21 November 1956

21 November 1956

Had lunch with Mary Anderson today and after lunch we talked for a couple of hours. Mary Anderson feels safe to function in her family circle only, or in her professional, but – shuts out experience to the unfamiliar even to the extent of not permitting herself to have lunch at Wolf’s when she has never been there before. Aside from her familiar beat she is no pioneer – in fact off her beaten track she is no pioneer, rather, a timid soul.

A few highlights from our conversation:

Expounded my feelings about Vincent Peale – saying he was a theological fraud dangling material success to those who follow the path of righteousness. Mary took issue with me. Her view was – right as I might be, Peale appealed to a certain element of the population who would never accept any standard unless they were appealed to in that fashion. She said it was like the Horatio Alger books. Certainly, they expounded material success at the end of the trail, but in the meantime inspired a number of boys to learn good habits of workmanship and application they might not otherwise feel were worthwhile, i.e., the moral, the hard-working, the just would triumph.

Well, there is value in everything. To be sure there is more than one way to teach. A t the same time, however, the ideation still rests upon a material prize – the competitive reward goal when questions like – how many can reach the top goals? How do you readjust when circumstances or your own ability or hardship, accidentals, trip you and your pursuit? Do you blame yourself for your lack of success in not having us chair when there is only one chair in the room and 10 people claiming seat?

After listening to Mary Anderson preach the perfection of God – that God is law – that each person is born with all the potential of goodness in him – after excusing no one under any circumstances for not knowing the Truth – since God’s law is perfect and each one has the capacity to choose – and ignorance of the law is no excuse (and she has been preaching this absolutely since I have known her) I asked her, after she recounted her [?] over her sister and herself upon her niece’s elopement – why since she believed all these things why she had no peace of mind when people whom she could not control set her into a tizzy when they were close to her? Where was her sense of balance or philosophy of life that stood her in good stead?

All through the afternoon I interjected hints from time to time to the effect that, yes, potentials to goodness are in everyone, but that environment, proper guidance, etc. Influenced, enlarged or subtracted from regular development on the perfect path she expounded. She accepted nothing of what I said at least in our conversation – always going back to her theory of God’s law – God is perfect – we need no one to tell us – we have all the essentials within ourselves – we were born with the knowledge.

A little later – talking about a Bar Association meeting or whatnot – she said the speaker exploited the theory of the “influence of words”.

I could not help but recognize the lack of harmony in her various statements. The minute you recognize influence of any kind in one sphere of life – you must recognize it in other spheres.

Therefore, when she claims one does not need any special guidance or influence to know what you are born with – i.e. God is harmonious, law, and perfection and shuts out guidance and influence – she is setting her religious views in a vacuum, sterilizing them from reality.

No wonder her philosophy brings her no peace when a trying family situation rears its head. She speaks of cause-and-effect – but recognizes none of them ration is close to her.

We also spoke about people decide other people’s values. One person looks another over and decides: ignorant, uneducated, not worth bothering with, we are on different levels.

I said very little; just listened. While Mary was talking my mind kept meditating on the line in “Prophet in the Wilderness” which I have noted here earlier, where Schweitzer’s test was the ancient Christian test: whether or not you thought of men as “masses” or as people… Whether you looked at people from the ego or material center within yourself, or from a personal center of creativeness and goodwill.

So long as that center is sound, external chaos can exist but there is an avenue of approach to, if nothing else, some understanding of the chaos.

And, oh yes! Before I finish these notes for the day – one more thought – not connected with Mary Anderson – rather with Blanche

A perfectionist never gives a person much of a chance to…

I thought this is going to be so easy to say, but it isn’t. I guess the reason I have stumbled here is because I am using the wrong word: “perfectionist”.

Let me try again:

When you are ego-centered, and someone rubs you the wrong way or tries to tell you something or maybe you do something that goes against your group the reaction (at least on my part) is to slam the door in their face and never give them a second chance.

