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Producer’s Note

On July 20, 1989 Francis Edmunds, William Hearst, II and I began what would become four audio recording sessions.

The sessions took place at William’s cottage in Coleman’s Hatch, East Sussex, UK, a short distance from Emerson College where Francis lived.

Francis was 87. William and I were in our early 40’s. We had both been engaged with the Emerson community for a number of years prior and worked with Francis on an earlier project. William had recently completed the Emerson Waldorf teacher training program.

The sessions weren’t pre-planned.  Each day we sat down and recorded for two hours, the length of an audio cassette tape. The resulting conversation ran over seven hours.

In a broad sense, William’s question to Francis was “What is man?” or in more contemporary vernacular: “What does it mean to be human?”

Francis was willing to share his thoughts and vision.

The continuity of the conversation is as recorded and has not been altered.

Over the years I have listened to the conversation more than a few times. To prepare the files for this website, I revisited again. Each time I listen I hear something new, something I wasn’t able to hear before.

It was a privilege to witness and record these sessions. I instantly sensed the value of the conversation, and now 30 years on, find it as relevant as ever.

John Swain