Abraham Rotstein, Weekend Notes XI

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Weekend Notes (Overview)

"Freedom and Technology" (2) - General Comments

[2] P. has had time to think about the book. He hasP thought more about the content and why one writes it. It is extremely simple and we are reluctant to write it, while trying to write something else is not possible. To write this book is very much possible. Perhaps one might have some simple article or essay instead, and why it needs a book is not clear. However it might need a book to be fully said. It boils down to two sentences: freedom in an essential sense is not possible in a technological civilization. We have list the essential freedom and the cause is the technological civilization. The white space recognition of this would make all the difference. If we accept this, then the outlook on the world may be changed greatly for the better. Almost all the complaints are an obscure formulation of this same fact or a veiled attempt to escape it.

History won't stop. All those troubles are vaguely related to human society. They will take a different shape because they are either caused by it or an attempt to evade it, and many things follow including moral degeneration.

The question is to understand what is being aid there. P. became clear on this while writing the Preface and saw that it would have to be changed. But he would have to retain the contemplative approach to the question. Whether we put it this way or not is of no particular importance and P. doesn't attach any special significance to this Preface.

P. realized that everything could be said in one sentence and to [3] clarify this is then a commentary on that sentence: in a machine civilization our freedom in its most deeply vital sense cannot be. If we take this in we can restore existence.

The Fascists accepted this and said it was incompatible to have Christianity, and persecuted the Jews because they were responsible for Christianity, which is true. They made peace with the Church on conditions under with the Church meant nothing. All this is quite consistent.

[4] One of the things that P. might do is not to speak of Christianity but of religion. There is not a religion which doesn't deal with man's inner freedom. If he has religion, he has inner life and that is what the rest of life turns on. Religion is like metaphysics.

The Christians don't accept a deeper meaning to their position and you immediately get them against you. You are attacked when you say that something deeper exists aside from its content.

P. is doubtful if it possible or worth at all, to write a book which does not contain an important recognition. However, even bigger and more important positions have been put in a briefer way and one to think about this.

Everything is said in the sentence, that there is a meaning of freedom in which freedom cannot and does not exist.

The actual organization of the book very strongly hinges on freedom and freedoms. But that is so well known we needn't say it is an abstraction. P. stands for freedom. The fight between the West and the East hinges on freedoms. Both stand for freedoms. Our position changes this.

P. would say that freedom is not possible in a technological civilization. Therefore we would mean something definite and thus we have the dichotomy of freedom and freedoms. It becomes the main one for the book. We can have any amount of freedoms that we can wish, and as things are now, we don't get these because we don't get our [5] illusion. We don't achieve freedoms because we don't accept the fact that freedom is gone.

We accept the realization that if man is infinite nothing is achieved. Work, art, are gifts of man's finiteness. Maybe immortality is a semi-escape. This is a speculation in which P. doesn't indulge (Taylor, Spencer, animism etc.) When the Old Testament said that when you eat bread, it is with the sweat of your brow etc. it is a good way of following the knowledge of death.

My question: P. has said that law and morality tie in with the question of death.

P. doesn't see how a happy animal existence needs law and morality. But he doesn't want to go into it. This is linked with self-discipline, and why have the flow of life interrupted by form and duty? He certainly never heard that in Paradise anyone had duties.

Of one conceives it this way there is the history of the machine and its effect son society and the history of peculiar fashions such as the criticism of the masses, existentialism, and the early Marx. We could give the material for this and it isn't all speculation or argument.

One would really have at the heart of it two heroes: Robert Owen and Bernard Shaw and the points that he brought up come up in a new light: the elan vital, the saint etc.

Why the saint? He probably meant the person who is acting and seeing things in the religious light and accepts the reality of society altogether. (That is not so simple.)

[6] There are more immediate difficulties than the possible interest of such a book for millions of people or how to write a successful book. Here nothing really matters except how much truth is there and what degree of sincerity can one realize or embody. These are the two requirements of the book. P. put is down in two sentences and it ought to be as simple as that. Everyhing else us an explanation and elaboration and a defence. We are arguing something extremely simple.

Everything on a secondary level doesn't stand e.g. what people are saying about Christianity – are we going to be angels and who cares? But this hasn't settled the question of religion and whether it has any importance for me. The atheist for example has another religion and argues with greater sincere conviction that he never does anything against his conscience. These are all Shavian ideas.

P. can't understand why the thoughts that Shaw has expressed most often and most frequently, he has never been credited with. This is one of the mysteries of our time. That thinker who went on repeating himself for 65 years has never been credited with the convictions that he expressed. A paper like that would have much critical truth for almost any of the fashions of our time: e.g. let the devil have free play and he will God's world, (The Devil's Discipline).

What is man going to do with the freedom to do anything? P. rad to Ilona one of the Edmund Wilson's essay where he sums up “Too True To Be Good” in one page. This is by far the most eminent [7] essay on Shaw that P. knows.

P. withdraws the title “Parts of a Philosophical Testament” which we had contemplated last week. (I am much too young for that.)

P. may agree with me that if we write straight ahead on the message of the book we should find some solution for bypassing the market economy because it is on an entirely different level. If we do have the market economy we have to give an indication somewhere of how it links.

One approach is that where Russia is mentioned it would have to be indicated that Russia is in the same boat. Otherwise a market economy hides the reality of society very effectively and sidesteps the question of freedom.

Really what we have to say is a total position - short of that we have nothing to say at all. It is also a socialist position and it never meant anything else.

We take up the new position of society: for 80 years it meant the poor - crime, insanity, illness, slumification. The real deeper understanding is that there is more involved than one social group which is underprivileged. This group then became the one which could put on pressure. This was not a charity position but one of self-protection. P. would agree that this has got out of fashion and therefore P. hesitates to call it socialist. This is because there was a class-war tradition. Therefore much would be gained if we could make it clear in spite of that that there is much more involved. Socialism formerly was the answer, [8] but it doesn't completely answer it. But what difference does this make? Such a view of society is much less inhibited than under a market economy where it is definitely inhibited. On the other hand the term socialism is today known in both East and West and for e.g. India it is the only term which is understood.

A book with the early Marx is of world interest. All this is effective only if the reason for writing it becomes transcendently great.

How far is it necessary to give theoretical grounding for the position of the individual? P. has very clear views that the individual is not just a function of society, whether this is a technological society or not. P. agrees with the position of putting it in sociological terms. On the other hand, sociology itself, as a positivistic discipline is a realms of darkness. However, because the sociologists are dark and unenlightened is no reason not to use the discipline.

To P. the idea that matters of religion and other knowledge are contradictory to each other is foreign to him altogether. He will not hide that this is a Christian position, but insistence on a religious position and the reader finds out for himself what we mean by religion: the ultimate meaning of life and existence, everyone will see what this is - everyone will see that it isn"t the timetable of the local bus!

