May 9, 1966 8 A.M.
Yesterday arose at 9, read the NYT elephant-book hastily while standing (The New York Times drugs the area's weekend). Cathy and Dante were visiting us. After a sandwich at twelve I wrote letters, then visited Velikovsky from 2 to 4:30, taking along the dog. I was irritable before supper and badgered everyone about their progress in their studies. I also provoked Jill into an explosion because I accused her (justly) roughly of conveying her own laziness and lack of sense of priorities of time-spending to the boys. John, e. g., was spending his second half-day on a crude incubator for fertile eggs that he was expecting the bantam hens to lay. He is not studying his German, math, or other subjects enough. He has let his guitar go for several months and does not resume his lessons on grounds that he needs the time to catch up on his studies from our trip abroad. I blared out that he (and all the others) should ask themselves whether they are (1) developing their mind, (2) their muscles, (3) their culture, and if not any one of the three, then probably they were wasting their time (1/2 day for an incubator is enough).
The trilogy is good but when I think, even in respect to myself, how it is often vitiated by crude income-earning, the prisons that a dumbbell society provides from infancy to old age, the sheer impossibility of coordination, the tempting presence of alternatives that do not fit easily any one of the three ways but are good and necessary anyway, such as sexual and purely affectional activity, and the moral activity which is at least as good and necessary (but can be rationalized as being part and parcel of the three primary good activities, which should be morally guided, directed, and involved); then I am despondent and even feel sorry for those on whom I have visited my loud injunctions. I am urging upon them impossible ideas. I can say, however, to myself, in consolation, that they will make their own internal adjustment of their ideals to their less useful or less splendid drives and not feel the conflict too severely, for they are resilient characters,. And I can also tell myself that they will get so much of the futile, useless and inefficient activity in life that any push impelling them oppositely will help them and they will someday appreciate it. Meanwhile childhood and familyhood is made a little less attractive by the conflict.
(Our commuter train is stopped for 20 minutes to pick up the passengers from a train that had broken down. Hundreds of its passengers are standing in our aisles now, glum or irritated from losing an hour of their day, already fragmented by commutation).
Velikovsky and I conversed long and easily yesterday afternoon on the front porch of his house. Elisheva brought us tea and pancakes but shared only a few words with us, mostly clucking over the boys being killed in Viet Nam. Franny sniffed and moved about from time to time, quietly though, letting us be undisturbed.
We went over the several books that V. has in mind to write before he dies. They are, roughly in order of priority -- though the priority is subject to disturbance both practical and theoretical:
1. People of the Sea (Vol. IV. of Ages in Chaos)
2. Ten Trials. ten critical tests of the Worlds in Collision theory and how they have been blocked and how they have been favorable so far as performed.
3. Vol. II of Ages in Chaos
4. Vol. III of Ages in Chaos
5. Ash - the carbon-dating story , a documentary of U. S. correspondence
6. Einstein conversation (mostly astro-physics and astronomy)
8. Documentary of his persecution
9. Problems of Geography and Geology
10. Saturn (the Deluge)
He talked of his financial situation. He has to think about his income; especially since he has put $5,000 into supporting his assistant Warren Sizemore and printing the Cosmos and Chronos bulletin recently. He sends $75.00 a month to an old and sick librarian who helped him with Egyptian bibliography in the 40's. He has never yet received a dollar from a foundation though we have discussed form time to time this possibility. He is a tough old guy, though, who was thrown upon his own resources over much of his life, and is not to be panicked like many of our own chickens would be if they were to be turned out of their academic roosts. (Intellectually though, V. highly respects the [security] of an appointment to a university though much more the respect than the security obtained.
We talked much of his earlier life, especially of what interests me most poignantly, the period of the discovery of his major set of ideas. As he related it, upon my prompting, it is similar to what I have constructed from my own knowledge and calculation before. His pre-discovery shock came when he read Freud's Moses and Monotheism in 1938 in Palestine (he bought this book rather than Mein Kampf after weighing the purchase of one vs. the other). He resented Freud's "betrayal" of the Jews. Moses was demoted to a slave copier of Akhenaton's monotheism. V. began to wonder about Freud's "prejudices" and he reread Freud's Interpretation of Dreams, taking therefrom all the dreams of Freud himself and analyzing them according to his own system. (He has studied with the greatest of the dream symbolist, the author of The Language of Dreams, after all.) He perceived in Freud's dreams an imperfect resolution of the Oedipal conflict and a desire to dissolve his Jewishness and become a Christian. V. wrote then his article on Freud's dreams. (V. had by the way, bought this book shortly after his own father's death, which had greatly affected him -- he told me last year when my father died that he had had a great upsurge in creativity afterwards even though he had been utterly devoted to his father.) At this moment then it appeared that V. was going to avenge himself on Freud by the favorite weapon of the analyst -- counter analysis. He meant therefore to write a new interpretation of Freud and spent the first 8 months after coming to America still on the Freud mss. But there was a second thread in the reading of Moses and Monotheism -- the Oedipal nature of Akhenaton. V. saw the resemblance, he said to me, as he read it (I can well see how he might since he was alerted to the idea that Freud 's Oedipal conflict was badly resolved.)
