August 2, 1959
Sea gulls squeaking in the high wind at the docks this morning at 8. Sounding like clotheslines being jerked over pulleys by washerwomen. Or like the string section of an orchestra tuning up. Or like rigging of a sailboat that the gulls follow themselves. Several tone frequencies, high pitched, no resonance, no sustained quality (merci a Die!)
The children love the beach. All seven were out last night until dark, alone on the grand beach off 91st street, the three smallest boys rolling down the dune like barrels and clambering among the rocks and rotten piles of a pier, the older four plunging and swimming far out into the breakers on the shallow beach. They took turns riding the surf on a little inflated canvas raft.
The bedtime hour was tiresome and irritating, as it has been hundreds of times. No single person's fault. No collective fault either. Just a hundred inquiries, requests, searches, and an unpleasant heat last night. Jill has great patience or perhaps she is as impatient as she says but does not fret at having to find personal articles for small children, arrange bedding, read a story, and do others chores that make me restless. They are trivia to me, though I know they are important in their context, and therefore I do them. I do not avoid them as much as I might, but I am fatigued by them.
August 3. 1959
Men curse and women weep over losing baubles, breaking watches or machines. But millions of heads die and are buried daily with only the immediate to mourn, each infinitely complex next to the machine. I dreamt last night; I only do so about once a month, at least so as I can remember. And I always admire the magnificent mechanism of the mind, even when, and especially evident when, uncontrolled. There are of course controls of a kind, one is never so cagey, farsighted, etc. as in a dream. Yet the world of the dream is built on shifting sands. We-in-dream see far less of objects and beings than we-in-reality, and are constantly dismayed by not being able to take anything for granted: We do not know what is on the other side of the moon and everything is a moon in our dreams. Kafka rearranges and fills in little spaces in these sequences of dream episodes. He puts them in chapters, eliminates the gross events that are common in childhood dreams (or were in mine) of being chased by monsters and of falling over cliffs.
a What is essence of poetry? If only hypothesis, then it is part of corpus of all pre-science, i.e., it is a branch of theory.
b If statements of wish.
c If statements of preference other than wish.
d If expositions of the unconscious, i.e., free fantasy.
e If pleasing style.
f If exact statement.
g If riddle.
h If suggestiveness to stimulate other people's hypotheses, others' b, c, d, etc.
i If a combination of some but not all of above.
j If all of above.
August 7, 1959
Two hours and fifteen minutes of 60-70 mph brought me here on Thursday. The children and Jill are charming, full of spirits, inquisitive, and intelligent here at the beach and tidewater as elsewhere. I hired a motorboat yesterday afternoon and, with Jill and the four boys, journeyed to the ocean mouth along the inland waterway. Paul, John, and Carlo each took turns at the outboard motor. We landed at several serene and wild marshy places and watched the tides go out from beneath out feet.
I finished Gide's Strait is the Gate last evening. This sickly novel, verily the Romantic Agony, annoys me. It is as frustrating, as interminable whatever its few pages, and uncomfortably subjective in its way as Franz Kafka's The Trail. This morning I read Trilling's Introduction to Flaubert's Bouvard and Pecuchet, a fine and true piece.
August 11, 1959
Chicago Political Scientists
Biographical and analytical essays on:
Sebastian de Grazia
Distinctive backgrounds of all - yet few facts on their backgrounds. Like many great men, they create their own past. All very American yet very different in background, temperament, pastimes, likes, and dislikes.
The New York Times published our release on the Center for Applied Social Research, carrying on photograph, looking dark, stern, with a smile of some kind around the eyes. Reactions: who knows; I had a note of congratulations from Edmond Cahn, two phone calls from jobseekers, remarks from Stephanie and Scofield, from Tessie Berkman who said it made me handsome, from Sterling Spero, from Dick Eells. At least two strangers I spoke to on the phone while trying to reach someone else had a tone in their voice indicating that they would have liked to have said, "Oh, I saw your picture in the paper this morning." Jill said it made me appear less good-looking than natural. I don't much care. I am resigned never to look like myself in photos, nor to bespeak myself in my writing. I wonder, though, how many dozens or hundreds of acquaintances around the country will be momentarily lifted up a bit as they get their Times - tomorrow in little Antioch and big Michigan University, next day in Chicago (at Roosevelt one reaction, North-Western another, Chicago a third), then the prairie towns (my old students at North Dakota, Gore at Kansas City, etc.), then California and the Stanford and Berkeley crowd, and in Hawaii, with Norm Meller and Bob Stauffer and Dick Kosaki over their morning papaya or guava juice.
