April 3, 1966 Sunday
We arrived home yesterday evening at 7 after seven weeks of over seven thousand miles of driving. We had had no accidents with the car. Our health was good throughout. It was not a pleasurable trip for me but it was a satisfying and productive one for the boys. I am happy to be home.
Jill and the younger boys as well. Cathy has just been named to a comfortable five-year fellowship at Columbia University. Dante is doing well, I think; he has survived a full first semester at college here while working more than half-time and his morale is excellent. While I was away Jill redecorated the kitchen and adjoining hallways, reupholstered a couch, and generally set the house in better order. She looked quite attractive, rather thin, well-dressed and groomed (she has a new leather jacket), but is still a little tired from a siege of Asiatic Flu a month ago.
We sat down to a large dinner. Afterwards Mom came by. She is chipper and active. I drove her home later and retired at 11:30 PM (4:30 AM Lisbon time). Neither Jill nor I felt so tired that we could let our two-months of abstinence from intercourse continue. I spent the night in fitful sleep but pleasantly. At 6 I arose (it was 11 in Lisbon after all). The late morning found us again in bed for a rest and all of that.
Velikovsky called at 5 PM while I was walking with the dog. I called him at 9:45. He has received a copy of our book on his work that has just come off the press. He is unhappy that Livio Stecchini has "misrepresented" his position on the identity of two pharaohs and that my qualifications were not presented on the dust jacket of the book. "What will people think? You might as well be a carpenter." I laughed and said, "At any rate there have been great cosmologists who were carpenters."
For some reason, V. feels it a miracle that we returned safely from our voyages. We arranged to meet tomorrow. I am curious to see the book whose defects of content and format might be attributed, I have always suspected, to V.'s heavy-handed insistence on many things being done his way and only his way. Whereupon they are not done at all, none of them. If instead of tearing Livio's efforts to pieces, he had corrected or urged upon him only several points of fact or theory, Livio would have made the changes and I might have followed the controversy and given the final approval. But not at all. They struggled and argued. Several manuscripts came into existence. Large sections were first in, then out. The book was delayed. Scraps of paper floated about my offices. Finally, when Felix Morrow, the publisher, had experienced enough to heed my word, I gathered up the best version I could and said to him, print it. Naturally there will be errors, and V. has only his changing moods and incredible obduracy to blame. Still, what a man. A Titan.
April 7, 1966
I was abruptly pulled out of the relaxation of homecoming when I visited Velikovsky. He was haranguing me about Livio's misspelling of the Pharaoh's name and I was sipping tea and listening respectfully but comfortable and even amusedly when the telephone rang and he answered it. I could hear him asking who it was and then "jail," and "marijuana" and "most regrettable" and "I am in full agreement" but then "I am not the man for you. I have here with me Professor de Grazia, Professor Alfred de Grazia," and 'Let me have him speak with you ... he is better qualified to deal with this subject." He lumbered in an explained that a gentleman on the phone wished to have a Dr. Timothy Leary introduced. This Dr. Leary had been sentenced to thirty years in prison for possessing marijuana. He was a psychologist ... I began to recall Leary ... Harvard ... experiments with LSD ... and reluctantly but with some interest I picked up the receiver and received an invitation to come to Town Hall on Tuesday (this was Monday) at 8 PM and introduce Dr. Leary to the audience. The caller, a Mr. Bogart, stated that under the circumstances of the sentencing, it would be helpful if Dr. Leary were not to go "cold" on stage but be preceded by some supportive words. I replied that I might do so but wished to look into the matter, and would call him back the same afternoon. I hung up and Velikovsky said "you should do it, Alfred, it is a very good and useful thing to do." I felt that I should probably do it but did not finally decide until I had read a little of the background of the case and an article of alarmist nature in Life Magazine regarding LSD.
Sizemore joined us at Velikovsky's and we examined some of the long sought-for Macmillan correspondence on the case. Miraculously, after it had appeared first that Macmillan would never let us see what they had in their files, from the days of the crisis over the publication of Worlds in Collision and then later that they had destroyed the files, Sizemore learned that the files had actually gone with many other files over to the New York Public Library for some future literary historian. Well, history has already begun. Sizemore requested the materials and they were brought up for him. He was not supposed to remove them, but he did so temporarily, reproduced them by Xerox, and returned them immediately. So now we might read the full texts of the letters of the scientists (Shapley, McLaughlin and the rest) to Macmillan, the notes of Mr. Brett of Macmillan agitating the question of whether or not to ditch V.'s book, and related letters and papers. We are now in position to back up what some people have regarded as exaggerated statements concerning the dispute with actual quotations corroborating our charges.
The matter of introducing Leary bothered me a bit. Velikovsky and Jill both spoke of my acceptance as an act of courage. So did Eddie when I called him that evening for information. So also several others in the next day or two. I feel uneasy when people say I am generous, kind, understanding or courageous. Partly I doubt that I am any of these things. Or if I think I am it is on occasions when nobody in the world notices, but then when I act normally and naturally, it seems to me, as in the case of Dr. Leary, I am explicitly informed of my virtues. I have long been convinced intellectually of the absolute lack of coordination between good deeds and rewards but their lack of coincidence in practice never ceases to bother, and unsettle me. I don't know how to put it: it seems that I do praiseworthy things in quiet, boldly, but when a public approves my conduct, far from plunging forward even mor enthusiastically I tend to pull up a bit, and examine my conduct: am I being rash; what am I doing that is so extraordinary. I almost never find that I am fully in accord with the applause.
Eddie told me on the telephone from Washington that Leary's case had several legal possibilities, that it was worth trying in court. He urged me to talk to Allen Ginsberg about Leary, since he recalled Ginsberg having an interest in the matter. He then spoke with A. G., I believe, the next morning, for G. phoned me at my office, speaking unexpectedly in a smooth, organized way, and we arranged to meet at the Faculty Club about 3:45 that afternoon for the first time.
