November 3, 1966
Yesterday, Wednesday, went into correspondence, the telephone, brief conferences with my assistants, and two prolonged visits, one midday with Glenn Matthews, new Political Science Editor of Addison-Wesley Co., the other in the evening with a new young friend, Elena Martin.
Elena came in during my office hours just before 6 to talk of her paper. We left together and I asked her to join me in a cocktail, for she seemed an unusually intelligent as well as pretty girl. She is of exotic appearance; I took her at first for Malangan but she turned out to be Colombian. She has traveled during most of her twenty-four years with her father, a diplomat who is now promoting the project for an Atlantic-Pacific canal via Colombia territory. She graduated from Wellesley a couple of years ago and works for the Rockefeller Foundation in evaluating fellowship and research applications from Latin America and elsewhere. Time moved rapidly and we covered all manner of subject, sipping martinis and looking out upon the lower Fifth Avenue passing scene. I finally walked her home to Sheridan Square at eleven, stopping for a hot dog en route, drank a Drambouie at her apartment, and returned to my place, happy with my new friend but feeling a tug of conscience for the hours that had been assigned to solitary work.
At the midday meeting the matter of a contract for the American Government textbook was given a thorough review once more, now that Chris Kentera has mysteriously resigned as Editor and Matthews has taken his place. We did not have too much difficulty renewing the earlier conditions and parted well-pleased with the shape of affairs. He is to send me the final contract within several days, and off we shall go -- hoping for a manuscript by next June! Matthews is young, confident, and determined to make his reputation from my book. I told him that I thought this was a rather large responsibility for 1 book, to make both of us successful and I have a slight intimation that he may become overly involved in the book. A book is like a skirmish, after all, in that the participants must behave largely the same whether the war hangs upon it or it will register in the annals as "all guilt on the western Front".
November 3, 1966
|8 - 11||On "World Order"|
|11-1||Seminar on Representative Government|
|1-2||With Hopper on the computer-tabulation of bibliographic characteristics of Codex I, The Carnegie Endowment grant has awarded me, per the good offices of Ray Platig and Rich Bolté.|
|2-4||Lecture on W O|
|4-6||Cocktails with Nina A.|
|6-8||Preparation for Scope Lecture and a king of Near East hors d'oeuvre supper|
|12-1||Reading - hors d'oeuvres supper|
|10-11:30||Browsing 8th Street|
is occurring, yet, despite his independence of spirit and wide variety of forceful opinions, he is helpless and is riding out his life.. He needs help, but hardly knows it, because he doesn't know that "help" is so specific a thing as to be applicable to a mother knowing her son's absence and danger.
We should have a group composed of mothers, psychologists, and pastors, to watch over the sad and sick mothers, to visit them, to tie them into the larger sorrow of the community.
At seven, Louise Shelton came by. She joined me in a cocktail and we then walked over to the Village Gate, where Timothy Leary was conducting a Spiritual Discovery meeting. A long line waited but could not enter the filled hall, so when I discovered that there would be no second 'mass' we left. I noticed Allen Ginsburg, but he was too far away to hail and he disappeared into the crowd. The people were patient, young, intellectual -- undoubtedly the first time that 99% of them had queried up for a chapel service in their lives. We walked through a mist to Luchow's where we drank beer and ate veal cutlets and kidneys. Then I walked her to the entrance of her 37th Street apartment, where I said goodnight and came home to a few pages of reading and bed.
Kramer was in line with a young, slender and tall blonde girl. We hadn't met except accidentally since he had bungled along with the American Behavioral Scientist during my absence in Italy in 1963. He is in insurance now. I do like him though. He is a gentle, confused soul with a bold front. He must be separated again from his pretty wife Sylvia. I thought to myself that he must wonder about Louise, whom Jill suggested I accompany in lieu of herself, Louise is 53, and is just about the prettiest woman one might find of that age. I find myself bubbling up with a kind of sensual friendliness to her now and then, but that is not necessarily consequential since I am one whose warmth of body is close upon any feelings of warmth of mind and affection.
