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LETTERS TO MY FAMILY WRITINGS OF OUR FATHER

MAURICE LE VITA

COMPILED BY

AIMEE LE VITA WEIS AND

LORES LE VITA GILFIX

2010


These letters were written by our father, Maurice LeVita, as a way of sharing his thoughts and ideas and interests with his family. He wrote weekly letters over a six year period from 1976 to 1982 and several letters in 1984. In his eighties, he would take a bus to the office of a friend or walk to the library to use a photocopier, then mail separate copies to the family. He kept the original letters and these letters were compiled for this collection. We have tried to transcribe the handwritten letters to print as accurately as we could. We retained his British spelling, odd punctuation, abbreviations, and outline form. We began and ended each letter in the same form he most commonly used. The letters are arranged by date and the number he gave to each letter. Letters that focus on Logical Problems are in a separate section at the end. We have embarked on this project with great love for our father and remembrances of our past. We hope you treasure these letters as we do. This is our father’s gift for the family and for the generations to come.

Aimee LeVita Weis Lores LeVita Gilfix


A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY Our father, Maurice Hannan LeVita, was a Consulting Actuary, highly regarded in the life insurance field. He contributed numerous original concepts and was active in actuarial associations. His book “An Arithmetic of Life Insurance” was used as a text for many years and translated into several languages. Throughout his life he retained a love for literature and philosophy and read constantly. In his last years he was compiling a book of logic for children. He was born February 15, 1896 in London, England, the oldest of six children. His family were Orthodox Jews and his father expected him to be a rabbi. Determined to acquire a general education, he attended classes at various schools in London and in 1913 passed the University of London Matriculation Examination. He then took college level courses in mathematics and other subjects, preparing to be a teacher. His uncle from New York, on a visit to London, convinced the family that America would offer him better academic and career opportunities. At the age of 20 he came to the United States. His first job was in Philadelphia as supervisor of a Hebrew orphan’s home and he was able to take undergraduate courses at Temple University. Needing more money, he accepted a position for one year in Sydney, Nova Scotia as a full-time teacher of Hebrew and other subjects. He returned to Philadelphia to complete his last academic year at Temple University, supporting himself with his savings and jobs teaching Hebrew. He received a Bachelor’s degree in 1920, majoring in mathematics. He taught for five years in the mathematics department at Temple University. During this time he enrolled in graduate courses in mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania and received a Master of Arts degree in 1922. He continued to take graduate courses beyond the Master’s. He married our mother, Adele Miller, in 1923. Aimee was born in 1925 and Lores (Lolly) in 1928. Our parents took us on several trips to England and our father continued to visit and keep in close contact with his family.


In 1925, in order to have a higher income, he decided to give up a teaching career and enter the life insurance field to become an actuary. He started as an actuarial clerk at the Guardian Life Insurance Co. in New York, then in 1926 transferred to the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Co. in Philadelphia. He stayed at Fidelity Mutual until 1944 as Statistician of the company. During this period he wrote his book, “An Arithmetic of Life Insurance,� published in 1936 by the Life Office Management Association. After our mother died in 1942, our father became Comptroller and Actuary of the Commonwealth Life Insurance Co. in Louisville, Kentucky, 1944 - 1945. We returned to Philadelphia when he was appointed Chief Life Actuary of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. In 1946 he married Madeline Rothstein (Madge or Madgie to the grandchildren) and moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania, to be Actuary of the Scranton Life Insurance Co. From 1951 to 1959 he was Actuary of the Maryland Insurance Department in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was responsible for the enactment of important life and accident and health legislation. In 1959 he established his own Consulting Actuarial practice in Washington, D.C. Throughout his life he was widely recognized for his many original contributions to the life insurance field. He was among the first to develop the concept of a flexible plan of insurance, widely marketed as universal life insurance. He pioneered in the development of the variable annuity, and presented the first actuarial paper on the variable annuity. Our father was an Associate of the Actuarial Society of America, a founding member and Fellow of the Conference of Actuaries in Public Practice, and was active in the Life Office Management Association, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and the Middle Atlantic Actuarial Club. He was a member of the International Actuarial Association and the International Association of Consulting Actuaries. He continued to be consulted, even into his late eighties. He died January 30, 1986, two weeks before his 90th birthday.


OUR RECOLLECTIONS As we look back over our childhood and our relationship with our father as adults, what stands out was his great love of his family and pride in his children and grandchildren. Our father had high expectations for us and was extremely protective during our younger years. We recall his emphasis on learning, his quick mind and his interest and knowledge in many areas. He enjoyed stimulating discussions and delighted in talking to young people. He was an excellent teacher. We remember his sensitivity, his humor, his dry wit. Our father was a man of strong ethical standards and deep convictions. He seemed to understand that often our views differed from his. He was Daddy to us and Papa to the grandchildren. He was called Maurice or Morris, but to many he was M or Mark. Old friends called him LeVita. He was a raconteur and, with his British accent, told wonderful stories. Many were about Silverman and his book shop, where during the Depression years, his good friends would gather Saturday afternoons. While Silverman welcomed customers to his shop to browse, he disliked being interrupted if he was reading or conversing with his friends. He would rush customers out of his shop before they had a chance to purchase a book. Our father would amuse us and the grandchildren by balancing a broom stick or even a chair on one hand. The young grandchildren would laugh at his playfulness when he would place his glasses on his forehead, nod his head, and the glasses would fall over his eyes. We remember the ceremony of his eating a boiled egg from the shell; to this day it is called a Papa Egg. When he entered the house he would always call out “pop pup” and we would know our father was home. We recall that he would take walks “to stretch his legs” and walked rapidly though he was not athletic nor interested in any sport.


He had fun with the British music hall songs, “I’m Henery the Eighth, I am! Henery the Eighth I am! I am!” and “Two Black and Blue Eyes” and he liked to sing “Que Sera, Sera, Whatever Will Be, Will Be.” He was a lover of classical music. He would hum a theme or tap out the rhythm from a symphony or other musical work for us to identify. He read constantly. We remember that he often paced back and forth as he was thinking, usually with a book in hand. He was often occupied with writing down his thoughts. His jottings from his notebooks, with various titles as IDEAS: PROFOUND AND NOT SO PROFOUND, are the basis of some of his letters included in this collection. These recollections are our loving tribute to our father, Maurice LeVita.


PHOTOS

University of Maryland, 1958


1900, London. Four years old. With parents, sister Rose, brother Fred.

1923

1944


With Adele, 1923-1924


Baby Aimee, Philadelphia. 1925.

In Paris, 1927. On the visit to London to introduce Adele and Aimee.


Atlantic City, 1935.

Philadelphia, 1935.

Quebec, 1941. With Aimee and Lolly.

1941. Three months before Adele’s death.


With Madeline, 1948

Aimee and Henry’s Wedding, 1946


Lolly and Eddie’s Wedding, 1952

1954

Washington, D.C., 1960


With his grandchildren Ellen, Kathy, David, Meg, and Fred. Thanksgiving, 1960.

International Actuarial Conference London, 1964

Jerusalem, 1973


80th Birthday, 1976. The portrait on the wall was painted in the 1930s.

With Madeline and grandson Daniel, 1977.

With Adam, his first great-grandchild. Thanksgiving, 1981.


In his office, 1981.

With his brother, Fred, visiting from London, 1984.

In the Washington apartment, 1982.


With Aimee, 1984

With Lolly, 1984

December, 1985 Shortly before his death


LETTERS TO MY FAMILY


Facing Page: A reproduction of the first letter, dated November 27, 1976.


To M, LXXXII, for his weekly messages – a loving appreciation with apologies to Shakespeare, Sonnet LXXVII Look what thy Nothing Book doth contain, Committed to those waste blanks, for us to find, Those ideas of wisdom delivered from thy brain, To take a new acquaintance of thy mind. These offerings, oft as we shall look, Shall profit us and enrich us through thy book. Aimee’s Poem, 82nd Birthday

80th Birthday, 1976


Nov 27 1976

Dear Aimee & Henry; Lolly & Eddie, On my 80th birthday you presented me with (an empty) THE NOTHING BOOK for poets, cooks, travellers . . . and for all of us who’ve ever wanted to do a book. I have managed to fill it up with my ideas, reflections, observations, some prejudices, quotations from others, wise sayings, epigrams etc etc: picture phrases, thought flashes etc etc. I hope to have the pleasure of writing one of these “pieces” of writing weekly for you. On the first page I have written part of Shakespeare’s Sonnet LXXVII: Look, what thy memory cannot contain Commit to these waste blanks, and thou shalt find Those children nurs’d, deliver’d from thy brain, To take a new acquaintance of thy mind, These offices, so oft as thou wilt look, Shall profit thee, and much enrich thy book. Stevens, a Shakespearian critic, notes: “Probably this sonnet was designed to accompany a present of a book consisting of blank pages.” An observation by Steinbeck: “I was afraid that I would feel HUMILITY and TERROR that the working of my pen might not capture the GRINDING of my BRAIN.” All our love, Daddy and Madgie

I think this is a grand idea & good venture – Madeline

3


Dec 4 1976

Dear A & H; L & E, A FEW BRIEF REFLECTIONS AND QUOTATIONS To me, Verdi’s music arouses the noble compassionate sentiments and emotions even when there is bloodshed. As for Wagner with his blood and thunder and gods, he arouses the brutal sentiments and emotions. Compassion (contrast with pity) is the sincere sympathetic feeling with people in time of peril. The ACTOR is ably discussed by Somerset Maugham in his THE SUMMING UP. Nowadays people (via TV) are living in a simulated atmosphere, in an actor’s world; in an atmosphere so false and unnatural. Each viewer is constantly confronted by people, each (person) ACTING a part; no genuineness or honesty. From IVAN BUNIN, Russian born novelist, 1933 Nobel Prize winner: A great philosopher once said that the emotions aroused by JOY, even the most violent ones, count next to nothing besides those created by GRIEF.

All our love, Daddy & Madeline

My participation is that I read them. [Madeline’s writing]

4


Dec 12 1976

Dear A & H; L & E, From (your) my THE NOTHING BOOK A sentence from a PERRY MASON book: “The courtroom atmosphere was stale with the psychic stench which comes from packed humans whose emotions are aroused to a high pitch of excitement.” A pretty good definition of MYSTICISM: “All that pertains to the search for intuitive experiences inaccessible to ordinary understanding and to the merging of one’s being into something so exalted, so vast, as to be beyond all human conceptions of divinity.” Bad books and the Corruption of Language An opinion by AUDEN “Attacking bad books is bad for the character; it is an invitation to malice and conceit. Attacking ‘corruption of LANGUAGE’ is a necessity, since the basic currency of communication must be defended.” SANTAYANA on ENGLAND “Since the heroic days of GREECE has the world had such a sweet just boyish master (as ENGLAND). It will be a black day for the human race when scientific blackguards, conspirator churls and fanatics manage to supplant it.” (ENGLAND)

Enough “wisdom” for the week.

Affectionately, Daddy

5


Dec 20 1976

Dear A & H; L & E, The English Mathematician G. H. HARDY on the subject of SENTIMENTALISM v. REALISM: “Many people of course use SENTIMENTALISM as a term of abuse of other people’s decent feelings, and REALISM as a disguise for their own brutality.” “As you grow older and wiser, if you are a person of intelligence, you will express your thoughts and opinions with a minimum of finality.” An observation by PLOMER (English poet and novelist): When friends die part of myself seems torn away, but really they have added a cell to that transitory agglomeration of cells that is ONESELF, enabling one to reflect about LIFE and to live more fully than before. And if they have had some power with the written word, that is something specially personal to remember them by. LONGEVITY: Whitehead tells that he comes from a long lived family. When his grandfather died at age 87, his old friend Sir Moses Montefiore (older than Whitehead’s grandfather) sighed: “Poor Whitehead – cut off in the prime of life!” Affectionately, Daddy

6


Xmas Day 1976

Dear A & H; L & E, Selection from FACTS from FIGURES by M. J. MORONEY There is more than a germ of truth in the suggestion that, in a society where statisticians thrive, liberty and individuality are likely to be emasculated. Historically, STATISTICS is no more than State Arithmetic; a system of computation by which differences between individuals are eliminated by the taking of an average. We are reminded of the ancient statisticians every Christmas when we read that Caesar Augustus decreed that the whole world should be enrolled, EACH MAN RETURNING TO HIS OWN CITY FOR REGISTRATION. Had it not been for the statisticians, Christ would have been born in the modest comfort of a cottage in Nazareth instead of in a stable at Bethlehem. The story is a symbol of the blindness of the planners of all ages to the comforts of the individual. They just did not think of the overcrowding there would be in a little place like Bethlehem. All our wishes for a peaceful and prosperous 1977. Affectionately, Daddy

P.S. The enclosed should be of interest.

7


Jan 1 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A HAPPY YEAR 1977 A FEW ODDS AND ENDS The thing that is disturbing about the BIBLE is its emphasis on sin and need for redemption. In KING DAVID’s time did not his people have some redeeming features? Biography writing is a temptation for the weak novelist. Why worry about plot, development of character etc. Read about the life of important man X. Ignore the dull periods. The skeleton is there. Fill it up with some (literary) flesh. Severaid’s comment on News: Too many lawyers; too many newspapermen who don’t wait for a story to hatch or jell. Result: Too much momentum for too little. Another version of Parkinson’s Law (evident in Washington): Too many newspapermen and not enough vital news to go around. Hence: much of petty silly intimate rubbish (even) about important people. Joyce: a chameleon in his literary prose. From time to time (chapter to chapter), a different PERSONA comes up.

All our love, Daddy / Papa

8


Jan 8 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Ellen; Kathy; David; Daniel, I list here what I consider “impossible people” i.e. people who get on your nerves; who set one frantic; who push up one’s blood pressure etc: The perpetual jokester; the “making fun of his wife or husband” person; the constant silly SEXTER in his conversation; the constant FREUDIAN explainer of people’s thoughts and actions; the person who has a ready BECAUSE for your every WHY? and will never say “I don’t know” or “I cannot explain it”; the BORE who gives you details about his uninteresting self; the MONOLOGUIST who greedily seizes a conversation and refuses to let others participate in the discussion; the one who does not participate in the general discussion or conversation and when all are through, he pontifically gives his point of view as a sort of FINALE. Here is a thought attributed to STENDHALL: You can make anything in solitude except CHARACTER. When people lie, they for the most part tell petty lies, generally: (a) to illustrate their smartness in a critical situation and (b) to illustrate their superiority to an opponent or rival.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

9


Jan 18 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A few interesting items I “discovered�: (1)

In ancient Egypt when the dead man meets the judges, he makes a detailed confession of the sins he has NOT committed but leaves unmentioned the actual sins. (See JUNG: In Search of Soul.)

(2)

H G Wells in one of his books compares Religion to a safety net which a mountaineer had been told was stretched beneath him as he made a dangerous ascent. The feeling that the net was there to save him gave him confidence to be most daring and so to attempt and achieve goals impossible without it. The net (H G Wells went on to explain) was not really there. It was a device to increase the bravery of man; and all religion (HGW implied) was a similar invention.

(3)

How come that NIXON received so many XMAS cards from well wishers? Answer: Those well wishers thought that NIXON did no wrong and that they themselves would have acted the way Nixon did, without any plague of conscience.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

10


Jan 18 1977 - 2

From Madeline: My snowbound reading is the Forsyte Saga and I enclose a quote from it. Bottom p. 233, Passing of an Age from Forsyte Saga – In Chancery. Galsworthy’s description at the time of the funeral procession of Queen Victoria: Sixty-four years that favored property, and had made the upper middle class; buttressed, chiselled, polished it, till it was almost indistinguishable in manner, morals, speech, appearance, habits, and soul from the nobility. An epoch which had gilded individual liberty so that if a man had money he was free in law and fact, and if he had not money he was free in law and not in fact. An era which had canonised hypocrisy, so that to seem to be respectable was to be. A great Age, whose transmuting influence nothing had escaped save the nature of man and the nature of the Universe.

11


Jan 22 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, The PELICAN before me is C. E. MONTAGUE: A Writer’s Notes on his Trade – a book of essays beautifully written. In the chapter on Matthew Arnold, four extracts gave me much pleasure: (1)

Matthew Arnold on Oxford: “whispering from her towers the last enchantment of the Middle Ages”.

(2)

A statement about M.A. by a George Russell: “Arnold’s wish to ‘believe’, coupled with his inability to do so, was one of the most pathetic things I have ever known.”

(3)

And to illustrate this, here are the lovely lines of “Dover Beach”: The sea of faith / Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl’d / But now I only hear/ Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar.

(4)

Arnold talks of: “This strange disease of modern life / With its sick hurry, its divided aims / Its heads o’ertaxed, its palsied hearts”.

We know “What a piece of work is a man” – that speech of Hamlet’s. Here are some lines about MAN by Pope: A being darkly wise, and rudely great / Created half to rise, and half to fall / Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all / Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurled / The glory, jest, and riddle of the world! Yours poetically speaking, Daddy / Papa

12


Jan 29 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A few weeks ago I wrote you about the practice of the Egyptians of old to confess the sins not committed. I, as I grow older and contemplate the past have concluded that I will confess one (of the many?) sins I have committed and that is PRIGGISHNESS. I called on my dictionaries to help me out in the definition of a PRIG. Here are some of the fruits of my research: A PRIG: one who irritates by rigid or pointed observance of proprieties; one who says: God I thank thee that I am not as other men are; one who expects others to square themselves to his very inadequate measuring rod and condemns them with confidence if they don’t; one who is distinguished by a precision in speech or manners; one who cultivates or affects a propriety of culture, learning or morals which offends and bores others; a conceited or self important and didactic person; precise, particular, conceited and pragmatical. A famous Englishman, Cunningham Graham, commenting on Oxford wrote: “Oxford the ancient seat of pedantry where they manufacture PRIGS as fast as butchers in Chicago handle hogs.” Yes! I confess. I have been guilty of occasional priggishness in the past. May my victims forgive me! I feel I am now cured.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

Enjoyed the TLS plus the didactic contents Think you will enjoy the Washington Post extra.

13


Feb 5 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, From my Notebook on the subject: Larding Tragedy with Humor. The quote below comes from: The Case of the Howling Dog by Erle Stanley Gardner and is part of the subject of conversation between Perry Mason and his associate. The subject may be summarized: The Trial Lawyer and the Jury and the Playwright and the Audience. There is no loyalty in the mass mind; it is fickle; there is no consistency to it. In a good show when there is a powerful emotional scene: what were you doing three minutes after that emotional scene? (Answer: I was laughing.) A jury is an audience; it is a small audience. Successful playwrights have to know human nature. They recognize the fickleness of the mass mind. They know it is incapable of loyalty; that it is incapable of holding any emotion for any great period of time. If there had not been a chance to laugh after that dramatic scene in the play you saw, the play might have been a flop. The audience had gone through an emotional scene, sympathizing with the heroine in her darkest hour. They sincerely felt for her. They would have died to have saved her. They would have killed the villain if they could have laid their hands on him. But – they could not have held the emotion for more than three minutes to have saved their lives. It was not THEIR trouble; it was the heroine’s trouble. Having felt for her deeply and sincerely, they wanted to even the emotional scale by laughter. The wise playwright knows that. He gives them an excuse to laugh. To be continued next week. I don’t want to emotionally fatigue you.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

Next week: How Shaw follows that rule.

14


Feb 12 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A continuation of my February 5 letter. I thought of Perry Mason’s point of view when some time ago I was part of an audience witnessing a performance of SHAW’s: HEARTBREAK HOUSE – A Fantasia in the Russian (Chekhov) Manner. It dealt with British society just prior to World War I. It is replete with keen thinking and deep feelings. But the thoughts and feelings are larded with HUMOR. Between thought and thought or thought and feeling etc there is a (laughter provoking) JOKE. Sometimes it spells WIT; sometimes HUMOR; in many cases of quite infantile quality. But the audience laughs. They wanted to even the emotional scale with LAUGHTER – to the pleasure of the audience. Thus HEARTBREAK HOUSE, a deep tragedy, is full of laughter. Speaking for myself I don’t need to even the emotional or thought provoking scales by laughter. I can take my tragedy in large doses and can bear two hours of emotional stirring without (emotional) fatigue. I don’t relish the SHAVIAN mixture. As far as tragedy is concerned I am perfectly willing and capable to “take it neat”. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

15


Birthday Poem, February 15, 1977 On reading the attached [Letter January 29, 1977] How big to confess to being a prig, Sin admitted in the past committed Occasionally, and assured now cured. How long endured – who gives a fig! But to assert one’s reformation is infra-dig, A self-revelation one must renege. Here’s to M, forevermore the prig! Chorus (add your own rhyme) What is research without the guinea pig, And mathematics minus trig, Tory and no Whig, Tree without twig, Jig without swig, And toys with not one whirligig, A whatchamacallit with no thingamajig? And what is M not acting the prig? Here’s to M, forevermore the prig.

16


Feb 17 1977

To Aimee on reading the birthday card THANK YOU FOR THE POEM: Even if the sentiments were naughty towards one who only in the past was haughty your description was so vivid I had to control myself from becoming livid Even if the effects on me were somewhat gritty The contents were ultra clever You were full of wit – as ever Fourteen times your lines ended in “…ig” If I did not congratulate you I would be a prig But prig or no prig that I may NOW be It’s wonderful to know that my family (still) loves me. THANKS FOR YOUR LOVELY POEM AND WISHES. Daddy

17


Feb 26 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A CONFESSION As I grow older I eschew discussions relating to the solutions of the problems that have plagued theologians and philosophers: such as the meaning of TRUTH, JUSTICE; the existence of EVIL and many others. Discussions on those topics do not bring me the cultural thrill they did years ago. Then I felt that there was ORDER IN NATURE, BASIC GOODNESS IN MAN etc. Hence solutions to the above problems were not only (probable or) possible but even certain. While I confess I do not experience such thrills now, an occasional “dip” into the cultural areas does give me feelings of excitement akin to those I felt years ago when I studied TALMUD or EUCLID. B. Russell tells us about his thrills of excitement when he studied EUCLID for the first time. I confess that reading the history of the attempts to find logical and moral order in the world does occasionally interest me. However the authors’ solutions to the conundrum of LIFE in all its aspects does not interest me. I have for long been of the opinion that an enunciation of the perfect solution to the problem is not worthy of a mature thinking man. As I grow older I am content to turn for WISDOM (worldly and unworldly) to Russell and Whitehead. I find they understand humans and human motives and that they are men of good taste aesthetically. They are men of discernment and capable of clear thinking and noble feeling.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

18


March 5 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A few random notes: From B. Russell’s essays on EDUCATION: The widespread interest in gossip is inspired not by a love of knowledge but by malice; no one gossips about other peoples’ secret virtues, but only about their secret vices. Accordingly, most gossip is untrue, but care is taken NOT to verify it. Katherine Tate (Bertrand Russell’s daughter) wrote a biography of her famous father. In the final paragraph of the book, she tells posterity that she had originally intended to publish a EULOGISTIC account of him, but: the buts and complaints seized my pen and forced it to record them. They urged: He loved TRUTH you know. You cannot honor him with a lying memoir. You must set down all that was wrong, all that was difficult and disappointing, and then you can say: He was the most fascinating man I have ever known, the only man I have ever loved, the greatest man I shall ever meet, the wittiest, the gayest, the most charming. IT WAS A PRIVILEGE TO KNOW HIM, AND I THANK GOD HE WAS MY FATHER. A very wonderful tribute from a daughter to an “extra matrimonial infatuated” man – her father. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

19


March 12 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, It has been said that nowadays an educated man knows something of everything and everything of something. The area of LEARNING gets vaster and vaster and in a lifetime it is impossible (regardless of his insatiable hunger for learning or the brilliance of his thinking or the keenness of his memory) to acquire much learning. And yet there is one exception to the above conclusion. And he is ALDOUS HUXLEY. He seems to exhibit versatility in every form of learning: History, Painting, Literature, Music, the Sciences, Government, the Social Sciences. He must have indulged in prodigious reading. Read any of his novels or essays. He is at ease with the classics (Greek and Latin) and with literature foreign (French, German, Italian). He amazes me. In his presence from the point of view of general knowledge I as well as others “shrivel into insignificance”. And then he writes well with a terrific vocabulary and command of the English idiom. He has delved into mysticism and philosophic occult. Truly – an amazing man! Should one envy him? After all if we want information badly, there is the library and the BRITANNICA (the new edition is not as bad as scholars contend it is). I leave you this to ponder over. But a phenomenon is a phenomenon!

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

20


March 19 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Here is something from the autobiography of LOW – famous British Cartoonist during World War II. It might be entitled: JUDGING ONE THROUGH THE EYE. I, like most people, make friends mainly upon the response I find in peoples’ eyes. A peculiar thing – the eye! In itself as expressionless an object as one could find. What is it? A white marble with a coloured spot surrounding a smaller black spot enlarging or diminishing. Yet – see two of these simple objects in holes in a face, surmount them by contrasting eyebrows and surround them with skin crinkling in accordance with obscure muscle tensions, and you have THE WINDOW OF THE SOUL, the key to ATTRACTION and REPULSION, love and hate. Eyes have a positive effect on me. Under some eyes I am tongue-tied, inarticulate, stupid; other eyes unlock my tongue. [My comment: Is that why people under suspicion wear dark glasses?]

All our love, Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

21


March 26 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A few thoughts, observations and items I recently read: A biography of UNITY MITFORD (British friend of Hitler, anti-Semite etc ) by Pryce-Jones was reviewed by a sister of Unity who hoped that “people who read the book may feel compassion for Unity”. To which the Reviewer Forest commented: “I hope they will feel that a person has only so much compassion to spare. It needs to be rationed and there are more suitable recipients than UNITY MITFORD.” An apt description of YOUTH by a critic who feels that young people are in an intellectual ferment, several “ISMS” ahead of us. A quotation from XENOPHON in ANABASIS (the story of the Persian expedition): “One of the results of POWER is the ability to take what belongs to the weaker.” Attributed to THOMAS HARDY: “I have a faculty for burying an emotion in my heart or brain for forty years, and exhuming it at the end of that time as fresh as when interred.” C. P. SCOTT, famous owner and editor of the MANCHESTER GUARDIAN, said that his problem was “to make readable righteousness remunerative”. (My comment: How’s that for good alliteration!)

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

22


April 1 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Have been interested in the origin of certain idioms that have become part and parcel of our conversation and writing. So I looked up my BARTLETT: I shall be as secret as the grave; Turn over a new leaf; A gift horse should not be looked in the mouth; A very happy accident; Keep within bounds; Poetic license; Ready cash; Feather in their caps; The fat in the fire; Birds of a feather flock together; Striking while the iron is hot; In the twinkling of an eye; Thereby hangs a tale; Let every man look before he leaps; Born with a silver spoon in his mouth; Give him the slip; Hit the nail on the head; Mind your own business; A word to the wise is enough; Thank your stars; The pot calls the kettle black; At his wit’s end; Mum’s the word; A virtue of necessity; Walls have ears; I begin to smell a rat; A beggar on horseback; The proof of the pudding is in the eating; It will do you a world of good; I know it all by heart; He would not budge an inch; Raise a hue and cry; Honesty is the best policy; Nor do they care a straw; All is not gold that glitters; Return to the flesh pots of Egypt; As mad as a March hare; A finger in every pie; Upon second thought; My familiarity with thee has bred contempt; Returning the complement; Thank you for nothing; See with half an eye; I will give the devil his due; Comparisons are odious; Paid him in his own coin; There is no love lost; Without a wink of sleep; Sings like a lark; With the sweat of my brow; Forewarned is forearmed; Too much of a good thing; The fair sex; That’s neither here nor there. All these 54 items come not from Shakespeare or Spenser or Milton but from de CERVANTES and contained in DON QUIXOTE!! The translation is by P. A. MOTTEUX who died in 1718.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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April 8 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A biography (a “blind” pickup in our local library) is the autobiography of LOW the famous British caricaturist. Here are a few extracts that have “intrigued” me: What I wanted from EDUCATION was a lead to comprehension of LIFE in its totality, its far perspectives, its broad horizons, the big sweeps, the universal balances. To what end need I fill my brain with details? It was enough to know where to get these, if and when required, from those fitted to provide that service. Low speaks about a great caricaturist he knew: The man’s “portraits” were penetrating and intimate because he had that rare thing: a sense of individual character and the wit and confidence to represent it freely in line without troubling about technical details. LOW, when depressed, followed LOW’s INFALLIBLE REMEDY FOR DEPRESSION: I retire to my room, lock door, draw blinds, tightly bandage eyes and chin, lie down on back, fold hands on chest, clear mind, remain completely and stiffly still for 20 minutes, imagining you are buried under six feet of wet earth. Then get up, go to a lively restaurant and have a good dinner. (One of these days I will try that remedy myself.) More on LOW next week. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

In Madeline’s handwriting: Re the ( ) – I cannot see Daddy doing the 20 minutes of “Yoga-like Meditation” but I wouldn’t mind joining him for the good dinner. M

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April 16 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, For some time during the course of my reading I have noted evidences of ANTI-SEMITISM even among the finest and most liberal writers (VOLTAIRE, SHAW, WELLS, T S ELIOT, KEYNES etc etc). I was particularly amazed that the socialists (SIDNEY and BEATRICE WEBB, C D H COLE and others) were (of all people) quite anti-Semitically inclined. In ENCOUNTER Nov 1976 there was an article by GEORGE WATSON entitled “Race and the Socialists” full of examples of anti-Semitism by socialists. A possible explanation is one given by RICHARD CROSSMAN, socialist, member of the Cabinet, a Christian and a Zionist, in his DIARIES OF A CABINET MINISTER recently published. He quotes from an article by him published years ago in SUNDAY PICTORIAL: One of the things I learnt when, as a member of the AngloAmerican Committee, I first came into contact with the Jewish people, was that I myself suffer from a latent anti-Semitism. All of us Gentiles carry the bacillus in our veins and at any moment some little tiff with a Jew may bring on the disease, destroying one’s sense of fair play and decency. I believe with SARTRE (ANTI-SEMITISM AND THE JEW) that the cause of ANTI-SEMITISM is the ailing GENTILE and not the wicked Jew.

All my love, Daddy / Papa

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April 23 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, This letter really consists of Xeroxes of two statements: (a) “The Word ‘Jew’” by BERNARD LEVIN (brilliant writer for THE LONDON TIMES) and (b) “Shadows in the Dark” by MICHAEL FRAYN, a Christian, writer for THE OBSERVER. Here are two points of view and it is not easy to decide who is right. Should Jews follow the view of B. L. or should we be on the “lookout” a la FRAYN? You might think it over.

From MURDER AT THE FRANKFORT BOOK FAIR by MONTEILHET: Was it execution or murder? Such is the eternal ambiguity of history, in which man’s preconceived ideas give contradictory meanings to the same “facts”. History is the art of eliciting speech from that which is obstinately silent. Historians are partly torturers of “facts”, partly dishonest ventriloquists. Literature is more honest – at least it does not cheat in the name of science.

All our love, Daddy / Papa

MONTEILHET is one of the most brilliant “mystery” writers that I have read.

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[The two articles with an introductory statement are reprinted below. They refer to the satirical “That Was The Week That Was” from 1963.]

We publish in full Bernard Levin’s controversial statement in the BBC television programme “That Was The Week That Was” together with a reply by Michael Frayn of “The Observer,” who is not a Jew.

THAT WORD “JEW” By Bernard Levin Jews. The emotive content of this word is clear from the slightly embarrassed expression that appeared on many of the faces in front of me when I said it and this frisson of embarrassment, it seems, was experienced quite widely when, in a sketch about Mr. Charles Clore, the fact that he was a Russian Jew – there’s that embarrassed expression again – was mentioned in “That Was The Week That Was.” A number of letters have suggested that Sir Oswald Mosley either is, or should be, in charge of this programme; others have asserted that the item must have been written by a follower of Hitler (as a matter of fact, though I don’t think this relevant, it was written by a Jewess); still others that the writers of the letters would never again watch a programme clearly designed to appeal only to fascists. Mixed up with a good deal of such impertinence and hysterical nonsense was a rather more moderate theme: it occurred over and over again. Why, it asked, in a sketch about Mr. Clore, mention that fact that he is a Jew at all? The answer is a very simple one. We mention the fact that Mr. Clore is a Jew because he is one. If he had been an Irish Catholic we would probably have mentioned that. If he had only three fingers on his left hand, likewise. If, as a child, he had been a boy soprano, ditto. Antisemitism does not consist of using the word “Jew.” It does not even consist of using the word “Jew” irrelevantly. It is an attitude of mind that regards Jews as being in some way fundamentally different, because they are Jews, from other people. There are, of course, many other corollaries to this belief. Its most widespread form in the modern world is the belief that people with black skins are in some fundamental way different from those with white ones. Others believe Catholics or Freemasons, or both, to be responsible for all the evils of the world. All these views are nonsense and all civilized persons would recognize that this is so.

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THAT WORD “JEW” continued

But what ought civilized persons to do about it? Should we refrain, as some would suggest, from criticizing any Jew – or Negro or Catholic – on the grounds that uncivilized persons may be listening? Is this not an inverted racialism, a subconscious argument that whereas an ordinary person is fair game for criticism, a member of these minorities is somehow not? Or is it seriously contended that to criticize a certain particular Negro or Jew is tantamount to suggesting that all Negroes or Jews are open to criticism on the same grounds? Or should civilized people refrain entirely, as has been suggested, from the very mention of such loaded words as “Jew”? This seems to me the most deplorable and dangerous doctrine of all. Should I avoid using the word because the working definition adopted by fools may be one with unpleasant and pejorative associations? We all, I hope, look forward to a day when there shall be “neither Jew, nor Greek, neither bond nor free.” Until then, if a man is a Jew, I – and others – will continue to say so. If he has red hair, we shall say so. If he has two children, we shall say so and I hope that one day these facts can be classified alike, even if on different levels of importance as facts, without any emotive content at all. Until then, to those who complain at the use of the word “Jew,” and in particular to those who are not Jews but who protest nevertheless feel called upon to protest, I can only say: “Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more Jewish jokes?”

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SHADOWS IN THE DARK By Michael Frayn The idea that Jews should not be criticized is a bizarre one that I’ve never heard suggested. Nor have I ever heard it proposed that one should conceal the fact that someone under discussion is Jewish if it is in any way relevant. These are clay pigeons, thrown up to be shot down. The joke about Mr. Clore from which this discussion started was “Maybe it’s because I’m a Russian Jew that I love London town,” and the clear suggestion in this is that Mr. Clore’s love of London is ridiculous partly because he is a Jew. The joke had a remarkably similar predecessor in “Private Eye” -- a parody of Granada Television’s advertising which suggested that their apparent pride in the North of England was ludicrous partly because Sidney Bernstein was a Jew. Now, there is nothing wrong (and nobody has ever suggested there was) in saying that Mr. Clore and Mr. Bernstein are Jews. Nor is there anything awry (nor has anyone ever thought there possibly could be) in declaring that Mr. Clore’s love of London and Mr. Bernstein’s pride in the North are ridiculous. But it is a different matter to suggest that their local patriotism is fraudulent because they are Jews. From the strictly logical point of view, it is exactly like suggesting that Mr. Betjeman’s love of Victoriana is a sham because he is an Anglican, or that Mr. Macmillan’s patriotism is suspect because he wears a moustache -- just plain meaningless. However, the authors presumably didn’t think their jokes were meaningless. Indeed, “Private Eye” plainly thought it was a better joke to contrast Mr. Bernstein’s professed pride in the North with his Jewishness than to contrast it with the fact that he lives in Kent. The only possible meaning these two jokes can have is to refer to the stock caricature of a Jew that very many have been brought up with in the back of their minds -- a foreignlooking business man with a funny name, and a “Don’t-call-us-we’ll-call-you” accent, servile, flashy, not sound, always on the make, thinking of nothing but money -- so alien and money-grubbing that any pretensions to pride in London and Manchester would indeed be preposterous. To think of a class of people in this way is the first step on a road that leads to condescension and exclusion, to persecution and to a denial of rights. Within memory, it has also led to enslavement and genocide. I’m sure that these things are very remote from us now. But Jews do suffer exclusion in Britain and a great many people do have the old, jeering picture at the back of their minds, waiting to be used. To bring it out into the open is to destroy it by its own ridiculousness. To make sly allusion to it is to lend it colour. The purpose of outspoken satire is to let the light in on the old ghosts that makes our lives heavy. To play on our half-forgotten superstitions with ghost stories, however spoken, is to make the shadows in the dark corner reach out a little closer. April 19, 1963

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April 30 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, For many years I have delved into the Meaning of History, the Philosophy of History etc, trying to understand trends in history. I tried to read Collingwood, Spengler and Toynbee to get the gist of their thinking. I am putting all that thinking aside after reading this extract from H. A. L. FISHER: HISTORY OF EUROPE: One intellectual excitement has, however, been denied to me. Men, wiser and more learned than I, have discerned in HISTORY a plot, a rhythm, a predetermined pattern. These harmonies are cancelled from me. I can see only one emergency following upon another, as wave follows wave, only one great fact with respect to which (since it is unique) there can be no generalizations, only one safe rule for the historian: that he should recognize in the development of human destinies the play of the contingent and the unforeseen. This is not a doctrine of cynicism and despair. The fact of PROGRESS is written plain and large on the pages of HISTORY; but progress is not a LAW of NATURE. The ground gained by one generation may be lost by the next. The thoughts of men may flow into the channels which lead to DISASTER AND BARBARISM. I agree with FISHER’s concept of history.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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May 7 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, What is the purpose, the meaning and effect of an APOLOGY? Recently, two men of prominence were guilty of ethnic slurs: Gen. Brown on Jews and Butz on Blacks. In each case the person revealed his nasty suspicions and/or social contempt for the group. In each case when the slur was brought to light an apology was demanded and the apology was given. What was the apology? In essence it was that his thoughts and feelings about the group should not have been uttered by him in public. To use a Britishism: “It is not cricket.” Of what use was the apology? If I inadvertently accidentally hurt or do damage to somebody, my apology is meaningful. But if after thinking evil of somebody and (as much as I try to control myself) I lose control and I utter aloud such thoughts, what good does the apology do? Paradoxically, we ought to thank those who insult us because now (after he has slurred) we know how he truly feels about us. This brings me to the famous scene at the House of Parliament. A had insulted B on the floor of the “House” and X who was B’s friend suggested that B demand an apology for the insult. B’s reply was: If A were a gentleman he would not insult me and if A is not a gentleman he could not insult me. No apology!

All my love, Daddy / Papa

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May 14 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Throughout my reading of novels and short stories I have found the authors (particularly in mysteries) guilty of PHYSIOGNOMY – a disreputable science. This area of thinking believes that the external appearance of the body (particularly the face) should lead us to draw conclusions as to CHARACTER. Thus we have the following features indicative of character: little eyes, thin lips, receding (and obtruding) jaw, low forehead etc etc etc. The fact is these indicators have no scientific backing and are the closest to “old wives tales”. But authors still persist in unscientific conclusions and the public led by the story tellers follow suit. It is unpardonable because adverse judgments of character based on features may hamper men of talent and decency from getting the jobs to which they are entitled. Interesting too are those men of genius (sic) who by noting a person’s set of features or EXPRESSION can tell where he belongs professionally (doctor, lawyer, teacher, minister etc). I have been trying to dig deep into the subject without success. I learnt that DARWIN as a young man before he got his job on the BEAGLE was examined by a PHRENOLOGIST (a deducer of character from bumps on the skull). He did not pass but he got his job nevertheless via PULL!!!

All our love, Daddy / Papa

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May 21 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A FEW ODDS AND ENDS (1)

BERTRAND RUSSELL claims that the widespread interest in gossip is inspired not by a love of knowledge but by malice. No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues, but only about their secret vices. Accordingly most gossip is untrue but care is taken not to verify it.

(2)

An OXFORD Professor’s confession: We are too sheltered – too much protected from LIFE’s buffeting. We retreat into the safety of our (college) towers. And these battered down, we feed our egos with scholastic triumphs and finicky feuds with our colleagues. A scholar has not a pushful nature. One would not have chosen a scholar’s life if one were aggressive.

(3)

Unity Mitford, a British Hitler admirer committed suicide when she realized that NAZIDOM was dead. D. Pryce-Jones recently wrote a biography which was quite devastating. (See Letter March 26 1977.) The book was reviewed wherein the reviewer remarked: “People should feel compassion for Unity.” A commentator on that review wrote: If people who read the book should feel compassion for Unity, I hope that they will feel that a person has only so much compassion to spare. Compassion needs to be rationed and there are more suitable recipients than Unity Mitford.

All my love, Daddy / Papa

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May 28 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Came across an interesting poem by D. J. Enright in a recent issue of THE LISTENER. I give it as my week’s letter. MATTER OF OPINION And the LORD GOD was grieved at his heart And said: Opinionation is upon the face of the earth. My thoughts turn towards water For it is taught in the schools That the people shall have each their Opinion And my Opinion is as good as your Opinion And your Opinion is not as good as my Opinion. Nevertheless it is second-best. To offend an Opinion is more shameful Than to see thy father’s nakedness. [He should have clothed himself in Opinions!] The people have rewritten My Commandments; Thou shalt have no other Opinions before thine own; Thou shalt honor and obey thy Opinion; Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s Opinion, nor his ass’s; Thou shalt not steal it, Nor bear false witness against it, Nor commit adultery with it. Blessed are the Opinion makers, for they shall be called The children of God. And what you may ask (Thus spake the LORD) is MY OPINION? For I also have a right to My Opinion . . . My Opinion is that things will change When the people have nothing to eat but their words. All my love, Daddy / Papa What’s your (plural) opinion?

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June 4 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A few extracts from the life of Quiller-Couch, a Victorian and Edwardian “Man of Letters”: (1)

All thoughts as well as all passions, all delights – whatsoever – that engage man’s activity of soul or body, may be deemed the subject of LITERATURE and are transformed into LITERATURE by process of recording them in memorable speech.

(2)

Quotation from Marcus Aurelius: “The best part of revenge is not to be like them.”

(3)

The first play is like the first lecture, the first speech or even the first symphony. There are generally too many ideas, too many “movements” in it. The play may have one main idea or thesis, but it has too many casual ideas, superfluous details, loose ends. Because of the latter, the author fails to drive the idea home; he rather fritters it away.

(4)

On Contemporary Fiction that mimics Russian plays like Uncle Vanya: The now fashionable Russian trick of endless talk which never arrives at action, cannot endure. It satisfies us rather (though the conclusion be abrupt) to see the curtain fall on a stage piled with corpses, than on a typical Russian hero who after three hours of self-exploration, crawls out of the window as his last way of escape from doing anything whatever.

Quiller-Couch, excellent critic, lost out on (4) because that type of play seems (nowadays) very popular.

All our love, Daddy / Papa

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June 11 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Two items from the autobiog of LOW a famous caricaturist: (1)

A “pox” on those arrogant snobs who from their positions of vantage deplore the means whereby the thoughts and imaginations of the less fortunate may be kindled and would make the path to understanding more difficult and joyless than need be. Years ago, “popular” education gave readers “canned” versions of GREAT BOOKS etc. Not bad at all. Through these a reader might be led to SOCRATES, TOLSTOI, and even KANT.

(2)

I gazed into the field of “letters”. The easiest reading was THE BIBLE (KING JAMES’ VERSION) which I read from start to finish – sidestepping texts and commentary material. I was an omnivorous reader. I soaked up my reading and it became part of my own thoughts SO MUCH SO: that to this day I have difficulty in quoting without reference. It is just as well. The regurgitation of tidbits (of knowledge) is too often evidence of an imperfect digestion!!!