At the appointed time, having speedily despatched a batch of phone calls, letters, papers, and other miscellany from the piles of homecoming mail, I was at the Faculty Club and Ginsberg came in soon thereafter. The apparition is nothing to dismiss, especially if it occurs in the framework of the old Georgian architecture and furnishings of Washington Square North. He was more completely uncouth than I thought possible. Full grown hair and beard flying in every direction, disheveled attire of ditch, burn, and beach. He said Peter was parking the car and would be in, so we began to talk while we waited and after twenty minutes Peter came in with his tam, long red braids and grimy gym suit and tennis shoes, bringing along also his brother. By then Allen and I had come to terms and he could introduce Peter's brother nonchalantly as "Julius, Peter's brother. We've taken him out of the insane asylum where he's been for thirteen years. He 's become our ward." Peter said, "Sit here, Julius," and Julius staring far far out of this world, sat straight and mechanical on a chair and said nothing nor scarcely moved a muscle for the hour or more that we talked thereafter.
The trio was spectacularly disgusting. Several professors and the manager poked their heads inquiringly our way and I gave them a polite "hello". My own feeling was of warmth and fondness. They were completely reversed characters. All the evil in them was in their appearance, while inwardly they revealed a beauty and kindness. That was holy. They are in the great tradition of the blessed spirits -- the hermits who lived in caves and on poles, and the beggars of St. Francis. Ginsberg is a man of surpassing intelligence, aside from all else, and Peter a kind of saintly inquirer. They are not [were] celibates, or even better-than-ordinary men. They stand on the other side of Evil, having passed through it or flown over it.
I invited them to the bar downstairs for a drink, but they took me instead to their party, where they were tardy. Present when we arrived was the hostess, Miss Beach, daughter of the first publisher of Joyce, a Frenchman who has just translated Ferlinghetti, a Solomon who had just been freed from nine years in a mental hospital (this must be Allen's great early friend). and a young pretty man who looks like Edgar Allan Poe who publishes "Fuck you: a magazine of the arts."
I stayed for a while, then left despite their invitation to dinner, because I had to put down some words for my Introduction. I signed into the Stanford Hotel for the night, scribbled hastily for half an hour and then walked to Town Hall (taking a cab the last couple of blocks, since I turned E rather than W) and arrived a little late to spend time with Leary before the address. It was as well, for he was busy with the press and TV until the moment he had to appear. He welcomed me and we went on stage to a house three-fourths filled. A young crowd, I observed. My introduction went off well, and Leary's small strange eyes lit up warmly when I finished and he shook my hand cordially. he rambled on nicely for over an hour under painful white lights. They bothered me more than him but he had indicated he wished me to sit on stage alongside the rostrum and I complied. (Now I must see what mode of exploitation there will be of the films that were made. If I am to be on display I shall want to be sure of the context and qualifications.)
Leary's message was simple and harmless. He spoke of the levels of consciousness and asserted that the deepest was provoked by LSD. He argued that the knowledge one gained thereby was to the good (automatically I suppose, as the naturalist fallacy has all fact and truth is good and wreaks good, no matter the context or the controls). It wasn't much. Leary has been the patient amicus adolescensis of boys and girls seeking self-awareness and thrills of sensation, and is adulated for this and for his troubles and for his pursuit of a vague set of psychological and theological ideas that hover in the experiences of drug-taking.
I bid him goodnight afterwards, ate a poor solitary meal at a late diner, and slept well.
April 10, 1966Eastern Sunday
Stephanie Neuman says that she can now tell what men like her for her soul or mind -- Those who still engage and invite her company despite her most apparent pregnancy. I must suggest this drastic recourse to the woman, and there are so many of them, who harp upon the theme "they love me for my body."
[no date - page missing?]
April 19, 1966
Get an ancient account of a meeting between two powerful leaders of State and then describe hypothetically how they would have talked if they had been 20th Century men, i. e. new subjects -- international organization (?) foreign aid (?). Would they have put into effect a proportional sacrifice scheme? would they have been more or less hostile than men today?
Then what would be the differences and would the differences make sense?
(Maybe begin book with this meeting)
John Smith and Pohantan?
Tonti and Iddini
If no difference then where does the great trouble come from?
Imagine an ancient people with only the very limited possibilities of gaining things from the world that were then present. What would they want and expect from international relations? Peace? Intermarriage? Commerce? (on what basis?) Aid? Ideas? Alliances? Skills? etc. If much less than the present people, why? Is this possible, justifiable? If the same, then what's the problem and what's the expectation of the present and future?
April 30, 1966
A card from Louise Shelton in Greece. I wonder whether Wheaton misses his bosom pal. He is so emotionally impassive that her departure must merely be like the wake of a single-cylinder out-board motorboat leaving a dock.
Rothbard's transformation of the image of Herbert Hooverfrom voluntarist and laissez-faire to cartelist and state capitalist raises in my mind a larger question of the full explanation of American politics.
Why this image? Why have the liberals hated Hoover so? Why do they believe the New Deal was so different?
Hypothesis: American modern history (and even perhaps all its history) has been a fight of non-respectability with respectability.
But given the myth of equality of opportunity, this had to be restricted and couldn't be a political issue Rather false but "rational", i.e. acceptable political issues had to be created. Most often even the voters themselves knew not what they were after. They thought they were and are voting for do vs. do-nothing government, or laissez-faire vs. socialism (if on the other side) whereas they were voting for or against the socio-ethno-religio-geographic situation in which they found themselves. Naturally the sample surveys and many other scientific analyses do not reveal this clearly, because they are looking for other things and in any event only tangible speakable things are apparent.