2.9 Notes for Chapter 2



[1] For example, economics uses reasonably refined mathematical models, but by failing to recognize that exchange behavior is a part of total human behavior, i.e., that in fact it is a branch of psychology, it remains bound to laws rooted in what are really local cultural conditions. Consequently, it is weak in predictions which involve the emotional behavior of man, even about everyday matters of interest to millions, such as the stock exchange! Sociology and anthropology have achieved order only as descriptive sciences. The fruitless flirtation of anthropology with psychoanalysis is fortunately over, and both of these studies are beginning to search for laws by more adequate statistical methods, but have far to go.

In sociology, the thin ranks of able researchers, hemmed between armchair, philosophical sociologist colleagues on the one hand, and short-sighted do-gooders with the scientific standards of social workers on the other, can advance but slowly. For the last fifty years it has shown a notorious bias against accepting the findings of behavior genetics and has tried to build a science of group behavior on a tabula rasa theory of the human mind, which was discredited soon after John Locke proposed it two centuries ago.

Although psychology has been methodologically more sophisticated it attracts, by its universal appeal, a body of camp followers and "non-investigators" more numerous than the professionals, whom the former substantially impede. But, alas, even the professionals have not succeeded by that test of the "sincerity" of a theory which exists in its developing an effective technology. Theories can always be made scientifically elegant, but more than scholarly "correctness" is needed, and here the physical sciences expose the poverty of social science by the richness and effectiveness of their own technological impact. For example, though learning theory has a vast technical literature, and certain social possibilities have recently been pointed out by Skinner, it has in fact not changed school teaching practices in more than trivial ways from where they stood generations ago. Similarly, personality theory, though potent in selection and counselling, and useful in clinical practice to those clinicians who understand it, is still in its infancy.


[2] As personal experience I recall that when several of my researches on the social class distribution of intelligence and personality, and the factor analytic definition of social status appeared around 1940, I was taken to task by social workers, academically labelled social scientists, for (a) supposing that social classes could have any "function," and (b) imagining that they could have even any value as scientific reference points since they were temporary hangovers, due to disappear after the war.


[3] The range of meanings given to a word like democracy illustrates the radical change in method and concept necessary if political science is to become an exact science. Obviously it means something different in America, Australia, Britain and France, and still more different again in the U.S.S.R. and China. In the two last, for example it is compatible with the dictatorship of an intellectual elite, but not in the former. In Britain and France it is compatible with social class stratification whereas in the U.S.A. and Australia there is an inclination to declare it incompatible with class distinction. And so on. The object here is not to pursue its meanings in themselves, but to insist (a) that one cannot use the term in exact discussion, and (b) that one could use what is conceptually intended by this term if dimensional analysis and quantification were introduced from social psychology.


[4] The particular instance of Adorno and Frenkel-Brunswik is of current interest in that it helped strongly to give intellectual, avante garde endorsement to the purely emotional discarding of a number of disciplined values which became extremely popular among half-educated students in the 'fifties and 'sixties. It filtered down from clinical psychologists concerned either to give parents an escape from the tasks of leadership or to browbeat them into positive abdication from setting standards. Like much rationalism which nowadays is apt to claim some support from popular science in addition to the usual logical dependence on an "unanswerable" axiom it was essentially a rationalization of id demands in the child. Socially, it developed a clever propaganda, using ad hominem instead of ad res arguments. That is to say, it arbitrarily defined the personality of anyone who believed in authority as obnoxious and psychologically sick, and set out to "investigate" it clinically. Like any ad hominem argument, e.g., Hitler's attack on the Jews, it could be more readily understood by the unintelligent than could any ad res analysis, and it had an immediate appeal to young persons irked by controls, and to maladjusted persons with a permanent allergy to authority or other realities of life.

As a researcher actively engaged, at a time of the above incursion, in more experimentally objective and statistically complex researches on personality, I may perhaps be permitted a comment which I believe is that of the scientific world today. A retrospect on what it contributed to basic personality research indicates that as a scientific concept the "authoritarian personality" was worse than useless. There simply was no such unitary dimension as that of an "authoritarian personality," attractive though this straw man might be for political incendiarists. The hundreds of articles and tens of thousands of hours of misspent research time by immature investigators thus stolen from possibly useful scientific work, stand as a monument to the gullibility that can had in intellectual rationalism and a reminder that social science is not always science. In the end, this tumor within a science was self-destructive. As more experimental and psychometric evidence accumulated, it became evident that individuals with respect for authority, when compared with those who had not, showed numerous valuable personality traits, e.g., higher emotional stability, dependability in emergencies, unselfishness and so on. It also became clear that there is no unitary dimension, and that the whole issue of respect for authority versus being a law to oneself is an altogether more complex resultant, psychologically and socially.

