAPE HERE.)
S: We’re honored.
H: Thank you. That was nice.
S: Now we may sort of lift our gaze for a few minutes from the personal and the temporal to that point where the timeless intersects with time. (“RIGHT NOW”) And that is certainly one of the great messages of Christmas. And it’s really the great message of life itself. (“AND”) And it is to this mystery in our lives that Mr. Hall had this so early in his own career dedicated himself to. And for which he carried on (“POOR”) while writing to his ninetieth year — well, and then had to leave us. Manley Hall’s work (“PRAY”) may not be the ([PRS] “HOLY GRAIL”) ultimate work in this regard in history but it is certainly a unique one, a little worthwhile one — one that has enriched not only this community of Los Angeles for many years but the entire country (“ONE”) and reached out beyond this country. And it has always been and we certainly hope that it will continue to be a work of integrity — a work of dedication and a work wherein the recognition exists that spiritual things are not for sale. That the opportunity for receiving the stimuli (“UH-UH”) in regard (“NO”) to the life of the spirit have to be available to people. And whether they have money or not — that we will not join the ranks of those who sell you enlightenment in ten easy lessons for a good many hundreds if not thousands of dollars. And the enlightenment turns out to be a hodgepodge of materials that is contained in a half of dozen books that you could very easily read yourself. (“UM-UH”) And this is not the kind of thing that Mr. Hall stood for. And that’s not the kind of thing that we stand for. ([PRS] “AN” “THEN”) But with all good — there was always the recognition ([PRS] “UHH”) on the part of Mr. Hall that we need to reach upward. ([PRS] “YEAH”) And when we reach upward (“THEN”) it’s sufficient (“GOOD FOR”) for strength and determination and dedication and purity of purpose. Then, our reaching out ([PRS] “MIGHT AS WELL” “NO”) is met by a reaching toward us. One of the greatest symbols, perhaps, of this eternal process is the great painting of Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel which has now been restored in its original glorious colors with Japanese money. ([PRS] “YEAH” [PRS] “THAT”) Shows you sort of ([PRS TAPE] “HOW HH-HH-HH”) how geography and cultures are converging nowadays. ([PRS] “OH GOOD”) And as you well remember there are the two fingers. (“THE AIR”) The finger of humanity as symbolized by Adam and the finger of God as they reach toward each other and touch. And Christmas is the ([PRS] “UH-HUH”) evidence ([PRS] “LIVE HERE”) of the reaching downward — the reaching toward us. ([PRS] “GOD IS GAY”) Of the hand ([PRS] “OF”) of the eternal. ([PRS] “WHEN I DO”) It may not be the only occasion when such a reaching down has occurred as had those of limited vision (“COME”) think. ([BOTH TAPES] “WHEN”) But that does not diminish its importance. ([PRS] “MARK WAS SENT HERE” [PRS] “NO”) Something happened 2,000 years ago that continues to be of immeasurable benefit. This is indeed Christmas. It is indeed the day of Christ. Not of Santa Claus. Not of Krishna. ([PRS] “MY DEAR”) Not of Buddha. Not of anyone else. And not merely are we the source to see them. ([PRS] “WHEN YOU PRAY”) Because the — ([PRS] “MAKE LOVE”) the great messengers of light ([PRS] “COME OUT”) have come from the beginning of time to this world. And this was one of the greatest —this is the one who came to us — to our world, ([PRS] “SINNER”) to our age — ([PRS] “THAT’S BETTER”)