Dec. 10, ’88
Your letter and the Fibonacci Factor arrived. I thank you for them. But I am not going to “Edit” your writing. I am no “editor” anyway. So instead, I would rather talk about a general problem.
The problem has to do with the puzzling phenomena of “Popularity”. I got a book honoring David Bohm. The book is deceiving in that Bohm is not as “Popular” among professional scientists as the contributing authors in the book suggest by their generous praises. When he was invited by a student group at King’s College, University of London, to give a talk, no professor of the university showed up to listen. When Bohm came to lecture at Red Dear, I did inform his old admirers at Theoretical Physics Inst. U of A. No physiscist showed up in the Red Dear meeting, except me. It was almost like Peace meeting/lecture, poorly attended and ignored by elites that operate and control the “currency” of social scale communication.
Wm. Reich’s works, Immanuel Velikowski’s works, etc. had some following but academically did not “catch on” in the “currrency” of that sub-culture. Thomas Kuhn’s work on “Paradigm Shift” had to wait 10 years in an obscurity — first published in Unity of Science but little attention was paid then, including by those who were associated with the Unity of Science movement in late 1950’s. —. Only after Kuhn dissociated with Unity of Science and re-published essentially the same essay as a separate book, it came into the “currency”. Academics eagerly came on to the bandwagon, probably because, once isolated from the “radical” idea of Unity of Science, it became safe to adapt the catch phrase “Paradigm Shift” into academic vocabulary.
How come Marx got to be so popular that Marx himself had to say am not a Marxist? Whereas Fourier is now forgotten. Why Newton won and Leibniz lost? Both Faraday and Maxwell had “Vortex Cosmology” which was the foundation of Electromagnetic Field Theory, yet hardly any Physicist knows that today. It seems that a Prophet to gain the popular currency, he or she had to be falsified. I guess your Peace Research did not grow exactly as you envisioned. The unpopularity of CPREA, say relative to other recent comers such as Educators For Peace etc., has been well known to us for a long time.
That brings another question; namely “Why anyone would do it?” Van Gogh painted what he wanted. While he was alive, he was nobody. He had a “Lust For Life” and driven insane by that. He could not help himself. Flaubert wrote Madame Bovery, but that is the only one book that he wrote. He did not care to become a professional “Writer”, nor did he do anything else. He was not Popular in the town where he lived as an obscure man. Of course, that one work was enough. But, it appears that those who had a Gift was more like unwilling Victims than Hero. Certainly they did not seek Success. They did what they were driven to do.
We are stricken by the beauty of the “different” World, say, in reading Fabl’s Diary on Insects. He was not writing for a recognition of his scientific works. It meant to be private Love letters to Lady Nature. Since she did not write, he had to record her part as well.
That is quite different story from authors in our “Professionalized” Age, where one is either a “Knowledge Producer” or a “Knowledge Consmer”. If you are Knowledge Producer, then you have to assert your knowledge, advertise it and sell it in the Fashion Market. There can be a great Success in it and certainly the sense of Power is enormous. If one is a Knowledge Consumer, then one is to buy the “Latest”, Just as one buys new car, Hi-Fi computer, or dresses to show off to those who are slower in wit to catch on.
Keynes was the first man to introduce Mathematics into Economics and made Economics a “Science”. Before Keynes, Economics was Just a matter of “Opinions”. His Science changed our way of living since then. Yet in his old age he came to tell his students that “The Economic Utility of Economics is to employ Economists”. Indeed his Science created thousands of Jobs for economists. Before that time “economists” are “Moral Philosophers” and, other than generating “hot air” or interesting odd conversation in typical snobbish British tea parties, they had no practical utility and hence no employment After Keynes, Governments, Business, eagerly sought for economists. The market price of economists shot up. Seeing that many students wanted to have degrees in economics, universities which used to have one or two “Economic Moral Philosophers” had to employ Economics Professors. Where there was a handful of Economists, there came thousands of Economists, employed at very high salary.
That happened within a few decades. That is remarkable achievement of an Intellectual Production. That is why Keynes was a Great Intellectual Hero. And we mean “Success” of Science by such a model.
[*1. In the case of Einstein, the division of labor was in place and there appeared “self-appointed salesmen” who did much of selling. The QM case needs some elaborations. But at any rate, increase in professional employment are quite visible. I am an old fashion guy and had no idea about “Science as Profession”, until I came to read Max Weber in my later years.]
[*2. The group that Kuhn used to associated with was moving toward “Sociology of Science” which is to talk about such phenomena. Kuhn cut that part off, and that is how he became “Famous”. One has to know when to say a certain thing, or rather not to say certain things at wrong times, if one wishes to be “current” in the popular market.]
I do not think you had any idea about Success of your “Peace Science” would be like when you started. But, the idea of “success” in that sense is well established and operating as a Cultural Standard in our society. Regardless we think of it or not, we are controlled by it. Even if we ignore it, the standard of success is held by the society and people Judge us by that. They ask “What’s in it for me?”, If you do not give out an illusion, people see no “Utility” in what you are selling and hence go away. Of course, it is peculiar characteristic of the modern Euro-American society that “Knowing” in a very peculiar sense became almost like “utility, — because of the technology of printing, perhaps — and it became sellable commodity in the market. Arts became market good, and with the advent of T.V. even “spiritualty” became Billion Dollar Industry. The Capitalism triumphed everywhere, despite all that talk by Socialists. Veblen, Schumpter were right in saying Socialism is just a stage of the Capitalism. Marx was completely off the mark in this respect.