The Marxist and the capitalist position are fundamentally the same. They insist on accepting a dichotomy of man as a material and as a spiritual being. This is denied psychologically and biologically, [9] e.g. you can't grasp a knife unless you relate yourself to space etc.

The trouble is in a way the machine and television and the atom bomb. But why should this be so? Are we not adapting our lives? Or are things getting worse?

P. doesn't believe that there is anything wrong with the "people" in a fundamental sense that makes it meaningless or unbearable.

The complaint of man in the modern age according to Jaspers is that he doesn't believe in God.

How do you persuade people man has died before? What Jesus meant <was not that you go to hell, but that there is a new concern and that this was an individual matter. P. thinks religion has made life possible.

In P.'s conviction we have to put up with a new sociology. Nobody however takes it seriously.

The Fascists produced a terrible craze with the murdering of the Jews which was done in the name of the salvation of mankind. Also Bolshevism was the “breath of the dessert from the East” (Rosenberg).

The early Marx will be the discussion in Russia for the next 20 years. This is a humanistic line - what is human society? What is human destiny?

All the modern ideas turn on the question that either society becomes perfect and life is unacceptable to the individual or vice-versa. (i.e. that one must give up one's ideals etc.) That's what existentialism [10] is about - the public personal life, the committed one instead of the uncommitted person.

For the modern world what we are saying is of extreme topicality. It has its roots in earlier times since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Almost all people said that we can have a perfect society - but then what does life look like? It becomes intolerable not because of so much regimentation, but because of so man contradictions in the individual's life. It leads to a disintegration of any value system.

The question of man's basic freedom is up - e.g. in the literature of Hungary and Russia.

P. is not intersted in people who are not interested in this. The job is to make it clear to yourself and then present clearly.

The economistic fallacy already engages people in the wrong direction. Leave the economistic part to the section on Freedom and freedoms. Attack the position that freedoms need the market. It is a mistaken view to show that the economy is not the market.

To put the thought that there is some illusion about man's freedom is an idea of very great daring. It doesn't end up by not being read - it might be read, although one certainly might be misunderstood. The kinds of misunderstanding that I talk about are very easily avoided. They don't lead to life but to vegetation - which is what most people choose, and they write books for one another.

Everything hinges on the sense that freedom is man's deepest hope and we say that this has something to do with our civilization. The opposite is generally said: although there is much trouble with [11] civilization, it is put don to machines and technology. It doesn't mean that as long as there are laundry machines we don't have freedom. But machines affect life in some way. Testing our thoughts in the way the bourgeois mind lies is unpractical, and unbusiness-like in our case.

P. agrees that there is a basic insight which is a terrible one - and we do nothing but try to formulate it or escape from it. That is all modern philosophy amounts to. There is also the Rousseauian position that society consists of individuals. Mans isn't at all times and in all regards a function of society. Admitting that gives hope. Society is a dialectical conversation going on.

It is a life's decision what one does in this book. P. sees more to be said which is relevant. But this is really true with the original insight which gives meaning to it. Otherwise there isn't much truth in it. This cuts into all current philosophy.

P.'s friends say it is meaningless: it doesn't say anything because it isn"t operationally defined. For emotions and visions, poetic form is the adequate form, but it is not adequate for something which masquerades as scientific form. P. doesn't adhere to specifically religious formulations e.g. revelation. Call it knowledge.

The statement on the eruption of the machine sums it all up.

What Sartre means is that the social problem is insoluble for the individual. We get committed. How did we get committed and to what? We are moralized to an extent which is unbearable.

M.P also agrees. Yesterday man has climbed down from the trees [12] and today he can't put up with less than an angelic society - the music of the spheres instead of small talk. (P. said this years ago). Where did this come from? M.P. says that we have a moral passion and a scientific one, and that Marxism has united both. The whole argument is superficial. Exactly the same is true of Malthus and Ricardo.

Maybe the machine started the moral passion. Both Ricardo and Malthus say that man needs a higher moral passion. Malthus wanted everything in society caught up under God's law and the Malthusian arithmetic at the same time. Ricardo was a Jew and came from the stock exchange and had the conscience about this whole matter - attacking the landlords. Malthus gave his book to newlywed couples. He didn't want to be responsible for suffering.

Also science and morality should join hands. Before Marx though up scientific socialism, Ricardo thought up scientific capitalism and Malthus thought up scientific feudalism because he was too humane and didn't go the whole way.

One does halt at the metaphysical doctrines involved. P. preaches that out of these series of deaths, life springs and it's a difficult life. One can't foresee at all. Our life sprang from these deaths. Maybe the dog is nicer because he doesn't know death, but we can't choose.

The purpose of "freedoms and freedoms" is not to allow Communist equivocations. This must be made central and one must go very far.

The position with freedom must be qualified because of the Rousseauian position. There is a limitation which goes to the roots of existence, so there is no absolute freedom.

[13] One must guard against the idea that there is no freedom at all, but some kind of determinism. Unless this is excluded it would obtrude itself. What is the way of limiting the area of this insight? If once the mistake has been made of denying all freedom, it is not possible to argue you still have some freedoms.

My question: Is there a question here of all or nothing with regards to freedom? It is not the issued f determinism which is up here, but P. hasn't thought of this before.

Yes. Freedom is not possible in a technological civilization, neither under capitalism nor socialism. One hundred per cent absolution (idealism) is incompatible with the reality of society.

How is the distrust of the masses related to a denial of the reality of society, and how is the false faith in the market related to this denial?

Why rebel all the way (Sartre), and if so, in what direction? The Sartre position is rebellion in the wrong direction. It is against the things in which the rebellion is mistaken. E.g. against averagism is the right direction, but against gravitation is the wrong direction, against dead-ends is the wrong direction, and to run with one's head against the wall is the wrong direction.

If you speak of adjustments you should adjust to changes with an unchanging reality of society. There should be an adjustment to those changes of progress etc. and so an infinite effort is possible against finite evils. There's no reason at all to limit efforts.

[14] Capitalism is the last alibi of the absence of freedom. It is the last excuse for our refusal to recognize the reality of society. If you pass on to any meaningful socialism, there is no excuse left.

Technology is something eccentric that passed on man's destiny.

Slavery is only lack of freedoms but not the freedom we talk about. Automation makes spindles run by themselves but that ending of slavery is not freedom.

It occur[r]ed to P. that it was Shaw who was talking endlessly about rejecting the reality of society and the freedom you gain by accepting it. The liberal who stands for freedoms but doesn't recognize the reality of society behaves like an ass. The liberal insists on his freedoms but these are limited by his refusal to accept the reality of society. E.g. while Mrs. Warren accepts the reality of society she is so much superior to her daughter who tries not to accept that reality (until something happens).

We should adjust to a technological civilization - we shouldn't withstand it at all. We should adjust both to the reality and the abiding reality, and the non-abiding transitional configuration, to urbanism and to automation. Today we refuse to accept the situation insofar as the reality of society is involved: there is either an obscure formulation or an escape. Almost all of Shaw's plays are directed against obscure formulations and showing that the attempt to escape is vain on that ground.

