10 January 2009


Another book (Outliers – The story of success by Malcolm Gladwell) has been published on how there is no such thing as genius or ‘a born scientist’, supposedly proved by the fact that the Beatles put in a lot of time performing and star hockey players practise a lot. This book is receiving a lot of critical attention, far more so than any of our books ever do. Our books are always as far as possible suppressed and ignored.

On a very unpleasant TV police drama series about a serial killer, of which I watched only a few fragments as it was so unpleasant, I saw a father being interviewed about his daughter who had been murdered. The father was saying that his daughter had been ‘very focussed’ on her studies and believed in working hard so as to have no difficulties in later life. This was evidently regarded as indicative of wicked attitudes on the part of the father, and putting him in line to be suspected of murdering her.

I am afraid that when I was at school and until his health broke down, my father played into the hands of my enemies in the local educational community in this sort of way. I was always very angry at him discussing me with people behind my back if I knew about it. I thought that both my father and any educational expert should seek my permission before saying anything that was supposed to be representing my interests, and ascertain that I accepted their views as doing so. In fact I did not trust my father nor anyone he might talk to about me to represent my interests at all. I think my father was wrong to be drawn into discussing me behind my back, or even in my presence, but I blame the wicked agents of the collective far more than I blame him for allowing them to influence him against me.

At a recent seminar I said to a fairly young ‘psychologist’ that there used to be this theory about ambition and a desire to get on in young people being the result of ‘pushy’ parents, and he said this idea was still held and it was certainly true, according to his own observations, of every young person he had ever known.

I do not know of any case in which I would be so confident as that of being able to identify the causes of someone’s attitudes.

In the same police drama, discussing a girl who had been murdered who was said to have taken a cheap method of transport, the investigator asked, ‘Why did she do that?’
‘So as to save money’,
‘Why would she want to save money? She did not have a family.’

When I went to the Society for Psychical Research after being thrown out (thrown out of academia and hence, in fact, out of organised society) I saw that saving money was the only thing I could do to help myself, and I worked on it every day. Could I add a few extra shillings to my capital at the end of the day? From then until now, increasing my capital, however slightly, by saving out of negligible income has remained the centre of my life. Saving money is not acceptable, as I discovered, and no one was prepared to make concessions for the fact that, needing the best sort of university career as badly as I did, and deprived of all normal means of progressing towards a tolerable life, I had to start building up capital towards the cost of setting up an independent university for myself, with at least one residential college with dining facilities, at least one research department, and a university press for publishing books.

Within four years of leaving college I had saved £2,000; I could not conceal this from W.H. Salter and Sir George Joy when they were ostensibly supporting me in making plans for setting up my first mini research department cum residential college in the Coombe-Tennant house. It aroused shock and disapproval, even in Salter, who had lived off a private income all his life, and from then on everyone united in attempts to squeeze me to death and force me to sell the small house in Kingston Road, Oxford, which was the first house I bought.

So when I announced to Sir George that I had bought the freehold of a larger house in Banbury Road, that was the end of decades of building up capital by saving, against opposition which took the form of trying to squeeze me to death.

It was, and still is, very like a siege. No supplies or relief of any kind are allowed to reach the beleaguered garrison.