November 4, 1966 Friday, New York City
To do by June 1, 1967
|1.||Complete rough lectures on WO (Put off as of Jan. 14 with 300 rough pages)||240|
|2.||Write Washington debate speech on Congress and Presidency and deliver||Done||50|
|3.||Publish poetry -||In process Jan. 23, 1967||30|
|4.||Take first steps to organize sci. of sci. association. |
No. BRC meeting decided not to push this matter (Jan. 12, 1967)
|5.||Write article on Computerizing Congress||To do||30|
|6.||Write article on Tribunes||To do||30|
|7.||Write article on Sub-legislative Corps.||To do||30|
|8.||Write article on Representative Councils||To do||30|
|9.||Lecture at Washington "Internes" on Congress and Administration||Done||10|
|10.||Lecture at Jersey City State on UN||Done||6|
|11.||[Crossed out:] Lecture at Urbana, Ill. Library Workshop||40|
|12.||Lecture at Swarthmore||March 5||10|
|13.||Write Article on Representative Government||To do||20|
|14.||Produce CODEX IA, II (A), and X, Plus I Analysis||In process||70|
|15.||Produce American Government text||In process||200|
|Initiate Welfare Retrieval System.||FVW not ready to do 1/23/67||120|
|Social Science Newspaper (initiate)||Must be postponed||120|
|American Image (Initiate)||(Keppel not much interested any loner)|
New Religion (Basic question re geniuses)
State Department Consulting (probably no need)
November 6, 1966
GNP is a popular measure of the "productivity" of a country. But "productivity" is a relative referent that deals with desiderata, the something that is worth producing, the output of goods and services. If this is so, it should be possible to conceive of a whopping big GNP that is worth "nothing" in absolute, i. e. specially postulated "good" terms.
For example, let us suppose that everybody in a society is agreed to be unhappy unless it can manufacture gold, travel to Mars, and reduce accidental auto deaths to 100 per years. If fanatically dependent upon these goals, the society will devote every last erg of its energies to them. It can have a huge GNP and be completely unfulfilled and discontented.
"Ah, but people will eat. They will pause in exhaustion from their labors and take quickly some protein pills and snatch a bit of sleep under some cover. So you see, GNP does measure some universals!"
Right you are for what you say.
November 6, 1966
Paper shuffling; organized World Order files; discussed with family plans for next summer. After months of refusing to talk of any subject that might imply change, Jill has suddenly become reasonable. She wants to look into the chance of moving into NYC so that Carl can go to the High School of Performing Arts. The thought of his commuting two hours a day up and down Manhattan bothers me, however, and I suggest that perhaps he would be better off studying music abroad, and that we should all go to Italy, France or somewhere for a year or so after next year, renting our Princeton home. She liked this idea better and that is where we left the question. It was agreed that next summer she would stay in Princeton (or the Jersey shore) with Carl and Christopher, while I would supervise Paul and John abroad. They might travel from some headquarter point, and/or find some work to do. I am thinking of going around the world via Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Bombay, Moscow, to arrive at Bellagio for the Conference of Representative Government in the middle of August.
Spent 2 hours with I. Velikovsky and several students from Yale who wished to write about his problems -- scientific and political. After they left, I described a project to compare critical ...
Philosophy of Representative Government
1.Doctrines of Legitimacy and Consent
3.Theory of Elections and appointments
4.Structures of government
6. Legislation and Rules: The Direction of Resources
7.Legislation: The forestalling of disputes
8.Resolution of Disputes
9.The public interest
10.The Living Constitution
How does R G face
I. The crisis of decision
anomie and ennui
contra mores behavior
II Ordinary decisions
Social economic Change
"Partial Interest and Public Interests"
Doctrines support and even function as practices. I. e. they can be structures (as process) as well as prescribe structures, just as the law prescribes practices and is practice (process).
November 8, 1967:45 A.M., Election Day, New York City
"To the Polls, Ye Sons of Liberty!" Vote them in and vote them out. It doesn't much matter, it's the potential for change and the myth that count, and the popularity that all must reach for until none is much different.
The justification for universal suffrage ends when the poor minorities or majority -- the trouble ones -- no longer have as serious problems as the society as a whole has -- a strange concept, I know, since democracy is supposed to be the government of and for the whole.
There will even then be a need for universal suffrage, for by the laws of power, discrimination against the weak will immediately set in once their vote is taken away. So the vote will always be needed even when what it does otherwise arrive at a vanishing point in utility.
November 8, 1966
The Simple Life
Intro.Complexity and Simplicity. Do the things that are good fun. Avoid the others.
Proposals of Radical Simplicity
1.The single information system
2.Mariage très simple. The Renewable option
3.The education system and enriched culture
4.Children born with all rights
6.The one poll tax
7.Housing for all
8.The all-disponable and all-disposable (intake-output) material living
9.The living single social plan
10.The simple state
11.How to make life simple (the way to Utopia)
November 9, 1966
A nice set of victories for the Republican Party around the country yesterday.
Nelson Rockefeller did poorly in winning. His bare plurality is matched against ten million dollars of campaign spending.
Reagan did very well. He would make a fine running mate for Romney.