Here is my confession. The clause underlined above equally applies to me. I read the Bible, Hume, Kant, Plato etc and I soak up and digest its contents. The latter becomes part and parcel of me. But for the life of me I cannot tell you what Hume said or give Plato’s Theory of Knowledge. I look these up and sometimes my memory registers and sometimes it does not. INTERESTING? Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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June 18 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, An interesting story is told about ARTHUR KOESTLER. A lady arrived at his flat one day and was most anxious to see him. At first he said NO – but he changed his mind as a result of her pleading. She said: “I have read everything you have written and I decided I must meet you.” KOESTLER replied: “You may be much disappointed. There is all the difference in the world between the taste of Goose-liver (pate de foie gras) and that of GOOSE. You are now speaking to the Goose and the pleasures arising may not compare with the pleasures (so you say) afforded to you by my books.” Many an author is in no way as noble as some of the characters he creates or as brilliant or even as decent. This is true in the other arts. WAGNER who composed noble music was very low in his day to day behavior to friends and benefactors. I am sure you can multiply such examples. There is not necessarily a correlation between the “artist as a man” and his “art”. I believe that the “artist” is a CONDUIT through which the “art” (writing, music, poetry, drama) goes in the process of creation. The artist is the “conduit” whether he wants to or not. The writer of a biography need not overdo his job by trying to “explain” why X created Y in 1972 say. He also need not strain himself in reconciling the subject’s point of view in 1964 say with a subsequent point of view (on the same subject) in 1970 say. The CONDUIT behaves in a mysterious fashion. I know that if my explanation and CONDUIT theory are accepted there will be a marked reduction in PhDs on why Author S said something at some time and something else at another time. A diminution in PhD theses will be a blessing to all and sundry.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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June 25 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, First a few comments by SARTRE: (1)

I am too old and too blind to do any more writing. I do not like to “dictate”. For me, writing is a matter of style and my particular literary style is something that can only be achieved “PEN IN HAND”. Literary style is a method of saying three or four different things at the same time by a fastidious arrangement of words, so that every paragraph needs to be WRITTEN, CORRECTED AND REWRITTEN several times.

(2)

Philosophical writing with its own technical language can be done most straightforwardly. Literary work for SARTRE is a complex activity and without eyesight he cannot do it.

Now a few other tidbits: (1)

Comment by a detective to an innocent witness: Please forgive me for being rather rude (in my questions) a short time ago. But I had to be sure that you would recall EVERYTHING. ANGER IS A MARVELOUS CATALYST FOR MEMORIES!

(2)

From one of the McGEE stories by JOHN D. MacDONALD: (a)

I happen to think that people hurting people is the ORIGINAL SIN. To score for the sake of scoring diminishes a man.

(b)

I found that I had taken an irrational dislike to X. And I do not function too well on emotional motivations. I am wary of them.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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July 2 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Got off the bookshelf our copy of CHAUCER: CANTERBURY TALES and was much fascinated by the content of two of these tales: (1) “Tale of Melibee” and (2) “The Parson’s Tale”. Tale (1) is really a moral debate and the principal characters are: Dame Prudence and Melibee her husband. During Melibee’s absence from home Sophia his daughter was assaulted and wounded by three men during burglary of the house. There is a debate and the principal subject is: Whether we should avenge a violent injury by violence. Dame Prudence deals with the subject learnedly and logically bringing to the fore the following: (a)

how to purify one’s heart of anger; how to keep one’s opinions to oneself and distinguish true friends from false ones, fools and flatterers; how to examine any advice proffered and when to change one’s advisers.

(b)

whether women are to be trusted and whether their advice can ever be good; and if so, whether husbands ought to submit themselves to their direction. [Comment by Madeline – rank chauvinism!]

(c)

whether to take a private revenge is (i) dangerous (ii) justifiable morally (iii) in this case expedient (iv) the outcome of violence is uncertain; one cannot be sure of success in vengeance (v) while it is better to agree with one’s enemies: but would not this involve a loss of prestige?

The enemies of Melibee are sent for and Dame Prudence sees them privately and points out the superiority of a peaceful settlement. Melibee lets them off with a fine. Dame Prudence convinces Melibee to forgive them altogether. Melibee forgives them but points out his own magnanimity. This is the only point he scores. [Tale (2) – next week.] NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE WIFE – my opinion.

All our love, Daddy / Papa

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July 9 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Here is the essence of CHAUCER’s “The Parson’s Tale”: Tale (2) gives the true nature of the Seven Deadly Sins that people commit and it may be looked upon as a “preparation for a last confession”. He then lists and describes the Seven Deadly Sins: (A) Pride: includes arrogance, impudence, boasting, hypocrisy, joy in having done harm. One can sometimes show sinful pride in ostentatious hospitality and in one’s gentility. Remedy for Pride: Humility (or True Self Knowledge). (B)

Envy: sorrow at prosperity or prestige of others and joy in their hurt. Remedy for Envy: Love God, your neighbor and your enemy.

(C)

Anger: the wicked will to vengeance. (Anger against wickedness is good.) Remedy for Anger: Patience.

(D) Accidie (Sloth, Torpor): does all tasks with vexation, slackly and without joy; it leads to despair. Remedy for Accidie: Fortitude. (E)

Avarice: lecherous desire for earthly things; it leads to fraud, gambling, theft, false witness. Remedy for Avarice: Mercy or Pity, largely taken.

(F)

Gluttony: an immeasurable appetite to eat and drink. Remedy for Gluttony: Abstinence, Temperance and Sobriety.

(G) Lechery: closely connected with Gluttony. It is the greatest sin of theft, for it steals body and soul. Remedy for Lechery: Chastity and Continence. [Look them over. I suppose from time to time we may be lightly guilty of one or more. Chaucer suggests CONFESSION.] All our love, In Madeline’s writing: I confess to F. Daddy / Papa

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July 16 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, An interesting article in the LONDON MAGAZINE entitled “Dancing with the Plague: Berlin 1920-1953” by Peter Vansittart: I have extracted a few items dealing with MUNICH, HITLER, UNITY MITFORD. The article, in the main, deals with the book: UNITY MITFORD by DAVID PRYCE-JONES. Hitler was vouched for by Lindbergh, Henry Ford, Archbishop Lang, and Buchman. The British ambassador rated him [Hitler] as “an apostle of peace”. According to the Duke of Windsor he was “a man of honor”. ORWELL’s comment: “I should like to put it on record that I have never been able to dislike Hitler . . . ” Here is GOERING’s magnificent tribute: “Whenever I face him (Hitler), my heart falls into my trousers.” Unity Mitford comes on the scene, the daughter and granddaughter of avowed anti-Semites. She wanted “a lot of sons for cannon-fodder”. Her sister was the wife of OSWALD MOSLEY whose black-shirts invaded the Jewish quarter of LONDON singing Unity’s favorite: “The Yids, the Yids, we’ve got to get rid of the Yids”. MOSLEY’s telegram to STREICHER: “I value your advice greatly in the midst of our hard struggle. The power of Jewish corruption must be destroyed in all countries before justice and peace can be successfully achieved in Europe.” Two more stories about UNITY: (1)

She coolly replans the flat given her by Hitler in the presence of the Jews from whom it had been stolen.

(2)

UNITY was asked directions of an old Jewess and noticing the weight of her bag, deliberately sent her the wrong way. “Wasn’t that wonderful!”

ALAN FORREST in BOOKS & BOOKMEN January 1977 says: “People who read the book may feel compassion for UNITY. I hope they will feel that a person has only so much compassion to spare. It needs to be rationed, and there are more suitable recipients than UNITY MITFORD.” All our love, Daddy / Papa

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July 23 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, I have read much of what G B SHAW has written and for the past few years became interested in knowing the type of man GBS really was and I determined one of the characteristics was a complete INDIFFERENCE to NATURE. In fact some suspect that he actually disliked NATURE. In a famous essay, “A Sunday on the Surrey Hills” (a truly funny essay), he describes a weekend he spent with friends: I have no illusions on the subject of the “country”. The uneven, circle-twisting roads; the dusty hedges; the ditch with its dead dogs, rank weeds, and swarms of poisonous flies; the dull, toilbroken agricultural labourer; the savage tramp; the manure heaps with their horrible odour. GBS goes on to say that in his view a country walk means “a walk and talk”, that having had a change of air and a holiday in the country he will “no doubt be able to throw off their effects in a fortnight or so”. In his works he ignores NATURE completely or speaks of her contemptuously: “Your landscapes, your mountains, are only the world’s cast skins and decaying teeth on which we live like microbes.” (BACK TO METHUSELAH.) Here he talks like a man for whom NATURE is either nonexistent or whom its existence is recognized, frankly repellent. The explanation given for SHAW’s neglect of and indifference to NATURE is his “rootlessness”. All that part of man’s love of NATURE springs from roots that are both bodily and ancestral and because of his “rootlessness” he is what he is and says (see above essay) what he says. STILL GBS was one of the greatest. All our love, Daddy / Papa

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July 30 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, In reading of the life of FREUD, I came across a moving paragraph dealing with a farewell party given by Prof. FLEISCHL to his friends (FREUD, BREUER, BRÜCKE, EXNER and others) at his bedside in anticipation of death at any moment. He asked that a friend bring him a silk beret, a plaid blanket and a large umbrella so that he could enjoy his walks in the next world without a thickly rolled umbrella as a walking stick. He asked his servant to bring in the ceremonial supper: caviar, champagne and other delicatessen gourmet delights. He insisted that everyone eat and drink. He pulled himself up from his bed and said: One more drive around. I planned my own farewell party. All roads lead to the Central Cemetery. People give parties when we are born, baptized, engaged and married. Why should I not give a dying party? I know that none of you could be persuaded to give it for me. Would it not be gratifying if a man could take to the next world WHATEVER HIS EYES LAST SAW ON THIS EARTH . . . ? I would like to take this room, precisely as it is, so that I would have exciting living quarters in purgatory, or wherever I’m going. A toast by FREUD: “To Heaven! You have had your inferno on earth!” FLEISCHL heard FREUD and remarked in part: I have suffered pain but I have never been in hell in this room with all these books. They are a better anodyne that the cocaine you imported from Peru. Open up another bottle. It will give me great pleasure to wake up in the ELYSIAN FIELDS tomorrow, blissfully healthy and know that you all have hangovers in my honor. They ate, drank, sang nostalgically the songs of the university and the romantic tunes of the light operas of VIENNA. When the feast was over, FLEISCHL turned his head sideways on the pillow, closed his eyes forever. BREUER started to put the sheet over FLEISCHL’s head but FREUD said: “Is it necessary? He looks beautiful even in DEATH.” [What a marvellous way to depart from this world!] All our love, Daddy / Papa

43


Aug 6 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Have gone on a reading short story “binge” concentrating on the two masters: Maupassant and Chekhov. Tolstoy has compared Chekhov to Maupassant. Maupassant’s skill is objective artistry; he never tells where his sympathies lie; you don’t know; you only guess. In the case of Chekhov, there also is the objective artistry. There is also the fact that you are not told where the author’s sympathies lie; but you know where; you don’t have to guess. Subtly, with supreme artistic skill, you feel the nearness of Chekhov himself. His resourcefulness and versatility are astounding. In no two stories are incidents or characters in any way alike. He seems to see or feel things that no other author thought or felt. In Chekhov’s hands the SHORT STORY becomes the vehicle for expressing FEELING: a mirror on which emotion is caught, and reflected back again to the readers. Let us go back to Maupassant, to his (what I think) are his greatest short stories: “Madame Tellier’s Establishment” and “Ball-of-Fat”. Saintsbury (the famous English “man of letters”) called the latter “one of the most finished and delightful pieces of tragic comedy that our age has produced”. But in my binge I must not forget Somerset Maugham, the great English short story writer. Shall never forget the thrill I got when I read “Rain” and “The Letter”. I suppose I really ought to be fair and go all the way back to our own EDGAR ALLAN POE – but I have no time. So I will get off the binge and do some serious reading. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

44


Aug 13 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Bob & Meg; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, The binge (see my letter Aug 6) lingers on. CHEKHOV as a short story writer is still uppermost in my thoughts (and feelings). I find there are so many ways of pinning down his genius. What strikes me again and again is the uncanny skill of expressing the VARIOUS SHADES of emotions foul and fine: cruelty, suffering, selfishness, envy, hatred, jealousy etc etc AND goodness, kindness, love, consideration, sympathy etc. His many varied characters with the many varied (shades of) emotion. Strangely enough it seems that in Russia he is considered a COMIC artist and his stories are described as comic stories. Yet I feel that everything he touches is steeped in tragedy and sadness with the occasional items of joy and gladness as mere interpolations of relief. Also I think that only in CZARIST RUSSIA was there in existence such a human emotional kaleidoscope. An emotional classification in the “then” Russia is limitless; this is not true of any other country. I also note that in his short stories there is not necessarily a logical continuity in the dialogue; in fact in many cases the conversation is difficult to follow; it is even meaningless. With a few strokes CHEKHOV bared a man’s breast; we see how he feels and we anticipate how he will feel when something due to happen does happen. All in all CHEKHOV has enriched my life immensely. What a pity his life was such a short one. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

45


Aug 20 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A man about whom I learnt only recently is JAMES AGATE (1877-1947) a British diarist who for many years was chief drama critic of (LONDON) SUNDAY TIMES. During the period 1932-1947 he produced an extraordinary piece of work, his autobiographical diary (in nine volumes) called EGO. Each volume is a lively chronicle of books, people, plays, music and meals. He knows his Shakespeare through and through as he does his Beethoven. He admired Sara Bernhardt, Henry Irving and other actors of fame. He respects the average man’s desire for better pubs and resents the highbrow attempt to ram culture down the throats of the people. He asks: What is a professional? A man who can do his job even when he does not feel like it. And what is an amateur? A man who cannot do his job even when he does feel like it. What is common sense? It is chiefly integrity plus energy. It is the ability and the will to sort out the relevant from much of the plausible which convention automatically piles up around all things. Comedy and farce? Comedy treats of unreal persons in real situations; farce deals with real persons in unreal situations. I should mention that in the volumes you will meet Noel Coward, Charles Laughton, Cedric Hardwicke, Olivier, Rebecca West, G B Shaw. A friend of his set up an intelligence test and one of the questions was: Who is Plato? A wag (tongue in cheek) replies: Plato was a man who invented an unexciting form of love! Affectionately, Daddy / Papa In Madeline’s writing: And love from Madeline

46


Aug 27 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, METRO (WASHINGTON UNDERGROUND) railroad is now a fact and thousands of people are travelling METRO these days. Questions have been raised relative to METRO’s building costs which have steadily upwards. A British student of urban transportation problems recently made a survey and came to the conclusion that the initial selection of a rapid rail system was a mistake. A recent editorial in the WASHINGTON STAR commenting on the survey stated: . . . it is not a point worthwhile arguing, with the benefit of 12 years hindsight – mostly because we don’t think the point has much validity. In our view, the original decision made sense at that time which is about as much as you can ask. Despite the second guesses of today’s revisionists, the decision was reached in a thoughtful and responsible way, after careful consideration had been given to all known alternatives. If it appears today to have been wrong – this is largely because of developments over the intervening years that could not, we believe, have been confidently predicted at the time . . . I believe that is true with most adults who have to make important decisions in all areas of living. You give consideration to all alternatives. You make up your mind and act. If later on you find you were wrong because of developments that could not have been predicted YOU MUST NEVER BEAT YOUR BREAST AND INDULGE IN SELF-BLAME. One does the best one can based on knowledge plus experience plus common sense. This letter – its contents – in toto, was suggested by Madeline. All our love, Daddy / Papa

47


Sept 3 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A famous artist and art critic in England was WILL ROTHENSTEIN (1872-1945). His autobiography is MEN AND MEMORIES in three volumes. W. R. knew every English and French artist and sculptor as well as the “cream” of the English literary and academic world. In one of his chapters he brings to the fore WILSON STEER “an instinctive artist with a faultless sense of color”. What interested me was not so much STEER as an artist but STEER as a man. He had the conservative instincts and prejudices of the middle class Englishman. His cry was WHY CHANGE? Change only means bother and England is all right as it is. Why does anyone need to write poetry now; wasn’t BYRON good enough? W. S. was always for a quiet life. He was content to meet the same persons every day. He liked to hear the same jokes. In STEER there was a stolid unimaginativeness combined with an intuitive rightness of judgement (peculiar to a certain type of Englishman). If he had been a politician he would have voted against the entry of Jews and Catholics into the House of Commons (of the British Parliament) – NOT THAT HE HATED JEWS OR CATHOLICS BUT A “YEA” VOTE WOULD HAVE UPSET THINGS. My thought: People may appear to be anti-Jew, anti-Black, anti-Labor etc, but they are not necessarily so. All they want is the status-quo; No Change; Changes disturb – why disturb?! Some people of course, if they anticipate that the enactment of a law will result in CHANGE, will, in their hatred for CHANGE, explain their attitude by bringing forth imaginary charges against the people who might benefit as a result of the passage of the law. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

48


Sept 10 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, My great hero is BENJAMIN DISRAELI (1804-1881), one of ENGLAND’s greatest statesman and also a “man of letters”. He was a novelist of great ability (VIVIAN GREY, CONINGSBY, TANCRED, ENDYMION, SYBIL). His father was a Jew and he had Benjamin at age 13 baptized into the Christian Church. Throughout the reign of Queen Victoria he (Disraeli) reigned supreme in Parliament. Here are some examples of his wit and wisdom: Definition of a lawyer: “ever illustrating the obvious, explaining the evident and expatiating the obvious.” “Every man has the right to be conceited until he is successful.” “I know he is and he adores his maker.” This was said when he was told that John Bright was a self-made man. Talking about smoking: “You should treat a cigar like a mistress; put it away before you are sick of it.” “Nobody is forgotten when it is convenient to remember him.” His rival was GLADSTONE. DISRAELI was asked about the difference between a misfortune and a calamity. He replied: “If GLADSTONE fell into the RIVER THAMES, it would be a misfortune; and if anybody pulled him out, that, I suppose, would be a calamity.” “How much easier to be critical than to be correct.” “A want of tact is worse than a want of virtue.” A few examples of the wit of a great man. There are some good short biographies; try and read one.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

49


Sept 17 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A British critic asks himself the oft repeated question: What is CIVILIZATION? And his answer: that slowly evolving and precarious product of cumulative human virtue and endeavor which alone enables men and women, for all their differences and divergent aims, to live together in peace and mutual assistance. He then continues: and the great enemy of CIVILIZATION, at all times and in all places, is lawless violence. He further continues: It is on the increase today not only in AFRICA, ASIA, SOUTH AMERICA but also in ENGLAND, this ancient and long civilized country for many years regarded as the most peaceable, lawabiding, libertarian and humane of all earth’s larger nations. He quotes THE NEW ELIZABETHANS by JOHN COLBY who tells that in 1921, a year of much unrest and industrial strife, the METROPOLITAN POLICE had to deal with 17,400 reported crimes; in 1975 the comparable crimes amounted to 452,000!!! In the last 10 years, indictable offenses in ENGLAND have all but doubled. It is not only the criminal elements of society that confront the police in their struggle to protect persons from lawless violence. There is football hooliganism and savagery. There is the fact that even TRADE UNIONS, in pursuit of their industrial objectives, have no compunction in countenancing, encouraging the use of intimidation and violence to enforce what they regard as their corporate rights. Of course what is true in ENGLAND is true in USA. Shall in my next letter continue to describe the ailment and also to describe the suggested CURE. All my love, Daddy / Papa

50


Sept 24 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A continuation of my letter of Sept 17. He (the critic) continues: Modern and industrial society upon which all humanity now increasingly depends has spawned an undisciplined and ailing offspring. If we do not in every sense correct it and cure it, we must surely sow the seeds of self-destruction. The remedies advocated are not merely deterrent and retributory. What is needed is a national crusade to regenerate our whole society. Everything in that society which debases instead of informs and ennobles human nature – slum housing, hideous environment, devitalized food, defective and purely materialistic education, commercialized pornography, above all brutality towards the weak and helpless – must be combated by the organized forces of society and treated as the plague spots of the body politic. He then finishes up as follows: Everything that helps to make people wise, compassionate and industrious should be fostered as the first priority in all social, economic and political planning. Such individual qualities are the real wealth of a nation and the prime sources and cause of all other created wealth. They are more important than technology, industrial organization, trade treaties and quantitative financial and money which, without them, can avail nothing. The first aim of the state and of the individual alike should be to make gentle the life, first, of the neighborhood, then of the nation and ultimately of the world. This is the meaning and purpose of civilization. In my opinion a profound and stimulating analysis and prognosis of a terrible human situation.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

51


Oct 1 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Bob & Meg; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, An amusing article written by a journalist for the WASHINGTON STAR delighted me very much. It dealt with children as they sometimes behave in: museums, libraries, restaurants, buses, trains, planes etc etc . He started off with B. W. BELLAMY’s lines: “In silence I must take my seat / I must not speak a useless word / For children must be seen not heard.” What provoked him to write the article was a visit to a restaurant where he expected to enjoy a meal in peace and quiet when alas he found himself confronted with “kids, accustomed to center-stage spotlight and undisciplined interruption of their parents at home, who see no reason to modify their behavior just because their parents take them out for a meal or a visit to a museum, a movie” etc etc. Our journalist’s reaction was: A BRAT IS A BRAT IS A BRAT. Our friend warns us to look around when we enter a restaurant and even if things look OK you are not safe. There can be two or three tots lurking inside, easily overlooked until you have sat down, ordered and suddenly heard the first shrill shriek. TOO LATE! Therefore TIMING is important. Here let LONGFELLOW be our guide: Between the dark and the daylight, When the night is beginning to lower, Comes a pause in the day’s occupations That is known as the CHILDREN’S HOUR.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

52


Oct 8 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Whenever I read and find that the author’s opinion about matters sociological agree with mine, I am filled with sufficient pride to be misinterpreted as sheer conceit. This leads me to JOSEPHINE TEY in her book: THE FRANCHISE AFFAIR. Here is what she says on p. 188: Robert (being old-fashioned) believed in Retribution. He might not go all the way with MOSES (eye for an eye etc) but he certainly agreed with GILBERT (of GILBERT and SULLIVAN fame) that “a punishment should fit the crime”. He certainly did not believe that a few quiet talks with the social worker (attached to the court) and a promise to reform made a criminal into a respect-worthy citizen. The true criminal (KEVIN said, after a long discussion on PENAL REFORM) has two unvarying characteristics and it is these two characteristics which make him a criminal: (a) monstrous vanity and (b) colossal selfishness. And they are both as integral, as ineradicable as the texture of the skin. You might as well talk of “reforming” the color of one’s eyes. Books have been written defining the criminal, but it is a very simple definition after all: THE CRIMINAL IS THE PERSON WHO MAKES THE SATISFACTION OF HIS OWN IMMEDIATE PERSONAL WANTS THE MAINSPRING OF HIS ACTIONS. You can’t cure him of his EGOISM, but you can make the indulgence of it (by proper punishment) not worth his while. THESE ARE ALSO THE OPINIONS OF Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

53


Oct 15 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, The word WISDOM is extensively used by writers in contrast to KNOWLEDGE. WISDOM has many meanings but I am particularly interested in “WORLDLY” WISDOM (in contrast to “INTELLECTUAL” WISDOM). To master THE ART OF LIVING has been the subject of much discussion among “thinkers”. Some have held that EXPERIENCE alone will teach anything worth knowing. What is worth knowing! I submit it basically consists of what to say or do under all types of circumstances. How to separate the important from the unimportant, the vital from the spurious in the facts, thoughts, ideas and deeds of others. A must is the ability to think logically. How to understand man in his strengths and weaknesses. To know what to make a fuss of and what to ignore. To realize that a man is full of pluses and minuses and very rarely will we find perfect consistency in a man. How to use DIPLOMACY – honestly – to achieve favorable results for all concerned. The wise man will have a good understanding of what is known (for the lack of a better word) as HUMAN NATURE. He will also be blessed with so called “COMMON SENSE”. An unusual book on that subject is: THE ART OF WORLDLY WISDOM by BALTASAR GRACIAN. He lived in the early part of the 17th century. The book has been in continuous circulation for 300 years. It steers a pleasant and successful voyage through the tortuous and perilous channels of the sea of life in the real world of today.

Note: The “worldly-wise” man need not be superclever or a scholar or possess an abundance of knowledge. When one meets such a man it is a privilege to be in his company.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

54


Oct 22 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, At the present time in Washington there is being performed a modification of MERCHANT OF VENICE by ARNOLD WESKER. This brought to my mind a point in the play recently touched on by a British critic. It concerns the “pound of flesh” aspect with Antonio and Shylock, protagonists in the drama. Fact 1: Antonio’s wealth is tied up in his merchandise-laden ships at sea. Fact 2: All ships are lost and Antonio is ruined. QUERY: One of the streets leading to the RIALTO in VENICE was known as Insurance Street (CALLE DELLA SICURTA) with insurance brokers and underwriters operating in a similar manner to LLOYDS of LONDON. Venice was in fact the world’s centre for Marine Insurance. How is it possible that ANTONIO did not insure his ships and contents? CONCLUSION: To have ANTONIO insure his cargoes, in the story, would have wrecked the plot of the MERCHANT OF VENICE since SHYLOCK could never have made the famous sadistic agreement. COMMENT: Either (a) Shakespeare knew little LATIN and less GREEK plus nothing about underwriting or (b) since anti-Semitism was then the fashion, he wrote the play regardless of the points raised.

One can say without exaggeration that the productions of the play were responsible for much of the social disabilities and sufferings endured by the Jews for the last 300 years.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

55


Oct 29 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, In England there is a weekly publication known as THE JEWISH CHRONICLE established in 1841. Recently a volume was issued that covered the varied “doings” of Jews in England and throughout the world. Here is an example: In December 1868, the paper had an article captioned: MUST YOU, MR. DICKENS? [Article enclosed] It seems that DICKENS had announced a course of six readings and one of them was to be the story of the murder in OLIVER TWIST. The paper felt that DICKENS had greatly wronged the Jewish people by endowing the crafty FAGIN with a cruelty and vindictiveness which certainly are not Jewish features . . . . The Jews are not vindictive since they have long ago pardoned SHAKESPEARE for having sacrificed historical to poetical truth and made SHYLOCK a Jew, and are now pardoning Dickens for having insinuated FAGIN into their ranks. The past is irremediable, but why should he strengthen the erroneous impression of Jews by intensifying it through his rare power as a reader . . . . In January 1869, the CHRONICLE was happy to state that “yielding to the argument brought forward by us, he did change the program substituting for that episode another which he calls SIKES AND NANCY”. The paper then observed that by yielding to its appeal, C. D. has shown that “his delicacy of feeling is on a par with those extraordinary mental powers which assign him such a high rank among the writers of fiction.” A very interesting piece of news so cleverly handled by that eminent publication.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

56


MUST YOU, MR. DICKENS ? Mr. Charles Dickens has announced a second course of six readings. One of them is the story of the murder in “Oliver Twist.” We are extremely sorry for this selection. The range for this gifted author in his numerous productions was large enough to have allowed of the reading of some other episode equally well calculated to bring out his marvelous mastery over human emotions as a public reader. This wonderful writer has greatly wronged the Jewish people and their character by enduing the crafty Fagin with a cruelty and vindictiveness which certainly are not Jewish features. History distinctly bears witness to our statement, A Jew may be a receiver of stolen goods, and perhaps an instructor of pickpockets; but he is by nature not sanguinary, and very rarely a murderer. That the Jews are not vindictive is clear, since they have long ago pardoned Shakespeare for having sacrificed historical to poetical truth, and made Shylock a Jew, and are now pardoning Dickens for having insinuated Fagin into their ranks. The past is irremediable. But why should the great writer of fiction strengthen the erroneous impression of Jews which “Oliver Twist” is calculated to produce, by intensifying it through the rare powers which he possesses as a reader? There exists, God knows, bigotry enough in the world, and the unfortunate prejudice against Jews is still deeply-rooted in the popular mind; and we unhesitatingly say that a man like Dickens has not been endowed by Providence with such marvelous gifts as an author and reader in order to grieve and vex a large, harmless population, and to increase the prejudice against them. Are we too harsh if we designate the use, or rather abuse, of such heavenly faculties as a profanation of the Divinity in him? Let Mr. Dickens, if there be yet time, change his programme, and thus show that when he selected this subject he did not think of the injurious effects that it might produce. December 4, 1868

It will be recollected that a month ago, when the programme of the public readings selected by the great novelist was announced, we expressed our profound regret that the story of the murder in “Oliver Twist” should have been one of them; and solicited him to make some alternation in this respect, in order to “show that when he selected this subject he did not think of the injurious effects that it might produce.” We are now happy to be able to state that, evidently yielding to the argument brought forward by us, he did change his programme, substituting for the episode, that could not but have strengthened prejudice against the Jews, another, which he calls “Sikes and Nancy.” By thus yielding to our appeal this eminent author has shown that his delicacy of feeling is on a par with those extraordinary mental powers which assign him such a high rank among the writers of fiction. January 1, 1869

57


Nov 5 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Visited the library the other day and a feeling of nostalgia directed me to a book by HUGH WALPOLE entitled THE CATHEDRAL. The novel deals with the cathedral town of POLCHESTER. Its main characters are members of the cathedral society and the thread running through its novel is the struggle for power by two deans (of the cathedral). The head of the diocese is the BISHOP known by the community as “THE LITTLE BISHOP”. Here is the author’s description: He was a little frail man walking with the aid of a stick. He had snow white hair rather thick and long, pale cheeks and eyes of bright china blue. He had that quality given to only a few of us (in this world of heavy mediocrities) of filling at once any room into which he entered with the strength and fragrance of his spirit. So strong, fearless and beautiful was his soul that it shone through the frail compass of his body with unfaltering light. No one had ever doubted the goodness and splendor of his character. I have met such men but they truly were few in number. In their presence, the “good” in people is brought to the surface. All people in their presence feel “clean”, purged of evil thought and intent, seeing only the “decent” in their fellow men. Such “little bishops” are rare very rare. They are not particularly learned or educated; they have not necessarily had religious training; they do not indulge in the practice of PIETY to an excess. In many cases they are “simple” people. But their souls are filled with GOODNESS which affects the bystander and sort of sanctifies him into a decency which (I am sure) he himself never knew that he possessed. Such a man of spiritual strength is my definition of a NOBLE MAN (not nobleman) and what the world needs is more such NOBLE MEN. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

58


Nov 12 1977

Dear A & H; L & E ; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, FRIENDSHIP has been defined in many ways. What I was interested in was a definition of FRIENDSHIP between two mature (middle aged) people, A and B. When A and B declare the existence of a friendship between them, what do they mean? Each has plus characteristics as well as minus ones – and these are not the same in both. In Hebrew lore A and B would be friends if A can declare that in the presence of B, he (A) finds peace and contentment AND B feels the same way in the presence of A. Despite the differences in their “characteristics” they peacefully tolerate each other without fuss and confusion. They respect each other’s differences. They don’t have to explain or excuse their actions or points of view. There is an imaginary chord that binds them together and in each other’s company. They are AT PEACE. Such friendship when it does exist satisfies the heart’s passion for companionship with which “one may march along the hardest way and longest road”. It may also result in a sweeter temper and a calmer temperament. A sage has declared that the human scene exhibits no greater love than this, that a man should lay down his life for a friend. Coming back to our middle aged friends two lines of poetry come to the forefront from JAMES THOMSON’s THE SEASONS – SPRING: “An elegant sufficiency, content, Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books.”

All our love, Daddy / Papa

59


Nov 19 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, This letter consists of thoughts of the late W. H. AUDEN – the poet: (1)

We are all contemporaries, young and old; there is only a difference in MEMORY.

(2)

Biographies of writers are always superfluous and usually in bad taste.

(3)

The relationship between ART and LIFE is either so obvious that nothing need to be said; or so complicated that nothing can be said.

(4)

All ART is a transplant of one’s personal experience; what you do with it is what is what matters. A writer is a maker; not a man of action. His personal life should be of no interest except to himself, his family and his friends.

(5)

Dr. Johnson said: “The only end of writing is to enable readers better to enjoy life or better to endure it.”

(6)

A writer should avoid discussions of other living writers. By observing that rule he avoids making the ARTS a horse-race with people concerned with: who is coming in first? who is winning? etc. Besides people want him to say something pernicious about other writers.

(7)

What is one’s political duty as a poet? To defend one’s language from corruption. When language is corrupted, people lose faith in what they hear; and this leads to violence.

(8)

Definition of Poetry: The exact expression of mixed feelings.

(9)

Commenting on (8) above, RENE CUTFORTH says: The above is true of good writing in general. The sufferer from WRITER’S BLIGHT has the “mixed feelings” but not the talent for “exact expression”. Consider the following pathological utterances to an apathetic world. The utterances are examples of verbal excrement of the two paranoid faiths: communist thugs; fascist hyenas; red barbarians; imperialist aggressors . . . Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

60


Nov 26 1977

Dear A& H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Somebody told me about an unusual short story by E. PHILLIPS OPPENHEIM entitled: “ The Secret of the Magnifique”. I secured the volume: COSMOPOLITAN CRIMES edited by Hugh Greene where I found the Oppenheim story – unusual plot and a fine development of it. Poignton, a millionaire is dedicated to International Peace. His associate or leg-man is LEFANT and he does the “dirty work”. What is the “dirty work”? The “dirty-work” is the “spying-out” work to secure any and every new military and naval weapons secrets. As soon as he hears of any country establishing such new weapons and via his spies (their associates) has copies made, he sends such copies to all the powerful countries. In that way every country is aware of “what’s new” in weaponry and the result is that every important country is put on the same footing. Poignton feels that his scheme is the surest way to reduce the art of killing to such a certainty that it becomes an absurdity even “to take the field”. No nation must be allowed to keep the secret for her own. It must belong to all. An unusual short story – an unusual plot – an unusual scheme. The story was written many years ago before computers and electronics. Could it be applied today? The present day trend in English writing for biographies and autobiogs is phenomenal. Much of the stuff that fills the volumes is not worth writing or reading. A frantic attempt to correlate the “biographee’s” personality with his work in many cases falls flat. The attempt to reconcile what X said in 1900 with what he subsequently said in 1925 (i.e. opposite opinion) likewise is rarely convincing. I am wondering whether the whole trend is (what I might term) A SIGN OF ANCIENCY. When you meet a man in his dotage he bores you with a recollection of his past. Ditto with a country and the type of literature flourishing.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

61


Dec 5 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob, Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, This week a miscellany: (1)

A detective to an innocent witness: “Please forgive me for being rather rude to you a short time ago. But I had to be sure that you could recall everything. ANGER IS A MARVELLOUS CATALYST FOR MEMORIES.”

(2)

At my age why read a book? I have not the slightest interest in acquiring more “KNOWLEDGE”. But occasionally a chance remark by one of the characters in the book will stimulate me to thinking. Also a scene in the book or a dialogue may affect me emotionally. In addition, since I have a sense of humor, I will again and again come across the feeble efforts on the part of the author to explain man, the world and its mysteries.

(3)

Interesting language (some examples of): Buoying and gayety of youth; ebullient self; suddenly it happened; I said “suddenly”; there was no twilight period; the difference between the expressions “jolly good” and “not bad” is that “jolly good” is condescending and “not bad” is encouraging; I disliked X because he is steady and provident – always thinking of the FUTURE and never going to economic extremes.

(4)

From ERNST TOLLER’s AUTOBIOGRAPHY: The words: I am proud to be a German or I am proud to be a Jew sounded ineffably stupid to me. One might as well say “I am proud to have brown eyes”. Must I join the ranks of the bigoted and glorify my Jewish blood and not my German? Pride and love are not the same thing. If I were asked where I belonged, I should answer that “a Jewish mother had borne me, that Germany had nourished me, Europe had formed me, my home is the EARTH and the WORLD is my fatherland.”

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Dec 12 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, This was reported in BOOKS & BOOKMEN (a British publication): In a recent TV series an immigrant to USA, a girl from a Germanspeaking community of religious bigots, observed that though they had come to America in search of THEIR OWN religious freedom, the last thing they wanted was freedom for others to differ from the TRUTH they claimed to have. This is all too common: claptrap about FREEDOM often being merely a disguise for imposing your dogma by force on others. Trotsky and Rutherford – A contrast in scientific predictions: In 1926 this is what TROTSKY wrote: The greatest tragedy of contemporary physics is to extract from the atom its latent energy – to tear open a plug so that energy should well up with all its might. Then it will become possible to replace coal and petrol by atomic energy which will become our basic fuel and motive power. At the same time, this is what RUTHERFORD (the great physicist) said: “Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of this atom is talking moonshine.” A few quotations: Theodore Fox, a famous British surgeon: “We shall have to refrain from doing things mostly because we know how to do them.” (I think he meant performing operations.) Keynes: “The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that still carries any award.” T. H. Huxley: “It is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies and to end as superstitions.” Robert Bark in his book: THE ABSENT-MINDED COTERIE, “I (the host) shrugged my shoulders. A man cannot contradict a guest in his own house.” Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Dec 18 1977

Article enclosed: “Self-flagellation in Anglo-Jewish Writing” by Lynn Reid Banks, from CONGRESS MONTHLY, October 1977. [The article questions Jewish writers who turn their own private conflicts into novels that depict Jewish characters unsympathetically. “When you castigate your family or those you love, do you do it in the world’s eye? Especially in a world that has so frequently and effectively proved its readiness to hate and persecute them?”]

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Dec 25 1977

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Came across a most fascinating essay(by C. E. MONTAGUE, journalist and critic) entitled DELIGHTS OF TRAGEDY. Practically everything in this letter is a C. E. M. quotation. He tells the amusing story of an inquest held on a man who shot himself in a LONDON hotel. It came out that the suicide had gone to a “tragic” play on the evening before. The name of the play was told to the coroner who then said: “I know it – a most depressing play with a suicide at the end.” It came out also that the desperate person had lost his health and all his money; that he had been divorced by his wife and dismissed by his employers; that he was a heavy alcoholic. Thus we cannot be sure that the play alone did it. A parallel questionable “cause and effect” example is given by (the atheist) Voltaire who claimed that an incantation combined with a proper quantity of arsenic will unquestionably kill a sheep!!! In fact a man who had just seen OTHELLO or some other play with a “suicide at the end” might be well inclined to blow out his brains with a certain amount of additional encouragement derived from sickness, dipsomania, want and unhappiness in the home. To be fair, can TRAGEDY to any sane man be positively lethal? Ought Hamlet, Phedre, Medea, Lear etc to be scheduled along with cocaine and other dangerous drugs? Should we do away with Shakespeare’s tragedies since many of them end up with suicide? Nobody will answer YES to that rhetorical question. We all want to see tragedy played – but why do we want it?

TO BE CONTINUED IN MY JAN. 1 LETTER.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 57 Jan 1 1978 Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, TRAGEDY continued First let us understand what is meant by tragedy. Some define it as a type of drama in which the chief character undergoes a morally significant struggle which ends disastrously. In Greek tragedy and in most tragedies written since, the hero is essentially a superior person and is treated sympathetically; his destiny or choice is to go down fighting rather than submit, and thus to pluck a moral victory from a physical defeat. The hero's recognition of his role and his acceptance of his destiny constitute the climax of the tragic structure. Tragedy assumes that humanity has a sense of its own dignity and free will and of a moral law and forces which are outside of, and bigger than, any individual. Aristotle describes its moral and psychological effect on the spectator: A catharsis (purgative) of “pity and fear”. He who hears the tale will “thrill with horror and melt with pity”. I now go back to C. E. MONTAGUE who states: We still ask ourselves: what makes it worth while to go out of our way in order to see the torments of LEAR or the failure of ANTONY done “to the life”? If we dislike in real life the sight of misery, failure and corruption, why do we enjoy MACBETH? One answer is that while tragedy gives you sensations of fear or loss, it gives these sensations in an abated purified form which does you good by bracing you to meet the attack of real error or bereavement at other times. The tragic writer vaccinates you by injecting the virus of fear or despair in a mild form causing only a mild perturbation of one’s mind. You are being “vaccinated” against true tragedy. A comment on this theory is “we do not have ourselves vaccinated for pleasure”. To be concluded in my Jan 8 letter.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 58 Jan 8 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg &Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, TRAGEDY concluded C. E. MONTAGUE’s point of view is that there are three factors that are sources of pleasure in TRAGEDY. First: there is the element of INTIMACY with the author who has felt, grieved, and was profoundly moved. He takes you into his confidence. Almost all intellectual or emotional intimacy excites and delights us. One feels gradually admitted to an exceptional degree of intimacy with the deeply moved mind of the dramatist. The second element is the thrill of contact with vital power (of the dramatist) in full flood. The creation of any fine tragedy is an outburst of one type of tremendous vital energy; and contact with such “life and energy” is rousing and exciting. Thirdly the play offers us the delight of witnessing the achievement of a remarkable intellectual feat of contrivance accommodation and balance. It is the product of the three elements that results in the stir of the spirit which we feel at the climax of a fine tragedy. The elements are (as it were) multiplied by one another. The situation is similar to one of these chemical unions of elements from which a new substance arises with properties transcending any that are found in its separate components. With most of us who are playgoers, it is a common experience to find every line of a great tragedy charged with expression when we see it played and have completely surrendered ourselves to its power (whereas in our ordinary, unmoved state of mind we have not been able to make head or tail of many of its speeches).

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 59 Jan 11 1978 and May 13 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, I picked up a book by WILLIAM EMPSON. The title is: STRUCTURE OF COMPLEX WORDS. The book is dedicated to I. A. RICHARDS (philosopher, poet, dramatist and linguist). Here is the dedication: FOR I. A. RICHARDS Who is the source of all ideas in this book, even the minor ones arrived at by disagreeing with him. An interesting quotation from AGATHA CHRISTIE: A HOLIDAY FOR MURDER (also entitled MURDER FOR XMAS): I believe that there is a kind of meekness, a predisposition to martyrdom, which does arouse the worst instincts in men of a certain type. Such men would have admired spirit and force of character. He was irritated by patience and tears. Another quotation. The woman in her story declares: In TOSCA, Scarpia is dead. Tosca lights candles at his head and feet and says, “NOW I CAN FORGIVE HIM.” The case is similar to that of my father. For years I would not forgive him but I wanted to. Now there is no more rancour. I feel as if a great load has been lifted off my shoulders. Not because he is dead! But because my childish stupid hate for him is dead. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

This letter is nearly four months late. Forgive the delay.

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Letter 60 Jan 15 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Have been enjoying the reading of BRENDAN GILL’s: HERE AT THE NEW YORKER. In describing some of the personalities at THE NEW YORKER, he repeats often the theme: NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED. Much to our amazement he develops the following thesis: (1) A will never forgive B for B being so kind to him. (2) C will never forgive D, knowing that D was the man to whom he (C) did so much wrong. To illustrate here is what B. G. tells the reader: Re FROST (the great poet): I bore a grudge against FROST because he had once caused me to do him (FROST) an injury; and I was punishing him for failing both him and me. Re ROSS (the editor of THE NEW YORKER): Ross one night lost over $20,000 playing with SWOPE (the famous editor). FLEISCHMAN (one of the heavy stockholders of THE NEW YORKER, a friend of Ross and a very wealthy man), thought that Ross had been taken unfair advantage of. Fleischman subsequently paid off the greater part of the debt. And Ross never forgave Fleischman for having helped him out. Evidently a strange psychology leads people to behave in the manner described in (1) and (2) above. I was shocked when I analyzed in myself and in others such tendencies. Bertrand Russell (see book of essays, FACT AND FICTION) says: “People never forgive the injuries they inflict nor the benefits they endure.”

