Aug. 20, ’88.
I write to you again. For your laugh, I quote a joke.
“A famous physicist worried about Library space projected
that, at the present rate of increase in the number of articles
published in Physical Review, they will soon reach a rate which
will have to fill library shelves with the Speed exceeding that
of Light. However, this does not violate the Principle of
Relativity, for the journals contain no Information.
[Physics Today Aug. ’88. P. 9.]
– – – – – – – – –
I have a proposal to make, and I would like to discuss the
matter. How about writing a paper on European and Native
Community/Culture Healing as a Therapy/Medicine? I know I am
trying to push you to do an Academic thing. But, now that you
moved, there is nothing much I can do anyway. So perhaps it is
safe to make a proposal. Besides, I do not know how “Community/
Culture Healing” would fit with what you do on the job. Please
let me know the situation.
The idea came from reading an article by William K. Powers
“Alternatives To Western Psychotherapy: Modern-Day Medicine Man”
mentioned before [In Beyond The Vision U. of Oklahoma Press 1987.
Psychotherapy has Psychoanalysis as a theoretical part, though
the relation of “Theory” and “Practice” contains problems.
Likewise, Native Medicine has Native Science, though the relation
between them may be different from that in European system. But
the Science ought to be relevant and helpful to practice of the
Medicine. In fact, we have been deciphering Native Science from
the Medicine in the traditional culture, as the Science existed
there to deal with problems in life.
The comparison of the complex of science-therapy in Western
Culture to one in another Culture is interesting enough. But I am
not just proposing to make a comparison. Something new is added.
Native Community/Culture is facing new problems stemming from its
encounter with Western Ideology and Technology. The new problems
require new responses. It means more trouble, but that also means
a new development in Science for both sides. As a “Wisdom”,
Native Science needs not to change, but its expressions have to
reflect the changed environment in order to be helpful to the
people. You have been on that task. But if you wish to elaborate
on Native Science at higher and deeper level of
Native Science, working out “practical applications” is one of
the ways to do that. Comparison is a mere entry device.
As “Spirit” is revealed through manifestations, the Science
is learnable through “working it out” (praxis). Writing a paper
is a way of helping people who face up to the problems and
looking for ways of healing. The paper may look “theoretical”,
but it is (i) a report on experiences, and/or (ii) elaboration of
“strategy”. It is not “Wisdom” itself, but it is an intermediate
“translation” in a sense of being an “approach to”, or a “way
to”. Just as we cannot prescribe “Vision”, we cannot describe
“Wisdom”. We can, however, talk about experiences or the
procedure leading up to it.
And, to the extent the problems are brought by “European”
things, what we write have to contain “European” things. That is
the necessity of the circumstance, and also from the work being
“translation”, “interface”, and “praxis in the present world”.
There is an element of “Beating European Intellect at its
own Game”. We might say “If Europeans brought Guns to Natives,
Native Science can shoot the same guns better”, or “If Christians
talk of Love, Native Science does it better”. It is not that
competition is the aim, but the pains and suffering of the people
under “European Power Science” is real — unfortunately we in
bourgeoisie academy do not immediately experience them — and a
way of Medicine/Therapy must be proposed now.
Actually, for this, it probably matters little if it is
called “Native Science”, “Marxism”, or “Born-Again Christianity”.
There are “Natives” colonized all over the World, even in Europe.
