Manger Hay-Adams Hotel, Sixteenth at H Street, N. W., Washington 6, D. C.
8:30 AM June 3, 1960
Hay Adams -- one of the few good hotels in America.
June 1, 1960
- Dinner with Danzig, a good fellow, a sweet macher. Evening spent with my Rep. party committee. I mention to Bob Rhone, who is colored, the idea that a Negro candidate for Mayor may be the solution to the absolute lack of interest by Negroes in the Republican Party. He is much taken by the thought. The two others present at the time, who are white, are not adverse at all. I believe a Negro candidate would do as well as any ordinary white candidate, and, if more than mediocre, would give a big boost to the low civic moral of the colored population.
I was up at 6 yesterday morning and flew to Washington for two days of conferences on the social aspects of space and missile programs. Don Michael of the Brookings Institution is chairing the conference. NASA is behind it. About a dozen men are present. They are good, if not top level. However, few others have given any attention to the aerospace problems anyhow. Michael is a poor chairman. He has a group double the optimum size. We have to line up for comment & a man often addresses his remarks to the fifth previous speaker. He works up too hard for too little money (why shouldn't NASA, which has more money than it needs, pay a respectable consulting fee). He talks too much & rambles. He flatters too much & worries excessively about conflicts in the group. Dan Lerner, Joe Godsen, Henry Diecken, Lincoln Bloomfield, Oscar Schacter (UN), & Bert Hoselitz are present. The problems of whether scientists should advise NASA on policy or suggest simple empirical researches are causing their usual trouble. There is a strong pro-bureaucratic or agency bias in the group -- cloaked often in neutrality and objectivity -- so that, save for my interjections, legislators and private industry are given short shrift. There is nothing basically new about social aerospace problems, so that apart from the opportunities that might be afforded because of funds being available, a fundamental social science is not likely to leap ahead because of studies of conditions produced by weather satellites, trips to Mars, communication satellites & the aerospace industry's peculiarities.
Analogy for Jackass Intellectuals (June 1960)
Booze is rough, but give me booze, sherry, port, etcetera. I refuse, if they are, that is, apologies to for drinking rather than other [opar] means to good feeling and thinking. Time Magazine has its horrid bite, a true intellectual will admit, but you can down it fast, without any water, and never need The Saturday Review and The Reporter.
June 5, 1960
(Note from Al.: Jan. or June? In with Jan. papers)
At 2:30 I stopped in to see John Dryfoos, who is to handle my securities account at L. F. Rothschild, Peter having left. John is a young Princetonian, not even qualified as broker for another couple of weeks, who is versed in put and call transactions, a form of speculation that I think I might venture into in a small way. John has a flop-eared handsome look, a large upper torso on a badly crippled pair of legs. He must use crutches constantly. He is a nephew of Orville D. & son of an investment counselor. While we were talking, the market was registering its all-time high.
Back to office by Lex. subway. A conference of the AMA research proposal. Several calls. A couple of letters. Max Wolff in. He needs work badly. I hope that we can get metropolitan research funds soon.
At 5:15 to the Village Frame Shop to select a frame for Alfred McAdam's painting of "The busiest street in town." Home at six. Stephanie came by. At 8:30 we went out to eat at a Cantonese restaurant at 6 Mot St. We ate a bowl of shredded chicken & abalone with vegetables, and then a great carp with roe and bean cakes, the specialty of the house, delicious but too much. We walked to Ferrara's for cappuccino and canole afterwards and I saw her as far as Times Square before returning to the flat, there to read the morning Times and part of Plutarch's essay on contentment before falling asleep. Stephanie argued over my article on "fact & value in teaching," in this issue of PROD; she dislikes my exhortation to university administrations to form and project some life-concept among their students. She says let the students alone to run themselves. A real little liberal, fortunately, very pretty and lively, else I might be so enraged as to be estranged, having as I do to be forever explaining my ideas. How great it would be to put something in words that are few and sufficient to connote all the trailing series of their implications, consequences, raisons d'etre. Explanations exhaust me; it is a serious problem w/ me for two reasons: I say and do many many things that excite wishes for explanation, and I am temperamentally domineering, wishing others to accept what I say because I say it and because (and partly therefore) my reasoning must be manifest without elaboration.
Sunday, June 5, 1960
Jill asked me how everything went in Washington, when she met me at the airport at 11 p.m. Friday. "Too many people for a good conference," I replied, "and not enough pay." This amused her. She said it reminded her of the English wife who asked her husband the same question after his escape from Dunkirk and received the reply, "The crowd of people, my dear, and the noise!" Perhaps the conference was important. It can be made to seem important, certainly. This is the space age; the social consequences will be great; the studied consideration of ways dealing with the consequences of aero-space developments is a critically significant task, etc. Actually rational control of future developments on any large-scale is beyond man's present social system. We are no more set up to incorporate intelligent foresight systematically into public policy than when Graham Wallas wrote his essays on the subject half a century ago. Our group in Washington arrived at no concerted program. We scatter to our posts, leaving our words behind. Brookings has little punch; it is a weak institution, putting forth safe policies and guarding that its ideas do not cause controversy. The National Aeronautics and Space Agency will run alongside the technical innovations; its leaders will not plan socially and then issue technical instructions, but will use social plans only as cement for the cisterns of technology. I introduced at several points in the discussion the concept of social plans governing instructions to the technical personnel, but there is little likelihood the concept will emerge powerfully in either official or public conduct as time goes by. I jotted down some other ideas and notes during the conference and will carry them here:
Ask group: Isn't space device to be treated as social invention? The chunk of metal orbiting in space is very much a part of a human system, an appendage to our senses and aspirations and a component in our behavior.
