July 1, 1959
(98 ° heat with enervating humidity suddenly broken by a tremendous storm. Jill had told me of the storm on the telephone at 10:30, for it was just then striking Princeton.)
Night before last, Renzo Sereno, partly drunk, I fear, met me at the airport. He walked carefully like a zombie. We talked until midnight.
I visited with Bill Colman, Special Assistant to Waterman at the National Science Foundation, and with Bob Merriam, Deputy Assistant to the President at the White House yesterday morning and then spent the afternoon in conference at the National Outdoor Recreation Review Commission. Form 6-8 Perry Patterson and I sat around the Kirkland, Flemming offices talking and drank gin and tonic.
The conference was a test to the patience. The best thing about it, and I do not underestimate its value, was the fact that it was called and that someone like myself was present. The growing custom of having critical people discuss plans and make suggestions about research is part of the typically American practice of soliciting opinions. It is done almost perforce even when a moment's reflection would show people that they lose some of their freedom to exercise favoritism and commit secret follies. So my despair and truculence at the mediocrity of the proceedings and of the Commission's research possibilities must be conditioned by the appreciation of the fact that someone at least was around to observe and speak, who need not have been present. Isn't this a good instance of a developing institution - the research conference - making one more penetration of the environment and benefitting the intelligence and policy function even as it causes conflicts and hurts some people. How the economists squirmed and how ludicrously the Dean of Liberal Arts at Wayne University began to go Interdisciplinary when I pointed out forcibly (and with the tacit support of two or three of the Junior Staff members of the Commission) that there was much more to outdoor recreation than the demand curve over time periods they kept talking about. And how Francis Sargent, the Executive Director of the Commission, pursed his honest Boy Scout face, as he wondered anxiously whether there couldn't be research done in this field without touching the problem of racial integration. I had earlier bombed open the tin armor of the economists by describing sociological and psychological determinants of recreational demands, expectations and practices, and as the afternoon went on I became more and more irritated at the thought of ten million colored Americans who were far from the minds of the Commission. Why, I thought, should we be wasting millions of dollars on enabling a few campers and hunters to visit some grand park or forest, while all that the poor masses of the cities have is the illegal pleasure of turning on a fire hydrant on a hot day? I suppose my anger was in part owing to recognition of the fact that the whole recreation picture could not be turned upside down and a new beginning made. That is the trouble with so much social research. You have to begin at a stage that already precludes the biggest innovations of thought and method that could be made. Look at the Commission - all Western Congressmen and rich public members with a financial or other "love of the great outdoors," Laurence Rockefeller the only Eastern City man. Most of these want simply more money for park land and for parks development in their home territory. Norm Wengert is a brave homme, of course. As Deputy Director of Studies he will be as honest as possible, forthright, and broader than many who might have been put in his place.
Research projects, like politics and some parts of the business, are distributed according to principles of cliques and networks. Full access being difficult to assure to all potentially interested research parties, the agencies and foundations tap their own networks of relations first. There are usually illuminating non-rationalistic reasons why x gets a project from y. Here today was the casual sequence as I perceived it: Wengert was brought in as Deputy Director to direct research; his long experience with Resources for the Future justified this step. A friend at Resources for the Future, Barnett, has just been appointed head of the Economics Department at Wayne and wants to begin auspiciously with a financially considerable research project, and the Conference brings in the Dean and several economist of Wayne. Other participants at the Conference are University of Delaware friends of Norm. The staff people - Davis and Perry - are intelligent and trained; they come in because Norm hires good people. I am the outsider - old acquaintance of Norm and his brother, Bert, of Oregon State University. I came in late, knew nothing of all of this; the Conference seemed to be fourteen dissociated scholars discussing what was needed in recreation research when I entered. Then the underlying structure began slowly to appear. Since I participated actively, after fifteen minutes of sensing what had gone before, I had to be judged by the others, but I think I remained a prestiged but threatening enigma throughout to the Wayne group and a little bewildering to the staff, including Norm and Sargent. Yet every major idea put forth was accepted, if only on the verbal level, and at the cost of some tension and uneasiness. The psychoanalysts like to tell of how their patients at a particular phase of their treatment combine a breakthrough of insight with expressions of hostility to their analyst. This happens many a time in education - whether in the classroom or in the research conference such as this one. I can often sense the hate-laden self-revelation of people as they truly acquire, not merely accept a verbal formulation of a new idea from me.
And, since my world is large and many people pass through it, I am, like some unfortunate psychiatrists, deprived of the later opportunities to soothe and love the same people. I abandon them to their insights - psychologically true abandonment. When I don't, and after some time, my fate is kinder. Frank Bane (CSG) once told me, after I had worked on the State Federal Relations task force for three months, that at first he had thought he had bought a lot of trouble when he hired me but had become happy with my work and fond of me. What happened was that L.D. White had recommended me in a few words; Bane thought I would be a conventional public administration student; I presented in the first week of my work a completely original outline for a vast intellectual attack on problems of federalism (I see the crux of a matter early but the effort of early presentation of new ideas often causes trouble); he was frightened and disliked me; than as I accepted what had to be and he accepted a little of the new and we visited over coffee several times, Frank came to like me and we have been friends, even when only rarely meeting, for thirteen years.