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 61 Jan 22 1978

Dear A &H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Since MAN IS MORTAL and subject to unethical acts of commission (and omission) occasionally one performs acts of injustice and occasionally one becomes the victim of other’s injustice. This phenomenon shocks idealistic children who have been taught and practiced decent attitudes and decent “behavior”. Violations in others of the ethical code may result in the hardening of a child’s regard for his neighbor and (possibly) a skeptical attitude to the established principles of truth and fair play. To counter that, a parent must gently prepare the child for such occurrences and point out that each person throughout his lifetime will have to suffer occasional doses of injustice; but that should not mean that the foundations upon which the rules of living are “based” are shaky. Not at all. The occasional infractions of the code are the exceptions which one must expect because weaker people will elect to take the easier road and ignore violations of the mores to achieve their objectives. The existence of such violations should strengthen the spirit of the decent people to cut down such violations to the barest minimum. In the meantime the ethical ideal is still before us shining our proper path to decency. It does seem a pity to have to do what I suggest but I submit the procedure is similar to a vaccine inoculation so that in the future the incidence of WRONGS will not have the bad effect that it would have if your children had not been inoculated.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 62 Jan 28 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, As I approach my LXXXIInd year (birthday) I feel impelled to offer a few fragments of WORLDLY WISDOM that I acquired as a result of living among various types of people and under varied circumstances. My purpose is not to teach or guide etc. but merely to let you know what I think and (in certain cases) what I feel. (1)

One should not be too tough a stickler for consistency in a person and by the same token one should not beat the breast at one’s own occasional inconsistency. People evolve, times change, new truths come to light, making it imperative to change one’s point of view.

(2)

What we consider as TRUTHS are (philosophically speaking) PROBABILITY TRUTHS. Things have, in the past, happened in a certain fashion. It is probable that they will so happen in the future. While the chances are low that they will not recur, they still might NOT RECUR. Hence don’t go to pieces because the exception has happened. And don’t feel that a TRUTH as you see it is ABSOLUTE.

(3)

The world is a tough one and many people are bitterly competing with each other for the so called “good” things in life. They may be tempted (in their ambitions) to stray from the JUDEO-CHRISTIAN code of ethics or even from the fair-play MARQUESS OF QUEENSBERRY rules of fair “fighting”. Expect such occasional lapses in conduct, and temper JUSTICE with MERCY in dealing with such violators.

More next week. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 63 Feb 4 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, This is a continuation of my Jan 28 letter. (4)

What, many years ago, may have loomed so high in one’s priority in importance, may, after the passage of time, appear relatively trivial. Never feel that one deed or thought or resolution to act will solve EVERYTHING. Life is much too complex.

(5)

THE BEST IS THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD. Life is DECISION AND ACTION, the latter after a reasonable effort. You cannot afford to delay doing something now (if you now think it is good or important) because next week or next month or next year you may do better. On the other hand this does not mean that you should impulsively venture into a project without careful thought.

(6)

TIME is precious and must not be frittered away uselessly. Fill in your time with something productive. Don’t waste it! There will come a time when it will be more than precious.

(7)

When you argue or debate with someone don’t try to defeat him on his weak points. Be a man! And if you have to beat him, beat him (or try to beat him) on his strong points. You will not have proved your point of view if you concentrate on banging away where he is at his weakest. Sooner or later he will come back with these weak points self-corrected. Will you then be prepared to argue against his strong points?

More in later letters. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 64 Feb 11 1978

Dear A & H: L & E: Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A man whom I admired in both radio and TV is SEVAREID who recently (at age 65) retired from CBS. In one of his “prior to retirement” appearances he made some interesting comments about what is now known as the MEDIA and the MEDIA participant: (1)

Years ago (in the forties) the problems were relatively simple: Destroy Hitler! Destroy Fascism! These problems were uppermost in peoples’ minds. Nowadays problems are more, many more complex and not so simple to solve.

(2)

He asks: What is the use of this “day to day” TV reporting? Why not report news once every two days or even three days? Major items of news will last and minor ones will disappear.

(3)

Unless one is a good actor it is difficult to smile at a machine. One appears before the camera and one cannot show readily one’s excitement at news which for the most part is not exciting.

(4)

There are much too many journalists in New York and in Washington. Hence willy nilly much of the TV material is in many cases third-rate stuff.

(5)

Really a continuation of (4). Much too much gossip – unworthy gossip – on TV that really is not NEWS in the true sense of the word.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 65 Feb 18 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, One of the mysteries of human behavior is summarized by one of BERTRAND RUSSELL’s maxims: “People never forgive the injuries they inflict nor the benefits they endure.” This came to my attention while reading BRENDAN GILL’s: HERE AT THE NEW YORKER the other day. Gill declares: NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED. He puts it in another way: A will never forgive B for B being so kind to him. And C will never forgive D knowing that D was the man to whom he (C) did so much wrong. Here are two illustrations (of his “maxim”) that he gives: (1)

GILL bore a grudge against FROST (the famous poet) because F. had caused G. to do F. an injury. Thus G. was punishing F. for “failing” both F. and G.

(2)

ROSS (editor NEW YORKER) one night lost over $20,000 playing poker with SWOPE (editor N.Y. WORLD). FLEISCHMANN (one of the owners of NEW YORKER) and friend of ROSS thought that ROSS had been taken unfair advantage of. Then FLEISCHMANN paid off the greater part of the debt (which ROSS certainly could not afford to pay). ROSS never forgave FLEISCHMANN for having helped him out.

I have described the application of Russell’s “maxim” which for the life of me I don’t understand. Will you give me a “BECAUSE” for my “WHY”?

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 66 Feb 25 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, The following comes from p. 8 and p. 9, EX-PRODIGY by Norbert Wiener, a famous mathematician. (Simon & Schuster, 1953): As far as I know, I am about 7/8’s Jewish in ancestry with one possible German Lutheran great grandparent on my mother’s side. Because I am myself overwhelmingly of Jewish origin, I shall have more than one occasion to refer to Jews and Judaism. Since neither I myself, nor my father, nor, so far as I know, his father, has been a follower of the Jewish religion, I must explain the sense in which I tend to use the word “Jew” and all related words, such as “Judaism” and “Gentile” which are given a definition in terms of the master word. The Jews seem to me primarily a community and a social entity although most of them have been members of a religion as well. Nevertheless, when this religion has begun to offer a less impenetrable barrier to the surrounding community, and when the surrounding community has begun to offer a less impenetrable barrier towards it, there are many factors in the life of those who has adhered to the religion which have continued to follow more or less the original religious patterns. The Jewish family structure is somewhat closer than the average family structure and much closer than that of America. Whether the Jews have had to meet a religious prejudice or a racial prejudice or simply a minority prejudice, they have had to meet a hostile prejudice and even though this may be disappearing in many cases, the Jews are well aware of it, and it has modified their psychology and their attitude toward life. When I speak of Jews and of myself as a Jew, I am merely stating the historical fact that I am descended from those belonging to a community which has had a certain tradition and body of attitudes, both religious and secular, and that I should be aware of the ways in which I myself and those around me have been conditioned by the very existence of this body of attitude.

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Letter 66 – 2

I am saying nothing about the race, for it is obvious that the Jews have sprung from a mixture of races, and in many cases are being absorbed again into another mixture. I am saying nothing about Zionism and other forms of Jewish Nationalism, for the Jews are much older than any movement of this sort which have amounted to more than literary and ritual conventions, and might well continue to exist even though the new state of Israel succumbs or gives way to other manifestations of nationalism. I do not pretend to assign a normative value either to language or religion or race or nationalism, and least of all to mores. What I assert is that I myself and many of those about me come from an environment in which our knowledge of the fact that our Jewish origins is significant for our understanding of what we are, and for our proper orientation in the world about us. The second paragraph spells out my point of view as a Jew. At the present time I have of course deep leanings towards ISRAEL, the land.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 67 March 4 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, The reverse Xerox contains material that interested me very much. How do you feel about it? Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

Enclosed: Selection from RUSSIA’s ILYA EHRENBURG AUTOBIOG – STALIN’s ANTI-SEMITIC PROJECT. [Underlined] “…so long as there is a single anti-Semite in the world I shall declare with pride that I am a Jew.”

Letter 68 March 11 1978 Article enclosed: “The Nazis and the First Amendment” by Theodore R. Mann, CONGRESS MONTHLY, Feb 1978. [Views of the American Jewish Congress that the courts should prohibit the National Socialist Party of America (the Nazi Party) from marching through the village of Skokie, Illinois, if they display swastikas or Nazi uniforms. Skokie has a very large proportion of Holocaust survivors and victims.] Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 69 March 18 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Looking through a book written by Bertrand Russell I found a section wise and amusing entitled: NEWLY DISCOVERED MAXIMS OF LA ROCHEFOUCAULD. Russell (with tongue in cheek) claimed that these maxims (hitherto unknown) had been discovered at the bottom of a well in the garden of a chateau in France. Here are a few of the maxims: (1)

Men do as much harm as they dare and as much good as they must.

(2)

The advantage of DUTY is that it can always be neglected.

(3)

Since the effects of all actions are incalculable, certain actions intended to do harm may do good; and certain actions intended to do good may do harm. It follows that evil intentions should not always be discouraged.

(4)

LIBERTY is the right (in my opinion) to do what I like; LICENSE is the right (in your opinion) to do what YOU like.

(5)

Discipline and indiscipline are the twin children of AUTHORITY.

(6)

Vagueness is the rebellion of TRUTH against INTELLECT.

(7)

We must let our opponents think – if they can.

(8)

Philosophy is the art of using in an impressive manner words of which you do not know the meaning.

(9)

IT MATTERS NOT WHAT YOU BELIEVE, SO LONG AS YOU DON’T ALTOGETHER BELIEVE IT.

[Russell declared that he wholeheartedly and unreservedly believed in (9) above.]

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 70 March 25 1978

Article enclosed: “A Note on the New Equality� by Eugene J. McCarthy, COMMENTARY, Nov 1977. [Senator McCarthy discusses the concept of equality as it is applied today: economic, educational, political and cultural equality, but not equality of opportunity.]

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Letter 71 April 1 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Recently a very distinguished Englishman died. His name was Sir Charles Petrie. He was a famous historian, biographer, traveller, and a participant in many important international congresses. His last work is a fascinating autobiography: A HISTORIAN LOOKS AT HIS WORLD. Here are two extracts: one humorous and the other serious: At an international conference where he accompanied a famous diplomat, senior to him in many years, they were addressed by a German. The speaker was long winded and just about beginning to get into his stride. The diplomat suggested that they retire to the bar for a drink. When they had finished the drink, the diplomat remarked: “Let me give you a word of advice as an old man to a young man. When Germans talk about things that end in ISMUS and French talk about things that end in OLOGIE, it is wisest for the Englishman to retire to the bar for a drink.” Concerning “LIFE and DEATH” thoughts, as one grows older, he said: To me it has always seemed that LIFE is like a visit to a theatre when one has arrived after the raising of the curtain (i.e. after the play has begun). By taking a little trouble and using a certain amount of intelligence, it is possible to get the gist of what has happened before one arrived; by diligence it is not too difficult to find out what is taking place on the stage at the moment, though admittedly, this is not so simple a task as it used to be; but one always has to leave before the end.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 72 April 8 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Came across an unusual essay (HISTORICAL INEVITABILITY) by an unusually brilliant historian, PIETER GEYL. It deals with the subject of HISTORY. Here are a few paragraphs which I have extracted: History is often thought of as a study contentedly remote from the present, or as a hobby of scholars who have elected to fly from the world about them into the dead and gone past. The truth is rather that history is an active force in the struggles of every generation and that the historian by his interpretation of the past, consciously or half-consciously or even unconsciously, takes his part in them, for good or for evil. [He is] against the doctrine of DETERMINISM according to which we are helplessly caught in the grip of a movement proceeding from all that has gone before . . . but we cannot, while rejecting rigid determinism, represent man as being completely emancipated from the past. Man is both free and in bonds. FREE, for he must always move on; old forms are all the time decaying; man must, and he can, use his will and choose. IN BONDS, for he cannot use his will indiscriminately, nor choose according to the dictates of his constructive cunning or fancy. We are incessantly freeing ourselves from our past, but at the same time it maintains a sway over us. Quite a fascinating subject involving much discussion.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 73 April 15 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, This week’s letter is Part 1 of one of the finest essays I have read. Enclosed: “Life Can Be Worth Living” from MAN STANDS ALONE by JULIAN HUXLEY. [The essay begins: “I believe that life can be worth living. I believe this in spite of pain, squalor, cruelty, unhappiness, and death. I do not believe that it is necessarily worth living, but only that for most people it can be.”]

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

Letter 74 April 22 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, The final (Part 2) of Julian Huxley’s wonderful essay, “Life Can Be Worth Living” from MAN STANDS ALONE by JULIAN HUXLEY. [“Finally, I believe that we can never reduce our principles to any few simple terms. Existence is always too various and too complicated. We must supplement principles with faith. And the only faith that is both concrete and comprehensive is in life, its abundance and its progress. My final belief is in life.”] Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

82


LIFE CAN BE WORTH LIVING: Excerpts I believe that man, as individual, as group, and collectively as mankind, can achieve a satisfactory purpose in existence. I believe this in spite of frustration, aimlessness, frivolity, boredom, sloth, and failure. I believe that there exists a scale of hierarchy of values, ranging from simple physical comforts up to the highest satisfactions of love, aesthetic enjoyment, intellect, creative achievement, virtue. I do not believe that these are absolute, or transcendental in the sense of being vouchsafed by some external power or divinity; they are the product of human nature interacting with the outer world. I do not believe that there is any absolute of truth, beauty, morality, or virtue, whether emanating from an external power or imposed by an internal standard. But this does not drive me to the curious conclusion, fashionable in certain quarters, that truth and beauty and goodness do not exist, or that there is no force or value in them. I do not believe in the existence of a god or gods. The conception of divinity seems to me, though built up out of a number of real elements of experience, to be a false one, based on the quite unjustifiable postulate that there must be some more or less personal power in control of the world. We are confronted with forces beyond our control, with incomprehensible disasters with death, and also with ecstasy, with a mystical sense of union, with something greater than our ordinary selves, with sudden conversion to a new way of life, with the burden of guilt and sin. With our present faculties we have no means of giving an answer to the question whether we survive death, much less the question of what any such life after death will be like. But if God and immortality be repudiated, what is left? In point of fact, a great deal is left. The reason lies in the advances of science. No longer are we forced to accept the external catastrophes and miseries of existence as inevitable. Our ancestors saw an epidemic as an act of divine punishment; to us it is a challenge to be overcome, since we know its causes and that it can be controlled or prevented. I believe that the individual is not an isolated, separated thing. The community provides the machinery for the existence and development of individuals. Social machinery can be devised to make war more difficult, to promote health, to add interest to life. I believe in diversity. Every biologist knows that human beings differ in their hereditary outfits, and therefore in the possibilities that they can realize. Diversity is not only the salt of life but the basis of collective achievement. And the complement of diversity is tolerance and understanding. This does not mean rating all values alike. We must protect society against criminals; we must struggle against what we think is wrong. But just as we try to understand the criminal we shall try to reform rather than merely punish, so we must try to understand why we judge others’ actions as

wrong, which implies trying to understand the workings of our own minds and discounting our own prejudices.

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Letter 75 April 29 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Enclosed: Selection from THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW. The attached is read, preached, sung (BACH) and taught to Christian children during the EASTER season. Note how the seeds of anti-Semitism are planted so early in life. NUFF SAID. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

Letter 77 May 20 1978

Article enclosed: “Mideast: Facing the Facts” by David Hyatt, President, National Conference of Christians and Jews, CONGRESS MONTHLY, May 1978. [The writer expresses concerns about the survival of Israel, and believes that the U.S. and other countries should take the necessary military international law enforcement steps to ensure Israel’s right to exist.]

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Letter 76 May 6 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Visited the library and blindly looked through a collection of the books “on the counter” and a volume: ALAIN on HAPPINESS struck my fancy. I took “the book out” and found that ALAIN is the nom de plume of EMILE CHARTIER who was a popular teacher of philosophy at Rouen and also engaged in political and journalistic activity. He was a columnist with articles appearing in LA DEPECHE DE ROUEN, and the title of the column was PROPOS D’UN NORMAND. His articles were called by him: “PROPOS” and a collection of “propos” on the general theme of HAPPINESS was published in 1928 under the title PROPOS SUR LE BONHEUR. What did Alain mean by the word “propos”? Basically “propos” means spoken words or words exchanged in the course of a conversation. It suggests something relatively informal and social. Alain’s “propos” are propositions which the reader is invited (and indeed urged) to examine. They are short aphoristic pieces of 50 or 60 lines and they move along easily and wittily. His technique was most unusual. He claimed that each evening he sat down before two sheets of paper knowing before he started that the last line would be written on the bottom of the second page and that within these two pages he would write a piece which (if he succeeded) would have “movement, air and elevation”. He would make no corrections or erasures. Among his gifted pupils were ANDRE MAUROIS and SIMONE WEIL. He won the admiration and the lasting devotion of his students who called him: L’HOMME – THE MAN. More about ALAIN in later letters.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 78 May 27 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, FOYLES is a famous bookshop in LONDON and FOYLES publishes FOYLIBRA, the Foyles Bookshop Magazine, a four page publication that gives BOOK PARADE: NOTES AND NEWS FROM FOYLES BOOKSHOP. It deals with literary events, books, authors etc. Here are some examples of its contents: (1) Author CLIFF RICHARD: I have a sneaky suspicion that I am probably a shade more vulnerable than most to criticism. The fact is that I like people to agree with me. When they don’t I am disappointed, frustrated and, to my shame, sometimes angry. Even in personal conversation, I find myself getting edgy when someone takes a differing view on some issue. What I feel and believe, I want other people to feel and believe with me. (2) Author URSULA BLOOM: On the whole life is unfair in the way it works out. It is a game played without an umpire! I have come to the conclusion that this is no fun, and also that there is “no way of avoiding” the darts of outrageous fortune. If I were asked to do so, I don’t think that I could live my life again. But in spite of the bitter disappointments and the way life seems never to have given me a gift without (as an old friend once said) “wrapping it in a shroud”, the pen has given me immense happiness. Without this solace and this comfort to me, my heart would have broken years ago. It was the pen that pulled me through. Without it I could not have lived – and that is the truth.

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Letter 78 - 2

My comments: (1)

I wonder whether it is not true that most of us agree with Richard but simulate an “each man is entitled to his own opinion� pose!

(2)

I agree, to some people the pen is the savior. Life hits them too hard and the pen heals their wounds.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 79 June 3 1978 Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, FURTHER EXTRACTS FROM FOYLES BOOKSHOP MAGAZINE: (3) MARY MARTIN: All my life is full of circles. Maybe everybody’s life is this way, but mine is a circle and a circle and a circle, dissolving and expanding, touching other circles, closing again. Places and people who have been in my life always come back, sometimes years later. (4) Prof. LORD ZUCKERMAN (scientist) – famous as a scientific advisor during World War II: Lord Wavell once made a remark about STRATEGY that always stuck in my mind. He said: “A person of reasonable intelligence can understand strategy. The real foundation of military knowledge is knowledge of the mechanism of war.” This story was told to illustrate this observation. It was about a man who knew exactly how to get rid of the submarine menace. The technique was quite simple – you drained the Atlantic Ocean. When he was asked HOW this was to be done, he said: “That is nothing to do with strategy. That is pure tactics.” It was because of that, that I started to ask questions. What were the planners trying to do? Why were they trying to do it? I then used to ask whether something different could have been done or whether the aim was wrong. If the aim was wrong, why was it wrong? In a sense, that was an extension of Operational Research. But I then had an opportunity of combining Operational Research with real planning. (Will continue Lord Zuckerman’s statement in my June 10 letter.) My comments: Mary Martin’s thoughts are well expressed and her thinking touches our thinking. Lord Z. is one of the keenest scientific minds in EUROPE. Many plans to cope with present day problems are (in my opinion) in the “drain the Atlantic Ocean” class. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 80 June 10 1978

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Lord Zuckerman’s observation cont.: In the SERVICES (military etc) the acceptance of authoritative views and of authority is absolutely essential. No military system could survive if there was not complete discipline and complete obedience. But the case of SCIENCE is totally different. If SCIENCE had operated in that way, the earth would still be flat. The good scientist has to emulate LORD NELSON (and there are not many NELSONS around today) and put his spyglass to his blind eye and NOT see what other people are seeing. Even if scientists cannot be constrained in their thoughts and activities, I have managed to survive all – all those years since I first joined as scientific advisor. There was a time when I was not popular with my colleagues when I was “picked up” on a remark I made at a dinner party. I had said: “The day my advice is accepted, I will know it is the wrong advice.” I do not feel quite that way now, because I have worked so long among civil and military authorities that I believe I understand their point of view. This completes my FOYLE extracts. On June 10 I shall be in the new ARAB city i.e. LONDON with Aunt Rose and Uncle Mark; Uncle Fred and Aunt Jean; nephew Ian and niece Erika; Uncle Nat and of course Aunts Betty and Hannah. I shall tell them about you and about the grandchildren. I shall drink strong tea and eat cold toast but hope to see a little of the wonderful countryside.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 81 June 17 1978

Articles enclosed are concerned with the sale of U. S. planes to Egypt and Saudi Arabia by the Carter administration: “Israel After the Plane Deal,” by Clayton Fritchey. Comment: A fair assessment. “A Painful Note on the Mideast” by Donald Wolpe. Comment: A terrible let-down! Mistrust any political campaign statement relating to ISRAEL. I believe that the man who kept all his promises to ISRAEL was - - - NIXON. Daddy / Papa

Additional articles enclosed: “The English Spring.” (ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS) “Old Age” (Poem) Comment: A Lament. “The Ten Commandments of Human Relations.”

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Comment: Not Bad.


Letter 82 June 24 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A FEW JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (1) From DERRY QUINN: THE LIMBO CONNECTION: “The most far reaching decisions we make in our lives so often seem to have been entirely casual, in retrospect.” GRESHAM’s LAW and SOME MODIFICATIONS: (1)

Bad money drives away good money;

(2)

Bad news drives out good news;

(3)

Bad rumors are even more virulent than bad news.

WHY and BECAUSE: It is not always easy to give a BECAUSE for every WHY. There may be a lot of BECAUSES – some big, some little; some important and some unimportant. The mature man binds all such BECAUSES together and then answers the WHY! Possibly this is what we have in mind when we say that certain men are blessed with INTUITION. Interestingly enough the great DISRAELI was supposed to have declared: “I never explain (why?); I never apologize; I never deny; I never contradict. If I dislike X, I will never bother to find a WHY and hence I will not bother to find the BECAUSE.”

THINKING ALOUD: I have found certain people “thinking aloud” (they utter their consecutive thoughts) before making a decision; others do their “thinking silently” and then utter their decision as the result of such thinking. Being in the presence of the former group in their decision making process is disconcerting to say the least.

Affectionately, Daddy/ Papa

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Letter 83 July 1 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A FEW JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (2) In Letter (71) I quoted CHARLES PETRIE. Now C. P. was very much concerned with the relationship between ENGLAND and USA. He once expressed the opinion that ENGLAND would have been better off as far as relations with USA, if USA spoke a different language. I wonder if the (true) purpose of a book review was to give the reviewer a chance to blow his own cultural horn. A few outstanding characteristics about the successful person (MAN or BOY): (1)

He is neither an ethical or aesthetic prig.

(2)

Expects (and is not overwhelmed by) a certain amount of injustice, imperfections, poor service etc .

(3)

He is not shocked by it (2) and does not hate or blame anybody because of it. (1)

Great and Poor Music or Art etc: The true critic recognizes great art, music etc when he feels intuitively that art or music will last and that it is not a passing fancy. Similarly when confronted with other types of music, art etc he will intuitively know that it will not last. He terms such music or art: POOR MUSIC, POOR ART.

As One Grows Old: There is a tendency to bring forth from MEMORY all the sins (real and imaginary; or omission and commission) of the past.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 84 July 8 1978

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A FEW JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (3) AGATHA CHRISTIE: I believe that you can learn more about human nature, man’s foibles, common sense etc from A .C.’s works than from many a famous novelist. She gives vivid examples of all types of emotions, passions, forms of shrewdness and cunning as well as loyalty. We instinctively recognize the characters by A. C.’s vivid descriptions. From RUTH RENDELL SHAKE HANDS FOREVER: (a)

Grief is much easier to simulate than happiness. It demands little more than a subdued voice, the occasional outburst of righteous anger, the reiteration of one’s pain. Disbelief temporarily crowds out grief.

(b)

Books like umbrellas, pens and boxes of matches belong in a category of objects, the stealing of which is a very venial offense and hence people think little of it.

(c)

Why is it when you get older you tend to wake up at five and are unable to get off to sleep again? Something to do with blood sugar level being low? Or the coming of dawn exerting an atavistic pull?

A true friend will suffer your inconsistencies and not upbraid you for them.

N. BLAKE: THE SHELL OF DEATH: He was conscious of an immediate antipathy between A and B – the antipathy between the CONVERSATIONALIST who lives by “give and take” AND the MONOLOGUIST, i.e. a man who must have monologues or nothing. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 85 July 15 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Article enclosed: “Benefits of Bigotry” by Andrew Sinclair. [“Intolerance does not defend individual freedom. The price of liberty is both eternal vigilance and exact intolerance. We must choose what we condemn in order to know what we want to retain.”] Comment: Do you understand this? I don’t.

Love, Daddy / Papa

Letter 86 July 22 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Enclosed: “Wesker’s Angles” by John Naughton, Review of “Said the Old Man to the Young Man” by Arnold Wesker, LISTENER, May 18, 1978. [Collection of short stories by Arnold Wesker which consider the question of the relation between different generations and how people relate to adherents of other value systems.] Comment: What do you think of Wesker’s point of view? Very stimulating.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 87 July 29 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob: Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A few selections from BERTRAND RUSSELL SPEAKS HIS MIND (1)

This is the sort of philosophy I believe in and it is useful in this way: that it enables people to act with vigor when they are not absolutely certain that that is the right action. I THINK NOBODY SHOULD BE CERTAIN OF ANYTHING. If you’re certain, you’re certainly wrong, because nothing deserves CERTAINTY, and as one ought always to hold all one’s beliefs with a certain element of doubt and one ought to be able to act vigorously in spite of the doubt. After all this is what a general does when he is planning a battle.

(2)

I see the future of GREAT BRITAIN on the analogy of what happened in HOLLAND. HOLLAND was a great power in the 17th century and then it ceased to be a great power; but it ceased without disaster. It ceased without any particular catastrophe and settled down quite well to be a very civilized and very respectable minor power, and I think that’s what we must hope to do.

(3)

A world of human beings aware that their common interests outweigh those in which they compete, striving towards those really splendid possibilities that the human intellect and the human imagination make possible. Such a world can exist if men choose that it should. And if it does exist we shall have a world very much more gloriously splendid and happy, more full of imagination and happy emotions than any world that the world has ever known before. This can be achieved if you will realize that mankind is all one family and that we can all be happy or we can all be miserable.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 88 Aug 5 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

Selections from SHAW by C. E M. JOAD (1)

I once had a lesson from SHAW in the art of controversy. Whatever personal points may be scored against yourself and however damaging their effect, you must always resist the temptation to hit back with personal points in your turn. They inflame the emotions, darken counsel and increase the difficulty of establishing a conclusion and making a convert to your point of view.

(2)

I learnt a controversial lesson of equal importance from the famous SIDNEY WEBB. He urged: “In argument concede whatever you can. Make this acknowledgement, surrender that point, yield, in fact, all the outworks and bastions of your position, provided always that you preserve the essential thing that matters, the pearl beyond price of your conviction. THAT must never be surrendered. But the more you give up of the rest, the easier you will find it to hold to the thing that matters.”

(3)

One of the characteristics of SHAW’s methods, their impersonality, deserves mention. He has remorselessly attacked dogmas, doctrines, policies, institutions, committees, societies, the middle classes, businessmen, doctors – but PERSONS (he has) never (attacked).

(4)

SHAW’s STYLE (of writing): His style is at once a writing and speaking style; a style which can be used effectively for the one as for the other mode of communication. Its chief effects upon the hearer or reader are those of imperturbability and drive.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 89 Aug 19 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Picked up: LITTLE DID I KNOW by MAURICE SAMUEL. SAMUEL was an immigrant from Romania who landed in Manchester, England. He was active in Jewish communal work as a Zionist and also as an author and lecturer. The above book gives glimpses of his life plus interesting thoughts and impressions. He had a great admiration for UNCLE LEON, an “uneducated” man but full of worldly wisdom. Here is an observation by UNCLE LEON: If a friend does you a favor and reminds you of it, he “cancels” it. For, by doing you that favor he was making an investment, not doing you a kindness. Favors are not business transactions. If a man does you a favor and you cannot return it, then “return” it to someone else who never did you a favor. Kindness should circulate, not go back and forth between two persons. His other favorite uncle was UNCLE BEREL who had a modest repairing, cleaning and pressing shop. He looked upon himself as a sort of economic barometric reader. Mr. Michaelson’s grocery store is the barometer. When the clothing operators, cutters, hat makers, pressers and sales girls on the block were out of work (or on part time) their diet is low in lox (smoked salmon) and high on potatoes. Then Mr. Michaelson’s takings are poor and his suits “lose heart and acquire lustre”. When times are good and lox is again in the ascendant, Mr. Michaelson’s suits pick up “joie de vivre” and come in to Uncle Berel’s store as often as every other Thursday for “processing”. More about UNCLE LEON in my next letter.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 90 Aug 26 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Enclosed: Selection from LITTLE DID I KNOW by MAURICE SAMUEL: WHY DO THE WICKED PROSPER AND THE RIGHTEOUS SUFFER? [Uncle Leon relates a parable to illustrate that God will not punish the wicked “for that would only drive them into greater wickedness. So . . . He pours out His indignation on the righteous, who so love Him that they endure their unmerited afflictions without complaint.”] Comment: Uncle Leon’s analysis is unique to say the least.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

Letter 91 Sept 2 1978 Article enclosed: “Don’t Raise the Money – Teach the Expensive Colleges a Lesson” by Nicholas von Hoffman, WASHINGTON POST, Aug 15 1978. [Changes are needed in Higher Education including fewer and better courses.]

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 92 Sept 9 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, INTELLECTUAL – Part 1 CYRIL CONNOLLY, the famous English literary critic, discusses the term INTELLECTUAL and the INTELLECTUAL MAN as follows: If we look up the word INTELLECTUAL in the dictionary, we find it means an enlightened person. For me ENLIGHTENED PERSON is not enough and so I would like to say that I mean by this word INTELLECTUAL, one who believes in the intellect, one who feels that it is the dark lantern given us to penetrate the blackness of the world we live in, and so our main hope of understanding and improving it. But since my subject is CULTURE and since CULTURE is made by artists and writers who are not all in that sense intellectual, we must allow that word to include those whose lantern-beam proceeds not only from the intelligence but from intuitive flashes of the imagination. I do not think that this extension of meaning presents any difficulty, because the INTELLECT includes so much more than the mere faculty of reason and introspection. What do we mean by genius? We mean that it is only the intellect proceeding by stages which are too sudden and rapid for conscious thought to follow. This is the case of these athletes of the mind, the physicists, who are at their best when very young and who, after long hours of concentration in the anti human and almost unbreathable atmosphere of their science, find their minds taking “mysterious leaps” forward into the unknown. End of part 1. (Part 2 in Letter 93.)

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 93 Sept 16 1978

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, INTELLECTUAL – Part 2 We can measure the power of the conscious mind but the powers of the unconscious mind such as that of a profound, noble and original genius ROUSSEAU, we cannot measure; we know that they are there, and that they belong to the intellect as a submerged mountain range belongs to the islands that dot the Aegean Sea. Not only then do I believe in the intellect, but I believe that all occupations which do not serve the greatness of the intellect are so much waste of time. If the way in which we occupy ourselves (apart from necessary relaxation) is a way which provides no data for the mind in its struggle to master the conditions of life, the nature of happiness, and the meaning of existence, then we had better give it up. There are four types of intellectuals who have helped the evolutionary process of humanity: the philosopher, the scientist, the artist and the mystic. They are the true creative beings, and all rulers and administrators of mankind; however much they have alleviated the common lot, are only in the long run important for having provided (or not provided) the conditions favorable for such creators to arise. So different have been the political systems of the world, so different the climates, the faiths, the racial characteristics, and the opportunities of human beings, that in certain parts of the world only have these four kinds of intellectuals been permitted to flourish.

[May continue this some time later.]

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 94 Sept 23 1978

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, In the WASHINGTON POST for Sept 10 there was a kind of CONFESSION by HAYNES JOHNSON, a twice-a-week contributor, prior to saying GOOD BYE. Unless he is a fool or a knave, or both, anyone who writes regularly about contemporary events under newspaper deadlines and space limitations knows best his appalling inadequacies. It has been my good fortune to have been treated with extraordinary tolerance by most of my readers who are fully aware of all the facts so nakedly exposed here on my perch Wednesdays and Sundays – the excesses, the errors, the misjudgments, the superficialities, the tendency to draw too grand a generalization from too small an event. He then quotes from Walter Lippmann: Walter Lippmann mused out loud about himself: “Who the devil are you to be grandiloquent and impersonal? The truth is, you are afraid to be wrong. And so you put on these airs and use these established phrases, knowing that they will sound familiar and will be respected. But this fear of being wrong is a disease. You cover and qualify and elucidate; you speak vaguely; you mumble because you are afraid of the sound of your own voice. And then you apologize for your timidity by frowning learnedly on anyone who honestly regards THOUGHT as an adventure, who strikes ahead and takes his chances.”

I believe the above represent two true expressions about some of the minuses that may go with FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. But despite these I still want that FREEDOM and Long May It Last!

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 95 Sept 30 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob: Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, I will begin this letter with a little more LIPPMANN (see Letter 94). Lippmann said: I generalized rashly: That is what kills political writing; this absurd pretense that you are delivering a great utterance. You never do. You are just a puzzled man making notes about what you think. You are not building the PANTHEON, then why act like a graven image? You are drawing sketches in the sand which the sea will wash away.

In speaking to some learned friends I am amazed to hear them quote X or Y or Z in support for their point of view. I am like LOW (see Letter 27) – “an omnivorous reader who SOAKS UP that reading and it becomes part of my own thoughts SO MUCH SO, that I have difficulty in QUOTING WITHOUT REFERENCE”. Is it possible that LOW is right when he says: “The regurgitations of tidbits of knowledge are too often evidence of an imperfect digestion!” See my comments in Letter 27. Is LOW right? Ought I to envy those who are literary or philosophy NAME-DROPPERS? I am not good at INSTANT RECALL. All my reading has been SOAKED UP in me. I end by saying: I AM WHAT I AM and THAT’S THAT!

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 96 Oct 7 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Am afraid I may go on strike and ignore, neglect, cast aside, malign etc WHODUNITS – I mean of the present day variety. WHY? Authors are doing too much WANTON KILLING of and WANTON SADISM and CRUELTY to their characters. People are being murdered and frightfully beaten up for no reason whatsoever. Many (other than the villain) of those killed could have been let live without in any way spoiling the tale or diluting the villainy of the bad men or the brilliance and/or goodness of the detective. The author is guilty of wholesale murder and brutality to the extent of making the decent intelligent reader sick of the event, of the characters and SICK of the AUTHOR. One murder is enough and if it is not enough for the author, I suggest he write fairy tales. Which does remind me that some time ago an economist C D H COLE wrote a mystery involving a “murder” and suddenly the reader found to his amazement that no murder took place. A true KOSHER mystery. A paper-back that came my way deals with LOCKED ROOM MURDERS. They involve a room from which entry and escape are barred; a weapon that can disappear; and a victim. WHODUNIT and HOW? In that category, the tale that fascinated me was THE BIG BOW MYSTERY by ISRAEL ZANGWILL. It’s tops!

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 97 Oct 14 1978 Dear A & H: L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, In Letter 37 – Aug 20 1977 – I described JAMES AGATE, a BRITISH DIARIST, and wrote you about some of his areas of interest. I took a fleeting glance at his June 24 1945 entry, was captivated, and then read it in its entirety. It touches the subject of MUSIC, POETRY, THE DANCE, MIME and what they look like when in combination – two at a time. Let me quote: I don’t want to see any poet’s words mimed or danced or acted (unless they were meant to be acted) or sung (unless they are of a triviality indicating that they were meant to be sung). I don’t believe in robbing poetical PETER to provide a living for musical PAUL. I don’t believe in the marriage of PERFECT words to PERFECT music. Why? Because perfect words and perfect music mean words and music so perfectly charged with emotion of their own kind, and so perfectly expressed in their own way, that no addition of emotion is possible. He has much to say about OPERA. He turns to MIME: “I have no use for MIME when it usurps the place of words. Why should an actor pull his face about when NATURE has given him lips and a tongue to say what he means?” Now for BALLET: “Why should I agree that a twiddle of skirts from right to left and pointing a toe in one direction mean ‘He loves me’ while the reverse twiddle mean ‘He loves me not’?” But what about OPERA? He declares: Why can I put up with four hours of opera in which I equally disbelieve, bearing in mind my attitude towards MIME and DANCE? Because I am ravished by OPERA, ON CONDITION THAT I HAVE ONLY A VAGUE IDEA OF WHAT IT IS ABOUT. Continued in Letter 98. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 98 Oct 21 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, This is a continuation of AGATE’s outbursts on the subject of the place of MUSIC among the other arts. As a supporter he brings in ARNOLD BENNETT who maintained that opera was tolerable only when sung in a language he did not understand. J. A. then takes lines (English translation) from: TRISTAN AND ISOLDE, CARMEN, TRAVIATA, ELEKTRA that truly sound funny. As far as J. A. is concerned, it is the music that counts. Forget the plot and/or the lines. He finishes up by declaring: “When I am being ravished by music, I ignore the words; when I am reading great poetry, I am indifferent to sounding brass and tinkling cymbal.”

Two quotations from WAR AND THE LIBERAL CONSCIENCE by MICHAEL HOWARD: (1)

Who are the LIBERALS? Those thinkers who believe the world to be profoundly other than it should be, and who have the faith in the powers of human reason so to change it, that the inner potential of all human beings can be more fully realized.

(2)

CONSCIENCE: It implies a belief or an attitude but also an inner compulsion to act upon it. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 99 Oct 28 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A FEW RANDOM NOTES In the area of LIKES AND DISLIKES: (1)

In my WHODUNITS I like to read of an orderly POLICE DEPARTMENT with a minimum of (preferably no) wisecracking between members of the staff, with a minimum bellyaching on the part of the staff and a minimum of disrespect for the public (who pay them their wages). I also dislike “foul” language particularly when uttered by the police. Hence: give me the police force in an AGATHA CHRISTIE or an up to date likeness of that police staff.

(2)

I wish that the TV news announcers would cease to think (and act as if) they were comic actors, baiting and kidding each other. Let them do their jobs with (even) a LITTLE dignity and stop acting like silly buffoons.

(3)

The finest example of the workings of PARKINSON’s LAW by the “MEDIA” (newspapers, TV, radio) is the handling of the CAMP DAVID BEGIN - SADAT meeting. The “meeting” was a closed one; no MEDIA men present; there was NO NEWS. And yet the media representatives gave us hours of PLENTY of NOTHING – meaning-less, contrived jabber and writing. The pseudo -REPORTAGE was a disgrace.

(4)

A quotation from WILLIAM BLAKE: “He who would do good to another must do it in MINUTE PARTICULAR; GENERAL GOOD is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite and flatterer.” [My comment: BLAKE’s judgement is somewhat harsh!]

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 100 Nov 4 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, In Letter 29 I quoted John D. MacDonald’s opinions as they issued from the thoughts of TRAVIS McGEE in one of the author’s books. Now the TRAVIS McGEE books are unusual WHODUNITS replete with plot, murder, sadism, mystery etc . What makes them of unusual interest to me are the chunks of worldly wisdom, philosophic insight into man (his pluses and minuses) as expressed by McGEE and his elderly learned friend Meyer. From time to time I will extract such morsels of reflection in the weekly letter to you. Here is what McGee says in a reply to: “Are you religious at all?” I think there is some kind of divine order in the universe. Every leaf on every tree in the world is unique. As far as we can see, there are other galaxies, all slowly spinning, numerous as the leaves in the forest. In an infinite number of planets, there has to be an infinite number with life forms on them. Maybe this planet is one of the discarded mistakes. Maybe it is one of the victories. We will never know. I think the closest we can get to awareness is when we see one man under stress react in a noble way, a selfless way. But to me, organized religion, the formalities and routines, it’s like being marched in formation to look at a sunset. I don’t knock it for other people. Maybe they need routines, rules, examples, taboos, object lessons, sermonizing. I don’t. [Something to think over! – my reflections.]

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 101 Nov 11 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, This letter consists of two pages, A and B. The first page is the DESEGREGATION DISCOUNTED article which please read (carefully) before reading my letter (l0l B) below. [101A — Article enclosed: “Desegregation Discounted; Scant Benefits Found for Black Pupils” by Lawrence Feinberg, WASHINGTON POST, Nov 11 1978.] 101 B I read the article dealing with Sociologist Coleman and now I understand what CARLYLE had in mind when he called the SOCIAL sciences the DISMAL sciences. After a science has been built one of its chief properties becomes that of PREDICTION. This is true of physics, chemistry, astronomy. Psychologists toy with prediction with (in many cases) miserable results. If a mistake is made it may concern a particular individual X and scientists profit from experience. But consider a colossal sociological mistake. Here it is in summary: Coleman spends years developing a thesis and gives the impression that what he has developed is SCIENCE: from a quality point of view. As a result a revolution takes place in U.S.A. He who opposes (or questions) school desegregation is a racist, a scoundrel etc etc. Busing is introduced. Little tots have to say GOOD BYE to their neighborhood school. At 7 or 8 in the morning they are bussed and travel for one hour to get to this synthetic Coleman school – and FOR WHAT? Now the great scientist declares: It’s all a mistake! My prediction was wrong. But that prediction messed up lives of many people, involved millions of dollars in wasteful expense, resulted in riots etc. All that Coleman does is to apologize for his sociological humbug. ENUFF SAID!

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 102 Nov 18 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, This is an extract from a mystery: SPORTS CAR MENOPAUSE by Page Stegner. A character describes his father: I had always had a certain awe, admiration, envy and respect for my father even though I found him often intolerant. While he knew in what he believed, he did not entertain the notion of multiple possibilities or situational ethics or conduct that deviated from the SCRIPTURES (in which he otherwise did NOT believe). One did not lie, steal, cheat. One did not mistreat women and animals; one did not covet any but one’s own. One did not drink to excess, or for that matter indulge in any pleasure to excess. One did not use four letter words or tell smutty stories in the presence of ladies. One always paid one’s own way. They are little things when taken individually, but they added up to a life that was based on convictions lived, and the liver always knew where he stood in relation to his surroundings. It was a hard ACT to follow. Comment: I suppose it is not easy for a son to follow in the footsteps of so ethical a parent. The parent sets the example; does the son “give up” if he cannot come up to those standards? Would that probably have a bad effect on the growing son? It’s difficult to answer.*

If you get a chance read some of the TRAVIS McGEE volumes by JOHN D. MacDONALD. The latest one is CONDOMINIUM. It is truly a powerful volume illustrating the terrible effects on the elderly by the avarice that is characteristic of real estate speculators and builders etc.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

* Madeline’s comment: I would say, not difficult to answer. Those are ethics under which we all should live.