Now I’m getting down to cases:

This whole alliance deal with Blanche has pointed out the side of my character very sharply to myself. When certain tender toes of mine is stepped on (in this case Blanche’s roughshod disregard of my wanting to stay longer at Alliance and my conversation with Margaret) my antenna signals threat. In the past, such a warning signal immediately close the door to such a person. My vulnerability, my fear of not being able to cope with such a person (past mother dominated pattern), took precedence over any other aspect of such a person’s worth, value, or what have you, and I immediately prune to them out of my life.

No wonder. I have been such a lone wolf. I am only now realizing a little glimpse of the intensity of my fears and how it has carried over to those I have known. My lack of self-confidence, fear of submission to domination, my vulnerability due to the possible influence of others, my lack of quiet belief in my own values have shut me off from contacts entirely whenever the earmarks of threat have appeared because I felt I could not control the influence and demands of others.

This all stems back to my adolescence, when I had my self-confidence practically destroyed because my mother could not grant me the right to be an individual.

She was not creating and building a sound person, she was asking complete submission to the premise “mother knows best.” And – no one knows absolutely and irrevocably in every instance life what is best. Life all too frequently calls upon you to play by ear and with the limits of our tone deafness.

It has been my experience that an author’s first books are best – future books are often improvisations of the simple original thing.

Somehow, I feel, when life gets complex and chaotic a return to basic fundamentals – the raw materials that originated the problem need to be re-examined in order to reconstruct the wrong directions taken which compounded and caused the complexity or chaos. Complexity is all right, but unsnarling chaos is something else again.

Definition of chaos: confusion; a confused mixture; or state of disorder; in wild confusion

The premise upon which our present-day industrial society is founded consists of regarding desires and wants as though they were basic necessities.

Definitions (philosophically or logically):

“premise”: to state in advance, as an explanation or introduction; to make an explanation for hand; a statement accepted as true from which a conclusion is drawn.

a priori: from that which precedes; from cause to effect; opposite to a post he or a (inductive reasoning)

a posteriori: from that which follows; from effect to cause; opposite to a priori (deductive reasoning)

Goethe has said consistently and unforgettably one thing: that the supreme need of man is to be himself and, being himself, to grow in ethical perception and action. Goethe darkly recognized that there will come a time when man’s self-reliance would be menaced by the emergence of mass will. Schweitzer: “Goethe is the first to feel something like dread regarding man. At a time when others were unconcerned, he divined that the great problem with which the man of the future will grapple is how the individual shall survive and come in conflict with the mass.”

. . . a generation of declining standards.

Schweitzer to a crusty Műnstertal peasant: I’m a hardened beggar myself. Let me give you a piece of advice. Never say die. If one door shuts, another opens. Keep hoping.

When anyone builds up his own ego, at the expense of another – that is wrong. The individual needs to develop – but not by oppressing others. When power over others masquerades as individual development (for one or the few) is destructive and built on shaky foundations.

To develop the best in others creative. To crush the best in another in order to enhance one’s own esteem is destructive.

Even when another individual is egotistical and self-centered, crushing them by force is a dangerous process. A better way of implementation should be sought – not immediately resorting to force. If one door shuts in your face, perhaps another door will open.

My problem of coping with my mother is quite a universal problem of mankind’s.

Life must have purpose and meaning, or it is unbearable.

The businessman who made chemicals for fighting flies during the war – reduced to using his plant to make foam for beer.

The ditch diggers who kept digging and filling up holes – they tell the foreman they were going to quit – until the foreman told him they were trying to find a break in a water line. They were ready to dig holes.

Always replace what is empty, ugly, dirty with something full beautiful or clean.

20 November 1956

20 November 1956

After reading a little of “Creative Writing”, I looked through a few of my old notebooks, and came to this conclusion: most of my writing is a reaction to what I have read. Actually, there is very little original thinking. Of course, that may be all I have to work with – as my social contacts are limited. Maybe the thing to do is limit my reading matter and see people more – pay more attention to the life around me, the people around me. Unfortunately, even as I write this, the prosaicness of everyday existence engulfs me with a reaction of monotony and lackluster. Maybe this feeling is due to a desire for the dramatic – like a person accustomed to heady wines and spicy food. The plain diet seems tasteless. Yet there must be small dramas going on all the time for which my observations have not been trained.


