April 1, 1962 8 AM
Steady, moderate rains all night long. A subtle green is appearing on the bushes. Purple and yellow crocuses are biting through the ground.
Vicky returned home at 2 AM from sitting with the Masel's children. Jessie came in a little later and rang the doorbell because Vicky locked the door. She was happy and exultant because a long day's work tending the Fussel's children next door had brought her $8.50 which, added to her previous savings, gave her $26.00 to purchase a spring and summer wardrobe. She handed me a poetic one-page story she had written about a sitter's desire to be alone to contemplate and listen to the rain. It is really better than one would think.
Last week went by fast, as do almost all of my weeks. Sunday I went by train to Washington and spent two days at the Army's conference on limited warfare. Also in Washington I saw Luther Evans, Lawrance Krader, Renzo Sereno, Miriam de Grazia (these last two at a final lunch of Wednesday of great shad and roe at Pierre's that caused me to miss my train). Also a Dr. Brand at the National Institute of Mental health. And Claude Hawley, who talked of how we might make money in investment; the thought came to set up offices in Algiers, Istanbul, Rome and Madrid to sell mutual funds and other stocks. A romantic notion of mine but a few inquiries might not be amiss. Meanwhile I am waiting for Charles Lockyer, an acquaintance of Claude, and for several other publishers as well, to bid on the purchase of the ABS. Then also I met and spoke with many people, a good part of them old acquaintances, at the Army conference.
Cathy and Jessie picked me up at the Trenton station. I spent the night working on ABS and in the morning went into New York. Classes and conversation all day there and an early bedtime after a couple of hours of work, only to be awakened by Stephanie phoning at 11 PM to say she was back and dark and handsome from the Puerto Rico sun and air. We met next day for lunch. Afterwards I shopped for tennis balls and clothing, for a recording of Candide which was not available and a novel of Burrell, Clea, which I am reading. Then home on the 4 PM train and constant work day and night, save for one hour's tennis on Friday and Saturday, on the ABS April and May issues, with a good deal of interspersed reading into the stream of books and materials of social science that come in for the magazine. I must be examining 75 books a month and a hundred magazines. I am beginning to develop the outline for the New World Order, which I hope may contain a full account of my ethical position, and scientific as well, on all the major problems of social existence. An inordinate ambition, considering the swamp of other obligations I am in.
April 1, 1962
A Hostilities Institute is needed for the practice and education in political-economic-social-ethical-military "warfare"vs. external and non-related foes. That is, with the rise of limited warfare we are faced with a blurring of lines between friend and foe. One distinction is between those against whom all means may be taken (usually external or non-rule-sharing persons in a society) and those who share basic norms about society and therefore against whom only limited means may be taken (e. g. conventional domestic politics). We have Institutes of the latter but not of the former. But they may be too merged to distinguish educational work.
April 2, 1962
The great writer communicates universally. He may begin slowly and behind, in recognition, those writers who speak to the times. He perhaps deserves his tardy response, for he truly fails in a measure to communicate his full truths here and now. But he makes all this up in the fullness of time.
He does so by universalizing his objects, as for instance in speaking of events and things known to man now and 1000 years from now, and also by abstracting his particular subjects so that they appear to the senses, intelligence and imagination as something other than what they specifically represent but something nevertheless with a provoked meaning. Thus Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea is not a triumph of the moment, but its eternal man as fisherman and as old man, and its symbolism are old. Yet H. is sharp and vivid, so that he will not reach universalism of the second type with this work as well as some impressionist writers (and poets) will (Melville's Moby Dick who is "all things to all men") or the larger mysteries (The New Testament, e. g.) do.
* * * * *
So it is also then that writings circle man in orbits to which he is attuned at one moment and not at another. His apperception is conditioned by his particularism, his life circumstances, and the events around him. Whether on a personal level or on a collective level, the communication varies within the society with these factors, at the time of writing and in the farthest future. Thus e. g. "Plato speaks for today, Aristotle for the last century."
Jill and I argued about existentialism over lunch. She clings to some meaning in it unassailable by reason. Yet she cannot find fault with my reasoning when I say the existentialists are the scholastics of today -- they are essentially meaningless and go on and on with a high sense of importance. She says existentialism has to do with the detached souls, the people stripped of society. I say, no, there is no such thing, unless it be the man who understands and therefore can "handle" society. The Beatnik is a social product who loves society. She says I have no problem because I am involved with people. "I am and I am not", I say and draw a diagram on the board which she laughs at but confesses has some meaning.
No. of people known Withdrawn person's curve AdeG's curve ?
| Normal curve?
| Jill de G's curve?
Lo | ____________________________________________
Degree of involvement (sympathy) with the persons
encountered in life.