Now I think that V. was angry at the idea that the Jews should have gotten their monotheism from the Egyptians and he was going to remain attentive to any prospective stimuli contradicting this half-baked Freudian notion. The idea that was so devastating, that all of ancient chronology could be wrong, did not occur until after V. arrived in America in 1940, but I can see how well set he was to grasp the idea and then hold it and use it like an enormous shellelegh flailing away in every direction.
Once the idea occurred to me, he told me, it began to develop and spread. At first I thought it was a local catastrophe. Then it began to universalize. Then finally I saw that it must be Venus. All of this took from a year to eighteen months, at which point all of my theories were born and then came the many years of developing them and proving them.
May 10, 1966
Up at 5:15 A.M. after 4 ½ hours sleep. Stuffed nose partially to blame. General wakefulness more the cause.
Footnote to my visit on Sunday with V. Stecchini told me that V. did not know of Kugler's claim that catastrophes had occurred about 1500 B.C. V. told me that he had referred S. to the last little pamphlet written by K. before his death. I shall find out who is correct, but meanwhile, if V. knew of K's statement, why did he not cite it. V. belittles the booklet, but then V. has many other times grasped at straws to support his theories. We shall see.
May 14, 1955
Plot for a novel
The mad idealist young millionaire who plans the remaking of New York City. He first appears in the class of Prof. Thomas at NYU, and begins to spawn his plans. He leaves school shortly to pursue them.
His ultimate vision: To remove NYC bodily leaving only the skyscrapers of Manhattan standing with custodians as a museum and tourist attraction.
He gets to this logical conclusion through a series of misadventures in reform beginning with a simple and small attempt (cf. the maze of ancient Greek mythology) but his thread unravels the whole structure rather than leads to the exit.
New title for "Twelve by Candle"
"And Still it Lusts"
Bible: "The World is passing away and Still It Lusts"
May 15, 1966
Last night we saw a finely done short film on a young popular singer Paul Anka, which many of the Princeton students hooted at, not separating the excellence of the movie making, documentary and analysis, from the strange and hated phenomenon of the hysterical mobs of girls loving this boy whom they would regard as their physical and cultural inferior.
Then came the touted comedy "Morgan" which was not a comedy film at all. It was plain that many of the same students identified with the hero in his early antics and abuses and then as his disease deepened found their laughter growing weaker and hollower until they ended in a discomfited and dissatisfied mood, with the hero's complete collapse into insanity. Laughing at the insane was supposed to have been relegated to a primitive and unscientific age: yet here it was: the madman had to destroy others and himself before the audience would change its tune.
May 22, 1966
Why is Walt Whitman, so clumsy, so prurient, then so great? Because, says Liz Bettman, he was the first to open up his lines of verse so hugely, the first to coin language as he went, the first to do this and that. Then greatness is a matter of firstness? But is his open line now so good, or is it too awkward, are his thoughts so free now or are they childish? Does greatness once make him great now? Should he be read now in histories of literature or for the greatest of living literature.
Strange, this problem that pedagogy encounters. In the natural sciences they study the contemporary, never mind who built the science -- they read the pygmies, not the giants on whose shoulders they stand. In the social sciences something similar develops. But the literature (and art and music) well these speak to us today in the idiom and ideas of yesterday. What profound riddle lies herein?
May 26, 1966
Welfare Study 1966
First Meeting of FVW-NAM group, following earlier conversations with R. C. Cornuelle and Duvall.
Needs, goals, orientations were brought out.
Suggested: 4 systems
and Early Warning System
Social Problems, Issues, "binds" "Jams""
Newsletter, etc. To system II
II.Potential Applied Science System
A.To select appropriate techniques from repertoire of social sciences
1.Information on techniques
Newsletter To system II B
II.B.Inventory-Technician system =
1.Information on skilled persons
Newsletter To system III
1.Information on givers: foundations, corps, contractors, agencies, (preferably local), persons
To System IVIV.Research Planning office = prepares reports on "Readiness to do action or pure research in any area X" or offers to do such research:
To Friendly Researchers,For In-House Research
list to seek "on their own"
V.News letter = materials from I, IIA, IIB
Funding:Subscribers; sustainers; grantors.
Suggest announcement of appointment as Senior Advisor at proper moment.
Discuss with Dick:10,000 fees
May 10, to June 14 1966
May 26, 1966
Give a chapter or part of one over to the "Dedicated", i. e. those who individually and in an associated way, despite all institutional obstacles and whatever the type of society, manage to help others.
The more of these the better.
They are the charitable.
They work without laws or compulsion
Ideally they could do everything by themselves.
But averaging plans cannot yet if ever be based upon them.
(Cf. Chapter in De Grazia and Gurr, American Welfare on International Activities)
We need a Beat Corps composed of unemployables, alcoholics, drug addicts, depressives, and delinquents to do foreign area service work. They will have the great advantage of a sad past, which should create a rapport in poorer areas of the world far beyond the capabilities of the well-selected. The work will help to cure them while they cure others. These diseases are, after all, socially produced in most cases, and can be socially cured. The anomic and disaffected can find a new mission in life.