Note the terms people are beginning to use in this conference: note the latest jargon: ground-rules; on-going; paydirt; payload; sets of strategy; inputs-outputs (at one point, Jack Oppenheimer of NASA referred to my contribution as in "input" and I said ironically "I don't mind being called an input if you don't," etc.). (Joe Goldsen quipped at another point "those fellows have never had to meet a payload") (when once a member was speaking, rather incoherently, about the possibilities of using a communications satellite not only to convey messages, carry mail, and request library searches, but also to arrange contacts between isolated marriageable couples, Joe exclaimed "Of course! You want marriages to be made in heaven!") Try to point out the differences between applied and pure science in the sociology of space? Is this a conference on pure or applied science? If either, on what level of generality does the sponsor wish us to proceed?
Dean Davis asks what are the origins of the plotting of weather. Good question. Good study to be made.
Perloff points out wisely that in the new area of aerospace, the participants haven't found their perspective and role yet. People don't know what their "vested interests" are.
Goldsen says pure astronomy gets only $10 millions annually for all research, while $10 millions are spent on each Atlas shot into space. Obviously the military use is setting the course of research, but would advances in pure astronomy by indirectly more useful?? Again, note the evolving jargon of social-scientese-in-aerospace. This and other conferences put on tape should be turned over to linguists for content analysis of vocabulary--very narrow range of words and phrases, unusual words, no one tries to use simpler or better English. Goldsen remarks RAND was formed in 1946 to discover the technical feasibility of a globe-circling satellite. The social science division or RAND began as interest developed on the "so what" questions raised by presumptions of the feasibility of the satellite.
Should I ask group (or would it be regarded as ornery?): What are the differences between a conference of this type and one called to discuss the social consequences of new types of complicated vending machines that will automate many retail and wholesale transactions? (No one of prominence would accept $50 a day for the latter consultation; are we to believe this conference is a patriotic duty? How so? NASA is loaded with funds, too much to spend intelligently. Do contractors make less money from the government? Is everything the government does to be considered on a higher plane than the non-governmental enterprises of the people? Are social consequences of aerospace any more lofty a subject than those of vending machines, new leisure problems, problems of depressed areas, automation, etc.? I say no, and feel that the apparent acceptance of this procedure indicates the unconscious sources and strength of statism and state authority.)
Someone indicates program reviews at NASA will perhaps be frequent. Why? New rapid changes require review of commitments. As opposing factions gain power domestically, reviews are sought.
Query: Aren't problems of race relations more important than space problems? True whether cold war or peace.
Point out to group the motives of scientists which they are groping for:
1. There is a new class of phenomena marching by -- what interests social scientists about them, in seeking new or proving old hypotheses? There are also obstacles in aero space research -- secrecy, controversy, too big, too new to frame studies easily, predominance of technicians.
2. Internal morale -- convenience (being asked), pay, perquisites.
3. Internal morale -- getting ahead in the organization, knifing opposition.
4. Social activity models -- cold war, profit, patriotism.
Item: see Wall Street Journal for March 18, 1960, pp. 5-6. Tunnel diode as rival to the transistor.
Note: Do PROD note on list of social science subject areas in which social invention is playing a prominent part: e.g., economic development of poorer countries, et al.
Re communications satellites: much being said about preventing struggle over control of aid waves. But don't we want an opportunity to wage a propaganda contest to prove our ideas better. Do we want neutral policing so as to inhibit free expressions of differences?
NB No easy and small limit on number of possible voice channels or of number of satellites. Not easily jammable. Therefore, possibilities of private enterprise, and of greater liberties of communications through satellites. Group not much interested in liberty, though, I notice. Communication satellites can carry messages, propaganda, cipher, radio, TV.
Our payload limit will possibly remain at 7000 pounds until 1970. We need better light power sources for long continuing power in space. Socialistic thinking general among people interested in these aerospace developments. Baranson says foolishly ten millions investment in a satellite will keep out any private interest. Like W.W. Rustow, who is being praised and publicized these days, the damned Marxist, these people mostly want "capitalism in one country," letting the USA become impossibly the island of private enterprise in the world.
Every problem is new and every problem is old. Thus the aerospace social problems. Support Henry Riecken's remarks that general programs of research in communications may be jointly supported by several agencies -- private, government, international -- among whom the problems are common. NASA should face the fact that their research program will end up hauling the chestnuts of some very old social sciences out of the fire. Otherwise it will support only trivial and highly vocational research.
Say to group: We need more prescription by goal-minded social science of the technical inventions to be needed. Politicians are not enough. Systematic study and design should be built into the NASA and other programs. Let nothing be publicized about the achievements of predicted doings of the hardware side without a labeling and alerting to the social consequences involved in the use of the hardware. That is, label the bottle of medicine ** keep away from children, don't get near the flame, etc.
We should say more about the instructions to be given to the technical innovators. As matters stand, they have only one or both of two directives: make profits, beat the Russians by force. We should tell them, these other goals are possible; also invent not a but b, not be but b5.
How ignorant several key people here are of the nature and importance of non-governmental enterprise. The NASA man, Jack Oppenheimer, is almost obnoxious in this respect.
Item: weather satellite is in early state now. Some say economic savings (return) on the investment of half billion might be 2, 3, or 5 billion dollars annually. No big jumps to fulfilled invention likely. Gradual improvement is expected (after all, so goes any system-type invention, and most large inventions are such.)
