Content The Hiram Key  
  • Continue
     
  • Youth
     
  • Chicago
     
  • Yale
    University
  • Bucknell and
    Penn State
  • Canberra, and
    the ANU
  • Brisbane and
    Griffith University
  • 1982-1983
     

HP at his retirement occassion

Grumpy @ the ISHE conference, 2006

 

The sacred secret documents were discovered in Jerusalem by the Knights Templar, who, after many an adventure, stored them in a hidden vault in the Rosslyn Chapel, close by Edinburgh, Scotland. After the destruction of the Knights Templar order in the fourteenth century, they were reborn as Freemasons, who dedicated themselves to promoting science and political liberty.

Grumpy came across The Hiram Key shortly after its 1996 publication. He read it with relish and discovered that his own ramblings had uncovered some episodes of the authors' tale, especially the involvement of the Freemasons in modern politics, including their important role in the French and American Revolutions. He used the book as the launch platform for his farewell address on his retirement from Griffith University in 1998. Such talks are meant to be jolly, so Grumpy described himself as the reincarnation of the two Hirams and claimed that his mission was to reveal, on that very occasion, the secrets so long hidden from the commons. He details the secrets at the end of his talk, Jurassic Park.

This website sets out a more serious biography than Hiram's Jurassic Park self-satire. Its creator (me) is his long-time friend and sometime enemy who prefers to remain Anonymous Narrator. I wish neither to praise nor to blame him (although some of both is unavoidable), but to depict the odyssey of a soul, in times of stress and excitement, searching for the holy grail of KNOWLEDGE. His discoveries (such as they were) so often clashed with prevailing opinion that he acquired the reputation of a Contrarian. Indeed, that pattern established itself early: in his very first year at university he was styled 'Little Mencken' for his satirical column in the Davidsonian (the student monthly published at Davidson College). Hiram accepted the moniker (he could hardly throw it off), but, he tells me, H. L. Mencken was too acerbic for his taste and wasn't a model for his satirical sense. To prove it, he showed me sombre poetry that he wrote during those years. Yes, Hiram, I know that you have another side, engaged in rapture and contemplation, incited by music or art or exemplary human conduct. To acknowledge that side of him, I've toned down 'Contrarian' to 'Grumpy'. But let there be no illusions. Even now, in his 70th year, he has launched yet another assault on High Places. Hardly appropriate for man of his years; he should much better mind his orchids. But let that be, for my task is talk about him, not myself.

 

Rosslyn Chapel
 

Youth

 

Cabarrus County Courthouse

Hiram father & son
 

Grumpy in Germany
He sprang from a middle class family in Concord, North Carolina. His elder sister, Betty, was musical. By sixteen she was a soloist (soprano) and a pianist. She became a mother of four and a music teacher. Younger sister Dottie was also talented, in dance. In high school she established a dance teaching business, which she continued in college. She became a mother of two and a director of amateur theater. Young Hiram (they called him 'Sonny') was musically inclined. His played the trumpet (partial to Sousa marches and jazz) and sang in the choir (where he acquired a taste for Handel). He was also keen on the controlled brawls called football. He was a linebacker on the state championship midget team. He entered scouting, encouraged by his father, who was a former scoutmaster much admired for Indian costumes he made. Hiram quickly rose to the Eagle Scout rank, was inducted into the Order of the Arrow, and for two summers was Pioneer Councillor at Camp Dick Henning. ('That boosted my confidence', he told me). In the final years of high school he put aside sports and music to concentrate on debating, drama, and Being Somebody. It worked. He attended the Key Club International annual meeting in Los Angeles (1953), where he got himself elected one of the eleven International Trustees. He did well enough to merit selection to deliver the Keynote Address at the 1954 Key Club International annual meeting, in Philadelphia. I asked him whether he remembered what he said on that high occasion. He did remember; here's what he told me.

H-Bomb test, 1954
Key Clubbers are Scouts in business suits, affirming the moral values that support the nation's commitment to freedom and enterprise. In those days the commitment implied unqualified support for America in the Cold War against godless, ruthless Communism. But a cloud hung over that dedication: the mushroom cloud of thermonuclear war, which reached the gruesome hydrogen bomb phase in 1952. Our Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, often threatened the Soviets with it. So what, exactly, is the point of progress? My keynote address attempted an answer in the language of Approved Moral Talk. I continued to talk the pro-America line right through the decades of protests. But there are other layers of conflict. Important for me at that time was the socially invisible nihilism of T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland, which I probably never entirely abandoned.

