20 January 1957
This developing process in me? When did it start? Where did it start? How did it start? It doesn’t matter! – This awakening to the world of human beings and what makes them tick?
I had glimpses of it at Community Center. A couple times, I tried to imagine what I look like at the center – and very vaguely – what I look like to the people in the center – not to individuals at the center – just trying to picture myself going from one room to the other, heels tapping her hurried staccato (why do writers always use that word to describe the sound of heels on a hard surface) along the halls in my attempt to give the “Zachmann” touch to all the classes in one evening.
The family is getting up, the dog is barking, howling, reacting to first Bill, then Nancy, yelling and mouthing away to him and then next Nancy’s commands to “Shut up!” Don’t know whether I can settle down to see what I am trying to anchor here – but if it is of any tangible merit – it won’t run away. It is a dawning comprehension and I’m afraid I will lose it.
What it all amounts to is this business about being completely incognizant of the “humdrum” everyday world’s values all my life. It begins to dawn upon me I never lived in the “outer world” of people, events and happenings. I only lived in the arid world that was within myself. I never valued evaluated people by generally accepted current worldly standards, I only saw the individual acting and reacting, sensitive only to their reactions – never to what made them act or react – saw only the “effect”, never the cause. Well, I guess my whole life has been that way. Even my personal life. I never really knew the origin of the “causes” of human behavior, because I was too busy trying to understand the causes of my own “reactions”.
We have talked about Helen, Kurt and I. The general conclusion is she sees a very “real” world. All I could ever see is the “spiritual” Helen, the “psychic” Helen, the “good” in Helen, that fairness in “Helen”, the behavior of “Helen”. It seems strange I select Helen Rossman, strange and not so strange. My mother’s name was Helen too.
That day on the farm when I first saw Helen. After all these years, I recall the incident so well. Those large calculating eyes, eyebrows raised as she looked me over, deciding by some ticker system inside her, whether I was worth spending any time with, or whether she should go about her business. If the answer had been I wasn’t worth bothering with, I feel now, a curtain would’ve dropped, and I never would have had so much of farm life presented to me.
Helen and I are alike in a way – only Helen saw then, and still seems to see only the outer world values. Until fairly recently, I have only seen the inner soul values. Just as she has always found my Jesus Christness an enigma – so she has found my world values and evaluations totally hopeless. And, there is a thread of Helen’s in my life, all reacting to me as Helen does to this day, giving me up as hopeless, or various degrees or stages of hopeless dependency upon their interest about me, because they don’t know I have little knowledge of their values. Others I suppose found me baffling. Some even look up to me – the Mrs. Harding’s, the Mrs. Mahorcic’s, but even they I believe, in the inner recesses depending on the weight of “real-world” standards, must wonder why I don’t prim and make myself constantly “attractive” like Jerry, or buy furniture like Alice or Sweetie.
My mother deluded herself and tried to do delude me by saying I was the most important person in her world after I was born. All she wanted was a daughter.
One of my mysteries is solving itself.
I could never put my finger on it before, but this is what it was. She lied to herself and to me when she tried to peddle around such hog-wash. She was important to herself. She was ruled by whatever standards she had. I wasn’t the most important thing in the world to her, even though she dolled me up and outwardly displayed [me] to the world [as if] I was her most precious possession. So soon as I grew old enough to start establishing some values of my own the evidence of her delusions became painfully apparent. What was important to her was her own self. She tried to keep me an embryo, so she could keep her big illusion. The growing girl she called her daughter couldn’t help growing into another person. It’s like death. You can’t escape it. The process began exploding her myth – that I was the beginning and end of perfection and value for her. She never could comprehend to the day she died the natural process she had been dealing with. She never knew what defeated her.
People sell themselves all kinds of things.
I argue the Chinese have a better approach to the problems of man when they preach a Ying [sic] and a Yang. Discord results when one or the other is denied or blown out of proportion. Harmony is a proper proportion meant of duality; the right and the wrong, the kind in the firm, the coordination between the inner soul and the outer manifestations of the world, whether animal, vegetable, human or divine, land or sea, air or vacuum. If there is not enough land, water takes over. If there is not enough love, hate takes over. Nature tolerates no vacuums. If there is greed, generosity disappears. Over generosity leaves material poverty. Excessive poverty stirs the breast to greed and acquisition, or dissolution and impasse.
Even Christians recognize battle in their expectations about “good” and “evil”, but they are less concrete, more abstract about it.
Values for sale! We are always buying or selling each other something. Most people are aware of the exchange of material goods, it is a daily function apparent to all. The exchange of values in “ideas” is a more subtle process, hardly apparent to most people, but affecting every phase of human life just as much as the sale of observable objects. How many of us are consciously aware of the fact that we have “bought an idea”? Abstractions are pleasures of the mind. Einstein’s theories may be great, but they are of no value until they are used practically; just as a hammer is nothing until it is put to use pounding the nails into boards to build a house. Just as in the material object world so in the realm of abstract ideas. There is no value to anything until translated into practical usage.
Late: story plot boggles me. I can’t sleep. Here it is.
It is tied up this way.
Theme: promises should not be idly made. (Zel her lamps and her guile.)
Also, could be used in connection with juvenile delinquency. What creates a juvenile – patterns that shape a grown-up.
Plot: businessman (success theme) is noted for his reliability – could be a small or large business. He keeps his word. If he makes a promise – he keeps it.
Scene: shipment of some kind is due. (Catering firm?)
“Did Jefko [?] say he tried to make a delivery? Or did he say he’d try?” says manager of another business.
“No,” said the clerk, partner – what have you. “He promised to deliver the goods.”
Manager relaxes. “If Jefko said it was a “promise” I can relax.”
The whole idea is Jefko is dependable – like the rock of Gibraltar if he “promises”.
Why – when he was a kid his parents did know how the patterns they set stay with the kid way into grown years. Give a couple of illustrations or examples. My personal episode about going to the silent movies of the day. My father works me up, sells by believing soul he is going to take me to the movies. My mother gives him the business. (In this case it could be mother promises, father reneges.” Then I suddenly – for no good reason, can’t go. My first rub with parent’s strange examples. My world falls apart. My first lesson in the unreliability of parents.
Then you could add about the baseball that was promised, but never received, etc. etc.
Maybe it was because of money. Maybe it was because parents don’t know what they do to their kids. He vows he’s going to make money but never stirs any customer up to expect certain delivery unless he can deliver. It makes him a successful man.