30 April 2007
Well, to express my own position, I have always found it stressful and somewhat damaging to have to work with people who have some version of the normal worldview, which means they are antagonistic to us, and especially to me, because while other people here also suffer from our very bad social position, it may be less clear to them exactly why.
It has always been very clear to me from the time I was thrown out what I need to have in life and what I was suffering in being deprived of it. When we interact with outsiders we are always having to appear to accept their implicit assertion of social interpretations, i.e. that they only help us at all within social parameters, we are to be treated as less important and less to be worked for than socially set up institutions, etc.
Well, actually, it has been and still is pretty terrible for me. People sometimes say I shouldn’t complain of the ruin inflicted on my life by the ruined ‘education’. I’m still alive, they say.
I suppose imprisonment is a fairly good parallel as a situation in which one stays physically alive but is deprived of all other functions, and there are many examples in history of the imprisoned going out of their minds with the intensity of the claustrophobia and sensory deprivation (cf. A Tale of Two Cities).
Sensory deprivation is known to cause people intense distress and an urgent need to get out of it. On account of my IQ and channel capacity I am really seriously deprived without an extraordinary quantity of intellectual processing. Without it I am forced to remain on a painfully low energy level, although that may not seem out of the way by other people’s standards.
I need to be running at least one research department producing several streams of information so there is enough to think about, and, of course, in the living conditions of a residential college (hotel environment )so that I never have to break off the continuous scanning function. If this were going on, it might not be interrupted by a good many academic activities, such as university teaching, but it is interrupted, very painfully, by interacting with physical objects in ways that require concentration, or with other people, when you have to pay attention to their intractable psychologies, such as teaching in schools or working in offices.
I have a need for uninterrupted continuity when my mind is working at all, and in fact all the channels go on working continuously. People at Somerville commented on the way I would come up with an observation on something that had cropped up some time before, all the intervening conversation having been about other things, and they would realise I had been thinking about it all the time the other conversation had been going on.
Actually it takes me a lot of psychological ingenuity and memories of a higher level to remain reasonably functional and apparently tolerant of my position. It has been a long time since we got a new person and it seems increasingly difficult to get workers, perhaps because it is now much clearer that we are not a bunch of drop-out ‘enthusiasts’ who like living like this.
Now it has been so long since we got anything like a break that I don’t know whether I could, or how well I could, tolerate anyone working here other than full-time, as if they accepted the desperate urgency of our need, even if they don’t.
My only hope in life was to get on with taking exams young before people noticed and could mess it up. I used to say to my mother, ‘You should have made sure I took as many exams as possible as young as possible’, and she would say, ‘Oh, but people would have hated you.’ ‘They hate me anyway,’ I would say, ‘and I would rather be hated for having what I want than hated for still wanting it when I have been deprived of it and need their help in getting it back.’
29 April 2007
In 1989, there was another life crisis when Marjorie’s mother, then in her 70s, had a series of increasingly severe strokes. ‘The hospital withdrew food and water and I watched her starve to death. My sister felt it was the kindest thing to do but my mother spent a week in agony. I felt utter grief and still haven’t dealt with it.’ (From ‘A troubled mind’ by Moira Petty, Daily Mail, 17 April 2007.)
It is legal for an incapacitated patient to be denied artificial hydration and nutrition — now considered to be medical treatment in law — if doctors consider death to be in their best interest.(From ‘I’ve changed my mind, says woman in right-to-die case’ by Steve Doughty, Daily Mail, 19 April 2007.)
It is legal, but it is still immoral (it is a strong violation of the basic moral principle), for members of the medical Mafia to kill people by starving them to death. This is only making explicit the immorality which was already inherent in the medical profession, operating on the terms it does.
If an individual, or a relative or other person appointed by him, loses the right to decide for himself what is in his interests as he perceives them, the harm that may be inflicted upon him by the decisions made by the criminal doctor to whom he has lost his autonomy, whether by accident or design, may clearly extend to extreme suffering or death.
Mr Cameron highlighted figures showing assaults on NHS staff running at 60,000 a year... (From ‘Rudeness is just as bad as racism, says Cameron’, Daily Mail, 24 April 2007.)
