to: Summary Page
1962 European diary
Munich - March 3, 1962:
I am now quite depressed about my prospects, especially in the short run. The worst aspect of this depression, its chief cause, is loneliness. Since I returned from Reutte, there has been a great vacuum of activity in my life, which a great effort to fill has so far proven to no avail. Today, for example, I walked alone to the Botanische Garten, seeing many varies of plants in the greenhouse, and then through some of the grounds of Nymphenburg. Last week at this time I toured the Deutsches Museum again, then to the Hofbrauhaus to eat dinner, and other things.
The week has been spent industriously, but has likewise proven rather unproductive. I did finish the school edition of Felix Krull by Thomas Mann, and read 150 pages in English from a biography of William Randolph Hearst. But these are meager achievements considering the time spent. I was reading at one time from 10 - 15 pages an hour in rather busy English, and not understanding very much of it.
For one thing, I have not seen Frl. Peigne since an accidental meeting on the street for a minute last (a week ago) Friday. She has failed to appear in class the last consecutive 4 times, and I am gravely worried that I may never see her again. I had imagined such a period of happiness to be spent with her when I returned from the ceremony but have been gravely deceived.
At one time this week I prodded myself with an old-fashioned kick (after losing a chess match for silly errors.). I have, however, definitely failed to prod myself into long-sustained discipline, which might help my case. And now I lack the heart to win the friend I greatly need, and, of course, lack also the experience and skill to do such.
This is a great exhibition of self-pity to spew out at the beginning of this costly book, but it reflects the attitude of this past week and of this moment.
Next day: I hit bottom last night. It was a Fasching party at Haus Der Kunst, which I attended alone. I was tired and depressed when I first arrived, and for the rest of the evening watched this inner sentiment force itself upon the evening.
The damned thing cost 9.60 Marks even to get in. There were signs all over the walls mentioning restrictions, forfeits, and prohibitions. The beer bar was closed until 11 p.m. when you could get in, 1/2 liter of regular beer cost 1.20 D.M. plus 10% Bedienung. When I paid 1.32 DM in exact change, the lady refused to serve me, saying it was 1.35 DM. She also indignantly said they had no dark beer, moving to the next customer in a huff as if I had wasted her time. This incident made me boil in inward desperation - also when a half wine glass of Sekt cost 1.50 DM and the 10% service charge raised the bill to 1.80.
Other than that I just sat on a stool by myself the entire evening until it closed at 4 a.m., watching other men and women my age have fun to my exclusion. At first I thought it might be enjoyable, establishing a Whitman-like rapport with the couples I watched from a distance. But boredom and fatigue quickly dissolved the pleasure. Occasionally girls pulled my hat down over my eyes as they passed, but I had no way for returning the fun. I watched everyone also being perfectly charming, begging with strange girls to dance, and myself the opposite in courage and imagination. I was indeed a peevish fellow, though pretending that it fit into the cowboy outfit I wore. One girl turned away from her date, asking if she could look at me. I said without a smile on my face “nein”. “Schade”, she said.
In the early morning one girl and her date took pity on me for some reason, and tried to engage me in one of the few discussions of the evening. They wanted to know what I studied, but could not understand my candid explanation of what I wanted to be. I said I did not know. Both they and I got the impression I was a poor fellow “lost”. The girl offered to dance but for some reason I declined until “spater” (later). The whole evening I asked only two girls to dance. They both declined. I did not one step of dancing and very little talking the whole evening.
Near the very end of the party a waiter started bothering me such that I have almost never been annoyed so much before. He was a young brat. I had my feet on two chairs. He told me to get them off. “Sie sind night zu Haus, sondern zu einem Ort.” I was quietly listening to a company of musicians in a side room. Certainly this request was justified, but his manner was most insulting. He then started straightening chairs and told me to move. Out of the most servile foolishness I complied, for I imagined they were closing the room. It later happened that the chairs were again rearranged because everyone also had moved back in. So he had no right to ask me to get up except cruel presumption. Later when it was closing time, he started piling up chairs noisily on the table beside me and again ordered me to get up. I told him that at least he could be polite about it. He cursed me in some way, claimed I was sleeping, and I walked away. Once out of his sight, I had visions of knocking the waiter out cold, but these were the falsely consoling thoughts of a coward.
Instead, the whole evening grated my sensitivity and brought my despair to a head. I resented the bully all the more so because it was my weakness which had allowed him to injure me so. It was a symptom of how far I had sunk in self-dignity and before the world. The whole affair was singularly distasteful: the chiseling prices, the insolent servants, the other people in a riot of merriment to my exclusion and myself in utter paralysis.
I walked for 1/2 hour through the English Gartens and then caught the first streetcar of the morning, finally getting to bed at 6 a.m. What shall I do? My life really is a crisis of loneliness and lack of achievement.
I will be asking myself when I reread this why I did not simply ask girls to dance until one of them did, why I turned so sour toward those who did show me kindness. Much is a clear lack of courage, and courage is not something to be had for the taking. This may be a great hypocrisy on my part, but I believe it. I have been rebuffed so often my women and by other men. To gain the triumph I wanted would be beyond my grasp and then I would start worrying whether I could keep it. I need friends, and until I them them these more transparent social occasions will all fail. I need also a quiet, firm, optimistic self-discipline to guide me toward my goal.
Thursday morning. I am still at loose ends. I lost 2 chess matches last night, both because of stupid oversights. This is an indication of my jelly-weak memory and concentration at the moment.
On the other hand, Frl. Peigne showed up unexpectedly at the Mensa and sat down next to me. We discussed her job prospects. I was quite shaken to see her, but quite glad also that she has not walked out on me as I thought she had. She’s been sick for over a week, she said.
March 16 - Again, I’ve been greatly depressed the last few days, this time because the reading program has bogged down badly. I spend 10 minutes on a typical page, and still cannot understand fully what it is about. This would suggest a deterioration of the brain or some other physiological ailment. It is hard to keep up the labors without taking joy in them.
The reading program has become the cause of my life. It is impossible to exaggerate its importance. There is something sick about having to teach yourself to read at the age of 21, especially after the excellent education I have had. I apparently am wandering further and further down this deceptive path toward eventual insanity or extreme isolation.
On the other hand, the reading program is an interesting philosophical venture in itself. For one thing, it has made me aware of self-consciousness as a philosophical element. Then it is the construction of one’s own thinking which, insofar as I am essentially rational, is the creation of myself, even substantially. Finally, this touches the heart of my conflict between visual and audial thought. I have always been overwhelmingly audial; now I am making a visual consciousness. Historically, mankind has also faced this shift, but must yet resolve it. Is man to maintain a duality of mind? The best resolution I have now is to make my existing audial mind, while I am reading, the self-consciousness for the printed text - i.e., I would repeat softly to myself my comments on what I am reading, rather than the words themselves. There will have to be much more on this later.
Karin, my housemate, says she thinks I ought to become a priest. This has never occurred to me, but it makes sense. I am timid, gentle, naive, a fair orator, and apparently unsuited for the worldly ambitions I have set before me. But I have no heart for the priesthood. It is useful to recognize my boredom. Then I can make reading justified on the basis of pleasure, as a measure to fill my life and drive away boredom.
There is so much I should write in here, but I no longer feel like writing long passages and am incapable of precision.
March 19 - This whole period in my life - measured in years - is one of darkness and confusion, a mentality which in certain respects is only half-human. I am lost, but, on the other hand, I am possessed of myself.
I have descended into the valley of darkness and cannot find my way back. This is no comfortable observation, for I am there now.
Others are standing on various levels of the mountain slope, the great ridge overlooking the pursuits of mankind. I climbed this slope long ago but took my own wayward path, somewhere off to the right, which was not so high. I reached the top of the ridge and peered over it. There in the distance stood a beautiful mountain peak, overseeing the whole island. I stood gazing at this magnificent, rare height, and aspired to climb it. Between my ridge and this magnificent peak, on the other side of my ridge from the great body of mankind, and so, hidden from the common sight, lay a dark junglous valley.
Into this valley I have descended, since the hot forest has cut me off from everyone else. I wander through the ravine in loneliness and in confusion. It is the valley of self-consciousness, which one reaches only after climbing the ridge which permitted an overview of the world (learning and gaining knowledge). But in this forest I can see nothing.
Every once in awhile I catch a glimpse of the splendid mountain peak through the trees and head in that direction, seeking to make that insight a habit (in whose direction I would travel a little each day until I reached the bottom of that peak). But I get lost again, and tired. I have not yet found my way out again. Meanwhile the voices of my fellow climbers resound through the valley from the ridge they have scaled. I can see nothing which they can see. I try to recapture the first motion which allowed me to climb the intermediate ridge; I seek ever rising ground, but, alas, cannot make the ground take me where I want it to go. So I wander. I can always die quietly in the valley, forever hidden from the eyes of men. But perhaps I will reach the base of the peak, and some day even scale the peak, overlooking all that I once could see, and more.
Loneliness is becoming depressing. Frl. Peigne might be leaving me for another person. Whenever I wish to speak to her or suggest something to her, she is not in class. Then, whenever she comes to class, we face each other with the greatest embarrassment. I think she must be attracted to me also, because she is so exceedingly nervous in my presence. But we have not made intellectual or emotional contact yet, as we started to do at that fasching party a month ago. We have nothing to discuss except trivialities.
Friday she came to class, entering while I was hunched over writing a letter. She tapped me on my back, we exchanged embarrass(ing) greetings, and she headed on to another seat next to an unfamiliar boy. They talked incessantly and I watched.
After class we avoided each other. I went to the student lounge in the building next door and watched through the window, hoping to see her. Finally I headed back to class. As I turned the corner of the building, I ran smack into her, unintentionally. She said “wie gehts?” but I thought she said “Wie gehts du?” I said I was going back to the other building and then would go to the post office. She said she was not so curious; she only asked “wie gehts?” Later I decided to ask her point blank to a concert next week. After a little difficulty finding her, I did so. She accepted, with a little reluctance, saying, however, that she could not go over the weekend because she had other dates. The whole thing is going too slowly but it is as much her fault as mine.
These girls living with me annoy me because it is so difficult to make contact. One moment they call me “du”; another moment, “Sie”. I sometimes try to start discussions, but they seldom lead anywhere. I cannot make contact with anyone, but I should like to have at least one conversation outlet. This would, seriously, be a greater pleasure than finding a costless mistress. I would really like also to find a male companion - a friend.
March 21 - first day of spring.
I met Mr. Albert for the third time in the Spatenhaus. Here I sank to a new low level. It is quite plain that Albert is trying to seduce me for his homosexual purposes. He invited me to Wiesbaden for several days (no definite date was set, thank God), putting in an aside that this applied only when he was there. He will be back in Munich in two weeks and will call on me again.
Of course, I do not intend to become a homosexual mistress of Mr. Albert’s (or whatever they’re called), but I keep wondering if this isn’t indeed how such a relationship develops. I, for one thing, am curious to see what will happen. I am reluctant to resist my refusing to see him because of my philosophic interest in homosexuality in the novel I intend to write. Meanwhile this gives me a new chance for general discussion, to practice my German, and to escape general loneliness. I trust in my ability to resist the overt advance, and may call the relationship off next time anyway. However, today I could not make conversation, nor resist the seamy drift of conversation by dominating the conversation myself. This is a part of life, and I feel also somewhat weak if I were to drum it out from my presence altogether.
Now to more important thoughts:
It is almost unbelievable how lonely, or alone, I am. I have been since those idyllic days of the 5th grade, 11th grade, Nichols school, etc. For awhile I remained in communication with Andy, to varying degrees, but this has now elapsed completely. There was a time this summer before Andy ran away for the final time where this old understanding might have been returned, but it failed on both sides.
My human contacts are all superficial. That is, I do not depend upon anyone else, any loner in any group of friends, for part of the vital energy in which I live. So I short circuit humanity, consequently cannot feel the impulse of humanity within me.
The fundamental change in my life probably occurred in the fall of 1950 when I transferred to DUS. I had always been a lonesome, self-hanging individual, but DUS schoolwork cut me off effectively from friendship, with a few lingering exceptions (Jimmy Howbert, etc. I’ve never leveled with Garratt or Vieweg, though I have made a few clumsy attempts toward Vieweg.). It is interesting to observe the effect of this sudden withdrawal upon my language. My vital speaking vocabulary is still that of the 10 year old I was when I was taken from living contact with friends.
Of late I have refined a concept which covers a perversion within myself. That is, that I have substituted duty for feminine interest or pleasure in my thoughts. The most important element in my life has been self-improvement. I knew that a man’s thoughts can in themselves influence the quality or the power of his subsequent thoughts. If only I would think about Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason instead of the baseball standings, I would know much more about Kant’s philosophy. From my thought processes would spring insights, connections would be made, recollections intensified, and the whole background to absorb more Kantian philosophy instead of baseball statistics, strengthened.
This is one example where I have dictated out of a sense of duty to self-improvement what I should think. More lately I have striven to think in between, to think in visual sights, especially when I am reading, to spend time actively recalling words instead of thinking what I would normally think. The general purpose to this perversion was this: If I will only force myself to think X at the beginning, it will become a habit. Then my mind will be greatly improved when this pattern repeats and reinforces itself later on. For the present the thought is of little value.
This is a perversion, or at least an abnormality. It is difficult to determine a legitimate pattern of consciousness. But I would suspect that it comes from a full participation in the world. For an open man, one letting the world fill his mind freely, this is no problem. The world simply comes to him each moment of his waking hours and he wraps his mind around it fully, apprehending and responding. In free moments there are always intriguing, unclear parts of those active moments which return in recollection. These, one after another, parade through his mind. The thinker allows the thought of greatest interest, for whatever the reason, to settle in his mind as long as it will. It is only with a lonely individual such as me that consciousness becomes any sort of problem. For the lack of external pressure permits him to think as he will with the content which the mind already has.
I would be ideally invited to write a radio script exploring the aspects of loneliness through the man in the space capsule. Not only is such a drama historically timely in its subject matter, the theme of loneliness is also increasingly applicable. And I have lived effectively isolated from my fellow man, as in a capsule.
The truth is, though, that I am not really lonesome, or have not been until recently. The world within me has been sufficient for me. At DUS and in my subsequent education, the course material was able to keep me occupied. I had worked alone, but I would yet pour myself into the subjects I was studying and could manipulate it through the reactions in original ideas, etc., which were expected of me. Eventually I lost interest, because I lost ability.
The philosophy has since that time been my constant companion which keeps me from loneliness. It has created a world apart from myself, still within my own mind, and this world keeps me busy. This began in deep speculation about myself (in despair the junior year at Cranbrook). I therefore held myself apart from my consciousness (a new self) by studying it, and making it an object within my own mind. The “world” (formerly experienced directly) now ran itself on habit and supplied small trickles of material to furnish new ideas. But the primary world was that of my ideas themselves. This was no boring world, because it did not remain forever the same. One philosophic idea or concept built upon the other. I engrossed myself in these things and became an instrument of truth production, filling all my hours just as another man might busy himself with worldly affairs.
There are several difficulties with such an arrangement. I lose contact with other people. So there is no place in the world where I can step in directly and do something. I will always have to be first initiated and trained in that area - in the specifics. This gap will always exist between my ideas and their world incorporation. I also lose experience and tend toward naivete.
Yet, even beyond these considerations, even if I had dynamited forever the bridge between myself and the world, one might suppose I could become a great philosopher or artist. But I could not. Isolation whittles its own excellence and potency even as a radioactive substance diminishes its own vitality over a period of time. I became stale. The self-contained pool grows stagnant even if its own quality is intensified.
I lack the vitality of the rhythm which the world provides. I need to dance and move in that current which is fully outside of me. It is a sharp disciplinarian; it cuts mercilessly and clearly. Furthermore, it cut directly into my psyche and is not a pale image of a previous thought. New, fresh currents would forever be flowing into me, and my mind would have to move briskly to wrestle and dance with it.
Words are important for they are the fabric of my consciousness. My ideas can be sharp and pure if they are frozen in the right words, forever retaining their shape. But if the same words spin through the brain without a renewed apprehension of a current of life, these lose their sharpness. I relapse into the darkness of inarticulation. And I am in darkness. It has been a long time since I have talked for long times with a friend. These conversations pour the newness of another person and his expression into me. I capture the world freshly and sharply. I renew the vital rhythm within my own mind and soul. I need friends and I need to read a lot.
A thought. I read in Kinsey’s theports? that a dog which was masturbated by its owner would become attached to that owner instead of to a female dog. This would suggest that nature ordained that the emotional link of love should follow the sexual link. I have been wondering whether my own masturbation, though it is not excessive, partly accounts for my love of myself.
Girls. The best prospect still is Frl. Peigne who sat next to me in class. She has other boy friends. I had better get direct and talk to her about what I want from her. I am on the verge of losing her anyway. Otherwise, there is a South American girl with the saddest expression, beautiful, but who seldom appears in class. She can have outbursts of the most happy ecstasy. This endears her to me. But, Peigne, though physically less attractive, is better suited for me.
I look at myself often in the mirror, especially at the shape of my forehead. I want to see if any progress has been made in my reading program.
The girls, my neighbors, disgust me altogether. One has the pale, ugly face of death. The other is gayer, but I dislike her. The third is an unfriendly, domineering sort whose self-possession revolts me. I never have anything to do with these young ladies, who are all looking for a husband, according to Frau Lohner. This is perhaps most intolerable. I would not love any of them, but I would have conversation with them once in awhile for half an hour, an hour or so. But this has never transpired.
The more I think, the more I realize that Frl. Peigne was probably quite patient with my timidity and lack of enthusiasm. For it is now over 1 1/2 months since we should have become well-acquainted but we are not. And she has tried to start a conversation. Monday, tomorrow, will be all-crucial, for I have a date with her.
March 29 -
Life continues with new setbacks, developments, gains, and prospects. The final test in German, I suddenly learned, will be next week. I am now less prepared to take the test than I was 3 months ago. My German is in an awful state of disrepair, as is my mind.
Night before last, I spent the evening with Frl. Peigne in her room. What might have been the opportunity I have long sought to know her proved a dud. We were both tired. We spoke little, though comfortably, and did not begin to mention any vital issues until the very end when some of them emerged sluggishly and incompletely. She comes from the small French town, Honfleur, which was the cradle of impressionist painting. I did not kiss her good night, but thought I had left the way open to see her again in her apartment.
Yesterday in class the happy idea occurred to me that I would ask her to a visit Thursday evening (tonight) so that we could study our German together for the test. Working together would surely bring us close together without the awkward searching that has entered our relationship. But she said she would have no time for the next week. I could not understand her explanation, but she seemed to avoid me.
I hurried away with a “wiederschaung” to study in the university reading room, but then had lunch alone in the Mensa. While I was finishing my meal, Peigne passed me but did not stop to talk. As I finished, I turned around and saw her looking at me, seated alone at a table not too far behind me. We smiled. I put on my overcoat, but did not feel like speaking to her because I did not know what to say. Then near the exit it occurred to me that this non-recognition was impolite and offensive. I bought a sauce cake and walked back to her table. As there was no chair free, I lifted one over her back from another table and sat beside her. We did not say a word to each other nor look at each other. She mentioned to fill the vacuum that was snowing. Then a mutual friend appeared. She talked to him for a few moments. I finished my cake meanwhile and relinquished my chair to the other boy and hurried off to meet a 2 o’clock appointment.
The mutual friend arose during important circumstances for both of us.
Monday I had a date for the Beethoven concert with Peigne. I was wholly dissatisfied with the slow progress of our relationship, scarcely farther at this point than it was 2 months ago. So I determined to push the circumstances if I could to a new level.
