Previous | Next
491492493494495496497498499500501502503504505506507508509510511512513514515516517518519520521522523524525526527528529530531532533534535536537538539540541542543544545546547548549550551552553554555556557558559560561562563564565566567 of 763
used to say to me, “Kenneth, we have to learn to take mankind where
it is.” One of the things she said to me after my presidential
address--in which I was arguing for the need to look at our
leadership in the nuclear age in terms of stability and psychological
egoism in the exericise of power in order for mankind to increase its
chances of survival. I didn't share that with her before I delivered
it. It was one of the few things that I didn't share.
Your presidential address--you're talking about when you became
President of the American Psychological Association.
The things that she said after that really got me were, one,
“Kenneth, why do you want to save mankind?” That shocked me. It
took me a long time to come up with an answer, which was inadequate.
I said, “We have grandchildren.” The other thing she said was not
quite as biting. She said, “You know, this would not be the first
time that a species did not survive because of some kind of
inadequacy. It's conceivable that the human species has certain
kinds of inadequacies, non-adaptive characteristics which could lead
to its extinction.” That's the kind of woman I was married to. The
quality of our communication, well.
Isn't it so that some people have observed, maybe some
philosophers have observed, that man is perhaps the only animal, as a
group, that will go out and kill others of his species wantonly.
Among other animals an individual might go berserk, but there aren't
© 2006 Columbia University
Libraries | Oral History
Research Office | Rights and
Permissions | Help