Hiram's Keynote

Hiram enrolled at Davidson College. He studied chemistry, math, English, German, and the Old Testament (a required course). He won the Freshman Prose contest and second prize in the annual Vareen Bell Literary Contest. But he was uninspired by Davidson's teachers and mused about other possibilities. One was the exchange student agreement between Davidson and the American University of Cairo.  But the exchange was cancelled that year (1955) owing to commotions in Gamal Nasser's Egypt. The disappointed Hiram spied another alternative on a US Army recruitment poster informing volunteers that they could choose to serve overseas. Germany was an option, so Hiram, bored with his Southern culture and longing for something exotic, signed up. Off he went to Hanau, close by Frankfurt, with the 3rd Armored Division.

Military installations are recaps of American culture, so mere presence in pedestrian Hanau was not an entry into things European. But he did make an entry of sorts. He met a pretty student, Sophia, who introduced him to her family. Her father, Herr Professor Heinrich Richter, was a retired archaeologist; her mother, Ingeborg, was an artist. Other contacts brought him in touch with the Frankfurt School of Sociology and its chief, Theodor Adorno. That happened because he was a member of a small group assigned by the Commanding General to create the 3rd Armored Division Historical Society. He met and talked with World War II senior officers, some politicians, and Adorno. But his main activity was as a reporter for the 3rd Armored Division newspaper. Most of his stories were about sports.

At the end of his service he applied for admission to Harvard and Chicago. He was accepted at both. For a week he fantasized about being a Smart Guy, but his SAT score placed him only in the top 12 percent. And his flaws were demeaning: he could not master algebra, his scrawling handwriting insinuated illiteracy, and he couldn't stop biting his finger nails. He choose Chicago because he believed that his modest resources wouldn't suit him to life among high caste Yankees. (Much later he discovered that Harvard suited him very well).


The Caton Home, 130 Eastover Avenue

The Caton family

Three Caton children

Hiram Jr, Stokes Lodge No. 32, A.F. & A.M.
 
 

Chicago

 
 

Oriental Institute

Chicago 1960

The Chicago curriculum in those days was oriented on the Great Books, from Thucydides to Dewey. The faculty were potent stimuli and fellow students even more potent. He also pursued his own studies (as Chicago students commonly did), plunging into the scores of Beethoven's last four quartets, which transgressed the conventional limits of the use of dissonance to create exquisite musical art. Another passion was the mad philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who transgressed conventional limits of progressive beliefs. The nihilism that he first encountered in T. S. Eliot now became thematic. His search for other writers aware of the nihilist moment found the Russian writers Feodor Dostoevsky and Ivan Turgenev. In addition, Hiram believed that modern science and its potent machines mediated the nihilism of all three of these writers. Hiram immersed in this subject by visits to the Field Museum of Science and Industry, which is close by the Chicago campus.

Mortality is another theme of nihilism, because of its denial of an afterlife. Hiram made acquaintance with it involuntarily. While horseback riding in Washington Park adjoining the Chicago campus, he reined his horse off the trail in a trot. Rosie didn't like it and decided to toss him off. This she did by charging up to a tree, then swerving sharply away. The rider's forward momentum hurled him into the tree. On regaining consciousness, he felt no pain, but noticed that he wasn't breathing. Attempts to inhale had no effect, so he contemplated his coming demise, calmly and without emotion. He was revived by the ride leader, but the experience remained a reference for subsequent ponderings about life and death. He also decided to improve his riding skills.

Hiram diversified his studies by opting for an undergraduate major in Arabic Language and Civilization, followed with a Masters in the same field. Arabic was taught at Chicago as an ancillary to ancient dead languages, which held forth in the University's magnificent Oriental Institute. Why Arabic? His Methodist Bible classes as a youth promted  fascination with the ancient lands of the Old Testament. During military service, he holidayed in the Near East, visiting Istanbul, Beirut, Damascus, Amman, Jerusalem, Cairo, and Luxor-Karnak. Since Islamic civilization ran a parallel course to European civilization, the comparative perspective was appealing. His studied Islamic philosophy, which, like its Christian counter-part, was a continuation of Greek philosophy. There was another incentive--generous federal grants established to encourage the study of unconventional languages. Hiram harvested one.