Peigne waited for me outside of class. Together we bought 2 coffees and walked upstairs to the student reading room. She sat on the radiator. I brought in 2 chairs but did not sit next to her for she was reading from a book. For 40 minutes I sat in the same room, sometimes looking at her, sometimes thinking, sometimes reading spasmodically from Schiller. Finally I asked her if she was going to eat in the Mensa. Yes, she answered, but not for awhile. We talked about trivialities. Then when I started back to my seat, she put open her coat to go to lunch after all.
The attack would not begin until we were seated, I resolved. So we had a rather pleasant conversation walking across town to the dining hall. We ate in silence awhile seated next to her. Then I opened up: “What I cannot understand is that we have known each other now for 2 months and still cannot find anything to say to each other.” She could not understand but seemed shocked. I repeated, and she looked still more shocked. Then she said she had noticed the same thing, as if returning an accusation. I asked her what she was interested in particularly and she said everything. Then I asked “Bist du Philosoph?” At that she explained that she was trying to forget philosophy for it had made her unhappy. This was the start of a conversation in which I argued that the purpose of philosophy was to make a person happy, since a contented human being would not have to indulge in painful self-consciousness. She argued that philosophers were unhappy; and we were probably both right.
At this point, a young man seated across from us joined the conversation. We all joined in, widening the conversation somewhat. But I feel that if I had been alone with Peigne at this point I could have brought matters still closer. Anyhow, the circle widened to three. Our new friend then invited both of us to his room around the corner to have tea. There we talked about education, travel, etc. Peigne in many ways seemed to ignore me. Our host studies physics, is from Bremen, and wore short Bavarian trousers. His room was excellently furnished. He meant to me altogether the sort of human being which I am not, who lived life sensibly as it ought to be lived in Munich. I liked him, but felt quite different from him. This is the same mutual friend to whom I relinquished my chair yesterday. There was no other course open, for I had nothing to say to Peigne. I am jealous of this intruder, imagining that he invited her to tea again, etc., but somehow feel that he is more worthy than I to have her, in the same way that I am less worthy than the self I could have become in all of my worldly advantages if I had chosen otherwise. The weakness of my maneuvers disgusts me, but I nonetheless continue to trust in my ultimate triumph over the way which greater conformity would have brought. Now in the face of many disavowals, I must prove my contention.
It could be that Martine Peigne despises me for my youth. For she asked me how old I was and replied “so young” when I answered. She is four years older than I, but I wish still to win her.
Crisis, crisis, crisis - It is about time to recognize how serious it is. I should not despair, for I do have a testing ahead of me which would make these people before whom I now tremble tremble themselves if they knew of it. Of this I am convinced. The mountain climbing ceremony, despite its setbacks, was confirmation of it. I will triumph. For if I should settle back in mediocrity for several years, I should eventually build back a rhythm. And once I have that rhythm, I have the other ingredients that make up the greatness I foresee for myself.
But my present existence is a crisis - no friends, no intelligence, weakness of character at every turn - all of this because of lack of rhythm. The final test for German is next week. I am dreadfully ill-prepared, and I am? express myself now only as well as I could upon first entering Germany. I work, hard sometimes, but too irregularly.
Peigne has left me, or wants to. Of this I am certain, and I think she feels, and rightfully so, a threat from in the difference in our ages. So I must write off the plans which included her. She will still consent to a date next week, I am sure. This is all my fault, but I can still move from here without loss.
I am passive. I say nothing and attempt to make no friends. My conversation is inane. These are some of my real problems. From this moment, if it was not already done, I must fling myself into life with courage. I must speak to people, feeling confident of my own worthiness, and seek what honestly interests me. This will fade. I show all the symptoms of senility except age.
I have sometimes considered myself as part of an anti-Jewish current in mankind - not actively persecuting, but opposing and merging in conflict to form a new creative force.
Yet now it seems to me that I might be the creator of a new Israel, characteristically but not ontologically identified with the first one though I lack the Jews’ sticky mind and sharp intellect. I share many of his characteristics. I withdraw from people in social weakness, yet have a private capacity for sympathy which people do not recognize. The McGaughey are not Greek athletic men, but softer types which thrive upon litigation. We often seek personal gain and are ambitious.
Consider the sources of myself. Many McGaughey live within one small part of Indiana, and rarely outside of it. They are clannish, shy, but not lacking in intelligence. Who’s Who contains other McGaugheys. There was even a Congressman McGaughey from Greencastle about the time of Lincoln. Uncle Frank once pointed out four bachelor brothers who owned a large prosperous farm near Russellville. That is not untypical. But Dad broke out of the small circle of his kind, going first to New York and then to Detroit.
Mother stems also from that pioneering stock which settled Indiana during the 1830s and 1840s. Munny’s family was part midwest and part Pennsylvania, yet also part of the western flow which America harbored in the 19th century. Her ancestry differs profoundly from the McGaugheys. She is more Germanic, forceful, and independent, yet without the inverted intelligence of Father’s side. But the blood needs thickening and strengthening.
Now there is myself, feigning intellectualism during my European year. I am in fact miserable, but I believe profoundly in the weight of my future and of my blood. Many a strong stream shall flow through me and then widen over others. I pick my channels and style myself a progenitor of greatness similar to David and Jacob of the Old Testament. So will I sire a great race.
I must not know how to read; I must learn how to read certain words and certain phrases. These must be in my mind and mean something to me. Then when I wish to express my own thoughts, these fragments will come back into service for me. I need not invent; I need only recall what is in the great storehouse of knowledge around me, and pick what I need. This is the traditional way of pulsating with human activity, in harmony with this pulsation, not to self-sustained creativeness I have used for the past several years, with diminishing success.
These two persons I will be at once - the intellectually creative that I am now, and the retentive, toying manipulator and perceiver of the world which the young child and natural people are. The latter shall furnish material and excellence for the former, which shall constitute the claim to greatness (i.e., self-consciousness and firmness in myself - not a mere copier.)
April 3 - A blaze of enthusiasm. Suddenly I have the prospect of making several friends in Munich. I have engaged in discussions this day with more people than I have heretofore done in Germany. At the movies I even arranged to meet the boy who was sitting next to me on Sunday at the Deutsches Museum. Peigne and I are still distant, indeed hostile today, but I see the way clear to get a date with her room. This initial enthusiasm will die when I actually have to build the friendship. This evening, however, I am excited and cannot sleep. I have a great urge to live in a hurry the life I have missed so long.
April 7 - More discussion, but this aside.
Mother writes that the Bunts asked for my address “for the Usselises of all people”.This makes me think that there is a strong tie between Usselis and myself of which I have long been ignorant. Usselis trusted me in many capacities at Cranbrook which moved beyond my abilities. Mother poisoned me against Usselis, persuading me that he had unburdened his own responsibilities upon me. Usselis greeted me warmly at the alumni dance, and I responded less warmly. He is distinguished but has his eyes upon higher things. His angry demeanor is the same anger which now animates me. What interests me is that he could be the companion and teacher I have sought and I could lead him out of his frustration. What will he write in answer to my postcard? I must not despise him or be angry with him.
My experience here persuades me that my own mental rehabilitation will be more difficult than I had anticipated. The hope that. I can organize the Romney for President club at Yale and the Romney march in Detroit and singlehandedly railroad his election- even if he loses the race for governor - is clearly beyond me since this will take place in 1964. Furthermore, the hope of amassing a fortune quickly is also unreasonable because it depends upon my ability to learn quickly about technology and business methods about which I know nothing. The logical solution is to join a corporation and climb in the ranks. This would not be difficult if my approach to the whole problem were not intellectual. The purpose of such training would not be to move up in the ranks but to gain the experience to assemble my own crew of fellows and head my own concern. The intellectual would prevail.
The thought I had several days ago is that I would be able to teach German well if I wanted to. Cranbrook presently does not offer German and might wish to add it to its curriculum. After my year here I should be able to speak it well. I would incorporate my ideas into my course - much memorization, lectures, in German, etc. It would give me the confidence of speaking to and being responsible for a group of people, even if younger. Vogel taught at Cranbrook for a year. I might stay there 3 or 4.
This would delay my entry into life, but it has certain advantages. I could memorize poetry, read books, and manage groups of students, to my content. I would befriend Usselis, Bunt, Wonnberger, E. Snyder, etc. I might be invited to dinner at parents’ homes and meet the top-level society of Detroit. Friends my own age are a problem, but so would they otherwise be.
Analogy perhaps: My conversion from reading based on sounds to reading based on sight. For communication originated through the ear and tongue, and it is hard to give. up that system of understanding for the rudiments of another: Man’s conversion of an earth-based existence into one suited for existence in space. At first he will carry over life in an artificial way taken directly from earthly existence (systems of contained air, heat, etc.), but will later, perhaps, have to adapt himself to space, making some involved biological changes.
Sunday, April 8
I spent the entire afternoon and evening from 2 until midnight with my new-found friend whom I met last Tuesday at the country film. Unfortunately, I was timid and my German was less manageable than it has been. But at last I have found someone with whom I can talk, whose mind moves in the same direction as mine. I pray that this relationship may widen and sharpen itself also that at last the long-sought rhythm may develop. We spent the evening discussing Spengler and the “Abendland”, paralleling between modern civilization and antiquity.
Einige Tatsache, 19 April
Die unnatürliche Profund was schlecht gewesen. Ich habe nicht gut gelesen und viele eigele Wörter falten mir. Hr. Juggert hat sie mit den Worten, Streng “Das genügt”.
Kurz von der Profund sass plotzlich Frl. Eigne an meine Tisch. Sie geht morgen nach England fur eine Woche, aber hat nicht Geld genug. Ich Haber sie 20 Mark leihen geboten aber sie hat as abgelehnt. Die Prüfung nächste min aber viele Songs und Ich heute mit Eigne nicht lange sprechen. Aber ich freue mich dass sie wieder freundlich ist.
Heute habe ich gedacht dass ich einem Banera ein paar Monate wohnen will Bestimmte Planen wen habe ich. noch nicht Gemacht.
April 11 -
Today, feeling in low spirits, I bought a round trip ticket to Augsburg and spent the day there. Of course, it was quite characteristic of me to walk through the streets in a scholarly manner talking to no one the entire day. I visited churches, museums, and paced the streets.
There were several things wrong with the trip. First, I had not shaved and my clothes were dirty. Then I misread the train schedule and returned to the station at 6:15, a little more than 5 minutes too late to catch the train for Munich which would have allowed me time to play chess in the evening. So I walked 3 + miles and 1 1/2 hours sitting alone in a Weinstube 12 nowhere in Augsburg. Now I thought the conductor said the next train was 8:30 or something, so I was back by 8:15. It turned out that I had missed my second train by 5 minutes also. It took me 20 minutes to catch on, and I waited another 40 minutes on the train platform. During this period, I was greatly angry at myself, and I sought to memorize in my visual mind some poetry from Schiller. But my mind simply has stopped working properly. The conclusion to all this is a momentary resolution to discipline myself. I am fasting to a move one and somehow will try to beat myself into productiveness. It does seem hopeless.
Next day - again hopeless. What will I do? Sunday. Walked to Franzsichhauerhalle and Hofbrauhaus. Now under the influence of alcohol, I must report that beer makes me think clearer, allows me to concentrate on little items with great interest. It relieves my inhibitions and extends my patience.Even the bitter-tasting Hofbrau.
April 21 (Kamianstag)
Today I ride with Peter Harlin to Stuttgart.
A more pessimistic attitude has taken hold of me lately. I seriously doubt that even hard work can make me read well by the end of my leave of absence. I simply cannot concentrate fully, because the “bad habits” I am seeking to break remain the best way of understanding, consequently fall back into use again and again. On the other hand, I cannot see breaking the visual approach altogether as I intended at the beginning of my stay. The philosophic aspects of this transformation intrigue me as much as the practical successes. Indeed, at time the reading program seems to show its results and my forehead keeps growing more distinctive in my own eyes. I often look in the mirror or take inexpensive photographs just to see the “progress” which is taking place in my brain. But it is now nearly six months since I have been in Germany, and I must face the facts. My speed and comprehension have declined visibly since this conscious effort to improve, and there is no indication of a reversal toward the right direction. It has occurred to me to study Greek, Hebrew or Arabic in which I would not know the sounds which the printed forms represented, but it is really too late for me to begin these studies now.
Instead, I will get a job in Munich for a month. Then I will go traveling, visit the Bosquets, and afterwards, settle down once more to a job. In this process I will leave reading altogether during the course of a day. I intend, however, to rise early enough in the morning for an hour’s reading when I am fresh. My whole life will not depend upon this one aspect. In this reduction of ungeny I may find a healthier atmosphere to actually achieve something. The 1 1/2 years of college will be tough and somewhat superfluous, but there is no alternative. I must have a rhythm of some sort first. Then the higher achievements will follow.
I have been reading the biography of Joseph Stalin. The example of the successful Stalin and the unsuccessful, but more intelligent, Trotsky teaches me the following lesson: I must not push for my moment of glory too soon, but patiently arm and push may opportunities in strength. All eyes were upon Trotsky in the moments of consequence. Stalin filled the vacuum inconspicuously, did not overrate his own strength, but eventually filled all the functions important within Bolshevism. So I must patiently feel the rhythms of promise about me and not jump into positions of honor and power until I know every aspect of my situation. Not that I should refuse greater opportunities, even those slightly beyond me - I should not, however, seek my moment in the sun too early, nor let jealousy of those less able, but further advanced, lead me into action too soon.
This policy applies also to marriage.
Ap[ril 27, 1962.
Ich bin betruden. Habe aber with Herr Eskridge in Platze Abendessen gegessen. Janoke. Ich been das nicht richtig sehen. Ist jetzt wirklich?
Sunday. The last few days have been spent entirely at home writing letters and writing down ideas. It is dissipation. My long letter to Annette made me skip my plans which I had intended to carry out after I returned from the Harlins. These things: 1. buy a motor scooter, 2. Plan my trip in June, 3. settle the job for May. But being in the house all day Friday, I missed my last opportunity to visit Asia or a travel bureau or the Arbeitamt.
It seems to me now that I have wasted my time since February when I climbed the mountain in Tirol. I have gone to few concerts, done little reading, made few friends. What could have taken up my time? Chasing Peigne, cooking neats here & traveling by streetcar so often and so far.
Friday, May 5.
The first five days at the Grossmarkthalle have been strenuous and with certain measures of unpleasantness, but I think I will like working here once I get used to it. So far I have worked hard, saying hardly a word to my mates. My fingers are forever sore from lifting crates, and my wrists and arm muscles are not well-enough developed to do it with ease. But it is an all-absorbing life which will fill the gap well between now and July 1.
Verschleu(n)dungsthal - a word composed in m visionary subconscious. Cut the dikes and spill out into a still place. Slowly gather the floods about me. Compose myself for a new surging and a swelling.
10te Mai - Dienstag under Mittwoch. Bin ich in einem Lastwagen als hilfen nerum gefahren. Die Sonne war immer heiss und ich hatte immer durst. Meistens haben wir gesellen & dann aber mussten wir schwere Kisten voll Orangen erheben - viele kilogramme über dem Kopf. Die Arbeit war mir sehr unangenehm. Jetzt bin ich wieder ungewandelt - dh. ich habe eine andere Stelle, war ich erstens hatte. Ich war bei den Arbeit sehr fleissig. Immer wenn wir Pausen nicht machten, erhabte ich Kisten voll Orangen oder lehre Kisten, oder setzte Orangen in die Kisten hinein, oder etwas. Die Damen wiederholte wie Fleißig der Amerikaner arbeitet. Diese Schmeichelei wirkte aber nach einem andere Ergebnis. Ich könnte nicht hemmungslos und naturel arbeiten, sondern dachte immer dass ich meine Fleissigheit behalten musste. Wir haben den ganzen Wangen in 8 1/2 Stunden leergenacht, was normalerweise nach einige Stunden gedauert wurde. Denn Kriegen wir auch weniger Lohn. Was auch Unangenehm war, war dass ich die Arbeit fur Damen gemacht habe.
May 22 -
There has been no great improvement. in my German or in my general attitude since I took this physical job. Instead, I have sunk into self-indulgence and complete acceptance of the disheartening boredom of the job. Yet in this reversal of custom, the better may eventually come forward. I make no efforts to talk to people, but remain silent most of the day. But I feel no frantic compulsion, either, to strike up a conversation just to stimulate my intellect (knowing that dumbness will dull my mind if prolonged). This is good.
I do not isolate objectives and conquer them one by one - for instance, to learn German. In my new approach that has rather unconsciously worked out of the circumstances rather than out of premeditation, all my problems are bound together and I make no attempt to begin solving them.
Rather I am a new born baby whom all the world’s challenges confront at the same time. The baby just gets used to the whole thing in utter helplessness, but eventually finds one or two things it can do. I am just floating along with the rhythm for awhile, hoping that some day I will be able to move decisively on my own.
The whole rhythm is what counts. It is no use learning a language by itself. The experiences must be learned, too, and just as well as the language. And sometimes the rhythm means sitting in a corner all day doing nothing.
These days I find myself often in desperation. The world is not yet miserable; it is too dull to be miserable. This reminds me of the days we lived at 3500 Lahser Road and Dad often came home in despair. We had sold the Detroit home and were renting. American Motors was on the verge of bankruptcy, but, above all, Dad had lost certain opportunities at the office of which Mother often made him mindful. Dad’s lot has since improved, but not as much as it might have. I am experiencing this disillusion perhaps now, but have the chance to build up a solider future.
I am a little scared at the thought of returning to Yale. My reading has deteriorated so fast. that I might not be able to do the assignments. It does not quite fit for me to be going back to college after my rebirth.
I took the day off from work today because of a sore muscle in my right wrist. But the truth is also that I am demoralized by the work - by my inability to lift the heavy crates cleanly, but especially by having to work in the company of certain old women who happen to irritate me. One is actually insane and she speaks a monologue to herself as she works. Another is kind and intelligent by these standards. She, however, keeps telling me how “fleissig” I am, which irritates me greatly. A third is old, dowdy, with a face of continual misery in keeping with her spirits. Though I should perhaps pity her, I hate her because she is such an unpleasant creature - in many respects, like myself. What nauseates me is to see all the women bent over their respective orange crates together with their fannies high in the air toward me. It particularly irritated me to imagine a menstrual smell welling toward me - “the Germanic fanny” - a topic for polite statistical conversation.
May 28. - I’ve become sick. This morning I reported to work, 10 minutes late, and waited for 40 minutes for the boss to come. Then I decided to seek the job at BMW as a welder & walked to the Arbeitamt. I wound up walking to the Hauptbahnhof & caught the train home, because I felt ill and had soiled my underpants. After arriving home, I went to bed immediately, once getting up and vomiting in the kitchen sink. Rather I went to the bathroom first. The girls gave me a special too to settle my stomach. I’ve been lying in bed all day with a fever.
The standing in the rain Friday at the Grossmarkhalle, the irregular hours of sleep, the commotion over the boarder in my room, and something I must have eaten, are probably responsible.
May 29 -
The moment I picked to become sick is highly embarrassing for it seems an escape from the turmoil caused by the arrival of Hr. Schulze. Hr. Lohner reacted indignantly, crudely covering his displeasure with sarcasm and the girls are somewhat terrified. For, Horst Schulze looks like a highwayman and I look equally like his dupe. Perhaps out of weakness, perhaps out of honesty, I have decided to give Hr. Lohner the more which Horst will pay me. I look life a fool, but in reality am better than I seem in this situation. I must be absolutely insensitive to the derogatory judgments around me and this I am fairly well.
I wrote Fr. Kilian an answer to her postcard, declining the invitation to visit them this Thursday. Frankly, I am growing a bit irritated by the overt flattery and apparent warm-heartedness shown in the letters. It is in poor taste. I would make no claims for a greater rhythm than it.
These days, I am the waiter. I am waiting for the rhythm to fall into, that is - a friend with whom I can develop something. And I will not force a articular rhythm but accept that which grows out of the situation. And I am not obligated to produce a rhythm in everyone’s company, only when I feel one is possible.