But the narrowness of economics, the conventional mediocrity of the inferior academician - intellectually and morally! What a wilderness of minds!
In the last couple of years, as I have lost confidence in the inevitable spontaneous expression of my own talents, I have become concerned with the question of how few truly competent minds there are and have been in the world. Since I have begun to ask myself how to get something of value out of myself, I have wondered about the general problem of scarcity of great intellects (perhaps all new thoughts in the world originate in this type of projection). Someday I must list those that I have recognized. I believe in lists. It would be easier with women. There are fewer of them in a man's intellectual and occupational life and, whether by heredity or early experiences, they are almost always disqualified. The two women who made the most striking intellectual impression upon me were relatively brief acquaintances - Betty Jacob of Philadelphia, Phil Jacob's wife, and Ruth McKinney, author of My Sister Eileen, who has been mentally ill for the past several years. I well remember Margery Goldman and Shirley Starr from high school and college. Simone Thomas (Madame Ohler) is wonderfully intelligent. Mary Wright, Arthur's wife, is great, but her mind does not take wing. Jill can understand everything but had for many years no true interest in moving the world by her mind. (Those who know her will agree that a husband's pride does not place her here). I think one must almost physically will that his mind take flight, pierce mountains, carry the universe, before the mind can become fully exercised and grandly capable. These images of force are unfeminine.
6 AM Finis
July 2, 1959
10:30 en route to New York
Prejudice may be: a general proposition concerning the most probable eventuality of an expected experience. That is, it is a previous frame placed over a new experience. It may be as scientific as any proposition, or may be quite illogically or unempirically derived. A prejudice may be experienced as a mode, a mean or a median. It may be experienced as an uncharged or an emotionally charged approach to an event. The prejudice is operationally existent when a stimulus excites it: in fantasy, in mental work such as writing, both being auto-suggestive, and by encounter with objects or symbols related to the prejudice. Man would be stupid and animal without prejudice.
6 : 10 Pennsylvania Railroad
en route to Princeton
Meeting with Francisco Moreno and x, philosophy student from Cuba with Stephanie Newman, on Cuban Institute plan. Moreno reports a friend, head of the Investigations Department of Cuban State Police, has been removed and arrested. His friend is a strong catholic, well-liked, a thorough-going revolutionary of 26 July movement. Another evidence that the communists are driving to take over the government. Add the news of the forced resignation and arrest of the air force commander: consider especially that he was an object of special rescue efforts just recently by Castro's men themselves. It appears that Castro will go the Guatemala route: communist-front government and ultimate revolution collapse. The next revolution may be bloodier than the present one - a great embitterment is occurring. The Castro Revolution, unlike most others in Cuba and Latin America, is probing deep mass resentments. When these are touched and rise to the political level, blood must flow.
The ideal man has both good and intelligent prejudices. Good prejudices are those that we believe have a constructive social function; that is, they are:
1 Correct factually as far as means, modes, and so forth can be.
2 The total distribution curve is known before the prejudiced experience is fitted to the curve.
3 A good, emotional loading is placed upon the distribution curves' various points, and the loading of the point P is transferred to the experience that fits the point P.
4 A constructive social function is more than factual coincidence and transference of emotional loading. A good man will also transfer loadings according to an outside scale of weights so that he will induce by rewards and punishments a tendency for the shape of the curve to conform to an ideal shape.
5. Less desirable but perhaps also good is a prejudice that does not know the distribution curve and rejects evidence of the curve, when his distortions and associated emotions are socially more valuable than the real shape of the curve. For example, is it not better that a teacher believes children are cleaner, more thoughtful, more attentive, more respectful than they in fact are? Is it not better that an ordinary person believes Negroes in his city to have a lower crime rate than they do have? Is it not better for citizens to believe that courts mete out equal justice with far greater regularity than is actually the case?
These examples introduce the role of myth and fiction in society. They also help make a point that could have come in the beginning. Prejudice is almost a useless word except for giving a bad name to any exceptions to the above five categories. The name-calling person is of course the judge and executioner. But prejudice is really part of the study of logic and the psychology of thought and action.
July 4, 1959
Independence Day. It would be better if the holiday were not becoming so disciplined. Because a few might injure themselves, fireworks are illegal and the population moves in masses into stadia and in parades. Better a million groups of small boys and fathers sampling the freedom of blowing tin cans apart in every street and picnic grove of the nation. We now celebrate collective freedom collectively; before, individual freedom personally. But collective freedom has its demerits: would a world order have come about by now if England had held the colonies? Perhaps so. And probably the capital, as Adam Smith had predicted, would be in the United States anyway. Hurrah! A neighbor boy is exploding torpedoes! Elsie is furious - she like law and order, a true sheep dog.