Early in his Chicago studies Hiram made contact with 'the Straussians'--an amorphous network of students and faculty oriented on the political philosopher Leo Strauss. Strauss was among Chicago's cadre of European academics, mainly Jews, who had fled Germany, bringing with them their prodigious learning. His mission was to comprehend the track of modern thought, which peaked in the elimination of philosophy by scientific positivism. It was natural for Hiram to make Strauss' agenda his own. Strauss' critical stance toward the confidence and optimism of American political science, which rejected political philosophy as obsolete, also appealed to him, since it enabled him to appropriate grumpiness 'philosophically'.

On completing his Master's thesis on Avicenna, Hiram the Grumpy took his wife Sophia and child to Germany, to study philosophy for a year at the Albert-Ludwigs University, Freiburg im Breisgau. Freiburg is a magnificent old merchant town dating from 1120. It lies in the beautiful landscapes of the Black Forest (which is actually green and moutainous). But the reason for his choice was that the University was the teaching platform of Martin Heidegger, celebrated in those days as the originator of Existentialism. His Islamic philosophy teacher, Muhsin Madhi, had studied Heidegger there and recommended that he make that excusion. Strauss endorsed Mahdi's recommendation, believing as he did that understanding Heidegger was basic to grasping the current phase of modernity. Thus fortified, off he went. He quickly established contact with Heribert Boeder, a young philosophy lecturer and Heidegger student who would become a major philosopher in Germany. It was a fruitful year.

'The past fifty years represents an epoch of invention and progress unique in the history of the world. It is something more than a merely normal growth or natural development. It has been a gigantic tidal wave of human ingenuity and resource, so stupendous in its magnitude, so complex in its diversity, so profound in its thought, so fruitful in its wealth, so beneficent in its results, that the mind is strained and embarrassed in its effort to expand to a full appreciation of it'. Edward W. Byrn, The Progress of Invention During the Past Fifty Years (1902)


Kaufhaus

Inside cathedral tower
 

Pierson College,Yale

Grumpy and daughter Sonia

Yale University

 
Yale's philosophy department resisted the trend to curriculum homogeneity by offering courses across the spectrum of Continental philosophy, analytic philosophy, classical and modern philosophy, and philosophy of science. That was the reason for Grumpy's choice. His goal was to understand modern philosophy in its beginnings from Galileo to Locke, but he had decided that his thesis would be on Descartes. In due course he struck on a novel interpretation that rejected the prevailing view that Descartes' metaphysics was today the only interesting part of his work. Grumpy believed on the contrary that Descartes' metaphysics was but a 'flag to cover the goods', viz, his physics, mechanistic anthropology, and Baconian grandiose goal--'the conquest of nature'. Descartes' substitute for metaphysics was 'optical epistemology', based on his main contribution to science, physiological optics.  The 'flag' was needed to throw the censorious Jesuits off his track.  This was brash idea, bold to the point of foolishness. He lacked the command of mathematics needed to comprehend Descartes' analytic geometry, try though he did. There were other flaws as well. But he got away with it. Ten faculty attended his oral exam, each put questions, and after a short deliberation, he was told that he passed. His PhD was awarded on a bright sunny day in June, 1966. All seemed well. Wife Sophia was pregnant with their second child.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bucknell and Penn State

 
 
 

Old Main, Penn State
 
 

A liberal arts college in a quiet mid-Pennsylvania town--Grumpy and Sophia agreed that it was right place to rear a family. Their expectations were rewarded by the warm welcome. Grumpy relished replacing his student condition of suspended social animation by employment, modest purchasing power, and responsibility. He acquired a Smith-Carona electric typewriter and a suit. Sophia bought furniture. On weekends they ventured into the farming countryside, especially to Lancaster County's Amish community. Grumpy welcomed the challenge of turning himself into a teacher, shunting aside his rarified orientation to focus on student interest and learning potential. That amounted to fitting into the philosophy department's teaching style and listening to what students said. The message he read was 'take it easy'. Bucknell students were untouched by the passions that aroused Berkeley's Free Speech Movement or by the impulse to translate civil rights agitation into teaching agendas. For this he was grateful.

Lewisburg lies close by Penn State. Grumpy established contact with Dick Kennington, a Cartesian scholar, which multiplied into association with other philosophy department colleagues, especially Stanley Rosen. Soon Grumpy was offered an assistant professorship, and moved to State College in 1967. The new environment suited him. State College lies in a hilly, forested area ('Happy Valley', it's called), rich in hunting and fishing opportunities; Grumpy took up deer hunting. Penn State is mad about football; Grumpy locked on to Beaver Stadium (an inconvenient name for the Nittany Lions). The large faculty afforded abundant social contacts and friendship opportunities. The second child, Claudia, enriched those contacts. Grumpy's attention focused on writing his Descartes book, The Origin of Subjectivity. He also continued his quest to understand modern philosophy, concentrating of Kant and positivism. Frequent conversations with Rosen were especially helpful, for Rosen had just completed a book on nihilism.