Albert Schweitzer: ”To rule with a whip, figuratively or literally, creates more problems than it solves. To assume and he quality which does not exist has no better results.” There was only one basis of real authority, Schweitzer found. The native has no way of judging the white man’s technical achievements as proof of his mental and spiritual superiority. But he seemed to have an unerring intuition for evidence of the possession of moral qualities. When he found kindliness, justice and integrity, he acknowledged a master. When he failed to find them, he was defiant.

To maintain these high qualities, to keep yourself human, and so maintain authority and leadership – that was a perpetual challenge.

The test, Schweitzer found, was the ancient Christian test whether or not you thought of men as masses or as people. . . From ego centered, materially centered to creative – and goodwill centered.


Through the ages (Western civilization) so many men have exercised “power over” people instead of giving them “power to” make life more human, that now when the individual man has been fixed governmentally for some kind of exercise of free will, even single humans amidst our modern civilization want the feel of “power over” their neighbors, their friends, in an ego-centered rather than a universally centered human kindliness.

The symbol of this “power over” is the possession of material items, and the demand for more from the self-centered man. Cooperation for the common welfare is most unpopular. Leaders set these patterns – that is exactly what was at stake in the Ruth Guenther mother singer hassle.

That’s the trouble (in spite of our love of institutions) with institutions – too often it is a perpetuation of the institution and its set up, rather than the ideals and principles upon which it had its original sparkling foundation. The blight under it all is when the individual decides self-interest seeking and personal profit is the only way to happiness and achievement versus cooperation for the common welfare – with human dignity and kindliness unmeasured by the latest gadget or the newest style car, or the presidency of a bank or club for prestige purposes, rather than genuine usefulness to the common good – not the bank’s good, or the corporations profit picture alone.

A war on the flight from thinking and organized efforts by social political and even religious bodies to discredit individuals thinking in their effort to persuade men to yield their minds to the authority of groups seeking strength not in ideas but in conformity – a war on those who worked to get man to relinquish his right to think for himself and reap only spiritual bankruptcy. Schweitzer says only in the reverence of life blanketing all human struggle to endure the simple elemental thinking which could help humans endure and somehow master the strain of labor and sorrow, the mystery of life, pain, and death, could bring serenity to mankind – not exploitation for personal gain – but a universal acceptance of responsibility for one’s fellow man in all the corners of the earth. And that not by compulsion but by example and moral love of one’s fellow humans.

Dorothea Brande says in her introduction to “Becoming a Writer” “The importance of words and short stories in our society is great fiction supplies the only philosophy that many readers know; it establishes their ethical social and material standards; he confirms them in their purchases or opens their minds to a wider world. . .  If it is sensational, shoddy or vulgar our lives are the poorer for the cheap ideals which it sets in circulation. . . The movies can extend this process to those too young, too impatient, or too uneducated to read in this respect – writing needs no apology for serious intentions.”


19 November 1956

19 November 1956

Topics of recent interest:

“Never give a fellow a second chance!” – the perfectionist attitude where ego and pride are involved. When you take the unforgiving attitude – you shut yourself out from any possible association. When you let a flaw become so emphasized it destroys the cloth – you make a mountain out of a mole hill. Now the whole is used due to an imperfection then.


Shoemaker talk: about charities. Tax everybody by law for contributions toward charities. Explanation: when you do that you:

  • have no more power of choice and establish a form of bureaucracy and dictation.
  • The physical setup of help needed drains off too much money into paid help rather than willing nonpaid volunteers.
  • You run into the problem of accessing real need – and how much is required.

Also, there is no one-way of looking at a situation. Also, if something is a value it will show draw people to it.

Those who do not contribute for one cause because of no personal interest will contribute to another because it is of more vital concern.


The business of human relationships. The idea people want each other because of what they can get from each other.

There is such a change from our agricultural – need each other society to a self-sufficient society in urban centers. Where formerly in small communities people needed each other – in urban centers they need one thing – money – to be self-sufficient – to get nursing help – a doctor or other something – bread or food, or what have you. The personal aspect is not as important in urban centers because you can get all the help you want if you have the money to pay. Therefore, a concentration on making money. The one flaw, however, is social isolation. But even this is compensated for to some extent by institutional gathering places: churches, clubs, organizations, and common interest groups.