Jill and I saw Synge's "Playboy of the Western World" at the Murray Theatre last night. Some of the dialogue was hard to catch: Partly the fault of a noisy air conditioner behind us, partly the actors who were not fully adept at the Irish brogue and strangled over some phrases.
The plot depends upon the gruesome humor of a silly lad who believes he has killed his father. The dialogue, the pace, the interplay of tension and relaxation are superb. "Is it possible, wouldn't it be ideal," I asked Jill, "if one might write plays that did not depend when all is said and done, upon some startling uncommon action?" I should like to write a play that was built solely upon normal behaviorals (modal or average events and emotions). But this might be a contradiction in terms. A play is motion. Motion comes from a change in the relation of people. Unique always, of necessity, but typical, analogically - that is, people recognize certain changes as close to their own changes; they sniff the breeze of motion and savor the familiar cabbage soup. Wendell Wilcox told me once how he had striven to make his book "Everything will be All Right" depend for drama solely on the utterly common place and "uninteresting." This is what I mean, partly; the book was good, but not great for it confused the norm with the unimportant. Can't we go farther and take the important norms as the crux of the plot. Must some extraordinary gestures, language, moves, conduct, character, or desires take over and carry the play, if anyone is to hear and see it? I am not sure. Someone must try. I am not certain whether such would be a contradiction in terms or the greatest concept of human drama.
It is quite possible that a play, often appealing as we know to the subconscious and the unconscious, does express the norm even when most fantastic. For example, we know that patricide is a common unconscious or suppressed desire: Freud recklessly calls it universal and fundamental. Therefore the difference between a successful play and a unsuccessful one is not, as my above theory would suggest, a difference between a play of exaggerated conduct and one of normal conduct. Rather a successful play might go after the unconscious "normality" and the unsuccessful one after the conscious "normality;" then, since people go to plays to project themselves, not to relieve their normal behaviors, they require not fiction alone nor yet fantasy and improbability in itself, but the working out of their normal and typical fantasies and unconscious desires and motives. These unconscious norms are like the hidden muscles of the body, unexercised in the routines of life and noticed only in sports or unroutine work. When these hidden impulses are exercised, the truth is so capital and persuasive to the inner mind that the most improbable and deviant events are let pass or accepted and ignored with the tolerant levity of a drunken man with a fly on his nose.
Joaquin de la Roza flew in yesterday morning for another discussion of the promotion of mills to make newsprint out of bagasse. Aside from all else, I am interested in the theoretical problem of economic change that is shaping up: how does a useful process move from the hands of its inventors into the technology. This process is one of the major developments of the generation. In 50 years, more paper will come from bagasse than from wood. But all kinds of psychological, financial, and organizational obstacles lie between the process now and its glorious future. I ask myself - as I hear "Keen" talk gloomily and suspiciously of the groups that might possibly carry the process into its inevitable future - must innovators lose, is the only way a process spreads one that takes command of the situation from the inventors and passes it to other interests who are far more anxious to use the process than to respect the rights of those who developed it? I think that at some point, the inventors must give themselves over to their natural enemies and hope for the best: people will not invest twenty millions of dollars in less than full intelligence. If they get the full intelligence and dismiss in one of many ways the inventors, the latter must resign themselves to little money and modest fame. My task is to tie up these hostile elements inextricably, but I am in turn handicapped by lack of capital; $30,000 is needed to elaborate the tactics of promotion and development. I shall be trying to raise those funds now, with too many other things to do at the same time, alas!
No wonder that Jill showed me an article in Time magazine last night before I fell asleep. She thought at first that it applied exactly to me, but I read it and we found some discrepancies.
Looking for the causes of "coronaries," medical men point accusing fingers at heredity, high-fat diets, emotional strain. Last week the American Psychosomatic Society met in Manhattan, heard a panel of experts examine the kinds of personalities most prone to heart attacks, reemphasized the dangers of stress. Even the "lethalness of a high-fat diet in our society," noted Dr. Henry I. Russek, consultant in cardiovascular research for U.S. Public Health Service, "seems to be dependent on the 'catalytic influence' of stressful living".
The "Stress-Blind" (Am aware) personality cannot recognize his own stress limits. He is usually compulsive about time, (Not compulsive but do use it better than most) overworked, burning to be recognized, restless during his leisure (Depends on type of leisure. Not tennis, swimming, cross-country hiking, reading novels, etc.) hours, and guilty about not working during them. (Not "guilty" but often reminded and impatient about things to do) A perfectionist, he is impatient with subordinates, overmeticulous, prefers doing work to delegating it (Definitely not) His job alone does not produce the stress; more frequently, stress comes from multiple goals and his attitude toward them. To compensate for his anxiety, the stress-blind personality over-eats, smokes, drinks too much, commits himself so heavily that he has no time for exercise. (All of this is partly true. I desire everything to excess, including exercise).