In a way, it is not the individual who is fighting the condition - but the conditions which are fighting the individual with a delusion - until it bursts like an inflated ballon. P. wrote this 49 years ago and [15] called it the "Passive Drama"[1]. The individual tries to maintain his delusion but proves unable to do so. P. argues that all the illnesses Sartre has discovered are sick - they are falsely based on illusions. It is always the obscure formulation of the true situation. If you formulate it truly, no attempt would be made to escape. This is akin to religious existentialism (Kierkegaard)

There is a strong shift in the argument one the focus shifts. What description of the 18th and 19th century - its factual and thought development do we give? Other formulations of the reality of society are obscure or false and the whole determinism is on the false side of the description and has nothing to do with it. Owen's complaint of environmental determination of the individual is obscure. This is not the basis on which the reality of society is accepted.

There are so many meanings and many sides on which this reality obtrudes itself. It came up in many ways indeed. As long as one maintains an atomistic individualism as a vision of society, you can always evade its reality.

My point: we will have to say what this reality is.

It has something to do with technology but we don't know what. It is not man's psychological dependence on material needs. It is his technical dependence. It is the technical point that Marx stressed - the means of production and partly the mode of production. (Is a tool like a mode? a tool is metaphysically different from, for example, two people cooperating.)

P. doesn't know whether the tools of Karl Marx are rehabilitated [16] by being eccentric. No one could see how tools have such a peculiar position. Up to a point this explains why Marxism came up with the Industrial Revolution. Suddenly it was linked with tools which quickly developed into machines and it almost looked as if machines were taking over. From then on there was nothing absurd in thinking that the means of production were taking over. P. thought that the means of transportation were just as crucial.

We should maintain that the intrusion of tools represents something extraneous. P. believes for example that the other animals hardly run around with anything they picked up, and if they pick up anything they are photographed as being human. The ants and the beavers start building, but where do they end up in a public school?

My question: Do ants and beavers have an economy?

P.: Yes, it's peculiar. Some are investing and others are only producing.

Shaw argues that the indestructible character of society (the reality of society) allows the individual much more freedom than he thinks he has e.g. marriage, estate, God. Society is not based on his good behavior in following conventional rules of the day. He will still follow conventional rules but not of the day. Shaw shows ironically how conventionally he behaves when he imagines he behaves unconventionally.

The introduction should set out how the problem arises and how it is dealt with. The question of the machine and the discovery of society may comprise a large amount of the subject matter.

[17] Under freedom and freedoms we might have the modern treatment of the problem - from fascism, bolshevism, psychoanalysis, existentialism onward. P. thinks it begins with Freud and Lenin onwards (the modern period).

The discovery of society proves up to the hilt that there was of consciousness of society and concern before the machine. Freedom - freedoms is the application of the insight that our modern dilemma should be formulated as the obscure formulation of the condition and the escapist approaches to the situation (in its modern phases).

The term 'the discovery of society' hasn't this obscurity and escape. It is like the orthodox economics of Ricardo which, unlike the vulgar economics, didn't have a bad conscience (this is the Marxian distinction between classical and vulgar economics - that it is apologetic). We have something here that is escapist and doesn't present things in their true form. The dilemma is the sickness period. We didn't have a sickness period in the 19th century.

In the sickness period we have the dominant figure on the hand - Shaw, its critic and the person who understood the position, and then we have the moderns - Sartre, who represents the disease itself. So we would have the figure to present the problem.

There is much to say in this social and classical period from Owen onward. Under the vain escapes, it begins with the most conservative - Ibsen. Here society cripples us because it is full of conventions and traditions. The imagined that becomes society has conventions they must rebel. They though that the reality of society was [18] all crystallized in conventions. It is a vain escape to rebel against conventions.

The second vain escape was the glorification of the market and the freedom man gains from it.

The third escape is the scape-goat of the "mass". The purpose of an obscure formulation is to allow an escapist attitude.

There is a whole group of the determinisms which existed before the machine. It begins with Calvin. However the problem of free will has nothing to do with the question of man's inner freedom. Determinism leads to all kinds of versions of social determinism - statistical etc.

In Marx there is a complete craze. Progress is put down the class war. Value is the fetishism created by society i.e. socially necessary labour creates value and is the role of society in time. Human nature is the result of the history of human society. These things in Marx are to be disentangled.

Owen said that human environment determines character.

Then there is the social novel - Sue, Zola, to show that there are social phenomena. All these show how the individual is caught up.

There is also the broad stream of Turgenev and Dostoevsky. It is not about the individual as such. We distinguish these from the modern period which is from psychoanalysis and Leninism onward ending with existentialism.

The reality of society was realized in more than one hundred ways [19] but was never expressed as simply as we see it. The impact of the machine on the social tissue had repercussions of the discovery of society.

It was a false alarm when the determinisms were taken to represent the reality of society with which we deal. Psychological determinism was the continuation of much more ancient ones. These problems were connected with Descartes, Spinoza and the problems of the reality of society were put as the problem of determinism and free will. This is a way of escaping a new fact.

We must disentangle the reality of society which is the real business. Faith and the progress of agnosticism are not our questions. We have to show the specificity of the things we talk about. With Owen it appears as an utterly new question. There is no sign that Owen was an atheist or an agnostic. It is true that he rejected Christianity but with Owen there is a new beginning and he starts from a different angle. Owen rejected Christianity out of hand although he doesn't show signs of being an agnostic.

In Rousseau there is a deistic tray and he objected to sophisticated people. He thought that culture and civilization had ruined mankind. He wanted to return to the natural faith and single deistic concepts.

In the middle of the 1840's and 50's (Sue to Taine's theory) - science and morality are the same thing (Ricardo and Malthus) and there is inevitability.

In Darwin, there is progress through competition. These are all applied to society. Darwin made an apologia for competition.

[20] P. argues the problem of society comes up everywhere, but all this is classical not the modern interpretation.

We should also bring in arguments against this view in case of misunderstanding.

From Owen we jump to urbanization, central power, lighting, information and communication, telephone, telegraph, police, newspaper and railways. Then you get public utilities and public service and the danger to society that lies in that.

Our point is that these are surprising and disconnected effects unforeseen. There is nothing in Owen about that. Then there are the new steel tubes for sewerage and then the corrected infant mortality rate. The English had invented tube pipes (it may have been Bessemer).

England has slums, but the continent had new towns built by English tramworks, waterworks, etc. which were provided for the whole world.

Then would come the social philosophies that went with this period. What P. has to say is that society was discovered more and more. It went under different headings but it was the same subject.

Freedom was not brought up. What did come up was the false alarm of determinism and one would have to commit suicide because the statistics require it. Moral statistics were a great sensation and it influenced the socialists and they thought statistics could be used instead of the market. Engels thought you would know what the demand is and there would be planning based on economic statistics. The point [21] is that it was society that they were talking about.

