31 October 2010

Simon Cowell's £165m: is it enough?

Discussing the rivalry of two people called Simon Cowell and Simon Fuller, today's Mail on Sunday Review quotes someone as saying: ‘This is not about money – both men have more money than they could spend in their lifetimes.’ They are said to have £165m and £350m respectively. Well, that is taking a distinctly limited view of what they might want to do in their lifetimes.

Suppose, like me, they need to set up an independent university to be productive in many areas of research, starting with just one residential college, at least one scientific research department with laboratories, a few departments for purely intellectual research in philosophy, history, education, etc, and a university printing press to publish books. I do not think £350m would go all the way to setting up such an establishment and running it for long, as deriving an income from capital becomes ever more hazardous.

But do not get me wrong. I would be very pleased to be given any lesser amount and would make the most productive use of it that I could.

In the same issue of the Review, there is a two-page article by a salaried academic called Ian Morris about his own tendentious and fashionable views, reminding one of the burning need for a historical department to be set up under my auspices to publish criticisms of such views, along with a more realistic account of the rise and ongoing fall of Western civilisation. The article in the Review is introduced by this paragraph:

Last week, historian Ian Morris revealed how, at the end of the last Ice Age, a simple accident of geography gave the West the advantages that led to it dominating the world for the last two centuries. His argument forces us to accept that our success was nothing to do with superior brains, leaders or culture – and that the East is on the brink of taking over. That idea may be hard to get used to . . .

No, it isn’t hard to get used to. It has been prevalent for a long time. What would be hard to get used to would be the accounts of the situation that my history department would publish if it were able to. And it should be able to; only financial support is needed to make it so.

Professor Ian Morris is at Stanford University, where research on lucid dreams was carried out for decades by salaried academics, and may still be being carried out – without any funding being offered to me to enable me to continue contributing to the development of this field of research, which had been initiated by me.