In his other life, Grumpy acquired what would become a life-long fascination with infant and child behavior, focused initially on his two daughters. He also acquired a hobby, building and launching model rockets, which made him the favorite of the kids on his street.

The quiet Penn State campus was transformed by a radical sentiment in 1968. Grumpy's resolve to stay clear of campus politics melted in that heat. He joined an anti-activist faculty group and soon became its President. He also abandoned his abstention from writing for the National Review. He had come in contact with several NR senior editors while at Yale, but lest he be associated with Goldwater conservatism, declined invitations to write. He now began writing for the NR. In 1971 he chanced upon an advertisement for a three year Research Fellowship in the History of Ideas Unit, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. No administrative or teaching duties. Was it real? An Australian colleague at Penn State assured him that it was. Grumpy applied with no anticipation of success, so he was surprised when a telegram of acceptance arrived in eight weeks. Do we take it or not?, he asked Sophia; it's for only three years. She was reluctant, but they took it, and in mid-September, they flew to Auckland for a holiday in New Zealand, and then on to Canberra. A new life was in store.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Canberra, and the ANU

 

Eugene Kamenka,
History of Ideas Unit Head

Coombs building, ANU

The family, 1975

The family was met at the Canberra airport by Eugene Kamenka, Head of the History of Ideas Unit. He greeted them warmly and ferried them to their residence in a newly completed, well landscaped housing village dedicated to the University's research fellows. All was ready, including a refrigerator containing some basics. They were impressed by the hospitality and quickly made friends with the same age neighbors. Grumpy made his way to the ANU campus and to the Coombs Building, which housed the Research School of Social Sciences and the Research School of Pacific Studies. His project was to write a book on progress, which Kamenka, a Marx scholar and quasi-Marxist, understood to be a history of capitalism. Grumpy imagined that he could complete the project in three years. Had he executed a history of ideas agenda, that might have worked. But he wished to incorporate political and economic history, which was new territory. The game plan would also incorporate elements of the history of science and techology, with emphasis on the emergence of the evolution idea. More than that, Grumpy hoped to incorporate a biology/evolution based concept of human nature as the baseline of his book. He established contacts with colleagues in the biological sciences and observed some animal experiments. He acquired an ethology mentor, zoologist S. A. Barnett, whose outstanding contributions to animal ethology were matched by determined opposition to Konrad Lorenz' (and Grumpy's) effort to unwrap the ethology of human behavior. But they created a cordial working arrangement, with Barnett on a mission to disabuse Grumpy of his errors, and Grumpy keenly absorbing his mentor's knowledge. Another important contact was the historian J.G.A. Pocock. At the time of his visit to the History of Ideas Unit, Pocock had just completed his important book, The Machiavellian Moment, even as Grumpy was engrossed in the study of Machiavelli and the Renaissance. Grumpy benefited from exposure to Pocock's strictly historical approach to political thought-- Machiavelli was a 'moment' of civic humanism, not the the founder of modern political thought, as Leo Strauss argued in Thoughts on Machiavelli (1958). The encounter was opportune because Grumpy was at that time disengaging from the Straussian way (see his adieu to Strauss). Grumpy had concluded that 'modern political thought' could not be ascribed to any single author. Some historians of political thought attributed the founding to Martin Luther. Grumpy picked another candidate, St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, as a foil to Strauss. 

Grumpy's three year appointment was extended by two years. As his time drew to a close, he looked for a job, preferably academic. Family discord--his marriage was in tatters--made a return home difficult. The only desirable opening available in Australia was a professorship at a new university, in Brisbane. Grumpy applied and was appointed, effective February 1976.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Brisbane and Griffith University

 

Chairman Hiram

Frank K. Salter


Grumpy goes public
 
 
 
 