We are unfortunate enough to live in an age of legalised crime. Agents of the collective, such as teachers and doctors, are at risk from the resentment of their victims, who do not realise how thoroughly justified their resentment is. In fact the victims should be opposing the principles of social oppression, not indulging in ‘anti-social’ violence, which is seen as an excuse for ever more oppressive incursions on individual liberty. But the victims have been trained to believe that they would be losing free goodies described as ‘education’ and ‘health care’ which have been paid for with money taken away from other people, so that they are ‘better off’ hanging on to these ostensible handouts, even with the great penalties which are attached to them.
28 April 2007
The hypothetical is very important; you don’t give up on your drive to get things, but you do have to ask yourself whether you would give up on it, or nor act on it, if there should happen to be some consideration of a higher order of significance (that appeared to you to be of a higher order of significance). This is quite independent of a belief in such a thing or even expectation that there might be.
However, the hypothetical precedes anything presenting itself as highly significant, and has more psychodynamic force than might appear; I mean it has an effect on what actually happens.
As I approached the final degree exam at Somerville I found it very difficult to be motivated. Of course this was comprehensible in view of the unappetising vistas of doing pointless things without a hotel environment, but it was very alarming because the idea of being an outcast in the non-academic wasteland outside of a career as a Professor in a university, without a hotel environment, was simply appalling and unthinkable.
So also was the idea of ending my period of supervised education without even one first class degree. I knew that getting a second class degree would entirely destroy my social identity and my relationship to society. I would no longer be able to identify in any way with myself as a member of society. I would never again meet anyone as myself.
But however much I wanted to retain at least the tiny toehold of respectability that a First would provide, the horror of the cancellation of my life that would result from failure made it no easier to be motivated. I could work only mechanically, with deliberate conscious effort, to do something in which I had no subconscious cooperation.
Of course I was on a higher level so there was no doubt that there was an urgency of overriding significance and that I wanted to proceed in whatever would be the best way in terms of it.
That should not be taken to imply that I found myself wanting to do anything different in life from what I had always wanted, which was the best sort of academic career, expansive research projects and so forth. It appeared even more urgent than pre-higher level to get on with this, and even more certain that I would be able to make significant progress in any field in which I was able to work.
On the face of it, the best way of proceeding was by having the most successful sort of academic career, but by now I had fallen foul of the system; years of tedious work in bad circumstances at other people’s behest still lay ahead, with no guarantee that they would lead to the sort of life I needed to have.
But if I did not get a research scholarship, what then? Exile into the non-academic wasteland outside of Oxford University, into a place with which I had nothing to do, which might perhaps contain an opportunity somewhere, but of which I knew nothing good.
The university was at least supposed to be about things that were meaningful to me, even if they were not doing them very well and there was no sympathy or motivation of any kind to which I could appeal.
All ways appeared barred against me, and my sense of urgency produced extreme desperation. I was on a higher level, and that implies that all information was, at least potentially, accessible. I tried, therefore, to find out something useful. Surely there must somewhere be someone who was willing and able to help me. If I could, I thought, get a name and address in Australia I would walk out of the college and catch a plane like a shot.
But nothing came. It seemed I could not get any specific information on this point. I would have to go on with what I was doing; it did not seem right to stop trying to work as hard as I could for the degree, equally it was impossible to have any positive motivation. It remained an uphill struggle to do something rather disgusting, in a rather disgusting situation.
Might it not be better to do badly and get a Second? It might be better to be thrown out and find something in the uncharted wasteland. Of course it seemed preferable to get a First and simply abandon the research scholarship, even if I got it,, but somehow I felt it could not work like that. Obviously one would be very strongly inclined to stick with what seemed like a more secure and obvious way ahead.
So I thought that I had better consider as hard as possible that it might actually be better to get a Second and to go out into the wilderness, if there were anything out there. This seemed wildly improbable, but one always had to be openminded to the improbable. If something improbable was the case, it was a fact.
So I considered this possibility very hard because I did not want my preferences to get in the way of what might, in reality, be the best thing.
After a short time of doing this, and quite suddenly, I stopped being stressed. It was all right, it was all worked out. I hadn’t been able to get information consciously, but my subconscious had all the information that was necessary. Whether I got a First or a Second, all I had to do was to follow my nose, or do whatever seemed obvious.
There would be a way ahead.
And one must admit, in retrospect, that my subconscious did quite well.
Within a couple of months I was being interviewed for a job at the SPR, by two of those who had been most concerned with the Cross-Correspondence scripts. A fortnight later I was meeting Sir George Joy at the SPR office, and before the next academic year started in October I had found out about the Perrott Studentship of Trinity College, Cambridge, and decided not to return to Oxford, as I had intended, but to stay at the SPR to try to get the grant.