Need research on social system of weather use; on manner of organization of informing and authoritative systems of dissemination; sample surveys to predict use problems and possibilities.
Note aerospace inventions are part of a whole set of trends of modern technology.
A E inventions fit to some by plan, others by accident, some no fit. Interesting point by Hoselitz that the production of the nation as a whole and that of farm commodities has become less dependent upon weather in last century. Many new artificial controls have been introduced that cut down the absolute and proportional role of the weather.
Note to group: we may, with these many collectivistic potentials of weather information, planning, and control, be heading into a new type of "hydraulic society" using Wittfogel's term.
NB The cooperation of social scientists with technical inventors is mot important; this is the only way the intelligentsia can become the power elite. Both groups need one another. Coop should be throughout the whole process. Cf. Old commissar idea bringing "scientific socialist" into all aspects of Soviet life.
Interesting discussion of whether aerospace matters should be handled nationally or internationally, and if latter, by special organ or UN as whole. (International relations study has never given satisfactory analysis of effects of one as against other mode of organization. While the special function will be less interfered with when under a special agency, the day-to-day observed interdependencies will be less felt by the political men operating only on controversies. If I wouldn't be a half an hour on the wait list, I would make this comment now.)
Nehnevajsa, young-looking Finn-born, makes good and eloquent comment; seems to be a steady and useful type of mind, not too concerned with the usual gimcracks of the sociology trade.
Lincoln Bloomfield: urges that the free world have some master design for the aerospace age.
Fetish: to collect but not to use data. George Clements of RAND gives several instances of fads, boondoggles, doing anything that pops up before one's eyes. Say to group that most of government research is of this order and we need wholesale study and reorganization of government social research.
Note: Davis says our vehicles are 4 to 5 years ahead of our payloads designs today. We need the stuff to carry more than the lift.
Remember talk with Dan Lerner after lunch today concerning I. A. Richards work on basic languages, basic English, basic Russian, etc. Perhaps PROD should carry piece by R. on how these can facilitate scholarly communication.
Good point made by ? activities of smaller nations in re prestige. First they wanted power dams, then and now nuclear reactors; pretty soon they will insist on having satellites.
Oppenheimer announces an outfit has been formed in Boston called United Research, Inc., led by Bob Bower and Sam Stouffer, to study public opinion regarding space programs (Goldsen whispers "in three countries -- Germany, England, France? Italy?") O. uses term to find out what is NASA's "constituency," a term I handed him a year ago when we first discussed NASA's plans for research in his and John Johnson's office at NASA.
***** So much for the remarks I jotted down and didn't make, some remarks that others made, and some points that I then made. At the very end we had a half hour of free conversation, with several of the men leaving a little early, and we talked of the chances of manned expeditions into space. It was the technician Davis's idea (he is project engineer on Centaur for Convair) that once the military aspects subsided, if they did, the whole space development would collapse. Others agreed. I pointed out however, that many desperate undertakings had been undertaken by men throughout history and prehistory -- crusades, explorations of the new worlds, the polar expeditions, settlement of Hawaii, etc. -- that many thousands died in gold rushes to California and Alaska despite many letters and dispatches telling them to stay at home, that the Vatican was not yet so without a following that its exhortations to find a home in space for surplus populations wouldn't give many men the public zeal to go voyaging into eternity. The arguments made some impact. A couple of others joined in so that doubt was thrown on the belief that interest in space would collapse with peace. Davis himself, knowing the space fanatics, offered several instances showing how mad a group of men were to venture into far space. Where would money come from? I pointed out that many a hopeless expedition was furbished in a costly manner while populations lived in poverty.
I was irritable through much of the conference and had to work hard to keep only a small amount of aggressiveness percolating out. The chairman and NASA representative were nonsimpatico and not very bright. The group was too large and interchange became halting. We were worked too hard, etc. But then, too, I am afraid I got the notion that I must dominate some or much of the conference, and while I may not have permitted this feeling to exhibit itself detrimentally to the conference or perhaps even to myself I nevertheless felt this sensation in its broadest form seething below in me. Why didn't I simply relax for the two days, accept the small burdens, enjoy the above-average esteem already present? No, I could not; I pushed for clear positions, criticized weak points of view with some heat, gave some merits of positions, e.g., pro-free enterprise and not-anti-church, that social scientists generally accord only demerits to, and on two or three occasions was caustic to the sponsors and advised them ex cathedra. I think that I have always wanted to lead, have generally succeeded by making fewer demands of the group and making my employment of large quantities of will, force, and rationalistic intelligence apparent and unacceptable beyond a point. All of this was in undercurrents, and perhaps some of it imaginary; probably most of the conferees even perceived no more than the usual badinage and conference strains. Probably there were three or four "weak" plots to the conference of which this was only one, but since I felt it a good part of the time of the conference, and, the other plots being more undramatic, felt it more intensely, I sensed it as my major psychological progression. At the same time, of course, I was performing, probably in unusual measure, all of the stipulated functions of the conference -- in short, giving a full day's work for a not so full day's pay.