In "The Voices of Silence," André Malraux truly and forcibly describes the change from an age without art museums, with few reproductions, and little save memory to serve for the comparative study of art, and the present day of great public collections, faithful reproductions, and abundant communications about artwork.
Implied in the same line of thought is the reason why written communication means less today. Every event, whether artistic or military, has hundreds of observers, and often now millions of viewers of TV operating at the site of action. Of what value a few words of someone who was there? Jefferson's letters were to his correspondents, and to us today in part, the only news they had of many ideas, currents of politics, decisions of important personages, and exhortation. Two centuries ago a man who had been to Dresden and to Madrid and had perchance viewed two related paintings of the same master or school would find many people interested in the reading of any lines he write in description of them. Like a chess piece he was great not only in himself but in the spaces that he commanded.
In other capacities and contexts, I declaim against the poverty of our data and paucity of the raw materials of social analysis. Now I say that the evidence of man's work and doings is so plentiful as to make most journals, letters, superficial accounts of events transitory and trivial. But there is no contradiction. Science requires systematic, standard data. We have moved from the old age, but not fully into the new.
Whom have I seen and whom talked to in the three days of this week. On Monday, just my family and Jean and Ted. Oh, yes, Eilein, Ted, and I lunched together at King's Court. On Tuesday I worked with Scofield on the redesign of the All-Day Neighborhood School project. Otherwise, save for Stephanie Neumann, I touched only lightly upon human company and spent the rest of my time on the telephone and in writing. Today I breakfasted at the Waldorf with Dick Eells, and we are going to push the project I called "Poligaming the Corporation" into the GE Foundation for a grant. Lunch with the redoubtable Tessie Berkman - Scofield joined us. We talked freely and agreeably over an hour and half. I told her in confidence of my questionable inspiration to put Madame Commissioner of Correction Kross' Institute of Corrections Research and Training into the abandoned old Gothic monster, the Jefferson Market Courthouse, on 6th Avenue and 10th street. I shall talk to Mrs. Kross about the matter. It could be a great tour de force. The watchful traditionalists of Manhattan would be happy to see the building renovated and put to use.
Then I met with Milton Stern, a bright guy working for a progressive ramified empire, the General Education Division of the University. I criticized mildly the Institutes of Reading and the Testing Center on grounds that they made no profit, employed few professors and students, and served no function in the University. But he was pleased with my general opinion of the equality of status adult education should hold with any other education. I must write down my thoughts on the liberal arts mentality as a repressive stupid force in education. The liberal arts ideologues in effect say that education is what happens to people in a so-called educational institution between the ages of 17 and 21. In fact, education is the content, the rest is machinery. Perhaps only the young can learn easily, but they try less hard too than many an adult. This is only a technical question of pedagogy. It has nothing to do with the value of the thing being taught.
At 3:30 I was in Donald Young's office at the Russell Sage Foundation, and we conversed for an hour and more on the social work school at NIGH and on social invention, but particularly upon the idea I have for an exposition (exhibition, fair) of applied social science. I noted that Young reacted a little close on the subject, but I carried him back onto it in several different ways until I believe he is now interested in the idea and sees no fatal flaws in it. Not that he is persuaded. He feels that it must deal with particulars - very true. But also that it should have great trouble in making social science operations tangible and visible. He is not easy to talk to. He is intelligent but shows some science of having dealt with less than the highest caliber minds over many years. (I think he himself could have made original and excellent contributions to sociology had he remained a scholar.) Also he has a way of closing questions that are raised by committing himself to a position on them and thereby discouraging, out of politeness and out of discretion, a counter-position. We ended our talk well, and I was surprised when, in shaking hands to say goodbye, he grasped mine in both of his, affectionately.