24 April 2007
As the preliminary mathematical developments that would be necessary fully to develop my ideas have been carefully neglected, in much the same way that opportunities to observe psychological/physiological correlates have been, I could easily keep several research assistants fully occupied. Although the mathematical developments have been only very partially made, computer techniques have been developed which could handle them much better than at the time of my rejected thesis topic. Although I could see, 50 years ago, what I would like to do, it would have been very heavy weather at that time, for a single person working without the more recently developed computer techniques, and I could not have got very far in a two-year thesis, even if I had been allowed to do it.
So that, the physics department of my independent university, is another department that could have been being productive all this time, and could start being so any time that anyone should see fit to finance it on an adequate scale – i.e. allowing for a residential college environment with full ancillary staff for at least the senior people working in the department. (One residential college would be adequate for the senior staff of several research departments.)
23 April 2007
The DPhil which turned into a BLitt which I did with the grant from Trinity College did not lead to any way of re-entering a career. Professor H H Price was, actually, no more on my side than anyone else and made no attempt to help me do the sort of thing that they would have been forced to recognise, nor to suggest any ways in which I could get to be regarded as qualified for appointments in physiology, psychology or philosophy.
It should be observed that I got the Trinity College studentship very early on in my time at the SPR, less than a year after arriving there. Hostility towards me had been building up at the SPR throughout the writing of the thesis, and by the end of it there was little left of the initial reactions in my favour.
At the end of the BLitt thesis Professor Price did not help me to access sources of finance for developing any of the lines of research suggested in the thesis or, of course, any other research in any field which might have led to career advancement. I said to him that if a BLitt was no use for re-entering an academic career, as appeared to be the case, I would need to work towards re-entry by getting further qualifications, so how could I work for a D.Sc. He said that a D.Sc. was not something you worked for, but was given on the basis of your published work. This left me with an impasse. Would it be possible, outside of an academic career, to get one’s work published? I did not even bother to ask him, nor whether he had any suggestions for obtaining funding to do the work that might enable me to re-enter a career.
Rosalind Heywood ensured that all sources of funding, both personal and institutional, were closed against me, and I was soon condemned to doing tedious and futile work with a stroboscope in Oxford in circumstances in which it was impossible to increase my savings, although I strenuously defended my small capital from erosion except by deliberate expenditure on fundraising to discomfort Salter and Sir George. Nor was it possible to regard the work being done as of any use for academic career progression, either my own or that of anyone associated with me.
I had only two aims in life at that grim time, and everything I did was directed towards them; one was academic career progression and the other financial build-up, that also being necessary in working towards restoring myself to tolerable circumstances. Until I could get back into a hotel environment as provided by a residential college, I had to work towards building up money to provide myself with the equivalent of such an environment outside of a residential college.
Rosalind and all concerned were forcing me to enact, in the grimmest way possible, their preferred fiction that I was pursuing what ‘interested’ me instead of money, since they would not accept that I was debarred from the only sort of career I could have, and I could not get money by any sort of paid employment for which I was regarded as eligible. Which, as I have said before, also meant that I could not, and never have been able to, apply for what they call ‘social support’, which would not have gone far towards providing me with adequate living circumstances even if I had been eligible for it.
Unfortunately, my supposed ‘supporters’, Sir George and Salter, knew how much money I had managed to save while I was at the SPR; I don’t suppose they were discreet about it. Most of it went into buying my first small house, and no doubt all and sundry thought that if I was squeezed badly enough, I would get into debt, as other people probably would have done, and be forced to sell the house. Then I would have been totally destitute again, as they wished me to be and thought I should be.
Fabian has noticed people commenting about my blog and website that I have a very grim, or dark, view of life. They might consider that this arises from the fact that I have always been placed in the grimmest and darkest of circumstances that the machinations of other people could devise.
Exceptional ability, as I have said before, arouses hostility, and an exceptionally able person needs commensurate social status and recognition to keep such hostility at bay. It was fatal for me not to take the School Certificate exam at 13, and to go on from there with the rapid acquisition of qualifications which I had planned for myself.
I went to the SPR with the terrible handicap of a total lack of the academic qualifications and appointments which would have been necessary to avert direct hostility and opposition.