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Letter 103 Nov 25 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, OWEN BARFIELD in POETIC DICTION makes some interesting comments: The so called civilized mind is merely living on its capital: that whatever wisdom we still have, is drawn from magnificent rich words which were devised before the dawn of HISTORY, and that our prying rationalism is gradually but fatally destroying them. A language has a period of flower when its words are as full and handy as they can be got. Human thoughts had most wisdom when language first started. The story of a great mathematician who was not easily impressed. HILBERT (renowned mathematician) visited Copenhagen. The local Danes “hosting” Hilbert showed him the new bridge with pride. Hilbert commented: “It is exactly like the bridge in Hamburg!” His host: “How is it like the bridge at Hamburg?” Hilbert replied: “Why it goes from this side to that side and the river goes under it.” In London I came across a book by MARGHANITA LASKI entitled ECSTASY. In it she creates the word OVERBELIEF: “A belief is what cannot be verified.” She also is talking about ECSTASY and OVERBELIEF: a name for “the subjective gloss or interpretation placed by people on some of their experience.” She then follows this up by saying: “the most interesting and valuable things about a man are usually his OVERBELIEF.” She then quotes NIETZSCHE: “We hear only the questions to which we are capable of finding an answer.” Tried to locate a copy of that book – but no success.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 104 Dec 2 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, In writing, the area of most interest to me is that of the importance of LUCIDITY. In that connection I found that there were two points of view: one being advocated by STORM JAMESON, British author (see her autobiog: JOURNEY FROM THE NORTH) and the other as expounded by critic and novelist C. E. MONTAGUE in his essay: ONLY TOO CLEAR. (See his volume of essays: A WRITER’S NOTES ON HIS TRADE.) This letter will contain STORM JAMESON’s opinion. (Letter 105 will be devoted to the opinion of C. E. MONTAGUE.) Here is what Storm Jameson says: I have an inexcusable thought. I hold that the writer has a duty, sink or swim, to be LUCID. When it is fitting he may be profound, subtle, allusive, sincere, startling, difficult, but it is up to him to struggle with all his energy to be CLEAR. It is not vital to be concise, simple, single-stranded – but LUCID, as LUCID as possible. A LUCID sentence may not convey the truth; there may, at a given point, be no expressible truth. But incoherence, confusion, obscurity, which do not yield to hard effort to grasp what is being said, are always the work of a charlatan, a selfdeceiving humbug, or a clumsy idiot. Writing – since 1933, when I first realized my clumsiness and dishonesty – with a fanatical attention to clarity, I have deserved the epitaph on my tombstone: “Here lies an accomplished writer.”

My comment: How would she rate ULYSSES or THE WASTE LAND?

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 105 Dec 9 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, This is a continuation of the “discussion” of the place of LUCIDITY in good writing. C. E. MONTAGUE’s point of view is that the importance of LUCIDITY in good writing is not only exaggerated but at times excess LUCIDITY may be a distinct minus. As an example he takes YEATS the poet, a writer of obscurity but such obscurity is a “real dusk purposely courted”. In the whole area of imaginative writing some obscurity may be carried. There must however be a distinction between the expression of obscurity and the obscurity of expression. It is no virtue to say simple things with a high degree of indistinctness. A good example of the latter is the typical school boy essay. However a good many thoughts and emotions cannot be put clearly except by being put falsely, e.g. the works of the great imaginative writers: Yeats, Meredith and of course Shakespeare in those magnificent speeches of some of his characters (Mercutio, Falstaff and others). We may suppose that Shakespeare wrote with his field of consciousness so enlarged as to bring within his view many connexions between things apparently remote – at any rate, not visibly connected with any field of consciousness. Thus an utterance of his, framed in that rare state of mind, may well seem discontinuous to ours, and yet the connexions that it assumes or implies may not be far out of our reach. And, when we are fired by the beauty of Shakespeare’s songs, it may be well that this subconscious recognition almost breaks through into clearness.

All the above material is taken from the Montague essay.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 106 Dec 16 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Article enclosed: “Wisdom Before the Event,� Sir Arthur Bryant, OUR NOTEBOOK, ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS, Sept 1978. [The writer holds that we can anticipate events correctly in a representative body and discusses groups that were formed during World War II to debate the society of the future.] Comment: A remarkable article which speaks for itself. It echoes my sentiments.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 107 Dec 23 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Some Sayings (of great men steeped in wisdom and understanding) of which I was not aware. Part 1 CARLYLE said (of great talkers) that they may talk more nonsense than other men, but they also may talk more sense. ERIC GILL said that while GOD does not particularly approve of luxury, at least he wants it in good taste. BALZAC said that the artist, like the physician, must be regarded, in his search for TRUTH, as being above suspicion. WILLIAM ROTHENSTEIN said: It is futile to assign the place an artist (or writer) is likely to take in the future. There are fashions in immortality as there are trivial fashions. Some men may be called life classics. To say that an artist’s work will live is not to say that its life will be constant. Some works have an inherent beauty and energy which may remain latent over long periods, but are able to blossom again in the warmth of renewed understanding. The latter flowering may look different to men’s eyes from the original bloom. Books and pictures read differently to different generations. Shakespeare is not the same to us, neither on the stage nor in our studies, as he was to the ELIZABETHANS. It is not likely that every generation will have the taste that we have for certain aspects of life. LORD MORLEY: A man can do a deal of good in the world if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit for it.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 108 Dec 30 1978

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Some Sayings (of great men steeped in wisdom and understanding) of which I was not aware. Part 2 MARCUS AURELIUS: Every morning I must tell myself that before the day is over I shall have to deal with a bore, an ingrate, a brute and an imposter. OVID: As long as you are happy you will have plenty of friends. But when the skies are overcast, you will find yourself alone. [My comment: Is that true? In time of adversity won’t your true friends come forward?] GOETHE: We live in order to raise as high as possible the pyramid of my existence, whose base was given to me ready made. PIRANDELLO: (All his plays were concerned with the variations of personality and the problem of identity.) I have always been obsessed by the idea that to consider a man’s personality as a single block is to have quite an inexact picture of him. We play one part for the benefit of FRIEND X and another for the benefit of FRIEND Y. This is so true that we are uncomfortable in the presence of X and Y together; only with one at a time are we perfectly at ease. The idea that underneath these successive personalities there is a single identity, that is the great illusion . . . What do you think of PIRANDELLO’s point of view? ALAIN: (definition of FAITH): The will to believe, without or even against proof, that man is master of his fate and morality is not a mere word.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 109 Jan 6 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Here is an unusual piece of prose from a short story by VLADIMIR NABOKOV in his volume: “Details of a Sunset”: The man who busies himself over much with the workings of his own soul, cannot help being confronted by a common melancholy, but rather curious phenomenon: namely, he witnesses the sudden death of an insignificant memory that a chance occasion causes to be brought back from the humble and remote almshouse (= in England, a house founded by charity for reception of aged poor) where it had been completing quietly its obscure existence. It blinks, it is still pulsating and reflecting light – but the next moment, under your very eyes, it breathes one last time and turns up its poor toes, having not withstood the too abrupt transit into the harsh glare of the present. Henceforth all that remains at your disposal is the shadow, the abridgement of that recollection, now devoid, alas, of the original’s bewitching convincingness. GRAFITSKI, a gentle-tempered and death-fearing person, remembered a boyhood dream which had contained a laconic prophecy; but he had ceased long ago to feel any organic link between himself and that memory, for at one of the first summonses, it arrived looking wan, and died – and the dream he now remembered was the recollection of a recollection . . .

I think that the selection is beautiful in its thought and feeling and the language in which it is couched.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 110 Jan 13 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, In my Letter 62 - Jan 28 1978, I said that as I approach my LXXXII nd year I feel impelled to offer you some fragments of WORLDLY WISDOM that I have garnered in my maturing. As I approach my LXXXIII rd year I would like to continue feeding you with some W. W. morsels. AVERSION, says SPINOZA, is a disorder of the soul. “Aversion” is not “hate” because it has no definite basis. In fact there are men whose ideas are radically different from mine. But I don’t have any aversion for them. The dictionary defines aversion: dislike, antipathy, object of dislike. During my lifetime I have met more than one man with whom I had (intellectually and aesthetically) much in common but for whom (in each case) I felt an instinctive dislike, which I may add, they returned. Characters are more apt to clash than ideas. A calm and objective man can hardly tolerate an ill tempered and aggressive man. An even thinking man cannot stand a fanatic. A modest person cannot stand a pushy individual who forces himself forward constantly. Thus throughout one’s life one may turn up “enemies”. And these will cause one to say with surprise: “What’s he got against me? I have never done him harm.” But it is possible that you have hurt him without meaning to. Your nature is a living contradiction of his. Hence don’t waste any time, patience and energy in trying to find out the reasons for other’s AVERSIONS for you and vice versa.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

PS: Aversion: I do not like you Dr. Fell / The reason why I cannot tell / But this I do know very well / I do not like you Dr. Fell.

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Letter 111 Jan 20 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, The subject of this article is: THE NEED FOR ABRIDGING SHAKESPEARE. [The article enclosed discusses the length of Shakespeare’s plays and suggestions for shortening Macbeth, King Lear and The Merchant of Venice.] The idea is not a new one. It has been advanced again and again for the reasons given in this article by a prominent British critic. All this is part of the point of view that to pursue the literary classics there should be much abridgement of many of the great works of the past. I hold with such point of view. Possibly even certain operas could do with some abridgement. It’s good to think about this idea.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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119


Letter 112 Jan 27 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, In Letter 110 I discussed AVERSION. An emotion somewhat connected with AVERSION is HATE, a subject wide and complex. I want to take one case involving hatred. We will suppose that I am friendly with X whom I find intelligent and congenial. Suddenly for some reason or other I find X’s attitude to me one of hatred. What is the cause? I discover that X knows Y and that on one occasion Y went out of his way to say (to X) “bad things” about me. Result: X because of his credulity and hasty judgement became embittered with me and the bitterness resulted in hatred. What should be my reaction? I believe that hatred is a very powerful emotion and fraught with much danger. It leads to sorrow and anger. There is a rule worth following and that is: ONE MUST NOT RETURN HATE WITH HATE. What should one do? If the hate arises from a lie, make an attempt to dispel that misunderstanding. But don’t embark on a face to face explanation since this risks rekindling the contact. One shakes hands and says no more about it. It is interesting that sometimes a stronger friendship may be built on the ruins of bad feeling. But to explain one’s forgiveness is not to forgive. If however you are up against an ill-willed and hardened person who cannot look truth in the face, break off relations with him. An honest break is better than a lukewarm compromise.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 113 Feb 3 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, TO LIE OR NOT TO LIE: WHEN MAY YOU LIE Enclosed: “Fewer Lies” by Mary Warnock, Review of LYING: MORAL CHOICE IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LIFE” by Sissela Bok. Extract from the review: In the whole vast field of deception, propaganda, misleading redefinition of terms and self-deception, she (Bok) confines her attention as far as possible to the deliberate and knowing utterance of falsehood, holding that if this central area were cleared up, much else would follow. But she is never unaware of the many different ways of misleading which exist and which are not exactly lies. Comment: This is a review of an unusual book (by a British critic) on a subject that these days takes on importance. The review speaks for itself. I think that this is the first time the whole subject has been tackled with as much thoroughness and honesty. It certainly sets one thinking of one’s own conduct and the conduct of others.

Yours for as much truth as is possible, Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 114 Feb 10 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, WHAT SOME AUTHORS OF THE PAST WERE ENGAGED IN AND WHAT THEY EARNED Article enclosed: “Authors By Profession” by Victor Bonham-Carter. I read this article [by the same author whose article is contained in my Letter 111] with sheer amazement. Except for a few authors (among them TENNYSON and HENRY JAMES) the earnings were miserably low. Think of the cases of MILTON, JANE AUSTIN, SWIFT, FIELDING, TROLLOPE, KEATS and WORDSWORTH who could not live on the meagre income from writing. I contrast this with the fantastic earnings of present day good authors in USA. OR: Am I all wrong, i.e. that many a genius writer is barely making ends meet even in USA. Incidentally, ISAAC D’ISRAELI is mentioned in the article. His book CURIOSITIES OF LITERATURE was very successful. It is fascinating reading.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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123


Letter 115 Feb 17 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Two enjoyable experiences this week: I read something quite thought provoking and I listened to something stirring. Here they are: I read: Think of language. Language is the prison of the mind. It confines the thought of the men of today within the thought of men of TIMES PAST; since it allows the men of today to express their thoughts BUT IN THE WORDS OF THE MEN OF OLD; since the only means of exit it gives my thought is the window through which emerged the thoughts of my ancestors; since, in last analysis, it compels me thus to take the thought of DESCARTES to express my own. Language is therefore the keeper of ancient errors or, it may be, of ancient truths. It may be considered as a great danger for intellectual freedom since every word may be considered as a prejudice. I heard: In THE CORN IS GREEN (TV with KATHERINE HEPBURN) there is a marvellous scene where the young man comes back from OXFORD where he has competed for a scholarship. He tells of the keen young men he met there, how they got together and talked and talked about the meaning of LIFE and TRUTH and the GOOD. He was most stimulated by the whole cultural environment and contrasted that with the environment of the little WELSH town in which he lived. He simply sparkled with cultural excitement.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 116 Feb 24 1979 Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. From an anonymous source: (1)

Jews in Amsterdam in the time of SPINOZA (1632-77) represented a minority group. As is always the case minority groups which are simply tolerated have to suffer (as a group) for the offense of any ONE of their members. The Jews of Amsterdam knew that any significant default on the part of any ONE MEMBER of their community would NOT in all likelihood, be considered by the authorities to be a default of THAT ONE PERSON ALONE. They knew it would be considered a manifestation of an essential characteristic of THE WHOLE COMMUNITY. And the WHOLE COMMUNITY would have to suffer, in consequence, an exaggerated punishment which the individual delinquent himself may well not merit. - - - Hence excommunication etc - - -

(2)

Exploitation: I feel as if I am being exploited in all areas of “goods” and “services” that I acquire (restaurant, hotel, clothing etc etc). The boasts of the suppliers of these goods and services seem bogus or deceitful or misleading. What one gets is not what was promised. The discriminating few are helpless in their protests. The situation is markedly bad in TV advertising. Foul and stupid people (TV Commercial Actors) come on like pitchmen extolling the virtues of the products they present. It’s a foul atmosphere.

(3a)

The Wise Person: sensibly discounts the differences (even if marked) in people’s way of talking, behaving etc.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 117 March 3 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (3b)

Coming Into a New Environment At a Late Age: People hesitate about extending themselves (and including you in their group) unless there is something striking about you, in personality, attainment, social class etc. Also a “late age” person will have developed his own behavior habits and personality characteristics. The original members of the group may be unable to take them. They can tolerate differences among themselves when they have known the member for many years BUT to start anew to adjust themselves to somebody new, the group finds it quite difficult.

(4)

Maupassant: There are two stories that I can reread periodically with fresh joy; they are perfect gems of short story creation “Boule de Suif” and “Madame Tellier’s Establishment”.

(5)

You have a person X describing person Y with the statement: “He has no common sense.” I think X means by it, that Y does not have the sense to understand the COMMON MAN. Invariably X will judge others by himself.

(6)

In the AMERICAN SCHOLAR (Summer 1978) in the article on GOOD BOOKS, I read that in mystery stories, you get the thrill once when you read the story but you get a keener thrill when you reread it. My own feeling is that very few mystery stories deserve rereading.

(7)

I confess I cannot take a REBUFF philosophically. It matters not whether the rebuff is or is not deserved. I cannot react in kind and if I react obeying the MARQUESS OF QUEENSBERRY RULES I come out second best.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 118 March 10 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (8)

The introduction of the bathroom, modern kitchen, washing and drying equipment, electric sweeper etc etc has resulted in the elimination of much drudgery, discomfort etc. I find that many people confuse those blessings with HAPPINESS i.e. peace of mind, joy of living, stimulation of thinking and feeling etc.

(9)

Inanimate Objects: A collar button slips out of your hand; the key will not fit the lock; the chair topples over etc etc etc. All such things anger us and inwardly we protest about: THE INNATE PERVERSITY OF INANIMATE OBJECTS. But interestingly enough it is the inanimate object that obeys the “laws” of physics and the various other physical sciences. It is MAN who disobeys.

(10)

The NOSTALGIA and EUREKA Points of View: In conversation, in journalism, in literature you will discern two points of view about LIFE, THE WORLD:

(11)

(a)

The NOSTALGIA: the days of old – how wonderful and peaceful they were – how secure we felt in our past.

(b)

The EUREKA: the past had all types of weaknesses – much discomfort in the days of old – BUT NOW we have invented X, Y, Z etc and in the future everything will be OK.

SIBELIUS SECOND SYMPHONY: “gorgeous” – most moving – the music could be basic to an OPERA.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 119 March 17 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (12)

THE CRIMINAL AND THE VICTIM: It amazes me the extent of concern for the criminal and the lack of concern for the victim (his family etc), at the present time. The law is humbugged, mucked up, taken apart, super interpreted in order to give the criminal a FAIR-BREAK – WHY? Somebody suggested: that the members of the public are basically SINFUL and could be provoked into the commission of a similar crime. BUT they regret and pity the fact that the criminal was caught. THIS EXPLANATION DEFIES MY CREDIBILITY.

(13)

AIDA on Sat. Dec 16 1978 MET. RADIO: Boris Goldowsky read a portion of MANN’s: MAGIC MOUNTAIN describing how the music of AIDA inspired the author. As a result Goldowsky elected a musical career.

(14)

POSSIBILITY and PROBABILITY: In a drama the author starts off with a POSSIBILITY – which the audience will allow. But from then on the succession of occurrences must be PROBABLE and not merely POSSIBLE.

(15)

THE WISE MAN instinctively appreciates and condones human foibles, oversights, minor transgressions of those around him. Not one iota of PRIGGISHNESS in him. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 120 March 24 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (16)

VILLAINS and VILLAINY: While I do enjoy WHODUNITS, MYSTERIES, I hate to hear (on TV) or read (book) about the acts of villainy (cruelty, brutality, sadism) performed in all their gory details. Give me an AGATHA CHRISTIE – a man is dead; he was killed – but don’t give me a “live” report on the victim’s struggle with the murderer and the details of the brutality.

(17)

To Writers of Children’s Books: (A BRITISH POINT OF VIEW) Three “Don’ts”: Don’t patronize; Don’t preach; Don’t be cute. Children are neither: (a) the miniaturized adults of the 18th century or (b) the potential rebels that the Victorians feared. But: they are personalities in their own right. Don’t write for children while throwing knowing glances at the grownups behind.

(18)

Identification: At my present age I (more and more) will identify myself with the interesting sympathetic characters of the TV Movie Drama provided the “production” has some artistic excellence. I particularly feel deeply for the damaged and the hurt characters.

(19)

Listened (and saw) O. HENRY “The Gift of Love” on XMAS 1978. I find the characters not convincing. Years ago people were a little more naïve, not as sophisticated as they are now.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 121 March 31 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (20)

Judging A Man By His Features: Despite the fact that scientists have concluded that PHYSIOGNOMY is not a science, writers, dramatists and the world in general will judge a person’s character by his (facial) features: i.e. a weak chin, a strong chin, greedy (fat) lips etc etc etc, much to the tragedy of the man who while he possesses the “minus” features is decent, unselfish, kind, strong etc characteristics, the reverse of those commonly accepted.

(21)

Judging A Man By His Facial Expression: I have met many a man who had (what is termed) a “sour” expression and found him even jovial in his conversation and behavior. I have also met many a man who had (what is termed) a “cheerful” expression and found him sad and gloomy. I don’t believe that there is any correlation between facial features and/or expression and character. Unfortunately led by writers, dramatists, journalists and others the public is sold on the idea that there is a correlation with those whose features are termed “negative”. This has a very tragic effect on the “negative featured” person since the public will not judge him on what he is but superficially on what the “world” thinks he must be.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 122 April 7 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (22)

In an autobiog how important are the facts – as long as the writer can recapture the moods, feelings and emotions of his past, I doubt whether the recounting of the facts matters to the reader.

(23)

Gossip about X consists of revealing his inconsistencies in thought, action or endeavor. And people love to listen to such inconsistencies.

(24)

Dr. Sam Johnson: Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Substitute GOD for PATRIOTISM and this will explain the action on the part of WATERGATE scoundrels.

(25)

GRIEF AND HAPPINESS: (BRITISH AUTHOR – who is he?) Grief can sometimes only be expressed in platitudes. We are original in our happy moments. Sorrow has only one voice, one cry. Grief is much easier to simulate than happiness. It demands little more than a subdued, the occasional outburst of righteous anger.

(26)

PROLEPTIC THOUGHT *: its mechanics are truly mysterious: the extraordinary business of suddenly getting the answer to a question and then having to go back and work out how it was got.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

*recently created descriptive term.

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Letter 123 April 14 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (27)

HUMAN NATURE: It is surprising how much you can learn about HUMAN NATURE from the books by AGATHA CHRISTIE and the JOHN MacDONALD McGEE stories.

(28)

FROM CHAIM BERMANT: DAIRY OF AN OLD MAN: A: Jews. We had them up our way and they hardly ate anything else but HERRING by the barrel load. B: I bet they are eating SALMON now. THEY MAKE IT QUICK! Don’t they? A: They make it quick; the JEWS do; Money!

(29)

ON G. B. SHAW: Rothenstein writes to the Beerbohms: We lunched with the Shaws last week. He is as vital as ever; but his talk is now a series of gramophone records with each one slipped into the machine according to his subject. But one cannot be expected to invent constantly at SHAW’s age. Beerbohm writes to Rothenstein: Have enjoyed reading Shaw’s WILLIAM MORRIS AS I KNEW HIM, but it was pleasure mingled with pain such as anything GBS always gives me. I love his brilliance and his cogency. But the hardness and too great brilliance of style affects me unpleasantly.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 124 April 21 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (30)

The WISE MAN allows for: a faint degree of nonconformity, a measure of occasional inequality, an occasional inconsistency etc. To his mind PRIGGISHNESS is almost a “foul crime”.

(31)

ON POETRY: in cryptic manner (style) without regard to grammar, syntax or idiom or word-chunks: expressing an observation, a thought, an emotion, a feeling, a mode. It is full of “think feel” (thoughts modified by feeling) effort. The emotional effect is much keener than it would have been had the author used the PROSE medium (chained by the rules of grammar, syntax etc).

(32)

HATING THOSE WHO WERE GOOD TO YOU A has been unusually kind to B. B should be kind and considerate to A. He should visit him. B forgets to visit and then his conscience strikes him for forgetting. The accumulation (at compound interest) of unfulfilled conscience – obligation becomes too emotionally difficult for B to handle. The result: A becomes a burden for B to handle and A becomes an anathema to B.

(33)

Two Deeply Touching Musical Fragments i. Unfinished Symphony refrain ii. Plaintive melody in TOSCA Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

Article enclosed: “Reflections on Memory” by John Sparrow, THE LISTENER, April 12, 1979. (Talk on Radio 3.) [Subject of article: Memory and the loss of memory – about remembering and forgetting. The writer states: “My own memory was never a good one, but such as it is, or was, I am beginning to lose it, and I find this both a worrying and an interesting process.”]

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Letter 125 April 21 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (34)

THE MYSTERY OF LIFE Cures via Medicine; Procedures for Surgery; Aids in Agriculture etc etc all “hidden” in NATURE. Man (like a detective) uses clues to make the discoveries. This is also true in social sciences – how individuals and groups behave under certain circumstances.

(35)

LIFE IS WORTH LIVING despite . . . (from SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL, PART IV by SCHUMACHER): I have come to the cheerful conclusion that life including economic life is still worth living BECAUSE IT IS SUFFICIENTLY UNPREDICTABLE to be interesting. Within the limits of our physical laws of nature, we are still masters of our individual and collective destiny, for good or ill. But the knowhow of the economist, the statistician, the natural scientist and engineer and even of the genuine philosopher, can help to clarify the limits within which our destiny is confined. The future cannot be forecast but it can be explored.

(36)

Reflections after reading ISAIAH BERLIN on LIBERTY on the subjects of Freedom, Free Will, Determinism: If I am subjected to certain stimuli, I will react in a certain fashion BUT What the stimuli will be – is that determined?

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

134


Letter 126 May 5 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (37)

OLD AGE by CAROBETH LAIRD: Old age can be a splendid time as long as one still lives in the mind. It’s more important to be able to think than to be able to jog. Because if you concentrate on the former, then whatever happiness (even if they are deaf and in solitary confinement), they will have resources which cannot be taken from them.

(38)

Speaking of a famous actress: At age 68 she is still beautiful, a tribute to the youthful theory that an expressionless face will age little.

(39)

Clever retorts to those who interrupt you: (a) Don’t talk when I am interrupting. (b) You have an impediment in your speech – you don’t listen.

(40)

Playwright Neil Simon’s Opinion: New York is cramped and Los Angeles is spacious. And that makes one nice to live in and the other nice to write about, but not vice versa. I am perfectly content to live in L.A. I don’t need N.Y. City to write in but I need it as a point of reference. The kind of writing I do is based on conflict in confined quarters. There is so much spaciousness in L.A. It’s hard to find confined quarters. It’s why I like to live here and why I find it difficult to write about.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

135


Letter 127 May 12 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK cont. (41)

The Consistency Fetish: Some persons are “afflicted” with that. They feel that they must be consistent for ever without exception. In order to preserve such a reputation they will occasionally lie and may even deliberately falsify.

(42)

The Poor: Nowadays any favor or privilege granted to them is immediately treated as an inalienable right thereafter.

(43)

As one grows old: Experiences difficulty in NAMING. No difficulty in recognizing or identifying. The difficulty comes in naming it (the man; the event; the book; the play etc).

(44)

Probability-Truths: Children should be taught the essence of PROBABILITY-TRUTHS thinking and thus understand gradually what is “probably dangerous” (smoking, drinking, excess sugar etc) and not be fooled by the fact that X’s father, a smoker, died at age 95; Y’s mother ate two pounds of candy daily and died at age 97 etc etc etc. If you cross a busy street at a spot rather than the legal crossing there is a GREATER CHANCE of getting hurt, yet there are many people who cross the street that way and are not hurt.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

Article enclosed: “A Paper in Padua” by Harold Evans, THE LISTENER, April 26, 1979, a review of “Newspapers: The Power and the Money” by Simon Jenkins. [The book is concerned with the current state of the newspaper industry in England.] Comment: EXTRAORDINARY REVELATIONS.

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Letter 128 May 19 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (45)

PSYCHOLOGY: should be the science of typing people by their behavior, their expressed opinions, their attitudes etc.

(46)

Teaching English to Foreigners: not via individual words but via idiomatic chunks and phrases.

(47)

Parkinson’s Law (Another example of): The manner in which the MEDIA will take a “simple” story (and even a “non-story”) and build it up via “iffy” hypothetical nothings, in order to fill newspaper space or TV time. A good example is CAMP DAVID meeting (ISRAELIS & EGYPTIANS). The Media was kept out. Yet much was written and said by the Media.

(48)

The Uniqueness of New York: A testing ground for (a) economically any new notion or idea that may be demanded (b) any new idea, thought, feeling in the areas of science, literature, music. It is a haven for SPECIALISTS in any of the areas of commerce and culture. It beckons to itself people with ideas, inventive ability etc etc.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

137


Letter 129 May 26 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (49)

When Congress Vacations: Since the members of the media know so much and are quick to point out Congress’s deficiencies, I suggest that the Senate be filled with 100% of the TV and Press big editors and the House of Representatives be filled with TV men and newspapermen. Let them introduce and pass what they consider IDEAL legislation and present the results to the Congress at its next session.

(50)

LAWS: In addition to PARKINSON’s LAW there are: i. MURPHY’s LAW: If anything CAN possibly go wrong, it will. ii. STERNE’s LAW: If anything CANNOT possibly go wrong, it will.

(51)

More About Murphy’s Law. Three versions: (a) Nothing is as easy as it looks. (b) Everything will take longer than you think it will. (c) If anything can go wrong, sometimes it will. Now (c) is well known to most scientists and technicians. It is interesting to note that DISRAELI once wrote: “What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expect generally happens.”

(52)

Opinion of a British Literary Critic: What should be a fair price of a novel? Answer: 10% of average weekly wage.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 130 June 2 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (53)

The advantage of sending youth to OXFORD or CAMBRIDGE for their academic training is that those places are ideal for youth to sow their cultural wild oats. There are sufficient pros and contra groups to hammer out any idea, any theory.

(54)

A quotation from WILLIAM BLAKE: He who would do good to another must do it in minute particulars. “General Good” is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite and flatterer.

(55)

Peculiarities of Famous Men: I am no longer fascinated by the accounts of the peculiarities of great men (artists, musicians, philosophers, statesmen etc). I don’t expect the BEST or the MOST CONSISTENT behavior of them. Hence if they deviate from the regular pattern of conduct I am neither surprised nor interested.

(56)

A good teacher should be able to assess the potential of the student.

(57)

A point of view on the part of certain elderly writers: As one grow old, conversation becomes meaningless. Therefore great old men (TOLSTOY and others) read aloud (to their visitors) their own writing (prose, poetry) in lieu of conversation.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

139


Letter 131 June 9 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (58)

Extract from JOURNEY FROM THE NORTH (AUTOBIOG) by STORM JAMESON I have an inexcusable fault. I hold that the writer has a duty, sink or swim, to be lucid. To be when it is fitting, profound, subtle, allusive, sincere, startling, difficult, but to struggle with all his energy to be clear. Not concise, not simple, not single-stranded – but lucid, as lucid as possible. A lucid sentence may not convey the truth; there may at a given point, be no expressible truth. But incoherence, confusion, obscurity, which do not yield to hard effort to grasp what is being said, are always the work of a charlatan, a self-deceiving humbug, or a clumsy idiot. Writing – since about 1933, when I first realized my clumsiness and dishonesty – with a fanatical attention to clarity, I have deserved the epitaph on my tombstone: “Here lies an accomplished writer.”

(59)

I have always had a (secret) admiration for bold, daring, saucy, cheeky characters who with a smile defy superficial convention; who with a smile, come back with a clever wisecrack (fearless and bold) to those anxious to put each “in his place”; who defy chilly receptionists, overdignified porters; who never tremble in the presence of the great (sic) man; who do not overworry about the future; who are extroverts and perfectly “secure”. I admire them provided that (in their high spirits) they do no harm to others.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

140


Letter 132 June 16 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (60)

Physiognomy is defined as “face as an index of character” and “the art of judging character from the face and form” and “correlation of character and the face”. For example, it has been the opinion of some that narrowly spaced eyes indicates dishonesty; a low-brow → unintelligent; blue eyes → gentleness; receding chin → little courage; receding forehead → little intellect; hooked nose → melancholy etc etc etc. One finds these throughout literature from SHAKESPEARE to AGATHA CHRISTIE. Scientifically there is NO correlation between any physical feature and character or personality. But literature falsely indicates that there is. And here is the danger. If the reader (of literature) heeds the author, he may become conditioned to judge people around him “falsely” much to the detriment of the people whom he (falsely and unscientifically) judges. If I were working for a PhD in ENGLISH, I would be tempted to select the subject: PHYSIOGNOMY IN SHAKESPEARE. I would reread SHAKESPEARE and record all the “bogus” correlation between the characters, their deeds and their features. One will find references to chin, eyes, ears, nose etc. The belief that character can be read from the face is reflected in old proverbs; it is found in the Bible, in the words of Aristotle, Plato, Seneca, Plutarch, Tacitus, Hippocrates and others. Include also Milton, Dryden, Kant, Boswell and many others.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

141


Letter 133 June 23 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (61) The BBC SHAKESPEARE PRODUCTION appears on Educational Television much to our delight. The acting is magnificent. Shakespeare’s language, imagery, poetry issues in constant stream evoking FEELINGS rich, varied and startling to the hearers (or readers) with terrific intensity. SHAW spoke nonsense when he railed against the practice of BARDOLATRY of SHAKESPEARE-WORSHIP. SHAW may be able to stimulate thinking about a phenomenon or cause but never could evoke feeling emotion as SHAKESPEARE did and does. (62) The Jew as a literary last resort subject: it always works and is always in favor. Whenever an author is out of plots and wants his reputation sustained, he finds refuge in THE JEW as a subject. (See Scott, Dickens and many others.) (63) The paintings of MUNCH. His subjects: grief, misery, disgust, loneliness, illness, death. All such emotions or moods powerfully depicted in MUNCH’s painting and watercolors. The faces are full of expression of deep sorrow one encounters in LIFE and LIVING. MUNCH as a “steady diet” – NO; but MUNCH occasionally “viewed” will balance people’s thinking and feeling about PEOPLE.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

142


Letter 134 June 30 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (64) Rereading PLATO’s DIALOGUES – most fascinating “discussions” in areas of Philosophy and Psychology not excluding Logic. I feel that one of the side-benefits of such reading is in recognizing how difficult it is to “put” great philosophic truths in WORDS. One finds that WORDS are inadequate; they don’t seem to do justice to your ideas or points of view. It leads one to define, subdefine, logic-chop the words, sentences and paragraphs you read and you still get very little. That is why ENGLAND’s greatest living thinkers suggest that you stop this defining, superdefining words that you use. WORDS are the best tools that you can use for expressing your ideas and feelings. Do as much as you can with WORDS. (65) Reread DIALOGUES of A. N. WHITEHEAD by LUCIEN PRICE. Whitehead was a great figure at HARVARD. He came there after retirement (LONDON UNIVERSITY). He came to HARVARD at age 63 where he established a great reputation. He held “open-house” at the apartment where he lived and the DIALOGUES represent some of the interesting conversations that took place there. The beauty of the volume is that you can turn to any page. You find flashes of thought and feeling that are staggering in their beauty and intensity.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

143


Letter 135 July 7 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (66) Here is a selection from DIALOGUES of A. N. WHITEHEAD: [See (65) in my Letter 134.] Poetry at its best comes somewhat near capturing in a net of words, one of these powerful evanescent moments of happiness or pain. After all a word is only a sound and the relationships between that sound and an experience is very artificial and arbitrary. Look up the poet’s words in the dictionary that the meanings there given do not total the poet’s; he has ADDED to their meanings by emotional overtones, so that in some cases you follow the accretions of meaning which successive poets have added to words. But always in the poetry itself is a fragrance of experience which the poet alone has been able to capture, though we recognize it as also our own. (67) Here is something else from Whitehead: By the poets Nature gets credit which should in truth be reserved for ourselves: the rose for its scent; the nightingale for its song; the sun for its radiance. The poets are entirely mistaken. They should address their lyrics to THEMSELVES and should turn them into odes of SELF-CONGRATULATION on the excellence of the human mind.* Nature is a dull affair, soundless, scentless and colorless: merely the hurrying of material, endlessly, meaninglessly. An unusual point of view, but sound even if daring.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

*It is the human mind that “distills” the rose for its scent, the nightingale for its music, the sun for its radiance.

144


Letter 136 July 14 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (68) The difficulties/problems with which a British Judge has to cope: There is no written Constitution; no single document from which the judge can derive authoritative guidance as to limits and scope of his authority; there is no penal and no civil code; etc etc. (69) Selection from: THE WORM OF DEATH by NICHOLAS BLAKE: I begin to see my life as a sort of inferior Greek tragedy full of “ifs” and “if nots” and heavy ironies. The HAMARTIA, the fateful flaw in myself that caused me to seduce MILLIE – from this everything has flowed. If I had not done so, GRAHAM would not have been born, and MILLIE might still be alive. If GRAHAM had not been born, there would have been no letters for JANET to intercept. If JANET had not then discovered about MILLIE, the last year of our marriage would not have been such as to erase all our previous life together and to alienate our children from me. They have never forgiven me for their mother’s death. And if JANET had not died when she did, I doubt if our daughter would have taken up with that mountebank BARN, or would our son married a nympho maniac. Fundamentally these were gestures made against me, gestures of would be emancipation. My comment: A remarkable declaration of a series of cause and effect events.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

145


Letter 137 July 21 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (70) Victorian Working-Class Living in England: The man reminiscing says: “When father turns we all turn” said the child in the Victorian Working-Class story about the family that slept 12 in a bed. (71) Aging and Impatience: As we grow older we get more and more impatient with what we hear, see and read. A long winded WHODUNIT is a bore. I believe it was JORGE BORGES who said that the short story could be abbreviated into a short-short or brief short story. Authors clumsily spend too much time and too many words in describing a character. We who are older struggle to know (recognize) the character described. We think we know him well and cannot tolerate the author’s overdescription. The author should have mastered sufficient skill to describe him in less detail. Hence I suggest a special type of fiction (novels, short stories) for intelligent, educated, senior (in years) readers. An important quality of the special writer’s skill would be brevity but cleverly brief – not cryptically brief. The author should “Come to the Point” early in the writing.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

146


Letter 138 July 28 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (72) After reading K. G. PFEIFFER on SOMERSET MAUGHAM: At the present time book shops are flooded with biographies and autobiographies. Now biogs about authors are interesting if the “biographee” is interesting. If he has some consistent point of view and he lives his life (and successfully) in the spirit of that consistency, then his adventures in living may be interesting. But if he is consistently inconsistent then he is merely the human conduit through which plays, novels, short stories flow. As a person he may be of no account and (in my opinion) his life need not necessarily be interesting because his works are interesting. The situation becomes worse when an AUTOBIOG appears. Here the hero-author selects facts to fit an ERSATZ consistency which in many cases does not exist. (73) BERMANT’s novel: DIARY OF AN OLD MAN evokes deep emotions of sympathy, sadness and pity for the sick elderly in their last years of life – a very powerful book. (74) The striking scene in THE CORN IS GREEN: The young student tells of his 3 day stay at OXFORD taking his ORAL examinations for the SCHOLARSHIP. He (there) suddenly finds himself in a culturally alive environment where for the first time he (and others) talked and talked and talked; so different from his little WELSH town where he had no one to talk to.

Affectionately, Daddy/ Papa

147


Letter 139 Aug 4 1979 Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (35) cont. (75) CONSISTENCY and INCONSISTENCY: The longer I live and the more I read, the more I find that the CONSISTENT man is rarer and rarer. It seems to me that at a particular age X held one particular opinion. At a subsequent age X, after more life’s experience plus more reading, held a different point of view with opinions different from those he once held. Why not? The only time when inconsistency is reprehensible is in the case of the politician who will deliberately change his point of view to gain a point or a political favor. Bertrand Russell changed his point of view particularly in philosophy many times during his life but he never did it to win favor or acclaim but genuinely because he was mentally prompted to do so. (76) Why is it that nowadays there is so much sympathy and concern for the criminal and very little for the unfortunate victim? Is it possible (I hesitate about expressing such opinion) that the public would not be averse to committing CRIME itself? And the regret and sympathy is for the fact that the criminal was caught? (77) Inanimate matter obeys the laws of physics without judgement. The collar button of the great artist falls to the ground while he paints; the pencil of the great scientist slips out of his hand on to the floor and can’t be found; the china cup slips through your fingers and falls to the floor and cracks etc etc etc. Nature blindly obeys NEWTON’s LAW and similar laws and uses no judgement to make exceptions; and this angers MAN!

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

148


Letter 140 Aug 11 1979 Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (78) James AGATE, famous critic and diarist, had for a long time felt that our classics in books and plays could be successfully condensed. As things are now it is impossible for a person during his lifetime to read even a portion of the great literature of the past. Is there something sacred about including all the books? Could we select and keep all that is timely, interesting and not boring? Would AGATE want to do the same with MUSIC i.e. condense the symphonies, concertos etc? (79) Alfred Hitchcock in discussing his methods of selecting and directing his movies emphasizes the benefits of SHOCK and SUSPENSE as important elements in the picture. But says he: “If you create the fear, you have to relieve it!” (80) JOHN STUART MILL in his autobiography tells how disturbed he was (one day) to think that after a time “plots” in music or fiction (short stories) would repeat themselves. I believe that at the present time in the TV area, so many “plots” are being produced that many plots are rehashes of plots once developed. (81) Why I read fiction: A good way of vicariously meeting interesting people provided I select the proper book. These people will not bore me and if they do, I just close the book. I want to participate (even vicariously) in the lives of the characters, listen to their thinking and sometimes even feel with them when they undergo powerful emotional experiences. But they cannot be flat. They must display the workings of the mind and the heart. (82) What a person does not easily forget or forgive: A social “cut” or a social “slight”.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

149


Letter 141 Aug 18 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (83) A quotation I came across but I can’t place the author: “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” (84) A comment on JUDGE DENNING (a famous British judge): Denning was more interested in the OUGHT of JUSTICE rather than the IS of the LAW. The difficulty he experienced when he was “on the bench” was in determining WHOSE JUSTICE, NOT WHOSE LAW, because the latter could be found in statute and precedent. (85) PLUMB, famous English historian, philosopher, litterateur in a lecture recently delivered at the FOLGER LIBRARY declared that he was very happy that he had no children. He felt that bringing up children was very taxing and for the father a waste of time. Also he hated childhood and adolescence; he wanted to be grown up overnight. (86) Was quite impressed with a short story I read the other day entitled: “The Revelation” by TONY STEED (LONDON MYSTERY SELECTION #118). It is an unusual story and deals with a man who suddenly loses his sense of FEELING. His mind is good; his logical facility is not impaired; his body is in good shape. But he has lost his capacity for any type of feeling (love, anger, jealousy etc). (87) POEM – MEMORY To be born daily anew Not to carry the bonds of memory Not to be tied to the past To enter life periodically afresh Guiltless for the sins of the past With ideas anew and emotions afresh. Praise me or blame me for this. It is my creation. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa 150


Letter 142 Aug 25 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (88) It seems to me that what people don’t realize is that in a RECESSION (economic) it is of no use protesting increases in costs of goods and services but to cut down on the use of such goods and services. It becomes essential if we cannot decrease the COST OF LIVING to reduce your STANDARD OF LIVING. The great sufferers are the fixed income people, the elderly, the pensioned who find it difficult to meet the constantly rising higher costs. (89) A remark made by BOORSTIN (LIBRARY OF CONGRESS) the other day set me thinking about the world as it now is. He said that the reason for people feeling uncomfortable and even miserable these days (as opposed to such feeling in the past) is that people are OVERCOMMUNICATED. There is a surplus of momentary news: stuff that does not last; it evaporates soon. Very rarely does there arise an item of news that cannot wait to the end of the week. It’s like getting reports on a sick patient MINUTE by MINUTE. (90) Getting into a temper! Why? I find that the mind gets disgusted with the machine i.e. the body. I believe that for the most part, the mind is in a better shape than the body. Also the body has a way of obeying all NATURE’s laws (i.e. gravity, laws of Physics etc ) particularly those called for by its machine. It obeys those laws without exception without judgement. [See (77)] (91) In ULAM: ADVENTURES OF A MATHEMATICIAN: Ulam says that when VON NEUMANN (Mathematician – Princeton, Los Alamos: The Atom Bomb etc) lay dying, a deep despair came over him, for it was impossible for him to imagine that HE WOULD STOP THINKING. For Von Neumann’s friends, Von Neumann and Thinking were synonymous.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

151


Letter 143 Sept 1 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (92) MATH as a discipline. I believe in that. It matters not what your field of work will be, if you have any capacity for thinking, indulging in MATH (doing problem after problem) will sharpen the mind. But like all disciplines one has to be motivated to be so disciplined; and this is where good Math teachers (as scarce as hen’s teeth) come in. (93) Have been working on a paper on the PYTHAGOREAN THEOREM (right triangle: square of hypotenuse equals sum of squares of the two other sides) prompted by DANIEL’s request to send him puzzles weekly. I cannot describe the joy and excitement that task afforded me. I dug deep; I asserted and then disagreed; I concluded and found weaknesses in the validity of my conclusion; I questioned my assertions; whenever I made a quick decision, I suspected it etc etc. I cannot explain (as much as I want to) the sheer unalloyed joy I experienced in that adventure. In BERTRAND RUSSELL’s AUTOBIOG Vol 1, Russell says: At age 11 I began EUCLID. This was one of the great events of my life, as dazzling as first love. I had not imagined that there was anything so delicious in the world. After I had learned the fifth proposition, my brother told me that it was generally considered difficult, but I had found no difficulty whatever. This was the first time it dawned on me that I might have some intelligence. From that moment until Whitehead and I finished PRINCIPIA MATHEMATICA (when I was 38) mathematics was my chief interest and my chief source of happiness.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

152


Letter 144 Sept 8 1979 Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (94) The British method of treating strikers and rebels seems to be of regarding them as if they were little boys gone wrong or adults sowing their social wild oats with the hope that sooner or later they would land on more solid social terra firma. (95) The popularity and success of a novel will depend on the economic and social conditions of the time it was written. What was then said or thought or concerned about, may at some time in the future be relatively trite and of very little sacred or aesthetic concern. (96) In one of the letters by Virginia Woolf considering marrying Leonard Woolf: “How I hate marrying a Jew! How I hate their nasal voices and their oriental jewelry! What a snob I was; for they have immense vitality and I think I like that quality, the best of all.” Leonard Woolf in his novel: THE WISE VIRGIN tells the reader that he had a twinge of conscience at marrying a Gentile. (97) My knowledge of the world as a boy I got, not from meeting people but from reading books dealing with particular people in particular groups. That is why my understanding of Real (day to day) people was so unrealistic and my ethical, aesthetic and cultural requirements so unrealistic. (98) From a book I recently read: “Bearing in mind SMITH’s anti-Black prejudices, he had made a successful effort to be decent, BUT THE EFFORT SHOWED.” (99) Advice to a beginning Newspaperman by a VETERAN: “Never believe anything until it is officially denied.”