What happens then? The ordinary cocktail-hour psychiatrist will have no difficulty understanding the professionals' explanation. The stress-blind personality creates for himself a "maladaptation syndrome," theorizes the University of Oklahoma's Dr. Stewart Wolf, in which increased blood cholesterol is a "biological adaptive mechanism for providing the body with fuel for extraordinary effort. Because the stress-prone individual is constantly striving and constantly frustrated, his body reacts as though he were constantly carrying a burden." The rise in blood cholesterol and lipides (fatty molecules) may increase the danger of thrombosis (maybe not presently) particularly when other factors (heredity, diet) are already present.
What of the time I spend with children. Sometimes it is restful, sometimes as stressful as the tightest managerial problem. Love-making: stressful but relaxing. Reading can for me be terribly stressful; decision-making on the contrary can be relaxing and exhilarating. Writing is full of exhausting stress. My heart beats faster, and so forth.
Yet I suppose business must take the blame. I think that the passionate writer, struggling to objectify and discipline his mind as he works must undergo the worst stresses of all. Postscript: I sleep like a baby. Too long for my wishes - seven and one half to eight hours on the average.
For gallows humor, this is good: it is a card that a small cigarette manufacturer of Cuba had printed up. He gave it to Keen, who gave it to me. The tobacco union, communist-infiltrated in Cuba, has been giving Keen's friend a bad time since the Revolution :
Se requiere a todos los empleados que se
bañen antes de reportar a
ya que tenemos que besarles el culo para
que hagan algo, deseamos que este muy
July 5, 1959
Charley La Placa opined this morning that the rules against firecrackers were for the safety of all. This annoyed me, as I had talked with Jill about the repression of liberty in the name of collective safety just yesterday, but I said little except to touch his nostalgia for the days when we boys could blow cans to the sky on July 4. As we went into the house, I said to Jill that I was always to suffer from advocating and thinking unpopular opinions - unpopular among the masses but even unpopular among the typical intelligentsia - a one-man army of un-adaptive ideas. With a perspicacity that she has too often lacked or denied these many years, Jill commented, "I can understand why you have always appeared to go along with things and act so normal. It is because your ideas are so different." And then, "It has taken me a long time to understand that about you." Her expression was so complete and satisfactory, I felt for once no need to add a word, and we talked only about trivia thereafter. But how important her words, and, yes, how long I had to wait for these insights. For I am a desperate radical with a passion for carrying on in a democratic and conventional milieu. So subterfuge, calmness, revolt in velvet gloves. Thirty-five years of outward sociability and socialization; while inwardly pressing every claim for truth and reform.
The government girls of Washington are dowdy by comparison with the shop and office girls of New York. Yet the former are better paid, live in a cleaner city, and work at a more leisurely pace. Do the dowdy gravitate to government? Do the non-competitive subtly seek out the non-competitive, non-critical government? Does competition overflow into the employees' garb? Probably so. No doubt I should have photographs to prove this point. Too few have experienced both cities and taken notice. But the difference is great.
Thursday July 9, 1959
I spent the latter part of the afternoon with Pat McGinnis on Monday. Mike and Ed waited like aging fathers for us to bear forth something from the front office. But we disagreed mildly over how much MIDCO (Mediterranean Industrial Development Company) should give for $10,000 cash from the Roper Lumber Company, which is now simply a holder of cash and securities. I think Pat is persuaded of the value of the bagasse-newsprint development, however.
Pat's granddaughter came in as we talked, marching imperiously across the big room on firm little legs. She showed him a dozen huge drawings from her day at school. Many a time that my children have done this. He had to admire them all, force a question or two reflecting deep personal interest, and promise a gift from Washington. She reprimanded him for looking at a drawing upside down, insisted that he react vigorously to a school newsletter that she could not read herself and that he put it in his dispatch case to Washington to study at leisure.
Yesterday Carlo, who is only a little older than she, interrupted a conversation of Ted and myself in my office just as blandly. He asked for thirty cents to defray the expense of hunting butterflies. Well, I thought, the netting and the drugging of the insects must cost something, so I prepared to pay. "What do you need the money for?" I asked. "We want to buy coca-cola," he replied. "We are thirsty from butterfly hunting all day long." I gave him thirty cents and remarked to Ted how some renowned scholars devote their lives to the study of negotiations among powers, in the end to assert that sometimes it is useful to send in an irresponsible party to negotiate for a group or nation to protect the position of the ultimate principals.
