text of a reply to someone who recently wrote to me, having read the Dutch edition of The Human Evasion (‘Vlucht in de Medemens’) some years ago, and having put part of it on the web
I wrote The Human Evasion under duress. I was in a terrible position, having been exiled from a university career, and my previous distress flares had brought me no alleviation of my position.
I thought people would be inclined to turn the book into a belief system, and in writing it I tried to make this as difficult for them as possible. I am amazed that it can be taken as showing that ‘there is a way out’!
I do not think that freedom, as you suggest, is a word for ‘nothing left to lose’. Freedom, in my mind, is something that society has been trying to keep me deprived of throughout my life.
If part of my book is being inserted into someone else’s book, or on someone else’s website, could there at least be added a note expressing my position, namely that I am desperately in need of help (or freedom) in the way of money (commensurate with setting up institutional environments, since I am still excluded from the socially accredited ones from which I was thrown out in the first place), and in need of people coming to work here. Also, what I have published has been only the tiniest fraction of what I might have said if there were any market for it.
If you have any sympathy with my position, or even recognition of the fact that I myself regard it as intolerable and in need of relief, come for a vacation, perhaps at Christmas – though that is just a delay to coincide with a social convention, so why not come immediately.
You would have to help with any work that needs to be done and which you know enough to do, which limits it to jobs regarded as ‘unskilled’ or ‘menial’. You would get to know a bit about our outlook, and what we regard as our urgent need for opportunity to do what is (from some points of view) important.
Also, you would get to know about the advantages that people might gain in association with us. Even if you never come permanently yourself, you would at least be able to give other people more realistic cues.
When the Dutch edition of The Human Evasion was published I was fed up (as with every other edition of my books published by an outside publisher, and hence with any chance of being reviewed, and bought and read on a decent scale) that I was given no opportunity to contribute an introduction explaining my position and desperate needs. Without such an introduction to put each book in context, from my point of view it might as well not have been published at all, and the efforts that had gone into writing it in bad circumstances were abortive.
How about coming? There is a pub very near to us where you could get bed and breakfast.
People often seem to use their own lack of money as an excuse for not coming to help. They say to themselves ‘Celia Green obviously needs money, and I don’t have any’, and do not even offer to come to do some work here, however enthusiastic they may sound about my ideas (as they interpret them). Usually they do not even come for a visit when I have definitely invited them to come.
There are occasional exceptions to this rule, but they are very infrequent. It would have been nice if this person was one of them.
I am now very used to people’s unexpansiveness, but this long-standing feature of human psychology is no more helpful to me now than it was when I had just left college and was attempting to set up my own research department, with residential and dining facilities and live-in caretaking staff.
The fact that I need financial support on the scale necessary to set up institutional environments does not mean that we could not find ways of supporting potential new workers; however, no plans can be made until we have experience of their compatibility with us and of what, in practice, they are able to do.