Carl was playing baseball on Friday afternoon when he should have had his great bush of blond hair cut. At six o'clock he disturbed me in my study to complain that the barber shop was closed, and that the price would be higher on Saturday. On Monday he had to go to school and would be embarrassed presumably by his unkempt head and could not visit the shop. "Too bad, I said, but you brought this on yourself." "You cut it" he says. "I can't". More griping. "Oh, very well." And on Sunday night I got around to it. I snipped great clutches of hair with a dull scissors, a broken comb and a safety razor. He was scarcely beautiful and was most annoyed. (Luckily he couldn't see the back of his head ..). Great complaint arose again last night and this morning. Finally, I said, "All right. Here is a dollar and a quarter. If you think it is so bad, get a good haircut at the barber shop. If you can stand it, keep the money. A sunny smile broke over the gloomy long face and I notice him now tripping back from school in the late afternoon without a haircut. For days he has also been looking for money and he even put a beggar's cup in the hall with a piteous sign next to it. Vanity had no chance therefore.
April 3, 1962
Except for announcements and retrieval, the magazine is dead, dead, dead. It is only for suckers, ad-readers, and people who don't know how to find their way around books.
ABS - 1 month (June)
Novel - 1 month (July)
Poetry - 1 month (August)
AG - ) ??
Choice - 1 week (September)
April 7, 1962 Sunday 8 PM
H. S. instruction in government, social science, civics is largely wasted on children who haven't enough experience of the world to understand and introject the study of human relations. Better to give a year's work in H. S. on statistics, interviewing, polls, and generally upon social scientific techniques. This would advance greatly our later education in the behavioral sciences.
A day of a long bike ride with Carlo, chilliness, a grippe and forty books and articles to annotate for May ABS.
April 7, 1962 10 PM
I am having a hell of a time these months, and even these last three or four years, deciding on what mode of expression to use for what I feel that I must do next: to say what should be done with the world. I think of drama, of poetry, of novels, of utopias, of political polemics, of universal philosophy, of a new language and logic, and none seems to be adequate to the task, or to my abilities and motives. It seems to me that I have never written what I truly wished to write, nor said what I might better have said even in the limited context. It seems too that each medium has its boundaries -- if a polemic it must be propagandistic; if poetic, it cannot prove itself; if scientific, then it must avoid moral commitment. I come back to a universal applied science as the appropriate form -- very consciously and systematically used. Then I think that only a farce will suffice, for the truth is sure to be too difficult to take seriously. Merely stating it causes one to laugh, despair being the parent of humor.
April 8, 1962
Reading Lawrence Durrell's Clea, a bad novel whose fame as a good one is a scandal of the book critics and book marts. Its quality and fame both remind me of C. P. Snow's The Masters and others of his works. How any critic of merit can see these tedious, clumsy, meandering, and morally pasty authors as a credit to English literature is beyond me.
* * * * * * * ** * * *
All around, from the first bugle of awareness, the clocks are set to ticking synchronously, as a forest all bending alike with gusts of wind, and forty second violins.
Everything whose being signs our register of sense begins a beat of recognizable sound.
And when we go away keeps a rhythm to catch us on return.
And when it dies, missing the beat, we hear, we shiver like animals nearing an abattoir.
the silence at the cry of a stuck pig.
We look at ourselves in grey windows of orologeries largely misshapen, gorged with clocks, all on their own time, beyond us, yet in our care.
April 11, 1962
It is incorrect to think of poetry as a vague obverse of fact or scientific proposition. The poet often feels that he is being precise, extremely so. When I write a poem I choose each word with great care, far more than I exercise in scientific writing where the words in their usual contexts come readily. What is it I hesitate about and search for? It is not merely the pretty word or the apt style or rhythm.. it is the precise meaning, even when the precise meaning signifies a double or treble meaning. For instance, in the poem I just wrote, "the Clock Store", there had to be a set of precise analogies -- first of time-and-attention, then of terrorized humans and animals led to slaughter, and our physical form and the clocks in a store. The skill, here, if there is such, lies in laying two perfectly parallel tracks (or three or more) at once, while science lays only one. yet each track must be true in poetry as well as science in this sense -- "it could happen", or "it is conceivable." Science can use a limited number of such statements, too, but must apply itself largely to the means, modes, medians and quartiles of subjects, and the relations among these statistics. So poetry is exciting. It can work out the hypothetical case forever, in the knowledge of the infinite uniqueness of events. And of course in addition come the pleasures of rhythm, language, style and action.