As the evidence backfired, the enthusiasm within alleged technical psychology collapsed as suddenly as it had been stimulated. But the fact that the hypothesis proved to be scientifically defunct did not stop the literary camp followers and educators with a superficial psychological reading, from claiming scientific support for their crusades, much as they had done with Freud. Thus as far as the propagandists were concerned, science had served its purpose, and its scorched harvest fields could be forgotten. In both cases the incorporation of this pseudo-science in the so-called Progressive Schools movement made it possible to beat shrewder, common sense parents over the head with "well-known facts of modern psychology." Between 1925 and 1950 the flood of "psychologically enlightened" education fed by the turbid waters of a misunderstood Freud and an hysterical fear of the damage done by authority, burst out of the smaller circle of academic psychology and its camp followers into the prestigious journalistic intelligentsia, and soon all the world was in the sea.


[5] The writer has no intention to make any ad hominem criticisms of theories. And even psychological analyses of writers of the past, which help us understand the course of events, should perhaps be detached as in the present footnote comment from the main evaluation in the text. But no psychologist, Freudian or otherwise, can shut his eyes to the interesting probabilities, pointed out already by Wells, of the determination of the less valid twists in Das Kapital from purely personal experiences. As one who had given up his Jewish faith, and lived in four or five countries, it was natural that the Internationale should be his child and that he should become psychologically unappreciative of any functions of individual national cultures. Thus he could easily become convinced that the latter were on the way out in favor of class loyalties, in the very century wherein historians now see more clearly a definite growth in national self-determination all over the world. (Classes and nations are, of course, true rivals in the psychological sense that greater loyalty to one means less to the others, so that their synergies [Cattell, 1950a] are negatively correlated, which may account for their conceptual rivalry in Marx's mind.) The effect of this personal factor favoring the denigration of national cultural values was multiplied by the personal experience of a life of poverty amidst an increasingly prosperous middle class the "bourgeoisie" in which he was not accepted and which was indifferent to his views. It is not surprising that he was embittered, and that as Wells has said, the fulfillment of hostility in the destruction of the bourgeois class seems more important in Marx's writings than any concern with what happens afterwards.


[6] As discussed later (page 148), the differentiation of parasitism from symbiosis, in both the biological and the cultural-economic world, is a most difficult diagnosis. The fact that an inventor-entrepreneur earns ten times as much as an unskilled worker does not automatically make him a parasite, if in fact the enterprise which came from cudgelling his brains increases the real wealth of the community by at least ten times the contribution made by the unskilled. Marx's definition of parasitism seemed to be that the entrepreneur spent relatively little time in work; but the same could be said also of the unemployed recipient of public welfare, or the worker who does "make-work" jobs to maintain "employment" but offers no really wanted contribution. Until psychology discovers more about the relative "stressing" and fatiguing effect of various kinds of creative, routine, and emergency jobs, evaluation of contribution by hours of work on a punched time clock is quite misleading. However, admittedly the creative individual who is also conscientious would not want to cease work when his capacity to earn reaches some satisfactory level.

A psychologist interested in the personal roots of philosophical, conceptual positions, again cannot but ask if Marx's constant preoccupation with exploitation and "injustice" had some connection with guilt over his own thirty years of "parasitism" upon Engels and several other acquaintances, in the absence of his earning an adequate living to support his own family.


[7] Parenthetically, it should be evident that the "left" political utopia is not singled out here for criticism of its values and methods of reaching values more than equally popular "rightist" philosophies. The example could just as easily have been a fascist system, as in the writings of say, Croce (1945). Indeed the position firmly taken here and already pointed out above is that the constant, facile reference to political or cultural "right" and "left" in the world's journalism is a quite unnecessarily crude, oversimplified, and misleading handling of a more complex multi-dimensional reality. But in so far as the dogmatic systems of Communism and Fascism can be placed at the ends of any meaningful dimensional polarity, the reaction to them logically to be made from the new social scientific development in Beyondism is emphatically "a plague on both their houses!" In the odyssey of real scientific social enquiry they are the Scylla and Charybdis, past which one must sail undeviatingly to more remote goals.


[8] As mentioned, present day Marxians, impressed by our modern social science, may wish to claim that Marx at least heeded empirically the historical process. But the spirit of science, following wherever the evidence leads, is just not in his writings. The only science considered is a questionable version of economics, while biological, social, psychological and genetic sciences are completely neglected .