I spent an unusually quiet day in Providence and rode with Mike to the airport next morning. We argued over operationalism, Mike attacking it, I explaining and defending it within limits.
Take "God is love", Mike said, as a statement of meaning. How can you operationalize it à la Bridgman and others. I showed how it could be operationalized as God = certain meanings in auditors and speakers, distributed according to frequency of particular sentiments aroused or expressed. The same for "love." And "is" can be made to mean "equal" or "one of several facets of God is love". Naturally no scientist could handle the phrase as it stood "in natura."
But, I added and he agreed, there is an inherent conflict in language and emotion. Language is a logical tool to go from one place to another. It is also an expressive tool, like gesture, body movement, action itself. The two are inseparably joined and disruptive of each other's function, just as the urinary and sexual function of the human are distinct yet joined with consequences now good, now bad, now confusing, and then disorganizing. Only in the "lowest levels" of culture is the pure emotive accepted as a means of address ( and significantly also in the corresponding states of civilized man such as under stress of pain, love, exaltation, and excitement). Hence among disreputable religious sects and primitive tribes, the rise of nonsense words, pure and unadulterated, is permitted. Among them, even "God is love" is too formal an expression and simply "Oh God" with drum beat and chanting is better. Operationalism cannot criticize these statements or expressions as meaningless in logico-experimental senses. They are not intended to compete with scientific language. But where one can forgive the "savage," we cannot excuse the philosophers who burble about something called non-operational phenomena. They usually mean nonsense, scientifically speaking, or they mean things and events, the dimensions of which are empirically unknown and therefore are not susceptible to operational definition. They forget that man can advance in theory far beyond the capacities of his data. Yet the best way of understanding phenomena presumed to be empirical is by "war-gaming," by playing the conjured data according to proto-operationalism. After all this, however, I would say that operationalism is undistinctive; it refers to logical and experimental empiricism antedating Bridgman by long.
I continue to read Kafka's Trial. Kafka is the unique pure dreamer in fiction prose. What an absolute and uniform defect of the ego control he shows. I ask : which is the mirror of the other - dream or consciously managed mind. His is not fantasy - it is dream. Fantasy I know so well, dreams I am deprived of mostly. Fantasy's plot proceeds under strict control of the wish; dreams lead to the most terrible abysses, one after another. All one knows as he begins to plunge into the awful depths is that he will emerge, mutilated, desecrated, falsely triumphant, but still in
being. Much is highly improbable spatially, temporally, characterologically, emotionally, but it all could be. Kafka reminds us of our dreams; also of our humdrum lives with their exasperating non-rationality; also of the strange but true incidents of our lives. Wartime had many; also illness; also love. I recalled a Kafkaesque incident of our college days. Five of us lived in a third floor shabby apartment on 817 East 58th Street in Chicago. Only divinity students should have lived there, but Bill and Bob King were sons of missionaries to India and shared the $38.50 a month flat with us. An unholy crew. The Kings, Allen Greenman (philosopher and now Unitarian minister in St. Louis), Elberton Smith, Bus, and I, at this point in time. Three of us locked the door one night against Greenman's return. He rang and rang the bell downstairs, after trying his key on the upstairs lock. We were amused. He tried the back porch door and that was locked. Then suddenly he had called the police and their car disgorged itself before our startled eyes, down below. We quickly unlatched the door but then thought how angry the police would be at the prank. So we piled into a closet as the police came up the stairs. Suddenly we imagined what the police would do: they would enter somehow, challenge any noise, fire their guns into the closet if they suspect someone to be inside. We broke out of the closet and went to the rear only to see a policeman ascending the porch stairs.
"To the front door," I said, and we opened it up, regardless of embarrassment. There we stood mute. All the explanations were given us by the police and Allen. "Are you sure .… etc.," said the police. "Yes, absolutely...," said Allen, and he was a great convincing actor already beyond the questions of the ordinary police. "Well, then, here's what must have happened: The burglars heard you fellows arriving and were frightened away. They unlatched the front door, which they had bolted while at work, and fled by the rear porch. Then we pulled in, right on your heels and found you here." The police went away satisfied. We were relieved and slightly shocked and, of course, amused. We never told Greenman what had happened. He would in time have forgiven us, because we often had sharp disagreements without bearing grudges, but he would have been highly annoyed.
July 13, 1959
My life has a way of proliferating. This morning I exclaimed to Jill that I should like to write a poem a day. Hurrah! What a fine thought! I can see the long rows of titles, the admirable thoughts, the fresh black ink on thousands of type faces. The ambition has meaning. Don't dismiss it entirely. I shall write a couple of dozen poems this coming year. I think of a cycle of the four big Caribbean Islands - Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. I think of a cycle to my family - a poem for each child, an invocation and conclusion.