April 13, 1962
I carried out three cartons of books from my office the other evening and placed them on the trunk of a parked car to wait for Stephanie to drive my own car from across Washington Square. While I waited, I talked to Willie, the janitor of the building, a few yards away. Suddenly a man strode up and knocked one of the boxes down on to the street, spilling its contents. He appeared about to do the same to the others. I rushed over and shoved or hit him so that he staggered back a dozen feet and stumbled and I said to him angrily, "I ought to beat the shit out of you." He was defiant but unwilling to exchange blows. He threatened retaliation and circled around me towards the front of his car. I thought he might be carrying a deadly weapon inside, as a few people do, and warned him away. So he walked a few yards off and said he would find out who I was and take care of me. I invited him to take my name and address, but he seemed not to want to come near me. Willie helped me pick up the books. I explained to the man that I should apologize for using his car to hold the cartons, but that he had no right to knock them down, and should also apologize. He was implacable. He was a common, ugly type of New Yorker, of heavy build, around 40, probably accustomed to being bad-mannered and aggressive. Thereafter I ignored him until S. belatedly arrived with the car and carried me off with the fatal cartons. She couldn't find where it was parked. How aggressions multiply: a -- b -- c -- it could have gone on.
April 18, 1962
A false land is firm in the mind and
washes the black sands into white,
soothes the waves into blue calm and
lets one find the silver tower, friendly dog,
cottage garden, and every path.
The potatoes are never lumpy, the toast burnt,
nor the meat tough or the bananas green.
Men glance often and fondly at women.
The children are bright-eyed, combed and orderly.
The old folks smile sweetly, and brothers are first.
Authors write well and love the world.
The painters compose affectionate visions.
The sun warms one whenever the clouds are tiresome, but
they stand by to cover the hot sun.
Birds sing - between five and eight;
music plays twelve hours later.
The vocabulary of politics is "lacking" --
no facts and no concepts,
neither practice nor pure science.
A small island of ignorance in a sea of grace.
April 16, 1962
Having been raised to believe that the principle of "no exceptions to the rule" is the highest morality, it has taken me a long time to appreciate that it is theoretically quite bad. It is classical absolutist ethics, the idealism which causes profound failures. It is rigidity without science or sympathy. An "exception" should be called for whenever the probabilities of behavior that a rule describes are significantly unfulfilled.
April 16, 1962 3 PM
What are the liberal arts?
Almost nothing of what those who use the name most think it is.
Knowledge and Action Have Several Dimensions
( Pure abstractness
( Applied Vocational
( Fact etc. perhaps
These are the determinants of subject-matter. Philosophical preferences, working on these, given a combination of dimensions that define "lib arts" "the lib arts curriculum", etc.
I should work this out and state my theory of lib arts.
Easter 22, April 1962
Laissez-faire theory needs a thorough re-doing. I shall search further, but I do not believe Hayek and von Mises or Frank Knight, among others, have been able to reinterpret what happens "really" in the liberal market-society. Their fault lies in the essential fault of the master, Adam Smith, who was canny and suspicious, but not a profound sociologist or psychologist. He neglected that fact that businessmen deal with one another out of the ties of a culture or society on the whole. "Commercium", as the Romans recognized, is a bond between peoples and classes. Exceptions are numerous, but no more so than crimes in many a legal order. The extreme case is the blind trade occurring in the past between Westerners and tribes people whereby the goods of the traders would be left alone at a known spot and exchanges effected in their absence by the tribesmen.
Extending, as it must be, the Commercium bond within as well as without the society, we discover a great intricate network of more-or-less-unifying groups tied together by their types of transactions but also and usually before, by their mode of life and their predisposition to enter into this type of transaction.
Hence we discover the supremely important point, that the reordering of a market situation or system of production reorders a portion of society. It is not, as so many liberals -- new and old -- believe, a technical readjustment. Therefore, also, the virtue and strength of free enterprise must be looked at as stemming out of various virtues and strengths of a certain existing or tending sub-structure of society. Do we want the particular group that operates the money markets, say, to continue as such. Regulation by the State will disrupt the group as a whole sub-cultural unit -- in its eating, leisure, ideas, schooling mobility, marrying, and business morale, as well as in the transaction being regulated. I do not plead for conservatism -- "Do not touch society -- it is so fragile". So are those fragile who re abused by prevailing practices! But social controls must become more intelligent, which means that social theory must become more profound. Ways must be sought to solve "true" problems, not the antiquated junk of a narrow one. The best arguments for free-enterprise in the last analysis are out of humaneness, not out of individual gain. The not-so-freely-moving groups of a not-so-free-enterprise society have to be protected like limited herds of once abundant animals. You cannot have reindeer and buffalo trampling your crops but you should have modest sized herds for beauty and consumption.
I have touched upon the political importance of letting a free-enterprise society alone. The numerous economically-autonomous and socially-autonomous groups and groupings are the sources of political ideas, opposition, criticism, and morale. As soon as they go, the republic goes.