Grumpy arrived at Griffith in its second year of teaching. Academics were divided into four schools--Science, Australian Environmental Sciences, Modern Asian Studies, and Humanities, which was his spot. About 1000 students were enrolled and the operating budget was $4.2 million. Today Griffith and Brisbane are a bit changed. Griffith boasts five campuses, enrolling 33,000 students. While the original campus, Nathan, perched in the biodiverse Toohey Forest, remains the headquarters, the lead unit is the Gold Coast campus close by the tourist magnet, Surfer's Paradise. Griffith's operating budget has boomed to $430 million. A similar story applies to Brisbane. The 1976 population of 900,000 has doubled. The skyline has dramatically changed. Most of the highrises featured in current photographs were built in the past decade. Amenities and attractions have likewise blossomed. In 1976, shops in the CBD closed at 5.30 on week days and didn't open on Sundays. Restraurants were few. Today the CBD is vibrant with many activities and attractions, every day. Thirty years ago a stroll through the CBD would scarcely see an Asian. Today there are many. Especially Japanese, who've invested megabucks in Brisbane and Queensland. While Sydney remains Grumpy's favorite town, he tells overseas friends that South East Queensland is 'paradise'.

Grumpy avoided participating in shaping Griffith's growth. The stand-off was mutual, for he couldn't persuade his Humanities colleagues or the higher ups to support to his idea of integrating biological parameters in social and human sciences. On paper, the opportunity seemed to be there. In those days Griffith was dedicated to 'interdisciplinary' teaching and research, and Grumpy's idea fit that scenario. At least, so it seemed, because the selection committee that interviewed him for his appointment responded enthusiastically. Even so, Grumpy wasn't optimistic because his probes of Australian academic attitudes while at the ANU were not encouraging. Derek Freeman was the one senior academic he knew who supported integration, but Freeman's attempt to give it modest effect in his anthopology department could claim but modest success. Grumpy's discussions with S. A. Barnett provided an insider's estimate of potential among biologists; there wasn't much. And then another thing. As it happened, 1976 was a significant year for the idea. E. O. Wilson's Sociobiology: The New Synthesis made an immediate public impact on its publication in 1975, much of it negative. So negative that the American Anthropological Association came close to condemning it at its 1976 annual meeting. Wilson even came under severe pressure from his own department, which was chaired at that time by the adamant sociobiology critic, Richard Lewontin. (So severe that Wilson considered leaving Harvard; he elected to remain because of the Agassiz Museum's entomology collection). At the end of this three decade period, Grumpy described his negative result in the essay, 'Biopolitics? Never Heard of It': A Report from Australia. It's a lively account of Australian academe seen from Grumpy's off-beat perspective.

There were some exceptions. In 1985, a University of Sydney graduate in political science, Frank K. Salter, commenced his doctoral candidacy to conduct an ethological study of bureaucracy. Although the idea was in the air (the edited volume, Biology and Bureaucracy, appeared in 1986), it was nevertheless a bold project for the student and the supervisor, since neither had any experience of the filming of behavior that such a project required. But the project went ahead. Grumpy learned a great deal, and Salter eventually produced the Oxford University Press volume, Emotions in Command. Despite strongly supportive referee reports on Salter's thesis, he was unable find academic employment in Australia. So he migrated to the world center for human ethology, Irenaus Eibl-Eibesfeldt's Max Planck Institute for Human Ethology in Seewiesen, Germany.

1985 was also the year that Grumpy came into overt, and very public, conflict with Griffith. The issue was a proposed women's studies course at the university. Grumpy submitted a criticism of the curriculum arguing its inconsistency with biological and evolutionary facts. It was, in effect, a criticism of feminism. The very idea of raising such objections confirmed his colleagues' opinion that he was an unmendable maverick, or, as others preferred to say, an out-and-out Fascist. The submission was nevertheless considered in the usual channels, with the outcome that the proposed curriculum required no amendment. Had Grumpy accepted this outcome, I, your Narrator, could endorse his initiative. But he did no such thing. He hatched a scheme to expose Griffith's radical curriculum to the predominantly conservative Queensland electorate. He leagued with a conservative women's association, Women Who Want to Be Women, who opposed feminism; together they pressured Queensland's conservative government to take corrective action on 'the nation's most socialist university', as conservatives called it. Grumpy's proposed solution: the Queensland government should sack the Griffith University Council and reconstitute it! Good God! Absurd? Stupid? Outrageous? Unethical? All of the above? Yes, as I see it, all of the above. Having blown that off my chest, back to the narrative. Grumpy's initiative got a lot of press in Queensland and nationally. From this confetti I've selected one article for exposure--Hiram Caton vs the Radical Feminists, published in Australia's conservative monthly, Quadrant. The article, by Edith Southwood, is the most perceptive scan of Grumpy's motives and intellectual orientation that I know. She connects the dots between his biosocial orientation and his criticism of feminism, links that with his enduring criticism of humanism, links that with his rethink of progress, and links that with his occasional collaboration with religious conservatives while yet maintaining his Darwinism. Whew! Make of it what you can!