May 30 -
Two important events today: I looked for another job - either with BMW or with a drug firm suggested by Horst, but was turned down at both places because I would have worked only a month. I investigated buying letters written by Hegel & was given an address to write to by Karl & Faber. I read in the newspaper that Kennedy as well as the NY Times opposes Meany’s proposal for a 35-hour workweek, which is close to my heart.
At the Mensa I had a few more ideas pertaining to the National Review paper - making the French and American revolutions opposite aspects of democracy, and emphasizing the change from the Liberal - favoring the Conservative - favoring aspects.
Later, I met, of all people, Jeff Barnouw, my old acquaintance from Yale DS (Directed Studies) for whom I have always had great respect. We talked over a glass of beer. I felt dumb for I should wake up to Barnouw from my stupor. He left Yale, too, has been in France, and recently in India for a year. We will get together Saturday.
Barnouw is my opposite in many respects, but our paths have crossed several times now, and I may find something significant in this.
Thursday. Today a strong reaction set in to my plan to spend the last month writing a full-scale book comprising certain practical beliefs. For the book would be balanced between a positive future and a negative past section. The negative past is well thought out, but I have little to offer in the other half. It sickens me.
Worked again today, and the sickness seemed t o leave my body, but I fear it may be of short duration. For the body is spending itself.
Jeff Barnouw thought my name was Tim at first . Then he remembered that. it was Tim McCoy, the cowboy, which he was thinking of. Is this what I seem like?
June 11 - Pfingsten montag - I’ve been writing my political essay. the last two days at home with only moderate success. I want to fling up a shell out of this period of my life, as a monument to it, before I become another person. The notes are not enough, for these are only aides to my later exploitation of them. This essay is, however, the shell left behind on the beach after the tide moves out, available to be seen by all as evidence of its creating stream, but also a ceremonious act in itself, like my birthday ceremony. My own life must be such a real ceremony which I contrive, as I would a story for a novel, to be played myself at certain moments. For the self-conscious one cannot henceforth lead a natural life, but must fashion it himself. Now my political thoughts must emerge momentarily above the sea level of my mind, as a tiny island but I allow it to appear and then drop off in view of the continent which is later to emerge. Then explorers of the continent will find a clue to the geologic substructure of that continent in the island which would otherwise have been obscure. But it is a false ridge to be followed to the end of my life; therefore, I must break off with politics after flinging this shell up. It must have few consequences.
Several weeks ago I had the thought that Kathy Donovan might have been leading my family astray for her own amusement, or, more likely, out of a feeling of charity to me, though not one of passionate love. That I came from Yale probably engaged her interest because she must have had several sharp experiences at the hands of the Ivy League. Perhaps at first she thought it would be funny to make a Yale man her sucker. Then perhaps she took pity on me out of my good nature and determined to give me an experience which would open my eyes to love & reality. If her motives had been cynical, she could not have lasted so long with them. But still it was an act for her - to say that a few months longer and she would probably have wanted to marry me, etc. For such passivity as what I displayed then could not have aroused any real feeling in her, I’m sure.
The last time I saw Karen Vanderkloot, her mother engaged me in conversation for a few moments in a ridiculous sort of prattle - I.e., ridiculous theories. Europeans as a class were stubborn - still retaining hatred against the Norman invaders, etc. I think she was feeding me bull rather than voicing an opinion. But I seemed to believe every word. I rather considered this characteristic of Mrs. Vanderkloot, not considering its worth. There are apparently few serious searchers of truth, such as I. Most people can also laugh.
The political essay continues slowly and stupidly even though I have a cove of good ideas.
I no longer worry whether or not I am learning German. I worry whether or not I am finding any sort of rhythm. But this is not so pessimistic as it sounds.
I have lots to say, but I do not. When there was nothing to write about - the small affair with Karen Vanderkloot - I could write much then, because I was in the mood for writing, but now then my life is changing and it is important to realize what is happening, I lose my tongue.
In 10 days I will go to the Bosquets, and I look forward to a month of companionship with Nicholas again, regret very much that it will not be longer. At the same time I fear Mr. Bosquet somewhat because of his mighty position, especially when I consider the extent of Renault. It is beyond me, I fear, to move in that sort of company.
The last week or two - actually only the last 3 days on a full-time basis - has been dominated by that political essay. Today, as I attempted to do some research, I became very depressed because I saw the multiplicity and quantity of rhythm, fact and knowledge which pertained to the subject I would treat. Such towering conclusions I would pretend to dismiss in a paragraph. So what is it I am doing in my trip survey? Writing a western equivalent of the Communist Manifesto? This is ludicrous to suggest, but the temptation to consider my work in these inflated terms always enters my mind when I feel especially proud of a section I have written.
More and more I realize that I cannot write this quickly and try to publicize it through the Wall Street Journal or National Review as the philosophic forerunner of a new revolution. I would make myself look silly. ( I still marvel that the world would not be so embarrassed by my own silliness as I would if I realized it as such, for it would be objective to them.) You see, I am still not caught up in what I want to write, though it is very important. What I have to write now is more important than the political essay I have spent there last few days on, because this is the essential of my life.
That old philosophy, which is really a disguised way to make me big and famous (which I will be later on), I must leave behind me now, though I am ever so much the richer having experienced it. If this assumption is correct, my philosophy, or my present self-awareness, will never let me drift aimlessly. I have values and definite rights. (In the process of change, I must fear giving up these blessings, and I do not fear it - partly because I am writing it all down.)
My political essay is the last expression of that old philosophy before it merged wholly into my life. It has to exist; it has to be published, though not recognized. A dream, even if fixed upon paper in loose notes, is not enough to make a material landmark in one’s life. I fear I will misunderstand my own notes - that the spirit of understanding will be lost to me 30 years hence. I must let this portion of my lie out before the public, plainly comprehensible to all. Only I know the true significance of all the loose notes I keep. I know them now, but I may forget them in my rebirth. But the essay will stand in self-explanation.
It is a duty to write it, even if a bit like carving one’s initials in the rock of a mountain peak before the nascent dawn. Then, even if the contents of the essay are laughable as political philosophy or propaganda, the essay itself is not. I must complete it. It must be a true stretching of my skills and mouth to the limit, without disguise, because then I will be able to emulate this unreal period of my life - of no value in the present, but to be an invaluable past to my future. I may advance philosophically to the point that these writings and talk of a high watermark are childish. I may, however, consider these times sacred. (Then I will draw the divine closer to myself in the future by complete frankness of my inner thoughts now.) I may hold my former self - that worthy virgin of truth - to myself in the future, which may tend toward pride if I am successful and say: “Match that which you were at 21. It made you what you are now. It fashioned the very substance of your greatness, and is, therefore, greater than yourself.” But at that time it will not be myself which I praise, but that self which I abandoned long before in favor of another. But now myself speaks to that future self (I am in Munich now, sitting in Herr Lohner’s kitchen.) and blesses it. For it will be more perfect in its many than that which I am now.
But these pearls of understanding - the rhythm and self-awareness - will never got old with me. The rhythm is harmony of habit and life. Self-consciousness is that special germ of worth within all rhythm. I will develop to perfect understanding of these two.
The rhythm: How I crave it! How I would pore over and over something until I fixed my very being in it, and it in me! This is the real appeal of working on a farm - the rhythm, physical, which will consume my whole being in it. All these elements of that life will fix themselves in me, in my consciousness, and be sufficient. But this is a dream - for it did not happen quite that way at the Grossmarkthalle, though I am happier for it.
The essence of man’s desire is not, as I once supposed, exclusively to become big through competition. That is the mechanism of the power struggle, which is a rhythm for some people. But the essence is simply to find that sufficient rhythm to fall into - a continuing movement that satisfies in itself, and does not necessarily move on to a better one.
When I go back to Yale, I will be content with finding rhythm anywhere in my courses. I will not worry about taking those subjects worthy of the effort, nor think of writing masterful theses. Rather I will concentrate on these patterns offered in the course - racing on the treadmill demanded of me. I will learn to be an accountant, for I must make my mark in practical affairs. I will never be able to wield the great power and evidence the large rhythms without a sound grasp of the administrative system and of statistics.
I have become a little dismayed the last few days in writing the essay by the factual evidence. One of my principal assertions is that the liberal government does not redistribute wealth in fact, but only promises to. Now the increasingly large old-age retirements funds convince me that there is some redistribution after all. It is facts like these which make the writing difficult.
There may be a logical error in some of my basic assumptions. It may prove too much to absorb at once for me in future years to read my present notes, take all these arguments instantly to heart, and complete the masterpieces I am incapable of achieving today. We shall see.
With the concept of rhythm (social rhythm) the traditional conflict between morals and expediency disappears. For the true happiness is participation in a rhythm with others, but a breach of morals would make that rhythm similarly impossible.
June 23 - My paper is proceeding rapidly toward completion, but so are also the days left in Munich, and I hope I can outdistance them.
July 1 - It is 10 minutes of 12. I am sitting in my room at the Bosquets, having squandered 2-3 hours reading USA-I, which David brought yesterday. The last few days have been spent upon the characteristic edge of discomfort, though the Bosquets - Nicholas & Mr. Bosquet - have made every effort to be gracious hosts. I really do not know what to do.I am particularly uneasy around Mr. Bosquet - partly, I think, because of his important position in this world (which makes me anxious about appearing foolish or stupid), and partly because of the difference in ages. Anyhow, my conversations are invariably unnatural, consequently boring, and I am ever fearful that the Bosquets one day will lose their temper at such an awkward, self-unied guest that they will want to throw him out. Though realizing this and earnestly wanting to improve the situation, I seem totally helpless to do something. If the Bouquets are not annoyed by my fearful behavior, indeed there is something wrong with them. The very large complicating factor is that my French is so broken that I can hardly communicate at all.
The whole problem is that I lack a communicable rhythm. In a pinch I can make idle conversation for a short time (a talent learned from the DUS-Cranbrook era), but I despise this because it is so false. But what is the alternative? (Now I am even too tired to write of this important topic & so will save it for the morning.)
A very interesting thing happened last Saturday when David arrived. Mr. Bosquet and I rose at 7 to meet the plane at 7:50. Unfortunately, the plane was 2 hours late. Mr. Bosquet left for 2 hours to meet another morning appointment. I waited in the lounge reading from a newly published book. The flight from New York was supposed to have arrived at 10:05, but none of the passengers who filed through the customs exit was David. I inquired at several counters about passenger lists, other arrivals, etc. and then wandered furiously about the waiting room looking for David. At this moment Mr. Bosquet suddenly appeared, inquired at several counters also and looked around the building. He thought that David might be waiting “in transit” which we could not visit, though he had sent a message to be delivered to David that he meet us in the visitor’s waiting region. The best prospect seemed to be to wait for David at the gate to Geneva where he would have to go to catch the next plane. Gate 18 was open and Mr. Bosquet went through to the passenger’s area. Then we went through another door into the intransit area.
Mr. Bosquet was fearful that we might be unable to return outside now that we had illegally gone through the customs barrier the other way. I said that it made no difference now - that I might as well look for David on this side now that I was through. So I ran down the corridor, made one unsuccessful roundabout search for David & finally saw him approaching with all his hand luggage from the other direction.
David was concerned about his main luggage, which was booked only to Paris. He went through the main customs counter, and I hurried back down the forbidden corridor to the smaller door we had come through. Mr. Bosquet was having trouble with an attendant in getting back through. He was referred to another supervisor, and he had a hard time convincing him that we ought to be allowed to go back through, having finally to show him his Regie Renault director’s card. I was carrying David’s hand bag to complicate matters.
Mr. Bosquet headed immediately to gate 18 & I went to the baggage section, meeting David and an excited stewardess. David was referred upstairs, from one desk to another. The time was immediate for him to board the plane to Geneva. Finally we raced toward the gate without the luggage, just in time to learn from Mr. Bosquet that it was too late. He seemed rather angry first that David had waited so long in transit without contacting me, and then that I had taken David’s bag.
In all calmness David now went to the luggage section, while Mr. Bosquet checked on the next flights to Geneva. I read the back issues of USA-1. The next flight would be at 4. We would go home, come back later. After spending a long time at Swissair to make the new travel arrangements, we all drove back to Sevres.
This story is getting boring to write, as it was to experience. David spoke better French than I, thank goodness. We did return at 3:30, only to learn that the flight was full in which David was on the waiting list. Mr. Bosquet went to meet the morning’s postponed appointment, and I waited with David for the next flight. It turned out that David had actually been on the ground for 10-15 minutes when I met him, and could not be blamed for not moving at all while in transit. David and I talked about many things & finally booked passage for the Swissair flight at 8:50. Meanwhile I learned from Mr. Bosquet, in telephoning, that he had made reservations on an Air France flight and hour earlier. It was, however, no trouble to change these plans & David was off without any further trouble just before 8.
I would like to make contact with other people while I am in France. This means breaking entirely with philosophy and with politics, and all these vague thoughts which do not concern life directly. It does not mean forgetting the philosophy of self-consciousness and the understanding of rhythm, however, because this is central to my life.
I wish I could formulate a clear way to make contact at the Bosquets, but this must actually proceed from the situation if there are situations offering such breakthroughs of understanding. There has to be another moment like that evening walking through Berlin with Lisa, Bastel & Mutzel or like those hours spent with Jeff Barnouw in the Lowenbraukeller. My best hope is to engage them in an argumentative conservation, since my rhythm proceeds from this. There is not much time here in France to undergo the complete transformation - now less than a month. I should like to discuss the career of an accountant with Mr. Bosquet, for example, and absorb some of Nicolas’ way of life while I am here.
Thought: Some of my difficulty, as well as some of my blessing, stems from the importance placed upon me by my parents. I recall the parties, especially the New Year’s Day Open House, and the Christmas cards held by my parents for their friends and business friends. When we did not behave Mother used to scold us with the words: “Behave yourselves; it’s important to your Dad.” In other words, the impression we children were making would in part determine our father’s business fortunes. No wonder we became anxious around company, when the stakes & penalties for a mistake were so high. Perhaps this is an excuse for my own inhibitions, but I can’t help thinking this rather richly attitude makes me somewhat fearful of Mr. Bosquet, for example. Dad, I am quite sure, looked upon these experiences as great opportunities in our growing up, but Mother may have disciplined us unwisely - by calling the office to Dad’s great embarrassment whenever we misbehaved, for another example. These pressures were unfair to little children.
Conclusion: I am dissipated, not by wine and women, but by too many and too general activities, which prevents me from gaining proficiency and delight in any one of them.
Different aspects of the rhythm:
It is no wonder that I cannot believe in God, or that many academic people cannot believe in God. For, an honest search for the truth convinces us more and more that we can never stop at one conclusion and declare it the whole and perfect truth. God can never appear to man conclusively as empirical, universal, and yet uniquely related to man. The search for the truth about God cannot rest upon empirical grounds, and therefore the rhythm must continue in the direction of truth, as long as one has committed himself to truth. Only a man of action could arrest this internal development, and overnight embrace a religious faith.
Man without self-consciousness is like a puppet clamoring for movement through the strings. In fact there is not such weakness in the situation because the movement of rhythm is available to men everywhere, and in sufficient extension & quantity. One copies rhythms of language, of value, custom, ideas, routine - everything which composes life. At first each one is passive, just being present in the rhythm, but gradually the elements around him - their chains of sequence & movement - engage his mind. Her recalls the basic themes in his mind, lets imagination construct various rhythms, out of these. Then he becomes self-conscious (* Another self-consciousness is taking place in early childhood & not in adolescence.) as a passive person which converts him into an actor. That is, he is aware of himself as an element just like those elements in the rhythm. He then finds a part for himself in that rhythm as a similar actor. It is slow and painful to build oneself up to adequate participation & takes many years of clumsy trial.
This rhythm system - the ways of his mind and activity - is his whole strength & possession. It enables him to carry forward into each new circumstance, with some difficulty, however. Meeting new people is often difficult because one lacks a certain rhythm to establish the relationship between them. Meeting a great man is apt to cause some anxiety, because one is certain that one’s rhythm is inadequate to mingle with that of the great man. Marriage often seems to be the ultimate hope for happiness in life because it offers a tight rhythm - mentally, habitually & physically - with another person. It is only cursed to be without rhythm of participation in an occasion.
The rhythm of self-consciousness, as we know, is the new dimension in life, because it alone contains the power to create new rhythm, fashioning this, not out of existing rhythm, but out of the vision of truth (through vision & construction of necessity, or through reconstruction of the existent after honest appraisal). (Self-consciousness is also a disruptive force in rhythm, as we know.) It is essential that the leader be a self-conscious person, because it is his role to maintain the rhythm in harmony below him. To do this properly he must know the mechanics of rhythm as well as being an able performer himself. And only by being self-conscious of rhythm can he know how to cure its imbalances and imperfections, especially in an age with out precedent, such as ours.
The poet provides the pure inspirational rhythm in the pattern to establish rhythm after the philosopher provides the self-consciousness of the rhythm. Vico was wrong about why they are so different.
Puberty is the natural emergence of self-consciousness. Some social rhythms pertaining to sex or to death are inadequate, perhaps because there is inadequate precedent to establish them.
There are now some willful characters (without much self-consciousness) who drive the tendencies out of their characters with such force that their actions possess a certain clarity of rhythm which is easily perceived. They do not allow other influences to affect themselves & therefore exhibit themselves externally in an unmuddled form as a pure type. These are the great influences upon other people - the sources of new and even better rhythms. Sometimes a source is not astute enough himself to sucked, but he kindles a spark of inspiration in a young man who is more capable & patient, falling under the wild man’s influence & bringing it to perfection in a more presentable form. Socrates, while supposedly perfect himself, was such a creator in Plato. Mr. Court is also such. Pap was. Mother is, perhaps, from Pap’s rhythm. I am not one, but perhaps a more perfect follower through the strain that Andy and Mother exercised upon me. Schools of art or philosophy are really successive passings on of the same rhythm. I would like to carry on simultaneously development of my philosophy and of my rhythm, that my philosophy may some day generate a clarity of truth which shall serve as such a creator of rhythm such as that above.
It must be recognized: that rhythm does not sustain itself in isolation, but builds itself up through multiple reinforcement in many ways. Behind a developing rhythm must rest something solid which shall furnish constancy of guidance, or strength of purpose, to the sustained movement. The strength can be a belief, a device to blot out self-consciousness. Whenever the mind turns from its rhythm, it encounters this thought or attitude, ever the same one, which rebounds consciousness back into the rhythm, with which it is in harmony.
The other component of rhythm is a physical one, a physical constancy. The mechanisms of words, the movements of the tongue & mouth, help to anchor thoughts. Music for military marches, plucking the beard from my chin, smoking a cigarette while I think - all of these are habits which provide strength to the rhythm. As the habit brings about familiar physical movements, the mind travels back to the substance of the rhythm, and each ripple of movement is reinforced by the physical reminder. Otherwise, rhythm would be too abstract to exist in the mind.
Right now, lacking the rhythm, I would like to develop physical habits of rhythm (working on a farm, learning a piano piece, etc.) and suspend, to some extent, the philosophical uncertainty (or development) with the concept of rhythm itself as the fixed belief.
One rhythm has become predominant with us, which is concentration. This is a direct encountering of one person by another, a communication of ideas, experiences, etc. Somehow, though it has managed to become the most important rhythm in one’s routine, it is really a secondary level, a self-consciousness of life lived directly. Merely talking can teach one about human nature revealed in conversation, but one experiencing things directly through interests and deeds can establish an understanding of life. Of course, often the two are simulatneous, and this is how a baby learns to speak. The primary rhythms & understandings of life take shape around man’s needs and the great forms of man’s predicament. Rhythms of other sorts (physical, visual, etc.) all qualify as rhythm, and are learned in the same way.