Now whether there can be some way of running a free enterprise without a profit lever and instrumentation is questionable. perhaps it is worth working on. I see little to encourage me in the behavior of cooperatives, and non-profit foundations and societies. they should certainly not be the rule of the day, even if some of them are good to have. Whether another principle can be invented, I do not know. I believe that general education in sociology and ethics can produce enough consensus of attitude, understanding and behavior in the economic realms of society to accomplish a statistically considerable reform in the practices of commerce and that there is a beauty, a joy, and reward in the practice of production and distribution that is a high cultural achievement of civilization.
April 23, 1962
At lunch last week, Rod Rockefeller again brought up the subject of a statement of political means and ends, which he believes to be "needed". Needed I take to mean by his father in running for Governor and President, and by people who don't want to support either the Democrats' drifting liberalism (which, among Republicans is called "me tooism" when they practice it) or the localistic and nationalistic wing of Goldwater, Birch Society and the so-called lunatic fringe. Of course necessity is not the mother of invention. Nothing is written in the sky, either, as an alternative program or position. I have ideas, of course, for the new book I am planning on politics and welfare. But as I go over them with a view towards their use in political programmatics and agitation, I find them not to be the best ammunition. I fear there is an eternal contradiction between politically effective statements and true social prescription. Or, what is best for politics in propaganda is not what is best for the country. Some trouble is due to the different time dimensions. Politics is at most the affair of a month to four years in the USA today. Furthermore politics must assume instrumentalities that are considered popularly to be political. If one believes, for example, that the best solution to a welfare problem is to do nothing, this is likely to be an unsuccessful political position. Or that hope for policy "A" lies in better city planning. This is not helpful to people running for office if the so-called "issues"turn out to not include city planning. To define the situation:
Effective politicking can be combined with "true knowledge of the good of the land" only by accidental juncture of "false issue" and "true issue", or by playing politics in a way as to not contradict and to reinforce slightly the "true program for the public good." We must be prepared for a great disparity between the two almost all of the time, and for a consequent tremendous loss of efficiency and wastage of soul.
The problem here posed is worse for the intellectual than the politician, since the latter is temperamentally more content with little achievements amid much noise, while the intellectual things "big" in real terms of reforming society. Furthermore the politician does not write as a scientist, while the intellectual must come to terms with his fealty to scientific procedures. The agony of the difference is great. I have felt it continually and yet, greedy for life's many ways as I am, I have refused to give up the one or the other.
April 26, 1962
There have been thousands of inventions in human-factors-engineering, yet probably in all of these cases, sometime in history, somebody has formed and used the principle.
April 27, 1962
Events of 10 days:
Paul and I bicycled on Eastern Sunday to the Devil's Rocks where we caught a black racer snake.
I went with the Neumans to a cocktail party and buffet dinner in honor of Stephanie's father, Charles Glicksberg, and Don Wolfers, at the New School for Social Research. A number of novelists, pupils of Charles, were there. S. looked beautiful in a Puerto Rican print dress in sheath style.
The August Heckschers gave a cocktail party to show Anna Maria's paintings. A large crowd came.
Ed has decided to move to Washington as a consultant to the A.I.D. (Agency for International Development) and to be in private legal practice.
Tennis thrice in the new Spring heat.
Cathy home for a weekend. She is acclimated to Bryn Mawr, looks pretty, and has a fine summer job tending an invalid lady in Vermont ($50 plus room and board per week).
April 28, 1962
A way out of the deadlock over nuclear war: Let USA and USSR sign a treaty solemnly proclaiming that an unconditional surrender by either party to the other will be better than nuclear warfare. This would be effective in itself. Then, besides, let there be a panel of judges who are called upon to decide whether USA or USSR is about to violate this treaty, because of madness or utter provocation or ignorance. This court will thereupon call upon the other side to surrender.
"All is policy -- but little is politics."
(For my manifesto).
Society changing from primitive through mechanical to organic.
How do we pull the underdeveloped countries out.
April 30, 1962
To ponder: most people appear to underestimate their expected performance or luck where their chances seem good, and to overestimate where bad.
April 30, 1962
Freud, positivism, and the rejection of God. That God can have no place in Freud's world is shown in Freud's New Intro. Lect. on Psych. where he states "one can only understand ... God." Now this is "true" in an age of Positivism where adult people see reality as hard and face it. In my mind and today adult people are the ones who see no positivist answer to the nature of reality and therefore must make a God as Hypothesis.
"That Which is not Supplied by 'Reason'". That is, Freud being positivist saw reason as going from infant to adult . I see no adult reason in his sense but only adult fallacy the "hard fallacy".
* * * * *
cf. - The despatch of kinds [kings?] by exposure, execution, hari-kiri. A way of preserving free and fit rule of the ultimate people.
- The age-old character of these practices perhaps reflected in Archaic Egypt.
- Ergo: Some important "modern" dem. inst. are very old to Negro Africa.