June 6, 1960
Meeting with Schlosser, head of the American Jewish Committee, and Danzig, its Program Director at 4. Max Horkheimer, Rector of the Institut für Sozialwissenschaft at W. Goethe Univ., Frankfurt, is there. I haven't seen him since 1945 when I, a young retired captain and he, a refugee philosopher about to return to Germany, sat together in several house meetings and meals to discuss Freud, Marx, American culture, anti-Semitism, and authoritarianism. He is quite old now. His Institut does well and is a center of neo-American sociology in Germany. Schlosser is somewhat old & tired, too. He earns $40,000 telling rich American Jews that they should give money to research and action combating anti-Semitism. Has it had any effect? A little. But then, a little effect in this world costs many millions of dollars well spent. We talked of Pro Deo and I wove a future out of whole cloth. The whole idea of the Center is quite vague but AJC is apparently committed to an active interest.
Monday, June 13, 1960
Governor Nelson Rockefeller, in his attempts to arrange some consideration for his candidacy as President, is becoming a little ridiculous. He passed a couple of hours of useless talk on TV yesterday asserting on the one hand that the Rep. administration has been magnificent, superb, etc. (he favors the effusive hyperbole of the advertising & movie industry) and on the other hand that Nixon should state the issues & we should debate them. Then he is incoherent & vague on what issues he is talking about. He appeared ill at ease, as if he knew the whole show were put on, and his face was not attractive, puffy it was. His words came over-abundantly and without inner fire. The extravagant use of private funds has not bought him the correct advice apparently. It rarely does.
June 14, 1960
Who joins and who leaves the Catholic Church? Here as some interesting statistics and stories. People wash in and out like waves through a lobster cage. Is virtue leaving or entering? Is wealth? Is Education?
Jill has been thinking about sugar and salt lately. She makes a yin and yan principle from them. Salt is the medium and base of life. Sugar is the spark and drive. Salt is in the oceans and our body bathes in its solution. Sugar inspires and kindles our minds & spirits. Both are soluble. But neither spoils, not readily anyway. Neither lives and dies.
June 14, 1960 [marked June 17, 1960 continued on 2nd page]
Spent the late evening with W. Dryfoos of L. C. Rothschild. He had been working late to finish a utilities evaluation for institutional investors. We had beer & sandwiches at the little delicatessen on 8th St. corner of McDougall. John agrees in general w/ my letter proposing a certain formula for speculative investment, but cannot see my idea of hedging by a couple of "puts.
He is bearish about the economy and feels the market may go way down sometime in the next 6 months. I doubt this, but it is a respectable opinion.
I explained a conception of investment counseling to him. The process of choice used by counselors & clients is subject to automation. Each client has or should have, if he wishes to maximize rationality, a set of criteria for buying & selling. These can be coded and punched onto cards. The stocks numbering a couple of thousands can be run, as they behave, against the client's criteria. Indicated decisions are then made, or at least put to the client or counselor. Nowadays few counselors & even less brokers can give much attention to individual clients or customers. They wait to be stimulated by disaster or by the customer; or they recommend to all alike whatever strikes their own fancy or fills their personal needs, without realizing or taking the trouble to allow for the different wants of their customers. The ingredients:
a rationalistic brokerage firm
an intelligence input-system on stocks, including price and relevant news
a client-criteria input that becomes a screen for sorting the stocks
a choice budget for counselor and client.
I should also like to trace the communication of buying impulse among the stock buying public. Why is it that a bit of news on one stock will have an impact within one time period whi[le] news on another will take effect in half or double the time. Does each stock have its own communication-time profile? Is it stable or a consequence of a unique set of circumstances at the time?
June 17, 1960
Cath if off to Paris & London today. I left her amid the rag-tag political scientists boarding the chartered Superconstellation. We lunched at the Center offices in honor of Carleton Scofield who is resigning next week to take up a new job with the Public Health Association. Davis' delicatessen sold us great quantities of cold meats and fish for the occasion and we had a jolly time. Cathy was growing prettier by the hour as she was passing across the familial threshold. She sat among us as a peer. She commented on the others afterwards with dispatch and accuracy. Yet with gratifying sympathy. Jill wept before and after she left. She has the toughest hide of any woman but is softer than many below. She should weep more often. Everyone should. It is human, relaxing, and healthful. But how we fight and scorn tears! And how we try to create indifference!
June 17, 1960
Forms of government, like personal loves, cannot be viewed through narrowed eyelids. Mervin Field sent me his latest polls of California voters on their preferences for President. Ask for whom they wd vote if election were held today, the sample says:
|May 17, 1960||51%||42%||7%|
Real elections might be different but not much more accurate "reflections". So we have K elected 4 times, Nixon twice, and no majority in 3 of 6 cases. How a thousand newspapers an a dozen million voices can argue about the mandate of the people is queer. Under our system, often a different person is "elected" every month. As in racing trials & the final race, the crux of the matter is the agreed-upon rejection of the trials and acceptance of the race. The victor is rewarded and the facades of the "popular will"and other mysteries of success are shifted in front of him, very much as a stupid and ridiculous crown prince becomes something else when elevated to the throne.
June 18, 1960
Liberal diarrhetics & conservative apoplectics instead of social dialectics.