17 April 2007
Thank you for the emails you forwarded but they are depressing, as usual. The person with a fairly high IQ in Wigan, who says he can’t get on in modern society, does not, as usual, suggest coming to work, but tries to draw one into correspondence without sending any money, although we have made it clear enough that people can only find out about working here by coming on a provisional basis as voluntary workers. However, we have emailed him an invitation to the seminar and a notice about the seminar.
The CBC Radio Canada thing [wanting me for an interview at very short notice] is very rushed and subject to all sorts of negatives. As usual they want us to talk about lucid dreams when all we have to say is that we are being prevented from working on them, and what is being done by other people is very bad; as it doesn’t say it is live it is probably liable to editing, as was the last thing we did for CBC ages ago, so probably nothing significant we said would survive.
Dear Mr X
We have heard that you would be having to sell your house and this might be jeopardising your plans for retirement.
We are a group of academics setting up an independent academic organisation, at present writing and publishing books, hoping later to add other kinds of academic research. At present we live in two small houses and one apartment in a pleasant village near Oxford. There are always jobs of a gardening, DIY and domestic kind for which we try to get ancillary staff and we often point out the advantages that there could be for retired people living nearby and doing a few hours of work a day, or sporadic jobs. We need such people as permanent support for our organisation. Of course they could also earn money doing jobs for other people in the village.
We would aim to help any such associates to build up their capital to become house owners before too long, and have been successful at doing this in the past. When they had worked for us for some time so that we knew them well enough, we might be able to make them loans to facilitate such things as house-buying.
The ‘baby boom’ generation are being forced to use their wealth to subsidise both their children and their parents, a survey found yesterday. Instead of putting money away to fund their own future, many couples on the threshold of retirement are pouring cash into supplementing their offspring. At the same time they are under increasing pressure to help out pensioner parents facing bills for utilities, council tax, home help and care.
The two-way stretch on people in their late 50s and early 60s was highlighted by a poll carried out for insurer Engage Mutual. ... The survey found that parents close to retirement themselves are paying for their children to buy homes, pay off debts or for childcare for their grandchildren. It found that six out of ten people aged between 55 and 64 are still supporting their children. ... Four out of ten baby boomers are also supporting their own parents, the survey said. ... Engage Mutual spokesman Karl Elliott said: ‘Financial circumstances in Britain have changed considerably over the last fifty years ... with continued increases in costs of living, education and care, the wealth this generation have accumulated will be stretched far further than was the case for their parents.’
(From ‘The baby boomers left paying for their children and parents’ by Stephen Doughty, Daily Mail, 14 April 2007.)
Just a part of the concealed genocide of our time (genocide in the sense of reducing the proportion of the population with high IQs).
The baby boomers are being penalised by having to subsidise both their parents and their offspring. But you can bet that it is the baby boomers with above-average IQs who are being hit the hardest.
Pensioners are more likely than other sections of the population to have above-average IQs, which no doubt is why they are constantly penalised by legislators. Longevity correlates with IQ on account of both genetic factors and of a tendency to lead more functional and forethoughtful lives.
It is up to us to counteract natural selection, as Richard Dawkins would say. Nevertheless, all the attempts to penalise those with above-average IQs by taxing them to provide medical and educational oppression for all, which is particularly oppressive to those with above-average IQs when they are themselves exposed to it, have (I would surmise) still not succeeded in reducing the average IQ of the population of pensioners below the average for the population as a whole. If they have been too thrifty and have too much in the way of savings, their pensions are reduced and they do not qualify for means-tested supplements. ‘We must help those pensioners who are most in need; help must be given preferentially to the poorest’ said government officials when means-testing for pensions was introduced. And pensioners do not attempt to use their voting power to protest, partly because (I guess) the middle class has always been most ‘public-spirited’ and uncomplaining. So the thrifty, who have built up their savings, must reduce them by living off them or be subsidised by their offspring.
And it is the offspring with above-average IQs who are most likely to have delayed starting their adult lives and have debts to pay off, because they felt the need for a professional training, or just to become a graduate so as not to be at a disadvantage, now that degrees have become so common that they are actually meaningless as an indication of ability to do anything.
Gordon Brown has recently committed himself to the idea that ‘education’ should be provided for all the children of the globe, and presumably British taxpayers should be prepared to contribute to this enormous expense.
