July 4, 1962
Read 2 of Eugene Ionescu's plays yesterday. Brother Ed seems to emulate him, but, I think, does better. At any rate, the recent rash of such playwrights is offensive. Their aim is to show how absurd society is, as if this needed to be shown -- it is all in how it is shown and therefore the heart of the matter is their mode of communication. it is obscene, nonsensical, indecipherable, random, casual. Its characters are banal caricatures, even if they have 2 heads or eleven toes. Like the solipsists who become absurd when they try to persuade others that nothing exists but them, the dramatists are condemned to be foolish by their own [page missing]
July 7, 1962
House changing decisions once more
Eileen in from Israel
Sebastian's book is highly publicized
Mental logjam on ABS problems.
One more dirty trick of the present income tax law. It erodes the middle-class man's chances for leisure. He thinks of his free time expenditures in the context of their deductibility for tax purposes. Therefore he spends time with people he doesn't enjoy in ways that are financially prudent. Why go to the wilderness alone, for instance, when the costs of the trip are deductible if it is turned into a business conference. Why go to Jamaica for two full weeks in February when you can fly into Miami for a convention for several days and get back to Jamaica and deduct most of the costs? Why buy books when you can deduct the costs of food. I guess that an average executive in a year's time will make hundreds of decisions to socialize, not read, to eat, not talk, to boat, not swim, to go to one town, not another, to visit X, not Y all for material reasons of taxation. He will maintain a tax-deductible office at home and bring home even more of his work. Thus he "voluntarily" consumes his "free time" in less than the best circumstances he can imagine. All of this not including the decision-time when instead of calculating pleasures, he calculates tax aspects of choosing among pleasures.
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I am warmly pro-Jewish but am an anti-anti-anti-Semite. An anti-anti-Semite is a professional or amateur exploiter of anti-Semitism.
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July 8, 1962 Sunday
Men think and act a good deal alike because they are certain persistent similarities in the physical and social environments of man from earliest times. Man makes the world. He creates it and goes on from there. The world can never be more than an implication of his mind. The aggregate of all men's parallel perceptions and cognitions constitute reality or nature, and also the natural law. Deviations occur in physiology, biology, physical environment, and social environment. These produce controversy, the world of value, of morality. We can see therefore a World of Truth, which is more accurately a world of shared perceptions of a species of similar structure and habitat, and a World of Dispute, which consists of the results of imperfectly similar constructions of individuals, biological and social, together with all logical inconsistencies of a non-fundamental character.
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Judicial and legal reasoning and process in this country and in most others is the foe of right logic and intelligent systematic applied social philosophy. Full of contradictions, concealed premises, inconsistent principles, its nature is of a muddy river, sluggish and too poor for drinking, bathing, industry, or refreshment. We may undertake a fundamental reconstruction of the edifice of law now. The tools and materials are at hand. Only sharp and brave minds are in want. First: the teleology of legal process -- what do [we?] want of it. Then: the social and personal environment of the process: what is it -- where are the normal functional settings of law. Then: the controversies -- types and kinds of settlement required. Then: the logic and instruments of the settlements. Finally, their justification and incorporation. Let no existing agency or doctrine justify itself by mere being.
Poem of Hope and Dread (2 stanzas of 50 lines each)
The spring of hope is in the sweet purpose of the universe. It's logic is weak, its evidences poor. it is a little flame feeding on the gases exuded by manure piles. it cannot be suffocated because it comes from suffocation itself.
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The swamps of dread ooze from the blindness of being, the essential transience of all goods and loves. The logic of dread is strong, the evidence for it myriad.
July 11, 1962 9 AM
Reading Dr. Alan Waterman's mss. to be carried in November ABS. Reflects basic ignorance of social science, tho abounding in good will. And, of course, numerous errors of historical and political judgement, typical of our best minds in natural science and covered in a gown of acceptability. They sound so good. Take the cliché, which the Head of the NSF puts as limpidly as anybody, that we have the means to take care of everybody in the world and twice that number. He quotes the distinguished Dr. Lee Du Bridge of Cal Tech to affirm the point too. The Greeks and Romans had the same power. So practically all societies. So the American Indians. So what? Obviously we should draw a much different lesson from this potential of mankind. We rise or fall by applied soc. sci. factors quite removed from a presumed ability to feed ourselves, which also incidentally reminds me of the elastic concept of "needs" in social welfare circles.
1) letter of explanation 250 Soc. Sci.
2) contract 300 Physics, math, Biol, Chem, Earth Sciences
Write to 2000 to get 550
4 months 25¢ each : $500.00
local papers 200.00
1000.00 time searching titles
700.00 setting up punched cards
3 sales $8000 for 500,000 (100 mags at 5000 circ)
50 average payment
5 overhead and production
Price Received = no. of pp. x pd. circ. x $.01
$50 = 1 x 5000 x $.01
15 = 1 x 1500 x .01
or p = no. of ps x of pd circ x .015
July 25, 1962
On way back to Princeton. Let Sebastian off at East Side Terminal on way to Sicily, and taxied to the bus station. He looked picturesque and tired. Tomorrow he will be on a mountain amid grapevine looking over an ancient village, flocks of sheep and braying donkeys.
The big theories
Mind (including conscious and unconscious)
Central Park East from Central Park West at Sunset
Hup T up Thrup For Ta ta ta
Stand up, great buildings in a row
Rear up in a solidly line
Your feet in the grass of the Park
All tanned in light, all suntan bright
Eyes of flies in myriad
And lines of clouds ruling your heads
No one too tall, or too short
Ta ta ta ta ta