The ambition rests on a squirming mass of other ambitions and projects. I tell myself that I am managing things. I now have four major jobs: organizing and directing the Center for Applied Social Research at New York University; writing the book on social Welfare and liberty; publishing and editing PROD; and managing MIDCO. The trouble is that these are really constellations of separate tasks, and besides these are separate tasks set for myself. Today I prepared a memorandum to orient President Newsom to the work of the Center; it listed over twenty ideas, projects, and programs, as different as a new Social Science program for the Korean National University and a study of outdoor recreation needs in America. The book on welfare and liberty is two books; a somewhat pedestrian survey of what is happening in all the institutions of America that concern themselves with well-being - from the nation to the family, and, secondly, a book on the philosophy of liberty, charity, and welfare. The survey is my idea and plan and my management, but most of the gathering, winnowing, and writing is Ted Gurr's. The latter will be thoroughly in my hand and stamped in my image. PROD is a set of features, each requiring my attention - news, editorial, correspondence, column, selections of classic or striking statements, and bibliography - plus articles that are selected and edited by me in the large. But PROD cannot be printed fast and fat enough for my thought; I have a hundred cards of ides for it; how can a fraction of them ever be realized. (I have 200 cards or more containing other ideas for projects, hypotheses, pensées.)
(Am I unusual? Every day I live, I catch at least a dozen ideas from the air and convert each to plan, carry into execution, observe the direct and indirect social and personal consequences - all mentally - in five minutes. Sometimes I do the whole in a minute - even while someone with whom I am conversing is waiting for me to reply to a question or a remark that is on a quite different subject. Much of the time these rapid-fire plans are so complete that they could be written down and presented as a week's work by the planning staff of an organization. However, I know from many experiences that they should not be voiced abruptly; they must be released slowly, if at all, and never more than one in any prolonged encounter with a strange group - business, academic, or political - because no one likes to believe that a massive release of orderly mental energy is possible. They resent and reject the thought. They turn to rationalize their position and use all the bureaucratic and pseudo-psychological defenses against presumptive outside intervention.
How I have suffered through my life from this trait of mine and its natural human opposition, often at the hands of friends. Examples are numerous beyond the telling. For instance, in Chicago, when I turned up in Bob Merriam's mayoralty campaign on a grant to prepare a study and simultaneously to help him win, that is, as a participant observer, the campaign had already gotten well underway. Jack Shapiro was organizing the independent forces for canvassing. I had many other things to do - write speeches, advise on releases, manage undercover inquiries into criminal-political linkages, etc. - but sat in by Jack's invitation at a conference of the district canvassing chairmen. The facts came out clearly - a great machine counterattack could be foreseen, our strength was almost all in the areas where an honest count of the ballots was a matter of course and where we were already strong in votes, we had very few canvassers in absolute terms; besides, the campaign was not greatly exciting the electorate, and we have long known how few votes are changed by discussion, even at the doors of citizens. So, at what appeared to be the critical point when all these facts were explicitly or implicitly revealed, the whole strategy that had to be came to me suddenly. "Jack," I said, "It seems to me that given the few resources we have, the whole effort must be concentrated on election day - insuring an honest count and getting out our vote. Start right now, organize all our forces only to these ends. Forget about persuading the public; do not waste our time in discussion sessions, teaching our own workers what the issues are. Organize ourselves to do a job on the last great day of elections. This alone is a tremendous job. Probably we can't do it, even if that is all we try to do. But if we don't do this task well, we cannot do anything else that will count for much."
Jack became angry. He had worked under me in the aldermanic elections of 1947 but had become a locally well-known and active leader, expert in political management in the years since then. He said something like: "We have a good plan here and we're trying to carry it out. I'm bossing this show and you have no right to come in and tell us what to do". He couldn't be unfriendly, but he was obviously incensed, and I saw little point in engaging in battle on the question. It was a vital matter, but its reform was impossible. My brother, Victor, then one of the district leaders and now Executive Director of the Illinois Democratic Federation, didn't support me, but, like a couple of others there, only expressed interest in what I was saying. Reform could only have been accomplished if I could have fired Jack on the spot and replaced him. Such almost never happens in American politics. Bob couldn't even have done so, if he had wished. Yet Jack is, in truth, a good smart politician, much better than most organization directors.
Nor could my position ever be validated; its truth was manifest in the events of election day. The machine wards turned out great disciplined lines of voters hostile to us. We had few watchers. On the afternoon of election day, we called friendly business firms and asked them to release their staffs early to us so that we could somehow watch the count in the precincts. Sears Roebuck, Bell and Howell, and a few other offices responded. An hour before closing time twenty enthusiastic, educated executives descended on the precinct where I had set up momentarily and had to be instructed, qualified with documents, given an address to go to, and shipped out in a taxicab. It was an absurd attempt to stem the tide. They might have saved us a thousand votes had their work been prepared. Some of the released clerks and executives got lost back of the yards and never even reached us to be assigned until count was in. When I got back to downtown headquarters, I was enraged to see the crowd of supporters there to hear the returns. There were at least two hundred people who had not been out working in the precincts on the critical say.