Aaron Bell spent the night with us in Princeton. I picked him up by car after seeing Cathy off to Europe with the Political Science Association plane. We took the route of the Staten Island Ferry and enjoyed the cool evening breeze of the harbor. In the morning one of his numerous woman friends, a friendly and pretty schoolteacher, Rhoda Rosemiset, drove in and they both lunched with us. At four Romesh Shah and Sourbi, his fiancée, arrived and we talked of the reform of India for three hours. Then ate rice and a curry of mixed vegetables. It was interesting and even pleasant to have them all with us, but I was tired when they left & relieved to be alone again with our large family. Romesh works at the Henry Street Settlement. He is restless and asked whether a job at research might be found. I told him that any research work he might find would be dull by comparison, not well paid, and temporary in all likelihood. I showed him how he might continue to enjoy his present work and develop his mind more perfectly. Sourbi, a most discerning young lady, flapped her sari and agreed. They have been following the work of Bhave closely. Sourbi once traveled with him. None of us are convinced of the ultimate general success of Bhave's land re-distribution and preaching of local self-sufficiency. I said that Bhave, like most reformers, both of the technically-trained and of the populist types, failed to isolate two aspects of the land: the land as a way of life and the land as a provider of life. In the latter sense, Bhave's work must fail. In the former sense, it is good. The technological revolution in agriculture permits us to supply the world with food, dispensing with inefficient little farms. But most men are more virtuous and happy with a bit of land. Therefore they should be able to have it, not to provide for themselves in the general economic sense, but rather to enhance their dignity, increase the pleasures and variety of life, and to remain physically engaged with reality and bodily well. The land need not be much nor be fertile. A huge international organization, employing some of the most fertile land of America and other countries could easily supply the world's people with their food. What was left of the earth - most of it by far - could be owned by each and every person in his own small way. An American worker today can do a thousand tasks to live a "self-sufficient"and varied life with his house and lot because the fundamental provisions for his life - food, big machines, and materials - are supplied him en masse via great collective industrial enterprises. Sourbi, less so Romesh, accused me of idealism; how can it be done? I do not really know Indian conditions! Etc. But I do know what India is like, I replied. It is in books and movies. It is like Africa, the Near East, the old Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Mexico, etc. But worse. Further, it is not the economic problem that is difficult so much as the political problem & the political problem is one of moving men to do things that are strange, when they are lazy, and when they want to have their own way. So what is the difference between a political problem in the USA and one in India. The political problems are of the same degree of difficulty; the economic ones are the pawns of struggles over policy.
Romesh told us the story of his wretched hamlet near Bombay. When a strong chief died fifty years ago, the village disintegrated. The chief's son went to the city, leaving the 700 inhabitants to an endless round of quarrels. Each sub-group went its own way. No one spoke for the town as a whole. The young sought work in the city. The wells dried up. The animals starved. The little shops that eked out an existence dwindled to nothing. Shah would return for the summer to his ancestral home and loved its quiet and greenery. He would still go back and would live there if he had means, shunning the city. Every person should be able to go into the country and feel his piece of land. And it is a practical ideal. Men must know first that the nature is so necessary to them and that they must not expect to supply themselves from it in the anarchistic sense of Thoreau or Bhave.
Shah told me, as we walked in the garden at dusk, of a girl whose baby had just been born out of wedlock. He told him in the morning that she hated her baby and wished to destroy or rid herself of him, but by afternoon she was ready to do anything in the world in order to keep him. The abysmal span of these desires shows how limited the utility of social science must always be. The inconstancy of preferences pervades life and challenges impossibly the most rapid & exact calculations and predictions. With a million problems, as with this girl's case, an outside rigid ethical compulsion must be applied or else social science becomes the feeblest instrument. Consensus is the root of a flourishing social science as it is its principal enemy. That is why I think social science is foredoomed to make rapid progress only to a point at which its further advance is blocked by the need for collective determination of paths to take, which determination, as soon as it is made, sets up anti-scientific forces that push scientific procedures and sub-cultures into reverse.
Sunday, June 19, 1960
While Aaron Bell and I were breakfasting in our large sunlit kitchen yesterday, Carlo chased Chris around the table demanding a penny that both claimed. I seized the penny and, because no right was obvious, announced to each that they could have it back under a judgment to be made in an hour. They left, satisfied. Aaron laughed and, as our guests often do, commented on the difficulties of adjudication in our large family. The right to litigate is to be limited. Litigiousness should be guarded against. it can be a depressing, uncreative, debilitating vice. The rule of laws is precious for it lends one enormous dignity to know that his case will be heard against or along with the case of a pezzo grosso. But it is also of precious social value to be limited in the exercise of one's right to have his case adjudged. A child senses in his freedom to bring a case before the "court" the same pleasure he can have from using a free compressed air pump at a gas station to inflate his bicycle tires. Unless restrained, he will exercise the privilege excessively. In poverty-stricken societies (and children feel often that they are the underprivileged of the world), litigation is a form of property. Two poor men, owning nothing can conjure up a case, and an eternal sense of moral indignation from it. They will share it with their families, enjoy it over the years, dream of winning the case and thus in effect own psychologically The Thing, often enormously bloated in value, that is being litigated. They will cherish it, never mediate it or settle out of court on less than impossible conditions, and finally will it as a pot of gold to their descendants.
Sunday, June 19, 1960
John is almost well after two weeks of virus pneumonia. It began as a seeming cold.. A fever arose and hovered at 103o for two evenings. His mouth was ridged and irritated. We thought it might be trench mouth, from kissing the kitten or the other mysterious sources of that annoying ailment which Vicky had suffered a month ago. But on Monday Morning, the M.D.'s examination diagnosed pneumonia and an X-ray showed the lower left lung clouded. He spent a disconsolate week in the hospital, where each day we visited him at length and carried him fish bowls, games, books and specialités de la maison. He was a quiet, gentle patient, but wanted badly to escape. At home he has been most cheerful and eats like a horse. As often seems to occur, he has grown perceptibly taller in the two weeks. Now he is slipping out to play & overexerts himself if he is permitted the chance. Jill felt guilty, and I angry, because she neglected to consult a doctor for three days at first. She hates to do certain kinds of chores and also is a natural Christian Scientist. She has had a painful swelling on her top vertebra for a week and still has not seen a doctor about it. It is probably arthritis, we think. What a formidable Spartan! An unprincipled resistance to pain, inculcated so long ago that it is barely perceived as a trait and is regarded as organic. Perhaps it is that too in very small part.