Could not a taxpayers’ association be set up with enough willingness to protect what remains of civilisation in this country to protest vehemently at overseas expenditure, when internal sources are clearly inadequate to provide for the needs of citizens of this country, and are going to be even more wildly inadequate in the foreseeable future?
In particular, taxpayers’ associations should insist on no further overseas aid being given until recent discrimination against those with above-average IQs are reversed.
It has only of fairly recent years become the case that those with above-average IQs have to pay more for further education than the ‘poorest’, and that pensions (for which pensioners at least nominally paid contributions throughout their working lives) should be means-tested, so that those with above-average IQs would, on average, receive less than the ‘poorest’ — with, on average, lower IQs.
At the least, education and pensions should revert to the former level of ‘fairness’, at which all undergraduates and pensioners received the same. Taxpayers’ associations, and/or high IQ associations, should insist on this happening before any more of taxpayers’ money is drained off overseas.
I appeal for financial and moral support in improving my position. I need people to provide moral support both for fundraising, and as temporary or possibly long-term workers. Those interested should read my post on interns.
16 April 2007
One in three teachers is turning to drink, drugs, smoking and binge-eating to escape the pressure of their jobs, a survey revealed yesterday. Some are even being driven to suicide, the National Union of Teachers was told.
Troubled staff are ... blaming excessive workloads, relentless Government initiatives, the stress of Ofsted inspections, ‘bullying’ heads and rising indiscipline among pupils. ... John Illingworth, a former NUT president ... read from a letter from the wife of a headmaster who became depressed after a critical inspection ... ‘He [the headmaster] was a complete mental mess. I now see he had given up on life altogether. Two months later he ended it.’
(‘Stressed teachers driven to drink, drugs and death’, Daily Mail, 11 April 2007)
An oppressive system in which people are deprived of their freedom of action can only be maintained by ever greater oppression. The oppressors (in this case teachers) are themselves oppressed by the difficulty of imposing their will (or the will of collectivist society) on a resentful population. Therefore, no doubt it will be suggested that the oppressors must be protected by repressive measures directed at the oppressed and the parents of the oppressed.
12 April 2007
The belief in society
It is clear that before any change in human psychology, either individual or collective, could take place, it would be necessary for the belief in the meaningfulness of human society to be abandoned. (The resistance to its abandonment is of course immense.)
It is true that this is only one of the attitudes which is invalidated by the perception of total uncertainty: but psychologically it is the lynchpin of the whole affair. If you never believe that human society, or collective opinion, can confer any meaningfulness upon your actions or attitudes, you can never develop the human psychosis in a permanent form.
from the forthcoming book The Corpse and the Kingdom
11 April 2007
Dr. Green proposes an alternative scheme:
What I would suggest is that children be provided with the possibility of greater real autonomy. Academic exams should be something that can be worked for and taken without dependence on the permission of a school, and wherever possible without dependence on attendance at an institution, although in subjects where there is a genuine need for practical work as part of the course, such as physics or chemistry, there would need to be some method of access to centres where this practical work could be done.
Children should be able to enter themselves for exams without having to seek permission from parents, teachers, doctors or any other adult authority, at least after a certain minimum age which could be on a sliding scale related to performance in a standard IQ test. An average child should be free to enter himself for exams at the age of, say, ten; the equivalent qualifying age for a child with an IQ score of 180 would be five-and-a-half.
How would children know of their opportunities? This should present no insuperable obstacles to a society which is constantly informing citizens of their ‘rights’ to obtain benefits etc. We could not rely on teachers or parents spontaneously to inform children of the examination system, but we could have the address of an information centre prominently displayed in every junior public library and after children’s programmes on the television.
A new association for gifted children could be set up which would pay the examination fees for children whose parents refused to do so, or whose school refused to let the required exam be taken under its auspices. Any child able to score as having an IQ of more than 130 would be entitled to the fees for any six GCSEs and any 3 A-levels at any time. Any exam the child passed would entitle it to the fees for one further exam at the same level. Any child who didn’t qualify for free entrance on the grounds of IQ, or who failed too many to have any further entitlement, could go to earn the necessary money at a special work centre where children could earn money – the same sort of idea as workshops for the disabled where they can earn small amounts by addressing envelopes, making baskets, etc. The rate of pay would not need to be very high as the children would still be being supported at home; they would only need a way to earn money for any exam fees that were not provided for them free.