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

153


Letter 145 Sept 15 1979 Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (100) EMOTIONS: EMOTING QUALITATIVELY and QUANTITATIVELY: Whether X feels or does not feel depends very much on the emotive condition of the “feeler”. Some people do feel; some don’t. Some feel lightly and some don’t feel at all. Hence the fact that listeners or viewers don’t feel or don’t feel deeply is not necessarily indicative that the book they read or movie or TV they saw and heard was badly constructed or badly acted. (101) Characters in a novel, movie or TV piece – Convincing or Not Convincing? How to tell. In many cases you have to judge the “probability of a possibility”. How probable that such a thing could possibly happen? Can we ever tell? (102) Deep Feeling: In Tsarist Russia, in Victorian England, in pre-revolution France: the emotional atmosphere tense with hatred, cruelty, poverty, suffering, hunger, starvation, oppression etc – hence magnificent novels – possibly nowadays we don’t have such emotion rising incidents or experience. Hence our fiction is flat. In his helplessness the author has turned to sex. (103) Bureaucratic Danger: The member of the bureaucratic group has to be on the go to find running work. Hence they constantly have to create (unnecessary) work; hence nuisance effect. See PARKINSON’s books. (104) GRESHAM’s LAW: Trivial matters are solved promptly; important matters are never solved. (105) DALGLISH’s LAW: Good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

154


Letter 146 Sept 22 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (106) Consistency a Fetish: In order to keep up the reputation of constant consistency so people will stoop to use all means, even that of LYING. Few seem to have the courage of confessing or agreeing that they have breached their consistency reputation of saying something that they (in the past) asserted they would never say or doing something that they would never do. Unless the lapse from consistency becomes habitual one’s personality will not have been damaged by an occasional deviation in thought, utterance or action. It’s the crooked politician in whom there is no consistency at all, whose opinions and actions sway with wind of (supposed) public opinion, whom we cannot trust; but the average will not damage himself or his reputation by occasional lapsing from a reputed consistency. (107) The Tragedy of Deformity: J. H. PLUMB’s Essay on ALEXANDER POPE: His deformity (an ugly, terrible sight) which he, as much as his friends, wished to ignore but could not, resembled an ineradicable dye since it strained all thought and feeling. Deformity is commonly hideous in its effects. It corrodes character, leading to deceit, treachery, malignity, and false living; and as often as not, vitiates those entangled in the sufferer’s life as much as the sufferer himself. Is that true? Surely I have met people with deformities and found them in many cases quite decent people. Is J. H. PLUMB exaggerating a situation or is his experience a very much limited one? (108) TV or no TV: Moyes made an experiment and concluded that TV supplies you with constant company at your home; it counters loneliness; in fact you are never alone with your TV working.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

155


Letter 147 Sept 29 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (109) The decent person does not make fun of anybody. He tolerates all types of deportment or behavior deviations as long as those do not affect him. He easily overlooks human frailties. There is no priggishness in his attitudes towards other people. He sensibly controls his sense of humor and he sees fun in the use (abuse, ambiguity) of language with double (intellectual) meanings. He may be a man of wit but he leaves funny stories about people to the TV and vaudeville monologue comedians. (110) A “must” to which people don’t pay much attention. The art of requesting “directions” to a particular place and the “art” of giving “directions”: these “arts” should be taught at school. I have so often been “misdirected” and in many cases the fault was mine. I did not request these directions clearly. (111) The workings of PARKINSON’s LAW in all government bureaus: Complicate a law and interpret the law as much as you can. This means more work, more people for the bureau, a bigger job at the head of the bureau etc etc. (112) Since our legislators are aware of the EVIL of (111) above, in many cases a needed law is not enacted because legislators have a vision of a large expanded bureau to carry out the law.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 148 Oct 6 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (113) (From DIALOGUES of A. N. WHITEHEAD by LUCIEN PRICE (editorial writer, BOSTON GLOBE): Price: Slang is the bane of my writing life. Being in a newspaper office, I hear it spoken continually, and for a newspaper-reading public, complicated ideas read need to be seemingly simple language, but with the literary language to fall back upon at need. For this, slang looks like a short cut but it isn’t: it is a dead end, a blind alley. Whitehead: As between your speech and ours, American and English, it is a difference in “style”. If we have style in ours, even in the vernacular, it is because we can’t help ourselves; we are unaware of it; but I think IDIOM and VOCABULARY, for the time being at least, are spread thinner over here in USA. I often sense a paucity of words even with my friends here, who have had most access to them, and if I do hear “style” in speech, it has had to be acquired (however meritoriously) and that means it had to come out of books. Price: A striking instance of that came to me in one of our Massachusetts small towns. He was a 14 year old English boy brought over here to live. Parent for parent and class for class he was no different from the American Boy Scouts he played with – yet every time that English lad opened his mouth, he shamed me with his beautiful speech, a natural English idiom. It was nothing he was aware of. He was speaking the only way he knew.

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Letter 148 - 2

Price: When HOWARD LINDSAY was playing LIFE WITH FATHER, a Chinese came back to thank H. L. for a “delightful evening”. H. L. wanted to know what it was about the play that he enjoyed so much. “Why,” said the Chinese, “my father used to fuss just like that at breakfast.”

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

P. S. Was I as bad as all that?

158


Letter 149 Oct 13 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. FROM: EXPERIENCES by TOYNBEE (114) His aim: “My aim was to expand my horizon and my field up to the limit of my capacity.” (115) A POEM: I was running a race with the Reaper, I hesitated; he lingered; I won; Now strike, Death! You sluggard, you sleeper, You cannot undue what I have done. (116) Toynbee’s Musings on Death: Death does eventually release each of us, in turn, from the burdens and injustices of this life. Death is in fact our eventual savior from the tyranny of human society in this world – a tyranny that is tolerable (if at all), only because it has an inexorable time limit. At the moment of death the (USA) IRS authorities and the inflators will suddenly become impotent to affect me any further. When I catch myself resenting not being immortal, I pull myself up short by asking myself whether I should really like the prospect of having to make out an annual income tax for an INFINITE number of years ahead. (117) A quotation from ANON: “He made me feel that LIFE was still full of possibilities – that anything could happen.”

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 150 Oct 20 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (118) Advertisements on TV: Is it possible that an important contribution to the nervousness of some people is the continuous blast of TV advertising? Not only does it kill the continuity of the pictures or the TV show but it also affects the nervous structure of the listener who is bombarded by masses of sound (shouting and yelling) characteristic of an oriental bazaar. (119) Interview with a famous British judge: JUDGE DENNING. Judge D. was more interested in the “OUGHT” of Justice than the “IS” of the Law. The difficulty was in determining “whose” Justice, not “whose” Law, because the latter can be found in statute and precedent. (120) AUTOBIOGRAPHY is as close to impossible as an art and two sorts of falsification are common: (a) the bare recital of facts in which the “shape” of the author’s life gets “lost” and (b) the imposition of a realistic theme from the outside. Both under and over-interpolation are available to the “third person” biographer and what if the biographer happens also to be the subject (i.e. autobiographer). (121) The function of the Playwright and the Actors: to throw the audience into such an emotional state so that they leave the theatre emotionally (almost) worn out.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 151 Oct 27 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (122) Essay in British Medical Journal Dec 1949, “The Insight Into the WellEstablished Connection Between Conflict and Creativeness in Artists Themselves.” The essay gives a list of some great writers who were sufficiently mentally unbalanced to have been born notorious in this respect as well as for the greatness of their artistic achievements: Blake, Boswell, Bunyan, Burns, Byron, Chatterton, Coleridge, Collins, Cooper, De Quincy, Dickens, Donne, Johnson, Lamb, Rossetti, Ruskin, Shelley, Swinburne, Tennyson, Francis Thompson. Also from other than an English nation: Baudelaire, Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, Goethe, Gogol, Nietzsche, Poe, Rimbaud, Rousseau, Strindberg, Swedenborg, Verlaine. (123) Book: DIALOGUES OF WHITEHEAD by LUCIEN PRICE As I read these I cannot but observe that each page could have been embellished into any number of essays by a writer with Russell’s facility of writing. When I want to do some reading that is sound but not too involved I pick up a volume of Russell and read an essay or two. WHITEHEAD’s DIALOGUES should have been reissued in the form of a series of essays.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 152 Nov 3 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (124) JAMES H AUSTIN in his book: CHASE, CHANCE AND CREATIVITY quotes facts garnered by ARIETI (“Creativity: The Magic Synthesis”) and ZUCKER (“Scientific Elite”) regarding NOBEL PRIZE statistics: (a) A Jew was 28 times more likely to be a NOBEL PRIZE winner than some one else in the total world population at large. (b) Ratio of French Nobel Prize winners to winners from the rest of the world was 6:3; of Germans 4:4; of Italians 1:6. (c) Jews led especially in Medicine and Physics. (d) The proportion of Jewish Nobel Prize winners was nine times the proportion of Jews in the general population. Jews comprised 3% of the U S population; they accounted for 27% of all the Nobel Prize winners in USA. A MOST ASTOUNDING RECORD. (125) A not uncommon occurrence and a sound reaction: “I dislike to be put in a position where explanations are INEVITABLE.” (126) Some characteristics of (what the English call) a “Decent” person: never makes fun of people; accepts the heterogeneity of people; never angry with a person or people; incapable of taking revenge on those who harmed him; tolerates a reasonable amount of pettiness in people.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 153 Nov 10 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (127) The Sense of Wonder in a Child: The charm of a child (to adults’ minds) is a naiveté of reaction to life. It is the sense of “wonder”, the unusualness of which delights and (in most cases) stimulates the child. It is the sense of romance that brings so much joy to him when he reads fairy tales. Nowadays it seems to me that children have become adults in miniature with no sense of wonder; there is little naiveté; he cockily knows it all from TV; in his emotional reactions he is almost adult and (in my opinion) without charm and beauty. (128) Steinbeck in a letter to a friend in which he told him how he would like to die: “In the midst of my writing, in the middle of a sentence, in the middle of a paragraph, in the middle of a book I shall be writing.” (129) Graduate work for MA, PhD.: Of what use is the final product? In many cases, of little use. But the purpose (for the main part) of the graduate work is not to add to the field of knowledge but to acquire the skill to do research: to know what and where to look for; to be able to separate the useful from the useless material; to discipline oneself in doing the research; to give expression to one’s own ideas on the subject of study. In most cases new knowledge is rarely acquired.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 154 Nov 17 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (130) An unusual quality that certain people have (from a book by LUCILLE KALLEN entitled INTRODUCING C. B. GREENFIELD): Andrew, who was bent over his work, slowly straightened up and looked with equanimity, straight into my eyes, and I felt a sensation I had not felt for many a year. There are some men who possess a quality which goes way beyond romantic and even sexual appeal, a quality which literally enslaves. It has very little to do with looks and nothing at all to do with youth because there are some quite mature and unathletic people who have it. It is an expression in the eyes or an aura of being in control and responsible, or something easy and powerful in the stance. Anyhow Andrew had it and I felt distinctly uncomfortable in his presence. (131) Interesting Quotation: “He made me feel that LIFE was full of possibilities i.e. that anything could happen.” (132) Quotation at the funeral of a holy man: “Rain at a funeral is GOD’s own tears.” (133) On the EYE: The EYE “makes the face” and to a certain extent tells things about the man; and the “expression” of the eye particularly tells about his feelings.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 155 Nov 24 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (134) More about the EYE: An area that has enthralled me these days is that of “THE EYE, AN INDICATOR OF PERSONALITY” (the eye itself, and changes and movements within the eye). A piece of history: The jade dealers of the ORIENT veiled their eyes during bargaining so that the dilation of their pupils would not portray their excitement over a particularly fine piece of jewelry. Some of them even wore crude dark spectacles in order to mask the sign of enthusiasm and so, it was hoped, avoid any interest in the trader’s asking price. More about this in a later letter. (135) Attributed to SOCRATES: Advice to a man: By all means get married. If you get a good wife, you will be happy. If you get a bad one, you will become a philosopher – and that is good for every man. (136) Attributed to the wife of a great scientist: Why are married great scientists greater than unmarried great scientists? Because they have wonderful wives by their side to help advise and encourage them. (137) Attributed to STRUTHERS BURT: “The remembrance of beauty: The beauty of a thing or of a personal relationship, or of a country, has always seemed to me the chief end of LIFE. Remembrance is the one sure immortality we know.”

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 156 Dec 1 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (138) From DUMITRIU: THE SARDINIAN SMILE, THE CONTENT OF A SENTIMENTAL BALLAD: Once upon a time there was a son who fell in love with a wicked woman and was asked by her to produce a final unanswerable proof of his passion. What he must do is bring her his mother’s heart. So the boy killed his mother, tore out her heart and hurried back with it to his mistress. But in his haste he stumbled and fell on the way. The heart flew out of his hand. As it hit the ground, a voice came from it saying: “Have you hurt yourself my son?” (139) A fascinating volume to browse over is FOWLER’s MODERN ENGLISH USAGE. Of particular interest is the listings of words and phrases that come under the following categories: popularized technicalities, hackneyed phrases, clichés, battered ornaments, irrelevant allusions, worn out humor, slipshod extensions, e.g. blessing in disguise, conspicuous by his absence, damn with faint praise, explore every avenue, irony of fate, neither rhyme nor reason, through thick or thin, etc etc. The cliché is a word or phrase whose felicity and particular content (when it was first employed) won it such popularity that it is apt to be used unsuitably or indiscriminately. More in a later letter.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 157 Dec 8 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (140) Talking about the use of words [see (139)] leads me to the following comment by IVOR BROWN, British literary man of distinction: The craftsman is proud and careful of his tools; the surgeon does not operate with an old razor blade; the sportsman fusses happily and long over the choice of rod, gun, club or racquet. But the man who is working in words, unless he is a professional writer (and not always then) is singularly neglectful of his instruments. (141) Here I give FOWLER’s RULES FOR GOOD WRITING: Anyone who wishes to become a good writer should endeavor before he allows himself to be tempted by more showy qualities, to be: direct, simple, brief, vigorous and lucid. This general principle may be translated into general rules in the domain of vocabulary as follows: (a) Prefer the familiar word to the farfetched; (b) Prefer the concrete word to the abstract; (c) Prefer the single word to the circumlocution; (d) Prefer the short word to the long; (e) Prefer the Saxon word to the Romance. These rules are given in order of merit: the last is also the least. Example: “In the contemplated eventuality” is a phrase that is at once: the farfetched, the abstract, the periphrastic, the long and the Romance. Substitute: “If so” and you have said the same in conformity with the five rules. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

167


Letter 158 Dec 15 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (142) Two more quotations regarding the use of words: i.

CERVANTES, Preface to DON QUIXOTE: Do but take care to express yourself in a plain, easy Manner in well chosen, significant and decent Terms, and to give a harmonious and pleasing Turn to your Periods; study to explain your thoughts, and set them in the truest Light, laboring as much as possible not to leave them dark, nor intricate but clear and intelligible.

ii. G. M. Young: The final cause of speech is to put an idea as exactly as possible out of one mind into another. Its formal cause therefore is such choice and disposition of words as will achieve this end most economically. (143) Read the novella THE WOMAN DESTROYED by that brilliant French Feminist author SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR. I will not go into detail in describing the author’s delicate sensitivity to life, to people; her brilliant technique of style; her marvellous understanding of MAN and WOMAN, of human nature. If you can get a copy from the library, get it and read it. It will give you much joy.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

168


Letter 159 Dec 22 1979

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (144) One of the interesting observations made by a distinguished foreigner touched on the subject of multiplicity of laws in USA. It seemed to him that in this country there is a notion that if something is considered “wrong”, the best way to “right” it is via a new law. This goes on and on until one is overwhelmed by the abundance of laws and the difficulty experienced even by the decent citizen in respecting or complying with these laws. In many cases the “wrongs” could have been righted without the need of a new law; the “wrong” might have naturally disappeared and would never recur. It is only rarely that you would be needing a new law. Laws should be at a minimum and only after careful consideration and study that a new law should be enacted. A sensible and sensitive democracy must apply judgement in the manner and the extent to which it adds to the laws now in existence. (145) From BROWNING: BISHOP BLOUGHRAM’s APOLOGY: Our interest is on the dangerous edge of things, The honest thief, the tender murderer, The superstitious atheist, demirep,* That loves and saves her soul in new French books – We watch while these in equilibrium keep The giddy line midway. * a woman of doubtful reputation

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 160 Dec 29 1979 A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (146) I sometimes wonder whether the aggregate quantity of human mercy, kindness, graciousness etc is not limited. I mean that there are so many sick and elderly who need such humane attention and cannot get it, not because one cannot financially afford it but because it is beyond the human capacity to grant such “services”. The demand exceeds the supply. Who can humanly react sympathetically to the many human emotional problems besetting the unfortunate? Our hospitals cannot recruit sufficient special nurses to handle (patiently) special problems of health care (physical or mental). Man can help his suffering fellowman up to a degree. His capacity for super nobility is limited. (147) The movie CASABLANCA is considered by movie critics to be the second greatest movie ever made (only second to GONE WITH THE WIND). Why so popular with all audiences and why never “dated”? It is filled with “graspable” values: love, honor, courage, things you learn with your heart and not with your glands. (148) It is amazing how philosophers like Russell and Wittgenstein “loved” whodunits, detective stories! In the case of W. he preferred the old U.S. dime novels to sophisticated Dorothy Sayers mysteries.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

170


Letter 161 Jan 5 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (149) When you say you like a person X or adore a person Y, all you (in effect) mean is that you find certain aspects of X’s personality likeable and certain aspects of Y’s personality admirable. It is a mistake to feel that you like X in toto or admire Y in toto and then be disappointed because neither X nor Y in toto measures up to your conception of him. One cannot like the whole person; one must be content to like or admire half a person. Hence in judging X or Y don’t look for perfect consistency in either. Chunks of inconsistency will from time to time come to the surface. I think of BERTRAND RUSSELL (a man whom I very much admired) with his many behavior inconsistencies. I feel that a complex personality is made up of a lot of sub-personalities acting together without regard to the fetish of consistency. Therefore I prefer a great man’s diary (with its many inconsistencies) to an autobiography carefully polished up to show uniformity of thinking and uniformity of behavior. (150) Came across this statement from a man of achievement: “I would rather give a party for my enemies than for my friends, for at least they would have something in common.”

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

171


Letter 162 Jan 12 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (151) I read (149) to a friend. This is what he said in brief: There is no such thing as the “whole man”. Man is a bundle of men with no consistency between them. People should be interested in cultivating one of the “part-man”. Biographies are a fraud; autobiographies are a joke. If we take Bertrand Russell as the subject: there are 20 BR’s – some are exquisite – some are stinkers. Select the wheat and get rid of the chaff. In Whitehead’s thinking (See: DIALOGUES OF WHITEHEAD by Lucian Price) some ideas are profound, some are senseless even silly and some are rich in thought and imagination . . . (152) Interesting observation by SIMENON in MAIGRET AND THE APPARITION about the relationship between MAIGRET and his wife: “They never addressed each other by name, nor were they in the habit of exchanging endearments. What was the point, since both felt that, in many ways, they were one person?” (153) An interesting story told by an OXFORD lecturer. After a lecture, a little lady bustled up to him and enthused: “Oh, Master, that was splendid. Your topic was a subject about which I have been so confused.” Pleased, he said: “And now you understand it better?” She replied: “Not really; but I am confused on a much higher level.”

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 163 Jan 19 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (154 -155) Two thoughts by CANON RONDER, a character in THE CATHEDRAL by HUGH WALPOLE: He distrusted self-contempt in man, because nothing made him so uncomfortable as those moments of his own when he wondered whether he was all that he thought himself to be. Those moments did not last long but he hated them so bitterly that he could not bear to see them at work in other people. How many years ago now he had decided that ANGER and HATRED were emotions that every wise man (at all cost to his pride, his impatience, his self confidence) avoided. Everything could be better achieved without these weaknesses, and for many years he had tutored and trained himself, until at last he had reached the fine height of superiority. From that height he had suddenly fallen. (156) A Victorian Gentleman Losing His Temper. See G. B. SHAW PYGMALION – last scene: HIGGINS: * “You have caused me to lose my temper: a thing that has hardly ever happened to me before.” * to the girl he transformed into a lady.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

173


Letter 164 Jan 26 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (157) SPEAKING PECULIARITIES ABOUT OXFORD STUDENTS AS EXPRESSED BY AN AMERICAN STUDENT: Those of us who follow BBC drama on our TV may agree with the following: They swallow their syllables, so when they speak I don’t even hear all their words. They pause and breathe in the middle of the sentence, rush past the period at the end, and pause again in the middle of the next sentence. If I could learn to do it too, I’d sure be able to keep the floor in meetings at home. Nobody would know when to interrupt. (158) How My Mind (Unfortunately) Works: Some people read, study etc and remember chunks of what they read and what they studied. In my case, every word, sentence, paragraph, page etc that I read or study goes immediately into a mental or emotional stew pot where it gets mixed up with the other ingredients, losing its individual identity. Hence I can never tell you what X contributed in philosophy, or Y in psychology or Z in mathematics. All that information is ground up, mixed up with other “knowledge” in my mind. No “instant recall” of facts of knowledge.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

174


Letter 165 Feb 2 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (159) Some Aspects of TOLERANCE from an essay by JOHN WISDOM (a) It may be false. A man may meet the intolerable behaviour of another with tolerant words (and tolerant actions) while there is in his heart a bitter resentment which he conceals perhaps a regard for his own welfare or because he thinks he ought to be tolerant. (b) More deceptive still, a man may conceal not only from others but also from himself the inward intolerance that lies behind his outward tolerance. (c) Tolerance, whether false or genuine may be foolish. A man who aims to be tolerant should envisage his own tolerance. (d) Tolerance, even when it is genuine may be hurtful to others. A host may tolerate the rudeness of a guest and do so not only at his own expense but at the expense of his other guests. (e) There is a tolerance which rightly or wrongly people dislike, not because they suspect that it isn’t genuine, but because they think it shows that he who is being tolerant shows too little regard for himself. “A man should stand up for himself!” (f) Even among those who set very high the limits of proper tolerance, few will deny that there are limits. Nearly all will allow that some insults, some injuries to oneself, call for some measure of resistance even violent measures.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

175


Letter 166 Feb 9 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (160) MISCELLANEOUS A-Series (IN BRIEF FORM) A 1: Cannot understand why my eyes fill with tears as I become much emotionally affected when groups of people express themselves emotionally e.g. chorus singing; wedding service; funeral service; family birthday celebration; graduation etc. Whenever the members of a group emote, I emote accordingly. A 2: The egalitarianism fever: in the sixties and seventies the people in the “democratic” countries all suffering from “I’m as good as you are”; equality and “fair play”; fever; hence strikes, economic disturbances etc. This reminds me that even Bernard Shaw preached this “equal pay to everybody” nonsense. A 3: As a young man the unpleasant characteristics of my personality can be summarized: PRUDISHNESS; PEDANTRY; PRIGGISHNESS. I hope that I have improved with age. A 4: Reading a Book: Never instant recall; every bit I read is mentally chewed up and becomes part of my mental equipment. Occasionally Memory may bring forth some morsels of my past reading. For the most part memory will not bring forth chunks of my past reading. A 5: Agatha Christie describes people with their foibles. The characters in her book never grow, never evolve, never change. Their foibles stick and are recognizable in many people we know.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

176


Letter 167 Feb 16 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (161) MISCELLANEOUS B-Series (IN BRIEF FORM) B1:

BUREAUCRAT and BUREAUCRACY: Nothing wrong about the creation of a “B” to interpret and explain laws and mildly “govern” via a law passed. The danger is that the “B” will create new work in order to keep the “B” going. Such work was never anticipated when the law was passed. Thus there is constant growth and development unanticipated.

B 2: The purpose of life insurance: Insurance is designed to spread risk. In the case of life insurance, the risk is that of PREMATURE death. Life insurance exists because people who generate income fear that death will occur before they will accumulate a fund sufficient to satisfy a prospective financial need. Those who have no significant prospective financial needs do not require any life insurance. B 3: The behavior of inanimate objects (collar button falling down; shoe lace cracking; razor slipping through your fingers; left sleeve of shirt unwilling to permit your arm to enter; soap slipping out of your hands etc.) most exasperating in their adherence to Newton’s Law and other laws of physics. These objects in their behavior display no judgement and make no exceptions. B 4: Somebody writing in TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT quoted an author’s three reasons for writing a book: TALENT, MALICE, MONEY. Also possible is the satisfaction one gets from SelfExpression.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

177


Letter 168 Feb 23 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (162) Miscellaneous C-Series (IN BRIEF FORM) C 1: Quotation from MALCOLM MUGGERIDGE, recognized in England as a contemporary irritant who is “more capable of making diametrically opposed statements with such confidence and giving a sort of poetic meaning to a tangled paradox”: I often find, as Oscar Wilde said, that if somebody agrees with me, then I feel I might be wrong. How, if people agreed with me could I fulfill my ambition to be one of life’s minor irritants? C 2: From ULAM: ADVENTURES OF A MATHEMATICIAN, p. 275: The rabbis felt that the only weapon for survival was LOGIC and they established that in the TALMUD. Marx felt that the TALMUD may be the good weapon in good times only. Hence Marx’s theory that the things that happen depend on economic conditions; when economic conditions are bad, logic will not help. C 3: The British rarely go on an emotional binge. They take their emotions in stride. C 4: I know I logically should not, but as I grow older, I seem to worry more about far off contingencies. C 5: The task of historians is to “worry out” the questions to which historical events are the answers.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

178


Letter 169 March 1 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (163) Miscellaneous D-Series (IN BRIEF FORM) D 1: When you are waiting for something to happen, you should have already worked yourself up to the point of anticipating PROBABILITY expectations. If you (on one occasion) have to wait longer for a bus due but from past experience you know that in 9 times out of 10 the bus is on time, then don’t excite yourself with excess impatience. D 2: The decent man: forgives, overlooks etc foibles and eccentricities displayed by other people as long as such foibles do not unpleasantly affect him. D 3: The Prig takes account of all the minuses (regardless how petty) he finds in X such as his non-compliance, his peculiarities of dress, his occasional weakness in the area ethical, his aesthetic limitations etc. He expects perfection in others and has NO sense of humor. D 4: In our activities much exasperation is due to the fact that we treat (and naively expect from) INANIMATE THINGS as if they were humans. [See also (161) B 3] D 5: D. H. PLUMB’s Point of View: No man of greatness actual or potential has any business wasting valuable time bringing up children. By adding to his worries (via children) he is compounding responsibility as well as worries.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

179


Letter 170 March 8 1980

Dear A & H; L & E: Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTE BOOK (36) cont. (164) THE PRIG AND PRIGGISHNESS (Some opinions expressed by one who dislikes PRIGS) A PRIG: (a) is a believer in red tape; he exalts the method above the work done. (b) says like the PHARISEE: “GOD, I thank thee that I am not as other men are,” except that he often substitutes SELF for GOD. (c) is one who works out his paltry account to the last cent while his millionaire neighbor lets accounts take care of themselves. (d) expects others to squeeze themselves to his very inadequate measuring rod and condemns them with confidence, if they do not. (e) is wise beyond his years in all that matters. (f) practically calls in the first principles of morality to decide whether he may or must do something of as little importance as drinking a glass of beer. (g) SUMMARY: On the whole, one may say that all his different characteristics come from the combination (in varying proportions) of three things: i. the desire to do his duty ii. the belief that he knows better than other people iii. a blindness to the difference in value between different things. Sometimes a PRIG’S reaction to a remark made or a deed done may be a strange condescending LOOK IN LIEU OF HIS USUAL BITING REMARK. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 171 March 15 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. (165) PAYING BAD FOR GOOD (a) BRANDON GILL: HERE AT THE NEW YORKER (his book) p. 41: No good deed goes unpunished p. 312: Gratitude (for good deeds) is often expressed in the form of punishment. (b) LA ROCHEFOUCAULD p. 35: Men not only tend to forget benefits and injuries; they even hate those who have helped, and stop hating those who have harmed them. The need to REQUIRE good and REVENGE evil becomes a slavery painful to endure. (c) BERTRAND RUSSELL (newly discovered maxims of LA ROCHEFOUCAULD) People never forgive the injuries they inflict NOR the benefits they receive. Example:

A injures B: A benefits B:

A will never forgive B. B will never forgive A.

My observation: Possibly the receiver of the “good” feels as if he has been pushed down a peg or two socially by his being the recipient of another man’s bounty. He cannot reciprocate in kind, hence the social balance between them is disturbed. Also every time X sees Y whom he has harmed, X’s conscience strikes him and makes him feel most uncomfortable. Hence the mere sight of Y brings anger and disgust to X.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 172 March 22 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, For the last 3 1/2 years my weekly letters consisted of reflections on life and “letters�, points of view about people, reflections on human behavior, etc. In the next set of letters, I am going to concentrate on the area of LOGIC, the art (and science) of reasoning and particularly in the art of distinguishing between correct and incorrect reasoning. I have the feeling that in many instances people who have graduated from high school where they studied math should (unaided by courses in LOGIC) be able to detect certain fallacies or weaknesses in reasoning that may arise in the speech of a politician, argument of a diplomat, boasts of an advertiser and claims of a newspaperman. Thus, for the most part I shall deal with LOGICAL FALLACIES or ERRORS AND DECEPTIONS IN REASONING. But to stimulate an interest and to excite you in thinking, my preliminary letters will deal with two types of (logical) arguments which pretend to show the invalidity of certain fundamental principles of thinking. The arguments are: (a) THE PARADOX: a statement which on the face of it seems self contradictory, absurd, or at variance with common sense; though on investigation or when explained it may prove to be well founded. (b) THE DILEMMA: best described in a debate between A and B, when A offers alternate positions for B, from which B must choose, and then to prove that no matter what choice B makes, he has to come to a conclusion not in his favor. The next set of LOGICAL PROBLEMS will deal with examples of PARADOX. Later on I will introduce examples of DILEMMA. To whet your appetites, I shall in this letter give an example of each.

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Letter 172 - 2

PARADOX 1: In a certain town there was a barber who shaved all those (and only those) who did not shave themselves. In other words he shaved all the inhabitants of the town who did not shave themselves and never shaved any inhabitant who did shave himself. (No one was “bearded” in that town.) Did the barber shave himself or not? Argument: If he is shaving himself, he is violating the rule, since he is then SHAVING SOMEONE WHO SHAVES HIMSELF. If he does not, then he is violating the rule, since he is FAILING TO SHAVE SOMEONE WHO IS NOT SHAVING HIMSELF. DILEMMA 1: If you tell the truth, men will hate you for being candid; and if you tell lies, the gods will hate you for lacking virtue. But either you tell the truth or you tell lies. Hence either men or gods will hate you.

A discussion of the above problems is in my next letter.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

P.S. I should add that the PARADOX and DILEMMA examples are not original with me. They come from the hundreds (OLD-TIMER) examples that for many years have been used by authors in their textbooks on LOGIC.

Letters 173 – 188 March 29 - July 12, 1980 See LOGICAL PROBLEMS

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Letter 189 July 19 1980 Dear A & H: L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. In my letters 172 -188 I have transferred your attention from “worldly wisdom” to the problems of CORRECT REASONING. I, from now, will go back to thoughts about the world and its people and express a temporary “SO LONG” to the reasoning brain. So! Back to Notebook (36). While the greater portion of my material in my LETTER is my own, some of it (properly identified by me) represents the thought of others. Occasionally I record what I read on scraps of paper and forget to give the authorship; but the material is sufficiently interesting to warrant my giving it to you. I hope that such authors will forgive me for not mentioning them. We who enjoy mystery and/or detective stories have a common enemy in the late EDMUND WILSON. When somebody suggested that he read AGATHA CHRISTIE’s MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD he replied, “Who cares who murdered Roger Ackroyd.” He could not tolerate DOROTHY SAYERS’ PETER WIMSEY and the book THE NINE TAILORS – one of the dullest (in his opinion) books ever written. BRENDAN GILL (in his book on the NEW YORKER) tells us that he shares WILSON’s opinion of detective stories and “I will not call his (WILSON’s) attacks on them manifestations of prejudice but of wisdom.” It should be noted that such minds as WOODROW WILSON, BERTRAND RUSSELL, WITTGENSTEIN and others don’t agree with EDMUND WILSON. [Madeline added: including M. H. LeVita and the “Mrs.” too.] Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

184


Letter 190 July 26 1980

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (36) cont. JAMES AGATE (a British Man of Letters) – also a diarist – 1877-1947, wrote a series of diaries (nine volumes) each entitled EGO. In one of them he wrote about COMMON SENSE as being chiefly INTEGRITY plus ENERGY. “It is the ability and the will to sort out the RELEVANT from the muck of the PLAUSIBLE which convention automatically piles up around all things.” If you stick to the point you will become FADPROOF like him (AGATE). Interestingly enough AGATE invents the word DAYMARE analogous to NIGHTMARE. He says the last day was a DAYMARE: “masses of visits, book notices by me, correcting some writing for the publisher, etc etc etc all that had to be done that day.” And now Agate’s opinion of G. B. SHAW: I am prepared to admit that SHAW is the greatest brain the theater has known since SHAKESPEARE, but it is a brain put not to the service of the theater, but using the theater for its own purposes. I go to a SHAW play knowing that I must for three hours be in contact with a way of thinking with which I am not in sympathy, nine-tenths of it expressed in a footling idiom which SHAW thinks is wit and I find exasperating. I can always see THE DEVIL’s DISCIPLE, ANDROCLES AND THE LION and four-fifths of THE DOCTOR’s DILEMMA. The rest of his plays either bore me or antagonize me. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 191 Aug 2 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK #36 cont. Extract from John Macdonald: THE EMPTY COPPER SEA: He (the head waiter) led us to a corner booth and said it would be his pleasure to go personally and come back with our second drinks if we were now ready. And we were. It is all a kind of tomfoolery (a more vulgar word was used), of course, to pry special treatment out of busy service people – but it impresses taste and appetite. If you feel valued it makes a better evening. It is enough merely to imitate the habits and mannerisms of that category which expects and gets the very best services. X would have respected it and gotten it and probably tipped well, in the familiar style of the sunbelt business man. In England, quite a hassle about the ETHICAL CULTURE movement as far as its tax exempt status is concerned. Is it a religious institution despite its Godlessness? In a book by J. E. YOUNG (PROGRAMS OF THE BRAIN) a whole chapter is devoted to “Believing and Worshipping” with the conclusion that “whether organized religion survives or not, worship and praises will continue”. However certain members of LONDON’s Ethical Society are of the opinion that “a humanist” is opposed to all organized religion and organized worship. Question: Is the Ethical Society’s status a tax exempt one or not?

Affectionately Daddy / Papa

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Letter 192 Aug 9 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK #36 cont. In HORACE WALPOLE’s novel THE CATHEDRAL, one of the finest pieces of writing, was Walpole’s description of THE BISHOP: A little frail man walking with the aid of a cane. He had snowwhite hair, rather thick and long, pale cheeks, eyes of a bright china-blue. He had that quality, given to only a few in this world of happy mediocrities, of filling at once every room into which he entered with a strength and fragrance of his spirit. So strong, fearless and beautiful was his soul that it shone through the frail compass of his body with an unfailing light. No one had ever doubted the goodness and splendor of the man’s character. Men might call his body old and feeble and past the work that it was still called upon to perform. They might speak of him as guileless, as too innocent of the world’s slippery ways, as trusting when no child six years of age would have trusted – these things might have been and were said. But no man, woman or child looking upon him would hesitate to realize that he was someone who had walked and talked with GOD and in whom there was no shadow of deceit or evil thought. (Will continue in Letter 193.)

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 193 Aug 16 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK #36 cont. Continuation of HORACE WALPOLE’s description of THE BISHOP in THE CATHEDRAL. Old GLASSGOW PARMITER (the lawyer), reputed to be the wickedest old man the city had ever known, said of the Bishop: “If there is a hell, I suppose I am going to it and I sure don’t care. There may be a hell or there may not. I do know there is a heaven. Our bishop lives there.” The Final Appearance of the Bishop. At the sight of that very old man, that little bag of shaking bones, all the brief history of the world was suddenly apparent. Greater than ALEXANDER, more beautiful than HELEN of TROY, wiser than GAMALIEL, more powerful than ARTAXERXES, he made the secret of immortal life visible to all. He prayed - - - and all prayed. And then they all, all for a moment, were utterly united in soul and body and spirit, and knelt down and the old man blessed them from the pulpit. [My comment: Here was the NOBLE man who brought forth decency from all people he met.]

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

188


Letter 194 Aug 23 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK #36 cont. From: DIALOGUES OF ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD, edited by LUCIEN PRICE: Subject of discussion: WORTH IN HUMAN BEINGS Whitehead (about his son Eric killed in W W I ): His colonel came to see Whitehead after E.’s death and told him that while there was a great deal of bawdy talk at the table (among the soldiers) it was always moderated when Eric was there, not because E. was a prig but out of deference to some quality in him. The awareness of human worth in human beings develops very early. Lucien Price: That restraint on rough tongues in the presence of a well bred boy is a mysterious process. I have seen it work and can’t say I ever understood exactly what was going on. At Harvard where I was an undergraduate the SIGNET SOCIETY was a group of very brilliant young men; but there were two or three upper classmen who were very disagreeable. Then a Philadelphia boy [arrived] with I judge a personality similar to Eric’s. Almost at once it was noticed that the disagreeables moderated their pitch. They would not want to be thought badly by the Philadelphia boy. (Will continue in Letter 195.)

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

189


Letter 195 Aug 30 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK #36 cont. From: DIALOGUES OF ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD, edited by LUCIEN PRICE: Subject of Discussion: WORTH IN HUMAN BEINGS cont.: Lucien Price: Where do I meet it (this quiet worth)? Where there is the most of it in common life. As a value it outranks all other ranks, and yet its dignity is totally unselfconscious. Even in “grim� sections of BOSTON, one kept encountering the silent innate worth in the most unlikely places: on the docks, in police courts, in slum tenements. There was no name for it, yet there it was and one always knew it when encountered. Whitehead: I keep asking myself (as this war goes on) and so many men die before they have had time to live, I keep on asking myself what it is that can inspire such heroism and devotion. Manifestly most of these young men in uniform are not animated by complex political concepts. Their ideas are multiform and often conflicting. Yet there is one they have in common. They are dying for the worth of the world.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

190


Letter 196 Sept 6 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (38) (166) Subject: If you are BIG you must express both GOOD and BAD instincts in a BIG WAY: The great MACAULAY in his WEST INDIES essay stresses the importance of SITUATION as a determining factor for modes of behavior and as an explanation of crimes which should not be held to discredit the sensibilities of those who committed them. He says: “If Henry VIII had been a private man, he might have torn his wife’s ruff (frilled collar) and kicked her lap dog. But since he was a king he cut off her head.” This was written by CLIVE, an author who wrote a biog of MACAULAY: That a drover goads oxen, or the SPANISH INQUISITION burns Jews, or an Irish gentleman torments Catholics is NOT NECESSARILY DUE TO LACK OF FEELING ON THE PART OF THOSE WHO COMMIT THESE ACTS. EACH OF THESE PERSONS WOULD SHRINK FROM ANY SORT OF CRUEL EMPLOYMENT EXCEPT THAT TO WHICH HIS SITUATION HAS ACCUSTOMED HIM. It is of some interest to find this relativistic notion of the importance of SITUATION or HISTORICAL CONTEXT as a factor in HISTORICAL EXPLANATION in a writer so often charged with applying indiscriminately the standards of his own time to the past. (167) A statement by ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER: “I must have a conviction (when I write a story) that it is a story that I alone can write, and that no one else can write it.”

All my love, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 197 Sept 13 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, MISCELLANEOUS SHORT JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (38) (a) Henry Adams on BERENSON: “There is in the Jew DEPRECATION, something no weary sinner ought to stand.” (b) The Bright Person (B) versus the Moron (M): In any reading, conversation or discussion, (B) can automatically separate the important from the unimportant. (M) cannot. To (M) everything is on a par from the point of view of importance. (c) The Ideal Advantages of the College: It gathers in (or should gather in) keen YOUTH who can acquire the essence of and react to the HUMANITIES naturally without sophistication. They should (or could or would) be touched emotionally with sincerity and their emotional reactions should (might or would) be tinged with true sincerity. (d) From a letter by JANE AUSTEN (during the Peninsular Wars) to her sister: “How horrible it is to have so many people killed – and what a blessing that one cares for none of them.” (e) From an ENGLISH NOVEL (author unknown): The oldest member of a family to a young member after the death of a beloved: “DON’T RESIST GRIEF. CRY IT OUT!”

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

192


Letter 198 Sept 20 1980

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK (38) (168) From a book on Logic dealing with the subject INNOCENT or GUILTY. Here is the extract: Many a GUILTY person owes his acquittal to this: The jury considered that the evidence brought did not demonstrate the ABSOLUTE impossibility of his INNOCENCE, not withstanding the chances were innumerable against his innocence. The extract is so involved that I had to analyze it to get the logic of it. Here is my analysis: LAWYER [A] for defense: brings evidence to prove his client is innocent. LAWYER [B]: State Attorney: endeavors to prove the impossibility of the accused being innocent by bringing up appropriate evidence. JURY: Not withstanding [B’s] presentation to prove that the chances were innumerable against his innocence, considered that the evidence brought did not demonstrate the ABSOLUTE IMPOSSIBILITY of his innocence. The adjective ABSOLUTE is the key to the extract. [I hope I have not tired you out.]

A clever story illustrating the wisdom of being diplomatic in a certain country: Customer to waiter in a BUDAPEST cafe: “A cup of tea please!” Waiter: “Russian or Chinese?” Customer (after reflection): “Make it coffee.”