7:30 AM, June 21, 1960
The beginning of summer. Jill has flu. So has Carl. John is nearly well from his virus pneumonia. The weather is clear and dry. A comforting breeze blows. A great swarm of bees, after searching nightly for three weeks for some home in Princeton, has discovered a huge transverse hollow beam in our front porch just outside our second story bedroom, and has enlarged a small hole to permit entry and exit. When they came, they piled up at the hole by the thousands until a three-foot cone of bees hung downwards from the beam. I knew from the very first that they would like their discovery.
Carl returned happily from his first morning of catechism. He notified me that he would have to borrow my trumpet to play at the school. I suggested the bugle, from which he can extract three notes, but it was the trumpet, he insisted, that was needed. perhaps he is to play Gabriel. Unfortunately, he felt ill after lunch, and by five was suffering a fever of 103 degrees F. and a painful headache that made him twist and cry in anguish. He vomited and felt a little better. Dr. Jeanette Munro came in and prescribed aspirin, after diagnosing flu. I fed him five grains in syrup on a spoon, he fell asleep, and we went down to eat. As we sat and talked over our dessert coffee, he appeared at the kitchen door like a smiling spectre, much to his mother's and my delight, and was comfortable for the rest of the evening. He was feverish again in the middle of the night but has slept well and is still sleeping. He is irritated that he will not be able to play the trumpet today at catechism.
I have been playing a little more this past six months than ever since the war, save for one period, now forgotten, when I practiced a couple of times a week for a couple of months. Much of my skill of 20 years ago, when I abruptly ceased to play, persists remarkably. My interpretative power is greater, but my lip muscles collapse after a half hour, my tongue is heavy and tires on the staccato, my fingers stumble on several transitions. The coordination of lip, tongue and finger suffers. My reading is not as rapid. Withal, my tone is splendid, all the lift and power that a trumpet should possess. My rhythm remains essentially good, but I have half-forgotten a few complicated beats. As long as I am fresh and know what I am playing, I sound as professional as ever, despite many years in which I blew the horn not more than a half dozen times from Christmas to Christmas.
Yesterday went largely to preparing plans for PROD and to correspondence. I wrote to Robbie in Elba. When his reply came to my inquiry on his whereabouts, two weeks ago, I felt a great joy, a rare surge of warmth through my whole being. His comradeship, composed of brotherly kindness, indulgence, irony, amusing story-telling, long experience with armies and wars, and knowledge of Italy, gave my young soul and mind some months of the best enlightenment and tempering during the often difficult campaigns of North Africa and Italy. Major Robertson -- so he began and so ended the war -- who has lived at Elba since then, as he lived before the six-year incidental absence, whose tuna fishery has probably disappeared, and whom I shall see in a month, whose letter shows him to be still Scotch below and British above with an Italian flavor on top of that.
Lacking the heavy financing that would be needed to expand PROD towards a commercial success, and feeling disinclined to the efforts that would consume me, were I to seek money and expand the journal greatly, I have determined upon a more simple program of development. The next volume, beginning in September, will begin a more general interest in social and personal creativity and invention. The magazine will set a course that should appeal to an interested group from all the sciences. The nature of genius, science, and achievement, and the obstacles to and promotion of them, will be the theme. Whether I shall find the audience (with little to spend on its location) and the materials is questionable, but I shall feel more intellectually justified and personally content in publishing such an effort. I am transferring title of the journal from the Institute of Political Science, which I organized as a non-profit corp., to hold PROD, to METRON the profit corporation, since ultimately in that frame there may be some indirect compensation for the extended effort I have given to the journal for years. We shall also seek advertising a little more actively, and take some small steps for a larger and more diversified group of subscribers. The contributors too now can be called to prayer from all disciplines.
June 21, 1960
The question of priorities in leadership activity:
-- general action & leadership & the place of the special in feeding it
-- status quo & how to shift one's activity
-- What are the top priorities (& lesser)
-- What is the present distribution of activities?
-- What are the necessary shifts?
-- Can they be brought about via individual resolution & action?
-- What group practices within opns. need changing?
-- including unions, corps., etc.
-- What general legislative action is needed?
June 21, 1960
Santayana's description of William James' academic behavior and the reception accorded it might well be of me in important ways. From "Of course a conscientious professor ought to know everything he professes to know, but then, they thought, a dignified professor ought to seem to know everything ... (to) that anybody ever had." (end of his essay on James). S's essay on "The American Character" is one of the best, which isn't saying much. On a subject of such universal interest and of no small importance, why hasn't some great social-sociologist given us an exact, complicated full dress systematic study?
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Frank and Susan Moreno spent the weekend with us a fortnight ago. When all were settled into bed, I began my first oil painting, based on a pencil sketch of the view from 12 Perry St., and worked until 3:30 AM. On Sunday evening I finished it. It is of course amateurish, but my severe critics say it has something of value. I could improve it with another eight hours on top of the eight already gone into it, but think perhaps I should do another painting. Tonight I sketched Jill in a blue slip against the blue walls of the small boys' room. It will be a study in her reddish colors, blue cloths & blue wallpaper designs, and natural brown woods of floor and beds. Someone has called most of our American poets "writers of good bad poetry", meaning Longfellow, Holmes, Frost, and others. My painting is & probably will always be bad good painting, along with some other efforts that I push along my overextended line. Not ominous of success in life. We may universalize:
If you would succeed in life, young man,
Do good bad work if you possibly can
The good bad stuff will buy no whiskey,
While the good good things are terribly risky.