The process of learning rhythm (especially a language): Do not become self-conscious about the experience (i.e., conscious that it is an opportunity to learn the language). Do not, therefore, ask many questions - What does this mean? What is the perfect tense of aller? Rather try to understand the process or rhythm directly, the actual subjects being discussed. Understanding of a repeated demonstration of the rhythm will sink the whole into ones mind, and it will not be necessary to learn each word repeatedly. It will harden and the memory will finally serve as knowledge itself, as an instant pattern for future action.
From the nature of rhythm, these conclusions:
Man is at first beastish and clumsy, without precise concepts. He emerges out of darkness as his habits bring his mind into a greater and greater precision and clarity of concept. Each repetition brings forth a sharper and purer image, but abstracts some of its cohesiveness with the whole of life at the same time. But man’s concepts are never sharp and certain as science would like. All truths must be seen through this lens of beastliness.
The rhythm cannot be jumped into directly if there is no flowing from a previous rhythm. Some rhythms offer a growing out of a previous one with little loss of precision, but this sometimes makes the second one dependent upon the first. Language study by grammar is such an example. It is possible, though, for one to forget the intermediate rhythm and so have another unconnected rhythm through repetition within that system. It is also possible that the experience of building up new rhythms from scratch (of adjusting to entirely new situations) may develop a facility for that adjustment in itself.
July 3 -
My absentmindedness is moving to new records. Today I was supposed to visit the Regie Renault factory at 2:00 p.m. I left the house at 1:25 by my watch, but passed on the way a clock which was striking 4. I arrived at 4:15, in a dilemma what to do. I finally summoned Mr. Hyak to apologize and set a new appointment - for tomorrow. My watch said 2:00 at that point.
On the way home, I decided to conceal the news of my mistake, pretend that I had gone on the tour, by asking Mr. Hyak and the man at the desk to keep quiet. I wanted to go to a park to think out all the angles. Then who should I meet on the street but Nicolas.
July 5 - The principle is clear to me: There must be a physical action accompanying mental processes which can be set into movement first and draw the mental into rhythm afterwards. I have previously sought to read without the rhythm of words and tongue; now I must establish a substitute for it. Therefore, at the beginning the attempt to read Stendhal in French, I decided to concentrate upon breathing as a means of stimulating my understanding of visual reading.
Somehow this seemed objectionable to me. The Chinese philosopher Mencius as well as the Hindus and Japanese Zen Buddhists have written enthusiastically about right breathing, though I know little of their writings, as a key to life itself. It is the very embodiment of rhythm itself in life. I am hesitant, therefore, to make correct breathing the basis of only reading, and not of self-consciousness generally, a more logical correspondent. If I were conscious of breathing regularly, images of what I had read might enter my mind even though I might not wish to have them then. For breathing is always with a person, but reading is only a small part of his activity.
On the other hand, my self-consciousness is now firmly wedded to my recollection of speech and sound, to my writing - the movements of tongue, lip, and pen. Breathing seems to deny speech and vice versa, l because the mechanics of speaking get in the way of regular breathing. The habits to be set in speaking may be done through gestures of the hands and facial expressions. I might invoke self-consciousness by nodding of the head.
What else could I employ for the processes of reading? Deep breathing is possible only in a relaxed position, and so is reading. It is also healthy, and I may wish upon occasion to recall images in my visual mind by breathing deeply and consciously.
It is a rather interesting experiment to form a physical habit at will through which a whole part of the mind is to operate. I have not yet begun.
A few hours later -
From the first moments of experience, the method seems to work. When I cannot understand the printed words, I breathe harder. I tell myself I am inhaling the meaning. This myth could indeed be used to teach young children to read.
I also have the doubt that deep breathing might be the physical equivalent to relaxation, sleep, and recollection rather than to active reading.
It might also be possible later to have an arsenal of physical habits at my disposal to induce various levels and degrees of reading concentration. These in unison might work more effectively than just the motion of deep breath ing, but this will have to come later.
I suggested to Nicholas that he develop a substitute habit for cigarette smoking, because of a report I read in the latest Time which indicated that smoking might complicate other sicknesses. He might chew upon a chicken bone, for example. Nicholas replied: “Yes, but my jaws would get tired. This way, I use my lungs.” This indicates how important lung action is to the cigarette smoker. The feeling of tasty smoke makes him conscious of the rhythm of breathing. Perhaps the cigarette habit underlies the reading ability of many rapid readers who do not rely upon voice. They sit peacefully inhaling and exhaling cigarette or pipe smoke while concentrating upon an article to be read. The trouble is that cigarettes are expensive, unhealthy, and that the smoke gets in ones eyes.
This recent train of thought of mine was started by a discussion in Munich after a busy day of essay writing. Ingrid, to make conversation, wondered whether It would be possible for a person to attune his or her life so sensitively to an expectation that he or she could will his own death at a certain age. This started a discussion of will, and I suggested that the matter might simply be one of habit, rather than of bodily or mental strength. The others dismissed this theory immediately, but it persisted in my mind.
My moods shift strongly these days whether or not to finish and publish my political essay. In any case I’ll have to wait until the end of August. On one hand, the essay is unlearned and far too general; on the other hand, the ideas themselves intrigue me and their application to current politics. The present unpopularity of Kennedy hurts its potential impact. I am hoping Kennedy recovers by the time of the Congressional elections, that the Democrats sweep the elections, that Romney barely wins his race, and that the political writers build up Kennedy’s earlier unpopularity as an unstable, freak occurrence of “certain elements”. Conservative morale, now vigorous, but undirected, would then be susceptible to the message of my essay.
July 7 -
If as a child I had seen and understood my future life in a dream, I would have been scared to death of the nightmare, but now I have more courage.
One of the most horrible aspects of the school year 1957-58 was that so many people under my responsibility as prefect were unhappy and wanted to leave school. A young boy at the other end of the hall and Michael Dingle both left school directly. A boy living across from me fled Cranbrook one night. I began to feel like being part of a vast sickness of soul which would make people want to get out. And I could not feel indifferent to these departures and unhappiness, for this was the year I earnestly tried to project my personality upon the school as it had done to me through Herb Stanton and others the year before. But it only made them want to leave, and this was the acid test. I could see them returning to accuse me, with a superior air of relief, as one of the discouraging influences which made them so unhappy at Cranbrook.
I have always aspired to be the opposite, and in a sense this has already happened. I would like to be part of a golden age - indeed, a marker of golden ages. It would flatter me if I learned that a certain circle of former friends had not been the same since I left them, that they pined secretly for the old days when we were together. I would weep to hear such news, though I should not wish it. The debating team at Bloomfield Hills High School was a certain minor golden age I imagine, for Mr. Slocum has apparently referred to that year ever since, but it was probably more Dick Bailey’s genius than mine which made it. The DUS days seem one in many ways, too, though I receive discounters on that score. (Jim Howbert, for example said he only started living since the 9th grade, but I take that for arrogance.) But a maker of golden ages must have a heart forged in despair and understanding; so will I attempt to perfect my group of rhythms for future beneficiaries.
July 8- The first full day at Cordon, which has been a very enjoyable one though it has been unfamiliar, so that I begin to lose the clear vision that I had yesterday. We spent the afternoon swimming in the valley outside Sallanches. I bathed long in the sunshine with perfect ease and felt much healthier because of the day. There develop now traces of affection for Christine, but I would not play the flirt or aim for apparent victories of sharp talk (unless in clear luxurious fun) which were the substance of my hopes during my Cranbrook days. No, I must pursue the rhythm with another person which I can develop. This means either discussion or joint activity.
The rhythm became alive during the last 2 or 3 days at Sevres and in the car to Cordon. These have been the highlights: Thursday night I went to a party with Nicolas and his friends, Jean Baptiste and Michel, where I was the eldest one present, the most sleazy-looking, and the most awkward one. Whatever might have been my handicaps at the beginning, at the end it was absolutely impossible to dance with a girl because everyone else had paired off so solidly. I decided that at any future dance I am not obligated to make conversation; it would be far better to keep dancing with a girl, enjoying the movement of her body and mine - making this the pattern of the evening (the physical) and then forging in my mind the basis for a conversation with the girl. But as long as the physical is established as the basic rhythm, the girl will not miss conversation.
At this party, though, I just sat by myself listening to the music heedless of the awkward picture I was presenting. To redeem the evening, however, I fashioned another test of courage, which I carried through. There was one couple which did not dance, but stood in a dark corner the meanwhile kissing. So after a great struggle, I went up to the couple and asked the girl for the dance. They thought I wanted to say good night, but accepted my request. The conversation was brisk - asking where each other lived, etc. - and the girl showed her embarrassment or annoyance by the question: “But you do know that it (Denmark) exists?” Afterwards, they went outside kiss. This carries on in the tradition of my last night at Yale.
The second exhilaration was a conversation with Mr. Bosquet - actually a very stupid one on my part about general economic issues. Mr. Bosquet strikes me as very similar to myself in a general social embarrassment. He is, for example, rather frightened by customs inspectors, policemen, etc. (which may hearken back to certain unpleasant war experiences). We spent some time looking through the pictures for a book by Malraux which had been the topic of discussion, though it wasn’t in the least important. This indicated to me extreme sensitivity to other people, certainly self-consciousness, but the makings of a deep harmony. I can excuse the not having overcome these inhibitions in a businessman who has no time to fail and then sucked in slow development. The conversation, then, as general or unproductive as it was, was at least a movement away from the frantic jokes, pointless questions, or insignificant statements of fact I have been making. The only successful method of overcoming this seems to be to develop some of my pet theories with another person, but I think this might later on just have been the beginning of a new rhythm. After this conversation, seeing it acceptable in Mr. Bosquet’s eyes, I no longer felt at a loss around him, obligated to make conversation somehow.
The next day (Saturday) we drove to Cordon in the afternoon and evening. Sitting in the back, I hardly said anything most of the trip. Before Geneva, we passed a monument to the French resistance in World War II. I had the impression of offending the Bouquets. (For example, Mr. B. asked me if I like the mountainous countryside. I said yes, but that we would have plenty of it ahead to get used to. I asked a question also about the sort of French resistance, suggesting, on the way they took it, that the movement was insignificant. Then for 15 minutes I was silent supposing that I was touching a sore point with French people. I supposed that the humiliation of World War II is still very great with French people. The British drew with pride the principle that England is unconquerable. America considered herself the knight of freedom. Soviet Russia has the legend of Stalingrad. But France? Before the war Frenchmen were overly proud of the French army, but it collapsed in several weeks before Hitler’s armies. The common belief must be anathema to Frenchmen which some people (like Aunt Sarah) have drawn from World War II that Germans were vigorous & healthy, but Frenchmen are all degenerate weaklings. As a result they cling to the resistance movement and to DeGaulle. Out of such humiliation, a great spirit is sometimes born, for example, among the German people after the Napoleonic defeat. Could it be more that France was undergoing a progressive catharsis after the humiliation of World War II? For France has had the tradition of greatness itself and now finds herself the most humiliated of all. There is a spirit of American bourgeois prosperity in which I grew up. Was there a similar spirit the Frenchman lives in, only a tragic one, which is the spur to philosophy?
I tried to work up to this subject in the car with Mr. Bosquet and Nicolas. At first, I asked many questions about the French resistance leaders. Then I asked the question directly what were the memories of World War II in the eyes of Frenchmen. Mr. Bosquet related some of the hardships of that period. This did not work, so I began explaining the theory that Napoleon’s victories kindled the national spirit of Germans. Mr. Bosquet immediately replied that the conquered peoples had had many favorable memories and experiences of French rule - freedom from the petty tyrants, equality of the citizenry, etc. My reply that there might have been also humiliation at the defeat and domination by Frenchmen met with strong disapproval. I persisted, and asked whether there might have been similar effects from World War II. The two cannot be compared, they answered. I was silent for 10 minutes, but tried cautiously to approach the subject somehow, for I saw a clear rhythm in a manifestation of French patriotism resulting from World War II. We discussed economic policy a bit and then the conversation ended. Still I was very happy to have made the progress that I had made, feeling that the groundworks of a possible rhythm had been laid.
That evening I listened to Nicolas, Christine, and Daniel speaking in French together and I had a feeling of perfect ease and harmony. Then Christine asked me whether I could speak French, and I felt even happier. She is also the artist of Diana, the small sketch in her room I admired so much.
I could not sleep that night, for my fancy rambled deliriously in anticipation of the rhythms to come from this 20-day period with the Bouquets. I would have discussions with everyone, learning and delighting in the ways of each member of the family. I would speak perfect French and be a light in the family, a memory they would never lose. This was not conceit either, but delight in the new spirit which I felt was entering me at that time, which I would spread to others. My forehead burned, and blood surged through my temples. How different it would be at Cordon!
That evening I thought it would be fun to romp through the hills near the house for an hour or so. Nicolas wanted to bring Monique along, who is a physically very attractive girl who went swimming with us earlier in the day. So Daniel, Nicolas, Monique, and I walked up the hill up a road. Because I had run up to meet them, I was huffing to regain my breath and felt exhilarated. So I talked boisterously in French, feeling my exuberation. At one point Nicolas asked if his mother had said anything to me, such as good night. In my boisterousness I tried to say that it was not necessary to have said it since I knew that wish that we have a good night already. I asked what the word for “wish” in French was and the girl told me “le Desire”. So when I put it in that sentence, both Nicolas and Monique laughed. I sensed the reason, but asked what was so funny. This is somewhat characteristic of me, which I will have to overcome, to ask a question which should be the source of embarrassment to answer, expecting no answer, but a silence to this risqué clap. Nicolas answered that “Desire” in French had sexual connotations, which made me look in my own eyes as somewhat of a fool. So I curbed my own high spirits and started thinking.
We passed a girls camp where an outdoors rock ’n roll dance with Ray Charles music, and climbed to a hill overlooking the camp, and sat down. The situation became clear which was at hand. A tension was developing between Nicholas and Monique and me, with David staying to one side in his own ways. The discussion consisted mostly of whether we ought to continue tup the hill, sit down longer, or go back down. Nicolas kept insisting that the choice was mine, and kept asking me for my opinion. I was growing aware of the implications of this offer, and jokingly deferred the decision. For apparently it was a deference of leadership to me. However, the presence of Monique made the situation entirely different. It put me in the role of the child or also the buffoon whose fancies the adults have to oblige. When the child is angry, expressing a personal desire, the parents interrupt their own interests to feed it. This situation was clearly one of personal desire or whining. There would be no purpose to having ones will obeyed.
Nicolas and Monique also wanted entertainment, which I was In a position to supply. By making me internal I would become the new theater for them. David and I would carry through our own boisterous ways on the side; Nicolas and Monique would carry through in the fun and have something to talk about later. However, they would not make themselves a spectacle. Whatever I might do would not increase my stature one bit in a competitive sense; it would only be a longer or more ridiculous part of the spectacle, and if I behaved comically to increase my reputation of wit with them, they would only feel the more proud of their own adult strength. I would supply a certain spontaneous rhythm which they could feed from for their own amusement.
In short, I grew silent and pensive beside them and finally did give the command to go down. They rhythm of the marching buoyed up my spirits again, and I began making jokes and reciting poems. I could sense Monique laughing. She would answer my questions in English as though to put the common rhythm on my ground so that I could carry it further. I made several allusions to reciting poetry (boots, boots, boots -), but always stopped short of the recitation in which I would make myself a spectacle. Finally David recited a French poem he knew, and I felt ashamed to my own dishonesty of spirit. For David is an unself-conscious, though self-generating producer of rhythm who dares to follow the routes of his own thoughts. I then tried to recite poetry I knew, ignoring the ridicule this would draw later.
The trouble with this expedition was Monique’s presence, not Monique personally, but the existence of a smaller rhythm (Nicolas & Monique) within the larger. I had wanted to have a boisterous masculine tramp through the neighboring fields, singing, running, shouting, and enjoying the outdoors. This amorous axis perverted that and . It fit in with my definition of evil as an interior rhythm (or satisfaction of rhythm within the short circuit) which makes these members unable to participate in the larger rhythm, the objective one.
The next morning I had these ideas about marriage: Marriage in unjust and cruel to the outsider, leaving scores of old maids in its wake and great anxiety among all people. Marriage establishes itself supreme among all the values of the society. The unmarried person is looked down upon in any case. Across the universal band of brotherhood marriage stops and cuts off the circulation. Only it is adult and respectable.
I am thinking of the influence upon the gang or group whenever a romance sets in. The inner rhythm of the group is disturbed by the new rhythm setting in. It demands precedence. All other rhythms are puerile and naive. The lovers immediately take their place as the parents or leaders of the group after the model set by the family. For the family is a large dictatorship of mother and father under the central rhythm of love between these two members, under which the children find their custody. All the rhythms of the children are subsidiary to that grand sexual and spiritual alliance of Mother and Father. After this habit inculcated by the growing up process, the young men and women consider it naturally of supreme importance to find such a rhythm themselves. When they do find it, it takes precedence over the other free movements of comradrey and good will in society. Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, etc., who subordinated their love life to politics, are but pale influences in America.
The communal family must be established to replace the private loves. Today I actually considered plural marriage for myself in anticipation rather than in theory. I am perhaps not adult enough for private love yet, but I will have to be first an adult to enter a plural marriage. Moreover, I object to private marriage in theory. It is not Christian, and it destroys the common rhythms in society.
A plural marriage is the social counterpart to socialism. It will bring many difficulties for which new channels have to be grooved. For example, marriage presently sorts out the weak or timid from the bold for reproductive selection. The plural marriage seems also to depend upon a male leader such as Brigham Young or John Noyes to hold the community together. But the products of such an experiment have been happier individuals, because they had a home. This may be the most important practical work I may do in my life. Now at the Bosquets, I must observe further the balancing of various rhythms and create my own.
I have the idea that some day I will meet an older woman who will teach me much about sex, which knowledge I will need in founding a plural marriage, perhaps a widow.
July 9 - This is largely hypocrisy, and I need a younger woman to show me how wrong I was. And even while I am writing this, I ought to be bravely facing what is really on my mind. But I am allowing myself the luxury of thinking it over, because I would not improve the absence of policy.
The whole trouble here is that I am a coward (to rhyme with my first middle name). The plural marriage may be the best solution for society, but it may also be my own cowardly way out. It would be brave to buck the morals of society to be the arrogant lover, but I should not condemn marriage and conventional love if I could not have it myself because I am afraid.
I cannot avoid the fact that Christine wants or did want a romantic affair with me, and to some extent I am equally attracted to her. She is, however, six years younger than I. Marriage between us would not be inconceivable; however, a possible affair might simply be one of Christine’s “experience” romances. She is a teenager in the first blaze of her youth, far from the age of actual marriage, while I am in just that age bracket, and cannot effort too many free rides for small girls - this, putting it unkindly. I am afraid that the worst part is that I, being older, am supposed to know much more about these things, and I fear appearing ridiculous in front of Christine, because I am completely clumsy in such matters. It is undoubtedly the same element of cowardice which has undermined my other romantic experiences, too, and an end has to be put to it.
This is what happened today: After going to Chamonix, I took a walk to restore my spirits. I met Christine on the path coming back, looking equally pensive. She asked me if I had a good walk. Instead of answering the question as might have been expected, I asked her when supper was and walked on.
After coming up, Christine was sitting by the front window reading a comic book. I might have talked to her, because I sat down on a couch next to her, but did not.
Nor did I say anything to her at dinner, though she was very gay.
After dinner we all went down to the hotel for amusement. I was perfectly silent in the car. I did not sit down next to Christine when we were watching pingpong, though we were the only two not occupied doing something. I sat outside at a table for awhile, hoping that Christine would come by so that I could talk to her. But she didn’t, of course.
At one point she put on a record. I suggested another record, but gave in to her insistence. Then I changed her record in the middle, and put on mine. We also played ping pong together at Nicolas’ suggestion, but Christine quit after 5 minutes.
