March 26, 1967 Easter
Are we better off than we were 20 years ago?
$38 per year average increase in personal disposable income per capital, 1950-1965.
But "increase" includes income of nonprofit corporations, and direct welfare payments.
Recreation (forests - crowding distance - water pollution)
Height and Weight (who needs more height and weight?)
Education (both a form of consumption and a capital investment in production)
"Hearts and minds" of rest of the world
Shift in what the disposable income is spent for (usually to less pleasurable)
Approximately 60 billion current dollars increase 1950 to 1965:
Contra: Increase in installment debt
Increase in deductible business expenses that are part of personal income.
Capital: 1. [Munch] (forests, land, etc. depleted. 300 billions needed to purify air and water of country.
True economic invention with REAL cut in REAL cost: e. g. plastics vs.
iron or steel; some nylons; more efficient motors, etc. However, some of
this is reflected in the constant dollar.
There isn't enough fact to achieve balance with the - fact. Ergo must be illusion.
Why the great illusion then?
Sources of Illusion:
-- Advertising and propaganda of progress and optimism
-- Taller than our parents
-- National character
-- Packaging and aesthetic design
-- Rich don't notice so much
-- Poor and [lma] notice quite a bit of betterment.
-- Media, educational system, emit more egalitarian symbols so that large groups (economic, ethnic, geographic) feel achievement.
-- Display media -- we have pictured for us a great many people doing every conceivable thing and we identify and therefore believe we are enjoying the thing in itself rather than only the image. (Cf. Huxley's 'feelies' or was it Orwell?)
-- Anti-authoritarianism of Americans requires each generation to think itself better managed than the past one.
-- Some people are better off.
-- We can't remember
-- Enjoying capital product of past generations.
March 28, 1967
Books are scattered all about the house. Seven people at home are reading simultaneously perhaps thirty books on all subjects. Sometimes one picks up another's book and becomes engrossed in it; the other protests mildly and continues reading something else, or more likely doesn't notice his or her co-reader, like two birds nibbling at a long persimmon from opposite sides.
Many books that I once might have read I cannot any longer suffer through. They may be fiction or nonfiction, it doesn't matter. I wish now to be told immediately, in some way, the more cleverly the better, exactly what the author is going to do with his writing, that is, with us. Then as soon as he wanders or is obviously not going to succeed, off with his head. And no false promises, no bad jokes, no tricks. No rococo, no irrelevance. I don't mind a 500-page dream sequence or a thirty-page dialogue or large treatises or bons mots. But all must have shape and goal and efficiency.
March 31, 1967
1. Aboard special ways are used to expedite learning of the new ways to be lived.
2. Colonists were provided with the best means of defense available.
3. When they land, they are disgusted with the old conditions and are actually in position to revolt and cannot be driven from their positions.