9 AM 7 Washington Square North
Dick Cornelle just left, after breakfasting. This was the first visit in perhaps four years with one who was a close acquaintance. He brought an unexpected visitor, a young woman named Martha Stuart, who had wished to meet me. She is brunette, hook-nosed, shapely, friendly, certainly informed and not unintelligent. I thought her attractive. She works at Planned Parenthood and we exchanged thoughts about voluntary welfare. Dick is setting up a consulting office in NYC and will commute every other week from California. He asked whether I should be interested in consulting. I replied that, whatever my business, which he laughingly offered, might be excessive for doing anything at all new, I might push in a job that outweighed something otherwise planned.
He looks well and I was glad to see him again. Dick is not lovable, but he is handsome, intelligent, active and convivial. Why need one love him?
October 1, 1965 Friday 6:30 PM
I arrived at Princeton Junction in a drizzle at 4:50. By chance Professor Bernard Cohen of Harvard met and greeted me, and drove me home. John came in soon after I did, announcing that he had been moved from third String to first String and would start the first game of the Freshman High School team as quarterback on Tuesday.
He said Paul was playing a soccer game. The rain continued. I drove to fetch Mom for supper and we stopped at the locker rooms to give Paul a ride home. while we waited for him, we talked, and Mom told of receiving a letter from her lifelong friend Lucy, who lives now in California. "Eight deaths in the family in a year," Mom reported of Lucy. "Lucy has even to write this letter; usually James does, but he is very sick too." Poor James -- a cheerful ruddy little Bass viol musician, who I remember would bring me into the wings of the Chicago opera house to hear Rigoletto. The grisly succession: cancer, divorce, sudden death, invalidism. What a business life can be. Nancy, Lucy's daughter, a pretty little girl in my distant memory, had achieved malaria through a blood transfusion from a sailor when she had been operated upon for breast cancer. Her husband -- young and rich -- had subsequently left her and her son. What would one expect -- a life-long attachment under those conditions. Mom and I agreed it was impossible. Surrounded as she has always been by the ritual morality of the Mother Church, she has kept her matter-of-factness.
We spoke of other divorces, where the partners were vicious, or very sick, or sexually impotent. What an absurdity is the formal position of the Church on divorce. "Till death do us part!" indeed! One life wrecks another until the whole series of lives topple like the game of staggered, standing cards. How many people in this world spend their time insuring rules for the unhappiness of others. The NY State Legislature is holding hearings now on the law that permits divorce only for adultery of a partner -- and all sorts of people with means set up artificial conditions of adultery in order to fulfill the conditions of the law. One honest judge (perhaps since he is 85 years old) says he has been sick of these perjured trials for many years. The Catholic representative, a tidy man, primly suggests that the Church wouldn't mind relaxing the rule a bit. What charity! Quelle délicatesse!
An end should be made to all this morality that reflects the gutter, not the Lord. The horrid behavior, the muck is mirrored in a code of morality and a law that is not at all something from Above and Beyond. It is the logical counterpart.
If two people hate one another, or even if they cannot go about their lives decently, they should separate, and it is rare, I am sure, that any children present are better off with the conflictful parents than with one, or none, or both in part.
Do we hear any honest and basic argumentation on this subject? Not at all. People come in and out of the halls of power, weaseling, caviling, lying and double-talking.
Strange that the structure has not collapsed and the stark reality exposed to the view of all! Those who know of marriage today know that one in four ends in divorce, one is miserable or desperate, one is resigned, one is happy. they all must now smile together for the social portrait of our time.
October 1, 1965 10 PM
I dip into Gide's Journals again, after years of passing over them. It is 1931. He voices clichés re the radicals burning Spanish convents: "I should like to ask those who are shocked by such violence how a chick can get out of the egg without breaking the shell."
He likes Thomas Mann and finds his company entrancing. I think of Mann as a vibrant mummy.
