March 9, 1965 New York City
The Couvade - A widespread phenomenon, the woman gives birth in the fields. The man goes to bed. Why? To be picturesque? By accident? No, functionalism, probably now unconscious. If the birth is in the field, the woman and child are both much more likely to survive. The germs of the bed and the fetid air of the shack do not bother the groaning, healthy male.
March 9, 1965
The National Science Foundation should be abolished and in its place a system should be adopted by Congress to grant research monies to the colleges and universities of the country in proportion to a formula of numbers, research budgets, and other criteria. The NSF sits in Washington on its money bags and waits for the inspired scholar to come crawling in. It then reaches out its blind feelers to the world and gets strangers to criticize him. It may or may not award him a grant. It may or may not supervise well any grant awarded. Contrast this with the college, one of our true communities, where one's enemies have flesh and blood and one's friends can be truly helpful of mind and spirit. The grants should be made there, not from the recesses of hierarchically arranged rooms, anonymously manned. How can this truth be known? Billions are spent and, worst, an inhuman structure of science is being built under our eyes, but no one rises to the point of order.
Two incidental notes:
Pen Herring SSRC President has been feeling disconsolate and pettish of recent months or years. Once the SSRC was the center of the Social Sciences. Now it is one of numerous centers, but particularly it is overawed by the Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation. Last week he complained to me that he was becoming an employment agent for the federal government.
Yesterday I spoke to the NSF program head for Sociology, Anthropology, and Political Scientist, a former student of mine at the University of Minnesota. He told me that their formal policy was one of sitting back and waiting for people to come to them rather than looking for promising workers - much less taking risks. I drew him into this admission and reproached him for it. He seemed unconcerned - in his storm-cellar of the monumental bureaucracy,.
March 9, 1965
The Three Ways Automation will Lead.
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Is this fourth way or 3A way not a reversion or at least a cyclical progression of the present way (nineteenth and early 20th century)? Yes it is, and in this sense those who say automation will provide more jobs are correct in an utterly unimagined, unintended way. The whole society will have to be restructured.
Foremost among the problems presented by automation is the fate of the technically uneducated masses -- four fifths of the world's people. They must be eliminated, or subjected, or educated, or a combination of all three.
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March 12, 1965
Man / Nature / Science
Led a seminar of MIT alumni last night at the Engineering Center, invited by Dan Cooper, heavy-set, mustachioed Editor of International Science and Technology. The group was strong-minded, intelligent. I think they were surprised at how readily I could read the world as "hard" or "soft" science, explaining all they put forward in social science as characterizing physical science, and all in physics as of behavioral science. Key to the transition often was the distinction between pure and applied science, which, once understood, opened up reasons why social science couldn't "do" as much as "physical" science. Suppose, I said, you were asked to build a refinery (this in response to such a comment by a V-P of Socony Oil Co.), and, though the task be ordinarily of highest difficulty and responsibility, you were asked to make it also a wine-distillery and sugar distillery. In short, multiple and changing goals or directives. That is what the social scientists content with constantly. Not only is the job rendered most difficult, but the costs of constant adaptation become so high that the scientist has to give up or is forced by his clients to give up the niceties (the "essentials") of science - tight specifications, measurements, elaborate tests, new materials designs, etc. He just does the best he can with what tools and resources come to hand, preserving as best he can a scientific spirit and method.
The scientific method of nature and man is the same. The differences are entirely in the sociology of the sciences (which differs from one given time to the next) and in the subject-matters (which are of course different). But the same sociology and the same conditions of subject-matter prevail and cover the whole process of science.
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Before the folklore of Asia and aboriginal America is lost forever in the sea of advanced technology, it should be carefully recorded so that it may one day be analyzed for its historical content. As the science of symbol analysis advances, it should provide increasing means of obtaining truths from what is still thought in most quarters to be entirely mythical fable and legend.. Since some highly developed cultures, such as the Indonesian, lack written records - for climatic as well as for other reasons - the scope and importance of the problem is large.
March 20, 1965
The cyclical theory of history owes so much originally to the cycles of the seasons, the sun and moon, the nearby events of the sky and their effects, that a revolution of thought bringing man to focus upon outer space where cyclism does not prevail can suppress cyclical notions of human events and destiny. We may be led to vastly more prolonged cycles of creation and destruction of the universe itself: "The universe is entropic"; it is thereafter creative. I do not prefer, but my judgment suggests, that history is a path of uneven step-ups and step-downs, on whose planes, so rough and unpredictable, man loses his bearings and at any given point cannot say whether he is going up or moving down or whether the path behind him has been rising or falling. If he is out of breath, it may be because of the length of the journey and the tenseness of the walk, not the effect of the law of gravity.
March 24, 1965
Lunch with Jay Hall at the Capitol Club in Washington. The problem of auto safety.
The way in which Bill Baroody edged Jay out of the key role in the Republican Presidential Campaign last year.
Ken Olson now a consultant
Melvin Laird, Congressman
Bill Baroody, the Suffrage Bill
Don Tacheron re APSA's desire to mechanize its Directory and membership procedures.
Ed de Grazia and the film project
NSF Burt Adkinson, Barker, Brownson and the futility of NSF work in IR
Hoppers, SORO research group on way to South America
March 29, 1965 4 PM
Science is the by-product of man's frustrated major questions of life. When he doesn't find the answer to the problems that are important to him he skirts around them, stops short of them, begrudgingly lives off of the minor satisfactions he can gain. For example, the urge to classify the universe is so as to find the one essential trait and place of a thing in the universal order. Balked in this hopeless desire, man produces a great many refined classifications that are operational. In this sense, all knowledge, but especially science, is the outgrowth or sublimation of the larger ravenous appetites of the human soul.
March 29, 1965 En Route to NYC 10:30 AM
Injustice is the order of the world. Justice is rare. We starve if we live off of it. Therefore we seek an ersatz justice and find it in the acceptance of regular defeat and subsequent understanding. The one who understands injustice justifies himself. He deserves to exist by that fact.