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 199 Sept 17 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOTTINGS FROM NOTE BOOK (38) (169) From A PERFECT CRIME OR TWO by Monteilhet: Go ahead! Try to be organized, clear and precise! Be brief! but don’t be afraid to furnish details on the points you consider important. I will keep my interruptions to a minimum. Speak grammatically! I am not recommending this to vex you but because I have a habit of mechanically correcting my interlocutor’s errors. And when I am busy making corrections, I no longer understand what is being said to me. But at all events speak frankly. It’s the only way I can help you. At the slightest reticence, I shall be led to believe that I am wasting both my time and yours. (Daddy’s confession: The above describes my “behavior” to perfection.) (170) From ALEXANDER POPE: “To be angry is to revenge the faults of others on yourself.” (171) Two Professors’ opinion on LAUGHTER: According to BERGSON: Laughter is primarily an attacking device. According to FREUD: Laughter is primarily a releasing device.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 200 Oct 4 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Quotation from Cardinal Newman who on defining a gentleman said: He is never mean or little in his disputes, never takes unfair advantage, never mistakes personalities or sharp sayings for argument or insinuates evil which he dare not say out loud. This noble disputant acts towards an enemy as if he were one day to be a friend. He has too much good sense to be affronted at insults and too indolent to bear malice. If he engages in controversy of any kind, his disciplined intellect preserves him the blundering discourtesy of better, perhaps, but less educated minds; who, like blunt weapons, tear and hack instead of cutting clean, who mistake the point in argument, waste their strength on trifles, misconceive their adversary, and leave the question more involved than they find it. I got the above quotation from a book entitled FALLACY by Fearnside and Holther. The book deals with fallacies in LANGUAGE and LOGIC. The authors after quoting Cardinal Newman (above) comment: It is the blundering discourtesy of minds that leads to oversimplification. It is a paradox of bluntness and dullness that they leave the question more involved than it was to start with. Only the clear thinking and well-informed mind can cut through complexity and achieve something of the true simplicity that mathematicians call elegance. The authors also quote SCHOPENAUER who in his THE ART OF CONTROVERSY turns his eye on the art of getting the best of it in a dispute. He allows that “unquestionably the safest plan is to be in the right to begin with” but sarcastically adds that “this in itself is not enough in the existing disposition of mankind and, on the other hand, with the weakness of the human intellect it is not altogether necessary”. Yours (for a logical future to mankind), Daddy / Papa

195


Letter 201 Oct 11 1980

See LOGICAL PROBLEMS

Letter 202 Oct 18 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Extract from book SNATCHED FROM OBLIVION by MARIAN CANNON SCHLESINGER* giving “Memories and Comments” by CORNELIA JAMES CANNON, the author’s mother. After her husband’s death she believed that turning in on one’s self was self-indulgence and showed a lack of backbone. She hated psychiatry’s scab-picking. At age eighty-nine she planned a trip to Guatemala and hoped she would not be captured for ransom. She said: “If I am captured for ransom, don’t pay it. I would rather die. I am an old lady with fresh dental plates, useless knees, other incurable diseases of old age and approaching senility. I am not worth 30 cents; so don’t pay.” She was a liver of LIFE and would have found it intellectually impossible to believe in a HEAVEN or to have any illusions about the finality of DEATH. She was forever an UNRECONSTRUCTED AGNOSTIC, but also a person full of wonder at the mysteries of the universe. At age 86 she wrote: “Why do we bother to dress up the commonplace life with second rate (so called) miracles, when the whole universe is so magnificent that all our imaginings are so paltry besides its wonders of reality.” Continued in Letter 203. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa *Recommend this book. M. [Madeline]

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Letter 203 Oct 25 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, “Memories and Comments” of CORNELIA JAMES CANNON continued from Letter 202: I accept the UNIVERSE, marvelling and admiring as I do so, but not grovelling before its majesty nor worshipping at its triumphs, nor humbling myself before a creator whom I create to explain in my terms what is inexplicable. Give me the world and a chance at its experience and I am satisfied. I accept the universe and I enjoy it. To be part of the universe is the greatest gift given to one. To know something of its mysteries, to know its true and accidental or native miracles, is to have lived, to have felt the full sense of being. I am a very ordinary person who has been fortunate enough to live a very privileged life.

In A HANK OF HAIR by Charlotte Jay (p. 121), an artist declares: When I do a portrait, I look at my subject and say to myself what will his (or her) face look like in twenty years’ time. And that’s the face I draw initially. And then I REDUCE IT AND LIFT THE YEARS OFF !!!! My comment: There are all types of artistic PORTRAIT work but this is truly SOMETHING!

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

Letters 204 – 242 November 1, 1979 -July 25, 1981 See LOGICAL PROBLEMS

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Letter 243 Aug 1 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, [SAMUEL BUTLER (1835-1902) – British author – interesting life – see details in the BRITANNICA – jotted in notes anything that struck him in thought and deed AND any good thing that he heard said – all the letters in six NOTEBOOKS.] EXTRACTS FROM SAMUEL BUTLER’s NOTEBOOKS: 1.

The Literary Instinct may be known by a man’s keeping a small notebook in his pocket, into which he jots down anything that strikes him or any good thing that he hears said.

2.

A trick that my elder sister has is, when I play her anything on the piano, to say: “Oh, yes, yes, I can see that would be very nice” – meaning, of course – if it was properly played, but you play it so damned badly that I can only see it would be very nice.

3.

In speaking of Mrs. Jones the mother of his friend and biographer H.F. Jones, Butler said of her once that to have known her is an ILLIBERAL education.

4.

It is wrong to be too right. To be too good is bad – or nearly so – as to be too wicked.

5.

Pain and Pleasure are infectious. It depresses us to be much with those who have suffered long and are still suffering; it refreshes us to be with those who have suffered little and are enjoying themselves. But it is good to be depressed now and then.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 244 Aug 8 1981

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, EXTRACTS FROM SAMUEL BUTLER’s NOTEBOOKS cont.: 6.

EAT GRAPES DOWNWARDS: Always eat the best first. For so, every grape you eat will be the best of the bunch. That is why spring seems longer and dreamier than autumn; in autumn we are eating the days downwards; in spring each one is “still very bad”.

7.

PROSELYTIZING: We can only proselytize fresh meat; putrid meat begins to have strong convictions of its own.

8.

The Importance of Little Things: This is all very true. But so also is the unimportance even of great things – sooner or later.

9.

The PSALMIST says that the righteous man shall not lack for anything that is good. (Psalm 34) Should it not rather be that those who do not lack anything that is good, find it easy to be fairly righteous?

10.

TASTE: Taste comes near to eating; smell, less near than taste; touch, less near than smell; hearing, less near than touch; seeing, less near than hearing. But even “seeing” has some remains of eating with it. So: “Virtue sickens at the sight.”

11. IMAGINATION: What tricks it plays! Thus, if we expect a person in the street, we transform a dozen impossible people into him while they are still too far off to be seen distinctly; and when we expect to hear a footstep on the stairs, we hear footsteps in every sound.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 245 Aug 15 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, EXTRACTS FROM SAMUEL BUTLER’s NOTEBOOKS cont.: 12. BOOKS: My main wish is to get my books into other peoples’ rooms, and to keep other peoples’ books out of mine. 13. WHAT TO LEARN: Never try and find out anything, or try to learn anything until you have found the not knowing it to be a nuisance to you for some time. Then you will remember it, but not otherwise. Let knowledge importune you before you will hear it. Our schools and universities go on the precisely opposite system. 14. CRITICS generally come to become critics not by reason of their fitness for this, but of their unfitness for anything else. Books should be tried by a judge and jury as though they were a crime, and “counsel” should be heard on both sides. 15. GAINING ONE’s POINT: It is not he who gains the exact point in dispute who scores most in controversy – but he who has shown the better temper. 16. Is Life Worth Living? This is a question for the embryo not for a man. 17. WORDS are not as satisfactory as we should like them to be, but, like our neighbors, we have got to live with them and must make the best and not the worst of them. 18. Reason is no foundation, for it rests in the end on faith. Faith is no foundation for it is founded on reason. We are not won by arguments that we can analyze, but by tone and temper, by the manner which is the man himself.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

200


Letter 246 Oct 18 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A LITTLE ABOUT MYSELF I want to make a few observations about my thinking. I am not particularly interested in the history and/or development of THOUGHT when I read a book on THOUGHT or IDEAS. I am not interested in locating in my mind the author of a particular point of view, who originated and was responsible for that IDEA and under what conditions it was originated. In my life I have tasted and in many cases digested the “thinking” of many philosophers and essayists. What I have digested has become part of me and part of my personality but I cannot trace back any of my thoughts to the author who may have been their source. The thinking (in the past) of those who have enriched me mentally has been something for which I am most grateful. Unfortunately, I cannot pair any particular “thinking” with the giver; and hence I cannot thank the person responsible for an idea or ideas that have mentally enriched me. As I continue my reading I am amused by the attempts on the part of historians (in all subjects) to explain occasional inconsistencies of an author. “Compulsory” consistency has become a fetish. Reading criticism of BERTRAND RUSSELL I came across these minds who would not give him the opportunity of occasionally changing his thinking from time to time. This fetish is being confused with our attitude towards the politician who changes his thinking depending on when the political wind blows more favorably.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

201


Letter 247 Oct 25 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR TEMPORARILY DISCONTINUING WEEKLY LETTERS SINCE LETTER 245. WAS BUSY WORKING ON MY LOGIC PROJECT. EXTRACTS FROM MY NOTEBOOK #39 1.

RICHARD PARES: connected with one of the OXFORD colleges had a marked distaste for Philosophy. This led to a distaste of all general ideas. He disliked speculation and preoccupation with questions capable of no clear answers. He was considered a great teacher.

2.

STUDYING a text or even a book – the old fashioned but sound notion that ones should study with somebody – two studying together may give (useful) divergent views. This should lead to a better understanding of what you study.

3.

JOHNSON TO BOSWELL: “We are most unjust when we are always most violent against those whom we have injured.”

4.

AN INTERPRETATION OF OCCAM’s RAZOR – a philosophic saying made by a famous logician and political theorist. One of his sayings is known as OCCAM’s RAZOR and comes in various versions. Here is one as interpreted by INSPECTOR SCHMIDT in GEORGE BAGBY, COUNTRY and FATAL: “GIVEN AN EVEN CHANCE BETWEEN TWO HYPOTHESES YOU GO WITH THE LEAST COMPLICATED ONE.”

5.

EMERSON on HAWTHORNE: “He said so little, so that I talked too much.”

6.

TYPICAL COME-BACK BY POLITICIANS ACCUSED OF INCONSISTENCY (a) My own views have been distorted; (b) You have taken that view out of context. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

202


Letter 248 Nov 1 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, EXTRACTS FROM MY NOTEBOOK #39 cont. 7.

ISRAEL: A DREAM: If we could make it a country with: (1) largest university in the world covering all areas of learning (arts and sciences) (2) largest medical facility in the world (3) largest trade center in the world (4) largest invention center in the world. Cure the killing diseases – create cheap substitute for oil – develop a true science of ECONOMICS and eliminate POVERTY.

8.

LOSING YOUR TEMPER: In PYGMALION last scene, ELIZA is accused by HIGGINS of having actually “made him lose his temper”.

9.

GOODNESS IN THEIR FACES: Some people have DECENCY written all over their faces; without testing them you just put your trust in them.

10. THE CHOSEN PEOPLE: Taking into account the number of Jewish NOBEL PRIZE winners in proportion to the non-Jewish winners, the total population etc, a friend was prompted to declare: The Jews (the Chosen People) were chosen by God to serve culturally the worlds of SCIENCE, the ARTS, LITERATURE. 11. SPANISH ANTI-SEMITISM: Says SANCHO PANZA (as part of his profession of faith): . . . and if I had no other merit save that I believe, as I always do, firmly and truly in God, in all that the holy ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH holds and believes, and that I am a mortal enemy of the JEWS, as I am . . . Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

203


Letter 249 Nov 8 1981 Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, EXTRACTS FROM MY NOTEBOOK #39 cont. 12. ADDING TO MY KNOWLEDGE: Am not interested in adding to my knowledge – there is no room for extra absorption. From a knowledge point of view I am full up. I pick up new facts (if necessary) from the many books in the library. 13. INANIMATE OBJECTS are the bane of my existence. They blindly obey all physical laws of motion. They display no sense, no judgement, no concern. They are blinded by obedience. In many cases we lose our temper and treat them as if they were human beings. 14. THINKING, COMMUNICATING and LOGIC: While I indulge in “Sheer Thinking” I find that the thoughts arise logically with no double meaning. It is only when I communicate these thoughts, either verbally or in writing. I then find difficulty in expressing the thoughts without “stumbling” logically. 15. NGAIO MARSH, the NEW ZEALAND authoress in the book DEATH IN ECSTASY has the character say: When I was an undergraduate, I became a PLYMOUTH BROTHER for two months. It seemed frightfully important at that time. I believe nowadays they go in for BLACK MAGIC. 16. HESKETH PEARSON by HIMSELF – autobiographical book: Fundamentally one’s character never changes but experiences of life disciplines the less responsible aspects of human nature, and so influences action, making one’s behavior as a young man surprising to one’s maturer self. A further cleavage in my case lay in the fact that I had not perceived my real vocation at the age of 39, my natural volatility being uncontrolled by the revelation.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

204


Letter 250 Nov 15 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David, & Daniel, EXTRACTS FROM MY NOTEBOOK #39 cont. 17. COMMON SENSE as used by people just means the attitudes, points of view, prejudices, mental behavior of the MAN OF THE STREET, the common prejudiced, unthinking MAN. 18. LANCELOT HOGBEN, author of MATHEMATICS FOR THE MILLION and SCIENCE FOR THE CITIZEN, commented that he was different from the other men he knew who OVEREAT and UNDERTHINK! 19. FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: In discussing the French attitude towards (a) Germans and (b) British, he concluded: It is easier to forgive your enemies (the Germans) THAN to forgive those who saved you (the British). The FRENCH will never forgive the shame of VICHY. 20. OMNISCIENCE is something the MATHEMATICIAN does not have but the ECONOMIST has (it) in plenty. 21. A FEW DISLIKES OF MINE: a)

Discussing money (charges) with professionals: doctors, dentists, lawyers etc. (How much will they charge?)

b)

Buying things (these days) in department stores – no attention – no service – lazy clerks (will say “We don’t have any” rather than look for what you want).

c)

The small merchant: I find I cannot trust him; he makes me suspect he has something up his sleeve.

22. GEORGE WILL distilled the essence of the ARAB-ISRAEL dilemma when he said in 1977: “ARAB political concessions could be repudiated overnight. ISRAEL’s physical concessions could not be reclaimed without war.” Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

205


Letter 251 Nov 22 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, EXTRACTS FROM MY NOTEBOOK #39 cont. 23.

WORDS ON WORDS NIETZSCHE: What we find words for is that for which we no longer have use in our hearts. There is always a kind of contempt in the act of speaking. KENNETH BURKE: Contempt, indeed, so far as the original emotion is concerned but not contempt for the act of speaking.

24.

UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN CONDITION The first rule for understanding the human condition is that men live in a “second-hand” world. (C. WRIGHT MILLS) Most of our thoughts and perceptions are formed from and around the reports of others, the ‘crowd of witnesses’, the strangers and dead men who provide the meanings for much of what we see, do and are.

25.

WHEN IS A NEWSPAPER ANTI-SEMITIC? When it gives far off (unconfirmed) suspicions of Jewish misdeeds on Page 1 AND the statement that the suspicions were unfounded appears on LAST PAGE.

26.

FROM SAMUEL BUTLER’s NOTEBOOK: NEW BOOKS should be “tried” in court by Judge and Jury as though they were a crime and lawyers should be heard on both sides.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

206


Letter 252 Nov 29 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg; Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, EXTRACTS FROM MY NOTEBOOK #39 cont. 27.

GENIUS has been defined in many ways. A popular definition is that the genius has “the capacity for taking pains”. Now that may be a NECESSARY condition but it is not a SUFFICIENT condition. I mean by that, that while it is true, capacity for taking pains is important (in fact if he won’t, he will never become the genius), it is not SUFFICIENT. The mere “capacity for taking pains” does not make him a genius.

28.

COURSE IN LOGIC should be taken by the man who wants to study law, any science, legislator, intelligent voter, the judge and also the merchant. A skill in the application of LOGIC should help these people considerably in their work and in their reasoning.

29.

POLITICAL SPEECHES DISCOUNTING COMMITTEE After every election (especially a Presidential one) a committee (formed by the winning party) should carefully go over the promises and speeches to “cool them down” by applying a “discount factor” on each such promise. Decide on the final revised versions and set these up as your program for the period until next election.

30.

EVIL IN THE WORLD – EVIL AMONG NATIONS Why be amazed? The nations to a great extent came into being after periods of much evil and bloodshed. History will bear that out. Consequently we cannot and should not expect a miraculous noncompetitive relationship existing even among the friendliest.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

207


Letter 253 Dec 6 1981

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, In my study of REASONING I have found many words have too many meanings. I therefore selected five words to dig out their various meanings and LETTERS 253-256 will deal with the results of my “DIG”.

COMMON SENSE NOUN Natural sagacity; good sense; good judgement; common intelligence; native reason; intuition; practical disarmament; sound understanding; mental poise; prudence; presence of mind; judiciousness; shrewdness; resourcefulness; reasonableness; untutored reasoning power; balanced judgement; level-headedness; experienced view; rational faculty; worldly wisdom; composure; wisdom arising from experience; unbiased impulse; unemotional consideration; the unreflective opinion of the ordinary man; conceptions natural to one untrained in an argument or debate; sang-froid; sound perception. ADJECTIVE Practical; matter of fact; free from vagaries; unbiased; rational; understandable; sound; reasonable; clearheaded; judicious; free from fanciful views; uninfatuated.

A QUESTION Persons will say: “Do you know Jones? He is bright, smart, brainy, BUT HE HAS NO COMMON SENSE.” What do they mean? PLEASE TELL ME.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

208


Letter 254 Dec 13 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, See first sentence of my LETTER 253.

WISDOM NOUN Good judgement; clear thinking; rationality; common sense; reason; discernment; insight; profundity; sagacity; understanding; judiciousness; depth; prescience; good sense; solidity; enlarged views; insight; judgement of ends; knowledge how to live; acumen; astuteness; shrewdness; comprehension; intelligence; penetration; brains; wit; capacity for reasoning; learning; erudition; enlightenment; scholarship; knowledge; attainment; education; culture. ADJECTIVE Sensible; reasonable; rational; intelligent; perceptive; strong minded; far sighted, discerning; profound; enlightened; having good judgement; informed; erudite; educated; scholarly; bookish; cautious; alert; observant.

I give you those various meanings of WISDOM (or WISE) and those meanings are not the same. You cannot use a mere word to describe a whole person or a characteristic of a person. You have to elaborate.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

209


Letter 255 Dec 20 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg; Bob; & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, See first sentence of my LETTER 253.

CLEVERNESS NOUN Dexterity; adroitness; skill; wit; ingenuity; talent; mastery; a subtlety; finesse; keenness; versatility; adaptiveness; discernment; inventiveness; sharpness; sagacity; efficiency; deftness; acumen; insight; drollery; urbanity; brilliance; intellect; artistry; alertness; precocity; resourcefulness; aptitude; cunning; craft; aptness; readiness; quickness; facility; felicity; power; ability; perspicacity; perception; endowment; competence; smartness; proficiency; experience. ADJECTIVE Able; gifted; talented; wise; subtle; witty; intellectual; intelligent; quick; adroit; alert; alive; fertile; precocious; capable; competent; keen; sharp; sagacious; conversant; accomplished; astute; quick witted; apt; inventive; discerning; nimble; smart; sparkling; witty; humorous; scintillating; inventive; resourceful.

I still don’t feel that I have exhausted all the different meanings of CLEVER and CLEVERNESS. Again and again I will describe a person as BEING CLEVER or as a person possessed with CLEVERNESS but unless I am more specific, the brief description (via a word or two) will not do justice to the man or his talent. I must elaborate my description since the word CLEVER does not mean the same thing for all men.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

210


Letter 256 Dec 27 1981

Article enclosed: “Conspiracies at Christmas; Anti-Semitism as We Sing Carols to a Jewish Child.� by Henry Fairlie, the WASHINGTON POST, December 27, 1981. [Fairlie comments on anti-Jewish feeling across the world, which not only persists, but seems to be increasing.] When such hostility to a race of people persists, even in countries where there is not now a population to provoke it, one is talking of a terrible evil, against which we dare not let down our guard. Anti-Semitism is for the simple-minded a final solution of any and every difficulty. If only it were only that. The bother is that it never stops there. Not many steps beyond the mild anti-Semitic remark there is always torture and mutilation and death. Not only for the Jew.

211


Letter 257 Jan 3 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, CHINESE CULTURE In my studies and researches I came across the name of a learned man MENCIUS or MENGTZU or MENT-TSEU 372-289 BC. He was born in SHANTUNG, ranking next to CONFUCIUS as a “moral” teacher and author of one of the FOUR BOOKS which constitute the CHINESE SCRIPTURES. He travelled with his disciples preaching and teaching. His main teaching is that HUMAN NATURE IS ORIGINALLY GOOD, BUT EVIL ENTERS FROM WITHOUT. The four instinctive feelings in HUMAN NATURE are: (a)

The feeling of PITY and COMPASSION that produces the virtue of LOVE FOR OTHERS.

(b)

The feeling of REVERENCE (with its converse SHAME) that produces the virtue of RIGHTEOUSNESS.

(c)

The feeling of MODESTY that produces the virtue of SOCIAL PROPRIETY.

(d)

The feeling of DISCRIMINATION that produces the virtue of WISDOM.

One needs only to develop these innate feelings to be perfectly virtuous. On this ethical basis he expounds the political philosophy that the peoples’ opinion is more important than that of the ruler’s and that DEMOCRACY consists in the ruler’s listening to the people. His dialogues and exhortations were published by his disciples as THE BOOK OF MASTER MENG. Will go deeper into the subject in a later letter.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

212


Letter 258 Jan 10 1982 See LOGICAL PROBLEMS

Letter 259 Jan 17 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, THE INFLUENCE OF EMOTION ON REASONING It has been rightly said that EMOTION is the enemy of OBSERVATION, since the “emotional� observer does not view things clearly. Any excitement such as FEAR or ENTHUSIASM is likely to distort the view of the observer. It is interesting to know that the reason why scientists are supposed to be COLD is because they train themselves to avoid emotionalism in their work. The importance of the emotional association of words lies in the fact that they are likely to be serious hindrances to straight clear thinking. This is especially true when the thinking is expressed in a chain of reasoning which is designed to persuade. In the case of most of us, if we examine our private thinking we will have to admit that a disinterested desire to find out the TRUTH is not always our main motive. In many cases in our thinking we start with a conclusion (which has been dictated by emotion, or prejudice or habit) and then we look around for reasons. In many cases a man will support a political party because he thinks the policies of that party will react to HIS OWN interests. The philosopher HUME indicated that MEN individually and collectively try to get what they want (food, drink, culture, music, higher standard of living) and use their REASON to devise means for these ends. Will go further into the subject in a later letter.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

213


Letter 260 Feb 19 1982 See LOGICAL PROBLEMS

Letter 261 Feb 26 1982

Dear A & H: L & E: Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, WORLDLY WISDOM A subsequent set of letters will deal with some maxims, aphorisms etc (NOT ORIGINAL WITH ME) basic to WORLDLY WISDOM. I hope you will find them stimulating. Here is a sample of six “products”: WW (1)

Success has less to do with the recipe than with the cook. Many who start out with the right list of ingredients fail because they forget to put their “backs” into it. Any mixture can be made to turn out well if you aren’t afraid of “stirring” yourself.

WW (2)

Ability is a personal asset that is never less than 100% acquired. Every genius is a self-made man. To learn to be able, a man need only to be able to learn.

WW (3)

Youth is the only label that can put a market value on inexperience. Discretion too often marks the end of discovery. The “impossible” is always at the mercy of the man who is too young to know that it cannot be done.

WW (4)

Irritation is the enemy of inspiration. Genius survives hardship but succumbs to inconvenience. Many a man who is prepared to tackle the impossible tires of the merely troublesome.

WW (5)

Age is a handicap that no one is ever too old to live down. Nothing upsets a man’s calculations more than a habit of indicating (or hinting) his age to every problem he solves.

WW (6)

Adversity is never improved by “advertisement”. The man with a tale of woe should keep it to himself until he can add the happy ending. With most audiences, nothing succeeds like a success story.

214


Letter 261 -2

Accompanying this letter you will find: (1)

copy of the birthday card sent by the LeVITA POET LAUREATE AIMEE WEIS;

(2)

copy of the PYTHAGOREAN THEOREM translated into ARABIC;

(3)

chapter of an interesting book dealing with an interesting subject in the area of literature, logic, psychology etc. P. S. Will try and send you a chapter every week.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

215


Letter 262 March 5 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, SOME INTERESTING PARAGRAPHS WITH A LOGICAL TOUCH 1.

“IGNORANCE,” said BRUNO, “is the most delightful science in the world, because it is acquired without LABOR or PAIN and keeps the mind from melancholy.”

2.

A clever morsel: “What is MIND? No MATTER. What is MATTER? Never MIND. What is SOUL? It is IMMATERIAL.”

3.

“WISDOM consists in knowing what to do next. VIRTUE – in doing it. RELIGION SHOULD provide a reason why.” [BUT DOES IT?]

4.

Statement by HUXLEY: “The very air should be charged with that fanaticism for TRUTH which is a greater possession than LEARNING, for VERACITY is the heart of MORALITY.”

5.

“The distinction between REALITY and ILLUSION, between FACT and FANCY, between ACTUALITY and DREAM, between KINSHIP and SEMBLANCE – each fundamental in human psychology – such distinction is essential in most important details of human conduct. TRUTH is livable and ERROR is not, a difference which clearly appears in the STRESS OF LIFE.”

6.

“Our manipulation of FACTS, our habitual ways of THINKING, our LOGIC also must play quite a prominent and probably the most decisive part in making our discussions so inefficient, loose and inconclusive.”

7.

DEWEY’s description of the origin of THINKING: “Thinking begins in what may fairly enough be called a forked road situation, a situation which is ambiguous, which presents a dilemma, which proposes alternatives.”

8.

“Absolute certainty is a privilege of uneducated minds – and fanatics. It is, for those scientifically minded, an unattainable ideal!”

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

216


Letter 263 Mar 12 1982

Dear A & H; L & E: Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, WORLDLY WISDOM cont. WW (7)

Time is only worth saving when you have something better to spend it on. There is nothing gained by splitting seconds if you haven’t a plan for using the pieces. One of the saddest sights in life is the man who can only do nothing when he finds himself with nothing to do.

WW (8)

Catching up is always twice as hard as keeping ahead. The man with a real appetite for hard work never gives it a chance to go stale. People who make a hash of things are usually struggling with yesterday’s leftovers.

WW (9)

Time is always hardest on the people who get up against it. Once a man starts fighting the clock, he can expect no mercy at its hands. Leaving everything to the last minute is the surest way to make enemies of the other fifty nine (minutes).

WW(10)

Tension destroys attention. You can’t keep your mind on the job if you always have the job on your mind. The worst menace on any road is the man who drives himself too hard.

WW(11)

Trouble is the only exception to the laws of PERSPECTIVE. The further you back away from it the bigger it looks. When a man comes to grips with his worries, he usually finds that he has the answer in his own hands.

WW(12)

Hesitation is the camping ground of lost causes. Given time, any difficult job becomes impossible. The man who believes in sleeping on his problems is simply adding insomnia to his other worries.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

217


Letter 264 March 19 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, SOME INTERESTING PARAGRAPHS WITH A LOGICAL TOUCH cont. 9.

“Argument is perhaps needed to show that the intellectual (as distinct from the moral) end of EDUCATION is entirely and only the logical in this sense; namely, the formation of careful, alert and thorough habits of thinking.�

10.

FREEDOM of MIND means mental power capable of independent exercise, emancipated from the leading strings of others, not mere unhindered external operation.

11.

Upon examination, each instance of scientific analysis reveals more or less clearly, five logically distinct steps: Step 1: A felt difficulty; Step 2: Its location and definition; Step 3: A suggestion of possible solution; Step 4: Development by reasoning of the bearings of the suggestion; Step 5: Further observation and experiment leading to its acceptance or rejection: that is the conclusion of BELIEF or DISBELIEF.

12.

The essence of CRITICAL THINKING is suspended judgement; and the essence of this suspense is INQUIRY to determine the nature of the problem before proceeding to attempt at its solution. This, more than any other thing, transforms mere inference into tested inference, suggested CONCLUSIONS into PROOF.

13.

Cultivation of a variety of alternative suggestions is an important factor in good thinking.

218


Letter 264 – 2

14.

The GREEKS used to discuss: “How is LEARNING (or ENQUIRY) possible? For either we know already what we are after, and then we do not learn or inquire; OR we do not know, and then we cannot inquire, because THEN we do not know what to look for.” This dilemma is at least suggestive, for it points to the true alternatives: the use of INQUIRY of DOUBT, of TENTATIVE SUGGESTION, of EXPERIMENTATION.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

219


Letter 265 April 3 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy: Ellen; David; Daniel, THE SUBJECT: CHARLES DICKENS AND THE JEWISH WORLD The JEWISH CHRONICLE is a weekly ENGLISH journal published in LONDON and dealing with JEWISH problems throughout the world. The date of (first) publication was Nov 12 1841 and it has been going strong since then. In 1973 there was published a book FRIDAY NIGHTS, A JEWISH CHRONICLE ANTHOLOGY 1841-1971. The appearance of TV ACTOR GEORGE SCOTT as FAGIN in the TV production of DICKENS’ OLIVER TWIST got my memory working and prompted me to reread a few pages in FRIDAY NIGHTS and there I found the enclosed two letters from THE JEWISH CHRONICLE to CHARLES DICKENS dated 12/4/1868 and 1/1/1869. The letters speak for themselves and tell “the whole story” of the OLIVER TWIST readings by CHARLES DICKENS himself. From time to time I hope to bring to you items of interest and importance as it related to the Jews in the 1841-1971 period. [A sample: JEHUDI MENUHIN interview 11/8/29.] [Another sample (by JOHN LEECH): THE HOUSE OF COMMONS ACCORDING TO MR. DISRAELI’s VIEWS.]

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

220


Letter 266 April 10 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, WORLDLY WISDOM cont. WW(13)

Ideas matter less than the ability to make them work. The cleverest idea will never carry a man higher than he can take himself. Those who expect to ride to success on a good idea generally abandon it when they find that it has to be pushed all the way.

WW(14)

Inclination is the mainspring of inspiration. All the best ideas about doing a job come from the people who want to get it done. A genius is a man who never puts on his thinking cap without taking off his jacket.

WW(15)

Observation is the best known substitute for imagination. The ability to recognize a good thing when you see it can turn a scrap heap into a gold mine. Many a man has been struck by a bright idea after somebody else has thrown it away.

WW(16)

Management is a word that only makes sense when the man comes first. Any business that leaves the human factor out of its calculations is asking to have them upset. No system ever adds up to much when the people in it have ceased to count.

WW(17)

Encouragement is the best known cure for inertia. There is no limit to the propulsive effect of a pat on the back. Many a record has been broken by men who had to be pushed to get them started.

WW(18)

Anger is the argument of lost causes. When a man forgets himself, it is the only thing about him that is likely to be remembered.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

221


Letter 267 April 17 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, SOME INTERESTING PARAGRAPHS WITH A LOGICAL TOUCH cont. 15.

“SKILL enables a man to deal with the same circumstances that he has met before. Scientific THOUGHT enables him to deal with different circumstances that he has never met before.”

16.

What constitutes EXPERIMENT? “Observations formed by variation of conditions on the bases of some idea or theory.”

17.

The number of things which can be observed and experimented upon are infinite; and if we merely set to work to record facts without any distinct purpose, our records will have no value. Scientific men never make the accumulation of observations an end in itself, but always a means to a general intellectual conclusion.”

18.

ACCURACY OF VOCABULARY: “One way in which the fund of words and concepts is increased is by discovering and naming shades of meaning – that is to say, by making the vocabulary more precise. Increase in definiteness is as important relatively as is the enlargement of the ‘capital stock’ of vocabulary.”

19.

“ERROR is TRUTH DENIED or imperfectly understood. TRUTH is our working knowledge of the universe. So far as our life is not involved, TRUTH and ERROR may be alike, provided only that neither of them is to determine his action. In such cases, though he may even be powerless to decide between rival claims, it is unimportant that he should do so. ‘I do not know’ is a wise saying of wise men. One may quite safely believe in voodoo, mascots or amulets etc if one does not regulate his life accordingly. The difference appears WHEN ONE ACTS ON BELIEFS.”

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

222


Letter 268 April 24 1982

Enclosed: “ADAM’S NAVEL” from WRITING LOGICALLY: THE WAY OF WORDS. Comment: A SCIENTIST and LOGICIAN with strong religious convictions.

[OMPHALUS was published in 1857 by Philip Gosse, an English biologist, to reconcile his conflicting religious and scientific beliefs. “Omphalus,” the Greek word for navel, refers to the question “Did Adam have a navel?” Gosse’s principle of “prochronic development” is an illustration of a scientific claim which cannot be supported by any evidence and cannot be proven false.]

223


Letter 269 May 1 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS FROM NOTEBOOK (38) (a) Soon after ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER won the NOBEL PRIZE for Literature he spoke to an audience: “I must have a conviction that it is a story that I alone can write, that no one else can write it.� He felt that ideally radio should be guided by similar rules. Its material, both in choice and treatment, should be dictated by the particular requirements of sound, and the end result should be such that no other medium could have been used to achieve it. A VERY INTERESTING OBSERVATION! (b) SOCRATES AND THE PIG (from UTILITARIANISM by JOHN STUART MILL): It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be SOCRATES dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool and the pig are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides. Thus if as a contemporary critic suggests that human beings are in some intrinsic way necessarily better than animals, it is not because we are actually better but because we have the awareness and the ability of being better.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

224


Letter 270 May 8 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, JOHN D. MacDONALD mystery writer (and a critic of people in general and of peoples’ problems) writes and has written books of the TRAVIS McGEE series. The main characters in such series are TRAVIS McGEE and his friend MEYER. If you have not read any of the McGEE books try any one. You will be amazed how different a “CRIME BOOK” can be. Comments by TRAVIS McGEE: The world is full of contention and contentious people. They will not tell you the time of the day or day of the month without their little display of hostility. I have argued with MEYER about it. It is more than a reflex, I think. It is an affirmation of importance. Each one is saying “I can afford to be nasty to you, because I don’t need any favor from you, buster!” It is also, perhaps, a warped application of today’s necessity to be cool. If I were KING OF THE WORLD, I could roam my kingdom in rags, incognito, dropping fortunes on to the people who are nice with no special reason to be nice, and having my troops lop off the heads of the mean, small, embittered little bastards who try to inflate their self esteem by stomping on yours. I would start the lopping among post-employees, bank tellers, bus drivers and pharmacists. I would go on to check-out clerks, bell boys, prowl-car cops, telephone operators and U.S. Embassy clerks. By God, there would be so many heads rolling here and there, the world would look like a berserk bowling alley. MEYER says this shows a tad (slight touch) of hostility.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

225


Letters 271-276 and parts of 277-278 See LOGICAL PROBLEMS

Letter 277 (part) 1982 SOME MAXIMS and LAWS 1.

If you keep anything long enough, you can throw it away; if you throw anything away, you will need it as soon as it is no longer accessible.

2.

You can’t fall off the floor.

3.

In debating, never argue with a fool – people might not know the difference.

4.

When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make a decision.

5.

When in doubt, mumble. When in trouble, delegate. When in charge, ponder.

6.

When somebody you greatly admire and respect appears to be thinking deep thoughts, he probably is thinking about LUNCH.

Letter 278 (part) 1982 PARKINSON’s LAW A: Work expands to fill the time available for its completion: the thing to be done swells in perceived importance and complexity in a direct ratio with the time to be spent in its completion. PARKINSON’s LAW B: Expenditures rise to meet income. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

226


Letter 279 [Oct] 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, ON HISTORY by H. A. L. FISHER One intellectual excitement has however been denied to me. Men wiser and more learned than I have discerned in HISTORY a plot, a rhythm, a predetermined pattern. These harmonies are cancelled from me. I can see only one emergency following upon another, as wave follows wave, only one great fact with respect to which (since it is unique) there can be no generalizations, only one safe rule for the historian: that he should recognize in the development of human destinies the PLAY OF THE CONTINGENT AND THE UNFORESEEN. This is not a doctrine of a cynicism and despair. The fact of PROGRESS is written plain and large on the pages of HISTORY; but PROGRESS is not a LAW OF NATURE. The ground gained by one generation may be lost by the next. The thoughts of men may flow into the channels which lead to disaster and barbarism.

SOME WORLDLY WISDOM OPPORTUNITY is too busy receiving callers to spare time for making visits. The idea that “it knocks once on every door� is popular only with those who are afraid to leave home. The man who complains that he is never given a chance should try the effect of taking one. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 280 [Oct] 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, A. N. WHITEHEAD, the famous philosopher, carried on conversations at Sunday supper, luncheon or tea at his home in Cambridge (Mass.). In these ANW expounded on books, economics, politics and philosophy. ANW suggested: People should be allowed to talk commonplaces until they have got the “temperature” of the room. CLIMATE is a good topic. The weather will do. Even if some of the ideas are found offensive, conversation had to be kept going and ideas flowing. At ANW a discussion of POETRY at its BEST and WORST: X:

“Words are clumsy or quite inadequate to express certain experiences or emotions.”

ANW: That is what POETRY at its best does. It comes somewhere near capturing in a net of words out of these powerful evanescent moments of happiness or pain. After all a word is only a sound and the relationship between that sound and an experience is very artificial and arbitrary. Look up the poet’s words in the dictionary and you will find that the meanings there given do not total the poets. He has added to their meanings by emotional overtones, so that in some cases you follow the accretions of meaning which successive poets have added to words.

(This will be continued in a later letter.)

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 281 Oct 16 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, I note that many theatrical groups are including THE MERCHANT OF VENICE in their list of productions for the coming season. This prompts me to write this letter. I don’t need to repeat in detail the story of the play. Antonio’s wealth is tied up in his merchandise-laden ships. All ships are lost at sea and ANTONIO is ruined – and then SHYLOCK comes in on the scene with his sadistic agreement. Here is my query: One of the streets leading to the Rialto in VENICE was known as the INSURANCE STREET (CALLE DELLA SICURTA) with groups of brokers and underwriters similar to the institution of LLOYDS. Venice was in fact the world’s center for MARINE INSURANCE. How is it possible that ANTONIO did not insure the cargoes? The conclusion is that if the cargoes were insured the whole plot of THE MERCHANT OF VENICE would have been wrecked and then it would not have been necessary for a SHYLOCK to appear. Further I cannot help but feel that what SHAKESPEARE had in mind was joining the other literary men who found it convenient to insert ANTISEMITISM in stories and plots. He was careless in not knowing the existence and function of those who did their business on CALLE DELLA SICURTA. However he wrote that play nevertheless and far beyond 1600 the play has always been enthusiastically received AND the word JEW (TO JEW, A JEW’S TRICK etc etc) has been added to the ENGLISH speech.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 282 Oct 23 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, BRIEF (AND SOME NOT BRIEF) REFLECTIONS OF OTHERS AND SOME OF MY OWN (a) HAZLITT on DEATH: No young man believes he shall ever die. (b) EMERSON on HISTORY: There is properly no HISTORY, only BIOGRAPHY. (c) SANTAYANA on ENGLAND: England is the paradise of individuality, eccentricity, heresy; of amateurs and hobbies. (d) HARDY (the Mathematician): Many people use SENTIMENTALISM as a term of abuse of other people’s decent feelings; and REALISM as a disguise of their own brutality. (e) Part of Review of MOSTEL in the talkie, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF: Mostel surely has the most remarkable eyes in our time. Two small black marbles seem to be storm-tossed in two vast oceans of white. They speak, pray, dance, mock, grieve, shudder, taunt, question, think, understand, marvel and love. The vivid eyebrows above react as though through tidal effect, accenting and underscoring, commenting on what those white oceans are conveying. (f)

THE JUST AND THE UNJUST The rain: it rains on the JUST And also on the unjust fella But chiefly on the JUST Because the UNJUST steals the JUST’s umbrella.

(g) DR. JOWETT to MARGOT ASQUITH: The whole fabric of society is a great mystery with which we ought not to take liberties. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa 230


Letter 283 1982

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, From: BRONOWSKI’s THE ASCENT OF MAN THE HUMAN DILEMMA There are two parts to the human dilemma. One is the belief that the end justifies the means. That push-button philosophy, that deliberate deafness to suffering, has become the monster in the war machine. The other is the betrayal of the human spirit: the assertion of dogma that closes the mind, and turns a nation, a civilization, into a segment of ghosts – obedient ghosts or tortured ghosts. It is said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That is false, tragically false. Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at AUSCHWITZ. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people. And this was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance. It was done by dogma. It was done by ignorance. WHEN PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT THEY HAVE ABSOLUTE KNOWLEDGE WITH NO TEST IN REALITY THIS IS HOW THEY BEHAVE. THIS IS WHAT MEN DO WHEN THEY ASPIRE TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF GODS. (To be continued in Letter 284)

TWO LAWS OF PROGRESS (SECOND COUSIN TO MURPHY’s LAW) (a) The Cause of Progress: Most things get steadily worse. (b) The Path of Progress: A short cut is the longest distance between two points. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 284 1982

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, From: BRONOWSKI’s THE ASCENT OF MAN THE HUMAN DILEMMA (continued from Letter 283) Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known; we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgement in SCIENCE stands on the edge of error, and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we know although we are fallible. In the end the words were said by OLIVER CROMWELL: “I beseech you, in the bowels of CHRIST, think it possible you may be mistaken.” I owe it as a scientist to my friend LEO SZILARD. I owe it as a human being to the many members of my family who died at AUSCHWITZ, to stand here by the pond as a SURVIVOR and a witness. We have to cure ourselves of the itch for absolute knowledge and power. We have to close the distance between the push-button order and the human act. We have to touch people.

(END OF LAST PAGE OF BRONOWSKI’s ASCENT OF MAN.)

JOHNSON’s LAW: If you miss one issue of any magazine, it will be the issue which contained the article, story or installment you were most anxious to read. Corollary: All of your friends either missed it, lost it, or threw it out.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 8410 1984

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

SNIPPETS FROM THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY PART 1 For many years I heard of a newspaper man AMBROSE BIERCE who flourished in USA about 100 years ago whose cynical writings were much admired. Articles were gathered in various volumes and the volume much referred to is: THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY. I intend to select from the paragraphs and bring them to you in three letters (or parts). Here is Part 1 (will include some of the terms I used in my logical paragraphs): LIAR: A lawyer with a roving commission. LOGIC: The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding. MAN: An animal so lost in rapturous contemplation of what he thinks he is, as to overlook what he indubitably ought to be. His chief occupation is extermination of other animals and his own species, which however multiplies with such insistent rapidity as to infest the whole habitable earth. MIND: A mysterious form of matter secreted by the brain. Its chief activity consists in the endeavor to ascertain its own nature, the futility of the attempt being due to the fact that it has nothing but itself to know itself with. PHILOSOPHY: A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing. TRUTH: An ingenious compound of desirability and appearance. Discovery of the truth is the sole purpose of philosophy, which is the most ancient occupation of the human mind and has a fair prospect of existing with increasing activity to the end of time.

All our love, Daddy / Papa (and Great Grandfather)

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Letter 8412 1984

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

SNIPPETS FROM THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY PART 2 ABSURDITY: A statement of belief manifestly inconsistent with one’s own opinion. ANTIPATHY: The sentiment inspired by one’s friend’s friend. APHORISM: Predigested wisdom. APOLOGIZE: To lay the foundation for a future offence. BEG: To ask for something with an earnestness proportional to the belief that it will not be given. BENEFACTOR: One who makes heavy purchases of ingratitude, without, however, materially affecting the price, which is still within the means of all. BIGOT: One who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain. BORE: A person who talks when you wish him to listen. CALAMITY: A more than commonly plain and unmistakable reminder that the affairs of this life are not of our own ordering. Calamities are of two kinds: misfortune to ourselves and good fortune to others. CALLOUS: Gifted with great fortitude to bear the evils afflicting another. CARTESIAN: Relating to DESCARTES, the famous philosopher, author of the celebrated dictum, COGITO ERGO SUM (I THINK, THEREFORE I AM) whereby he demonstrated the reality of human existence. The dictum might be improved, however, thus: “COGITO COGITO ERGO COGITO SUM (I THINK THAT I THINK, THEREFORE I THINK THAT I AM)”, as close to an approach to certainty as any philosopher has yet made.