Then Christine, David, Nicholas, Monique, and I took a walk together. Christine and I sometimes walked side by side, but seldom spoke to each other. I was quiet, as I always am when I am in love. (I was not in love with Kathy Donovan.) We tried to compose a poem together in French. (My contribution: Where the void will begin. Christine’s contribution: The village will spread. A significant beginning which did not get any further because Monique could not think of a 3rd verse.)
The final touch came, however, where there was a wood pile 20 feet high. I broke from the tramping pack and cautiously started climbing it. Christine immediately followed, and climbed quickly higher than I had gone, and quickly down again. I inched my way back down again. Climbing to heights had been my test of courage as a small boy. Indeed, I started climbing the pile to test my flagging courage, quite instinctively. But Christine had gone fearlessly beyond my highest point, as she had also in our increasing affair.
After this evening I cannot refuse to face the principal challenge which is to summon my courage. There can be no rhythm without it, and if I falter now, my whole life will be a fearful faltering. I must subordinate all my other reservations to that of gaining my courage - make this the one supreme issue of the next few days. (This is in itself a cowardly thing to put this intention in writing because I can use this as an excuse for the affairs I will now pursue, and cloak my own feelings.) My stomach rebels against the idea of courting Christine, although she is an attractive girl in many ways. But I must do it - for my own sake. The question has become: Do I have the courage to have a romantic affair with Christine, or do I not?
Christine is quite high-handed as a teenager is. My relation to her has been exclusively as to “a member of the family”. That is, I would ask her official questions which any one of the Bouquets could answer. I also patronized her in a fatherly fashion.
Is self-consciousness an excuse, and an avenue for cowardliness? If I love the truth, I must not avoid this question.
I’ve been trying to cloud every movement in ambiguity to protect myself from possible consequences. That is, I’ve been seeking contacts with Christine which would not necessarily be indicative of romantic attachment.
Two days later - no success. Last night I tried to summon my courage to speak to Christine. She was playing ping-pong with Monique. I went into the church yard at Cordon, slapped my face, held my breath to the point of satisfaction, walked through the grave yard, telling myself angrily that these people had mostly had the courage to be mothers and fathers. But the attempt to whip up myself physically was dissipated. I finally spent the evening poker-facedly doing the twist while the others played ping pong.
After driving home (during which I asked Christine a question to no avail), I decided to punish myself further by spending the night roaming the woods. So at 11 o’clock I slipped out of the bedroom window and headed around toward the back of the house. I walked though fields, woods, shrub areas, guided by the lights of the stars and of the cities in the valley below. I climbed up toward La Tete Noire in the cold and black night. The object was to pass the time; it was a sort of sentence to roam the night in the wilds.
I was quite tired to have clear thoughts, but the whole venture seemed to indicate a lack of good judgment. Why was I out in the night anyhow? The solitary expedition was not any fun. I probably wanted to have a story to tell someone. Great heroes do this sort of thing. Mankind would some day celebrate this night in the woods. Actually it was supposed to be a test of courage, laying also a physical pattern to be carried over to the more important area (i.e. Christine) as a foundation of habit. But in fact this kind of test sometimes becomes an end in itself. It was running away to hytail it into the woods instead of facing the problem.I have done mountain climbing before as a character test to the point that it has almost become a perversion instead of an inspiration and foundation of courage.
Of course, I imagined wild animals, and really would have been frightened to have met one. Fortunately, not one wolf appeared. It seemed also to be an exceedingly tame danger to spend a few hours of one night in the wilds, when our hardy ancestors spent lives there when there were wolves. In one sense the expedition was a good experience of consciousness. I was surrounded by darkness, and was actually able to submerge most of my thoughts into the senses. I also made a “snapshot” of my situation in the tradition of the bath tub more than 10 years ago. (I.e., I realized that at that moment I was actually in certain physical circumstances. I would pretend to turn off my life until the next snapshot when I would be in other circumstances, and have a collection of disjointed moments of self-consciousness.)
The expedition began to disgust me, partly because there was no object to it. Instead of returning at dawn, I returned at 3 am. I did ascend the Tete Noire. Coming home I experienced the only real danger. Not being able to see the terrain too well, I stumbled over a 15-foot cliff, bruising my right hand and arm. I cannot understand how I landed so softly below (perhaps because of the scraping). My clothes, and especially shoes, were muddy and wet. I climbed back through the window quietly, anxious to make this expedition unknown to the Bosquets, because it was so silly (and pertained to Christine). In the scuffling to wash off my bruises I must have woken up Christine. She asked me in English what I was doing. I concealed my expedition, but missed another opportunity for conversation. I went to bed, woke early, but lay in bed with plans of how I would marry Christine (in spite of the differences in ages) next July, etc. This is typical of how my imagination quickly moves to the end result before the beginning has even begun.
July 13 - I have decided to commit suicide. This is a firm decision, and part of my life plans which I have evolved in my ideas at this point in my life.
We spent the afternoon at the Hotel and Chalet in Cordon. Christine was not there. I read the section on dreams in Freud with my new breath method and felt elated. Then I played ping pong, first with Daniel and then with David. Music from Schubert, Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven was being played on the record player. My game of ping pong was exceptional. I imagined the success which self-conscious rhythm would bring me in life.
Then I realized that with success I would probably become proud and squander the remainder of my life. After hearing Garratt boast of winning Terrell Newman awards each year through the 12th grades, for example, I resolved never to let such a proud and boastful attitude affect me. Yet surely enough I became arrogant after winning 1st place several years myself. I have also become arrogant over my philosophy. Yet each time this occurs, I have a strong counterpart in repeated failures in social contacts, concrete learning and achievements, etc. However, these worldly failures should disappear if my ideals and wishes are achieved. There would be success everywhere, and praise from everyone.
I am apt to become vain when this universal fame comes to me. What should I do? I have previously decided to connect my name with perversity in the public mind, so that there would be antagonism of the most biting sort following me persistently through many years of success. I have also decided to compare myself during these later years with myself now when my imagination struts so daringly forward. Yet even this is a rather ineffective contrivance. I could also cultivate a circle of harsh critics, or feel the failures of my children personally. Yet none of these measures would be sufficient.
The only way to maintain the pressure is to take a dreadful vow of death to haunt me through my elation. Cowardice is one of my worst faults. It takes consummate courage to commit suicide, for this is a practice habit can never establish. It is now my duty to commit suicide or determine the time and nature of my death. Nor have I stipulated either at this point. But I will not shirk it. I will complete what I feel to be my earthly existence and then resolutely prepare for and execute my own death.
In a way this action would be appropriate to a self-conscious life, for the matter and spirit would set its own termination. It is another principal celebration similars to the one on the mountain near Reutte. It is also profoundly anti-religious, and ,my will must bow in case God intervenes. But the whole venture assumes that God does not exist and the absence of my afterlife. I hope that this will not trigger a cult of too early suicides. But my humanity dooms me to death anyhow, and if I commit suicide at the age of 70, not much will be lost. Of course, an accident or natural causes may take me away before this time of resolution. I must not wait fo such, however.
Christ’s life was tempered by the exact knowledge of his own death. Socrates and Lincoln died unnaturally. Mine must be courageous and resolute as theirs, but a matter of self-conscious determination.
On the way up to the house, I told David that I had planned to commit suicide. He said “congratulations”, but I do not think he understood my earnest decision. He then wondered if there was a religious cult in overpopulated lands which decreed this. I said the problem was a new one. David led a torturous pace up to the house, and I was continually trying to summon my courage to tell him, feeling that my word spoken at that point would be sacred and decisive. I spoke it.
July 14 - For a day which ended in relative happiness though my plans were thwarted by the childish expedition to see the fireworks in Sallanches last night, today, the day following was a slow burn of frustration. That rhythm establishing conversation with Christine had failed to come off. Perhaps my brain is too tired to find an imaginative pattern to strive for. My French has also lapsed into disrepair the last day. The 14th of July dance is tonight. There is a barbecue here also, and I have a chance to try my fortune. If this attempt (which must be a real one just as the conversations at the end of Sevres were) fails, I will give up all thoughts about Christine because she seems totally disinterested now.
I ate a big lunch and felt sluggish afterwards. I half slept in a chair outside the hotel at Sevres digesting my food, and Christine for awhile sat beside me. Actually I had no intention of beginning a conversation then, but I cannot pass by too many opportunities. At the swimming pool a new thought about rhythm came to me, perhaps more commonplace than the others.
I incline toward sluggishness and dullness as well as cowardice. The only way to be securely sharp and quick is to live in a stimulating rhythm for awhile until it becomes the norm. Then the momentum will carry itself forward. If not, if there is no stimulating habitat, one must induce it by courageous willful effort, or by physical stimulation. One must experience a quickening physical pace. I should master swimming with the Australian crawl or some similar rhythm which absorbs my whole body. These I must execute precisely and quickly.
There is one difficulty with rhythm. When one has lost it, it is difficult to be content pursuing the lesser rhythms necessary to reinstate the larger. Especially the objects before. One prefers to bring it all back at once. It helps, though, to be desperate.
Next morning: I had the incident, but it leaves the matter in a more anxious state than before. Last afternoon all us “children” went to Monique’s house upon invitation. It was obvious that there was nothing to do there. It was only a tyranny of the central lovers. So I brought the expedition home. It rained so that we could not hold the barbecue.
We planned to go to the dance in Salanches celebrating the 14th of July. All during dinner I was in a brooding mood, which the Bosquets interpreted, out of desire perhaps, as being tired. Actually I was angry with the way that the vacation here had gone, realizing that the lack of rhythm is also due to the Bosquets as well as to myself. Mr. Bosquet is the one who makes the most effort, but his manner is poorly designed for the task. He rather summons his own imagination and courage to find a topic of conversation, which is his own affair and instrument of rhythm rather than a device for dialogue. Mrs. Bosquet is too self-conscious, I think - too much like me. Nic is sometimes content to play an exclusive central figure with Monique. Daniel is another good prospect not yet exploited, and Christine is too young and excitable. David is disinterested.
After dinner I was anticipating the moment I could have conversation with Christine, feeling the occasion not auspicious, but necessary. A row developed at the table and afterward, in consequence of which the parents refused to let Christine go to the dance in Sallanches. This naturally ruined all my hopes for the evening, but I was extremely perplexed by this development. It took me five times as long to dress as it normally does. Christine sat in the front room throwing a tearful tantrum, but I did not know the best manner of intervention.
At first I thought it might be best to speak to the Bosquet parents myself saying that I had looked forward to dancing the twist with Christine. The “safe” ambiguity would exist here that i may have been making the suggestion as an attempt to patch up the family difficulties, or else out of a naive sympathy for Christine. But the occasion and my courage failed. I walked out the door as if I were going to a funeral, and reluctantly drove the car down to pick up Monique.
The incident here seemed like the crucial watershed. It needed the impulse of courage to carry affairs over the hump. Otherwise, I would have been spending the next few days in self-reproaching dejection, and it might be months years before I could bring affairs to another ”moment of my greatness” to kindle or flicker. I have an ambitious realm of dreams, but some bridges have to be built between my real life and these theories.
At Monique’s I announced that I would not go further because I was not anticipating having any fun. Nicolas objected immediately that neither he nor Monique had the right to drive to Sallanches. I would have to go; someone suggested sitting in the car. I said I would explain it to their parents, and started up the hill by foot. On the way up through the tall wet grass I walked through a farmer’s yard. The farmer yelled at me words I could not understand. Amusedly I answered “pardon”, “quoi” and other words, and then went further up to a salvo of oaths.
Mr. Bosquet answered the door with a baffled look on his face. The answer I was going to give, and did, was that I returned because I would not have anyone to dance with at the party. He paid little attention to this, and asked immediately about the car and insurance matters Nicolas had raised in objection. This was an easier way for me because I could cooly give the facts in my broken French, and my awkwardness merely added to the confusion and confoundedness. I looked up the word for “I’m sorry” in the dictionary and repeated it.
Slowly the others began to catch on. Christine suggested going down in the other car to bring the Dauphine back. Mrs. Bosquet,, who began to delight in this sudden change, I think, had nothing against it. What they were ignoring, of course, was the reason I had returned, which I secretly recognized to be a manifest declaration of amorous interest in Christine. The preoccupation with insurance (a symbol itself of playing it safe) cloaked the real embarrassing issue, which no one dared to bring into the open.
In ten minutes the rest of us descended in the big black car. I felt a little indignant because I had dared pursue the real rhythm, even though embarrassing for myself, while the others talked one about insurance. From this point on I played my hand very badly, however. I was ever conscious of the impression I was making. A triumph was at hand without my moving my hand. We would descend to Sallanches and Christine and I would have achieved our purpose and could dance together. The sheer mechanism of the circumstances would brilliantly work to my advantage, though I had not originally intended it to be such.
I began to play a part in the car, determined to insist upon every advantage the situation would bear, but cruelly to play my advantage of having to do nothing for the triumph to the hilt. I answered Mr. Bosquet’s questions and comments politely but stupidly. Everything was calculated to highlight that advantage, and I did not want to insist bluntly upon having Christine.
Christine was perfectly bashful, like a young lamb who did not want to accept the factor of love not on her own terms. She stuck close to her parents. We searched for the others in Sallanches, having seen their car parked outside of the town. At one point I set out in a separate direction to investigate a place where they might be. Apparently, the Bosquet parents sent Christine to accompany me and headed in the other direction. But after we had seen the place, she hurried back to her parents and I wandered back in defeat. There would be nothing more tonight. I was utterly unable to set further policy, so I had to ride out the evening.
Back at the house we found the others. After a short discussion, Mr. Bosquet settled the matter with Nicolas. I asked him whether he was angry, hoping to maneuver a “no” from him to cement my triumph. But he answered with the ominous reply “Tout est bien qui fine bien”.
What would I do from this point on? Originally I had thought that I would give Christine one more try and then drop the matter under the assumption that she was too young to participate if she did not respond. She. had not responded to this patent exhibition of love.
In bed that night I settled upon the policy of following my heart. Circumstances are right that I should woo Christine because it is now in the open. But the main consideration is this: In life and especially in love, I have played a passive part. Kathy Donovan singlehandedly carried out he campaign which resulted in our brief romance. If this incident was to be a watershed, I must begin the pattern of active courtship. Otherwise the incident might go down as an inhibiting failure in my love experience. Christine might similarly be haunted by the thought that she had prevented this potential romance.
Besides, short though it might be, this incident would give me what would otherwise be lost to me forever, the experience of young love - the spiritual equivalent of deflowering a virgin if you will. It would be short and pure for both of us.
Unfortunately, I have no plan or inspiration at this point. Any rhythm to bring it would be hypocrisy. So perhaps I must improvise something with Christine. But this is where I was before. I awoke this morning to find something like a nightmare before me. I had a discussion with Mrs. Bosquet about Faust, which was the beginning of a rhythm with her. But now?
Damn it! (July 16) - Something has gone wrong. Yesterday at the pool I tried three times to strike tip a conversation with Christine; three times she walked away after a short reply. Then that evening we had a barbecue. I sat next to Christine. She seemed then attracted to me, yet I could not find the occasion to speak to her. That evening also, I practiced the twist alone, she began too, but I could not think of asking to dance with her. She asked me also once what I was doing. I said David and I were having a discussion instead of seizing upon the occasion to speak to her. And later in the evening when Christine brought out a portable radio to let me hear a German station, I could find no words for her. Today also after lunch I sat down next to Christine all alone. She was reading a magazine. I thought she would continue awhile so I wrote postcards. In the meanwhile she had walked away. This is typical of how it goes. I have an opportunity, but wait, thinking it might improve. Apparently I want the conversation to seem as casual as possible, and not the outcome of plotting.
I was inhibited yesterday by Mr. Bosquet. It suddenly occurred to me that he might secretly dislike me intensely. He could not remember my name for a moment yesterday, for example, which Freudian psychology would hold important. He made the remark that he felt frustrated when his wife drove the car, and fingered a letter opener continually when she returned from swimming. All this indicated a psychological anxiety. (I think it might be possible to develop Freudian symptoms by knowing about them.) He may see in me a rival of sorts, and so I had better careful not to give him cause for antagonism. It is not my purpose here to stage an overthrow of the fathers, but as I did at home, to be the defender of fatherhood and its rights.
At the barbecue, therefore, I was preoccupied by this proper staging of roles. Mr. Bosquet, as father, wanted to be the central enterprising figure of the occasion. The master of ceremonies and the responsible one. I was careful, therefore, to ask him if the meat were cooked enough, should I move the grill, etc. Whatever rhythm he should try to begin I should conscientiously guide through to completion, and I should not try to start one of my own. It was Mr. Bosquet who offered a toast, poured champaign, etc. That evening he read the itinerary while the rest of us followed on a map.
Several events made me anxious lest that would not succeed. First, Mr. Bosquet brought out some iron tongs for the grill, saying that they were made in the 18th century. I said nothing, a bit embarrassed because these tongs could not be used at all for the barbecue. So this attempted beginning of conversation fell flat. I usually try to think of some following remark so that a semblance of rhythm is made, but could not on this occasion.
Then, at one point Mr. Bosquet handed David a glass saying to be careful because the glass was hot. David picked up the glass and shouted at the top of his lungs “See, the glass is hot.” This was, of course, rude in the extreme, but David does everything so unconsciously that people do not take offense. I started to laugh at David’s manner, so singularly upsetting to my tactics, and then checked myself. I think Mr. Bosquet noticed, though. Then as an embarrassed cover, I added “tough skin”.
My tactics must have succeeded, however, for I decided my best role might be to help David with the crepe. Mr. Bosquet came out in the kitchen, saw me making crepe, and said loudly “So, the Cordon blue”, or the blue ribbon, the chief cook and master of the occasion. Evidently this is what he feared I would be elsewhere. Yet now he felt strong enough to place this designation upon me himself.
The events of the night before probably upset him greatly, as a successful challenge of his authority. I maneuvered events to make them have to go down to Sallanches in spite of their intentions. Actually I meant it only as a declaration of love to Christine, but I think Mr. Bosquet recognized my conquest for awhile. He said it was the day of freedom (against parental authority). Mr. Bosquet also hesitated greatly before doing anything, and appeared almost angry at one point when I said “J’en suis fache.”
So this is another front demanding caution. Today I am staying home instead of going in a car driven by Mr. Bosquet to St. Gervais, and this may cause some difficulty. This morning, however, a question of mine prompted him to explain an astronomical prediction another 5 minutes, which helped. But my pursuit of Christine is languishing. If I could only speak French better!
I am as yet unskilled in the rhythm. Last night gave me so many sudden facets demanding close attention (for which I have no habit) that I foundered badly. It is better to concentrate upon a single rhythm, if possible.
One thought: A struggle like this: between Father and son, or Father and young man: may be responsible for the importance of female deities. God, the Father, is the absolute rhythm maker for mankind. A prayer is a sort of counter rhythm aimed at making God change his will. Too many successful appeals or successes of man would undermine God’s paternal authority, and men do not want to do this. It is much easier to make a plea to a woman, because she does not have this paternal complex. The woman - Athena, Juno, or Aphrodite to Zeus, or the Virgin Mary to Christ - can intercede for man through her accessibility to the Deity.
Clarification of my personality: I am the Father sort instead of the lover sort. Usually the two states occur in the same person at different times though a concentration of one at first may be found to a greater degree in a certain person.In my case it is extreme. I have not yet had sexual relations with a girl (or boy), and have had bad luck in all of these. But the Father has to be the lover first, and it would be a tragedy for me to miss my later role.
Modern society is lover-oriented, and the teenagers usurp the sovereignty of the family from the parents. Under my influence the rights of fathers will be brought back. Indeed I have sometimes thought of conquering a woman through pressure upon her parents - an ignoble role, but one showing my strengths.