August 12, 1959
New York City
The thought has occurred several times to see what Pascal's Pensées are like. If I have read any part of them, I have forgotten. I open the copy of Pensées that is at Paul's apartment, and see that it is a collection of notes for a book, in the pre-modern style of non-fictional work: you set down everything that strikes you on the subject; you do set up a series of necessary hypotheses and gather sufficient evidence one way or another on them. Thus: (879) "Men like certainty. They like the Pope to be infallible in faith, and grave doctors to be infallible in morals, so as to have certainty." Or (858) "There is pleasure in being with a ship beaten about by a storm, when we are sure that it will not flounder. The persecutions which harass the church are of this nature." Or (594) "Mahomet was without authority. His reasons then should have been very strong, having only their own force. What does he say then, that we must believe him?" And (426) "True nature being lost, everything becomes its own nature; as, the true good being lost, everything becomes its own true good." Or (277) "The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know." These are great sentences for the 17th century or even for the 19th. Today they are beautiful style, carry striking connotations, convince people who are humanists and others who do not know how far the minds of a few men have advanced. Apply thoroughgoing semantic and psychological analysis to the last aphorism (277) and get nonsense, elegant, stirring nonsense, a befuddling drunkening sense of knowing something one does not know. And even were this clear and meaningful, how many of the Pensées contradict one another? And what gross exaggeration characterizes many passages? By his own statement, Pascal suits himself well: (16) "Eloquence is an art of saying things in such a way - (1) that those to whom we speak may listen to them without pain and with pleasure; (2) that they feel themselves interested, so that self-love leads them more willingly to reflection upon it…" (He of course says later that Eloquence requires the pleasant but the pleasant must "be drawn from the true." ). Eloquent Pascal, model, and perhaps corrupter, of a thousand humanists.
Pascal died at 39. Were I now today, I should leave many more true things said about man. But I have usually avoided eloquence, partly because I am a natural master of it and love what I have learned over what I am. Yet I should not be as a great as Pascal - because a man should be measured by his times - to be fair. And I have not set myself to stirring men and making them feel good - as was Pascal's aim and method. I have, on occasions of rhetoric, troubled men, and I know not when we shall be finding our way out of the wilderness. Then too, Pascal accomplished some remarkable inventions in the physical sphere, such as the barometer.
From Ernest Jones' life of Freud:
Each patient was given 55 minutes precisely, so that there was an interval of five minutes between each to clear his mind ready for fresh impression or to dash in and hear the latest news of the household.
When I work in Princeton at home, I do the same, with a natural clock, without patients; perhaps several phone calls, or letters, or a page or two of writing substitute. Amusing how the fathers of large families, Freud with six and I with seven, want to drop in and out of the household, but not to become too involved.
The same book (Volume II, 399):
The tenacity with which Freud maintained his hardly won convictions and his imperturbability in the face of outside 'Criticism,' which was so often a mere expression of disbelief born of ignorance, have led many opponents into saying that he was dogmatic and cocksure, that he was never willing to admit any doubts. That such a conclusion is certainly untrue is demonstrable, not only from the numerous passages in his writings where he admitted the extreme tentativeness of various conclusions and above all their imperfection as final statements, but more especially from the many passages in his letters … where he described how often he had been assailed by inner doubts and uncertain ties. As he rightly claimed, he was a more severe critic of his work than any outsider could have been.
These lines may convince the public but not me. I have the same behavior pattern as Freud, but one of my doubts (and perhaps one of Freud's) is whether I doubt myself enough. And certainly Freud, and Jones should follow him, would know how assertiveness follows doubt and how the most dogmatic saint may be the most self-flagellating of sinners, who, however, measures the justice of his external indignation and finality of idea by the intensity of his own punishment. He moves out into the world confidently, knowing that he has already suppressed and chastised his inner weakness.
