Avatar No6, Aug 18 - Aug 31, 1967, page 14

Letters to Mel

Dear Mr. Lyman
It is our pleasure to send you the tearsheets from the August issue of PLAYBOY Magazine and call your attention to "THE UNDERGROUND PRESS" by Jacob Brackman. We would be delighted to hear - and would certainly value - any comments you have concerning this article which we might use in our Letters to the Editor Column.

A.C. Spectorsky
Editorial Director
Playboy Magazine

Dear Mr. Spectorsky,
Words should move you to feeling. . . words should move you to FEELING. That is my only criticism of the article by Jacob Brackman on the Underground Press. It's well written, very factual, it tells the story clearly and cleanly. . . yet something is missing. It is exactly this lack of feeling in journalism that CREATED the Underground Press. Life must be expressed with FEELING. Perfection of form is NOT ENOUGH, it gets too CLEVER, too CUTE, too SOPHISTICATED, when there's no VITALITY in it. How can you hope to EVER express unless you really WANT to express, unless you have a real FEELING for what you're saying, unless you really FEEL it needs to be said. Without that it is lifeless, it is cut and dried, it is JOURNALISM. Speak your HEARTS Mr. and Mrs. Playboy and all hearts will respond. You've GOT the audience, why don't you really GIVE them something. What happened to your SOUL?
I'm not a hippy. I'm a FEELING PERSON. I want people to FEEL what I FEEL because we all FEEL from the SAME PLACE. That's why I write for an underground newspaper. I would like to write for an OVERground newspaper. I would like to make love to EVERYBODY.

Mel Lyman
[Thanks to Philip Smith of Berkeley, for reporting (August 28, 2005), that "the November 1967 issue of Playboy (p. 12) prints the beginning of the letter from Mel Lyman in response to the Jacob Brackman that appeared in Avatar 6, with minor typographic differences."]

Dear Mel*A*Roonie*
After many a summer, Boston has its Hippy Paper. Change, however gradual, is change. I read your lonely hearts column with a certain nostalgia.
Everything is groovy, groovy if you want it that way. Other things seem groovy at the time and trivial later. Some rare moments are never forgotten. An orgasm generally lasts several minutes.
Love however is simply not the question. It may be an answer to a number of people. I see love as a blind alley. Please help me. I haven't loved for many years, if ever. The disease of hate has advanced to numb my psyche, immunize me to real love. In a number of instances I can say that I have come to hate love.
Hate may be more important than love. Hitler killed Jews because he hated them. The same is true of Nero and the Christians. Many serious movements in the arts are expressions of hate: The German Expressionists, Underground Movies, Poetry. All change is motivated by either love or hate. Remember the devil is only slightly less powerful than God. When Edison made the light bulb it was motivated by discomfort of darkness. When a kid drops acid it is because he hates: his family, education, society and Lyndon Johnson. Hate, like any emotion, is capable of good as well as evil.
The real dichotomy for me is productivity vs. inaction. All history is the record of active vs. passive individuals and societies. When we think of a great figure of the past do we ask was he a loving person? This is a question that can really only be answered by the man's wife or mistress. In fact it is irrelevant in all but a few cases, the most prominent examples of which would be Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tse, Martin Luther King, and Mel Lyman.

Charles Giuliano

Dear Charlie,
It is impossible to hate love, you can only hate a CONCEPT of love, an EFFECT of love. The effects are infinite, the cause is one. You can only know the cause by BEING the cause, all else is SEEKING the cause. Hate is a very strong effect of love, it is very near the cause, it is the last door, I strongly recommend it. The mind cannot hate, hate is bigger than the mind, it TRANSFORMS it. Hate is very close to the heart, it is intimate, it is STRONG FEELING, it is VERY REAL.
I love hate, it moves men, it dwarfs reason, it unites, its potency challenges, creates, demands compensation, only love is superior in strength. If you feel hate, GIVE IT EXPRESSION, LET IT OUT, it cannot be suppressed for long, IT DEMANDS RELEASE! A child is born in hate and anger and despair and pain. Hate is an inability to create order out of chaos coupled with a strong desire to DO so and the inevitable reaction, the EXPRESSION of the frustration. Hate is a strong promise of completion, where there is hate there is hope. Hate demands understanding, hate is proof of the spirit, hate will only be dispelled by understanding, where there is hate there will someday BE understanding, nothing else will ever satisfy. If you feel hate, hate FULLY, give it ALL YOU GOT. Very few are capable of love, almost EVERYONE is capable of hate, hate must be FULFILLED before love is born, the final exhaustion of hate is the faintest beginning of love, hate is from the heart, love IS the heart. Don't be afraid to hate, it is probably the only proof of your existence.

