Two scenes from the movie The Trial of Billy Jack have stuck with me throughout the years.
Recently this movie ran on cable and I was again impressed by these scenes.
Not being able to find anything about them on the Net — including video clips — I decided to do my own post.
Since I’m not confident YouTube will defend my Fair Use, aside from the video clips I’ve taken the precaution of doing a virtual storyboard of the scenes that can never be DMCAed away. There are over one hundred snaps and two video clips after the break.
I’m going to leave these without any personal commentary. Because no matter how much I’ve tried to express any opinion, the spiderweb of implications has grown just too large. They can speak for themselves.
Here are the two scenes in YouTube clips (these might be blocked in some countries):
The Three Levels:
The Fourth Level:
If those have been DMCAed away or blocked, use the storyboard.
The Three Levels
The Guide appears:
Billy Jack: Now who are you? And where are we?
Guide: I am here to show you the way to the House of the Great One. But first you must prove yourself generous of heart.
Billy Jack: All right. I’m ready.
Guide: Go and slap him in the face. And no matter what he does, do not strike back.
Billy Jack: And no matter what he does, I’m not to hit him back?
Guide: That’s right.
(Assorted dialogue of rooting at what’s on the TV.)
Billy Jack: I don’t think you’re going to particularly like this.
(Billy hits him.)
(Man flings beer car.)
Man: Why you stupid son of a —
(Man hits Billy.)
(Billy moves to retaliate.)
(But everyone is gone. The Guide is back.)
Guide: That man was on the lowest level. And reacts only with animal instinct. Treated with violence, he was immediately pulled down to the violent animal level, no better than the man who hit him. And so he ends up being controlled by the animal in the man who hit him.
Guide: Hit another.
Professor: War is something that went out in the Middle Ages. War today is nothing but economic gain. Economic gain for a few individual in this country who control the top, top companies in this country. These companies go all the way to soft drink manufacturers, all the way to pre-packaged food.
Billy Jack: Excuse me a moment. This is going to seem as stupid to you, probably, as it does to me but …
(Billy hits him.)
(The Professor yells.)
(The crowd yells and follows Billy.)
(The crowd disappears.)
Guide: He was on the second level. He could not be pulled down to the level of the brute beast acting on physical violence. But was easily pulled away from what he was doing and lost control of his own center. So he too did not own his own soul but could quickly be controlled by another.
Guide: Once again …
Billy Jack: Forgive me. I have no idea why I am doing this.
(Billy hits him.)
Leader: I feel sorry for you. Only a child thinks that being a man is being tough and violent. Some day you may learn that being a man has to do with self-discipline over one’s time and one’s emotion, with a deep and compassionate understanding for other people’s feelings.
Guide: This man has reached the third level. Where he is his own person so that no man can force him to react, thereby control his actions or take anything away from him.
Billy Jack: Well what about the fourth level?
Guide: Who told you of the fourth level?
Billy Jack: I don’t know. Nobody told me about the fourth level. It just kind of popped into my head, that’s all. Look, can I go to my spiritual guide now?
Guide: You may never go to him. He comes when he wills. As of yet you are not ready.
Billy Jack: Why not? I thought I just conquered my demon.
Guide: You just met him. And learned that your own worst demon is yourself. Your task now is to come to thoroughly know your shadow and accept it. And by accepting your weaknesses and human frailties. When your shadow has become your friend, then your spiritual guide will come for you. And only then will you be ready.
(The Guide disappears.)
The Fourth Level
(Billy is near death and enters the vision.)
Guide: You have not learned enough to come over to this side permanently.
Billy Jack: Why? My spirit progresses so poorly on the other side.
Guide: That’s because you don’t value your visions. You must carefully listen to them and change your life according to what they say.
(Carol, an injured student from the Freedom School.)
Billy Jack: I understand that. But why can’t I do that here?
Guide: You must go back. For when people can see how someone as violent as you can change and find inner peace, then you will set a good example. After you have gone back and practiced the fourth way, then you will meet your spiritual guide.
Billy Jack: Well how am I supposed to do that? I don’t even know what the fourth way is.
Guide: My friend will tell you. But you will not be able to reach the fourth way until you stop covering your weaknesses with violent acts.
(Jean, Billy’s love and founder of the Freedom School, appears in the vision.)
Jean: The fourth and highest level is when no matter what they do to your body, they cannot touch your soul. Because you are so deeply into your own center. Then you see violence and anger and bullying not as threats — but as cover-ups used by panicked men who are frightened and in pain. Instead of hating them, you truly feel sorry for their weakness and can easily turn and offer them your other cheek.
Guide: Now go back. And do what you must do. And take Carol, for she will help you to carry on the teachings.