As to values, these are partly personal and unexplained (except for the above) and partly a hodge-podge of revealed religious values current in Victorian England and nineteenth century European political strife. One might, of course, attempt deeper value inferences by attempting to find the outcome of politically dictated-vs-personal and independent saving and investment, or the family life effects of continuing-vs-not continuing the present laws on inheritance of property, and so on.


[9] Both share a spirit of superpersonal dedication to the task of maintaining truth. Indeed, it is no cultural accident that many leading scientists have been the sons of clergymen, and that the Puritan virtues are found more frequently in the family backgrounds of those who pursue science than those who pursue art, literature, business, journalism, etc. (Knapp, 1963; Roe, 1953; Weber, 1904, 1956). Biographies show that the scientist (like the early rationalist [see Becker, 1932]) has been almost as distressed as the theologian that the destruction by science of the dogmas of religion has been taken popularly as an opportunity for rejecting the irksome moral demands of religion. Many scientists have become uneasily aware that it is scientific developments that have in fact bulldozed the bulwarks of religion into a ruin. This the geologists did with Genesis and Darwin with the Garden of Eden. Freud joined in by arguing that the social and emotional importance of the Christian resurrection goes back to primitive totemism, and that the psychological function of religious ritual is to administer to the needs of a group obsessional neurosis. Seeing this they have, as scientific observers, justifiably pointed to the resulting real danger of a possible moral collapse.

The historians have also done their bit to demote religion, by shrinking the biblical world to a very local performance in the grand panorama of historical cultures. Therein we are shown King David, for example, as the unsuccessful chieftain of a minor hill tribe existing precariously on the outskirts of the imperial cultures of the time. And the historical uniqueness or even reality of Christ has been thrown in doubt by reports of several crucified redeemers, in that stormy period, borrowing what was already essentially a "Christian" doctrine already present in the Essenes, as recorded in the Dead Sea Scrolls.


[10] The actual danger can be variously estimated by those who watch the barometer of crime, drug addiction or youthful alienation. But there can be no doubt about the spiritual suffering of sensitive young minds from the farrago of conflicting values they are asked to digest. For example, the writers for the man in the street characteristically speak of the Christian values of Western Culture, but many intellectuals already speak of this as the post-Christian era. Others attach themselves, as we shall see later, to a kind of diluted Christianity, vaguely designated as Humanism or simply Humanitarianism. Others believe that their main standards are best designated by "democratic values" that are in fact, neither a clear political conception on the one hand, nor a clear set of ethical principles on the other. Outside of Western culture still stranger and more unworkable amalgams exist. What are the moral values in the unhappy cauldron of Vietnam with its mixture of Buddhism, Catholicism, Communism, and older native religions? What are we to make of the recent survey of Poland which simultaneously reports (in different surveys) figures of 90% Catholic and 90% following that Christian heresy which is Communism!

The beginning of cross cultural psychological measurement (Cattell and Scheier, 1961) shows anxiety levels and neuroticism frequencies to be highest, and morale measures to be lowest in countries with the most incompatible mixtures of values. India, with more than five hundred languages and almost as many religions, has one of the highest mean scores on psychologists' measures of neuroticism, and, with Egypt, stands among the lower nations in scores on the morale factor. Yet these have had the advantages (to speak rationally rather than empirically) of the oldest and longest background of civilization. In clinical studies of individuals it is frequently seen that children, e.g., even sons of missionaries, who have been exposed to and dragged through many different cultural-ethical values end by being emotionally immune to all values and sometimes by becoming severely asocial or delinquent. Incompatibilities of value systems is undoubtedly one of the main sources of this cancerous disease of cultures, which even the ancient morale of the cultures which have had the longest time to get established, cannot, seemingly, overcome. Our hope lies in a rebirth of dependable values by the objective and universal principles of scientific research.

Meanwhile, the traveller's shrinking earth, and the spread of permissiveness in education, has increasingly thrust these inconsistencies powerfully into the bewildered consciousness of the average citizen and especially the young. Modern man is prone further to increase his bewilderment by belief that a solution lies in some nostrum which, by a sufficiently frantic shopping around among exotic or mystical doctrines, may miraculously appear. But in fact he is already suffering from spiritual indigestion, begotten of an over-rich cultural meal.


[11] We may find in the next twenty years that whereas the intellectuals' destruction of religious values, like the act of some dying Samson, carries down the pillars of Western culture with it, such societies as Japan, which depended far less on abstract values of the Christian-Judaic type, will continue with a temporarily thriving morale.















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