Given that, you have a choice of either to be a “Successful Scientist” in selling your products or to be a “Hermit” (or Jesus Christ, Buddha, Medicine Man, etc.) in waiting for Disciples to find and come to you. I did find you and came, but I do not think that was your idea of success. Another choice would be like Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Albert Schweitzer, Lenin, Mao, Castro, etc. They are “activists” and their writings were secondary to acting in importance.
I think about such cases because of my peculiar position relative to Native science that Pam and her group is doing. I am not a “Native”, therefore I cannot be the one who is doing. I stand aside and see what is going on. That suits me alright in that I am a “surveyor”. But it is peculiar. I get a sense as if I am an Alien from a different World. I tell them to be passionate, yet that is not my passion. A stage director pick up a script and formulate actions that actors perform. Where is my own life/lust? I ask “What’s in it for me?” Not that I want anything out of it, but what I wonder why that is my business. To be without “trust” is to be “Meaningless”. I am at the edge of Nietzschean World where a burning Passion/Lust/Will To Power meets with a Total Meaningliessness. If Love Making is a meeting of Life and Death, what I have is a very odd kind of Sex. It is a Sex that I am not in it — as if I am castrated —. I do not feel it “happy one”.
If some people had to be victims of Hiroshima/Nagasaki Bombs, not by their choice but by “accident”, and live a life in a Hell thereafter, I do not have much complain to make. Besides I now know enough about how Native Wisdom has been treated. Being just useful to the others may be one thing I can do. So I aim at that. I just have to careful so that I do not sound bitter. I should stop at being cynical. I might invent a science of how to Make Cynical Love for the benefit of all cynical people out there. After all, it ought to be my specialty to put together contradictions.
[In a sense, Peace Research, Native Science are Science of Making Love for those who have troubles. What is ironical is that the castrated one is the one who is talking. One who does not talk. Every time I write “Native Science is” I know and feel I am faking. It is not for me to say. Yet I do tell Pam what Native Science is or is not. I do it only because she can say no to that any time she decides to do so.]
I f the above sounds “bitter” already to you, then I can amend it somewhat by talking about “Beauty in Discourse”. When people talk or communicate, something beautiful happens — at least some of the times —. Even PLO and Zionist might achieve such a beauty. [In Nws today, I find out that a Jewish Ladies organization met with Arafat and had discussed the Peace Plan.] However, in general, the Joy and wonder of such a moment is too much. So people do not wish to come into “Heavy Talks”. Friendship, Loveship, and Fraternity, even in times of war, are like miracle. But people appear not to want that. “Don’t dare touch me, because something beautiful might happen and I don’t know what to do with it!” is the usual attitude. But that small probability — so small that one might say it has a “negative probability” is nonetheless there.
It also had happened in physics. When Quantum Physics was “in making”, only small number of people came together and discussed, argued, and even fought about what was about to be made. Private letters, frequent visits, discussion meetings, conference were held, involving no more than a dozen people. What was that held together? Where the Passion and the Lust came from? How did they know what they were dreaming about is of any importance?
The development of Q.M. was so different from the individualistic ones like that of Newton, Galilei, or Descartes. And remarkably, it was international. Race nor Creed did not matter. Even Japanese were allowed to join. In comparison to the “organizational Egoism” that I can observe among Peace Research, Education, Action, groups’ that was one hell of a “festival”. Unfortunately, as Q.M. got to be an established science, that “spirit” disappeared. Human Race was not quite ready to have Love Affair in a social scale any larger than a dozen people.
Incidentally, Einstein was a member of what they called themselves “Olympians”. They met regularly at cafe and discussed many things. Somehow, Einstein himself did not mention that too often. The cases of Castro, Mao, etc. can be traced to a small group of people. That is what I call the Beauty of Discourse. To be sure, groups may also corrupt. We have the phenomenon of “In Group” just as well to spoil the beauty.
But some day, I hope it will come to pass that I can talk about Native Science without pain of reminding myself that I am an outsider. For that beautiful time to come, Native have to become free and former imperialists become free. I think the situation of Natives have a parallel with “Arab-Israel conflict”. Peace Research is yet to work on the problem. So I have to do the work. I may not be around to see the result, but that is o.k. So many millions of people are killed every year. We let it keep going on. If I am one of them, I deserve the same treatment.
It is ironical that people who think I am a happy-go-lucky kind of guy and have no idea how debilitating the pain of depression is helping me to put on a brave face and keep working. I they knew, they would get depressed and we all go down together. That helps nobody. In the Science of Sun Dance, “Brave” means the degree of ability to contain one’s own inner pain. Europeans did not see anything beyond physical pains on the surface. Many Natives also lost the “science” of Sun Dance. For example Deloria’s description of Sun Dance in God Is Red only refers to physical pain. He has Europeanized to that extent. The sense of “Brave” to contain inner pain is forgotten. High incidence of Alcoholism, violence to others, and decay/death of native community indicate that. To learn such a science is a significant reward to me. Something must have told me to study Native Science, knowing my weakness.
P.S. The enclosed are some of my recent writings. I send your manuscript on Fibonacci to Pam. I think she is in California now.