In some degree, I have a special interest in Japanese affairs
which do contain “Native Problems”, and you have “Native
Americans’ in the center of your heart, and in that we are
“Racists”. But I do have something beyond that, which has to do
with “People”, “Humans,”, not “Race”. I am not helping Native
Americans as a Race. It makes me feel sad to think, but I stand
outside “Native American Science” — She is your baby. I adore
her, but that is all I can —. At least, I try to avoid becoming
a “Fake Indian”. [I saw an NFB film on Long Lance: “Chief Buffalo
It does give me a pain of being an “Outsider”, forever
segregated and cast away from the happy community of people whom
I care, but I hope I have a spiritual strength to withstand the
alienation. The danger of the alienation becoming a bitterness
and then intellectua1 arrogance is great. But that is where
devices, strategies such as Participatory Research come in. It is
an intellectual thing to do, and as such, it perhaps is not quite
satisfying. If Alcoholism is a problem, Intellectualism is also a
However, I think that there is a “meaning” in both
Alcoholism and Intellectualism. Rejecting or rather pretending
that one is staying clear out of the problems, with righteous
contempt, is not an answer. I would much rather have you drinking
and suffering than being like an angel. For the pain can also be
source of creative energy. The period of Colonialism is not yet
over, and if we are comfortable in the World as it is today,
there is no reason for us to do anything about it. At least, in
that way I can talk with you.
I said the above, because if you are “Perfect Indian”,
“Noble Savage Philosopher”, you would not play with an academic
game like writing intellectual paper. A Japanese proverb has it
that “Great Man is a Useless Man” — nobody can use him, nor
does he use anybody —. But, I would like to drag you down to a
lesser being who suffers pain like “ordinary” people do and
could, at the best, be “useful” to people as such. If there is no
problem, pain, malaise, there can be no Science. Both
Intellectualism and Alcoholism are product/expression of
suffering. I would dare further to say that Spiritualizing is a
“moral equivalent” of Alcoholism.
Now, that has been my excuse to you to make a proposal. For
you to judge whether it is helpful or not, you would ask what it
involves. So I shall explain.
One important thing Powers missed in the article is that
Native Medicine is done as “Communal Affair”, if not “Ceremony”,
whereas Western Psychotherapy is highly individualistic ritual.
That stems from Psychoanalysis being an analysis (theoretical
construct) about the Individual. Freud’s paradigm is to “adjust”
deviant individuals to the given Civilization (*1). C.G. Jung saw
this defect/limitation in Freud’s works. He went to “Collective
Unconscious” etc. to correct the ignorance/ignoring, and made
“Psychoanalysis” useful in “Social Psychology”, “Anthropology”
and “Linguistics”. Jung’s works were closer to Hegelian Field
Dynamics, as a contrast to Newton-Kantian Mechanics of Freud. And
it opened a way to “Cultural Analysis”, supplementing “Social
Analysis/Criticism” of Marx et al. You might say it is
“Environmental Science” in contrast to Individualistic/Atomistic
Science of a single Tree.
(*1) [To be sure, Freud did write Der Zukunft einer Illusion
1927, Das Unbehagen in der Kultur 1930. It is interesting
to note that the English translation of the second book is
“Civilization and Its Discontents”. Freud knew better than
Civilization with Culture. But the title was approved by
Freud. The reason become clear if one reads the book. The
“culture” of Europe in the 20th century is nothing but a
“Civilization” — i.e. Technopolis —. Freud, in his zeal
to establish his science to be an Eternal Truth, totally
ignored History of European Social Technology. (Jung failed
in this respect as well.) It is surprising to see this in
an intellectual circle in which Hegel and Marx were well
known. Perhaps, it was Newton-Kantian blindness to History.
Or, it is because European chemistry (Atomism) was A-
It is also interesting to note that, the term “Unbehagen”
is equivalent of French “malaise”, that is more like
“disease”. “Discontent” came from the first title Freud
gave, which was “Das Ungluck”. The translation of the title
is not quite right, but from the content of the book the
English title is just right. That is, Freud failed to treat
the “Disease” of the modern European Civilization in which
he was a part. European Science has had this peculiar
posture of as if God was looking at problems from outside.
Scholars talked as if they themselves had no problem of
their own. A.A. made one progress in this respect in that
they talk of “My problem”. What I like to see is a Science
of “Our problem”.]