The new association for gifted children could also make available computerised and correspondence courses of instruction which could be purchased with money earned in this way or obtained from parents or relatives. This would supply learning material for those who did not think the ‘teaching’ which they happened to be receiving at school provided them with what they needed to prepare for a given exam, together with the standard textbooks, and samples of past exam papers.
09 April 2007
So I had been cheated out of everything that could make my life worth living and thrown out without a Professorship or an institutional (hotel) environment, with no tolerable way of earning money, nor with any claim on ‘social security’ when I had no money.
I know you have heard it all before, but I have to keep repeating it because no one ever registers it.
So my four years at the SPR were pretty terrible even though I divided my time between London and Oxford and wrote a postgraduate thesis which I hoped would get me back into an academic career, or at least on a track that could lead to a Professorship and a residential college (hotel) environment. I had not counted on that, in view of the great hostility to me which there evidently was, and in view of the uncertainty inherent in all affairs.
So I had been making plans for the setting up of a research institute in Oxford to work on some of the areas which I had come to know about and perceived as areas of potential research. I appeared to have support from Sir George Joy and W.H. Salter in these plans. What was of the greatest importance to me was that it should be set up on a large enough scale to provide the hotel environment from the lack of which I was, after four barren years, suffering severely.
Then, I thought, I would be able to return to life and be able to experience some sense of wellbeing again, even if I did not have a Professorship – yet. I was going to need a Domestic Bursar and a porter-handyman to keep the hotel environment running, as a residential college has. I had discussed this with Sir George and Salter, ostensibly without arousing opposition. After all, they had both spent their lives in adequate hotel environments which ran autonomously, Sir George as a colonial Governor and Salter as an independent gentleman.
This, however, was the crucial goal, not to do nominal ‘research’ while continuing to live in circumstances of painful constriction which would make it impossible for anything to be done except as a chore which drained my energy still further.
The opposition aroused by Rosalind Heywood was, however, aimed at depriving me of precisely what I needed to have. I had made use of the fact that the fields of research were so uncharted that experimental work needed to be done on a certain scale, to show that an institution with considerable laboratory facilities was needed to tackle the problem, not mentioning to anyone but Sir George and Salter my desperate need for a hotel (college) environment.
Rosalind Heywood, however, having aroused universal opposition to me and my plans, forced me into the most painful position possible. I was to have no hotel environment but to be expected to ‘do research’ while struggling to support myself and associates without a salary and without eligibility for income support.
Experimental work is nominally ‘research’ and I was to be forced, not only to live without a salary or any means of career progression, but to do the very smallest and crudest type of experimental work. Even a single multi-channel EEG would be too expensive, a stroboscope provided a crude correlation with one factor that could have been measured with an EEG, so to get a tiny income supplement out of the SPR research committee I would be forced to test one single hypothesis about success at ESP and examine whether, at this level of crude approximation, this hypothesis (of little interest in itself except as justifying work on a much larger scale with as many channels of information as possible) could or could not be confirmed.
Such a type of ‘research’ could only be of interest if done for career progression, and none of our academic consultants attempted to get it accepted as a way of working towards re-entry to an academic career, either for myself or for the one of my associates who actually did the work of taking the readings.
I could not, in such circumstances, and probably not in any circumstances, do that sort of thing myself. (Nor could Professor Eysenck who, however, was in a position to rationalise his aversion to touching experimental equipment, but willingness to supervise the work of several people who were using it to extract information, by saying, ‘I don’t use the equipment myself. I think one should leave that to the experts, and stick to doing what one is good at.’ — I.e. writing the papers drawing conclusions from the experimental information.)
Anyway, I am sure Rosalind Heywood knew very well how cruel she was being. She did not make any attempt to get even the one of my associates who did the work back onto a career track as a psychologist. So in effect this associate was doing pointless and tedious work for a very bad rate of pay from the SPR Research Committee for the sake of being slandered as a person who had deliberately chosen a life of poverty and degradation for the sake of an enthusiastic ‘interest’ in some particular field of research. This also prevented her (the associate) from having any time available to help me with doing anything that might have been a bit less excoriating and futile, such as writing books, or even fragments of writing that could one day be incorporated into a book.
So we were not only deprived of the institutional environment which my research institute had been set up to provide, but forced to spend time doing work of the most futile and wearing kind as if we were ‘free to follow our interests.’
It was in these circumstances that I put as much pressure as possible on Sir George and Salter by spending money on fundraising, and contre toute attente, as the French might say, I did manage to land a small amount of funding from Cecil Harmsworth King.