All our love, Daddy / Papa (and Great Grandfather)

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LOGICAL PROBLEMS PARADOXES Letters: 172 - 183; 234 - 236; 238; 241; 8406, 8409

DILEMMAS Letters: 172, 173; 184 -188

FALLACIES Letters: 201, 211 - 233; 240 - 242; 258

PUZZLES Letters: 204 - 210; 271 - 278; 8404, 8406, 8409, 8411, 8413

APPLICATIONS Letters: 237, 239, 260


Letter 172 March 22 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, For the last 3 1/2 years my weekly letters consisted of reflections on life and “letters�, points of view about people, reflections on human behavior, etc. In the next set of letters, I am going to concentrate on the area of LOGIC, the art (and science) of reasoning and particularly in the art of distinguishing between correct and incorrect reasoning. I have the feeling that in many instances people who have graduated from high school where they studied math. should (unaided by courses in LOGIC) be able to detect certain fallacies or weaknesses in reasoning that may arise in the speech of a politician, argument of a diplomat, boasts of an advertiser and claims of a newspaperman. Thus, for the most part I shall deal with LOGICAL FALLACIES or ERRORS AND DECEPTIONS IN REASONING. But to stimulate an interest and to excite you in thinking, my preliminary letters will deal with two types of (logical) arguments which pretend to show the invalidity of certain fundamental principles of thinking. The arguments are: (a)

THE PARADOX: a statement which on the face of it seems self contradictory, absurd, or at variance with common sense; though on investigation or when explained it may prove to be well founded.

(b)

THE DILEMMA: best described in a debate between A and B, when A offers alternate positions for B, from which B must choose, and then to prove that no matter what choice B makes, he has to come to a conclusion not in his favor.

The next set of LOGICAL PROBLEMS will deal with examples of PARADOX. Later on I will introduce examples of DILEMMA. To whet your appetites, I shall in this letter give an example of each.

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Letter 172 - 2

PARADOX 1: In a certain town there was a barber who shaved all those (and only those) who did not shave themselves. In other words he shaved all the inhabitants of the town who did not shave themselves and never shaved any inhabitant who did shave himself. (No one was “bearded� in that town.) Did the barber shave himself or not? Argument: If he is shaving himself, he is violating the rule, since he is then SHAVING SOMEONE WHO SHAVES HIMSELF. If he does not, then he is violating the rule, since he is FAILING TO SHAVE SOMEONE WHO IS NOT SHAVING HIMSELF.

DILEMMA 1: If you tell the truth, men will hate you for being candid; and if you tell lies, the gods will hate you for lacking virtue. But either you tell the truth or you tell lies. Hence either men or gods will hate you.

A discussion of the above problems is in my next letter.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

P. S. I should add that the PARADOX and DILEMMA examples are not original with me. They come from the hundreds (OLD-TIMER) examples that for many years have been used by authors in their textbooks on LOGIC.

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Letter 173 March 19 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

PARADOX 2: THE LIAR PARADOX (Version 1) EPIMENIDES, the Cretan, said: ALL CRETANS ARE LIARS. [Assume a LIAR is one who never tells the truth.] Then when EPIMENIDES, a Cretan, said: ALL CRETANS ARE LIARS, he was lying. Therefore, his statement: ALL CRETANS ARE LIARS is a lie. Therefore, CRETANS tell the truth. But EPIMENIDES is a Cretan and hence, when he said ALL CRETANS ARE LIARS, he was telling the truth. Hence all Cretans are liars. Thus we go on alternately proving that EPIMENIDES and the Cretans are truth tellers and liars.

COMMENT ON PARADOX 1 The Barber Paradox has been the subject of discussion and analysis for many a year and the general conclusion is “that it is logically impossible that there exists any such barber”. The “everlasting” paradox continues to bob up year by year thus giving people much mental exercise with no solution forthcoming.

COMMENT ON DILEMMA 1 A more detailed discussion will appear in a later letter. But here is a clever rebuttal: “If I tell the truth, the gods will love me; and if I tell lies, men will love me. But I must either tell the truth or tell lies. Hence either men or the gods will love me.”

More about DILEMMA 1 in a future letter.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 174 April 5 1980

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David & Daniel,

PARADOX 3: THE LIAR PARADOX (Version 2) X says: I am now lying. If it is true that I am now lying, then the statement I made: “I am now lying” is a lie. Hence I am telling the truth. Therefore the statement I made: “I am now lying” is true. Hence I am now lying. How can I be both lying and telling the truth?

COMMENT ON PARADOX 2 (LIAR PARADOX) EPIMENIDES is a liar when he said “ALL Cretans Are Liars”. Only SOME (not ALL) Cretans are LIARS and some are truth tellers. Therefore, there is no paradox. The “ALL” part is the lie.

If there were only one Cretan left, EPIMENIDES by name, then we would have a paradox because EPIMENIDES, the only Cretan, would be declaring that ALL CRETANS ARE LIARS and since EPIMENIDES is the only CRETAN, he is a liar. Hence when he says: ALL CRETANS ARE LIARS, he is lying. Hence ALL CRETANS (just EPIMENIDES) are truth telling etc etc.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 175 April 12 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

PARADOX 4: THE LIAR PARADOX (Version 3) Here is a liar paradox attributed to a mathematician, P. E. B. JOURDAIN: I have a card, one side of which I call SIDE A and the other SIDE B with the following respective sentences: SENTENCE A and SENTENCE B. On SIDE A is written: “The sentence on SIDE B is true.” On SIDE B is written: “The sentence on SIDE A is false.” If SENTENCE A is true, then SENTENCE B is true and hence SENTENCE A is false. If SENTENCE A is false, then SENTENCE B is false and hence SENTENCE A is true.

COMMENT ON PARADOX 3 Paradox 3 is still a paradox and I think it will stay one. Since a person cannot be lying and telling the truth at the same time; this is a violation of the LAW OF CONTRADICTION established by ARISTOTLE: NO PROPOSITION CAN BE BOTH TRUE AND FALSE.

If you have time and patience, tackle this (LIE PARADOX) for exercise: SOCRATES: What Plato is about to say is false. PLATO: Socrates has just spoken the truth.

HAVE FUN!

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 176 April 19 1980

Dear A & H: L & E: Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

PARADOX 5: THE DREAM PARADOX As told by De Quincey (somewhat modified): A man who having used to put his trust in dreams, one night dreamed that all dreams were vain. He was prettily and fantastically troubled for he considered, if so, then this dream was vain. If so, then dreams might be true for all this. But if they might be true, then this dream might be true. Hence dreams were vain because this dream, which told him so was true – AND SO ROUND AGAIN.

COMMENT ON PARADOX 4 It’s a paradox and cannot be solved. Some modern logicians who are tackling the problem (and similar problems) are hoping to establish a principle that will “rule out” as legitimate certain sentences. I will try and get at the bottom of this and will tell you all about it in my graduate course to you!! In the meantime, enjoy LOGIC FUN.

An item of interest: G. E. MOORE, a famous Cambridge philosopher, had a nature described by BERTRAND RUSSELL as “transparent and crystal as a mountain spring” and it was only by a subterfuge that Russell once tricked him into telling a lie. Russell once said: “Moore, do you always speak the truth?” Moore answered “NO”. By saying “NO” Moore told a lie since he always spoke the truth.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 177 April 26 1980

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

PARADOX 6: PROTAGORAS AND THE STUDENT Protagoras, a law teacher, instructed a student in the art of pleading and it was agreed between teacher and pupil that the tuition fee should be paid when the pupil should win his first case. Some time having passed by, and the young man being without clients and evincing no ambition to secure business, Protagoras, in despair, brought the matter before the court. Each party pleaded his own case. Protagoras spoke first: “It is indifferent to me how the court may decide this matter, for, if the decision be in my favor, I recover my fee by virtue of this judgement; but if my opponent wins the case, it being his first, I obtain my fee according to contract.” The pupil, an apt scholar replied: “The decision of the court is even of less importance to me. For if the verdict is in my favor, then I am thereby released from my debt by virtue of judgement. But if I lose this case, the fee cannot be demanded of me according to contract.”

COMMENT ON PARADOX 5 That paradox has been in vogue all the way back. It is a paradox and the flaw is not discoverable. A paradox gives the mind a good bit of exercise; it may sharpen its powers for solving problems that are “solvable”. In the meantime to misquote GERTRUDE STEIN: A paradox is a paradox is a paradox! Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 178 May 3 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

PARADOX 7: ANOTHER TRUE-FALSE PARADOX There are three propositions on the blackboard: PROPOSITION 1, PROPOSITION 2 and PROPOSITION 3. Here is what each says: Proposition 1 (says) Proposition 2 is false. Proposition 2 (says) Proposition 3 is false. Proposition 3 (says) Proposition 1 is false. Suppose we assume Proposition 1 is false then Proposition 2 is true. If Proposition 2 is true, then Proposition 3 is false. If Proposition 3 is false, then Proposition 1 must be true. Hence Proposition 1 is false and is true. Suppose we assume Proposition 1 is true then Proposition 2 is false. And if Proposition 2 is false, Proposition 3 must be true. And if Proposition 3 is true, then Proposition 1 is false (based on the assumption that Proposition 3 is true). Hence it makes no difference whether you start the argument assuming that Proposition 1 is false or Proposition 1 is true, you come to the conclusion that Proposition 1 is both false and true.

COMMENT ON PARADOX 6 The judge declares for the student since at the time the case started, the student had not yet won his first case. But a moment after the judge declared for the student, the teacher can bring up the case (since the student will have already won his first case) and the teacher is now entitled to the fee according to contract.

What’s your opinion? Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 179 May 10 1980

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

PARADOX 8: YET ANOTHER TRUE FALSE PARADOX This deals with the owner of a store and a customer X. The owner says: [The customer is always right.] X says: [Your statement, “The customer is always right” is wrong.] Let us put that in another way. Statement A: [The Customer is always right] by the owner. Statement B: [Statement A is wrong] by X, the customer. Now if Statement A is right, then X is always right; Therefore Statement B is right, therefore Statement A is wrong. Now if Statement A is wrong, then X is wrong; Therefore Statement B is wrong, therefore Statement A is right.

Evidently the owner may be right and wrong, the customer may be right or wrong; there is chaos in the store – please help out by solving this paradox.

COMMENT ON PARADOX 7 I cannot help you to find the error in the argument. If it’s any consolation to you, philosophers of old sweated blood in trying to solve these true and false paradoxes. When they were worn out they could not turn on the TV set for diversion. I am giving you the benefit of logico-therapy.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 180 May 17 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

PARADOX* 9: THE KING, THE BRIDGE AND THE TRAVELLER A certain king built a bridge and decreed that all persons about to cross it should be interrogated as to their destination. If they told the truth, they were permitted to pass unharmed; but if they answered falsely, they were to be hanged on the gallows erected at the center of the bridge. One day a man about to cross was asked the usual question. He replied: “I am going to be hanged on the gallows.�

Now, if they hanged him, he had told the truth and should have escaped hanging; whereas, if they did not hang him, he had answered falsely and should have swung for it.

COMMENT ON PARADOX 8 I cannot help out. My sympathies are with the STORE, the OWNER and the CUSTOMER. I would get rid of the customer by bribing him with a fur coat for his wife.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

*This is really a dilemma paradox.

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Letter 181 May 24 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

PARADOX* 10: THE KING AND PROSPECTIVE SONS-IN-LAW The king chose as husbands for his daughters all suitors who could: (a) answer truthfully the question he asked, and (b) completed successfully the task he proposed. When a prospective son-in law arrived, if the king did not like him i he would propose the following question: “What will you be doing tomorrow at high noon?” AND ii he would request the following task: “Tomorrow at high noon you are to do the opposite of your answer to i above.”

COMMENT ON PARADOX 9 I hope they are still wondering what to do. It serves those blood thirsty kings right. Let them stew in their own juices.

COMMENT ON PARADOX 10 above I believe the king will always win out. I hope that he would like the suitor that his daughter would like and give him a fair task that he could accomplish, not ii. above.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

*This is really a dilemma paradox!

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Letter 182 May 31 1980

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

PARADOX* 11: HANGED OR DROWNED A man has committed a crime punishable by death. He is to make a statement. If the statement is true, he is to be drowned. If the statement is false, he is to be hanged. What statement did he make (I should mention that he has a keen analytical mind) to confound his executioners?

Since I have some space left, I will give you a statement by the great SPINOZA: It is the PASSIONS that divide MEN; REASON brings them together. Men who seek their own welfare under the GUIDANCE of REASON desire nothing for themselves which they do not wish also for the rest of MANKIND.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

*This is a dilemma paradox for his executioner.

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Letter 183 June 7 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

PARADOX 12: FOUR BRAVE SOLDIERS The four soldiers were A, B, C and D. They were contemplating a daring feat. A said he would go if B went. B said he would go if C went. C said he would go if D went. D said he would go if A went. Did the party go or not?

The procedure of determining on these grounds the above is an infinite and a recurring one, since we keep on repeating the given “propositions”.

COMMENT ON PARADOX 11 All he has to say is: “I WILL BE HANGED.” (I think he is indeed clever and I would give him an honorary degree. I am sure he has confounded his executioners and I hope he is still alive.)

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 184 June 14 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

THE DILEMMA I am going to say AU REVOIR to the PARADOX and intend to devote the next set of letters to the method of argument known as the DILEMMA. In ordinary parlance a man is in a dilemma when he must choose between two alternative lines of action (or thought), both of which are bad or unpleasant. In LETTER 172 I described the DILEMMA as it may be used in a debate between A and B when A offers alternate positions for B and then aims at proving that no matter what choice B may make he has to come to a conclusion not in his favor. Many speakers, politicians, essayists etc seek to convince or silence opposition by dilemmas that in many cases are fallacious; hence the necessity for studying the conditions for their validity.

SOME COLORFUL LANGUAGE THAT GOES WITH THE DILEMMA To be faced with a dilemma is like being faced with a charging bull. The bull presents you with a choice of two horns both unpleasant; a dilemma presents you with a choice of two courses of action both unpleasant. The adversary is said to be “impaled on the horns of a dilemma”.

DILEMMA (2) Here is a dilemma used by the officers of England’s Henry VII to force people to lend money to the KING: (1) If a man lived simply, he must have saved money and could lend some to the King. (2) If a man lived extravagantly, he must have money to spend and could lend some to the King. (3) But every man either lived simply or extravagantly. (4) Therefore every man could lend money to the King.

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Letter 184 – 2

The dilemma used gave the officers’ victims a choice of alternatives both of which led to the same unwelcome conclusion. As we shall see, while the argument was very persuasive, it was invalid.

AN ANALYSIS OF THE DILEMMA Lines 1 and 2 are the “IF - THEN” lines. Line 3 is the “BUT EITHER - OR” line. Line 4 is the “THEREFORE” line. You will find in examining DILEMMA examples that very rarely will Line 3 exhaust all possibilities. The defect is often concealed by the use of ambiguous language which will give the Line 3 the appearance of exhausting the alternatives when it really does not. More in my next letter.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 185 June 21 1980

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

THE DILEMMA continued HOW TO REFUTE THE DILEMMA: There are three “weapons” that you can use to refute the dilemma – but you don’t need to use all the three; one will be enough. These weapons (described in colorful language) are: (a)

You can “TAKE THE DILEMMA BY THE HORNS” (this has reference to Lines 1 and 2)

(b)

You can “ESCAPE BETWEEN THE HORNS OF THE DILEMMA” (this has reference to Line 3)

(c)

You can “REBUT THE DILEMMA” (you answer by creating another dilemma whose conclusion contradicts the original conclusion)

REFUTING DILEMMA 2: (A) TAKING THE DILEMMA BY THE HORNS: Consider Lines 1 and 2. A man may live simply because he only has enough money to live on. It does not follow that he has money to save. Even the extravagant “liver” may be living on borrowed money. Here again he may not have money to lend. The force of the “IF - THEN” argument is killed and the dilemma is invalid. (B)

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ESCAPING BETWEEN THE HORNS OF THE DILEMMA: Consider Line 3. A man does not necessarily have to live simply or extravagantly. He may live just comfortably but not simply. He may be able to afford a few of the luxuries and yet not live extravagantly. The force of the “BUT EITHER - OR” argument is killed and the dilemma is invalid.


Letter 185 – 2

(C)

REBUTTING THE DILEMMA: Here is a new dilemma that you can create with the conclusion contradicting the original conclusion. Line 1:

If I live extravagantly, I am obviously living up to the limit of my income. Therefore I have no money to lend.

Line 2:

If I live simply it is obviously because I have no money to lend.

Line 3:

Either I live extravagantly or simply.

Line 4:

Therefore (in either case) I have no money to lend.

You can refute via (A) or via (B) or via (C). You don’t need more than one. It has been said that a nimble brain can create a dilemma to justify any course of action; and an equally nimble brain can show the weaknesses of most dilemmas.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

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Letter 186 June 28 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

DILEMMAS SIMPLE – COMPLEX DILEMMA (2) in my letter 184 is known as a simple dilemma because only one course of action is offered in LINE 4. Sometimes two courses of action are offered, both of which are unpleasant. See below:

DILEMMA (3) – COMPLEX The subject is “Advising a Friend”. Line 1:

If you advise a friend what he means to do, then your advice is unnecessary.

Line 2:

If you advise a friend what he does not mean to do, then your advice is useless.

Line 3:

But you either advise what he means to do, or what he does not mean to.

Line 4:

Therefore, your advice is either unnecessary or useless.

Note: In DILEMMA (2), Line 4 yielded only one “course of action”. In DILEMMA (3), Line 4 yields two “courses of action”.

TO REFUTE DILEMMA (3): ESCAPE BETWEEN THE HORNS (See Letter 185.) The Dilemma ignores a possibility. It ignores the alternation that your friend may have been quite undecided before asking advice. Line 3 should exhaust all possibilities but it does not.

More dilemmas next letter.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

256


Letter 187 July 5 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

THREE DILEMMAS PRESENTED BY MALE CHAUVINIST PIGS* DILEMMA (4) If a woman is good looking, higher education is superfluous; If she is not, it is inadequate; But a woman is either good looking or not; Therefore, higher education for women is either superfluous or inadequate. DILEMMA (5) If women adorn themselves for ostentation, they are vain; If women adorn themselves in order to attract men, they are immoral; Either women adorn themselves for ostentation or in order to attract men; Therefore, they are either vain or immoral. DILEMMA (6) This dilemma is presented to the newly engaged servant by the son of the resident: If you get on too well with the MASTER, the MISTRESS will get rid of you; If you don’t get on well with the MASTER, he will get rid of you; Either you will or will not get on with the MASTER; Therefore, either the MISTRESS or MASTER will get rid of you. [The son gives advice: “Start looking for another job!”]

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa *These dilemmas arose way back!

257


Letter 188 July 12 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, (A)

REFUTATION OF DILEMMAS (4), (5) and (6) i

DILEMMA (4) This can be rebutted: If a woman is good-looking, higher education will increase her charm; If she is not, it will give her an attraction of its own; But either she is good-looking or not; Therefore, higher education will either increase her charm or give her an attraction of its own.

ii

DILEMMA (5) The “EITHER ALL” line must exhaust all possibilities. Thomas Aquinas points out that women may adorn themselves not only for the reasons given but also to hide physical defects. Hence the DILEMMA is refuted.

iii DILEMMA (6) I cannot find any fault in the dilemma. I agree with the son in his suggestion that the servant should look for another job. (B)

AN OPTIMIST’S DILEMMA AND A REBUTTAL BY THE PESSIMIST – DILEMMA (7) OPTIMIST: If I work, I earn money; and if I am idle, I enjoy myself. Either I work or I am idle. Therefore either I earn money or I enjoy myself. PESSIMIST: If I work, I don’t enjoy myself; and if I am idle, I don’t earn money. Either I work or I am idle. Therefore either I don’t earn money or I don’t enjoy myself. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

258


Letter 201 Oct 11 1980

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen: David; Daniel, From FALLACY by Fearnside and Holther: Except in scientific labs, is cogency admired? In the committee rooms of Congress, in the editorials of the chain newspapers, on radio, TV, and billboards – in all of the noise and distraction in which we live our lives, only a child or a saint could expect truth to prevail simply because it is true. Truth has a chance when NOISE and DISTRACTION are on her side; otherwise she may be overcome. And these two can and do prevail without her or against her. The triumph of rhetoric is like the spread of a virus infection. When an epidemic spreads through an area, it is said to prevail there and local measures may be taken. But to say it prevails, does not mean that everyone is infected. Some persons escape infection; others are immune. It is not necessary to labor the analogy in order to show that it would be a good idea if the community could somehow develop a serum against some forms of PERSUASION. Few can hope to become immune to all the tricks of persuasion since, like viruses, there are too many of them. People are daily exposed to appeals to blind faith, self interest, fear, prejudice, fancy . . . LOGIC is the defense against trickery. The kinds of argument with which LOGIC deals are the reasonable ones. Mistakes are possible, even frequent, in applying the forms of logical argument, and these mistakes are regarded as FALLACIES. An argument can be entirely logical, but since in LOGIC conclusions are derived from premises, many of such premises are frauds, smears and delusions. There are brilliant tricks for getting people to accept all sorts of false premises as true. And these tricks are too prevalent.

HENCE A STUDY OF THE WHOLE SUBJECT OF FALLACIES BECOMES ALMOST A DUTY. Yours for LOGIC, Daddy / Papa 259


Letter 204 Nov 1 1980

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

A FEW PUZZLES PUZZLE 1 A man was looking at a portrait. Someone asked him: “Whose portrait are you looking at?” He replied: “Brothers and sisters have I none, but this man’s father (i.e. the father of the man in the portrait) is my father’s son.” Whose picture was the man looking at? PUZZLE 2 A man was looking at a portrait. Someone asked him: “Whose portrait are you looking at?” He replied: “Brothers and sisters have I none but this man’s son (i.e. the son of the man in the picture) is my father’s son.” Whose picture was the man looking at? PUZZLE 3 A man was looking at a portrait. Someone asked him: “Whose portrait are you looking at?” He replied: “Brothers and sisters have I none but this man (i.e. the man in the picture) is my father’s son.” Whose picture was the man looking at? PUZZLE 4 Three friends, THOMAS, RICHARD and JOHN, are of different ages. THOMAS is a bachelor. RICHARD earns less than the youngest of the three. The eldest of the three earns most but has the cost of putting his son through college. Who is the oldest and who is the youngest of the three friends? PUZZLE 5 Five people A, B, C, D and E weigh as follows: A and B together weigh 250 pounds B and C together weigh 290 pounds C and D together weigh 275 pounds A plus C plus E together weigh 435 pounds D and E together weigh 270 pounds How much does each person weigh?

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa 260


Letter 205 Nov 8 1980

Dear A & H: L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

ANSWERS TO PUZZLES 1 to 5 PUZZLE 1

I am looking at a picture of MY SON.

COMMENT ON PUZZLE 1 A lot of people arrive at the wrong conclusion that the man is looking at HIS OWN PORTRAIT. They put themselves in the place of the man looking at the picture, and reason as follows: “Since I have no brothers or sisters, then my father’s son must be ME. Therefore I am looking at a picture of myself.” The first statement of this reasoning is absolutely correct; if I have neither brothers nor sisters, then my father’s son is indeed MYSELF. But it does not follow that “MYSELF” is the answer to the problem. If the second clause of the problem had been: “This man is my father’s son”, then the answer to the problem would have been MYSELF. But the problem did not say that. It said “This man’s FATHER is my father’s son.” From which it follows that this man’s father is MYSELF (since my father’s son is MYSELF). Since this man’s father is MYSELF, then I am this man’s father; hence this man must be my son. Thus the correct answer to the problem is that the man is looking at a picture of HIS SON. If you are still unconvinced, it might help if you look at the matter a bit more graphically as follows: (A) This man’s father is my father’s son. Substitute the word “myself” for the more cumbersome phrase “my father’s son” and we get: “This man’s father is myself.” ARE YOU CONVINCED? PUZZLE 2

I am looking at a picture of MY FATHER.

PUZZLE 3

I am looking at a picture of MYSELF

PUZZLE 4

OLDEST: JOHN – earns most – putting son through college. MIDDLE: RICHARD – earns least. YOUNGEST: THOMAS – Bachelor. JOHN is the oldest; THOMAS is the youngest.

261


Letter 205 – 2

PUZZLE 5

A weighs 120; B weighs 130; C weighs 160; D weighs 115; E weighs 155.

NEW PUZZLES PUZZLE 6 If all A’s are B’s and some B’s are C’s, which of the following must be true? i Some C’s are A’s. ii Some B’s are A’s. iii All A’s are C’s. iv All B’s are A’s. v Any C that is not a B is not an A. PUZZLE 7 BILL is the Insurance Agent. BERT is the prospect for Insurance. BILL:

So you are just 40 – with three kids. How old are they?

BERT: Figure it out for yourself. The three ages add up to the street number of this house. If you multiply their ages together, the result will be my age. BILL:

I still can’t tell their ages.

BERT: Forget it then. The two elder kids will be walking back from school now; so you will meet them. BILL:

That’s all I need to know.

BILL:

Then gave the three ages without further delay.

What were the three ages?

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

262


Letter 206 Nov 15 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

ANSWERS TO PUZZLES 6 AND 7 PUZZLE 6 Two statements are true. The others are “false”. ii Some B’s are A’s. v Any C that is not a B is not an A. PUZZLE 7 We know that 40 = 1 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 5, so the possible ages of the three children must have been one of the following trios: 20

10

10

8

5

2

4

2

5

4

1 ____

1 ____

2 ____

1 ____

2 ____

23

15

14

14

11

BILL must have known the house number. But he still could not be sure of the ages. So the house number must have been 14. When told that the two eldest were walking home from SCHOOL, he concluded that the two elder ones must be 8 and 5. Hence children’s ages: 8, 5 and 1.

263


Letter 206 – 2

NEW PUZZLES PUZZLE 8 On January 1, I started to read a book and by reading the same number of pages each day of the month, I managed to finish it on the 31st of January (include the 31st). If I had started by reading a quarter of that number of pages on January 1, and on each succeeding day, one page more than on the preceding day, I should also have finished it on January 31 (include the 31st). How many pages did the book contain?

PUZZLE 9 What number leaves a remainder of 1 when divided by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 respectively, but leaves no remainder when divided by 11? What is the number?

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

264


Letter 207 Nov 22 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

ANSWERS TO PUZZLES 8 and 9 PUZZLE 8 Number of pages 620 20 pages a day – 20 x 31 = 620 Start with 5 and go up 1 a day: 5 + 6 + 7---------34 + 35 = 620

PUZZLE 9 Number is 25201 The smallest number in which each (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) can divide without remainder is 2520. A remainder of 1 is therefore left when 2521 is divided by each of the numbers. There is a remainder of 1. We now have to find a multiple of 2520 which with 1 added to it, is divisible by 11. [(2520)(10)] + 1 = 25201

NEW PUZZLES PUZZLE 10 A man was looking at a portrait. Someone asked him: Whose portrait are you looking at?” He replied: “Brothers and sisters have I none, but that person’s father was my father’s son.” Whose portrait was that man looking at?

PUZZLE 11 In a group of 50 women, 10 are neither pretty nor smart, 30 are pretty and 35 are smart. How many of the group have both “virtues”?

265


Letter 207 – 2

PUZZLE 12 The only child present in a room noʺʺticed that each man shook hands with each other man, while each woman kissed each other woman present. If there were 15 handshakes and 21 kisses, how many people (include the child) were in the room?

PUZZLE 13 A shelf is exactly filled with books of equal thickness. If the books were 1ʺ thinner, the shelf could accommodate 6 more books. If the books were 1ʺ thicker, then there would be no room for 3 books. How many inches long is the shelf?

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

266


Letter 208 Nov 29 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

ANSWERS TO PUZZLES 10, 11, 12, 13 PUZZLE 10

Daughter.

PUZZLE 11 Deduct 10 from 50 and you have 40 left who have one or both qualities. By subtraction from 40, it can be seen that 10 are pretty but not smart and 5 are smart but not pretty This leaves 25 who have both virtues.

PUZZLE 12 If there were 15 handshakes then there must have been 6 men. If there were 21 kisses there must have been 7 women. Total in the room: 6 plus 7 plus 1 (the child) = 14.

PUZZLE 13 Suppose B books filled the shelf and each was T inches thick. If you reduce the thickness (of each book) by 1 inch, B inches of the shelf would be empty. B = 6(T - 1) Arguing analogously B = 3(T + 1) Result: T = 3 inches; B = 12 inches; shelf length 36 inches.

267


Letter 208 – 2

NEW PUZZLES PUZZLE 14 One day last week I went to town. I had my hair cut, bought one of the local papers (which had been published that day), bought some grapes at the FARMERS MARKET, and some miscellaneous things at the drug store. I than cashed a check for $50 at the bank. The barber is closed on Monday. The bank is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. The FARMERS MARKET is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays. The drug store is closed only on Sundays. On what day of the week did I go to town?

PUZZLE 15 “FRIDAY the 13th” is reputed to be a very unlucky day. On the average, over a period of years, how frequently does “FRIDAY the 13th” occur?

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

268


Letter 209 Dec 6 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

ANSWERS TO PUZZLES 14 AND 15 PUZZLE 14 Since I went to the FARMERS MARKET I must have gone to town either on Monday or Wednesday or Saturday. I could not have had a haircut on Monday nor could I have gone to the bank on Saturday. Therefore I went to town on Wednesday.

PUZZLE 15 There are 12 months in a year of 365 ¼ (average) days. Hence the 13th day of the month occurs once in

 365 14   12

  days 

The day of the week is likely to be one of the seven. Hence Friday the 13th occurs on the average once in

 365 14   12

  multiplied by 7 days 

This equals 213 days.

NEW PUZZLES PUZZLE 16 There are 10 bags, each containing 10 weights, all of which look identical. In 9 of the bags each weight is 16 ounces; but in one of the bags the weights are actually 17 ounces each. How is it possible in a single weighing on an accurate weighing scale, to determine which bag contains the 17 ounce weights?

269


Letter 209 – 2

PUZZLE 17 A man came home from a party and his wife asked: “How many people were there?” He answered: “We were 7 less than twice the product of the two digits of our total number.” How many attended the party?

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

270


Letter 210 Dec 13 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

ANSWERS TO PUZZLES 16 AND 17 PUZZLE 16 For identification, number the bags from 1 to 10. Take one weight from Bag 1, two weights from Bag 2, three weights from Bag 3, four weights from Bag 4, five weights from Bag 5, six weights from Bag 6, seven weights from Bag 7, eight weights from Bag 8, nine weights from Bag 9 and ten weights from Bag 10. Total of the weights would be 55 pounds if each weight were 16 ounces. [1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 +9 +10 = 55] If the bag with the 17 ounce weights is BAG X , the total weight instead of 55 pounds would be: 55 pounds plus X ounces. Hence if we subtract 55 pounds from the total obtained in the weighing described, the excess in ounces will be the identification number of the bag containing the 17 ounce weights. PUZZLE 17 Suppose the digits were X and Y. The number was therefore (10X + Y). But the number is also (2XY - 7). Therefore 10X + Y = 2XY - 7. Therefore (2X - 1)(Y - 5) = 12. Since X and Y are digits, (2X - 1) and (Y - 5) must be whole numbers. Also (2X - 1) must be odd and since Y < 10, (Y - 5) must be less than 5. Therefore 2X - 1 = 3 Y - 5 = 4 X = 2 Y = 9 And 29 persons attended the dinner.

NOTE: The above will fatigue you sufficiently. No new puzzles this week. In fact I am taking a puzzle vacation. Next week I will begin a series of interesting LOGICAL FALLACIES.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa 271


Letter 211 Dec 20 1980

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, Letter 210 consisted of answers to two puzzles and a â&#x20AC;&#x153;warningâ&#x20AC;? that I am bidding farewell to puzzle solutions and will for some weeks describe and discuss popular FALLACIES in our thinking, arguing, correspondence etc. I shall summarize the fallacies by TYPE OF FALLACY and give illustrative examples. Each letter (except this) will deal with one TYPE.

WHAT IS A FALLACY? Here are some descriptions or definitions of a FALLACY as found in the many books of logic I read: (1)

A fallacy occurs when a discussion claims to conform to the rules of sound argument but in fact fails to do so.

(2)

A fallacy is an argument which although having some semblance of validity is actually inconclusive; it is a mistake in reasoning and such mistakes often lead to false judgements.

(3)

A fallacy comprises errors in reasoning that are more or less easily detected and placed under some classification.

(4)

A fallacy is a defective inference but also may be found in any error in the premises or conclusions of an argument.

(5)

A fallacy is a form of argument that SEEMS to be correct but which proves (upon examination) not to be so.

There are many others but one can get the gist of meaning of that term.

272


Letter 211 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 2

A scientist once suggested that more attention should be given by logicians to the subject of FALLACIES. He felt that FALLACIES should be a branch of LOGIC in the same manner as PATHOLOGY is a branch of MEDICINE. Since ARISTOTLE, authors have tried to build some ideal list of fallacies. They have come to the conclusion that a practical breakdown might be INFORMAL fallacies and LOGICAL fallacies, the former dealing with errors in reasoning due to carelessness in the subject, ambiguity in language etc.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

273


Letter 212 Dec 27 1980 Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, In each succeeding letter I shall outline one fallacy to you but I am not giving you the fallacies in any order. I am just selecting some popular ones. Later on if we go a little deeper into LOGIC, I will add others and try and put them in some order.

(1) FALLACY OF FALSE ANALOGY Two things are compared and resemblances noted in a series of “qualities”. Does it follow that just because such qualities are similar, other qualities must be similar? I compare a cat and a dog. I get similarities: four feet, two eyes, one nose. etc. But I would never dream of concluding that all other qualities are similar. Analogy is used extensively by scientists and when carefully handled will produce sound results. But in ordinary thinking it can prove a source of error. Here are some interesting examples: i

A in commenting about B says: “The razor edge of his intellect will be blunted by constant use.” A man’s brain power is being compared to a razor. The implication is that just as a razor will be blunted by constant use, so will the effectiveness of B’s thinking if B thinks a lot.

ii Bacon: “No body can be healthful without exercise, neither can a national body nor politic; and certainly to a kingdom a just and honorable war is the true exercise.” The argument is that exercise is good for the human body and foreign war is the exercise for the body politic. Hence foreign wars are good for the body politic. iii There are resemblances between the development of the individual and the development of a race. Hence since the individual must die, so must the race die. iv There are resemblances between the earth and the other planets. Therefore the other planets are inhabited. v In brief math symbols: The intellect: the soul = the sight: the body. vi In brief math symbols: The colony: the mother country = a child: a parent. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

274


Letter 213 Jan 3 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

(2) FALLACY OF FALSE CAUSE It means to mistake what is not the cause of a given effect for its real cause. It is also the inference that one event is the cause of another from the mere fact that the first occurs prior to the second. The mere fact of coincidence or temporal succession does not establish any causal connection. The savage claims that beating his drums is the cause of the sun’s reappearance after an eclipse. See also patent medicine testimonials that X suffered from a head cold and recovered within a week after drinking a bottle of that medicine. A ship sails on Friday the 13th and is later lost. Hence that date of sailing was the cause of the loss. “We have had nothing but bad luck since he came on the ship. Therefore - - - ” The drunkards in a town live in wretched houses. Therefore bad housing is the cause of drunkenness. But the cause may be poverty etc. In the case of COINCIDENCE, it may be determined that the increase in crime COINCIDES with the decline of churchgoing. Is one the cause of the other? Nothing but scientific STATISTICS can determine CAUSALITY. Many superstitions are grounded in the FALLACY OF FALSE CAUSE. A black cat crosses my path. I leave my pocket book somewhere and deduce that the cat caused me to lose it. Hence - - Many hotels and large buildings number the floor above the 12th “14” because many people consider 13 unlucky.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

275


Letter 214 Jan 10 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

(3) FALLACY OF BEGGING THE QUESTION In thinking (or in an argument) we tacitly assume the matter which is under discussion is the point we are to prove. Another way of explaining that FALLACY is to state that that fallacy is committed when instead of offering proof for its conclusion, an argument simply asserts the conclusion in another form. Such arguments invite us to assume that something has been confirmed when in effect it has only been affirmed or reaffirmed. In a movie some thieves argue over the division of seven pearls. One of them hands over two to the man on his right and two to the man on his left. He then says : “I will keep the rest.” The man on the right says: “How come you keep the three?” The answer: “Because I am the leader.” “But how come you are the leader?” The answer: “Because I have three.” “Smith cannot have told you a lie when he said he was my cousin.” “Why not?” “Because no cousin of mine would ever tell a lie.” A (to B): “I ought not to do this act, because it is wrong.” B (to A): “How do you know the act is wrong?” A (to B): “Because I know I ought not to do it.”

A prosecuting attorney began his case by saying: “This murderer who hounded his wife to the grave “ is begging the question because he should be trying to prove the man is a murderer.

276


Letter 214 – 2

A (to B): “Are you in favor of corporal punishment in our schools” B (to A): “Why not?” A (to B): “Because it is obviously wrong to physically punish school children.” (There is no attempt to produce valid reason. The question is restated in different words to make it look like a reason.)

Affectionately yours, Daddy / Papa

277


Letter 215 Jan 17 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

(4) FALLACY OF ARGUING IN A CIRCLE It consists in introducing into our premises a proposition that depends on the one at issue. If one tried to prove the infallibility of the KORAN by the proposition that it was composed by GODâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s prophet (MAHOMET), if the truth about MAHOMET being GODâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s prophet depends upon the authority of the KORAN. Smith: Jones: Smith: Jones: Smith: Jones:

The X team is better than Y. Why? Because they have won more games. And why have they won more games? Because they are a better team. Why?

(And we are back where we started from.) Manager: And how does our loan company know that you are reliable and honest, Mr. White? White:

Well, I think Mr. Taylor will give me a good reference.

Manager: Good. But how can my company trust the word of Mr. Taylor? White:

Indeed it can. I vouch for the word of Mr. Taylor, myself.

GOD exists. How do you know? The Bible says so. How do I know what the Bible says is true? Because the Bible is the word of GOD. Note: The Arguing in a Circle Fallacy is sometimes combined with the Begging of the Question Fallacy.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa 278


Letter 216 Jan 24 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

(5) FALLACY OF MANY QUESTIONS You formulate the question in such a way as to leave no real choice for the respondent. In most cases a simple “YES” or “NO” involves an admission that the respondent is unwilling to make. How long have you been embezzling funds from the bank? Have you kept your resolution of not smoking three packs of cigarettes a day? Asked by a salesman: “Have you placed an order yet for your new refrigerator?” [A quick reply: “I did not place an order for a refrigerator, nor do I consider it mine until I buy it.” (unless of course you choose to give it away.)] Are you as good as ever at avoiding hard work? Did you stop beating your wife? Is it or is it not the case that the murder was brutal, premeditated, took place at 5:30 p.m. and was done with a pocket knife? (Answer: YES or NO) Have you given up your drinking habits yet? Where did you hide the evidence? What did you do with the money you stole? The mother to the child: “Do you want to be a good boy and go to bed?” Is X a screwball liberal? Is Y a bigoted conservative? Are you still a heavy drinker? What did you use to wipe your fingerprints from the gun?

The remedy is to request that the complex question be split into its two (or more) component questions and an answer can be given to each in turn.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa 279


Letter 217 Jan 31 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

(6) FALLACY OF FALSE CONVERSION Take an assertion and “turn it around”. The result is its CONVERSE. In some cases (if the assertion is valid) the converse is valid. In other cases even if the assertion is valid, the converse is not. Assertion: No member of Congress is a foreigner (i.e. not an American citizen). The Converse: No foreigners (non-American citizens) are members of Congress. The above conversion is VALID Here are some more VALID conversions: Some convicts are murderers. —> Some murderers are convicts. Some clowns are people with red noses. —> Some red-nosed people are clowns. Some married people are women. —> Some women are married people. These conversions are INVALID: All men are two-footed creatures. —> All two-footed creatures are men. All boys love games. —> All who love games are boys. All birds are flyers. —> All flyers are birds. All residents of the apartment house are voters. —> All voters are residents of the apartment house.

These conversions are VALID: No wrestlers are weaklings. —> No weaklings are wrestlers. No reptiles are warm-blooded animals. —> No warm-blooded animals are reptiles. No organic compounds are metals. —> No metals are organic compounds. No geniuses are conformists. —> No conformists are geniuses.

280


Letter 217 – 2

The rule is:

(1)

“Some --- are ---“ assertions are convertible.

(2)

“No --- are ---“ assertions are convertible.

(3)

“All --- are --- “ assertions are not fully convertible; in the converted assertion change ALL into SOME. e.g. All dogs are animals. —> Some animals are dogs.

(4)

“Some --- are not --- “ are not convertible.

A FURTHER DISCUSSION IN A LATER LETTER.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

281


Letter 218 Feb 7 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred, Kathy, Ellen, David, Daniel,

(7) FALLACY OF COMPOSITION AND DIVISION COMPOSITION: Because a thing is true of each member of a group it is not necessarily true for the group as a whole. INVALID: Each of the actors is very good. Therefore the presence of each one in the new movie is a guarantee that it will be excellent. INVALID: The XYZ Football Team is good because each member is a good player. INVALID: You and I and all our friends are rich and we all belong to the local Rotary Club. So the local Rotary Club must be rich. INVALID: All the soldiers in the regiment are IRISH. Therefore the regiment is an IRISH regiment.

DIVISION: Based on the misconception that the characteristic of a whole is necessarily the same as the characteristic of each individual part. INVALID: He is a citizen of U.S.A. which is a democracy. Therefore he must have a democratic view. INVALID: Each member of the XYZ Football Team must be good because the XYZ Football Team is a good team. INVALID: Because you belong to a fine family you consider yourself as an individual to be a fine person. INVALID: The Roman Senate was a wise body. Therefore every member of it was wise. INVALID: Fraternities do not maintain a high scholastic standard. Therefore Jones, who is a fraternity member, does not need to maintain a high scholastic standard.

282


Letter 218 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 2

Note: The word ALL may mean i the total collection or ALL may mean ii each and everyone.

An example of COMPOSITION is interpreting i when only ii is intended. An example of DIVISION is interpreting ii when only i is intended.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

283


Letter 219 Feb 14 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

(8) FALLACY OF FALSE GENERALIZATION (Part 1) The above occurs if after observing a portion of a particular group you come to a conclusion and then you apply that conclusion to the rest of the group. You will then be generalizing about the whole group. Example: You find out that all swans in Britain are white. You then make the generalization that: All swans are white. As it happens there are black swans in Australia. You have made a false generalization in declaring: all swans are white. You have gone from a consideration of many particular swans to a general rule about all swans. In INDUCTIVE REASONING we consider all cases known up to the present, make a rule and assume that all instances unknown (or to come) obey or will obey the rule. Thus: the sun rises every morning and sets every evening; rain is wet; men must die; we must eat to live etc. You will note that generalization is based on an assumption that what is true of all known instances is true also of unknown ones. If the number of instances is sufficiently large and if these instances are a good sample, our generalization may be of value. But if the instances are few or isolated our generalization may be a false one. In many cases one’s generalization may arise from ignorance or prejudice. Examples: I don’t think much of the Board if a fellow like Jones is a member. This is the third time that boy has been late in the last week; he is never on time. Immigrants are all rascals. I have lived with them, worked with them and played with them. I know what I’d do with them. Of course fat people are good natured. Look at Jones, Smith and Brown. You could not get fatter and better tempered people.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

284


Letter 220 Feb 21 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

(8) FALLACY OF FALSE GENERALIZATION (Part 2) Many of the errors of hasty generalization arise from a desire to be emphatic. We do realize that we have not studied sufficient instances. We instinctively want to make our conclusion strong. So we say: All fat people are good natured instead of some fat people are good natured. We fall for the temptation of substituting ALL for SOME. This â&#x20AC;&#x153;confusionâ&#x20AC;? of ALL for SOME is common because for the most part we use neither ALL nor SOME in our conversation. We say: Cats like fish; Boys dislike school; Frenchmen are excitable. It will be noted that we neither use ALL nor SOME ! In addition we should be wary of statistics. In the matter of statistics (supporting a point of view) we must ask ourselves: i

Are the figures reliable?

ii

From what source do they come?

iii Are the cases studied homogenous? If percentages are derived, were sufficient cases studied so that the percentages attained have any meaning? If we are considering averages consider the (absurd) example of a millionaire and a janitor the only occupants of an elevator. What value would this be to the average earnings per person of the two in the elevator? Errors in the use of statistics are examples of that tendency to jump to conclusions that come under the category of false and hasty generalization.

