10 August 2010

Slandered by aristocrats (part 2)

The situation has always been that I had to reject so many false assumptions, before getting to anything that was really the case, that it has been very hard work to get anywhere near the point, and people have been extremely reluctant to listen to anything that did not reinforce their preconceptions.

My colleague Charles McCreery always had the same problem. The storms which his parents provoked really had the effect of preventing him from getting started on a ‘normal’ career, either in the university or at the Tavistock Clinic in London.

We knew Charles as an undergraduate, and on graduating he started to help us set up an effective fundraising campaign, which we needed to get going.

If this campaign had not been aborted by the terrible storms of hostility, it would have been possible for Charles to combine a normal salaried career with continuing his association with us. It was never my idea that I or any associate should spend their time acting as their own research assistants and secretaries. A primary object of the institute was to get me back into a suitable university career, and the only reason I was not in one myself was that my attempts to return to one had been blocked.

If we had ever managed to get set up, it would have been possible to consider whether it would be better for Charles to work at the Tavistock in London and come to Oxford at weekends, or do a D.Phil. at the Department of Experimental Psychology and make a career as a psychologist in Oxford. As it was, we were forced into so constricted a position that we had to give up on these ideas, as we could only survive at all (even physically) by huddling together as closely as possible. (This made it possible for people to refer to us as a ‘commune’, as if this also was a deliberately chosen way of life.)

So really Charles's parents prevented his career, whatever it might have been, forced him into a breach with them, and forced him to appear as if he had chosen to be an impoverished dropout, out of ‘interest’ in something unusual. (As, in fact, I too had been forced into doing something I could never have wished to do, as if I had deliberately preferred poverty and social degradation on account of ‘interest’.)

Actually Charles had absolutely no previous knowledge of, or interest in, anything that might be regarded as associated with ‘parapsychology’, but only in psychology and psychiatry.

Of course, as soon as his parents made any contact with anyone connected with us, they came under the influence of the tremendous forces of hostility against me, and proceeded to act as the forces would wish: placing Charles under pressure by covert hostility combined with excessive social demands, which could only lead to a breakdown in their relationship with him, as was no doubt (at least subconsciously) intended, although Charles struggled for a long time against this outcome.