This was a case of snatching a partial and temporary alleviation of my position from the jaws of defeat.
The prospects had seemed really bad but I had known that I had no option but to go on with this line of approach, even if for the rest of my life. When the King money was signed, sealed and delivered, a post-graduate ‘friend’ said, sado-sympathetically (I mean with a kind of retrospective relish), ‘You were looking really bad, you know, before this turned up.’
The money was not enough to provide for much of a hotel environment, but I spent as much of it as I could on part-time cooks, cleaners, etc., and began to gain experience of the difficulties of getting anyone to do anything useful in the modern world.
Meanwhile the wolves prowled and howled outside my incipient Research Institute cum Residential College, waiting for the money to run out.
06 April 2007
It is a lot easier than, say, remaining lucid in a lucid dream, because in a lucid dream you have to remember to keep checking up on whether you are still aware that you are dreaming, and it is quite easy to forget to do this and to become emotionally involved in the storyline of the dream.
Post-higher level one focuses on where the significance would be, if it were there, and one goes on avoiding anything that would be occlusive, so that no resistances get set up to make it more difficult to return to a higher level. This is still fairly easy, as one goes on having a definite sense of direction and it is clear what ways of thinking would not be compatible with the actual presence of the significance.
All psychology is about risk-taking although this is only obvious in higher level psychology, and centralised psychology enables you to act against total opposition, with no support at all, and no expectation of a positive outcome.
This was most obvious when my plans were opposed for setting up a research organisation in Oxford, which I had been making while I worked for a would-be D.Phil., which became a B.Litt. Everyone appeared to find the plan threatening as it approached realisation, and all the promises of support fell through. I had no way back into any sort of academic career, and there was no other way I could support myself. I had, as yet, very little capital saved up, and I would not be able to draw anything from social security, as they like to call it, for reasons already explained. So long as I stayed at the SPR I had at least a miserable pittance of a salary, out of which further savings could be made.
I perceived that the only way of using any leverage I had on the situation, arising from Sir George Joy’s and W.H. Salter’s recent memories of the support they had expressed and the promises that had been made, was to resign quickly and appeal for funding ostentatiously; if I delayed, their memories of promises would dim and they could assume that I had sensibly given up on my plan.
So I resigned, and siege conditions of my research unit in Oxford commenced. It was clearly my only hope of salvaging anything from the SPR situation, but perhaps I had no hope at all; however it did feel right on higher level terms, and any alternative plans to hang around waiting for something better to turn up felt distinctly wrong.
My appeals for money brought in peanuts; everyone knew I was to be given no support. The agony should not be prolonged, as Rosalind Heywood told everyone. Sir George and Salter were a bit uncomfortable but inertial.
So I employed an expensive fundraiser in order to expose them to some semblance of publicity. The fundraiser was hostile as well, and the meetings were evasive. I was throwing money at the problem and did not have much to throw. I certainly would not get into debt. Nevertheless, it did feel like the right thing to do, and in a certain way was unconflicted. The only likely outcome was that I would spend all my tiny capital and be left even worse off struggling to survive under siege conditions.
But, after several gruelling meetings at the fundraiser’s office in London, Sir George vouchsafed the information that Cecil Harmsworth King had approached the SPR, wishing to give money for some research to be done.
I said to Sir George that I would write to Cecil King and say that I would do the research. None of the SPR’s Professors were keen to have anything to do with it, they were well enough financed for squabbling and backbiting.
Maybe Sir George thought that if he let me get an absolute minimum of money from Cecil King, he and Salter would be let off the hook and I would not go on pestering them about making approaches to Coombe-Tennants, Balfours, and other potential supporters who had been mentioned. At a later fundraising meeting Sir George tried to persuade me to apply for a certain amount of money, approximately equivalent to three postgraduate research scholarships, i.e. about enough to support three people in the most constricted way. Sir George happened to know, he said, that this was just the amount of support Cecil King had in mind to give, and it would not be advisable to ask for more. I did not believe him.
So eventually it came off, at least to the extent that I got a very modest amount of money, but more than Sir George had wanted me to have.