Society isn't the new concern but freedom is the new concern.

Society and the state were distinguished insofar as the state was represented by the government and society was really business life (burgerliche gesellschaft - Hegel). Marx took it from Hegel via Laurenz von Stein. He had written a book on communism and socialism in France and he developed the class theory. Marx took it from there and it was a book of absolute genius.

We should have to make it very clear that Marxism was a derivation of German idealism and French materialism. He discusses freedom mainly in its human meaning a la Feuerbach and this dominates the early Marx. He put the word “social” everywhere, social labour etc. The main interest was to show that the social process has been discovered. This was at the same a safe guard of the human character of the process to which the thing belongs.

This will provide a counterfoil to the bolschevist ideas on Marxism. Otherwise one wouldn't understand what the criticism in Russia was all about. The early Marx and Russian Marxism are on different levels. That must be made plain. There may be a movement towards the return to the early Marx, and that is what one would expect to happen.

The moderns would have inherited from Hegel through Marx the term self-alienation. These terms are used in many ways.

The Communist quibble about freedom is only a quibble. An important part of this is the obscure formulations of the situation and [22] the escapist devices concerning man's essential freedom. There is a strain of nihilism among modern philosophers.

All modern philosophers made the assumption of absolutistic ideals and absolute in regard to them. What would the world look like if this were not so. Wouldn't this take on a different form? These assumptions do underlie those complaints. They don't complain of reasonable restrictions, e.g. traffic regulation, but of their very existence in a technological civilization - the possibility of freedom.

In the new sociology it comes up very sharply. If man's personality is swallowing the values, then if it is not this set of values, he just swallows another set. The whole question takes a very peculiar form if you re just a clearing house with no capital or deposits of your own. This question is the next one to come up.

In any organized society freedom is limited. Hobbes' insistence on freedom under the law, is not the same idea as freedoms under the law. But if you say that there is a point which can be reached at which there is no freedom at all, it may mean that you refuse to take any responsibility for the happenings in society. But you cannot help in creating opinion in law and this is so in almost any society.

What does a complex society add (even if one means by "complex" one influenced by the machine)? Can one say it's only the machine society which is though? There might be some primitive societies in which conditions were tougher. In what sense is there a question of degree and what degree is really here meant? One can list the instituted freedoms, but this isn't an instituted freedom and cannot be listed. It is a condition of [23] one's inner life in which one feels free to act ultimately according to one's conscience. In this a matter of degree? The degree being as long as conscience takes in all kinds of regulations and restrictions you think you should follow, you have got this freedom. But when do you have this freedom and are compelled to act against your conscience? What would bring that about? Why is it you could feel under definite circumstances that you cannot act according to your conscience because in some sense you cannot. There is a conflict of duties which in principle can emerge under any conditions.

One might say that in a normal life this occurs in any society and therefore in some sense it is a matter of degree. Therefore a technological civilization brings in some really extraneous elements.

What are such obvious and extraneous elements which it brings in? P. thinks we are here thrown back (whether you want to or not) on the compelling action - power etc. This is true in any society.

You can leave society and the leaving of it is not an act of the society. It is very unreal and not a simple decision and this affects other people too. What distinguishes these societies is a matter of degree. Of course, in the one case it may be degree that you can neglect, and in other that you cannot neglect. If it depends on how sensitive you are, or the nature of the responsibilities you are involved in, and if it is only a question of becoming more sensitive, than you can't say what this has to do with technology.

In the one case where you have technology you have a loss of this freedom, and the other way it's a dominant fact of existence. If [24] it is the latter case, the question is, if you recognize it or acknowledge it or not. This may be a more precise formulation and less dependable and a statement of fact, and yet from the moral point of view the relevance is still the same. It forces one back to where I am compelled to compel others.

My freedom not to compel anyone is the freedom which does not exist. But then it is the complex society (and whether a technological society is necessarily complex, and whether in a technological society it is a patent fact that the generalizing of complexity is a fact of common observation) and it is important to survey whether the modern complaints are because of being involved in compulsion or not.

From the Christian ethic point of view (and the Hindu too) there is a strong reluctance to such compulsion. It is not exactly the same point as being forced to do this or that in view of another person's similar rights e.g. being forced to one side of the road or paying taxes. At some points there is a crucial involvement and and being pushed back to the phenomenon of participation in power and only stressing the compelling element in power and participation in it, is the nature of things in a technological civilization. We are committed to this and it creates situations which are morally overwhelming all the time.

The favorite cases of the precariousness of existence, fear links the precariousness of existence with our dominant involvement in [25] compulsive action. It is because of the precariousness of existence that there is really a permanent emergency - once it becomes latently permanent. One need not overdo the facts at all.

When we say "accept the loss of freedom", that's terrible and we partly do and partly have to. What kind of life in society is it?

We promise a very free society. We can have as much freedom as we plan for. Our greatest difficulty today is the lack of realism in regard to society in our own lives.

That is what Shaw meant, but is is linked to an anti-democratic preconception. P. doesn't like that except for the "saint". There will always be room for saints and they don't allow themselves to be shied off. But that's not an elite, it's something different. Edmund Wilson's thesis was that the saint and the business man are the two poles. The saint was hunting down the business man who was looking for the saint. P. is not sure that this is so. P. thinks what he pays is more relevant: to accept the reality of society and we are realer people and have a fuller life. What keeps our lives thin is that we don't accept the reality of society.

Whether he thought that this has anything to do with technology, P. is not sure. (There are all kinds of sciences which the machine has nothing to do with.)

What are looking for? The ways in which tools and mechanical thing affect man as a composite of body and mind.

P. starts from the democratic - the rise of so many people to institutions on which their being and fate depends. P. said there is a [26] tension between the increasing interest and awareness of the masses of individuals. Modern democracy has activated the mass.

The postulate of freedom is answered by the growth of freedom. We leave something open - that no conception of society can exclude some realm of residual freedom. With no freedoms or freedom, no one would be responsible for anything e.g. in Russia - with complete tyranny the individual is not responsible for anything.

With orthodox Christians, inner freedom was perfect. We demand freedoms in the name of freedom. (The dialectic of the mind is paradoxical). The maintenance of the religious injunctions means that we must transform to the extent that it is possible. That makes any premature resignation not permissible, and insistance on freedom in the face of the reality of scoiety. We have to have free institutions and justice. A religious interpretation of the meaning of life demands this from us.

Owen took it for granted that we would do all this: "should any of the causes…… etc." The post-Christian era had begun and a reform of our consciousness was necessary. This will make the second revelation valid for our lives - otherwise it would not be applicable.

No sociology or theory of politics is possible, which would formulate the individual's life as a mere function of society. It would mean that in every regard he is a function of the group as a whole - then he wouldn't exist. How is the individual possible there is an approximation to an answer - the religious insight, the direct insight into the sources of life. (It is like throwing out half the library and claiming the other [27] half as more valuable). In "1984" inner freedom was operated out of man.