The long parenthesis is ludicrous. Howsobeit, the fourth job is MIDCO and a dozen separate projects occupy me here - bagasse paper mills, Turkish wool imports, sale of an instrumentation factory belonging to American-Standard Company, etc. Now in addition to these clusters of tasks, I have the journal to continue. I long to write poems and write a play about Aaron Burr and two or three one-act plays I have in mind. I have a manuscript on the general theory of administration with the editors of Random House, one on political activity and participation to place in a journal, and another on the combining of legal and behavioral materials in theory and research. Then I wish to write an article on "business, power, and government;" many are excited about this topic; Ralph Kordiner (GE) and Steve du Brul (GM) are of opposite views; it is important, contains a measure of the future of America in it, and I did a poor job of presenting my thoughts verbally on the subject at GE's Institute of Advanced Management a year ago. Should I also rework and publish the manual of Methods for Studying Elites, and the manual on propaganda to audiences abroad? Perhaps. Perhaps some of these things will be done. Not all, I suppose. I keep asking, "Is everything I am doing necessary and/or important?" My answer, strangely, is yes. I cannot honestly cut down their number and variety at this point. If I eliminate the commercial projects, interesting as they may be, I give up a chance for some very useful capital that may liberate future choices. If I give up the New York University work, I give up income too, but I also give up a chance at striking progress in social research organization and in the educational effects and influence of research at that great University. Furthermore, in this and in the commercial ventures, a subtle personal motive is, I believe, present. Since I feel responsible for my partially repressed but still rushing flow of plans and ideas, I unconsciously do penance by undertaking practical projects. Perhaps this is why I have never been able to be a pure intellectual, sufficient unto myself, but was athlete, soldier, politician, businessman, research organizer, and father of a family of seven. I have perhaps felt compelled in fond to prove the validity of my multitude of ideas by demonstrating beyond the ordinary my capacities to carry ideas into being.
July 18, 1959
The great crisis of the U.S.A. will occur on the race relations issue. On the resolution of this hinges the fate of America and its idea in the world.
Internal forces are bringing this issue to the fore :
- vocalization of colored.
- outside criticism
- strategic positioning of the colored group in biggest and urban states.
This all seems still remote because of "weakness" economically and numerically of colored in U.S.A., but many things go the other way:
- 1/10 of nation is largely colored and active
- another 2/10 will go all the way with them
- the old imperial elite is gone both in the old colonial world and at home
- U.S.S.R. and communist states strong
- only South Africa is the reactionary ally of racist conventionalism.
Tuesday, 7 AM
July 22, 1959
Shoreham Hotel, 801B
2500 Calvert Road
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
(How detailed is one's exact position in time and space! Yet what an efficient isolation of a character and event from the trillion other incidents of eternity. And it can be mastered by the schoolboy and becomes routine.)
It's been a busy day's trip to Washington. Jill drove me to Trenton at 7AM, where I caught the train. It was half an hour late into the capital because of overhead wire trouble, but I breakfasted and wrote a four-page prospectus on the future greatness of the paper industry, loosed upon agricultural residues, and the opportunities for a new organization to profit from work in its development.
I made a dozen phone calls from the station and began the visiting day. First lunch with Bob Merriam at Chez Francois (good calve's brains sauté). He is shepherding the President's Commission on National Goals project but can't unite the flock, because, when he goes to collect funds, the foundations tell him that they must have a concrete idea of the project and the Commission, but the commission, including the putative Arthur Burns, won't join without money. So Bob wonders whether NYU might not now offer to underwrite the project so as to get it underway, in the full knowledge of the White House that NYU is acting as guarantor and other financing must soon be made available. I welcomed this turn of events. NYU's participation looks closer. I believe Newsom and Ivey will take this risk for the great possible gain to the University.
I spent an hour and a half with Norman Wengert on the problems of the National Outdoor Resources Review Commission. Laurence Rockefeller had mentioned to him that I had sent Rockefeller a copy of my critical letter to Norman Wengert. Rockefeller liked the letter, especially the phrase "ideology of Great Outdoors-ism," for the ideology is apparent in the composition and attitudes of the Commission.
I suggested to Norm that we might set up several schemes of alternative premises, logics, and facts for appraising, projecting, and determining policies on outdoor recreation. Here is a good chance for a "policy science" approach. But, as we agreed, if this is staff work, Norm's office "should" be doing it, and it certainly doesn't appear on the surface as "out-contract" work, so the Commission might balk at financing it. So I'll put the problem inside a bigger box and hand it to Norm for financing. I don't know whom I might hire on this task of setting up the books of alternative social costs and policies: the concept is so foreign to political scientists, economists are narrow, psychologists have little substantive knowledge - perhaps a sociologist. A lawyer - impossible! Social worker - incredible! Unless, of course, the maverick is discovered.