August 15, 1959 8 : 30 PM
This evening all save Carlo and Christopher, the youngest, went to the 8 o' clock mass, it being a Holy Day of Obligation. Night was falling and I took Christopher with me to find Carl. Chris knew the way to the Quarry, that old tempting landmark for childhood adventure. We went across a neighbor's woods and down a slope to dense brush bordering on a street below but hidden from the street by a heavy stone wall in disrepair.
As we suspected, Carl was there with John Caruso, that intrepid and maddening, parentally mismanaged, little boy whose name should be Crusoe and whose exploits with fish and turtles and other Huckleberry Finn tricks have often caused me to wonder whether parental neglect, impatience, and dislike are not one of the few ways of developing boys of spirit and ingenuity. I cannot like the ugly scrawny little boy for he has more than twice his share of upsetting habits of young boyhood - sneaky, lewd, mischievous - but I admire him, principally because in complete solitariness, and, I should add, partly at the cost of Jill's great patience and sympathy, he has been making something of himself, and is visibly a character to be reckoned with at eight years of age.
The two had built a smoky fire in a tiny clearing in the brush. I mildly reproved them for vanishing without word, and we all started back in good spirits, slowly though because of the intense humid heat, and because the three boys could walk along the top of the massive, smooth stone ledge for fifty yards to where the path upwards began. There as we turned up, I exchanged greetings with an ancient man. He stopped me to talk while the boys threaded their way up the path and Chrissy stood patiently by me, clasping my hand.
The old man's accent was so heavy, his English so poor, both abetted by a half century or more of clutching a pipe in the mouth, that only phrases here and there carry his meanings. Jill had mentioned him on occasion before; she forages this area more than I. He is over eighty, a stone mason from Italy, small now, lean, watery eyes, full of pride as a squire showing his small prize beeves. "Fifty-two years ago I built these walls. All of those stones I put together…. They said make them skinny but I make them thick. All big stones, from the quarry." He ran his hand from time to time over the surface of the wall. It was a fine wall, composed of large, rectangular, natural-color stones, molded evenly together by mortar. "Two hundred years they will last," he said proudly, and I thought that he was underestimating. "The man said 'Guido, don't you have a son?' 'Sure, I have a son.' 'Well, the way you make the wall, your son will never have any work.' "
Guido pointed down the road to a huge stone house that I had never noticed before, three stories tall and several rooms wide. "I make that too, in one year. I work somewhere a week, then work on the house, then I work somewhere else."
"It is hot. I know this morning. I see the clear light. A little mist, and in ten minutes it was gone. I know that it will be a terrible day." It was.
Guido never ceased talking. Chris was marvelously patient standing so low down and understanding hardly a word, while at least I could catch the gist of the old man's thoughts and was deeply touched by them. I could make out too the "poi's" and "allora's" and other Italian words that introduced and connected his memoire.
"Never sit down after supper. You never get up. Walk. So I walk."
He patted the wall and fondled an iron hinge that protruded stoutly.
"Fifty-two years she is here. One dollar a load for the stone. Make it pin.. - it is too thick. I say in Italy we work with the walls thick".
I don't think it matters to him that the walls have no more use than a Roman column in the Tripoli desert. They are his, part of him, his to pass by in the dawn and dusk when old men walk, his to contemplate his strength in. If he should live to watch them be torn down for Charley La Placa's new housing development, he will get a last exultation. He will see strong men and great costly machines take days to break his stones. They will sweat and curse. They will say "Boy, they really made these damned walls to last" and "You never see anything made like this nowadays." Probably one of his grandsons or grandnephews will be in the crew. They are numerous in Princeton. And that's how Guido will give them work. For his walls will wrestle the big mechanical graders and bulldozers, until they can buy gas, get a new car, and drink whiskey instead of beer with the extra wages of a tough job.
August 17, 1959
Design for a study of pluralism as an isolated factor in "democracy" and as possibly independently producing "democracy" without the necessity for ingredients A, B, C, etc. that have been always considered (rationalistically) as necessary to the existence of democracy.