Some say that in a society, you must compromise in any case. But that means that they agree to their starting from an uncompromising position. Logically that is implied. At this point on's moral imagination is appealed to.

Sartre - Les Mouches - had an atheist position.

By "the reality of society" reality means it's there whether you like it or not.

Owen looked to technology as removing the evils. He referred to the existing evils - not the ones of the machine. (K.P. took much from Cole).

The market is a mirage of freedom.

Russell wrote a whole book on power - on the wills of some people to have power, as if this had anything to do with it at all. As if people wish to have power unless power existed. It's the interdependence of technology, fear and power.

Freud didn't know Calvin or Luther and thought that Christianity was a cheap syrup. It is a grave limitation on Marxism of the enlightenment and was a thinker.

[28] The scholastic realism of Shaw is a Thomistic position. Society is a mind product.

The modern complaints occur with Freud, Nietzsche and Sartre. Marx was more of a liberal Christian.

Shaw's vitalism (the life force) is the naturalistic concept itself and Shaw the female represents the life force. "Evolution Creatrice" of Bergson is one of the fundamental ideas. That is why poetry procreation and the conception of art and conceiving of life are one and the is directly akin to [the] same phenomenon. This is the metaphysics of art, poetry and the spiritual life because only there is there conception, e.g. The simpleton of the Unexpected Isles, and Methusaleh. He combined scholastic realism with biologic naturalism. The great weakness of Shaw is his being against democracy.

After the classical complaints society got hale, but the complaints turned up in a different form - the individual.

There are two points under economic determinism:
1) How far is the individual motive determined,
2) How far is society and history determined.

The stringency of the market mechanism was transposed to society and history. It looks like social determinism, but it is the misreading of the market phenomenon which has the determinism of a mechanism.

In modern nihilism, the negative forms of existentialism, move in a contradiction. The positive side is in terms of commitment. Unless we do we don't find out anything. There is no limit in the commitment sense at all. It means I am committed to reach the limit as much as I can, since this [29] is the normal pressure under which life is lived.

The complaint is the fact that none of these limits can be aimed at, not to speak of attained. There is a limit from outside which is like a logical limit - it is in the nature of the mind structure which society is. Technology produces strains and stresses which we don't understand and it therefore creates limitations to meaningful commitment. Every commitment should be ti human existence in the sense of religion. We live by and through one another. But cannot at the same time live in the feeling of freedom as absolutes.

Freedom is not a meaningful commitment. You don't commit yourself to a formula or to your self alone without family, society, etc. You can only commit yourself in a human sense. Knowledge derives from basic experiences to which we are committed (n.b.). It is really a commitment to some element of experience, to building a stone of knowledge. We reduce this to some element to which we are committed. Communication is the relating of elements to which we are committed. Communication is the relating of elements to which commitments exist, e.g. "I know", - "I" is as important as "know".

P. agrees with the commitment position of the existentialists. But this is not compatible with the refusal to accept the reality of society (or the denial of it). They are complaining of being denied a freedom they don't possess.

Therefore all of what Arendt says on our having nothing left os precisely what P. takes his stand upon. This is not in the Hindu sense of a stand on nothing, but on the reality. That's the Shavian position. That's why never meet the futility of the superman and the realist (like the [30] chauffeur in Man and Superman).

Sartre is a very great poet but not a good philosopher. The same with Camus. It is not worth spending too much time on them.

P. thinks that Jaspers is boring and confused stuff. It does contain important insights but, for example, Jaspers thinks that Russia is the end of everything. This is an unphilosophical measuring, of using one red for one thing and another red for another. Why doesn't he say something clear, simple and sensible?

In Jasper's book he puts everything on the masses. So does Tocqueville and Maine (i.e. under liberty you never have progress because of the masses and this was Spencer's influence on him).

Another way of going at this the existentialism of Sartre. P. wonders whether nine-tenths of the existentialist trouble isn't a description of society.

There may be nothing wrong with this question of progress as long as here is not an escape from the reality of society. Some people have a disbelief in progress it is an illusion. The key words are tolerance and maturity.

P. discovered his philosopher. Robert Owen was the only person we can point to. He expressed the thought that he didn't quite realism. It was his actions which proved that he realized it - what he did in the factory.

The other person is the only person who never tried to say anything else but what this book would contain. Some one who understood the reality [31] of society and said there never was anything else. (In contrast to P. he was the leas boring person in the world). Shaw never said or meant anything else. That is why he had all this fun - because he never had any other interpretation of the socialist outlook. He was the first of the neo-scholastics to discover the reality of the categories and assert that human society was indestructible. (The scholastics were bent on categories). E.g. marriage and monogamy - you can't rewrite a marriage contract. It is not worth rewriting and you mean the same thing in the end anyway. The comedy on getting married has a theologian (who is a dogmatic gloomy horror) who in the end, is the only one who understands what it is all about.

Owen and Shaw are the only thinkers aside from the academically-minded like Comte.(He has it all in a way, but this is a short-cut to death).

The discovery of the first understanding of the sociology of history led through Marxism to scientific politics which was absurd. Only with Lenin was it successful, and here he dropped nine-tenths of the Marxism.

P. thinks I should acquaint myself with the material. I should undertake to do two things:

1) the Robert Owen<:br /> 2) the impact of the Machine on Society (but not the social philosophy) I should also prepare for the early Marx.

I should read G.D.H. Cole on Robert Owen and history of the English working class movement. Here you find Owen all over again and you get the whole story of the industrial revolution. P. doesn't I need [32] to look into the Webbs although they may have something on Owen. There may be never books on Owen which would have new biographical material. P. read his American Discussions with Campbell. It is theological and hardly has any social philosophical implications.

For the centralizing of power - look into the question of electricity and lighting and when did it become a natural feature of urban life. When did strikes in key industries occur? Strikes in the railway? Then there come the atom, nuclear power and T.V.

There are also the other utopians: Fourier and St. Simon. See "To the Finland Station." Also Maw Baer has a book on the history of socialism (in addition to British socialism). P read Fourier and all of St. Simon and Owen. St. Simon has three main works. When he wrote about industrial society he meant employers and workers together. For the early Marx see Adams.

We would also have to read the moderns, Sartre and Camus. And then there is the question of the masses: Gasset and Jaspers. The most important book was De Tocqueville. He said "democracy" but he meant the masses. It is a boo of incredible beauty.

There is already in The Great Transformation a whole lead on Owen, although the approach is the same.

There is one thing one is hunting for: what on earth did people do with the concept of society that became an obsession justified - a justified [33] obsession. The idea of freedom was never absent in the philosophy of the 19th century, and came up in the discussion of the meaning of society and the meaning of history and by that they never meant anything else but freedom. What does society do? What does it embody? The individual side came up as civic liberties and freedoms. It came up as the linking of capitalism and the market and in the last 30 years it became an obsession that socialism is incompatible with freedom - but these are really the freedoms. This also existed in 1850.