Chuck beat Paul. Sorry to see old Paul go after these many years and in view of our friendship -- I cannot like Chuck Percy nearly so well.
Case won by a landslide. I cannot see much in him, with his mewling over congressional ethics.
New Yorkers routed all the political leaders including Mayor Lindsay (but not the Conservative Party) in voting out the civilian review board. A clean "law and order" psychology prevails though the actual content, i. e., what will be done, has little to do with the vote. Maybe the police will be propped up a bit.
The remarkable Mr. Brooke won the Senate seat in Massachusetts. A white "Negro" who is proud of his assimilation to the layer society -- republican, Protestant, married to a white woman in a Democratic, Catholic, "backlash" environment.
What next/ Bobby Kennedy must try to buck Humphrey from the Johnson Presidential ticket, else H. will become presidential candidate in 1972.
I see a fight between the prairie liberals and ghetto liberals coming up, with the faculties siding with the former and the Catholics with the latter. This may assure a Republican victory if they make cooing sounds towards the former.
November 11-12, 1966 Friday-Saturday New York City - Providence - Princeton
Left for a day's vacation in Providence with Mike and Karnig Nalbandian. NA joined the party. She was in beige lamb's wool suit and then at night in a slinky black gown, very blonde of skin and hair, brown of eye, and a bit of a Greek accent. She danced in the Greek fashion with Karnig, saying afterwards that she was embarrassed for being so bold. She is delightful to watch, lithe, sensual, smiling and grave, passionate. She was pleased when I took up an old, rarely-used trumpet that I found at Karnig's house and played improvisations with him on the organ -- counterpoint, answering calls and voices, rhythmic devices ad libitum.
Karnig's painting is not improving. One out of four of his oils strikes me as fine -- the others can be poor. He might be the greatest etcher and drawer of the age, and he might be a great painter of still-life and scenery. He has an impossible block with the brushes on human figures and faces.
There were two dozen guests in his bizarre cottage. His long-time lover Jane was there, massively beautiful, in classical Greek costume and hairdo, a simplicity that dazzles on such a magnificent frame. He is helping her to decorate her own house and told me privately that he could not work well with anybody in the world in his house.
We left his party early to return to Mike's house. The morning passed quickly. Mike led us on a tour of Providence, pointing out an old building that had once been used as slave-quarters. It would be saved from the destruction and rebuilding of the area to the South of the First Baptist Church. He dreams of converting it into a bar and restaurant. I told him it was excellent for the purpose. But where is he to get the money. He still keeps his unique role in Providence -- as the buffoon, horse-player, philosopher who knows everyone, is smarter than they are, but is always "on the cuff" and at a disadvantage. I would so like to see him make one big strike before he dies, but there is a kind of [goner] accompanying his every big move. He may do only what merely makes him salivate; he is never let to have a hearty meal. And he is obsessed; he cannot turn his eyes from 'the big kill." Cultured, obscene, humorous, bitter, intelligent, discerning, generous, loud-mouthed, epicene -- my complicated friend Mike who can almost always make me feel that I am on holiday, whereas no one else can.
November 12, 1966
Query: Will truth be always continuously more difficult to understand?
Assume: scientific progress: more is being discovered about cosmos, microorganisms, invisible particles, social relations.
Taken as proven (but myth?): it is more difficult to understand relativity theories, quantum theory, micro-biological molecular theory, and so on than the theories that were replaced. (At least school boys and most adults believe this.)
Will this process then go to the "limits of understanding" using that phrase in its literal sense for once.
Or will it always be found that there is a simpler, ever-more-simpler way of expressing all complicated formulations. So that e. g. a century from now Einstein's theory and its descendants will be (apart from "truth" modifications) expressible in immediately apprehensible terms.
To me, this query has large importance: it is extremely practical, even childish, but it asks really whether there are mental limits (and therefore all kinds of mutational and genetic problems) to knowledge, for while the few that can apprehend the new physics can laugh this morning, they will be smirking painfully tomorrow.
Or is there a possibility inherent in nature or man or communications (or all three together) which permits whatever can be conceived or done at all to be done simply?
November 13, 1966
Sebastian and I were talking of ways in which to prepare and issue sharp opinions about current public questions, such as welfare, warfare, leisure, housing, recreation, work and the like. We felt the need for something like a journal of public policy, but then he shied away from the business of deadlines and we thought too that it is relatively useless to cast plans and ideas into the oceans of such literature, the readers of which, when they can be found, are as often as not unconnected with the sources of power and decision on the matters at hand.