June 23, 1960
Reading T. S. Eliot's poetry early this morning. He is earthbound. As abstract as he can be and as remote in analogy and reference, also as difficult to comprehend, he remains clearly dedicated to solutions of man's fate in ancient Christian terms. This important object is man disembodied by society, a projection of himself of course, and he explains, like a museum curator, where, more or less, all the parts of the body be. He doesn't pull them together, nor does he see them whole. He comes to them, even as a young man, seeing them first scattered over the desert plain and spends his life enumerating them and accounting for their being in [in?] such and such a condition. I say the poet should start with the ideal, a model of man, whether subjectively himself or objectively in history, and show his falls & progress. Then the space-age and the existence of "intelligent" creatures besides man on far stars, can become part of our true setting as men rather than all of our problems being placed in the pettiness of our historical experiences and struggles.
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Rereading Karl Mannheim's Theology and Utopia (1929, 1931, Eng. trans., 1936, came to my attention 1940), passages on scientific politics, excellent and packed with meat, too much emphasis on class consciousness because this was still the post-19th century world when people thought class ideas were evident, meaningful, spreading and strongly determining. I am reminded of Berthold Brecht's poems -- lucid, forceful, well-turned out -- but ludicrously untrue to life ("only a worker can help a worker", "Throw off your chains", "the capitalists mock & enslave you," and like sentiments! Fantasy nowadays. Only Brecht's madness, true classless intellectualistic insanity, make his Threepenny Opera, Mother Courage, etc. striking and meaningful!) Mannheim says the intelligentsia is the exception, for the classlessness of mind-work permits them to be party-voices (my B. Brecht example would do nicely here) and sometimes forgers of a new synthesis. True and not true enough for the new age. For K. M. goes on and paints other occupational categories in automatic colors -- the businessman is chained to his occupational outlook, so the worker, the bureaucrat, etc. False, perhaps formerly more true. But now the recruits for the work of new synthesis come from an intelligentsia of a new complexity. One thinks of the multi-role man of the Enlightenment or the dilettante rentier of old, and one thinks of the multiple role examples of George Simmel & Roberto Michels, when he perceives how many of the intelligentsia today are non-intellectual in their life work and can indeed be called intelligentsia only in the sense that the term has a broad and functional meaning as "those who take on social reconstruction and the public interest as a major role in life". So many of the "old intellectuals" are now sterilized by specialization (even in philosophy where symbolic logicians, mathematical value-theorists, and linguistics experts grow more numerous, not to mention mental-testers and other psych. specialists, methodologists, computer technicians, nuclear physicists, etc.). So that the intelligentsia of today, and of the future cannot, paradoxically, be entirely or even mostly composed of intellectuals.
Sunday June 26, 1960
Two perfect June days. I have been a useful houseboy, maid, guardian, parent, chauffeur, nursing companion, cook, TV repairman and so forth. The children have been helpful and pleasant. They buzz up and down Queenstown Place, playing ball (how well Carlo throws and catches at a mere seven years!), swimming in the little 18' pool, organizing a Reptile Club with Lorain La Placa & Bobby & Teddy Breneman, whose small charges escape or die as often as new ones are introduced into the tubs and boxes. Under my eye & tongue, they work at many things. Vicky & Jessie are promising cooks. People are staggered when they hear we have three or four down with viruses, but we manage pretty well, even without Cathy, whose letters from England carry high & mighty airs towards "all those tourists that infest London." Paul & Carl are nearly well. Jill is slightly improved today. She lay on a deck chair while I painted on the patio this afternoon. I attempted an oil of her sitting against blue wallpaper in a bright blue slip. How irritating it is to be so inept! I can see how easy it would be for me to spend five years of hard work before getting the confidence one needs in his strokes, color mixes, decisions on texture, etc. it would be like a new PhD in Chemistry, or Engineering. All I can take pride in now is my ideas & my attempted designs. I wish that I had been taught art as I was music, as a young boy. They said I could draw very well, and I spent many hours with pencils, crayons, & paper, but, left to myself, I began to use the materials as scratch pads to hint at ideas and block out massive armies at war. Even at the U. of Chicago, a "liberal Arts" program of studies did not necessarily provide even elementary instruction in the practice of an art. "Liberal education" has always been a motionless spectator sport for the well-to-do, now or intended. Social Science, including the vast area of sociology of art and letters, without research. Most humanities were and are taught by watching others, not by doing. It is impossible to know anything, including God and not excluding arithmetic, without involvement in the activity -- first of a repetitive nature, praying, copying, counting -- then of a creative kind, discovering God, writing poetry or painting pictures, and devising an algebraic statement about a set of events one has in hand. The creative stages are absolutely required. But most liberal arts curricula do not even pass a student into the imitative participant phase of the arts & sciences. Not a college in the world is well-organized for these operations. How right the pragmatists were and how little understood & followed! The Catholic schoolmen are particularly bad -- theology, culture, and mode of rule all conspire against true liberal arts no matter how much they expostulate in their favor.