It was a very nerve-racking process which depended entirely on my appearing to have senior supporters who would act as Trustees, although Sir George and Salter did their best to scupper everything by their prevarication and lack of enthusiasm. Nevertheless Cecil King signed the seven year covenant before Rosalind Heywood got wind of what was happening. I did not place much reliance on Sir George’s discretion and I was on tenterhooks in case he told Rosalind before the covenant was signed, but he cannot have done, although as soon as the covenant was public knowledge, she got on the phone to Cecil King. He thought she was a wonderful person and I was all washed up with him. However, he had signed the covenant so I did get seven years of very modest financial support from him, but she had put the kybosh on his giving me any more support than that.
Seeing that I could not now be absolutely squeezed into non-existence, at least for seven years, Rosalind set about mobilising Professor Hardy to set up a rival establishment in Oxford, as similar as possible to mine, to deflect any publicity or finance that might otherwise have reached me, in spite of her energetic and efficient networking.
And that is how the Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre came into existence. Initially it was to be an exact replica of mine, but Hardy, who did not really want to do anything anyway, decided that warm and woozy religiosity would be more congenial.
* state of existential awareness
03 April 2007
Reviewing what I have written about the stresses that resulted from the retardation of my education, or more to the point, my acquisition of qualifications, so that in the end I was thrown out with no qualification at all, I think I have still underemphasised the importance of my need for a hotel environment. This is such an unacceptable thing to mention that one starts by mentioning other factors first, such as the relative desirability of research in physics rather than maths, and the relative undesirability of a Fellowship or Professorship in maths rather than physics, even if one could get those things.
In fact, the greatest deterrent to feeling motivated to do a degree at the age of 21 for the purpose of spending at least another three years doing a DPhil for the purpose of moving towards a very belated residential Fellowship or Professorship as soon as possible, was that although the Fellowship or Professorship should have provided a hotel environment, the years of doing a DPhil to work towards that outcome would not have done, and this made it very difficult to generate any motivation to work towards another three arduous and unrewarding years, living in circumstances that would rule out any possibility of getting anything out of life, the positive outcome at the end of which was highly dubious, seeing that my past life had been so distorted.
As a DPhil student I would have been living in lodgings, not in college, and with very little access to dining facilities in college. So that was the first horror that I would face on getting a research scholarship to do a DPhil, which of course in the end I did not, being condemned by that failure to the even worse horror of living without a hotel environment and with no academic career track at all along which I could consider myself to be working, however hypothetically, for an appointment accompanied by the hotel environment which was the minimum necessity for a tolerable (not intolerable) life.
If the years since I was prevented from taking the School Certificate at 13 had been less bad I might have found the prospect of continuing to struggle with bad circumstances less daunting. But there came first the additional shock of finding out that I would not even be free to do research (reconstruct physics ad lib) but would have to spend another year taking some ‘qualifying’ exams, solving some other types of problems based on the very dubious theoretical structures of quantum theory as it was. And even then, the additional shock was, that I would not be free to do free-floating research, but that the specific thesis topic I proposed was considered ‘too theoretical’ and I would be faced instead with writing a thesis considered suitable for a mathematician rather than a physicist.
It was very difficult to feel motivated about working for a ‘reward’ so dubious as doing yet another exam in problem-solving followed by a thesis of a tedious nature, in effect much the same kind of thing as solving problems for the sake of proving to other people that one could, all in order to work towards an uncertain and hypothetical reward which might not, even if one could get it, provide the conditions of a hotel environment.
Of course, the alternative was still more horrific, since in total exile from an academic career I would certainly not have the equivalent of a residential college (hotel) environment, nor any tolerable way of earning any money at all, nor any way, tolerable or intolerable, of working towards re-entry to an academic career which was capable, at least potentially, of leading towards what I needed to have.
It was not surprising that I had come to this pass since my education had always been run by people who wanted me not to be able to get anything out of life that I wanted and desperately needed to have. They had not been motivated to let me establish my claim on the sort of career that I needed to have when I was still at an age when doing so could have been a positive rather than a negative experience, and I had had no say in the matter, so it was not really at all surprising that they had succeeded in placing me in this horrifying situation.
However much they liked to ignore the fact, if I was confronted by a situation in which I did not have a hotel environment, the lights of my life went out, and getting an adequate environment became the primary consideration. I did not suppose that the lights could come on again until I had, as a minimum necessity, the minimum requirements of a life that I could get something out of.
I am sorry to have to spell this out at such length, but people have always maintained a blind spot in this, the most crucial area of my life. At least, a blind spot in any positive sense, but great sensitivity in the sense that any move that I might have made to alleviate my position was violently and ingeniously opposed.