15 December 1957

15 December 1957

Eh-h-h!! My creative, positive self seems to have taken a backseat lately. And having a case of “Where do I fit”? This past few months has not been conducive to a feeling of well-being and self-acceptance. No ego satisfactions of late.

The score:

One: Stock market interest – the market is down and I’m in doubt about my judgment concerning our investments. Well, I have much public company on this score if I’m looking for consolation. But, with a drop in the value of our investments, I wonder whether I’m bright enough to do any more investing correctly. (Somewhere along the line my approach has been of poor quality. Perhaps I think to myself, I better just stay put until I see how my present holdings make out. Still, as I write this, and as I said to Nancy only last night – learning involves the right to make mistakes. In fact we often learn more from a mistake than from easier learning. Maybe I need to tell myself the same thing. I can hardly expect it to be an expert without experience, some learning, and some mistakes. Underneath I feel I still have learned something – how much remains to be seen.

Two: Now the [Community] Center at Memorial – This has been a sharp blow! Mrs. Zachmann’s formula of magic isn’t working! If there ever was a formula in itself. When I had the center before, whether it was partly formula, or circumstance – more than likely a combination of both – enrollment zoomed!

I’ve gone back into the center with my outlook changed. I do not want to prove anything so much – i.e., the center can and should be a worthwhile experience for the community. I have looked at it more as an opportunity to earn $15 per night. My only interest now in the center is more on how much more it can earn me, rather than how much can I do for the center. Economics has a foot in the door. But either way I look at it – my desire to build the center is more or less the same – the emphasis has shifted – my purposes shifted.

Before, I bat my brains and energy out to make it work – Now I count the cost: telephone calls, time expenditure, etc.

Now whether it is primarily economic circumstances in the area, or not, that is exacting the greater toll, I don’t know. Nevertheless, my attitude, too, has shifted and the one probably compounds the other.

But, the enrollment has been very disappointing – many telephone calls – not many customers. Also, some of my teachers, namely Barskites, Kirbus and, I believe from a teaching point of view, Mrs. Flynn are not the quality of teachers I could feel 100% loyalty and support for. They are not high-grade instructors. Kilbane rather fits into this category. Metro has a nice personality and seems to teach well, but he is not particularly concerned about an unfinished chair. That is the student’s problem. In a way he is right. If they miss classes, they can expect to finish.

Three: I have no great interest in anything especially, and this is been keeping me lackluster for some time. I do not know where my energies can be put to the most interesting use. There are plenty of places where I could use some energy and pay attention to routine, but I don’t too much. I’m somewhat lethargic. Could be this is a partially temperamental, a personality problem – the old formulative personality ghosts! I find myself wishing for some personal attention, which the youngsters in their teens cannot give. They are growing up and are more inclined to be critical.

Kurt? Well he has some personality problems of his own – he means well, and helps as best he knows how, but it is the old story – he has his own battles to fight; and at times [he] looks to me for personal attention. Neither one of us are in too good a position frequently to be much help to the other. Our backgrounds have too many similarities, and our needs are too similar. Each of us want the same of each other, so we are not able to grant or fulfill, particularly, the others’ want. We want from the other what we need ourselves.

It is a rather trying, uninspiring. A few ego satisfactions would be a shot for Kurt and myself. Neither one of us have a very high regard for our potential. In fact, as time goes on, our potential after the other is jarred, and I’m at a loss to see any particularly outstanding ability and myself.


I wonder if this is what you call maturity and a realistic view of life? This living with this recognition of limitations? Oh! I’ve accomplished some things I know, but I no longer have any great ambitions. Just getting the kids off to a halfway decent path of life seems to me my only responsibility now. Once that is done – I think I’ll take to solitaire or chess, the activities of the grazing pasture, rather than the racetrack.


10 December 1957

10 December 1957

Just suddenly, an idea has jelled sharply in my mind. It has been floating around for ages but never have I felt it so keenly as now. Here it is. I’ve been cussing at the “power”, the “creative force” behind all matter living and, say, inert. Long ago, the paternalistic concept of the heavenly father’s loving kindness was critically evaluated within me. The child like image of such a being I decided to put away for good in my attic of fairy tales and Santa Claus.

For quite some time, I have viewed this force as a power which controls life energy – all energy, but lately, of recent months, I have considered it as an unknown power, not at all like the human – our Christian concept. Granted it is the power behind the universe, but certainly not controlled in any way by human wishing our prayers.

I have been viewing this power as a neutral force. If there is any sense, that is human interest in this power, it is not at all as conceived by popular opinion: kindly, benevolent, etc. Just a neutral force one cannot fight against. What it is, why it is, what it wants with the world or its contents, human or otherwise, I’m sure I do not know. Now here’s my new view – Here I’ve been trying to cope with this unknowable power. My attention is all concentrated through training, on this power; one way, or another.

I guess this is the way matters have to be, I’ve told myself, when unhappy. One cannot grapple with the unknown – and doesn’t know what one is grappling with. One can’t punch the air in the nose when dissatisfied. One cannot talk to the wind and explain to the mind ones eight and sorrows. The wind is just the wind – does its own work, whatever that work may be.

History is replete with examples of great human tragedies. Christians have always explained it as the will of God. They tell the story of Job. Well, in many respects, we do have to be Job’s and accept what we cannot change.

But, and here is the crux of this discussion: Very often when we are at odds with one’s version of God – creative force, or whatever you wish to call it, one is actually at odds with human forces as a rule. One has a tendency to accept natural phenomena, one bemoans it and tsk tsk’s over it but what can one do. Such phenomena, too, is difficult to accept. But, we must accept such things, like Job, since we do not know how to control such natural phenomena. We used to accept illness back in the annals of the human race, now we tackle the problem, the illness, with money and research. We do a great deal of the same with other phenomena in the natural sciences.

One field we are only just beginning to open the door to and in this field most of our trouble lies. Often when I am at odds with the face of creation, I’m actually at odds with people. I am at odds with myself, and with the humans around me. Instead of tackling my problems – the human element – I turn to examining the creative force and get nowhere. What I am not realizing is the need to tackle myself, what makes me unhappy, what my relationship with my family is, that makes me unhappy; what impact my social environment is that depresses me. In other words, I now feel recognition of these personal impacts are frequently behind my troubles. Instead of lamenting an unconcerned wind or rain or creative force, I better be more conscious of the people and the ideas around me, the views I have accepted as guide rules for myself. The source of much personal trouble is in this realm. Recognizing it may be a step to better peace of mind.