July 17 - Postponed the expedition
Last night when Christine had to work on mathematics, and the long walk I had envisioned faded, I had to make an adjustment in my expectations. I do not think Christine is the right age to appreciate self-consciousness which the conversation would bring out, even though these are the rhythmic ties which bind adults the closest. I have to give up. The pursuit of Christine was really a sidetrack to test my courage. Last night I felt better and certain traces of the rhythm began to develop around the camp fire. Today was a rather different day, conditioned by the thoughts of fatherhood and heroism yesterday. Nic, Monique, Daniel, David, and I drove to Geneva to sight see and transact some business. I executed my will and was decisive from the beginning.
A thought occurred to me while driving to Geneva: In future years I will need an arena of boisterousness and frankness to sharpen and strengthen my spirits. This is similar to Prince Henry V’s Eastcheape Inn. I have to periodically whip up my spirits in a drunken rout - to slash my wits and voice against those of others similarly inclined. All my self-consciousness must temporarily be submerged in the strenuous rhythm of rant and riot. There must be heated arguments, mentally bullying and the direct use of passions, especially the bludgeoning of human against those who can take it.
In this furnace the strength of the serious man will be forged. The human elements will clash violently and rawly, demanding the utmost of dexterity. I will forge also my powers of expression, poetically and argumentative, and fashion my capacity for anger to increase my confidence and my skill in handling people. This is to be the savage fashioning of the rhythm. If I succeed here, I can discharge flashes of it whenever I need. It will generate this rhythm.
Somehow this boisterous masculine spirit affected me also during this day in Geneva.I joked with David much in the car (for he is a connoisseur of humor of sorts) and was in high spirits upon entering the city. The high point of this spirit came as we ate lunch. I sat next to Monique, and in a way defied the rhythm between Nicolas and Monique - not wooing Monique separately, but defying both of them by refusing to recognize the presence of a lady. I gobbled my food, I doubled over, and ate everyones second helpings, made blunt remarks, and enjoyed myself greatly, feeling also a certain pelvic exhilaration. In short it was a short revival of that golden age in my dreams - the 5th grade at DUS and the camradery at Nichols school. I was again the swashbuckler, and the others had to respect my presence, at last letting the tide of my domination spend itself in fatigue and pour over them. At the same time I felt perhaps I ought to direct this energy better this time, so as not to isolate myself again. For I felt it somewhat resented by the others in its barbarism.
It was masculinity I felt. The large fountain at Geneva attracted my attention & I photographed the others in front of it. “Geneva” sounds sexual also. But I grew sleepy and did not want to sustain a false rhythm if its time had passed. The rest of the afternoon was unpleasant. It took a long time to have my checks cashed, and I spent 20. Franc Swiss on 2 English coins of the 18th century. The manner of the salesman was so flippant that I felt definitely having been gypped upon leaving the store. I became moody and irritable, feeling compelled now to find a use for the small coins. Daniel and David led me around the streets, to various shopping projects, and we never did see “the sights” of Geneva along the waterfront. We were stopped 3 times by customs. One time the man took me out of the car, questioned me extensively about my camera, etc. - all when I had an illegal watch and cigarettes for Nicolas in my pocket. I have become closer to Daniel on this trip for some reason.
21 July . Back from the trip which has shattered my self-confidence . Four days ago we left early in the morning and drove to a small town in Switzerland. The first day, in which I was extremely tired from not having slept well, the whole family marched to Champex and spent the night. The second day at Ville d’Essery Nicolas planned an excursion for the hardier members of the group to continue through Italy and France while the others went by foot through the valley to Ferret and returned to the car. Accordingly David, Daniel, Nic and I went by bus to Ferret and were over the Col du Grand Ferry into Italy that evening. The next day we marched down the valley to Entreves, up past the Mt. Blanc through Italy and over the Col de la Seigne, to des Chapieux in France the next evening. The last day took us from des Chapieux over the Col du Bon homme. to les Contamines. The others went by bus to Sallanches, but I hiked the final 20 kilometers from les Contamines to St. Gervais, LaFayet, Sallanches, and finally home in Cordon, arriving with my knapsack at 10 p.m.
What depresses me is the utter failure of my plans on all fronts. Nic’s excursion separated me from Christine, from Mr. & Mrs. Bosquet, who had been the chief objects of my attention the first day. I was making no headway at all with Christine. I thought she was upset by my not sitting with her at breakfast and not walking with her on the trip because I was too tired. But the second day I tried to make conversation once, and she stopped to attend her sack. It is too late now. I cannot have in 4 days the pleasure with Christine I had once wanted.
Similarly Mr. Bosquet and I were not able to get along too well. He made several attempts to speak to me the first day, but all encounters were painfully self-conscious. At one point we actually did have a discussion - quite short - about the house in Cordon. I started talking about Milford, and the conversation ended there.
When Nicolas proposed the trip to separate me, I was actually glad of it because my attempts to come closer to the others had failed. There was also something perverse about making contact across such age gaps. Physically, we had been marching for 15 minutes and resting for 45. I wished to throw myself into the strenuous physical rhythm.
But something new set in. Nicolas started leading the group through a fast marching pace. All the way up the Col du Grand Ferret Nicolas marched furiously at the head of the troop with the map and I was last in line. It continued the next couple days. Nicolas was always leading the expedition, choosing the paths to take (by virtue of being the first to arrive at the places) and later began telling us also what water was safe to drink, what we should do to erect the tent, etc . The question “Ca vas?” To each of us was continually on his lips.
This attitude of Nic’s - treating us as members of his scout expedition or children of his family - began to irritate me. The continual march hardly gave me time to think. Furthermore, it appeared that I was carrying a lighter bag than the others. In the rivalry that developed, I took the attitude that even if Nic was marching at the head of the troop by being quickest, I had the greater endurance. Therefore, I would pretend to have plenty of energy left while the others were resting. I matched Nic’s pace toward the end of the day, having allowed him to move quickly ahead in the mornings.
Nic’s position was that of the efficient and sensible march maker. I developed a Whitmanesque attitude, jovial and irresponsible. I wished to live off the land, to drink water from the streams, buy milk and cheese from the peasants, and wine of the locality. I would accept any weather and circumstances which the trip would offer with perfect cheerfulness. In part this was defensive pretension; in part I still longed for the hearty tramp through the countryside.
The weather was the chief issue between us on the surface. The Bouquets had cancelled the larger tour de Mt. Blanc because they had read in the newspaper that there would be bad weather. Now Nicolas kept saying that we had to finish the expedition before the bad weather began. I maintained that we ought to enjoy the hike, take a few days, and accept bad weather without bitterness if it came. The issue came to a head yesterday morning as Nicolas announced that he “was sorry, but we would have to leave in 15 minutes.” I said I was not leaving in 15 minutes, but would eat my breakfast there in due leisure. Nicolas was sure that we would be trapped on the pass in the blizzard. The situation was complicated as we had very little food with us. The weather was bad indeed there, but I was ready to take shelter if a thunderstorm began. Actually this practical consideration was but the avenue of our asserting our particular personal differences.
The night before we set out on the trip I could not sleep because I was thinking how I could repair the poor relationship between myself and certain members of the Bosquet family. In particular I thought that Nic was suffering from an intense inferiority complex which made him anxiously competitive. In Detroit I used to play soccer with him and outdo him continually because of my greater size. Now he might be developing the whole affair with Monique before my eyes to prove that he had an exclusive fierce rhythm which our age has made supreme. He might think that I despised him, as evidenced by my reluctance to visit the Bouquets at Christmas. Now he had failed his tests a second time, and must feel very unworthy.
My first task should be to restore his self-confidence. I could make clear the regard I have for him, saying that his visit was the high point of our year, discussing my school problems, etc. The discussion must be frank.
I intended to do this on the trip, perhaps sitting together in the evening on a mountain peak. But the occasion never presented itself. Now distasteful circumstances were developing. If I made an intensive effort to show my friendship now, Nicolas would probably regard my overtures as a gesture of surrender to his high-handed tactics. It would only encourage him in those symptoms which I regarded as desperate.
Things had gone wrong. I had accepted the challenge Nicolas had drawn up to impress me. I began to march faster and to answer each arrogant act with another. But I had no desire to win such a rivalry because it would only drive Nicolas into greater frustration. It was now too late to withdraw from this rivalry.
Certain difficulties of the leader become clear. The leader must provide the common rhythm in which each member can find full expression. He must curb his own egoistic urge, for no good man will submit to servitude. In curbing his own claims, the leader must be certain that he does this out of wisdom and not out of weakness. Renunciation is not noble when it is surrender. The leader must be certain first of his own place as leader, in perfect confidence. Then he can proceed to make peace with the following. In this case a patch up with Nic would be impossible because I could not honestly say that Nicolas had not beaten me at the game he had arranged. I would have to conquer first (since there was a battle) and then show generosity.
A similar problem had arisen with my love affairs. At the beginning I perceived that one was unfair because it destroyed brotherhood and sisterhood. But then Christine made it apparent that I could not have had love myself because I was unable to win it. It would have been hypocritical to have renounced it. I was then forced into the affair with her.
I realized my weakness and felt unequal to it. I had undertaken major offensives on three fronts in a certain self-confidence which the philosophy of rhythm has given me. But I was crumbling defeated on all of them and there was no prospect of victory. I must be careful and not repeat my senior year at Cranbrook. It is dangerous to assume too many rhythms, or rhythms too fast, because it heads to confusion. Out of these considerations I wanted to build up a solid strength. So, like Caesar, I undertook a forced march to build up my will as soon as the others were tired. I marched home from les Contamines. It developed, however, that the Bosquets had worried, and had gone out searching for me. So now they were secretly angry at me for my stupid expedition and I have another battle to fight.
Saw the church festival at Cordon, and Daniel explained to me certain sociological factors about the town, which do not interest me now. But this is the new rhythm, perhaps, begun externally.
Lots of reverses the last few days. Yesterday at the pool I saw Christine sitting with 2 other boys in a discussion. What humiliation! This was precisely what I have coveted in the last 2 weeks and have never been able to manage. Should I feel inferior to the 2 boys 5 years younger than I? Perhaps. But I chose to blame the problem rather than myself, because I have tried several times to talk with her, but have met only rebuffs. Those attempts she has made have had no possibility of continuation on my part. I simply did not know what to do. Consequently 2 rivals did not spur me into action, but forced me to abandon the field.
I am sure Christine recognized my humiliation immediately. She laughed derisively when I combed my hair in front of a mirror though in fact I did not comb it to improve my physical appearance in front of her. After I had given her up in my heart, I had the first serious discussion with her that evening. What irony!
So again I was undecided whether or not to hope for Christine. At the pool the first thing I did was to think through my position again. For the reason I had given up was that the rhythm was impossible from my standpoint. Now I had begun to appear. Fortune seemed to have chased me around cruelly. I gave her up again because time was too short for the enjoyment I had coveted.Now I rented a boat and rowed. Christine swam to my boat and climbed in. Then she jumped out - just like a mermaid - a sweet young beautiful creature. And that evening she became angry again, which is her love tactic. However, it is a fruitless one, and I said unambiguously “Je suis fini”. She seems happy now, but I am sure she would have wanted more to have occurred and to occur between us. My policy for the rest of the vacation is to enjoy myself (except for the conversation with Nic and with Mr. Bosquet). We are in love with our eyes, but this is too insubstantial.
July 25th - Several days of heartbreaking reverses. Yesterday evening, just after writing the above in my diary, I was present at a party held here in the Bosquet house. Nic and Monique, Christine and Phillipe and Christian (her two new boy friends) plus David and Daniel sometimes were there. Obviously David, Daniel and I were cut out, but I refused to boycott the teenage get together. The new boy (who claims to be 20, but is really 14 or 15 I think) could dance all the new dances, and I had to wince to watch him smoothly ask Christine for a dance, see her coyly refuse and finally give in to his confident request. I, took danced the rock with Monique, but was a subject of ridicule to the others because I could not dance it as well as these teenagers. It was almost a masochism to make a fool of myself by demonstrating my lack of romantic attractiveness. They all laughed and cheered me on condescendingly, these youngsters 5 or years younger than I. I could endure it because I have given up all hope of winning Christine’s love.It does not matter whether she thinks I am foolish or not, or whether she submits to the tenderest embraces of another.
Today the trend continued. I stuck to David and Daniel all day, having the frankest discussion with David I have ever had. I told him I thought the vacation had been a failure, but did not tell him I was in love with Christine, of course. As far as she is concerned, I asked her once to go out with me in the rowboat as she was sitting with the other boys. By this I meant to absolve her of me if she raised the issue; otherwise enjoy her company neutrally. She refused with a smile. This evening we listened to records at the Chalet. Christine at one point tried to appease or take care of me by playing a piece on the piano, but I showed no great enthusiasm and she gave it up because too many people were in the room. Once, though, I asked for a record. Christine high-handedly took mine off and put another on. Then when she had walked away and her record was playing, I conspicuously removed hers and put mine back on. I am tired to being taken advantage of, especially when she no longer loves me. Some muttered “bete”, but I was not concerned with the impression I was making. Later Christine and her young “love”, the brute, walked out into the dark together while Daniel and I played ping pong.
It is apparent what has happened. Christine is experiencing young love, which is a sort of competitive distinction (the Bosquets are terribly competitive). There are some forward ones who play the love game and some childish ones who cannot. Christine. has relegated me to the second class, considering me to be too inept or dull to make love smartly. She is one of the elite in this love, and it is too bad that some cannot make the grade. So I am simply excluded, and there is little sympathy for me. Youth is cruel which has not known failure.
I still love Christine; it is not quite like Karen Vanderkloot. I am bitter toward her, however, because she would not let our earlier relationship go through. I tried to speak with her several times, but she was always sulking or uncooperative. Why did she never respond, or never initiate? Too inexperienced? I could excuse also her ardent changeover in front of my eyes - a cruel thing - to her youth also. And I am not in the least angry at the boy, my successor, because he is a brute simply and with our emotional flower. He enjoys outdoing a 21-year-old, so let him have his pleasure. I am a fool to have courted youth, but I may have been more unlucky to have succeeded.
The innocent please and delight in this young girl was impossible as I had imagined, because Christine was quite self-conscious about love, though not of herself or of others. Christine is out. I have learned a few lessons, too, for my part was bungled also. I think I am both babyish and middle aged in my sexuality. I could not enjoy elitist love, however, for it is sheer cruelty to others. Some day, however, I will find a young woman I will love dearly, even in my naive dotage and love for others in the world.I must be tolerant about this one, bu not let it take advantage of my good mood.
PS. Last night, having finished, Christine came to me as I as reading and asked when I would go to bed. Apparently the light was keeping her awake. But does she love me after all? Still it is too late, bu if she comes to me again in the night I will have a conversation with her then.
I came to the Bouquets with honest intentions to establish a rhythm of friendship between me and certain members of the family. Those moves of friendship I have made have been cruelly seized upon by them for purposes of rivalry. This aggravates me, and I will have little to do with his family if it continues in that line.
May 29 - back in Munich. The story of the Bosquets ended in complete disaster (though no explosion). I did not do the sober recalling on the train to Munich as I thought I would.
July 29 - The first day of the trip. I was quite discouraged by the events at the Bosquets which has caused me to shrink in fear of people. My thoughts have still been dominated by this. At the Piscine I thought I would write out a complete story of what I did in Cordon and analyze it for the errors which I made. It would be systematic self-consciousness.
However, the visit to the Bouquets has begun to intrigue me as a story. I devised a trilogy of stories which would be true accounts of three occurrences here in Europe.
August 19 - Much has happened since the last entry, namely the trip to Greece and I hope I can write enough give a fair picture of the experience. I wrote little during these three weeks because there was no time.
The July 29th entry was written the first evening in the presence of H. Weis-Bolland and Walter Avril, when it looked as if I might be included (though I was terribly shy) in a circle with both of them.
The first day of the trip I sat by myself because my neighbor threw up and had to be moved to the front of the bus. I thought of my French trip, but especially of the three essays on love which I would write. I would have to write the Bouquets a thank-you letter, leaving open the possibility of a frank correspondence on why the vacation went wrong. I live in a dream world of my own themes, and these are not easily communicated. Therefore, I am little able to hold a stimulating discussion with other people. From the outset I realized that this trip offered the opportunity to reenter the real world, because I would see a variety of interesting places in Greece. Perhaps I could naturally begin thinking about Greece from the historical and the futuristic standpoint. Then there would be a subject for discussion currently and later on.
I realized also the sore need for habit, for stability and repetition. Once more - at the Bosquets - I had attempted to soar off as one of the contenders, but had taken on too much at once. It would be far better to repeat a successful action until it becomes a habit and a possession. I could handle a changing panorama of events only if the memory of these repeated itself through conscious recollection. Therefore, I would use the waste moments, riding in the bus, to recall at each point in the trip the moments of interest immediately preceding.
The first evening the three of us went into a “lokale”. Avril left early. He reminded me of a college student. Weis-Bolland, the popular type - a conductor of rhythm among human beings - stayed to talk with an older man who liked him very much. I stayed with them and was not conspicuously awkward. I had kept up with the rhythm.
The next morning Weis-Bolland saved a place for me on the bus in front of Avril and himself. I sat with Heidi Bloss, a motherly school teacher I had talked with briefly the day before. That day was the high-watermark of my initiative on that trip. Bloss and I carried on a hefty conversation during the morning. I was elated by the revelation that I could make conversation by telling all the factual knowledge that I knew. Because my factual knowledge is skimpy, I am usually inhibited in beginning to draw upon it. However, I talked about America, felt proud that Iskra was the name of the newspaper Lenin edited. This process reached a climax as I tried to demonstrate the proof of a differential of a polynomial in calculus. She did not know either.
I also used the technique of trying to isolate types or forms from what we saw. For example, the barn roofs in Germanic Yugoslavia are tapered at the corners, and designs are sometimes worked out in the brickwork. We might collect these observations of unique motifs, and build composites of a landscape from them. Unfortunately, after the first day we did not pursue this game further. It might have made a profitable basis of conversation.
The spare moments that day, and also thereafter, I did use largely for factual recollection. I tried to recall all I knew about Alexander the Great.
That evening in Belgrade, I became isolated from my friends, and strolled through the streets alone. A group of 5 from our tour accosted me on the streets and I joined them - Regina, Lola, Christoph, Franz, and a girl I knew well, but not her name. These formed an early clique into which I was being invited. I had spirited, if somewhat senseless, conversation with that girl, and was in full swing.
The next day was marked by mental fatigue. We hardly spoke in the bus. Outside he window passed by parched fields of corn and poppy. That evening before dinner, Avril, Hr. Meyer, and I walked through Pristina - the market and the old streets, followed by children. In the evening I accompanied the clique through the same streets, saying nothing. I was conspicuously boring.
The human relations interested me more than the scenery on this early part of the trip. I continued to recall the official points of interest, however, rather than the human encounters, for I vaguely thought that the human activities could be fashioned around the official program.
Our tour leader taught us certain phrases of Greek upon leaving Yugoslavia. I bought a melon upon crossing the border, but could find no one to share it with. Daytimes I was an acquaintance of my seat partner, Avril and Weis-Bolland (increasingly less). Evenings I was a member of the clique under the leadership of Franz and Regina, especially that third day. We were in Thessaloniki that evening. I was quite spirited as we drank wine, and later walked with Regina having a serious conversation with her (by my standards). I was happy to be in this circle.
The fourth day I suddenly became closely associated with Walter Avril. I had breakfast with him, lunch alone with him, also dinner, and finally was put in a double room in Lamia with him. Avril is a very social person, and I am rather surprised that he put up with my company, because I was rather uninspiring in his presence. He talks easily and wittily (by the standards of this trip). In Lamia we split a waterline which he paid for. (He was always paying small bills for both of us, though not compulsively. My German was bad on this trip, but Avril always tolerated me.