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Finally, here are a few examples of sweeping (or faulty) generalizations: (1)

Everyone has a right to his own property. Therefore even though Jones has been declared insane, you had no right to take away his gun.

(2)

Since horseback riding is a good and healthful exercise, Brown ought to do more of it because it will be good for his heart condition.

(3)

I had a bad time with my former husband. From that experience I have learned that all men are no good.

I am sure you will be able to detect the errors in these examples.

Affectionately, Daddy/Papa

286


Letter 221 Feb 28 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

(9) FALLACY OF ACCENT (Part 1) It is the fallacy resulting from misplaced emphasis upon a word, syllable or phrase, since every sentence changes its meaning when different words are accented.

Example 1: The statement: I hope you will come tonight. Forms of accented statement. (Capital letters indicate the words emphasized.) (1)

I hope you will come tonight. impression: I hope; others donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t share in the hope.

(2)

I hope YOU will come tonight. impression: just you and no one else.

(3)

I hope you WILL come tonight. impression: you are hesitating; I hope you will come.

(4)

I hope you will come TONIGHT. impression: not at any other time but tonight.

Example 2: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. (1)

Thou shalt not bear FALSE WITNESS â&#x20AC;&#x201C; against anyone.

(2)

Thou shalt not bear false witness against THY NEIGHBOR (but it is ok against anybody else).

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Example 3: From EUCHARIST: DRINK YE ALL OF IT – much sectarian controversy. Does it mean that ALL OF YOU should drink it or that only some should drink it, but drink it ALL UP? To counter dispute, modern translation from Greek: DRINK IT, ALL OF YOU.

Example 4: A witty drama critic X wrote about a play: “I liked all the play except the acting.” The next day a newspaper said: “X liked all the play.”

Note: When a mistake in reasoning arises as a result of change in meaning caused by such techniques, we have a FALLACY OF ACCENT.

We should not speak ill of our friends. (1)

We should not SPEAK ILL of our friends.

(2)

We should not speak ill of OUR FRIENDS.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

288


Letter 222 March 7 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

(9) FALLACY OF ACCENT (Part 2) Example 5: How to invite patronage. A barber placed this sign in his window: What do you think / I’ll shave you for nothing / and give you a drink. When the customers protested that he demanded pay for the haircut and did not give them the drink (supposedly) promised, he rewrote the sign: What do you think? I’ll shave you for nothing and give you a drink!!!

Example 6: Adlai Stevenson told this tale about himself. During the 1956 presidential campaign, he arrived at the CHICAGO airport to find a shouting mob waiting for him. In front was an immensely pregnant woman carrying a large sign that read: “ STEVENSON IS THE MAN.”

Example 7: Take the famous phrase in the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: “All Men Are Created Equal.” Did Jefferson mean (a) “All men are CREATED EQUAL” or (b) “All men are created EQUAL”? If (a), then he might have agreed with Nathaniel Ames, who observed that: All men are created equal / But suffer greatly in the sequel. If J. meant (b), then a more extended idea of equality appears.

A famous logician answered the question of who is guilty of FALLACY OF ACCENT when in an argument the meaning is distorted by emphasis. Also, one who attempts to heighten his own assertions, so as to make them imply more than he could openly say, by italics or notes of exclamation.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa 289


Letter 223 March 14 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

(10) FALLACY OF ACCIDENT We are guilty of a FALLACY OF ACCIDENT when we argue: (a) (b)

that what is true as a general rule as if it were true under all conditions, AND from what is true under special conditions as if it were true as a general rule.

Example 1: A particular walk is agreeable. It does not follow that it would be so in wet or windy weather. Example 2: Plain speaking, frugality, generosity are all virtues. But it does not follow that it would be virtuous to practice them on all possible occasions. Example 3: A political revolution may, under particular circumstances, be necessary to the welfare of a country BUT it does not follow that a state of society in which political revolutions are frequent is either necessary or desirable. Example 4: From: lying is bad, justice should be extended to all alike, property should be protected â&#x20AC;&#x201C; one cannot conclude that one may not tell a lie to save the life of an innocent man or that a criminal must never be pardoned or that a state can never take away property against the ownerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s will upon payment of market value. Example 5: Everyone ought to have freedom of speech. Therefore this man should not be prosecuted just because he yelled FIRE in a crowded theatre.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

290


Letter 224 March 21 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

(11) FALLACY OF AMBIGUITY - EQUIVOCATION The fallacy of EQUIVOCATION is generally considered to be a mistake in reasoning through the faulty use of a SINGLE TERM in an argument. Example 1: Whenever there are laws, then there must be a lawgiver. Nature consists of laws; therefore there must be a lawgiver over nature. Note: LAW in the first sentence refers to SOCIETAL LAWS – hence lawgivers. In the second sentence its meaning is changed. Example 2: If we don’t HANG together, we shall HANG separately. Note: B. Franklin used “HANG” in two senses. Example 3: Consider this example: Only man is rational; No woman is man; Therefore no woman is rational. Note: By “MAN” the author meant “HUMAN” and this pertains to women as well as men. Example 4: Teacher X is talking to Freshman Y. X: When you turn in your term paper, I shall lose no time in reading it. Y: Then I shall lose no time in writing it. Note: LOSE NO TIME used in different senses. Example 5: The financial page of the paper says that money is more plentiful in LONDON today than it was yesterday. This must be a mistake, for there is no more money in LONDON today than there was yesterday. Note: PLENTIFUL and MORE seem to be equivalent but they are not.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

291


Letter 225 March 28 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

(12) FALLACY OF AMBIGUITY- AMPHIBOLY This is a type of mistake that can arise through a faulty grammatical construction. Amphiboly is a case of an entire sentence that is ambiguous as it stands. Example 1: Advertisement: ONE OF OUR HAMBURGERS IS ALL YOU CAN EAT. Meaning (a): One hamburger is so rich and satisfying that you would not want another. Meaning (b): This interpretation is less favorable to the consumer. After eating one, the result might be much discomfort and indigestion. Example 2: Governor X of the state of Y declares: “This flood is the worst disaster we have witnessed since I became governor.” If you want to read the declaration unfavorably it might be taken to mean that the election of X as governor was itself a tragedy second to none. Example 3: CLEAN AND DECENT DANCING EVERY NIGHT EXCEPT SUNDAY. Example 4: If you don’t go to other people’s funerals, they won’t come to yours. Example 5: The big sign in the window: DISPENSING DRUGGISTS. The sign below: WE DISPENSE WITH ACCURACY. Example 6: Sign in a hospital: NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO SEE THE PATIENT WHO IS VERY ILL. Example 7: Sitting in a comfortable Pullman seat, the scenery flashed by. Example 8: Walking down Broadway, the Woolworth Building came in sight. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

292


Letter 226 April 4 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

(13) FALLACIES OF RELEVANCE Their premises are irrelevant to (and therefore incapable of establishing the truth of) their conclusions. A number of particular types of irrelevant arguments will be given. It has been said that fallacies of relevance derive their persuasive power from the fact that, when feelings run high, almost anything will pass as an argument.

FALLACY (13a) ARGUMENT FROM IGNORANCE Example 1: The argument that there must be ghosts because no one has been able to prove that there arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t any. The argument is that a proposition is true simply because it has not been proved false, OR a propositions is false simply because it has not been proved true. This fallacy often arises in connection with such matters as psychic phenomena, telepathy. Paradoxically in a court of law the guiding principle is: A person is pronounced innocent until proved guilty. This is the only circumstance where Argument from Ignorance does not apply. Example 2: There is intelligent life in outer space because no one has been able to prove that there isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t. Example 3: I have never once heard an argument for price controls that any sensible person would accept. Therefore price controls are obviously a bad idea. Example 4: There is no proof that the dean leaked the news to the papers, so I am sure that he could not have done such a thing.

FALLACY (13a) will be continued in Letter 227.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

293


Letter 227 April 11 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

FALLACY (13a) ARGUMENT FROM IGNORANCE cont. Note: If the absence of evidence against a claim could be counted as proof for it, we could prove anything we liked (including miracles) as the medieval legend of the weeping statue illustrates.

On Good Friday of each year, while the congregation bowed in prayer, it was said that the statue on the church altar would kneel and shed tears. But if even one member of the congregation looked up from prayers in order to see the tears, the miracle would not occur. The statue would cry only when all members of the congregation exhibited complete faith.

Note however: In some circumstances it can safely be assumed that if a certain event had occurred, evidence of it could be discovered by qualified investigators. In such circumstances, it is perfectly reasonable to argue that the absence of proof of its occurrence is positive proof of its non-occurrence. In this case the conclusion reached is not based on IGNORANCE but on our knowledge that if it had occurred it would be known.

Example illustrating above paragraph: If a serious FBI investigation failed to unearth any evidence that X was a foreign spy, it would be wrong to infer that their research has left them ignorant. It has rather established that X is not one. In some cases not to draw a conclusion is as much a breach of correct reasoning as it would be to draw a mistaken conclusion.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

294


Letter 228 April 18 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

FALLACY (13b) ARGUMENT TO THE MAN A brief definition: The reasoning employed by a speaker or writer who is SOLELY concerned with attacking his opponent rather then with the argument itself. This fallacy occurs in different forms, all of which serve to shift the attention from the argument to the arguer. The technique is to show that So and So is unqualified to make a certain kind of statement BECAUSE of his background, his prejudices and so on. It is often characterized by such expressions as LOOK WHO’S TALKING and CONSIDER THE SOURCE. i

The Argument (TO THE MAN) often assumes the form of “name calling”, a practice that involves the use of labels which are a direct attack on the character of a person. Example: “Of course, Mr. X is against birth control; he has ten children and does not know any better. He is one of the ignorant ones.” Now X may be ignorant but to call him ignorant is to avoid dealing with the reasons for opposing birth control. Another example is that of a person who argues that BACON’s philosophy is untrustworthy because BACON was removed from the chancellorship for dishonesty. The argument is obviously fallacious because the personal character of a man is logically IRRELEVANT to the truth or falsehood of what he says. Here is an example when ASPERSIONS are cast upon the character of one’s opponent: “In reply to the gentleman’s argument, I need only say that two years ago he vigorously defended the very bill that he now so violently opposes.” Thus turning attention away from the facts of an argument to the people participating is characteristic of many of our political debates.

(13b) will be continued in Letter 229.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa 295


Letter 229 April 25 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

FALLACY (13b) ARGUMENT TO THE MAN cont. ii

The Argument (TO THE MAN) fallacy may be interpreted as pertaining to a relation between a person’s beliefs and his circumstances. A when he is disputing with B may ignore the question of whether his own contention is true but seek instead to prove that B ought to accept it because of B’s special circumstances. Thus if B is a clergyman, A may argue that his contention must be accepted because its denial is incompatible with the BIBLE. If one’s opponent B is a Republican, A may argue NOT that a certain proposition is true but that he ought to assent to it because it is implied by the tenets of the party. Sometimes the use of CIRCUMSTANTIAL ARGUMENT is used by A for rejecting a conclusion defended by B on the basis that B’s conclusions are dictated by special circumstances rather then by reason. Example: A manufacturer’s arguments IN FAVOR OF tariff protection are rejected on the grounds that a manufacturer would NATURALLY be expected to favor a protective tariff. The argument may be persuasive but is clearly fallacious. To summarize ii: A charges B with inconsistency either among his beliefs or between preachery and practice. Also in ii B is charged with being so prejudiced that his alleged reasons are mere rationalizations of conclusions dictated by self interest.

iii YOU’RE ANOTHER: X accuses Y of wrongdoing and Y answers the charge by accusing X of similar wrongdoing. Example: “You accused me of stealing yesterday. Well didn’t you admit that when you were a boy you too stole?” Another person’s guilt in no significant way detracts from the first accusation. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

296


Letter 230 May 2 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

FALLACY (13c) APPEAL TO AUTHORITY That is the appeal to the feeling of respect people feel for the famous to win assent to a conclusion. When the authority is MISTAKENLY assumed to be knowledgeable about a particular issue, the appeal is unwarranted. “I think this theory of education is sound. After all General MacArthur approved of it.” MacArthur was an authority on MILITARY MATTERS. An appeal to his authority on that subject would be legitimate. But he was not an expert on EDUCATION. Many a person may be browbeaten into accepting an erroneous conclusion, because he may be ashamed to dispute SUPPOSED authority. A modification of this form of fallacy based on the appeal to NUMBERS is widely used in ADVERTISING. Example: “In Philadelphia nearly everybody reads the BULLETIN.” A modification of that APPEAL is when the authority appealed to is that of PRESTIGE or EXCLUSIVITY. The object of such advertisement (We make the most expensive wine in America) is to lead to the conclusion that we ought to buy those products. If prominent people support a candidate, he must be good and his party is the best. Advertising testimonials are frequent instances of this fallacy. We are urged to smoke this brand of cigarettes because a famous boxer or football player affirms its superiority. The authority must display confidence in the field under consideration.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

297


Letter 231 May 9 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

FALLACY (13d) APPEAL TO FEAR / FORCE It is the fallacy committed when one appeals to force or the threat of force to cause acceptance of a conclusion. It comes in many forms as the use of “strong-arm” methods to coerce political opponents. A representative is reminded by the lobbyist that he (the lobbyist) represents so many thousands of voters in his (the representative’s) constituency etc. LOGICALLY THESE CONSIDERATIONS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE LEGISLATION the lobbyist is attempting to influence. On the international scale, that APPEAL TO FEAR OR FORCE may mean war or the threat of war.

Here are some common examples: Attorney to Jury: If you don’t convict this murderer, one of you may be his next victim. Don’t argue with me, young man. Remember who pays your salary. You don’t want to be a social outcast, do you? Then you’d better join us tomorrow. This university does not need a teachers’ union, and any faculty member who thinks it does will discover his error at the next tenure review.

Note: We need only to examine some of the older detective plays and movies to classify various methods of the APPEAL TO FORCE.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

298


Letter 232 May 16 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

FALLACY (13e): APPEAL TO THE PEOPLE It is the attempt to win popular assent to a conclusion by arousing the feelings and enthusiasm of the multitude. It is a favorite device with the propagandist, the demagogue and the advertiser. Each will avoid the laborious process of collecting and presenting evidence by using the short cut method of APPEAL TO THE PEOPLE. If the proposal is for a change and he is against it, he will express suspicion of “new fangled innovations”; if he is for it he will be for “progress” and opposed to “antiquated prejudice”. The demagogue’s use of this APPEAL is beautifully illustrated in Shakespeare’s version of MARK ANTONY’s funeral oration over the body of Julius Caesar. The issues that the Roman public was called upon to face were (1) Had Caesar been guilty of conspiring to overthrow the Republic? and (2) Should any action be taken against the assassins? Mark Antony’s speech says nothing of the issues. Instead he reminds the audience that they once loved Caesar; he exhibits Caesar’s blood-stained mantle; implies the conspirators’ motives were personal; assures the audience he, Antony, is a guileless man; alleges Caesar’s will leaves his property to public use. This persuades the mob. They troop off ready to avenge Caesar. As against a fair minded appeal to REASON and LOGIC, the orator relying on mob psychology, more often than not, resorts to prejudice, opposition to law and confusion. It is to the huckster, the ballyhoo artist, the twentieth century advertiser that we may look to see the APPEAL TO THE PEOPLE elevated almost to the status of a fine art.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

299


Letter 233 May 23 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

FALLACY (13f): APPEAL TO PITY A humane spirit requires us to show pity and compassion whenever such responses are appropriate. But the APPEAL TO PITY is the attempt to substitute PITY for more suitable rational persuasion. The fallacy is therefore based on an irrelevant appeal to the sentiment of PITY. Examples: During exam-time a hard core of students will excuse their academic deficiencies by sob stories of all sorts. There is also the custom of soliciting contributions for every conceivable cause. The long suffering (American) public in particular is the victim of appeals of all sorts. Viewed from another angle the APPEAL TO PITY takes an altogether different twist giving rise to the SENTIMENTAL FALLACY, which consists of feigning pity where none actually exists. William James once said that that fallacy consisted in weeping over injustice in the abstract. An example: “We must give the engineering position to Henry Jones. After all he has six children to feed and clothe.” Obviously if Jones is not really qualified, he should not get the job even if he has six children to feed. This argument is the fallacy committed when PITY is appealed to for getting a conclusion accepted. One often encounters the argument in courts of law when the defense attorney disregards the facts of the case and seeks to win his client’s acquittal by arousing PITY to the jury.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

300


Letter 234 May 30 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

One Liners   MORE PARADOXES: Paradoxical Aphorisms; Paradoxical Two Liners  etc Three Liners  101.

How conventional all you unconventional people are. (G. B. SHAW)

102.

Never say NEVER.

103.

Please Ignore This Notice

104.

“Please answer YES or NO to the following question: Will the next word you speak be NO?” says a lawyer to a witness. How can the witness reply?

105.

My reputation grows with every failure. (G. B. SHAW)

106.

It is forbidden to forbid.

107.

RESOLUTION BY THE BOARD OF COUNCILMEN IN CANTON, MISSISSIPPI. 1. Resolved by this Council that we build a new JAIL. 2. Resolved, that the new JAIL be built out of the materials of the old JAIL. 3. Resolved, that the old JAIL be used until the new JAIL is built.

108. 109.

SOCRATES: What Plato is about to say is false. PLATO: SOCRATES has just spoken truly. It is false that there is a true statement in the rectangle of Figure 1. FIGURE 1

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Letter 234 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 2

110.

EVERYTHING should be taken seriously, and NOTHING should be taken seriously. (SAMUEL BUTLER)

111.

All generalizations are dangerous, even this one. (DUMAS fils)

112.

There are no errors in these 12 paradoxes except this one.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

302


Letter 235 June 6 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

MORE PARADOXES cont. 113. In principle I am against principles. 114. Mr. X (a club member) was disappointed to find that there was no suggestion-box in the clubhouse, because he would like to put a suggestion in it about having one. 115. NORMAN MAILER’s story: “The Notebook” tells of an argument between the writer and his girl-friend. As they argue he jots in his notebook an idea for a story that has just come to him. It is a story about a writer who is arguing with his girl-friend when he gets an idea . . . 116. CHAIRMAN of a meeting of the SOCIETY of LOGICIANS: “Before we put the motion: ‘THAT THE MOTION BE NOW PUT,‘ should we not first put the motion: ‘THAT THE MOTION THAT THE MOTION BE NOW PUT’ be now put?” (This is tricky but quite good.) 117. There is nothing so unthinkable as THOUGHT, unless it be the entire ABSENCE OF THOUGHT. (SAMUEL BUTLER) 118. A man advertises that he could tell anyone how to make $10,000 a year certain and would do so on receipt of $1. To every sender he sent a postcard with these words: DO AS I DO to 10,000 people. 119. A grain of millet falling makes no sound; how can a bushel therefore make a sound? 120. What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? An inconceivable disturbance. 121. Your imagination, my dear fellow, is worth more than you imagine. (Louis Aragon)

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

303


Letter 236 June 13 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

MORE PARADOXES cont. 122: OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES’ general proposition: “NO GENERAL PROPOSITION IS WORTH A DAMN.” 123: Two characters in a play X and Y: X: I wonder whether you would mind telling me if there is any question you think might possibly come up in the foreseeable future to which you would unhesitatingly reply: NO? Y: Quite definitely not! 124: A crocodile snatched a baby from its mother and offered to return it if the mother could correctly answer the question: “WILL I EAT YOUR BABY?” If the mother had said NO, there would have been no difficulty; but she was clever enough to say YES. [NOTE: If the crocodile were now to eat the baby (proving the mother right), he would be contradicting his offer to return the baby if the mother answered correctly.] 125: There is only one thing certain, namely that we can have nothing certain; and therefore it is not certain that we can have nothing certain. (SAMUEL BUTLER) 126: One should not carry moderation to extremes. (KOESTLER) 127: The chicken was the egg’s idea for getting more eggs. (S. BUTLER) 128: “My friend Smith will vouch for me.” “But how do we know that he can be trusted?” “Oh, I assure you he can.” 129: Unless you expect the unexpected, you will never find TRUTH; for it is hard to discover and hard to attain. (HERACLITUS)

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

304


Letter 237 June 20 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

TWO INTERESTING LOGIC APPLICATIONS (A) LOGIC AND EVIDENCE IN COURT: BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT If you are on a jury engaged in a murder trial, the judge will tell you that you must bring in a verdict of GUILTY if there can be no “reasonable doubt” that the accused committed the crime. Yet despite the fact that the judge cannot tell you (a member of the jury) what degree of doubt is “reasonable”, every jury (with few exceptions) arrives at a verdict, usually with considerable degree of confidence in its own rightness. The above is BERTRAND RUSSELL’s presentation of the problem. The COHEN and NAGEL presentation is that a degree of proof requiring a degree of “probability” differing from “certainty” by so little, that anyone who acts upon that difference would be regarded as unreasonable. This degree of probability is called: PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. (B)

THE EXCEPTION PROVES THE RULE The EXCEPTION PROVES THE RULE means the EXCEPTION TESTS (tries out) THE RULE and “puts it on probation”. Almost all rules and generalizations have exceptions, but if too many exceptions are found, there is soon no rule. No exception proves a rule in terms of verification. In the legal sense the EXCEPTION implies the existence of the RULE. Quotation of LORD ACTON: “The RULE is not proved by exceptions unless the exceptions themselves lead one to infer a rule.” One can safely say: that which does not conform to the rule compels us to examine the rule. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

305


Letter 238 June 27 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

MORE PARADOXES cont. 130. There is a bibliography in the Library of Congress which lists all bibliographies which do not list themselves. Does it list itself?

131. It is impossible to define a word, for you cannot define any word until you can define: DEFINE.

132. DARWINISM: The fittest survive. What is meant by the fittest? Not the strongest; not the cleverest. There is no way of determining FITNESS, except in that a thing does SURVIVE. FITNESS then is only another name for SURVIVAL. DARWINISM: That SURVIVORS SURVIVE.

133. The book above all others in the world which should be forbidden is a catalogue of forbidden books.

134. A version of PARKINSONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s LAW: Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

135. If the rich could hire other people to die for them, the poor could make a wonderful living.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

306


Letter 239 July 4 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg & Bob; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

MORE EXAMPLES IN REASONING I want to prove that at any moment in New York City there are at least two people who have exactly the same number of scalp hairs. (Do not include those wholly bald.) NOTE: By actual count this might be proved. This however would be a laborious process. Think of examining the scalps of 7 million people! The method of actual count would not be a feasible one.

A BETTER METHOD 1. A study of the physiology of hair follicles establishes the fact that there are not more than 5000 hairs to a square centimeter of human scalp. 2. Anthropological measurements lead to the conclusion that the maximum area of the human scalp is much under 1000 square centimeters. 3. From 1 and 2 above: We conclude that no human being has more than 5 million scalp hairs. 4. Since the population of New York is more than 7 million, there must be more inhabitants than any human head has hairs. 5. Therefore there must be at least two persons with the same number of hairs on their heads.

NOTE: The above is truly a hairy problem and too much digging might lead to baldness. (Pardon the puns.)

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

307


Letter 240 July 11 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

(13g) THE FALLACY OF APPEAL TO IGNORANCE is an argument that uses an opponent’s inability to disprove a conclusion as a proof of the conclusion’s correctness.

Examples: (1)

There is intelligent life in outer space, for no one has been able to prove that there isn’t.

(2)

Ghosts must exist; no one has proved they don’t.

(3)

Nobody has a good word to say of him: he must be a rascal. You can’t prove he is not.

Note: In logical argument it is always the obligation of those who propose conclusions to provide the proof. The Medieval Legend of the Weeping Statue illustrates that if the absence of evidence against a claim could be counted as proof for it, we could prove anything we liked including miracles.

THE MEDIEVAL LEGEND On Good Friday of each year while the congregation is bowed in prayer, it was said the statue on the church altar would kneel and shed tears. But if even one member of the congregation looked up from prayer in order to see the tears, the miracle would not occur. The statue would cry only when all members of the congregation exhibited complete faith and no one looked up.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

308


Letter 241 July 18 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, (1) AN UNUSUAL FALLACY (The fact may be true; the logical proof is shaky.) I love you. / Therefore I am a lover; All the world loves a lover; You are all the world to me – Consequently, You love me. (2) AN INTERESTING PARADOX All words may be divided into two classes: autological and heterological. Autological words are those which themselves possess the property they designate. For example: The word SHORT is an autological word because it is short in size. It consists of five letters only. On the other hand heterological words are those which do not themselves possess the property they designate. For example: The word LONG is a heterological word for it is not long (only four letters). The Question: Take the word HETEROLOGICAL. Is it an autological word or an heterological word? (3) WINNING AN ARGUMENT (a) The essence of defensive argument is simple. Assume everyone is out to get you. (b) If an opposer is very attached to a position and you are not, back off. It’s not worth it. (c) Never admit defeat unless you are absolutely convinced and even then keep your mouth shut AND WAIT TILL MONDAY. (4) SUGGESTION FOR AN ARGUER Never make a general statement stronger then you need to – you may be forced to retract. Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

309


Letter 242 July 25 1981

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

FALLACY (14) THE MANY QUESTIONS FALLACY IN LOGIC This fallacy is committed when we use in argument an apparently single question which is readily composed of two or more questions: (a) Did you stop beating your wife? (b) Have you given up the habit of using narcotics? (c) Did you or did you not visit the apartment of the deceased on Feb 15 1957 and there hold a conversation with him which led to a violent quarrel? ANSWER: YES or NO! (d) A Columbia Univ. professor in an examination paper set the following question: LIST THOSE BOOKS FROM THE READING LIST YOU PARTICULARLY DISLIKED. TO WHAT DEFECT IN YOUR CHARACTER DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THIS FEELING?

FALLACY (15) THE FALLACY “TU QUOQUE” This argument which amounts to saying “You Yourself Do It” consists in trying to show that an opponent’s argument against an action is worthless because the opponent has himself performed the same or a similar action. Illustration of TU QUOQUE is the ancient story of the mother crab and her offspring. She said to him: “Son, don’t walk sideways like that; it’s very awkward. Walk straight forward. That’s the way to have an elegant appearance.” The young crab replied: “But mother YOU walk sideways.”

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

310


Letter 258 Jan 10 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

FALLACY (16) MIDDLE OF THE ROAD FALLACY In the area of ARGUMENT, there is the device of presenting oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own views as the MEAN between the two EXTREMES. We all love a compromise and when someone recommends a position to us as an intermediate one between two extreme positions, we feel a strong tendency to accept it. We should know that the idea that the truth lies ALWAYS in the mean positions between two extremes is of no practical use as a criterion for discovering where the truth lies because EVERY view can be represented as the mean between two extremes. Also another reason for distrusting this type of thinking is the fact that when we have two extreme positions and a middle one between them, the truth is just as likely on one extreme as in the middle position. It is not to be supposed that every representation of a position as a mean between two extremes is necessarily a dishonest argument; it may not be an argument at all. It is a useful teaching device which may be used quite honestly as a means of explaining a position but not as a way of persuading oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hearers of the TRUTH. We know that somebody can be found taking an extreme position on almost every issue. There is no logical reason why one of these extremes may not be a right one.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

Will go further into the subject in a later letter.

311


Letter 260 Feb 1982

Article sent by Fred: “Sounds Logical to Me . . . Doesn’t It?” by Patricia Martin, WRITER’S DIGEST, March 1981.

[The writer states: “Pay attention to logic. A statement that doesn’t sound logical will make an editor uneasy – and the only logical thing an editor can do is reject the manuscript.” The article includes examples of various types of fallacies from the media.]

312


Letter 271 May 15 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

LOGICAL PUZZLE 18 Example: You are faced with two people A and B. One of them always lies; we call him the LIAR. The other always tells the truth. He never lies; we call him the TRUTHER. You ask A first: “Are you the TRUTHER?” He says something unintelligible in a foreign language. B volunteers and says: “He (A) says that he (A) is the TRUTHER; but he (A) is a liar.” Who is the LIAR and who is the TRUTHER?

The above is a logical puzzle. From the information provided and by means of simple reasoning, the answer can be found. Such puzzles can be solved by quite ordinary skills and abilities. Like many problems in life they have clear and direct answers. The skills required are skills of reasoning. They are the same as the ones involved in formulating and evaluating arguments and constructing deductive proofs. IT IS NOT LEGITIMATE TO IMPORT INFORMATION INTO THE PUZZLE. But logical puzzles do require that you make use of COMMON SENSE KNOWLEDGE.

HINT: Your first step in the solution of the EXAMPLE above is to determine WHAT DID A ACTUALLY SAY. Once that is determined you will be able to get a simple solution.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

P. S. Full solution will be given in Letter 272.

313


Letter 272 May 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

SUBJECT: ANSWER TO PUZZLE 18, CONTAINED IN LETTER 271 There are only 2 possibilities POSSIBILITY #1: A is a LIAR* POSSIBILITY #2: A is a TRUTHER**

If A is a LIAR, he would lie and say: “I am a TRUTHER” If A is a TRUTHER, he would tell the truth, and say: “I am a TRUTHER” In both cases under all possible conditions, A says: “I AM A TRUTHER”

It must follow that when B says: “A said he is a TRUTHER”, that B must be a TRUTHER, since A (we proved above) did say he was a TRUTHER.

Since B told the truth, this establishes him as a TRUTHER himself. Therefore any future statement he makes has to be TRUE.

He says A lied. This must be TRUE, since B is a TRUTHER (which we proved). Therefore: A is the LIAR and B is the TRUTHER

*A LIAR is one who always lies. **A TRUTHER is one who tells nothing but the TRUTH. (He NEVER lies.)

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

314


Letter 273 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg. Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

SUBJECT: PUZZLE 19 -THE APPLES AND ORANGES PUZZLE PUZZLE There are three boxes of fruit. The boxes are labelled: APPLES, ORANGES, and APPLES and ORANGES. Each label is INCORRECT. You may select one fruit from one box. How can you label each box correctly? SOLUTION One picks a fruit from the (mislabelled) APPLES and ORANGES box. The fruit turns out to be an ORANGE [CASE 1] or it may turn out to be an APPLE [CASE 2]. These cases will be separately considered. CASE 1 We have been told that the boxes are wrongly labelled; hence we know that it is not APPLES and ORANGES. Therefore the box must be ORANGES. Then the remaining boxes must contain APPLES and APPLES and ORANGES. Now since there are now two boxes left and the boxes are mislabeled, we simply switch the two remaining labels. Summary:  Incorrect Label : Apples and Oranges = Correct Label : Oranges.  CASE 1  Incorrect Label : Apples = Correct Label : Apples and Oranges.  Incorrect Label : Oranges = Correct Label : Apples.  CASE 2 This is worked out in an analogous (to Case 1) manner and the results: Summary:  Incorrect Label : Apples and Oranges = Correct Label : Apples.  CASE 2  Incorrect Label : Oranges = Correct Label : Apples and Oranges.  Incorrect Label : Apples = Correct Label : Oranges. 

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

315


316


Letter 274 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

SUBJECT: PUZZLE 20 – THE FORKED ROAD PUZZLE A traveller comes to a fork in the road and does not know which way to go to reach his destination. There are two men at the fork, one of whom is a LIAR while the other is a TRUTHER. The traveller does not know which is which. He may ask one of the men only one question to find his way. What is his question and which man does he ask? ANALYSIS Is there a way for a person with only one question to find out: (a) if the person asked is the LIAR or the TRUTHER and (b) if his fork in the road is the right one or the wrong one? Won’t the one (permissible) question be one whose answer will not depend on which person is asked?

THE QUESTION to ask is: “IF I WERE TO ASK YOU IF THIS IS THE WAY I SHOULD GO, WOULD YOU SAY YES?” Note also the fact that it does not matter which man he asks.

THE PROCEDURE The traveller: If he asks that question to the TRUTHER, he will of course get the right answer. If he asks that question to the LIAR, that man lies about the answer he would give, thus giving the CORRECT answer. By forcing the LIAR to lie twice, one lie negating the other, the traveller forces him to tell the truth.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

317


Letter 275 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

A PUZZLE MISCELLANY PUZZLE A: How, with only a knife available, can two people divide a piece of cake so that EACH will be completely satisfied that HE has received his full share?

PUZZLE B: X, Y and Z had been given a sack of raisins to share among themselves. How could they do this fairly, and to the satisfaction of EACH, without any form of measuring or weighing equipment?

PUZZLE C: Suppose you are given a number (say: 15, 763, 530, 163, 289) and are asked to determine (without actually deriving the square root) whether that number is a square number.

PUZZLE D: Heard on a bus: First Lady: “And was he related to you?” Second Lady: “Oh, yes. You see, that man’s mother was my mother’s mother-in-law; but he is not on speaking terms with my father.” How was the man related to the Second Lady?

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

318


Letter 276 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

DISCUSSION OF PUZZLES A, B and D in LETTER 275 PUZZLE A They agree that one (any one) cuts the cake into what he considers two equal portions and the other has first choice. (Think this over; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quite clever and sound.) PUZZLE B X takes out what he thinks is one-third of the raisins. Y returns some raisins to the sack as he (Y) thinks appropriate if he considers X has taken too many. If however he (Y) thinks that X has taken an exact third or less, he makes no adjustment. Z then further reduces the share that X took out or leaves it untouched, subject to the same rule. Whichever one of the three has made the last adjustment (possibly X, if the other two were satisfied) now keeps the share which he considers a third. The other two then divide what remains in the sack by the method used in the two person division in PUZZLE A, except instead of cutting a cake into two portions, one will tentatively divide the raisins into two groups and the second person will select the group he wants.

PUZZLE D The man was the SECOND LADYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s UNCLE.

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

NOTE: Solution to Letter 275, PUZZLE C, is in next Letter 277.

319


Letter 277 (part) 1982

SOLUTION TO PUZZLE C in LETTER 275 For example, let us take 15, 763, 530, 163, 289. Add up the digits and you get 59. Add 5 and 9. You get 14. Add 1 and 4 and you get 5. You go on adding digits this way until you reach one digit. This is called the DIGITAL ROOT.

Here is the rule: Take any number and operate on it until you get the DIGITAL ROOT. If the number is an exact square, the digital root can be 1, 4, 7 or 9 and no other figure. In the case of our example the steps yield 59, 14 and 5. The digital root is 5. And the number is not a square.

320


Letter 278 (part) 1982

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

LOGICAL PUZZLE E

PUZZLE E : A new version of THE LADY and the TIGER puzzle

A prisoner was faced with which of the two doors he will open. Behind one door waits a lovely lady. Behind the other, crouches a hungry tiger. If he picks the right door he gets to marry the lady. If he picks the wrong door he gets eaten. There are signs on the doors and he knows that only one of the signs was true. (The other was false.) The sign on ROOM ONE reads: IN THIS ROOM THERE IS A LADY, AND IN THE OTHER ROOM THERE IS A TIGER. The sign on ROOM TWO reads: IN ONE OF THESE ROOMS THERE IS A LADY, AND IN ONE OF THESE ROOMS THERE IS A TIGER.

With that room “information” he chose the right door. HOW?

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

321


Letter 8404 March 18 1984

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

ANALYTICAL PROBLEMS Problem AA4

Here is a famous nursery rhyme.

OLD MOTHER HUBBARD WENT TO THE CUPBOARD TO GET HER POOR DOG A BONE BUT WHEN SHE GOT THERE HER CUPBOARD WAS BARE AND SO THE POOR DOG GOT NONE. If the above is an accurate report of an event, which of the following headline versions gives an account that does not add to the given facts. (a)

MOTHER H. REFUSES BONE TO HUNGRY DOG

(b)

MEALTIME BRINGS ONLY BARE CUPBOARD TO MRS. HUBBARD AND DOG

(c)

MOTHER HUBBARD SEEKS BONE FOR DOG – FINDS EMPTY CUPBOARD

(d)

DOG LOVER UNABLE TO CONTINUE SUPPORT OF PET

(e)

BONE MISSING FROM HUBBARD CUPBOARD – MYSTERY UNSOLVED

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

322


Letter 8406 1984

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

NOT REMARKABLY RICH Annette, Bernice and Claudia are three remarkable women, each having some remarkable characteristics. (1)

Just two are remarkably intelligent; just two are remarkably beautiful; just two are remarkably artistic; and just two are remarkably rich.

(2)

Each has no more than three remarkable characteristics.

(3)

Of ANNETTE it is true that: if she is remarkably intelligent, she is remarkably rich.

(4)

Of BERNICE and CLAUDIA, it is true that: if she is remarkably beautiful, she is remarkably artistic.

(5)

Of ANNETTE and CLAUDIA, it is true that: if she is remarkably rich, she is remarkably artistic.

WHO IS NOT REMARKABLY RICH? _____________________________________________________________

A passing paradox. How can a witness reply to a lawyer who says “PLEASE ANSWER YES OR NO TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTION – WILL THE NEXT WORD YOU SPEAK BE NO?” ?

With love, Daddy / Papa (and Great Grandfather)

323


Letter 8409 June 2 1984

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel, FREEMAN knows five women: ADA, BEA, CYD, DEB, and EVE. (1)

The women are in two age brackets: three women are under 30 and two women are over 30.

(2)

Two women are teachers and the other three women are secretaries.

(3)

ADA and CYD are in the same age bracket.

(4)

DEB and EVE are in a different age bracket.

(5)

BEA and EVE have the same occupation.

(6)

CYD and DEB have different occupations.

(7)

Of the four women, FREEMAN will marry the teacher over 30. WHOM WILL FREEMAN MARRY?

PARADOX – CATCH 22 There was only one catch and that was CATCH 22, which specified that concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. ORR was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. ORR would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, But if he was sane, he had to fly them. If he flew them, he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he did not want to, he was sane and had to.

With love, Daddy / Papa (and Great Grandfather)

324


Letter 8411 1984

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

WHY WAS THE INTERVIEWER DISCHARGED? A Market Analysis Agency had a great reputation for standards of accuracy. One of the investigators (interviewers) submitted this following report: Number of consumers interviewed

100

Number who drink coffee

78

Number who drink tea

71

Number who drink tea and coffee

48

WHY WAS THIS INTERVIEWER DISCHARGED? _____________________________________________________________

A census taker, reporting to a certain community consisting exclusively of young married couples and their children, stated that: (a) There were more parents than there were children (b) Every boy had a sister (c) There were more boys than girls (d) There was no childless couple

WHY WAS THE CENSUS TAKER REPRIMANDED AND HIS REPORT REJECTED?

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

325


Letter 8413 1984

Dear A & H; L & E; Meg, Bob & Adam; Fred; Kathy; Ellen; David; Daniel,

WHO DONE IT? Four men were eating dinner in a restaurant when one of them suddenly struggled to his feet, cried out: “I’VE BEEN POISONED” and fell dead. His companions were arrested on the spot and under questioning made the following statements, exactly one of which is false in each case. WATTS:

I didn’t do it. I was sitting next to O’NEIL. We had our usual waiter today.

ROGERS: I was sitting across the table from SMITH. We had a new waiter today. The waiter didn’t do it. O’NEIL:

ROGERS didn’t do it. It was the waiter who poisoned SMITH. WATTS lied when he said we had our usual waiter today.

Assuming that only SMITH’s companions and the waiter are implicated, WHO WAS THE MURDERER?

Affectionately, Daddy / Papa

326


And this concluded all the Logical Puzzle letters from this collection that we were able to locate. Thus, we never did discover just who had killed Smith. Our son and nephew, Fred Weis, offers this solution: By evaluating the puzzle, and looking at each of the 27 possibilities in which, for each man’s statements, two are true and one is false, we find that there is only one result that is logically satisfactory. And this is: WATTS:

I didn’t do it. I was sitting next to O’NEIL. We had our usual waiter today.

True True False

ROGERS: I was sitting across the table from SMITH. We had a new waiter today. The waiter didn’t do it.

False True True

O’NEIL:

ROGERS didn’t do it. True It was the waiter who poisoned SMITH. False WATTS lied when he said we had our usual waiter today. True

We have these statements as being True: Watts says that he didn’t do it. Rogers says that the waiter didn’t do it. O’Neil says that Rogers didn’t do it. So: Watts didn’t do it; the waiter didn’t do it; and Rogers didn’t do it. O’Neil is the culprit.

327


AFTERWORD

In addition to the letters in this collection, our father wrote many separate letters to us. Perhaps these letters will be collected and shared, so we could all enjoy them. Our father would certainly have approved and been pleased. We thank our families for their continued support and encouragement, with special thanks to Bob Chase for his photographic contributions and expertise. Our deep appreciation and gratitude to Fred Weis for his advice and all his work in making this book possible.

Aimee LeVita Weis Lores LeVita Gilfix


Julian LeVita Chase

b. March 11, 1986

Adam Michael Chase

b. July 10, 1981

b. October 31, 2001

Benjamin LeVita Whiting

married October 5, 1996

b. December 14, 1956

married May 15, 1971

Gordon Jay Whiting

b. May 14, 1957

Ellen Havre Weis

b. July 18, 1947

b. Nov. 24, 1952

Fred Jonathan Weis

Robert William Chase

b. May 20, 1950

Margaret (Meg) Dell Weis Chase

married September 15, 1946

b. January 11, 1925

married Maurice LeVita, October 9, 1946

b. May 29, 1901 d. December 29, 1989

b. February 15, 1896 d. January 30, 1986

b. April 3, 1869 d. July 1, 1952

b. Oct. 2, 1899 d. Oct. 20, 1996

Fred (b. Isaac)

Alan Smith

b. approx. 1901 d. Nov. 24, 1987

b. April 29, 2000

Miryam LeVita Gilfix

b. Feb. 1, 1958

David Jay Gilfix

b. April 29, 2000

Eliana Joanne Gilfix

married August 23, 1998

b. July 29, 1965

Sharyn Beth Levine Gilfix

b. Jan. 11, 1956

Hannah b. approx. 1904 d. Oct. 13, 1985

b. March 26, 1993

b. April 2, 1996

Elliot Mark Gilfix

married June 7, 1987

b. June 26, 1960

Florence Caroline Kis Gilfix

Hannah Louise Gilfix

b. Feb. 27, 1962

Daniel Ari Gilfix

b. March 14, 1923

Edward Leon Gilfix married February 3, 1952

b. June 15, 1928

Lores (Lolly) Claire LeVita Gilfix

b. Jan. 26, 1973

b. Nov. 29, 1969

married, 3 children

b. Oct. 24, 1967

married, 4 children

married, 4 children

Raymond Laurance Smith Eytan Shmuel

married Erika Herz, Dec. 15, 1966

b. August 13, 1932

Ian Kenneth Smith

b. approx. 1903 d. Aug. 22, 1986

Nathan (Nat)

Norman Ronald Smith Menachem

Julian Godfrey Smith Yaakov Yehuda

b. Feb. 22, 1930

2010

Jacob Levitta came to England, 1891, age 22. Born in Nechin, Government of Mogilev, Belarus, Russia.

Rebecca (Betty)

married Mark Smith married Jean Freeman

b. approx. 1897 d. Jan. 25, 1980

b. unknown d. April 27, 1945

Annie Levitta

Annie Cohen Levitta

Jacob Levitta

Rose Smith

Nathan Levitta

Katherine (Kathy) LeVita Gilfix

Maurice Hannan LeVita

Madeline Rothstein LeVita

Aimee Sue LeVita Weis

Joseph (Joey)

married Maurice LeVita, May 3, 1923

b. May 2, 1897 d. January 31, 1942

Adele Ida Miller LeVita

b. April 27, 1921

Leonard

b. 1903 d. 1960s

George

b. 1876 d. 1957

Anna Abramson Miller

b. 1857, d. 1927

Leah Abramson

Henry Kraus Weis

Allen

Philip

b. 1893 d. 1954

Louis

b. 1899 d. 1970s

David

b. 1895 d. 1928

Jacob (Jack)

b .1873 d. 1950s

Philip Miller

Abramson

The Family of Maurice LeVita



Letters to My Family 6-17-11