However, even Jung did not come to think of “Therapy on
Community”. Social Psychology, Anthropology, or for that matter,
Sociology, Economics, did not think of practice of “Therapy” in
relation to them as “Science”. Marx, Keynes were exceptions. It
was not that Social Scientists did not attempt to influence
Social Policies, or Psychologists did not interfere with
Educational Policies. The relation between these Sciences and
Practices were not only obscured by pretended “Scientific
Objectivity”, or “Value Neutrality”, but also ignored, perhaps,
from their “Static-ism” (inactivism), if not incompetence. They
did not have the degree of relation that physics had with
Industrial applications, and Medical Science had with Clinical
I imagine “Social Work/Welfare” uses existing Social
Sciences as its theoretical grounds (metaphysical axioms and
Rhetoric-Jargons). Yet, I wonder if the relation is clear at all.
Suppose an Economist proved that in a pluralistic society, “the
Value Maximum does not exist”, what change then social
work/welfare as a discipline of practice would undergo? In fact
the proof was given by Arrow in 1940’s (*2), but I am afraid
Scholars in Social Work/Welfare behave as if they are totally
ignorant of implications of Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem, just
most Natural Scientists are oblivious to Godel’s Incompleteness
Proof. If the Science means anything, one would expect certain
effects from changes in the science to changes in the practice,
at least something comparable to that from Medical Science to
I am not saying every “theory” has to have direct and
immediate effects on practices in therapy/healing. For the case
of Native Communities, even the identification of problems is a
problem for itself , let alone talking of Healing. But then, I
would expect that Native Science is relevant and useful in the
identification (diagnosis/analysis). I also expect the Science to
provide a “Language” by which the problems can be described,
communicated, and efficiently understood, so that people can make
an effective co-operation.
Now, I am quite aware that there are difficulties, say in
the relation between Western Sciences and their therapeutic
practices. There exists no such thing as “Sociotherapy”, so that
I cannot comment on what Social Science does. Incidentally,
Gellner mentioned before [The Psychoanalytic Movement. Paldin
1985.] discussed the problems in Psychoanalysis/therapy.
Gellner, however, took a rhetorical posture of comparing
“Psychoanalysis” to other Sciences, and pretended that other
Sciences, particularly Natural Science, have no such problem. It
is false. There is no “Science” that is free from troubles. Every
one of them has one degree of trouble or another. In fact,
Natural Science escapes the trouble by ignoring — only deals
with simple linearized models —. Even our “Logic” has troubles
when it tries to deal with “dynamics”, beyond its traditional
“static” and “atomistic” territory. [Russell’s Paradox, etc. see
The Mathematical Experience. P.J. Davis, R. Hersh. Penguin 1984
for example.] It appears that Gellner is ignorant about these
problems in Western Science. Unfortunately, this ignorance, or
rather ignoring, about Logical foundation is rather universal
among English speaking “philosophers of science”.
[I picked up from the New book section of our library a
book; Philosophy, Science And Social Inquiry, by D.C.
Philips. It is a neat summary of “British-American
Philosophy Of Science”. There is no mention of the problems
in Logic. It has a chapter on “Neo-Hegelian Critique”, but
there is no discussion of Hegel’s “Logic of Science”.
On the other hand, if we read, say, Paul Ricoeur’s Lectures
On Ideology And Utopia, the whole 19th century German
Philosophy, covered by Marx’s German Ideology, was a
struggle on “Science”. But it is
not recognized by British-American Academia. It appears
that there was an implicit censorship by those who were in
the academic “Empire Building”. They appear to be no
different from Racists and Colonialists.]
What is interesting, however, in Gellner’s book is that
despite his implicit rhetorical assumption, the troubles of
Natural Science come out. His criticisms against Psychoanalysis
being not a science are applicable to Natural Science just as
well. That is why it is worth reading
Of course, Freud failed to achieve his ambitious goal.