In Lamia Weis-Bolland asked me if I wanted to room with him. I accepted, but somehow we were not scheduled together. Thereafter Weis-Bolland was the nucleus of a clique with three others, in opposition to Avril, which played a cat and mouse game with the two most sophisticated girls. The boys and girls stayed separate, and they found at the end partial contact with the other sex, though these two diametric cliques did not come together at all. I considered them the natural love leaders of the expedition, they they forfeited their leadership by staging this stalemate. Later on I wanted access to the masculine clique, because they shared a sort of running commentary on the human developments among themselves - taking little interest in the rooms. I was tied to Avril, however.
In Lamia Avril and I sat in the square with the two youngest girls - one from Darmstadt who rolled her Rs, and a chic black-haired girl. I was boring, but the girl from Darmstadt tolerated me.
It grew hotter as we approached Athens. Christian, the Reiseleiter, was carrying the full load. Were saw the Thermopyle in the morning (I was exhausted), Eleusis, and the Daphni church before entering Athens. The myths of the underworld in connection with Eleusis intrigued me, and it remained one of my favorite spots. However, it was very hot and I ran out of film.
Avril and I escorted the two girls of the previous evening and the girl of the first evening in Belgrad on a sightseeing tour of Athens. Avril always had the pick of the girls, and I would make conversation with the remainders. They kidded the guards in front of the Royal Palace, asking if it was possible to see the king. For a while also we sipped lemonades at a popular concert. Then, in the late evening and early morning ordered Retsina wine in one of the roof restaurants at the foot of the Acropolis (unlighted at that time). I was in fair spirits toward the end, but the Belgrade girl took a somber attitude toward everything, and my hopes of making contact were frustrated. Avril and I called each other “du” for the first time, a term not especially common on this trip. I stumbled drunk in the street and skinned my arm.
In Athens I spent 70 Drachma for film which did not fit in my camera. Then, because I had opened the seal, I could not exchange it. Small irritations appeared frequently on this trip.
There was a bus tour of Athens the next morning of little consequence. We saw the Olympic stadium, the Jupiter Temple, etc. That afternoon, however, we visited the Agora and the Acropolis. The Agora bristled with associations of Socrates, Stoicism, St. Paul, Demosthenes, etc. I enjoyed especially the museum with its fragments of Greek pottery. The fine drawings on the urns appealed to me almost to the point of fixation. This was the classical rhythm at its finest.
My head swam in anticipation of encountering the classical as I climbed from the Agora to the Acropolis. I bought a guidebook for 30 Dr. The Acropolis loomed overhead on its pedestal like the unattainable moon which is the symbol of the most exquisite creation of man’s mind. It was like a trip to the heavens of cultural greatness. The occasion became almost as precious to me as the birthday ascent of the mount. I was in ecstasy. The ruins looked to me like the craters of the moon. This was the genuine ecstatic experience of western man - the encounter with classical antiquity, even as stones, which the Christian ages somehow did not manage to suppress. It was not just a tour, but the genuine experience of the Renaissance. This was the beautiful shell flung up through the ages from classical Athens. The stones not only bore witness to the greatness of Athens in the flesh, but were effective in their own right.
I excitedly discussed these thoughts with Avril while we took pictures of each other before the various stones. We became emotional cultural effetes. Then I became disgusted at this artistic gushing. Weren’t we overdoing it to be so excited over the Acropolis? Avril kept repeating “Kuche mal hier, Bill”, which sounded liked baby talk, and alienated me from him for awhile as one without sense. But it was I who had begun this degenerate gushing - So Hellenistic, Victorian, or stylistic. It was alien to the sensible classicism of those 5th century Greeks, and perhaps one reason successive ages have not regained those heights. I began immediately to conceive another essay, a study of art and style, having as its theme the moon.
Still in this giddy spirit I lingered on the Acropolis longer than the others imagining the entire day to be holy like Stephen Dedalus in Bloomsday. The essay to commemorate this experience would deal also with Christianity, a counterpoint to classicism. Therefore, it was fortunate that a Greek Orthodox service happened to be in progress at the foot of the hill. Piously I stood for 20 minutes as the priests and choirs chanted and people kissed icons. I expected to write all this up later in the essay, and thus searched eagerly for the elements to fit into my story to appear before my very eyes. This was also faintly degenerate. Finally after returning to the hotel briefly and then wandering through the fruit market with its bright lights, I had dinner alone in a small restaurant and wrote down my philosophical impressions.
The whole trip might be said to have collapsed also after this point. My old ties were lost, and I became temporarily dissatisfied with Avril after his sharing of my giddiness, which smacked of homosexuality. The number of “impressions” became burdensome, and my attempts to build habit collapsed. Therefore, the Greek trip ended almost as disastrously as did the visit to the Bouquets except that I could look forward to a period of stability afterwards.
The following morning we toured the national Museum. Frl. Bloss and I accompanied each other, and I was not too inspired by her presence. I craved as always to see the vases again, which I did for the final 20 minutes in Avril’s presence.
That afternoon the group made an excursion to the Aegina Island an hour and a half by boat from Piraeus. I was in poor spirits, wishing no companionship. I read the guidebook on the voyage over. A bus took us to the site of a temple dedicated to Athena and a sea god. Then we went swimming, which I did not enjoy particularly. We had to wait a long time for the boat back. People were pressing up the ramp so thick that we missed one boat. In this packed condition we had to wait a full hour. Spoke to no one, deciding to use this time for recollection. A very masculine girl in appearance stood in back of me. She was probably a nice person but no one paid attention to her, in spite of her extreme good sense, because she looked so husky. Finally an older Slavic woman engaged me in conversation. I had instinctively disliked her for her brittle behavior, without knowing her. But her younger companion also spoke to me and offered me a piece of candy. So it was that I first noticed this girl with whom I carried on a distant romance the rest of the trip. She was a teacher from Dusseldorf, but I do not know her name.
Avril sought my companionship on the boat trip back, I thought as a sort of intended lackey. I resisted, sitting on the rail by myself. In the bus that evening I expressed the opinion that the tour leadership ought to concoct an embracing spirit similar to the ancient mythology in which the whole group could be caught up during the tour. This was relapsing back into self-consciousness and into the comfort of companionship with Frl. Bloss.
The next morning was supposed to be free. Somehow Frl. Bloss accompanied me on a private tour of Athens. I was impassive toward her because I really could not tolerate her from a sexual standpoint. It was really ironical that I should take that attitude so suddenly - I who had made such an issue that love was cruel to others. Bloss desired me, perhaps, but I would have no part of her. This particular morning I think she sensed this slighting, and we both persisted in our various projects. The Byzantine museum was closed. I tried to locate Brumbaugh. She did some shopping. We visited three Byzantine churches. I found it easy to be sarcastic and loose with my fancy in her presence because I felt chained to a monster which only my wit could lash back at.
The afternoon was a pleasurable contrast. The group made an excursion to Cape Sounion where the temple to Poseidon and Byron’s initials are. The sun shone brightly, the water was blue and salty, and the beach was not crowded. I swam along the coast to the end of the promontory, practicing my Australian crawl. Here at Cap Sounion I breathed on the left side to avoid drinking water each time. In spite of this I achieved an excellent harmony with the waves, floating up and over them each time.The Poseidon temple loomed overhead on the cliff each moment, and I felt as if I was battling the sea god in the raw. It is seldom that all the elements of nature combine in such a distinct encounter as here. The sun blazed overhead. The wind lashed over the water. Water soaked me to the core and salt was forever in my mouth. The Greeks could well conceive of each as a personality.
I made my way to a rock just beyond the promontory. There a small group of us waited. I climbed upon the rock, but did not go up to the windy top with most. I sat beside a shy yellow-skinned girl on one side, who had one strap of her bathing suit loosened. We were the silent ones. Occasionally we spoke a few words to each others, and I could not help looking at her sweetly. The others left, but we sat together for a minute afterwards. Finally she said she would leave and asked if I would come, too. She jumped in first and I followed, unable to maintain the pace of this sea creature. We never made contact again though I was anticipating a silent chaste companionship with this girl the afternoon. When we reached the other rock, one of the girls had stepped upon a sea gal. There after we made our way back through the rough sea the maiden and I separated.
I climbed toward the Poseidon temple, but developed sore feet. I also did much swimming, and stopped to talk to Frl,. Hass, the sisterly sarcastic one and her two boyfriends (one preferred) who sat in front of me in the bus. The trip back to Athens I sat next to Avril and we had an enjoyable discussion, one of the best on the trip. (There was a bus which had turned over. I murmured “Photopause” and Avril shouted it. This was the standard witticism “ x Pause”, but the others shouted indignantly that someone might be dead.) Earlier also, as the group visited the Poseidon temple, I spoke quietly with the girl of the previous evening. I commented that the great number of photographer-tourists made an especially comical contrast to this particular temple.
The next day we made an early “Badepause” after leaving Athens. Here on the beach I collected pretty stones, as I had done in Italy. This activity was a distinct mark of my fall and withdrawal from the group. Little children collect pebbles and desperate people waste their time polishing them. The others let this pass in silence, but I polished my collection of stones, maintaining a cheerful attitude in the bus.
Meanwhile we saw Corinth’s ruins, the French canal, and passed into the Peloponesian peninsula. I split a glass of wine with Walter Avril that evening, and in a semi-drunken state enjoyed companionship with him.
The next day, arriving early in Tripolis, we dropped off our bags at the hotel and made an excursion to Sparta and to Mystra. One of the tires was punctured. I used the occasion to climb through the desolate landscape to the top of a hill. Frl. Bloss insisted upon accompanying me, but did not go any further when I said I wanted to go to the top.
At that time I was quite disgusted with her. Certain horrid images remained fixed to her. I had eaten a whole kilogram of wine grapes, for example, in the bus that morning. Frl. Bloss had eaten nearly the same amount, but she explained she could eat them faster. She demonstrated (without grapes) rapidly feeding them into her mouth “ping pong”. The image of her stuffing grapes into her mouth “ping pong” disgusted me. The other sight was that when she swam past me in the water. Floating high above the surface , she reminded me of a barge steaming toward shore.
In Sparta I wanted to eat with my secret girl. She invited me, too, but it developed that I would be the only boy among 8 girls. I walked out to another restraint. At Mystra we met briefly also. She laughed when I said it was not difficult to see why the town was deserted. Usually I was silent. She was always poised, but I think shy after really meeting me. She would, for instant, walk away some times after a brief encounter.
In Tripolis, while the others were swimming, I went up to a secluded spot under the fortress and masturbated. We saw Epidaurus the day before, and I had several chance encounters with her. But I was losing touch with the marble ruins which might have made a topic for conversation.
The bus continued around the Peloponesian peninsula the next day stopping at Olympia and for a Badepause. The Zeus temple was a mighty ruin, but the Hermes by Praxiteles did not please me.
The older couple began to be nice to me. The night before a group of us drank retsina wine outside of the hotel. A political discussion developed in which Hr. Meyer took the leading part. The older man wanted to blame Hitler on the Americans, hinting that American capitalists might have financed his rise to check the Russians. I listened passively to this abuse, asking only once for the evidence. That is the job of your generation to get these facts, he said.This discussion may have gotten on his conscience, for the morning after he made conspicuous gestures to help me. This shows the emotion-torn feelings of post-war Germans who have to wrestle with the accusation of guilt.
That evening also I ate with Frl. Hass et al, hardly saying a word. My mind was extraordinarily alert, however, and ready to recall the minute circumstances. I ate with them the next evening in Pyrgos also, and considered them a circle to move into.
The evening in Pyrgos, I was quite disheartened by my social prospects. Then Christoph or Franz, my roommates at the time, invited me to accompany them that evening. They had been maneuvering to escort Regina & Lola, and had a date. Shortly after we picked them up and walked to the end of the pier, Walter Avril appeared and walked beside Regina. She broke away from the group with Avril, while I walked ahead with the others. For an embarrassed stretch of 20 minutes we looked in the gift shops. Regina and Walter headed up the street and I accompanied them. They suggested that I escort them to a certain place. I hesitated, and at the end refused to go with them. Regina gave Walter a look of helplessness, but they went on ahead.
I was being made an instrument of Regina’s. She obviously had wronged Franz & Christoph to desert them, but now she wanted me to desert them too to help dissipate their offense. I had become a pawn at this stage.
I quickly found the others, and we had hooked up with a group of girls containing Frl. Bloss. We two were polite to each other & friendly, but ignored each other. All 7 of us went to a cafe to drink and talk. I said hardly anything the whole evening. At this point the difference between the philosopher and the stylist were becoming clear to me. I would have to balance myself by becoming the stylist for awhile. That is, I should sit and observe the social behavior of others, and then assume the various modes of conduct myself. Otherwise, I would never have a method of social encounter, and it was too late to develop one so I just listened for the rest of the evening.
The next day was full, but I’ll be short. We crossed the bay by boat. I sat in the vicinity of the secret girl with certain other girls. I read Heine, and the girl from Darmstadt explained words to me. My girl moved closer to me, but when I tried to speak with her, she moved away. (Oh, the night before, after the others had gone to bed, I had a conversation with her while eating ice cream, but very inconclusive.) I was exhausted the whole day, upon which we toured Delphi. For me it was a shopping expedition. I brandished my “kitch” before the group. The ruins we covered at a leisurely pace, drinking from the sacred stream. They were quite interesting. That evening I accepted the company of Frl. Bloss and was in high spirits.
General impressions for the rest of the trip: The currents had lashed me too hard. I had tried to seize them, but had failed in one & now was ruffled by the new ones crashing around. I had no energy to begin hoping, and marked time until the end of the trip. When there was time for repetition, I thought, my wounded psyche would heal from the French trip.
Aug. 29. Back to the narrative later. I have reached the long-awaited breakthrough in readings, which has been the central problem of my life for 4 years - at part of my life which I have tackled. It is only the end of the 3rd day, however, and I have been deceived before.
The technique is this: Read quickly even if I do not understand. If slowly, I will release into realization & suppression of vocalization. Most of what I read will remain below consciousness. However, when I go over this passage again, more will become clear. Enough times over and I will know it by heart. Whenever I see the page I will know exactly where all the meaning stands from several rounds of recollection. Consciousness is a final plateau. Upon achieving this I can find the philosophical variations or artistic connections or else I can strive for further speed. Eventually I should attempt to draw everything back through memory.
In reading let my breathing be the self-consciousness damper. Try to fasten in my mind the rhythms as quickly as possible, i.e., the units of comprehension. This is another name for comprehension.
In Skopjie, Yugoslavia I saw something unforgettable. Large crowds of young people were milling around the streets in droves around 4 or 8 o’clock. The mass (like a picket line) would walk slowly from one end of the square back to the other. This is obviously the way of socialist entertainment. Here all are equal. Young people of all sorts greeted each other, and the lonely people can join in too. Mostly the young men took each other by the arm, and the young women stuck by themselves.
It is in complete contrast to western entertainment which stresses exclusiveness. Those in our group complained that there was nothing to do in the towns - i.e., too few night clubs, cafes, etc. Our unit is the family. We make our contacts this way and hold our parties within our own homes. It is more sophisticated than the sweet, but dramas could be written about the jockeying for social advantage or distinction in such a situation.
That night I went with Walter Avril, Lola, and Regina through some of the back streets. The girls really wanted no part of me, for I was a pronounced clod & baby. We happened upon a wedding festival and were surrounded by many people. I let on that we were “Germanski” and we were no longer welcome. Some small children followed us curiously. Avril would kid them by turning around quickly and the kids would scream. Avril and Regina were forever going into private property hoping to find something exciting. We finally ordered drinks in a cafe while listening to Turkish music. (rather Macedonian)
In the bus I came a bit closer to Frl. Bloss. Weis-Bolland was flirting with her, and she became quite animated. She felt that the people on this trip did not fit together very well. She took a leading part in the singing, too, which the girls of the bus carried on.
I explained the pending story of the stone polisher to her. She thought it most philosophical, and was interested in the transformation of human life into stone - the juncture of life and death. I imagined myself making a vivid impression. My favorite expression was “Zeit vertrieb”, and I was always kidding her that polishing stones gave me a way to kill time. This was perhaps a bit unkind, but my manner was friendly.
One afternoon we played a word game when she was in high spirits. Then we carried on a banter for awhile, of a fairly low order, but the first one I’ve had for many months. In spite of my disinclination to her, she was the only girl I was consistently on speaking terms with, and I came to rely upon her for this. I seldom went out with her in the evening, but I usually spent the day with her.
The latter part of the trip I was consistently discouraged. I never began a conversation or hoped for any contact. I felt very much like marking time until the promised period of stability.
In Thessaloniki I was quite alone and discouraged in the evening. I bought a kilo of peaches and ate them all at once. Then like a pig I waddled back to the hotel and went to bed early.
Shortly before the Yugoslavian border I realized that I had lost the Visa card. I had them open my suitcase to see if it was in there. Then I filled out another one. It was conspicuously dumb. The Yugoslavian border guards then lost my passport. I asked the tour leader if he had mine when we pulled away. The bus backed up, and then sat in the hot car for 1/2 hour whiled the tour leader questioned the guards, who claimed it must have been given back. We finally recovered it in Titovelos further up the way.
This incident knocked all the enthusiasm out of me. Everyone searched their bags for my passport. Frl. Bloss checked my coat pockets as I stood up. I scarcely know whether to trust my own mind. I was confused, and could not look anyone in the eye because I seemed to be accident prone. I was the one always asking to have the cargo locker opened. I was the one with the most luggage, most of which I did not use. It was one big mess.
The others were snubbing me, I felt sure. The last night, I thought, I would stand up and offer to buy everyone a glass of beer. Most would refuse thinking it beneath them to accept the hospitality of a depraved (person). Those who accepted I would declare warmly were my friends. It would be another test of courage. In the end I did not carry it out because I was no longer in this morose attitude.
September 1 - The last 2 weeks I have been writing the political essay, which seems to be tiring me into slavery. Today I took a break and went swimming. There are 4 high diving boards. I stood on the 3rd one (about 25 feet high) for 25 minutes gathering courage to jump off. Others were doing it with ease from the one above. Even little children asked, “why don’t you jump?”
Last night I thought over my month in France, and it seemed hypocritical in the extreme to make my position one of heroism. I was cowardly all the way. I shall have to overcome this weakness if life is not to pass by in trembling. This is quite obviously the heart of my social difficulties too.
Part of my program shall have to include tests of courage. The diving board will have to be overcome. People shall have to be overcome.The essay remains for now but when it is done I shall begin to overcome my weakness.
A yellow jacket stung me today without provocation.
Sept. 10 - Another week of slavish work upon the paper. I am beginning to crack and for the last 2 days have been unable to accomplish anything useful.
Saturday I rented the typewriter and immediately began typing out the first part of my paper. The idea was that a day of typing would break up the writing routine. However, I also corrected the text in typing it up, and developed a perfectionist frame of mind. I absolutely gloated over the finished product (the 5 1/2 pages of it). The language was precise and brilliant. However, after this period I could not write the sections yet needed. I was more tuned to finished words than to ideas. My output was miserable, and I took the afternoon off to go to the pool (jumping off the 7 1/2 meter board again). I have no interest whatsoever in my surroundings, but a passionate longing to be through with this beautiful dead shell I am constructing. This is another ordeal similar to the mountain climbing in Reutte.
Why do I go on? I think this paper ought to make me famous. It gives me a sense of worthiness, even though fame would be distinctly to my disadvantage. Even now I think of ways to avoid fame without sticking me head in the ground. It would require great courage.
I think I want to have achieved something in the world. I am afraid of dying and having all which I have accomplished go up in the incinerator unnoticed. Of course, fame would give me an automatic advantage over my associates, but this is an unworthy motive. This will be a shell. Having achieved it, I will no longer be so anxious about glory at the expense of life.