 

Brisbane by night

Surfer's Paradise


Australia
Queensland
Gold Coast

 
 
 
 

The National Humanities Center Fellowship, 1982-1983

 

Friday BBQ, NHC
 
 
 
 

The NHC annually awards about forty fellowships to scholars who seem to be on to something. It's staff and facilities treat the Fellows in high style as part of its claim to occupy the prestige peak. A Fellowship means promotion, salary increase, upward professional standing--those sorts of things. (Grumpy praises the Friday BBQs). Although Grumpy's Griffith colleagues didn't know about the Center, he moblized himself to make full use of his opportunity. Your Narrator's objective, good reader, is to highlight those activities that define Hiram's Grumpydom. The story begins at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association meeting in Denver, where he gave a paper, Biosocial Science: Knowledge for Enlightened Political Leadership. The paper argues a major thesis of his book, The Politics of Progress, to the effect that the historical emergence of civilization depended on isolating and nurturing 'polytechnic rationality'. This he believed to be the basis of the industrial revolution and modern science. Hiram contrasted this account with prevailing sociological, religious, and Marxist accounts of origins, singling out Max Weber's Protestant ethic thesis for special note. His objective in Denver was not the APSA, but meeting with colleagues who had recently established the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences, whose mission was his own--the introduction of biological and evolutionary parameters into political science. Mingling with colleagues who shared his outlook made him feel the emotional rewards of being in the groove... and to remember the costs of being out of sync. They discussed how they might stimulate the growth of their membership and the establishment of their journal, Politics and Life Sciences. The APLS needed nearly a decade to win APSA approval as a legitimate political science group.


'There are several reasons for thinking that the National Humanities Center might be the most perfectly realized or "purest" example of the concept of the institute for advanced study. Among all the disciplines, the humanities are ......

Among the Fellows whom Hiram identified, while still in Brisbane, as possible helpful colleagues was the senior historian of British history, J. H. (Jack) Hexter. Grumpy very much liked Hexter's The History Primer, and he shared his trenchant criticism of the then prevailing historiography of 17th century England. But what was he like personally? Would he be able to talk productively with a man in his Seventies? Grumpy tells me that 'meeting Jack, at that time and place, was one of the most fortunate events in my professional life. In ten minutes we knew that we were sympaticos. By another piece of luck, we lived close together in Chapel Hill, and shared the twenty minute ride to the NHC every day. So we saw a lot of one another, and he encouraged my questions and arguments. We had something else in common: we were both smokers, despite being cardiac patients. What a boon! What a companion!' I asked Hiram about Hexter's personality. Was he hot or cold, rough or smooth? Was he, too, perhaps, a grumpy? His response was to show me an epigram about Hexter:

Oh some speak very softly, and some are most polite,
And some will make concessions, and admit you may be right,
But I'm for disputation, and a good old fashioned fight,
Says that rough, tough wreckster, J.H. Hexter.

'There's my grumpydom in a nutshell', Hiram declared.

Hexter wasn't Hiram's only good luck, for he also met two other important colleagues with whom he would have an extended interaction--E.O. Wilson and Derek Freeman. Grumpy wrote Wilson to request a meeting on his visit to the Harvard department of government in early April. It was arranged. But then, the Samoa story hit the front pages in February. And what a story it was! Hiram knew of Derek's long-nurtured critique of Mead's Coming of Age, but, like others, he doubted that it would ever come forth. Now it had finally appeared. He wrote Derek praising his achievement and suggesting that they might collaborate to promote their mutual cause on his return to Australia. When he posted his letter, Derek was in the U.S. on a promotional tour, under the aegis of his publisher, the Harvard University Press. Harvard arranged a meeting between Wilson and Freeman that took place prior to his own meeting with Wilson. Once they were together, Ed briefed Hiram on the conference with Derek and expressed his warm support for the cause. Thus commenced a conversion that continued for three hours, and mutual support that continued for more than a decade, including a three month visit in 1987 as Wilson's guest at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. As for Derek, their initial exchange of letters led to a long association.

More to come...

 
 
 
 
 

E. O. Wilson

Derek Freeman

 

 

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