Yours hatefully,

Mel Lyman
I read your article in AVATAR No2 and tried to understand what you were trying to say. All human beings have failings and as yet I have met no perfect ones. Only Christ, I believe, had no predjudices etc. From where do you get the authority to say that you only speak truth and not ideas or opinions? The things you say are your truths - not mine.
You say you have never met a truly loving person in your life. I suggest you open your eyes and love; then you will receive love in return. Not until you are loving can you see the loving people who abound on this earth. You are right in saying love isn't something you find. It is something you live. What is the purpose for living if not to be happy? Happiness, in my opinion, comes from loving and being loved.
No one is perfect (not even You) and it is often very difficult to love others, especially "straights" who are always trying to bum trip you because you refuse to hold their values and live their way, but Christ came to this earth to teach people the meaning and importance of love. If everyone followed or tried to follow His teachings life would be 100% groovier.
I don't understand what you mean by "there's no other world." If you believe in God don't you believe in the soul's survival after death? You seem to be constantly contradicting yourself. You say, "there is no magic, no supernatural powers", but you consistently mention God. What is God if not a supernatural power?
As far as opposition goes, that will always be around. There are always evil and good people, consequently there is conflict between the two. I don't mean war which I am against because no one has the right to take a human life, especially because of differences in idealogies! You must admit hippies and straights are constantly conflicting. Opposition doesn't have to be violent. If hippies do their thing which is usually apart from and against the Establishment, their way of living is in itself opposition to the straight world. I don't see any confusion or heartache involved at all...

Mendocino, California

Susan. . .
Odd that you should write me. Are you trying to save my soul or yours? I'm a real nice guy hey. Your reaction to my words indicates a real need in you, I wonder if you're aware of it. Your whole understanding is built on sand, I wonder when it will begin to collapse. You are OUT OF TOUCH with your true self, your REAL feelings, in other words. . . empty. You speak from a guilty conscience. You are full of empty truths, other peoples sayings, flower dogma. Nothing you say to me is from YOU, is based on YOUR EXPERIENCE, really it's very silly. For you to tell me about Christ is so naive it's almost pretty. I wonder if you would know Him if you saw Him today. Christ is the Truth, in all instances, acknowledged or misunderstood, always there as a source of pain to those who can NOT see, still, always there. Christ is the voice of your conscience. By your words I know you do not hear him. I am putting that voice down on paper for you to SEE. You are resisting my words but the Christ in you will know them. I am speaking to you beyond your understanding for I know your understanding is as yet undeveloped, young. I am speaking to that in you which is neither young nor old but ALWAYS. I am speaking to your heart, which is where I live. My words will find a home in you whether you recognize them or not. Only the mind can resist the truth, the heart knows its own. Someday you will feel your own pain and until that day comes you are still a kid playing in the sand.
Have fun.

with compassion,

Dear Mel,
I have been following your column with great interest and have admired your candor and authenticity; you have exceptional inner development, I am curious how you got it, besides raw experience and talent? Any living gurus, or great Masters whom you follow or followed, such as Buddha or Christ?
Your last article blasting the half-truths of the hippy movement cleared the air and cleansed the spirit; I agree that in many cases a man like Johnson or McNamara can be "more true" (although not 100% true) than hippy protestors. But isn't it like this: the hippies, born into a world of considerable affluence and leisure, are trying to make use of it to "dig their minds" and thereby come on new truths relevant to the future; but, being human, the pain is so great that they wall themselves off from reality, convincing themselves they have found where it's at although they haven't gone the necessary distance. They're like children, not having put their life on the line, not having suffered a rootless loneliness, thus not having really found acceptance of reality and love. They have a lot more growing, but their dilemma is that their growing has a tendency to stagnate, because of no direction. Every past society grew up around a religion which defined the ways of righteousness universally enough to insure the most freedom possible for the individual; now science has unseated Christianity, Islam, and other religious systems, and we're wandering around in all direction at the end of our tethers. Do you know of any set of ideas or a religious system that would allow us to grow up into kind and truthful men and women and still be part of the "humanity which is one unit"? And if you don't how can we find one?

Mason McCracken
Wellesley, Massachusetts

Dear Mason,
About myself. . . there isn't much to say. I could spout off a whole bunch of universal laws but that would be a bore. I wrote a book called "Autobiography of a World Savior" which you could read. It's easiest to obtain by mailing $2.25 to Jessie Benton, 41/2 Fort Avenue Terrace, Roxbury Massachusetts.
My guru is Truth. All Masters are ONE Master, I cannot discriminate, I can only place them in time. There is always, at all times, the greatest man, the hightest evolved. He is the most in that time. The only absolute is more, perfection never ceases to perfect itself. Every situation creates a MASTER of the situation, from a room full of people to a UNIVERSE full of people. All Masters are the most at the time, all Masters INCLUDE all Masters before them. A Master is no more of a completed creation than life itself. Time does not stop, creation is forever. The old Master is always here with a new name reflecting a new and greater time with MORE LIFE. Do not look back at old ideals, they are always AHEAD of you. The Master is always MORE THAN YOU THINK HE IS. The Master CHANGES every day, do not try to hold him still. Truth CANNOT be captured, it can only be PURSUED. There is always a greater man TODAY than your great man of YESTERDAY. Be ALL THAT YOU CAN BE. Old Masters are DEAD THINGS, do not preserve their forms, the life in them is HERE TODAY. Clean the skeletons out of your closets and LOOK AT THE SUN. What made them great is WHAT CAN MAKE YOU GREAT. It is IN YOU. Old forms must give way to NEW LIFE. The heart of the universe beats in YOU. I live there, won't you come and join me. . . .

Love, Mel