I wonder: do "writers", that is, the beaux-arts sort of scribblers, depend upon an essential vulgarity of mind. I am so often of the feeling that nothing true or beautiful can be communicated. or only to the veriest few. Or only in the smallest part. If I can think such heresy when reading Gide, it must be a marvelous fact, or I am as tired and impatient as Valéry who, Gide says, would always say "Furthermore I don't give a damn." But it does appear that the mere patience to put down words, sentences, paragraphs, pages, books -- the endless discourse, that enormous patience is at the bottom of writing great and small. One must believe that "IT MATTERS." One must believe: "Someone is Listening." Even if that Someone is oneself. Gide never apparently tires of himself as audience, even if he does of the public. I tire of both. I feel superior about it. Schweitzer once felt so about playing his organ, but he divorced it from the concert hall and carried it to the jungle where Himself (and the Captive natives) still would hear it.
I was a fine politician: I gave it up. I am at the height of my ability as a political scientist. I want to give it up. Wasn't it Gerald Manley Hopkins who abruptly gave up his beautiful poetry in the latter portion of his being. I am surely more Valéry than Gide. Gide is a sort of prig.
October 2, 1965 9 AM
Jill & I awaken early. Our four-months-old German shepherd dog, Francesca, barks roughly. She hardly ever barks. I see through the window that she is pacing furiously and anxiously, almost slinking, back and forth twenty feet from a large beautiful mottled grey-on-white cat, who sits calmly in the middle of our garden. Finally the cat walks away in dignity, quiet is restored; I return to bed; Jill is disinclined to make love. Then I so graciously abstain that she is stirred and changes her mind.
We make breakfast and talk of abstract problems, as we frequently do. One of us tells a story and then we discuss its implications, sometimes arguing, sometimes taking turns in grasping at a principle. I tell her that Jay Hall phoned a week ago and asked whether his 21-year-old daughter, Mary, might use our apartment on Washington Square. I said, yes, of course, and Jay related his concern lest Mary be taken at a disadvantage by a young law school graduate whose guest in New York she would be. This Sandek and Mary had been close at the University of Michigan but, to quote Jay, "She has her own philosophy about these matters, and decided she would remain a virgin until she gets married."
"I see," said I, though I am not too sure that declarations of policy always correlate with the facts of life. "Otherwise she will be in a hotel room, and, when he meets her at the airport on Friday night, he might want to take her directly to his apartment -- he has an apartment, his parents keep in the City and have a house in the suburbs."
I thought it would be difficult under any circumstances to prevent what will be.
"I believe it's less important that she be guarded against what she might do at will," I reflected, "than that she be mistress of the situation."
"Let her take an earlier plane, hire a cab directly to our apartment, and call him from there, explaining she was able to leave before time. Then she can receive him into her place, return to her place, and, whatever happens, it is not a conquest but an 'arrangement'".
When I recalled this to Jill, she agreed. She felt Jay to be old-fashioned and over-solicitous, and that his errant affairs had been provoked by his belief that "women should be protected". Those are his words, confided to Jill on the beach of North Carolina.
But then, Toby, his older daughter, had tramped the mountains of the West at an early age with boys and men. So, inconsistency!
And that is how it goes. We pursue a character through a maze and think we have him trapped, only to have a door clang shut on us, and we must take up another path to understanding him.
When I picked up Gide again afterwards, the lesson came forth again. Scarcely had I said last night that Gide, like so many writers, was full of words, an endless stream of ideas and impressions that a sophisticate need merely glance at to file by number among the few thousands of ideas that cover all things and events, when I read on in his journal to see on June 12, 1931 he is arrived at the same place as I and says of the novel that it must contain not only the distinctive and essential but also material that the reader already knows or can fill in by himself. "A concern for the lightest possible baggage has always tormented me, and I do not like to let time make that abstract of the essentials which I can just as well achieve at once. Allow only the essential to subsist was the rule I imposed on myself -- nowhere more difficult and dangerous to apply than for the novel."
October 12, 1965
Jill tells me that a neighbor, a gentleman whom I have not met,
[blank left deliberately]
October 14, 1965
The senses enter the nervous systems as equals. Sound, sight, feeling, smell -- all convert to similar electric charges and move to the brain, whence they emerge as the odd, beautiful, ugly, delicious and all of that world by which we are supposed to know practically all that we do know.