The idea grew on me that we might produce some dozen position papers in a year's time and guarantee in advance their distribution to just those who form the influential public for the question, and finally guarantee the efficacy of the work by listing in an appendix those named individuals in the American network of power whose participation would be necessary to carry out the proposals. After all, if something is to be done, then there must be those who can do it, and if we are engaging in a complete applied science of policy, we should name the executors.
We might settle upon the 10,000 or so Americans who make policy, code them by their scope and power, and run off by computer the appropriate listing on any issue.
November 14, 1966Princeton
Jill harbors a deep denial of the value of existence. I sensed it strongly three months after we began our friendship in 1940 and I have fought against it for 26 years. The complex has taken many forms. I have often not recognized it when it has made an appearance in some new guise, until considerable time has passed. No doubt many of its manifestations have gone quite unnoticed. I would classify her as partially cured and perhaps should say that it was never quite psychotic. I should also say, and I am too tired to puff up with pride, that I have been her best and practically only doctor of the problem for all of that time.
Here is today's incident, that is so subtle as to be undetectable to anyone, even the professional psychiatrist, I should say. She put down the telephone, and said to me, 'It is almost impossible to get anything done. Annabelle's swelling at the base of her nose is getting worse and I'm trying to arrange an appointment with her at the doctor's. Dr. Felscher saw her, and asked her to see Dr. Adams. Dr. Adams' secretary made an appointment for another week away. I don't know whether he'll do anything for her." (Implying that he, as a Southerner and something of a snob, might not act properly towards our Negro maid. "So I called the new doctor Farmer for an appointment and set it for today, when she was supposed to be here. Now she hasn't been to our house, and Dr. Farmer's secretary says he cannot keep the appointment. I don't know where to find her."
I agreed the business was a pain. She went on, "It occurred to me -- the word 'lesion' was mentioned by Dr. Felsher's secretary -- that that dizzy Mrs. Crocco had once told me that Annabelle had had syphilis. She had gotten it from her husband. Simone said it had been treated, and was cured. Dr. Felsher was glad to get this information when I called him again. It might help to diagnose the trouble."
I was startled. "How long ago was that?"
"About five years ago."
"Do you mean that you have never said or done anything about it for all this time?"
"Now, don't try to make me feel as if I have done something wrong!"
"But that means that your infants -- and all of us -- were exposed to her. She has been with us for seven years, after all."
"Well, all right. Christ was six years old at the time."
"You can only get syphilis through the mucous membranes."
"It can definitely be passed around. You are an imbecile!"
"It was cured! You are looking for some way to put me in the wrong."
"I am not. You know that she must have been actively ill during all that time beforehand. Why didn't you tell me."
"Why? So you'd yell at me?"
"No, that's ridiculous. I wouldn't have been angry with you, any more than with myself. We should have had her examined when she was hired."
"Oh, that's just something that Stephanie had done!"
"Yes, and I suppose it was wrong to do, when she discovered that her baby's nursemaid has syphilis!"
"You are always looking for ways to get at me."
"Look, stick to the point. You could have let me know. We could have had Wassermanns done."
"It's your way of attacking me."
"Listen, take any five people you know, and ask them whether you should have made tests of her, of the children, of us, and if they don't say yes, I'll never mention the subject again and I'll never open my mouth again. I'll be as silent as the tomb! Go ahead, do it! Do it!"
On we sang and shouted, madly. To little avail. She will never say, "It was silly of me," or anything like that. No, I am the boor, the big voice, the cruel unloving prosecutor. I am the big voice, it is not a small voice, it is resonant, and I raise it (I soften it, too, very often) when angered sometimes (not always, by any means). I become the prosecutor; so I must be as I am forced to spell out, logically, what I am saying, an absurd dependence upon proof and stress upon rationality. It is to no avail.
The raging subsides. A few more remarks cut the air.
"Ask the doctor what you should do."
"You call him."
"No, it's your error and anyhow you make appointments of this kind."
"No, I won't."
Then a little later: "It is part of your psychology is the schmoos! You were probably more concerned with the slight to Annabelle than to anyone else's danger."
"I was not. You are crazy."
"That's the way of the schmoos. What happens to you and all who are close to you counts for nothing against the need not to touch any evil around us. Or to admit any correctness of conventional rules."
So it ends for the moment. With the schmoos, that sweet little animal that can never harbor aggressiveness or defensiveness, that lets itself be eaten, worn, enslaved -- in Al Capp's comic strip "Lil Abner" so many years ago.
The syndrome is not at all simple. It has never been. And no one can believe in its existence, nor should believe, from this incident, where the evidence is so tenuous and is in my mind: Jill did not report or take any action about news that she heard from Mrs. Crocco, that dizzy woman (true, she is), who "was probably all mixed up (and yet gave a coherent and detailed account, ending with the 'Cure')."