This is an experimental small group study intended to test my general thesis that pluralism is the sine qua non of democracy, not "democratic" procedures, attitudes, ideals, etc., except as these lend force or cover up with pretty works the larger effect of pluralism.
August 18, 1959
I have received several dozen letters of congratulation on the NYU appointment, some of them from people I've not heard from in years, in the one case for twenty years and then only for several days aboard the 'New Amsterdam.' There is no politesse regard congratulations. Many good friends don't write anything or mention it in conversation; very few write. Some acquaintances digest news by telling it to mutual friends. It is even possible that the number of messages between two people is inversely proportional to the shared friends available to both.
Reading Gide's Travels in the Congo. Just a few pages make me wish to write "comments of a traveler on a traveler." For instance "An absurd contretemps prevented me from paying my respects to Governor when we were at Bôma. I cannot get it into my head that I am charged with a mission and therefore an official personage. I have the greatest difficulty in puffing myself out to fill this role".
Perhaps Gide's humility is true, thought I sometimes suspect it, but I for one have the same difficulty and for other reasons. In an exotic setting, I like to feel exotic. Secondly, I am not interested in encountering the power and pomp of others. I would call to receive a surrender of it, but otherwise, with not a little envy, a feeling which I wish to avoid, I shy away from meeting the great, except now, and for the first time, men and women of creative minds. Examples: many generals - friend and foe; politicoes; musicians; popular authors; university presidents; "noted" book publishers. Names? Another time. I have a 9 o'clock appointment, and besides I have already said more than Gide by way of proof of a feeling.
August 23, 1959
Sunday night 10:30
Are we living in an unheroic age, as we are told by so many liberal and conservative writers? We cannot prove ourselves by hand-to-hand combat, truly. We are forced to appease the Soviets, purely because we do not want to bring about the destruction of civilization itself for the sake of achieving the principles of civilization. Man is mechanized; he is tied to routine; he is not the master of his home, or of his work. His skills are difficult and the expansion of biceps comes for five minutes of the day rather than in an explosion against injustice. Politics seems complicated. Religion seems weak. No one believes if he is in the free world, it seems, because tolerance and the relativity of moral phenomena have sapped the moral of belief.
Worse, we are often told that the term "heroic" may not be used at all. Many say that the word is senseless and their saying so also helps to establish the world as unheroic. "Pursuing false goals cannot be heroic." "Satisfying a psychological urge for self-punishment is not heroic." "Serving some small group not obviously in the public interest cannot be called heroic." "A girl saving a boy from a shark is heroic, but the rareness of this action and its utterly individual character only underlines the fact that heroism as a social trait of an age does not exist today." "The hero as fool - such would be a good title - or should it be the fool as hero." "Heroism is suffering and what is heroic about suffering?" "Heroism is a belief in the control of events by will, but what is more unhistorical and unsociological than this belief?" "Heroism is in the acceptance of fate, but how can quiescence be heoric?" "Heroism is in activity for its own sake in the face of admitted and expected fate, but is senseless activity better than senseless inactivity, is irrationality by one means better than irrationality by another?" So they say in effect that the word is unoperational; it stands only for things that exist already in themselves and are not particularly heroic.
But is to explain anything the end of it? Do we destroy every idea as soon as we understand it? If so, then knowing - far from being man's greatest good - must be the worst event that can ever happen to him. To know is to kill.
Or is murderous explanation the great evil of our age? Explanation, proof, methodology, demonstration, analysis - call it what you will - these are today the hooded and daggered assassins of man's vital force. They need to be redefined. They must be reunderstood. A new science of knowing is demanded! A new epistemology is the order of the day!
Heroism is not the only victim. So are all brave concepts. To repeat, man's life as man is the whole victim. Only concerning ourselves with heroism, a way must be found to say everything differently, and with greatest caution, even prayer.
A hero is always specific to those who can and will understand him.
A hero is good because there are objective measures of good.
A hero is distinguished by his acceptance - happily, humbly, or arrogantly - of a task greatly beyond the capacities of most others who might have had his chance.