Afterwards I visited with S. McKee Rosen and two colleagues at the international educational exchange office of the International Cooperation Administration. They asked me questions for an hour concerning how social science could help economic development and how public administration might be taught in the poor countries. They were pleased with the cultural-anthropological approach to economic development and therefore especially attentive at suggestions of how this approach might be converted into a fast moving, rationalistic, specifically practical technique. I suggested a large panel or pool of first-rate men (it would be hopeless to get second-raters), with a secretariat on perpetual alert, from which teams might be sent on flying expeditions to countries where analysis of a situation was required in depth. I ventured that the results obtained from a team of panel members in a week would definitely provide intelligence for abandoning or intensifying practices. Rosen and "Jack" gave good and friendly advice on proceeding with a cooperative move to train Cuban officials and professors at NYU and to send our professors down to Cuba as instructors. This exchange might be the beginning of a large inter-university program. Incidentally, not one of the large inter-university programs in Public Administration of the last ten years has come up with a fundamentally critical report on its work and a constructive revision; result: routine administration of U.S. variety taught half-heartedly to thousands of foreigners in depressed countries. Any gain is lucky. The public administration content should be the last part to be placed on the curriculum, like the hood over the motor; it is not the machine itself.
I showered at the hotel, and Hart and Beatty Perry picked me up to go to dinner at their home. Their young man, Hart Jr., is a handsome boy and has taken seriously to singing. Jeannie Phillips, wife of Saxton Bradford, just named Assistant to Thayer at State, was the fourth at dinner. She is a shining, intelligent gal whom I remember very dimly from the university of Chicago. Beatty was full of dramatic accounts of not very earth-shaking events, most amusing and far beyond the talents of most women for story-telling. Her Greg Gallery is going well. Poor Hart doesn't get his 100% due as husband, owing to the gallery, but five minutes of Beatty's time is fifteen of another woman's, so he should rest content. Beatty unfurled several zen inscriptions, painted on panels of heavy silk, that her mother had just sent her from Japan. They said things like "Good is not perfect" that are to make one ponder. I liked the marvelous packing of the banners more than the banners. Imagine sanding and fitting mere packaging wood on a crate - incredible Japanese.
July 23, 1959
Our calm retreat into the night starkly contrasts with a day full of conflict. I think I may have been directly involved with a conflict three hours out of sixteen. How many days are so rife with struggle? Is this usual and merely realized in me one occasion? Is conflict like the spanking of children, much more common than is remembered or admitted? How can the world ever be at peace? How can the wearied mind rest? How can one rid himself of the guilty feeling that he has been out of control, that he has precipitated storms of hostility? Worse yet, that he has trained in some measure a child to fight? Or passed along a rage from one person to another instead of breaking the chain? Or spent shameful time in fantasies of destruction and hostilities?
The troubles go from the most intimate of circles to persons I did not know and then on beyond through all the organizations to which I belong, beginning with that greatest troublemaker of all time, the state. The U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. are ready to abandon their talks about Germany in Switzerland, the newspaper captions say, for the two parties will not talk straight and there is little to say if the main point is not decided. Moses is in trouble, says the Times - again and again; nothing new about his conflicts. And of course Castro bleating against the U.S.A . But more than all these groups to which I belong and for which I am said to be indirectly responsible by virtue of membership, the accursed and disgusting conflicts are those of the home and job. In some I am principal, in others referee or agent or sympathetic observer. What does it all matter, they are all ugly as sin.
Ramon and John had a bitter fight that I refereed and arbitrated. (They are strong and fast little boys, but Ramon's age and more desperate fighting experience tells.) Later Ramon and Carlo fought with fists and rocks. There were the usual expostulations with Cathy and Vicky, and with Jill, of course, argument, recriminations, a little nagging both ways. And Ted left his work on my desk, for which I reprimanded him. "Why," I asked him, "if I clean up my desk top so well before leaving, do you think I should ignore your debris on it when I return?" (It is humiliating to have to deal with one's 27-old assistant in this way.) Then over the phone I was given a hard time by General Howell when I asked to talk to him, for he didn't remember me and rode his high horse for a while - i.e., channels, 4000 professors, too busy - etc. I am sending him an ironic letter about the conversation. Stephanie phoned and involved me in irritating explanations and decisions concerning apartments to let in the Village, and I was rude to her. The family waxed loquacious over the villainies and stupidity of Mrs. La Placa and her two little daughters. She is a paranoid peasant. I always recommend treating them gently, because I hate to be on bad terms with neighbors. But Mrs. La Placa is a blind bull about such things. Her girls have learned much from our children. Yet she can't help herself; she has no sense of time. Only this moment excites and determines her mind, not the long consequences of conflict between neighbors.