Robert Owen (1)

[34] Owen was a remarkable personality. Everyone commented on it and the descriptions of the sweetness are unanimous. He was a great religious leader without hardly ever talking about religion. This stemmed from his resignation. He was prepared to close down Christianity.

Owen invented the survey method.

He never listened to other peoples' ideas and always explained a set sequence of thoughts which had mapped out. He was not in tone or emphasis ever quite enthusiastic. P. read his report to the County of Lanark and in that report are the most important things. (P. read Owen when he was in America, and found the “Campbell” in the New York Public Library.)

He didn't think of people in the factory as being of his own kind. He remained impersonal. He had a peculiar attitude. One has the feeling of something of a saint and he must have suffered deeply. He didn't think of things in an efficiency way but in a human way (not in a personal but in an impersonal sense.) He almost felt personally responsible for having introduced the machine age.

Adam Smith didn't notice machinery. There is no reference to spinning in the “Wealth of Nations”. The division of labour didn't involve machinery. The workers in the factory would become idiots. A Scottish crofter takes his hand to ever anything while this factory worker has an intellectual deterioration - daft, rough people. He was afraid this would be brutalizing. There is no mention of machines. He meant manufactures. Smith was very much against the employer.

[35] There were other factories in the 15th century, e.g. Jack of Newcomb. The woolen industry was in three different places. It moved from the south-west to East Anglia, where even today high churches (cathedrale) stand in the empty waste. That was where worsted was first spun. Worsted was the center. Then in the 19th century it went to the West riding. During Smith's time it was moving. Manchester was built in 1750 and before there was no Manchester. Smith missed the factory period altogether. First there was Liverpool then there was Manchester and people originally thought that it was a harbor developement.

We can't explain Robert Owen unless he held the thoughts that we ascribe to him. Nothing of his thoughts was possible at the time. We would not have had the use of machines on a big scale either. There was no one to bear the risk. The markets didn't exist for production and sales, and secondly he could not have got the workers. There was also no insurance of freight or transportation, nor a credit system. Therefore there was more need of a risk-bearer than today. Who could take the risk?

This is not business-men's jargon. This is the Shavian truth. Formerly machines were used at the risk of the worker, but there was no investment involved.

Robert Owen is the first of a series of people who knew what the machine was. Owen's personality was one of the greatest achievements of the human mind. Marx thought that although labour notes were impossible, Owen was the only one who had any original thoughts on the right lines. Owen didn't believe in the working class (they were thieves and liars) but believed in the selfless man devoting his life to the task, and in the sovereign who was interested in the welfare of the population.

[37][2] In a Robert Owen parable, everything was carried out. There was a protest against individualizing Christianity which went to the root of the whole question. He perceived at glance that the machine would organize mankind. Take that literality. It was all seen and said for the first time. The last authoritative words appeared in the same year as Ricardo and the bullion question. (Ricardo organized the core of the matter, the heart [of] the gold standard, not much later).

The machine needed a different society which could not be. Ultimately, the risk-bearer was the state. He didn't realize that the state would be brought into it at all.

Close the Owen chapter with a clear understanding that he had not understood the first thing about the social organization of the economy. He skipped the economy altogether. He saw the technology problem in a most prophetic fashion. He assumed however that machine production would be developed without an entrepreneurial class and a working class and a liquidation of mercantilism and feudalism.

Also Fourier and Saint Simon overlooked the economic organization and the instituting of the process. They just saw the moral impact. The market organization was unknown. Freight etc. didn't exist and it was the St. Simonists who created the banks e.g. Lazard freres.

My point: It is interesting that the utopians come up 120years later.

A the beginning you see the stark character of the development which is later compromised. Also Marx wiped out all the deviants.

One utopian idea that was absolutely successful was the market [38] system. It is a thought-up ideal system and it doesn't last and had all the characteristics of utopia and this was carried into effect.

In Robert Owen one would show that this idea of the reality of society came up at the beginning. He was the inventor of the idea to construct and adjust and initiate but that there would be a limit to that. He didn't however, see the immediate limits that lay in a different direction. This lay in continuity and risk-bearing of the entrepreneurial class in a market system.

Owen's failure is a point to show - the impact of the machine. It wouldn't be only where he saw it, but also in the new social stratification and the instituting of the economic process we call capitalism. He saw socialism before he saw capitalism. He didn't see there would be an economic change and couldn't have seen it because no one had ever seen such a thing.

One of his many concerns was that there would be a working class, not of thieves and prostitutes.

P. doesn't know who he thought was going to start the Villages of Community. Whether there would be shareholders as Fourier thought or maybe he thought it would be philanthropists. Where would the capital come from? It was very easy to sell everything at that time. It was an infinite market and no competition…

P. thinks that there are considerations which could lead one back to the elements to prove that this loss of freedom was suspected over the last 150 years (1810 onward). When Robert Owen said about the machine that this will cause grave evils etc. He forsaw infinite trouble and difficulty.

[39] He devised different costumes for the workers - top hats, frock coats and tails were the general dress. That is what Weller looks like in Pickwick Papers. Until the Americans invented overalls there was no change in dress. Owen had a special dress for his men and women. He also thought there should be music and leisure hour and he made speeches on the sociology of the working class. However he described them as thieves, criminals, prostitutes which they were. They would reside in a village built around a factory - all the questions which we begin to resolve only now.

Also there would be marriage reform while Christianity - that's out because that puts the responsibility on the individual, and these were problems of society. As for the machine, it should be retained but it will cause unspeakable complications. We will have to do many things but after these, there would be a limit. When this is reached we accept it.

We haven't started doing anything of the kind. Instead we started on absolutes. We released moral discipline and the moral system was burst and there was no hope of an integrated concept of right and wrong, but that many views were possible.

The Reality of Society (3)

[40] One of the reasons we don't want to resign ourselves to the reality of society, is because we vaguely hope we can improve on this society before we do. Even those who want to maintain society as it is, don't mean that it stay exactly the same. The Christians position is feared of society as it is and no one accepts it as it is. But then you have to do something - you are immediately put under the compulsion to improve our standards. These are things depending on ourselves.

Tolstoy said that we should work as if we lived forever, but we should behave to other people as if this was the last day of our lives. He meant, that in relationship to others we should be Christians and live as persons and practise the relationship of love. But as member of a society we should resign ourselves to the reality of society. Society is not part of our personal participation and society doesn't die with us. It is not a community of persons that is meant here. Our work follows from our membership in society. If we accepted the community of persons, the division of labour would cease instantly. E.g. if you help the woman with her load then next day she has no job anymore i.e. you take away her job. In Man and Superman, the striker as a unionist is the Superman, while Tanner is the idealist and calls him Mr. Striker. He thinks that if the other follow treats him as a gentleman that wages would slump.