Rather, he went back to the level of Newtonian Mechanics, and
treated “Civilization” to be a “State of Technology” in a
society. His therapy was a technology of adapting individuals to
the society dominated by the Technology. It did not come to
Therapy on the Technology itself. Besides, he was a self-centered
S.O.B., of which many books had been written. That was very
common, Ego-Inflating effect of the Competitive Intellectualism
that we are under. I hope efforts such as Participatory Research
would take care of the problem of Intellectual imperialism (or
rather Judeo-Christian Superiority-Persecution Complex) in
In this respect, it is interesting to note that Powers
reports on “Abdication” (p.137 point 7). European way of seeing
this is “Loss of Power”. But, I suspect rather it means “retiring
from responsibility obligation”. “Power” in Native lingo probably
means “Function”. One who “has” a Power is obliged to perform the
function. I wonder, in this sense, what “power” university
I ought to mention here that Marx also failed in reaching a
“Science” — Marx had never come to elaborate what he meant by
his “Science”, though he was very proud of saying “Scientific
Socialism”, “Proletariat shall have Science to Liberate
themselves”, etc. —. Marx failed to do “Philosophy of
Technology”, but did only “Mechanics of Power”, and consequently
failed to help the construction of the “Science” that was
expected for the Oppressed to develop.
What you want to do in the name of Native Science is what
Marx, Freud, Jung et al. failed to achieve. Therefore, if you
make mistakes here and there, you have nothing to be ashamed of.
Mistakes will hurt you, but that is all. The important thing is
that you pointed the direction, a Vision/Dream/Prophecy.
[You might think I am unduly hard on you, but
actually it is you who picked such a difficult task. It is
as if you are saying you like to jump into a volcano. I
push you over the cliff, because you are standing at the
edge. Afterwards, I and friends of yours will erect a
gravestone there, inscribed as “Here once stood a brave
I would go on further to say Native Science is a way to
“Wisdom”, not the “science” of the European sense. And if it is
“Wisdom”, it has to be in a Community/Culture, not property of
one individual, however genius you are. It can only be developed
by “History”. All we can do is the task of Midwife. And you need
co-operation of many people, and communities (Participatory
Research?). What I am proposing you to write is not Native
Science itself , but merely one among many “about Native Science
— something like “Comparison of What Native and European
Sciences would say about Community Healing/Therapy.” —.
Richard Gwyn, writing on the crushed “Prague Spring” 20
years ago, says: “The real cost of that smashing of a mailed fist
into a gentle smiling face has been an intangible one. The
Czechoslovak sickness of today is neither economic nor political
but is psychological; it can only be described as
institutionalized immorality”. [Leth. Herald. Aug 23.] If one
says this about Czechoslovakia, what must one say about The First
Nations of America? Is it Institutionalized Immorality? And if
so, how does one go about Healing it?
(*2) As to K.J. Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem, see Social Choice
And Individual Value. John Wiley 1951. Cowles Foundation
Monographs vol. 12.
My Economist friend referred me to Q. James, Saposnik, and
Ruben. General Equilibrium And Welfare Economics but I have
not read this.
The main point of Arrow’s Theorem is that “Values” cannot
be ordered in a linear hierarchy (in Boolean Lattice). If a
set of propositions does not form a Boolean Lattice, the
Classical Logic cannot be applied. For Non-Boolean set, the
Probability Calculus becomes unworkable, Quantum Logic is
Non-Boolean. It creates linguistic situations where The
Principle of Exclusion of the Middle breaks down
Principle). A Dutch mathematician E. Brouwer talked about
this problem in 1920-30s.
But, as far as I know of, there has been no Social Science
built upon explicit basis of Non-Boolean Logic. There have
been suggestions that Zen philosophy is non-Boolean, but I
have not seen any serious writing about this. There is also
such a thing as “Fuzzy Logic”. But I see no sign of it
applied to Socia1 Sciences.
I would like to ask you, or to Woody, if Quantum Logic
(Non-Boolean Linguistic Structure) can be found in Native
narrations. I am looking for cases where “Either/Or”
propositions get into clear trouble.
As to Quantum Logic, I enclosed some references. But they
perhaps require some more explanations and elaborations to
make it relevant to Cultural talks.