Jill snorted over a Monsignor on TV today, who, with the usual Jew & Protestant, was talking on Immorality in N.Y.C. What bothered Jill was the insensible Catholic moral phraseology that lumps together a girl's love affair with a depraved vice ring. Father Murray today, the girls report, had something to say about girls who wear shorts that are six or eight inches above the knees. No one can be sure on the moral instructions given others, of course, but we seem consistently to be "quantifying" and "shading" the bright sun and blackness of Catholic preachment reaching our children. With all of our now corresponding convictions and disagreements with the Church, it must be wonderful that we do not object when we are called and regarded as Catholics and, indeed, practice the rituals, to an average degree. We get from the church a home and we give to it our names whenever we can, we give it our sympathy and support. When we cannot, we take the obloquy that goes with being falsely identified in a disagreeable cause, and this is a kind of inverted penance that must have some spiritual value of its own, even tho it is in the last analysis generated by antagonism to the church's character and positions. I might say, lest sackcloth and ashes seem to be our lot, that the Church is generous and gentle, reacting strongly & firmly only to rigidly opposed confrontation. It is certainly not news to Jews, Protestants and all others who are devoted to a religious practice that the words from the altar and in the presses of the churches are often maddening, from illogic & short-sightedness, if not downright wickedness from misanthropy, envy, hyperguilt.
8 AM June 27, 1960
Jill & I talked for over two hours last night on these and other religious matters. We went over Genesis and tried to translate the Lord's Commandments into universal language. Some can't; some can. The Jews solved or stated worldwide & eternal problems but not without some unacceptably peculiar results and not without incorporating some petty problems of their own. Jill
says: "The New Testament adds 'Love thy Neighbor' and takes precedence over the old." "Not so," I said, "to the Church. Fact is, priests are always unwittingly, or with the sincere hypocrisy of eye-shutting, advancing altered & extended & contradictory meanings, while they deny them to themselves & all others." We must do the same & if that means finding or hearing a Third Testament, then we must do so & are justified.
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9:45 PM June 27, 1960
Prisons, mental health, & vengeance. The latter two are hopelessly at odds in setting punishment for crimes. hence the existence and character of prisons, able neither to accomplish the first nor the second. Perhaps ultimately both therapy and vengeance will be accomplished in some presently horrendous way, such as providing treatment for crimes but providing ritual execution for every 100th criminal chosen by lot. Then society can exult & be expiated, while the course of healing can run smoothly.
June 28, 1960
Everyone in New York City ought to be given a hero's medal for living there. They all ought also to get a book's medal for the conditions they submit to.
June 29, 1960
Half the day with Ted Gurr. We laid out schedules for PROD: The Social Invention Review (sic). I explained also my dissatisfaction with his critical tastes and sense of mission. He had expressed a sophomoric like for a quite inept little journal called Know, a copy of which was sent me. Recently he had designed and received $800 for a quite banal story of U. S. investment in Africa. Both actions brought home to me that his capacity to be a true intellectual is limited. He lacks profound sympathies, the creative imagination, and a true sense of where the study of man can go and how to help it get there. I said to him, "I should be content with exploiting you, but I want to feel that you are receiving good in return. I am not satisfied just with getting work out of you. I want to feel that you will be a credit to the years to have been with me." I suggested several times that if he did not believe in what he was doing with me that he should move along to better things. He had no intention of accepting the invitation. I pointed out that he had never contributed articles or ideas to PROD, rarely solicited contributions, hardly ever acted outside the routine of his work to build up the journal. I acknowledged that his difficulty in physically maintaining his energies, his fairly heavy load of work and study, and his lack of money might be inhibiting his morale and dynamism. "You are too isolated, furthermore," I stated. "You choose to live in the country, you don't have circles of acquaintances who can serve to stimulate & stir up your enthusiasm for PROD. You don't run about New York and other towns testing ideas & locating resources. An assistant editor should be sending out & receiving back all kinds of signals helping him to place himself to guide him, to drive him on and impart to him an image & status." I am disgusted with him. He admits all this. But, as Jill once said, he is an underground man. He resists in secret. He will not respond to ordinary direction with a full expression of will, and potential ability. He needs a straw boss who refuses to consider his psyche. And, it may be, unfortunately, that he can never learn the highest lessons of theory and criticism. If the fountain is not bubbling for the fresh and clear at 24 or 25, will it ever? I doubt it. He was well-placed when he majored in behavioral psychology at college. He has dreams of avantgardisme, of unusual and shocking ideas, of romantic work, but he will always be dependent upon someone else to supply these to him, and had best recognize the fact. Which is to say that he remains useful to PROD, but I need an Associate Editor and probably cannot find one, particularly since my available funds are taken up with Ted's salary.
Yesterday afternoon I visited Dick & Mary Smith in Riverdale. We played tennis at the Yacht Club, Dick & I standing against Hubby Goodrich and Sam McCain. Perfect weather and a beautiful setting on the edge of the Hudson River between the George Washington & the Tappan Zee bridges. After tennis, a swim, and then two hours of political conversation and dinner before Dick drove me to Penn Station. As Interim Planning Committee Chairman for the Rep. Party County Committee, he is swamped in political work. Just now he is reworking a mediocre and rough report Rodman Rockefeller's Harlem Committee has turned out, grossly overestimating Republican potential there. I offered to help and will give it a couple of hours next week. As I glanced at the report, I thought once again of the basic inadequacy of volunteer efforts to create and maintain the political parties. If democracy's central purposes are to be fulfilled, new means will have to be devised. Nothing moves in this age without special skills & science, save, regrettably, politics. No wonder no one dares to suggest parties take on any serious responsibilities.