Whatever else a hero is makes him no more than any other man, someone capable of "explanation," for he can be weighed, tested for aptitudes, studied for his forensic and physical abilities, and otherwise ticketed and categorized.
So I think today that the number of those who can and will understand heroes are less in number. The number of those who believe in a "good" is fewer. Very many people therefore neither note nor recognize nor can admit the existence of heroes. Yet to me, at least, the heroes live, and I am moved by them. The heroes, fathers who educate their children kindly and conscientiously in the teeth of universal disaster; the heroes who struggle as Negroes for their race's betterment and dignity, in the NAACP and out; heroes who do a full day's work for a full day's pay; heroes who study unpopular bodies of knowledge, who work faithfully at unfashionable machines, who give respect to good and non-cooperation to the many glittering and widely-touted forms of the worthless and evil, who will choose to undermine at much cost the fortresses of fashion and bureaucracy; the missionaries as heroes; men of dedication and good will; women who deserve better of men. There they are and many more. Heroes in an unheroic age.
August 26, 1959
18 East 8th Street, New York City
Ernest Dichter, Mrs. Dichter, and I dined together yesterday evening at Grenados Restaurant. Earlier, at the One Fifth Avenue Bar, Dichter and I had continued our irregular conversations about cooperation between his Institute and NYU. He thought that we might cooperate on certain projects brought in by him, when the client wanted "more objective" and "academic" sponsorship; then, he added, when we had a client who needed his facilities, we might go to him in concert. I replied that I could understand the advantages of the first, but that the second was more difficult, since apart from himself I was not sure what his facilities could give us. To soften the reply, however, I stated that his group did have one apparently unique function: ten cases could be provided by a psychiatrist, 1000 cases by NORC, SRC, ORC, G & R, etc., but 150 cases perhaps best by his Institute for Motivational Research. His interviewers know how to go into depth better than most, and he is not afraid of tackling depth interview problems. The idea of depth that SRC and the other groups have is to extend the questionnaire; they find it difficult to go down, so they go sidewise. But adding more queries is not necessarily the way to a respondent's subconscious, or even conscious, personality.
I was not content with the type of cooperation envisaged by Dichter and suggested that we form an Institute for the Study of Creativity in Science and Communication. Or it could be called an Institute for the Study of Social Invention. I told Dichter that I believed his greatest ability lay in his capacity for creative hypothesis. He is half-way through his work by the time he begins his field operation; then, like a comet, he has sometimes an empirical tail, and the methodologists and behavioral psychologists, who criticize him so roundly, want his tail to be forever long, like their own; but they so often have no head. The idea of the social invention center did not take fire with him - it was, after all, not his idea, but he began to like it, and I did not press it upon him. It is so natural for his tastes that, if he will put up support for anything, as a grant not as a co-contractor, he would lend aid to this program. It is of course favorite with me, for I have become more and more fascinated by the problems of social invention and creativity. The interest began long ago but has recently grown intense, owing to the experience with PROD, my own self-questionings, my course on social invention, and my contained enjoyment of poetry and fiction alongside biography and public policy.
By the time we had finished cocktails and moved to the Grenados, we had taken up another subject. We had passed briefly over the topic of Khruschev's visit, and I now offered to write a piece for PROD on the questions that should have been answered about his coming beforehand. Again we seemed to be psychologically unprepared, and many people were now beginning to doubt the advantage to our side of his visit. The offer seemed good to me, but I thought of PROD, at the moment ready for press, and of the last minute production and editorial agonies just enacted before I left Princeton in the morning. It could be done, still. I would have to stop the press, change the cover, add four pages to hold the new copy. Worse was the problem of getting Dichter's article in, edited, and over to the printer in 24 hours. I suggested he finish it and have it telephoned to Princeton, where I would edit it late in the afternoon or evening of today. He agreed. He also agreed to cover the costs, perhaps $120, and offered to push the publicity of the article. My motives for this unusual step are several : first, the joy of an exciting tour de force; then adding to the strength of the magazine, without cost. In addition we will achieve broader circulation. Where is the broad political aim: it is there too; I have grave doubts about the wisdom of the invitation to Khruschev; it comes on the heels of many psychological, military, and economic defeats; it sacrifices more of our friends; it is pure power politics, as I have already indicated in PROD's Game Bag this coming issue, for we are inviting the Bomb, not Khruschev. What else do we want from Russia now? We have so many better friends in need than the Soviets.