P. Never realized while he was saying these things, that he go all his reality of society form Shaw. When P. was 50 years of age, he wrote an essay on Bernard Shaw and the drama of the materialist interpretation of history. He tried to show that every play it was the economic interpretation of history that came out. This was confused, but now P. sees that it is the [41] reality of society. The bourgeois acts in illusions with regards to the reality of society.

My question: What makes the complex society more complex than any other society?

It is the kind of limitation which is characteristic of the reality of society. That would be enough as along as we are agreed that the limitation of freedom is the compulsion to participate in power. It is a matter of degree of the same quality. The technological civilization is linked as the reason or cause that would make such a situation normal. Otherwise it is exceptional.

This would be satisfactory. P. wouldn't regard a quality which is not a matter of degree satisfactory. Only the machine is either there or not, and even this isn't so either.

It is more important whether such a situation has the qualities we ascribe to it. That really hinges on the fact that the use of compulsion is such an essential in regard to personal relations. It is reasonably felt that it is essential to be free from this compulsion. Being compelled to do anything with regard to freedom or its absence looks relevant. That compulsion is compelling some one, is behind the relevance of the use of force or the use of power.

Freedom is like the definition of not being compelled e.g. freedom of choice. Since we have related the whole question to the situation in which one is capable of safeguarding one's conscience, all these qualities seem fairly related.

P. is satisfied that this is a good checking on the terms. But it [42] does show much the whole thing is related to the phenomenon of the participation in power.

The question of whether this is so much relevant to happiness or not - the absence of those complaints which are made - that is a different matter. P. argues that the acceptance of this condition would remove the bite (take the poison out of) a number of complaints made on moral grounds against the condition of man. These all boil down to the limitation of his freedom.

Mass democracy means the compulsion for everyone else and the market screens this fact (alibi). The market has this screening capacity because of its impersonal character. (Weber has this). A compulsion which is impersonal is different from one which is direct.

For the market, we may not have very much more to say but there is another heading where the force of economic motives exists. These are not very strong, but the market mechanism creates alternatives which are absolute. This is part of the reality of society. Prices, regardless of whether they are strong or weak prices inspire the mechanism.

The 19th century made determinative character of the economic motive. We are, at the same time arguing compulsion, and denying overwhelming character of economic motivation and situations. The right place to point this out is where we distinguish freedom from freedoms.

The case for the reality of society rests on the moral sense. What should be more relevant to freedom than the absence of compulsion.

The Interdependence of Technology, Fear & Power

[43] Power is the objectification of fear - the other fellow has the power of the fear.

Unless totalitarianism and conformism are treated as kin, we have no breadth to the proposition. We have much reason to talk about freedom - this ironical Preface is beside the point. In the answers, conformism comes up again and is logical. A strong argument for our position is the fear and panic in modern society. Where you have fear you can't have freedom.

Fear is the psychological link between precariousness of existence and slavery. Psychological fear is something you know but fear of the unknown is not rightly called fear and is akin to fear (and may be pathological). This is metaphysical fear not manifested in anything you might fear. It is not empirical, it is transcendent. It is not something you find in your experience and point to. The clearest case of fear of the unknown is the fear of death. You can't find death in one's experience.

There are so many meanings which relate to experience and there are even meanings of "meaning": e.g. aim, cause, semblance, truth, reality. We use these terms all the time and they are not empirical terms and are very general. Even today P. doesn't know what the positivists make of these terms.

Fear is a constricted fear related to our being physically pulverized and the stream of consciousness held by media. It is not an obvious empirical thing of research.

The New Sociology

[44] There is in this modern sociology, a structure of the personality constructed as an internationalization of values. If that is so, that's the end of inner freedom. Id the instituting of meaning and values are e.g. through taking out one's own heart and putting this in, then inner freedom is pretty cold storage. If atomistic individualism disappears and this comes instead then the crisis is on.

This leads to the Rousseau problem of how free is man in society? We have no answer. We only know that the Parsonian idea shows that inner freedom cannot exist but that a choice is involved. P. doesn't say that it doesn't come in here.

The sociological side is in the freedom and freedoms.

Comments on my Preface

[45] How would bolshevism fit into my dichotomy of the economy? Another two or three dichotomies compete with it and lie across it e.g. bolshevism which certainly comes in strongly on the materialistic prejudice, also comes out on the idealistic side. If one takes other polarities, it show how great the confusion can be. The important thing is does it show how one starts to look and the reason why?

This is one way of putting the puzzlement, but there are several others e.g. all kinds of science versus all kinds of moralities, and they may be linked and criss-crossing.

Also unless one is an extreme economist one might qualify and offer exception to the "state" as I use it, e.g. Cobden and Bright. Sometimes the state commits grater crimes than the nation.

However it is a universally valid presentation of the way the world presents itself. It is an excellent piece of writing with clarity and inner drive.

Of the innumerable number of things I might have brought in, the value lies in the restriction to:
the economy and the rational,
the irrational and the vitalistic.

The difficulty is that the materialistic has so many poles - but that as it is, it isn't a matter of presentation.

When I point to the materialist outlook which is so general, it is actually no more than a fashion. 150 years ago no gentlemen or even red [46] Indian would speak like that. It is only a fashion and not authoritative e.g. it is not in Odysseus not the Old Testament.

Odysseus is embarrassed at being hungry. That he is hungry and should have to complain is humiliating and he curses his belly. In Hesiod the same thing comes up, and he says its absolutely a terrible thing with which to threaten a person.

No one ever complained of hinger individuality, and if there was any they would all share it. Hunger is after all a public matter - you eat at meals. If you go to war, you may be without meals and this is a collective event covered by solidarity.

Talk about business would be shameless. There is already in America an enormous change. One doesn't talk about dollars - e.g. a 50 million dollar building but the "amphitheatre" or "The Museum of Modern Art". Neither do students talk of money or making money. It is the big depression that made the difference: four-fifths of the people lost four-fifths of their money and people stopped talking about it and it made a big difference.

The Economy and 'the Social Question'

[47] A certain Austrian Minister had two expressions on the social question: "the social question (the modern problem) stops at Passau" (i.e. does not exist in Autria). The other expression was "Gentleman", we'll have to solve the social question even if we stay up all night".

There is no word in English for "soziale frage". It meant labor - the poor and the unemployment problem and what the government should do. In English it occurs in the House of Commons as "the condition of the people". It was a debate which started about Speenhamland and was part of the agenda for some thirty years or so. It was regarded as an Anglo-Saxon peculiarity. There was no word at first for the social system or the economic system or the economy. What we call now "the economy" was called economic life or business life. The German "wirschaft" had no parallel in English. The word "economy" in Anglo-Saxon literature is not more than 20 years old. When P. wrote The Great Transformation he could hardly use the word "economy". Economists would use the words business life or economic life, not the economy. Economy might mean for example to save some money. Political economy was the discipline. The continental term "soziale frage" has no English parallel. The word "capitalism" was used by Engels in 1844 (The Condition of the Working Class…). Arnold Toynbee rediscovered the term "Industrial Revolution" in 1878 - 34 years later, and this entered English economic history through Toynbee's lectures. Thus the Industrial Revolution is 117 years old.