This fact, not long ago established, should greatly simplify philosophy, epistemology and metaphysics. Ethics too.
[following pages are probably out of order]
Congress. After a delicate hint or two, in the form of wondering whether "resources" and "means" are available for the task, he suggests that a fee can be arranged.
at 12:30 Jacqueline Pelletin, our neighbor and feature writer for the Trenton Daily Times comes and I take her to lunch at the Nassau Inn. There I answer many questions -- teaching her about Congress for two hours, so that she can write an article about my new book, Republic in Crisis. Lunch costs $7.50.
At 3:00 we return home and shortly thereafter, while Maddy Levy is telling me the state of things in New York and relating messages, the ABC writer, Lester Cooper, arrives. We talk for nearly two hours on the porch in the afternoon sunlight and then retire to the Stag Room of Nassau Inn, where we continue for two more hours on the subject of Congress and his television problems. I am tanked up on Irish whiskey by the time he drives me home in his Cadillac and proceeds to Philadelphia and Washington. I express anger that the family did not wait for my return before dining. 7:15 was not too late to eat, I said. Mother was present and kept still. Jill argued. My main point was that the boys could well learn to suffer a little tedium and appetitiveness when someone was out working on their behalf -- or simply when anyone important to them was expected. How else would they grow out of themselves as the clocks settling all time and motion? Jill's major argument was at first that they hadn't known whether I was coming. When I retorted that I had never failed to turn up when I was supposed to, she resorted to arguments that the matter wasn't important. I said that, left to her own devices, she would express her stupid existentialism in raising beatniks. At one point, she suggested that I had been drinking, as if that would disqualify me from expecting consideration. She dropped that proposition when I asserted hotly that drinking did not make working any the less productive and only slightly less onerous. So it went, a fine wrangle. Jill lacks the qualities of considerateness in major ways while being quite considerate in minor ones; she is obtuse in argument, abandoning the graces, refusing the coy and smiling way out. One memorable evening, several months ago, I came home at 7 of the evening from New York and found a cocktail and a flower on my desk and the desk was clear of other people's materials of work and play. I was delighted and touched. The week after, Stephanie told me that she had called Princeton just after I had spoken roughly to her on the telephone, and warned Jill I was coming home in a beastly temper (I actually was not). She said Jill must be prepared to mollify me. So Jill and Vicki invested their little effort in the trick and I was happy. Not so happy, though, when I finally learned it was not spontaneous with them.
* * * * *
I finished reading through the Psychological Abstracts for August 1965, indicating work that I thought more significant than the vast majority of books and articles. Psychology (all science, perhaps?) is useful in the detailed application of method to things generally known. That is, when directed precisely at an agreed-upon problem whose consequences may be quite unimportant in the universe. It staggers and gets silly as it moves up in breadth of generality using the same language and method. It revives when it uses a vaguer more qualitative language and approach upon larger problems. It never reaches, sotto nome di psicologia, the lofty heights. There it is philosophy.
John Dryfoos has sold my remaining shares of stock, he informs me, 300 shares of Microdot. After six months of ups and downs, it went from 13 1/4 to 15 ½. I should probably spend a third of this small sum of $3,500 (after the margin loan is paid off) in household improvements and clothing. Jill's latest query, as she drifted off to sleep over her botany book, was "Where will I get the money to pay for the new storm windows you are ordering?" I figure that we should spend $6,000 to renovate the dilapidated interior of this old house. What a nuisance are the extra costs of living! The basic costs -- what one needs to be well-fed, happy, and comfortable in many places -- are so little. Yet no one, including ourselves who take pride in our modesty, ever approaches the exhilarating freedom of that base. Like pure virtue, it has no operational meaning.
George Homans offers a set of primary propositions re human behavior. So do Simons and March, Lasswell and Kaplan, Skinner, and many another. The older generations offered them, too, never so abruptly or unliterary. I offered a few on administration once.
If one is adept at this business, though, as I am, he may commit such propositions to paper in abundance. On and on, we can go. But I find the nagging questions follow: Where do they take us? Why these instead of others?