17 November 1956

17 November 1956

Excerpt from Collier’s article “Listen to . . . Jack Benny” Nov. 1956:

“There are many, many golfers who would rather play golf than practice, but it is only the practice at golf that makes you a great golfer. When I was a kid violinist – up until I was about 15 years old – I loved the violin, but I much preferred paying it to practicing. This alone could have kept me from being a violinist.

To be a success in life, do whatever you are planning to do seriously – even if it comes to being a comedian. Being a comedian is a very serious business.”

15 November 1956

15 November 1956

Paul Brunton:

Do your work in the world – perform your duty, but do not make your happiness depend entirely upon personal results or benefits resulting from your actions . . .  The right attitude . . . is the attitude of agency of instrumentality rather than doership, the sense that (creation, and your part and its purpose in your creation) is doing all the work in you, is acting, speaking, and working through you. When you can contact the (creative intelligence) and permit it to operate freely through you, it will guide and guide rightly; it will help wisely; it will pacify, when personal feelings become angered. It may even lead you to desert some relative good for solid good . . . You realize when you are acting, it is simply Nature acting and finding force sending force forces through you. When you come to the realization that it is really Nature expressing itself through you, then you renounce your actions inwardly letting nature take care of the results you then reach the final stage when you can watch yourself playing its part in the work of the world without anticipation and without expectation. No more are you concerned with the future and its burdens. That concern’s Nature. Even when a man must take part in a war, fight, and slay (work in a competitive world) he fights and works impersonally, feeling neither hatred or ill will of any kind against the enemy; understanding that life no less demands good sense then it demands good will, and knowing that he is performing a duty ordained both by his destiny and by the social structure of which he performs his part in, or for his country.

The truth is you understand what really matters is to surrender one’s ego, personal successes, personal failures, with the knowledge that man did not create himself nor the environment in which he finds himself therefore praise or blame or take undue credit or blame for his personal actions. He acts, with full realization, he acts within the limits of his own creation, within the creation of Nature as a whole; within the framework of what has preceded him. I.e., the “self-made man” in business. Just as there is no “self-made man” in business there is no “self-made man in the world” – only a product of creation in Nature – and one does what is given one to do – not with the sense that “This, I alone all by myself, have done”. Because no single bit of creation has, “This or that, good or evil, all by itself has done.”

Instead, you work and do within the Nature which is in you, the course you must follow – and once this is understood completely, one is eased from the deadly burden of belief that man alone is responsible to himself alone – or that he is his own creator, or controller complete of his own destiny. My successes my failures my foolishnesses or wisdoms, as they appeared to the eyes of my fellow man, are not truly mine. They are the flow of life and Nature and creation through me as a vessel, a part of creation itself.

The terrible responsibility of self, when this is understood; the burden of carrying one’s own weight as though one created the world in all its myriad forms and requirements, is taken away. One just does one’s part as one understands it within one’s self without too much concern as to results. The results we have no particular measure for. Only Creation alone knows whether what we do is one thing or another.

Usually we are never conscious of the results of our actions and only occasionally do we get glimpses of the part we play in our walk through life.

Margaret Vincent, measured by Blanche’s precise world, can only have one label – “a misfit” or “a fool”. Yet there is more living in Margaret then Blanche could possibly comprehend.

Note: This entry in the notebook is actually dated 11/14/56 but was probably mid-dated at the time.

14 November 1956

14 November 1956

Billy & his social studies teacher (Barelli) had a disagreement on this subject. Barelli stated animals had not intelligence – they operated purely on instinct. Bill disagreed – claimed animals had intelligence.

Result: Bill looked up my psych books and wrote a paper indicating and presenting evidence that Barelli was wrong. He quoted the basis of the theory of instinct in 3 parts, as presented in my elementary psych book.