The great counter-offensive was carried on by Clapham. He said that nothing like the Industrial Revolution ever happened. Therefore this term was dropped by people like Boales and Cole, and Ashton because [48] it had been controverted. This wiped out the term "the Industrial Revolution".

The Americans reintroduced the term "economy" and got it from the German, e.g. Weber's "Wirtschaft and Gesellschaft". The Germans have no word for"conomics", just the term "Wirtschafts-theorie".

P. said there are several economic disciplines - economic history, economic theory, economic institutions, finance and statistics. The last position taken in P.'s white paper was that of integration - let us integrate all the economic disciplines.

The Great Transformation (2)

[49] Seventeen years ago Michael Polanyi said the socialism was of no interest to anyone anymore.

P. wrote the G.T. to give a social philosophy support to the New Deal and put it on the same level as fascism, communism, and capitalism. It is one of the independent solutions to a problem of industrial civilization.

Today, socialism has spread over such a big part of the world e.g. to India. It is doubtful if there is such a clash between capitalism and socialism, e.g. the English. Socialism is not of prime importance in the orientation of our new work. It is definitely the problems of co-existence. It is easier to write seriously on world problems - which face the whole world. Also in the last year or half a year - since Khruschev's February '56 speech - we do not have the same outlook as a year ago.

The great strength of P.'s life work is that he disregarded the run of affairs completely. He reflected a position that took the industrial civilization as his frame of reference.

The gold standard ended in 1915 when the pound was pegged, but this was only proclaimed in 1933. Churchill brought the pond back on April 1, 1925. The pound was off parity by 10%, and it never recovered. Churchill should never have restored it. Wages would have to go down and a general strike was the result. England was unable to recover its balance of payments position. England went off gold in 1931 and America in 1933. Even 8 or 10 years ago the idea was that the gold standard would be reconstructed, but [50] this time improved. The going of the international gold standard has not been impressed on the public mind.

Angell said he thought P. was right. A.R. Burns says he was wrong. Hart says P. was right on Gold and Peace.

P. in his article on Planning, said about the Bretton Woods Conference that only America was interested in the restoration of the gold standard.

Hayek's book was important in America but not in England. In England Burnham's book was important, but not in America.

Fortune reviewed the Great Transformation right after Hayek's book came out. Davenport, who then came back to Fortune said: what is the American invention? America brought to the world the market economy. P. thinks it is true.

P. spoke with Tawney about Hayek's book in 1944 or '45. P. was in America between '40 and '43 and in England between '43 and '46. He went back in order to sign the book in England because it was addressed: 1) to the British working class, and 2) to the New Deal.

The British Working class didn't take note of it but there was a disproportionate interest in it America. P. didn't know that it had made a big hit in Bennington. (Burkhart bought 25 copies for his friends for Christmas.)

In England in three and half years he lost the time in which he should have done the research. He just wrote the chapter in the Appendix on Speenhamland which nobody took any notice of.

[51] Hayek's book was practically forgotten and didn't influence England at all. Tawney said we had had this discussion 100 years ago.

P. wrote the chapter on freedom in The Great Transformation as a religious position. In England he elaborated it and it looked as if he had a fascist position. It was on freedoms but the reality of society to its limits (Owen). P. hasn't moved much from this position in 14 years. Then in the Commentary article he came back to this question and developed the reality of society material to a point.

The Great Transformation had many weaknesses, but it was structured rigidly with definiteness.


[52] Freud's are great discoveries for natural science and an expansion of the knowledge of the mechanism of thought which is of enormous interest. As a philosopher, P. thinks nothing of him. And yet his thoughts had an immense importance for the modern mind. Where is the balance of Freud's work? His is an important part in the concept of maturity − one of realism and resignation. We accept all the inevitables and fight against the illusionism. He was a shower-up and showing-up was a very unsound approach because it means one assumes that the necessary things, the shoddy the seedy things, are the real ones. All that is true is that these things are covered up, but this is not the real self. This is in a wrongly-conceived society.

Jews were on the whole not the state-builders of the 19th century. In Israel you find a different attitude from Freud. Because you are not responsible for authority it leads to exaggerating the secondary and negative aspects and overlooking the prime aspects, and this the Jewish mind is prone to do. It strikes people as very clever. But for the person who is responsible, it is difficult to take up such a position. You can criticize the powers that be without ever having understood the nature that power or it's foundations.

The concept of maturity is the result of his own weaknesses. By criticizing Freud a school results in this concept of maturity. It doesn't mean that Freud didn't conceive of this in his old age − he didn't start form maturity but from criticism. Maturity in his clinical practice came up very late.

[53] Freud is not Shavian at all. Freud and Shaw were the two counterpoises of the period. Shaw took people as set characters and he never psychoanalyzes anyone in his plays. Not psychoanalysis but something quite different happens. He socioanalyzes them by showing what contradictory positions they have in regard to social reality. P. thinks he can live quite happily without Freud. His greatest achievement was “The psychopathology of Every Day Life”, the dream, and the book on Wit.

The great discoveries of medicine led to disaster. The discovery of the circulation of the blood killed off tens of thousands and then the discovery of chemicals killed off thousands.


The Chinese riots on Formosa

[54] The Chinese riots were like Pearl Harbor. How could this happen? Why was the American Embassy without instructions in case stones were being thrown? The reason is that such instructions would have expressed unpatriotic doubt the American position, just like the Pearl Harbor incident. It is a criticism of the ultimate mental level as a public body, of the American people. They had no instructions, didn't the doors and had no guards. They had some instructions for having no violence. This was sovereign territory.

Apparently yo can shoot a Chinese and get acquitted but you can't close the doors. You feel from the way recounted that there were paralyzing elements in it. It almost meant the doubt as to whether Americans are demi-gods.

The Chinese riots (on Formose) are one the bally-laughs - as if a world empire had collapsed and dissolved.

The Early Marx (2)

Engels wiped out the early Marx with dialectical materialism.

Modern Politics (3)

Yugoslavia is just cutting away from Russia, but she is bot liberalizing. Poland however, is liberalizing.

The Great Transformation and America (3)

[55] The book we were working on these past few months would have been underdeveloped. The full developed position is the original position, made explicit and workable with very much more to say.


In 1862 Ontario had the York shilling which didn't exist, but of Soviet Society".

P. read the little book on Russia by Rustow, "The dynamics of Soviet Society".

In Ezekiel 27: Tyre sold it's goods package and that was the standard way.

Editors Notes

  1. Is this text "A Történelmi materializmus Drámája” in 1907, 50 years ago? -- Santiago Pinault, 19 June 2017 (BST)
  2. P. 36 contains a small sheet of paper where 'Owe' is handwritten.

Text Informations

Date: May 25, 1957
KPA: 45/07