But damn it, this paper is taking up time - a whole month now. My stay in Germany will have passed without my having done anything here. I will not undertake something like this which saps my energy so. If it licks me, I will be a dull failure.
Sept. 15 - A month now since I returned from the Greek trip. The paper has picked up again. For awhile I was inspired by a new insight into Jewishness, which I see reaching a new climax in this present epoch. The thoughts were rather like Hitler’s in singling out the Jew, but I am not certain whom to identify myself with.I am growing convinced of the worth of the paper, and am unfortunately growing somewhat arrogant in my thoughts. This may prove to be my downfall if I do not retain my wits. I carved my initials in a telephone pole in Landshut in this way (a design of W and M)
Oct. 6 - One of the last days in Landshut. I leave Monday. My paper is still not finished, but I have not “tweeked” the assignment. Still something will have to remain for Berlin, and some parts need strong correcting.
October 21 - Today I visit Uwe in east Berlin. I have somewhat fallen apart the last few weeks under the strain of the essay. It is something I could give up very easily, but I should not until it is through. So I continue to plod through the text correcting raw sloppy organization and language. Only 2 days remain before I start work at Borsig on Tuesday.
Oct. 23 - I spent the whole day having my job approved at Borsig which is not yet complete. Mrs. Kilian accompanied me through all. It is clear that Mrs. Kilian thinks much of personal position, and is quite proud of the position which her husband has at Borsig. She would like it to seem as if the firm were the exclusive property of her family. This conflicted with the people in the personnel department who did not like having anyone go behind them to gain a position. They are trying to make it difficult for me to obtain the job there. More later -
Oct. 25 - I am disheartened. Today I went to Borsig again as I did yesterday, and ran into the same obstacles. The personnel is obviously trying to make it difficult for me to be employed there because the Kilians had the job all set up without their participation and because i am an American. Actually I do not blame them for this anger, but their methods are disgusting. Yesterday I went to the Arbeitsamt as they had advised the day before, and was told that I should have received a paper from Borsig the day before. Therefore, having spent 4 hours in vain I returned to Borsig. They let me wait for 40 minutes, then informed me that the man I should see was in conference until 4:00 p.m. I should return today, which I did. Today I waited 1 hours, 45 minutes in the Borsig office until Herr Schulz was available, then received one paper which I was to take to the Arbeitsamt. I am to come back tomorrow for another paper which they did not have ready today. They keep saying that my passport should have a working permission stamped in it, but the Arbeitsamt official telephoned them yesterday to say that was unnecessary.
I am presently irritated by Mrs Kilian who insists that I eat breakfast and snacks at odd hours. She overdoes hospitality, obligating us overtly, subordinating me to her “personality”. I am a fool to spend any time there at all. I think I shall stay in my room or work or only visit the Kilians. Mr. Kilian suffers under this phony personality of his wife like all captive husbands, but is honest and capable. Women are the curse of the world.
Oct. 26. How I am sick & disgusted of the whole thing! My life will not improve until I am released from my essay. Today the runaround continued. I accomplished nothing at all. I am becoming bitter.
Oct. 29 - It is clear that I am a dilettante insofar as I work on my essay of world scope without knowing any background material for it. I read the biographies of some famous musicians today and realize more than ever the importance of discipline in a person’s creative life. I lack this discipline, but still I have this essay.
Nov. 5 - The essay has been through for a week, although for a day or two afterwards, I added a few sentences. This done, I can now begin to live a normal life again.
It is clear that this journey to Germany has not proven to be what I had hoped it would be. I have held onto my old life (the accumulation and purification of ideas) too long, and have not developed a new life. The political essay was the last expression of this - the beautiful pearl cast out of a previous existence before it changes. But the twin objective of my vacation has not been fulfilled - learning to read and making friends. The two years have confirmed my existence as an intellectual as opposed to a man of action.
Now I have revised my goals and manners for life somewhat. Discipline shall be the important objective for the next few years, and I shall need much discipline to survive the 1 1/2 years of college ahead. This morning I made a new resolution. I shall rise “one hour before the bugler”, and devote this time to my philosophy. When I have an idea during the day, I shall make a short reference to it in a notebook, and the next morning write a fuller description of it. When there are no new ideas, I shall reflect generally upon my life or purify my former notes. During this period I shall formulate the policy of my life, and the courageous or persistent execution shall follow this leadership. Accordingly, in the afterwork I shall see for an hour. The habit must be established here, and when I hold to a regular pattern, there should be no problem of being tired.
My sojourn in Germany has divided into several compartments. From my arrival until a week before the journey to Berlin for Christmas, I tried to adjust myself to the German life and language. Most of the German words I know stem from this period. But even in this period I was riveted to Romney and the American occurrences, which pattern had been established by the intense ideas concerning Times Square which I had prior to my departure.
Hr. Albert burst suddenly into my life in January, and though it was a brief encounter, it was enough to throw my self-reliance and resourcefulness into a new confusion. The same has happened to an extent when UWF called upon me at Yale in my freshman year. I must learn to refuse these dubious opportunities and favors. For the “warmer room” was available for the first time in February, and I was far less happy at the Lohner’s than alone at Fr. Weber’s. Everywhere I met with suspicion from the leering Hr. Lohner who considered me to be one of the irresponsible lower class - that smug but insecure lawyer!
My Christmas with the Kilians, the ski expedition, and the romance with Kathy Donovan were high points of my contact to the outside. I might have carried something further with Peigne, but this did not work out. My attention in February was concentrated upon the mountain climbing ceremony, which was an event of value in itself.
What happened in March and April I cannot explain. My wooing of Peigne fell through although I am not completely convinced of her beauty or her intelligence. I went to classes, read some, wrote letters, played chess and worked out in the gym - all the motion of the first 2 months without new impulse. At the beginning of the month of April I studied hard on my German for a few days to pass the test at the Institute, and thus was able for a few days to find a temporary purpose. At the end of April I visited the Harlins where I was melancholy, although immediately happy with the family and the surroundings. At the Harlins I decided to seek a definite rhythm through manual labor.
In May and June I lived in great contrast to the preceding months.
Each day I worked at the Grossmarkthalle which was no enlightenment, but a certain stability. I feel that external discipline need not have an apparent worth so long as I follow the precepts conscientiously. Then the exercise has worth as discipline, and I can always cite something of dignity in accounting for my time. But in fact the work was not too challenging in any respect, and the fellow workers were not interesting people.
My sickness for several days, the assumption of the Berlin vagabond for a few days, and my meeting of Jeff Barnouw on several occasions were challenging concurrent activities.The last week or two in June I used my time frugally in order to write the “Democracy Turned Upside Down” essay whose idea had come to me shortly before meeting Barnouw the first time. At work I also thought of the ideas in abundance. I also spent the money I had earned for books, clothes, and a camera.
The last few days of June and the month of July I spent with the Bosquets. At Sevres, despite an incapacity similar to that of the Harlins, I brought my ideas of rhythm in practice to a great clarity. However, my life philosophically fell apart at Cordon, first through Nic’s antagonism on the hill, then especially through my unsuccessful wooing of Christine, and finally through the personal rivalry which I had not wanted on the hike. After the tour de Mt. Blanc, I watched all the pieces fall apart and at the end did not care any more or have any hope.
I’m ragged in France, I immediately embarked upon the Greek trip. I attempted quickly to build a constructive 2 weeks, and was back in hope for several days. Then my imagination and enthusiasm began to fade as I realized that I was not capable of a full enjoyment of a Greek excursion. I had little to say to my fellow passengers and did not know very much about Greece. I became the conspicuous misfit or incapable one, the one who was always forgetting something, but the others remained fairly tolerant. I longed for the months of peace and constructive formation again, which had given me a certain stability prior to the disastrous French adventure. I would compartmentalize, and build a creative order over again. The work I would do in the following months would be a core of progressive improvement and a resettlement.
The political essay I expected to finish in a week or so, and polish the three autobiographical stories plus the rock polishing fiction (the courtship of Donovan, the mountain climbing, the disaster at Cordon, and perhaps the encounter of classical Greece) which I would work over and over again until the idea of beauty was worked into my mind.
(Having neglected my diary for so long, I should explain the crucial days in August following my return from Greece.)
I arrived in Munich early in the evening, and after saying goodbye to my comrades, had no prospective life ahead of me - just several errands which would have to be completed before I could have the long-awaited stable growth. I booked for a night at a hotel.
The next morning I embarked upon my chores, the chief of which was to find a place to live. Since it was summer vacation, I thought I might find a room in the Studentenheim, but after visiting several its seemed hopeless. At Muhlstrasse there was no letter at all waiting from Darlin, so I knew that the job on the farm (which I did not want any more) was out. That Thursday evening, facing another hopeless 2 weeks fo room hunting, I decided to live in the country or in a town near Munich. After inquiring briefly at the travel bureau, I picked the town Muhldorf on the Branau, because I fancied myself living as a student in a medieval German town on a river. The name Muhldorf fit this conception. I bought a ticket to Muhldorf and that evening was there. With all my baggage, and with a case of diarrhea, I walked to the outskirts of Muhldorf, north from the town under the railroad underpass, and intended to sleep out that night in my sleeping bag. The next day I would canvass the farm houses to see if they might not have an extra room for a few months. Bt it rained lightly as I lay out in the field (which was not yet countryside), and I realized that this was silliness. So I walked back to the hotel near the station & booked for a night.
The whole next day I spent in Muhldorf searching for a room, and I had diarrhea continually. I bought a paper, but could find nothing. Near the riverside a man told me that a certain old building was owned by the city, and had at present only two old women living in it. With this lead I inquired at the Rathaus whether I might not live there for several months. The official explained that the building was to be torn down, and, after having me register with the police, gave me two addresses at which I might inquire. Both proved unsuccessful. After a morning of searching a part of the afternoon, I took a nap, wrote a letter, and inquired at the hotel. I might stay in one of the upper rooms of the hotel for 45 DM a month. This did not appeal to me, so after a good dinner, I resolved to be off to Landshut the next morning, because I had remembered that Landshut was a medieval town.
Saturday I was in Landshut before 8, and checked all my luggage act the station.I walked haphazardly into the city and bought some cheese and bread which I ate at the foot of the obelisk in Bismarck square. a policeman soon told me to use the bench. I was wearing my Bayerisch Bundhosen. Nearby was a yellow cloister-school. I inquired there if there might be a room free for a few months, but it was a nuns’ cloister. The attendant did not know the address of the hermit cloister in Landshut, but I might inquire at St. Martin’s.
Meanwhile, I booked a room for the night at a pension. The newspaper office was across the street, and inside was a bulletin board with several addresses. These I scribbled down on a newspaper, and obtained a map and some helpful information at the tourist office. The first address was unsuccessful, but the second (Johannisstrasse) was vacant to my surprise. I did not accept immediately, but checked upon a remaining possibility in the neighborhood. This was also vacant. The choice lay between a larger room on the 4th floor and several blocks farther from the train station, and a less expensive, but smaller one. I chose Johannisstrasse for these reasons and because I liked the young, wholesome spirit of the landlord & his family, and was given a lamp to read by. The rent was only 35 DM a month.
To my surprise, the room was secure by the early afternoon. I cancelled my night’s lodging at the pension, hauled my luggage from the train station, and unpacked. There was no tenant in the adjoining rooms when I moved in. Sunday I spent in my room writing in my diary, writing letters, and walking through Landshut to the fair at Neumarkt. I also visited the Burg Transnitz and was enchanted by the landscape and architecture, which reminded me of what I had seen in England 11 years before. Monday I went back into Munich to pick up the Marx volumes, my baggage at Muhlstrasse. I caught the train just in time with Frl. Abent’s help, and was loose from Munich.
From 18th of August to the 10th of October I lived in Landshut, practically all the time in my room. At first I wanted to live a many-sided academic life as I had hoped to live, while dreaming in the bus in Greece. Soon everything became subordinated to my essay “Democracy Turned Upside Down”. I concluded this project in the same spirit as I had climbed the mountain in Reutte on my birthday. This work had to be done - and done to perfection. If there were the slightest thing sloppy or incomplete, I would know that I had not produced the epitome of my talents, and would always feel obligated to do the job right, or some other job right, at a later date.
Thus for at least 2 months, I worked day in and day out on that essay, which often went very slowly. I ate lunch on alternate days at the Gaststatte Munsteuer, and bought provisions from the stores to eat the other meals. I would arise at around 8 o’clock. and work sometimes into the evening. Toward the end, I began to have more contact with my neighbors, though I really wished to be left in peace to complete my work. I was the passive partner in all these friendships, but did not oppose them. Usually I just put off commitments and tried to complete as much as I could in the intervening time.
Part of the essay written in June had to be completed - the section dealing with equality, proletarian avenues, etc. - but I began very thoroughly also to rewrite everything which had been written before. There were so many sections, each seeming to be of utmost importance, that I was at a loss to see an end. I intended to finish up by the 25th of September, then by the 8th of October, but it was not until nearly 2 weeks after the election on the 6th of November that I really did finish up. It was an exercise in fine chiseling, but there was so much to be chiseled that I could not take the whole at once. Therefore, I attempted to complete sections and type them up. After the typing, I corrected the apparent mistakes, but made little effort to rewrite anything beyond that.
Sundays I usually spent a little time on other things to avoid losing my human vitality. One day I took a long hike toward Rosenheim, another day in the other direction. Several days I went swimming, and tested my courage (quite minimal) on the high diving board. But I always felt duty-bound to return to the essay. My greatest joy was exhausting a section and exempting it from further work. Each such accomplishment brought me one step closer to freedom. Yet, I could not have simply abandoned it after the effort I had already expended, except what directly concerned the paper.
Since the 10th of October I have been in Berlin with the Kilians. Here too the specter of the essay has hung over my life. The threat approached that I might be forced out of politeness to abandon my writings because it was keeping my mind off Berlin. Indeed if I started to think ahead about another problem, I would have to forget it the next day when I began in my free time to continue the work. In Berlin I wrote the section entitled “Our Policy: The Left hand”. I was very discouraged by what seemed an unending assignment, and set a deadline for the writing - Oct. 31st. (Note: As I type this, tomorrow, Oct. 31, 2019, is the 57th anniversary of that date.) This spurred me to one all-out effort. I did not finish to my satisfaction, but was now well within sight of the end, which gave new encouragement. Meanwhile, Romney won the election. (And his son, Mitt, now a U.S. Senator from Utah, is in active opposition to President Trump.)
31st. Yesterday in the factory I thought that perhaps I might become an instructor in philosophy instead of a member of the financial department of a corporation. It rubs hard against my principles to be a professional philosopher. But it may be a delusion to expect to work one hand and study in my free time.
December 1 -
Today a letter arrived from Mother describing a visit to Andy in Topeka. They had dinner at the family’s house of the girl friend of Andy. How cheerful and intelligent was the family, and how attractive was the girl! It suggested that the old night were of mine - that I would attend Andy’s wedding , still clinging to my anti-feminist line - might very easily come true - probably would come true because I seem stranded far away from the passivity of love. Simultaneously I had a postcard from Kit (I wonder if this could have anything to do with the following criticism of myself).
The origin of my hatred to women probably lies in the 8th or 9th grades at DUS. In the 8th grade I fell in love with Weezy Symington who was the princess in the school play. However, she remained distant, and the next year did not attend GPUS. A hope was left uncompleted, having never really begun.
The real difficulty came the next year. My classmates were probably jealous of my academic record, probably because their parents kept nagging them to have better grades. They latched onto my innocence of sex, and used it as an instrument to assert their own superiority. Fred Baker and Peter Boone are the two people I remember in particular but Frank Donovan fits in somewhere. I did not know the “facts of life”. They tried to force a scene in which they would tell me the facts of life, as a sort of enlightenment for me. I was too proud to be engaged in such a way, and stubbornly refused to hear what they had to say. From that time on, they teased me (e.g., “There goes Buck who doesn’t know the facts of life.” The only other person in the class. who did not know them was Bob Vieweg. (He later consented to hear them.) This drove us into a sort of alliance, and I later despised Vieweg, because he seemed to be a friend with whom I could cry over my embarrassment. This “friendship” was the very embodiment of my weakness. The other “friend” was Bill Garratt, who was a sort of emissary to me from the others. His intentions were probably good, although he was the one I displaced as class leader, but I did not accept any enlightenment from him either. I remember one day, for example, when Garratt wanted to hear in my own words what I had seen Suzy do (copulate) and another time advised me to ask my father about masturbation (the concept with which I had become familiar that day at the fraternity initiation.)
In short, I learned about love for the first time under circumstances in which other people were trying to gain a triumph over me.
The other source was a bad family situation. I was shipped off to a dancing school at a time I considered love “sissy”. Mother insisted upon politeness toward women (opening doors, rising from seats, etc.) which I assessed as a device to maintain personal advantage. She was always contradicting my will. For example, I asked specifically not to have a birthday party one year, but a surprise one was arranged anyhow. She used to say things like “when you get married, I hope you treat your wife better.” I would retort, “I’ll never get married.” She would replay, “Oh, yes you will.” So the matter boiled down to a matter of pride between my mother and me. I assumed the position of utter callousness toward girls so she would not get satisfaction from having won the show of face.
In the 10th grade at BHHS came a third factor. That year I began to masturbate on a regular basis and curiosity drew me to encounter Margaret naked. We played together in the bathtub, and on certain occasions I slept in bed with her, feeling her genitals when she was asleep. I was always rather ashamed of what I was doing, and this made me timid. At the same time lust drew me onward. I never did have intercourse with her. I tried feebly to lure her into proposing more intimate encounters, but this only put me at her mercy and my emotions hung hungrily upon the consent of my 7-year old sister. I have made few advances toward girls since.
For the next several years my love life has been confined largely to masturbation in secrecy, but girls were absent from my life.
At Cranbrook I plunged wholeheartedly into the appeal of the prefect system and. the class offices, and experienced t he first blossoming of self-consciousness. I accepted dates which my mother set up for me, but was growing distinctly backward in this respect. I had nothing to say.
At Yale this changed into philosophy, which has been the generating factor of my life ever since. I began to collect ideas swiftly and this moved into the phase of essay writing (which I hope is now beginning to end.)
Anti-feminism has become part of my philosophy, but I recognize that I cannot condemn women altogether. Now my ideal is a sort of philosophic companion in a wife. That old feeling of excitement when a girl I secretly loved came near has been suppressed. I dread marrying on that basis, and I dread marriage altogether because I recognize how quickly the wife turns the man into her servant. I tend to be sympathetic to old women because they are sexless women in the safe category, like little children in their helplessness.
I have fallen into this because of my pride, but I think I can retain it.
10/31/19. The above comes from a green-cover diary, with a leather cover, that I found in a box that had been kept in the basement of the Milford house for many years. At some point (maybe this year) I typed the first 12 pages. Then, after sending the book manuscript for History of the Triple Existence off to Deborah Perdue in Oregon for correction of errors, I have spent the entire past week (from Thursday to Wednesday, today) typing the remainder. So I have just finished the final pages of the diary.
There was a small sheet of paper in the diary upon which the following was written:
Conduct in Love
1. Never rebuff a girl’s advances as a chastisement for an unsatisfactory rhythm unless there is a strong and unsatisfactory rhythm between us. This is never at the beginning.
2. Carry out those ultimate policies immediately because they were conceived from situations which rapidly change.
3. Never pretend to carry on a vigorous rhythm with others in front of the girl to show her how capable I am. It may inhibit her. Rather direct all my attentions and attempts to the girl herself. It is not important what she thinks, but what is the rhythm between us.
4. At a dance, do not make idle conversation with my dancing partner. Be the silent physical one and continue dance to dance. Talk to her later.
Also these names: Boldan Krurko, Stephen Goruch at lunch
Note: This is the second of two diaries written in Europe in 1961 and 1962. I presently cannot find the other one.
to: Summary Page