May 8, 1965 Saturday 8 AM
Father de Hoyos and Father Camilo Boasso are coming with a lady named Susanna today to roast meat, Argentine style, and picnic on our lawn. John, the master builder, has created a new tiny fish pond, 3 feet deep, with rocks carefully pieced together for the bottom and sides. And flagstones around. Today it will be filled for the first time. Jill and Chris helped him dig up a ton of dirt which was used to level a sunken part of the garden. We must fetch cement blocks this morning, though, to build a fireplace for the barbecue. I must also get Paul to help me remove the heavy plastic sheets that we tacked over the porch windows to keep out the winter's cold. Yesterday it rained and chilled, but still Spring is now here, a full Presence.
Yesterday, I lunched with Ted McNulty at the Nassau Inn. We are trying to conceive how he may leave his job as Information Director of ETS, which he finds dull, and work with Metron while he studies for the PhD.
In the afternoon I listened to phonograph records of poetry, read by a group of English actors and writers. I wrote a letter to a student in Iran, Ronald Lipton, filled out or responded to several inquiries about this or that, and argued and talked with Jill and the boys before supper, mostly of the condition of the house and grounds, and of the case of Elsie, who is a very old and incontinent dog who should not be let into the house now that Spring is here but does get in. I spoke with Jessie too and she finally decided to attend the U. of Chicago instead of Bennington. She wants to study music and singing. Bennington makes a specialty of music but then Chicago is so great as to bury a score of specialties within it unnoticed and its range and depth of interests is magnificent. To specialize is easy on top of good foundations.
I telephone to Paul Kurtz at Union College, too, to ask whether the Behavioral Research Council of Great Barrington (Mass.) of which I am now a trustee, might not take over the ABS while Paul with Rollo Handy might be Editors. Paul liked the idea and will speak with Col. Harwood who runs the show at Great Barrington. A partner of a publishing firm phoned me to inquire about the Universal Reference System, and we arranged to meet to see whether they might merge the URS profitably into their operations. I shall be seeing four distinct parties and submitting proposals to two more this coming week concerning the disposition of ABS and URS. I would like to settle both in other hands to free myself for new creative work. Thanks to NYU and the Relm Foundation, I have a full year during which I can work upon matters that interest me, which should signify projects of new importance. Even if I can free half of that time by cutting out current obligations, I shall be freer than I have been in some years. I have the sensation, however, of a host of mere things and bad angels awaiting a chance to swoop in upon my attention. Youth is the time for everything, before everybody knows you're about, before commitments stretch and cover one like a suffocating plastic sack. How to teach youth to shun mere work and climb aloft. The old of course want the young to do all the dirty work and the young resist therefore all work. I think I, who was trained and self-disciplined to work with fearful ardor and efficiency, had, unfortunately to lose nine-tenths of that vital force on projects of small moment. I would better have been half as energetic and twice as selective.
May 11, 1965
I discussed with my students the social classes and mingling of strata in America. The relative rates of communality among different ethnic and religious groups were considered...
I have a couple of paragraphs in my manuscript on Congress and the Executive Force, in which I express concern over the overwhelming proportion of intelligentsia who are pro-Executive and anti-Republican. I say that twenty-five percent of the intellectuals are Jews, and therefore the problem of restoring a balance in U. S. political life that will even let republicanism be considered possible rests not only with a skill group but with cultural forces of some depth. I doubt that these couple of paragraphs are helping the book get published. Thus far, the manuscript has been turned down by six publishers - Little, Brown; Doubleday; Random House; the Conservative Book Club; Wiley; and St. Martin's Press. In one or two cases, the paragraphs, with everything else about the book, may have hurt. Thus are 9 months and much time lost. I should have slipped in the more offensive (what an abuse of the word!) sentences in the stage of galley proofs. Still there is the heavy "liberal" bias of the publishing industry which balks at the general thesis and invents all kinds of objections it would never produce against a conventional approach.
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The Jews are to the intellectuals as the O in H2O. Separating them has no practical validity for the provision of the substance of intellectualism. Indeed those who are best capable of the theoretical segregation of the elements are Jews. I think of Nathan Leites - archetype intellectual Jew, who grasped with me one time so clearly the taboo on this analysis.
May 11, 1965
Balanced ode to Women:
The list of grievances: "ball-busting" etc.
The list of praises: ego-free support, etc.
It would have to have some peculiar invented form to emphasize the more universal traits as distinct from the partial, minority traits. After all, the differences should be true, but the fruit of male ego and stereotype. What is this: didactic poetry? No, contrapuntal theory spoken for teaching and enjoyment rather than for communicating and linking with the corpus of scientific propositions on sex behavior.
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May 20, 1965 7:30 AM Thursday
I dream of a narrow highway by which I stand looking across, a car goes swiftly by and careens from side to side. It is driven by a woman I vaguely recall. I wonder why it is driven so recklessly. My eyes turn left. It has struck another car, but not demolished it. I think "It was swaying out of control because the driver was stopping so fast." I note now that the car that was struck from the left rear was parked by the road. It is a Volkswagen convertible. Jill is driving it. Several children also are seated in it. I am annoyed at the dangers of parking on a narrow highway and am somewhat angry with my wife for not getting her car completely off the road somehow. I am also concerned but from the surprise I had before I awakened, no one seemed to be hurt badly.
As I wake I wonder: "How did I know that the careening car was going to strike another car, and therefore set it into its peculiar and logical motion at just the right time? Or did I? Is it possible that I dreamt first of the careening car and then, since it had to end somewhere, sent it logically into the crash. Was there a quick unconscious rehearsal of the plot beginning with the crash and then did I redo it in the dream? Or was the logic of the sequence forced by, firstly the choice of a not unknown category of events (the setting, the car, the careening, the narrow highway, my observer's right angle position to the highway, etc,) and then secondly, by the choice of one of a limited number of memory paths and logical categories to be activated in order to carry out a line of events beginning with the first given setting and proceeding to add the familiar and feared crash, the known and disliked little car, the typical family anxieties. I tend to conclude that the mind in this type of dream acts as a high-speed selector of already traced alternatives which have a realistic association, and the plot is built as the dream moves along, even though it seems marvelously contrived. But now I think, isn't this what a storyteller who is skilled and imaginative does. "Tell me a story old man!" says the boy, and the old man began to tell him of brave deeds of long ago, on and on, of marvels which the boy had never experienced or heard of before. Nor had the old man. But he was letting his mind drift along a continuum of events, governed by a chronological rule, a general rule of actor and outside forces, and such other rules as would be necessary to form an acceptable fairy tale in the mind of the boy.