The Dichters drove back to Croton, and I took Cathy and Barbara Epstein to see Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times. The girls had joined the Dichters and me for caffé capucino at the Pompei on 3rd and 6th Avenue, after wandering around the Village looking for us. Modern Times proved to be a series of hard-luck incidents in which the character of Chaplin and the meannesses of the Great Depression intermingled. Chaplin, a failure as social philosopher, is an artist at symbolizing in the pantomine - like a set of tableaux, but thrown into violent motion - some sharp grudge against the world.
August 27, 1959
2 PM en route to Washington, D.C.
We missed the twelve noon train by a hair's breadth. I opened a door and was half in when the train began to move. I stepped out and urged Jill to hurry, but, hobbled by her tight skirt, she trotted up slowly, while the train gathered speed. The steward inside had to close the door. I was furious with him, but he was correct. I told Jill too that she should go into training. After I cooled off, we went across the parking lot to Lorenzo's cafe, where Jill ate clams and a ham sandwich, and I the best lamb chop I've ever tasted, with a salad and potatoe. We both drank
Dortmunder beer. The lunch was far superior to what the train would have provided, so much has service degenerated on passenger trains. We go to Washington for a day, staying at the Hay-Adams.
Dichter's article came in at 6 PM yesterday and proved to be unbelievably bad. He had nearly a day to work on it. I can't think that he is so inchoate and imprecise as the piece read. Rather than hold it out, I decided to rewrite it, and worked from 9:30 to 2 AM on it, trying to find reason in gibberish. At that I moved it to the inside of the issue and cut its length, so as not to let it give a strong flavor to the issue. Then I introduced a dry but earnest and competent piece by Kriesberg of NORC to fill out the form-page addition. If I think of the article of Dichter as it was, I am nightmarish, but if I look at the whole issue, with the new articles in it, the issue stands well and is one of the best so far. Steve was kind and helpful. So was Jean. They stuck out the night with me. Ted left at 11 PM. He shouldn't have nor should he have been so negative. I have short-term cycles of esteem and distaste for his work, but the long-term trend is getting to be unfavorable. Neither his imagination nor his dedication improves. I found several errors in his final press copy, inexcusable because I had advised him very closely on its handling.
Stevenson did a good job of editorial revision on the Citizen's Survey of Welfare. He won't finish, however, before he must leave. I have given him work in New York City for the coming week, building a list of materials on outdoor recreation resources in the New York region. He will do fine work there also, I am sure; my only worry is that he may alienate someone who will then look upon the Center's work with disfavor. I talked with Steve about the matter, however, and I believe that he will control his critical aggressiveness during the week. If only he could be so polite and kind to the world as he is to his beautiful little girl! She is with us now too, and apart from a bad fight with Carlo and Christopher, gets along well and conducts herself as a lady, despite her seven years.
My journal can never catch up with my life. It is a sandbar from which I drift off by the force of the tides.
This week has been New York week for the de Grazia girls. Vicky and Jessie stayed at my flat over the weekend, with Eileen Lanfeld. Cathy went in with Barbara Epstein on Tuesday morning and will stay until Sunday.
August 28, 1959
The proper regard for death is to look at it squarely-on, early, and in all its frightful mien, and then to banish it forever until it comes for you.
The proper attitude to death is to look into its terrible visage at every occasion on which it presents itself, until it makes no impression, and, when it does come finally, knocks gently and enters with averted face.
The 20% professional, technical, and managerial grouping in U.S.A.
The mode of the society is now egghead.
The political system is of a by-gone, work-with-your-hands epoch.
The popular culture is nurtured on the myth of the cowboy.
But U.S.A. is one hundred years ahead of world.