To set the incident in context requires a thousand pages and hundreds of recollections.
Let me suggest some of the labels and descriptive phrases that may be applied.
November 17, 1966 Wednesday, 8 P.M. New York City
Working feverishly through long lists of acquisitions of the Carnegie Endowment library to select items for absorption into the Universal Reference System, I am worried as always now about the endless increase of titles. One might now only scan titles and give up all his ordinary study time of the day. I see no way out (except total resignation?). Every scholar worth his salt wants to have his book just as every woman her baby, even if only one. Since the number of scholars is increasing, the "book explosion" is like the "population explosion." The American professor will double his numbers in the next generations. There must then be at least twice as many books. But that is America. Elsewhere the increase will be more radical. The rate of increase in professors and books will be greater. Still there will be even more to expect: what of the "research agency explosion"? New projects, groups, commissions and agencies are constructed as fast as graves in Staten Island. Each has not come of age until it has put out surveys, reports, symposia and all of that kind of stuff. Even information retrieval by computer seems helpless under the circumstances -- if mechanically brilliant, its output cannot be sensed by the human mind!
I cannot see the social organization that might copy with the problem. Among the possibilities are:
1.Libertine profusion: catch-as-catch-can
2.Censorshipa) Only Ph.D.'s may publish
b) Only politically cleared may publish
3.A maze of qualitative screeners rating 1/100 of works as passable --
a) For publishing
b) For mentioning in systems of reference retrieval
4.Anonymity and submission of propositions in machine language if new in X + ways.
5.Hyper-specialization (S6 ) so that each man retrieves and read in a tiny circuit limited to 2,000, say, with a rule that if a network of specialization gets larger than 2,000 then the network must undergo fission into 2 new super-specialties.
6.Everyone gives up and reads whatever may come to hand or only what a friend happens to give him.
November 24, 1966 ThanksgivingPrinceton
Ideas that may become obsessions are rarely recorded in their birth. Let me register this one, for who knows what life it may have? I speak of the merest stirrings of mind and emotion that have barely reached the level of conscious recognition. These have to do with the sense of complete failure of reasoning as it strives to build an indefinitely prolonged future.
Here we are. We know we are small, infinitely so, in the universe, or we think that we know so. We know that man is multiplying into the unknown future. We know that man's written words, his symbolic forms as inherited, transmitted and now cultivated into a burgeoning plant of a trillion seeds is already beyond comprehension. We know or should realize that we are in any meaningful competent contact with even those of our closest kind -- our colleagues, our families, our specialized realms of knowledge. In relation to what I claim to my area of knowing, I am infinitely more separated than from the poorest idiot. I move two steps backward with every step forward.
Am I to conclude, this is the question, that the route that we are told to choose and that I, as a leader, have helped to smoothen, is seen in the new lights of our paving machines, to be infinitely long and narrow. In short, it is no way at all. It is the thread of the spider, tenuous in the past, and projecting nothing into the future except the filmiest weakest electrical brain image.
What happens when a world stops reading and writing? In what are we better and truer for pursuing the scientific method, for having faith in the possibilities of knowing à la science, of controlling what we know and following a path. What meaning can our laughable pathway have in what is for all purposes an infinity of ways (merely draw a line going through any two points in the universe -- spatial, temporal, mental -- is our path, our way, truer, better? What means it all?
Would we be mightier and straighter and just as safe, shuffling about our hovels, letting affairs slip and slide, taking no measures of anything? Perhaps if we renounce all of this and more, we can begin again. We will not be Christians. But is there a new vision, a new way to truth, a new method that cast aside the classical Greeks upon which our science is founded, specially our human science and visions. There may be. It would probably be much happier to try some new way -- given the hopelessness and the boring pain of our own methods of today. Who knows what might happen?
The day in Princeton, I should say, is beautiful. Sebastian and I walked for miles this morning around Lake Carnegie. The sun shines on a green and brown landscape. The temperature is at 60 degF. The children are all here, except Jessie in Chicago. Jill is racking up a dozen Cornish Rock Hens in the oven and Cathy is preparing a fancy salad of lettuce, tomatoes, lamb tongues, and raw mushrooms, dipped in spices. All the media, when I was a boy and I was trained to believe in a way said "Be grateful on Thanksgiving Day" I am grateful for a surprising environment of successes and lucky changes. But especially am I happy to be able to blow my mind into the fall winds and let it exercise on itself and the world. I can see far and deep -- it is my luck, it is my hard, hard work. I can see nothing, but I am grateful that I can see nothing so far in all directions.