Perhaps the best way to prepare a set of laws of behavior is to imagine a completely naive student, a tabula rasa, an intelligent baby in full command of his faculties, who can perceive but has not thought (itself a behavioral contradiction). Then set forth in the simplest most accurate language possible the statements he should observe if he is to make his way in life. This would be "general social and behavioral science". "How few propositions can be made to suffice him for the maximum number of human situations?" That is perhaps the chief objective of our science.
Successive strings of propositions can be added to satisfy the not fully completed tasks set forth in the question: that is, the terms "few", "suffice", and "maximum" will be altered and made more absolute by the elaboration of science until finally the ideal question will be answered as "What are all the propositions that will answer all human needs arising out of life?" and this question would be answered by the most refined logics and instruments of search and proof.
October 17, 1965 Sunday 9 AM
Bad memories in the night. My work is going poorly -- the pure hard intellectual drive to write is reduced to a twitch.
I awakened at 4 and thought of the French girl whom I had seduced at Darmstadt, just after we had 'liberated' that city. My company put on a great party in the set of buildings we had occupied, and brought to it all the women we had freed from a nearby workers' camp. (Were they really true prisoners?) They were a jolly group and the Captain located the prettiest one. High with drink and gay, I took her to my little room and, not without difficulty, made love to her. She had no experience in love, no education either -- I suppose that is why I did not seek her out ever after. But now I wondered -- did I use a contraceptive with her? Could I have left her pregnant? Whatever happened? How many men may see their own faces in the streets of the world? I felt sad about the girl, now, so late.
October 18, 1965
Party last night at the farm home of Ted and Erika Gurr. A pleasant crowd, intellectual but more broadly and experientially based than just that. Sandra Schmidt, tall and almost beautiful now; she prepares stories for Life magazine. Mrs. Mary Knowlton seemed very handsome too, perhaps because she is getting a little older and the expression of her face is no longer ambiguously neurotic and intelligent, but tends towards the latter and is opening up a bit, exuding more warmth and genuine interest in reality. Her brother, Robert McLaughlin, was introduced. A fine broth of a boy -- in the Peace Corps now and looking for a way to live in Peru. He is studying quantitative social science now, to discipline himself, his sister says.
Charles Ruttenberg was there with his new pretty wife. Plain or even ugly men get beautiful women as often as do handsome men, it seems. Many functions [where's the next page?]
October 22, 1965 12 Midnight Princeton
Johnny and I watched the Giardello-Tiger middleweight fight on television. I had Tiger winning by 9 rounds to 6, which turned out to be the average of the 3 judges' scores at the end.
Watching the styles of the fighters, I thought how the way in which my four boys box has something to reflect of their characters. Paul is a sharp counter puncher. John slugs with wide powerful blows of both arms and hands; Carl strikes fast and hard, and takes blows well. Chris jabs and churns briskly, chopping away.
October 22 65
The True and False Friends of the Poor
Cult of rights Personal friends
Shotgun spending Jobs that teach self discipline and train -- free jobs,
Huge doles with "bosses"
Bureaucratic a drain Unrestricted spending money
Paternal or fully taxed budgets Helps the poor's' institution (e. g. storefront Government compete with poor churches)
for their own purchases -- Abortion clinics and birth control
cars, parks, church Loan shark and cheats legislation
education, etc. Law courts reforms
Understanding and tolerance (including of "easy"
October 31, 1965
History is neither linearly progressive, nor cyclical, nor synthetic and dialectic, nor all change and growth, nor static. it is a jiggling around many fixed points. Each set of jiggles creates a new pattern -- call it growth, change, progress, decline, etc.; all are "correct" when they are correct; otherwise not.
I recall the tube that I fix my eye to, and the bits of colored glass at the other end. Every time I shake the tube, the beautiful and amazing pattern turns into another, beautiful and amazing pattern.
UN girl - A female Candide from Los Altos, California.
October 31, 1965
Osbert Sitwell, in writing of London's statues, says that as the idols of old were torn from the churches, the new models of men were blazoning the squares and markets.