The subject caught Kurt’s and my attention. In the discussion this resulted as to learning:

  • Conditioned reflexed – response to stimulus.
  • Trial and Error Approach – resulting from 1)
  • Reasoning

Kurt and I agreed that basically the animal differed from the human animal on the 3) level. Prior to 3), animal learning and intelligence was similar to human learning and intelligence. The development of the power of reasoning in the human left the animal way behind.

Too bad humans don’t pay more attention to the development to reasoning as such, instead of keeping knowledge and learning more on the stimulus-response level of the animal. Also where reasoning is taught, it is only encouraged in certain fields – not to be applied generally to all phases of life: i.e., apply reasoning to business – but do not be foolish and expect to apply reasoning too freely for humanity – too much is at stake!

“In Sutton Varre’s [?] play performed some years ago a sorely troubled soul cries out for advice in making his decision, but he is told the no one can help them, the choice must be his own. After he has chosen, however, all the assistance he has been imploring instantly comes to him. We find life startlingly like that. As long as we grope vaguely about, seeking the opinions and advice of others, we are lost in a maze of indecision. But, once we have decided and taken our stand immediately there comes flooding in upon us a perfect deluge of all that we have been so earnestly desiring.”

12 November 1956

12 November 1956

After a weekend at Alliance College with Kurt and Blanche, some interesting personality differences were raised in sharp relief. Kurt claimed I was reacting emotionally to Blanche’s dictatorial stand, rather than evaluating the situation as it really was. He commented, as he often does, that she was merely accustomed to compromise – I wasn’t – with the result I looked a bit foolish when I fought on the ground of principle.

This morning I suddenly laughed to myself.

Kurt is always talking about how he compromises and takes people as they are. I pointed out to him in a few words that in spite of this supposedly capacity on his part he was very critical of me when my opinions differed from his and that he refused to take me as I am. His comment was, “It is easy to give advice.” Yes,” I said, “particularly if you have a personal stake in it.” Blanche can be what she wants to be, do what she must do, live as she wishes to live – all that is agreeable to me. However, let her not think she can inflict upon me her views, her judgments, her wants, and her wishes and expect me to accept them for my own. I will accept what I wish to accept. And when she tries to jam her judgments unequivocally upon me – she is stepping on my toes leaving me no right to exercise personal choice. That I will not accept from her or anyone. Martyrs make dictators out of others. Compromise is well and good over trivialities, but not when basic fundamentals are involved.

And Blanche sure likes to have her own way with others. We all do – but we must know when to respect another’s opinion. She has very little regard for others’ opinions and is quite ruthless in her disregard. And quite oblivious to others when she wants something her way. I suspect she is also motivated by possessiveness (with regard to people), demanding, jealous, and unwilling to let her friends meet each other for fear they will like each other more than they like her.

I wonder what she is afraid of?


We cannot label anything as good or evil other than in relation to the particular circumstances of a particular person at a particular time.


“You will cease to trouble unduly about the opinions criticisms of others when you become conscious of the value of your own you will no longer permit yourself to be irritated or hurt by unpleasant persons when you find yourself close in armor of sublime independence. In short true peace will make you free.”

“People who believe that they have to carry all the burdens of their personal lives cannot find peace.”

“True humility means that you are humble towards the higher power of the spirit, but towards nothing else. You have to be submissive, reverent, and childlike towards divinity, or creation; but toward the world at large and towards humanity at large you may be as strong and as bold and as self-reliant as you wish yield yourself only to the higher power which secretly governs the world. And to your own self be true.”

2 November 1956

2 November 1956

The crippling of a man’s soul is far more damaging than any physical crippling, defect, or distinction.

Russel Porter summed up “free enterprise” in the N.Y. Times: “Americans do not believe in absolute power,” he said, “the American revolution was fought to gain freedom from absolute power, including its manifestations in economic restrictions on production and distribution and the whole internal history of this country has centered around the struggle of the people as a whole to prevent any group – government, business, or labor – from wielding too much power – consequently our economic system has remained as far from ‘absolute’ free enterprise as it has from ‘absolute’ government control.”

-from “the Case for the American System” by Emil Schram, Pres. N.Y. Stock Exchange in the 1949 Information Please Almanac, page 23.