Friday, January 9, 2015

Chapter 40 - Science And Sanity: Part 4 - The Final Push

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

The circular kit (with Philip Graven’s comments, among others) was quickly composed and edited, then printed in final form in May. Alfred ordered 25,000 copies with related stationary including mailing envelopes and return envelopes for orders. By the end of May, Alfred and Mira, and whomever else they had helping them, had already sent out 10,000 advance order kits to a special list of people: educators from a list supplied by Cattell, psychiatrists, subscribers to the journal Mental Hygiene, and Korzybski’s personal mailing list. Preparing the mailing had to have taken several furiously-working people at least several days to do, even if they worked for twelve-hours or more at a stretch. After all, they would have had to take breaks to eat and go to the bathroom. No doubt it helped to have address stickers run off ahead of time. Science Press received the first order only a few days after the mailing. And by the end of June, they had received 100 advance orders—barely enough to pay for the postage, but a good sign nonetheless. 

Alfred needed some good signs because it was beginning to look as if the book was not going to come out in time for autumn reviews. He had sent back the last corrected page proofs of the main text in May. In June, Science Press started printing the book, but informed him it was going to take longer than they had initially estimated to complete the job, even with the parts they already had. Besides, Alfred was still working on the page proofs of the Notes and References, the Bibliography, and some of the front matter, as well as finishing up with the Index. And he hadn’t finished writing the Preface.

The studio at 321 Carleton Avenue had become a buzzing publisher’s office. Korzybski supervised the work of Lily MaDan, their secretary/typist who had turned out to be a talented illustrator; Eunice Winters who was reading proofs and working on the bibliography; and Harvey Culp, a young science student who read the mathematical proofs and was preparing the index. Alfred had wanted to attend the AAAS meeting in Chicago, but was too busy with these final, crucial parts of the book. Mira went in his place, taking plenty of circulars to help drum up some interest.
Korzybski in his corner of the apartment in Brooklyn
In early July, Alfred sent in the manuscript material and instructions for typesetting for the rest of the book’s front matter, index, book jacket and spine design. Except for the preface, which he was still working on, every other part of the book was now in the last stage of getting printed for the actual book or being typeset for galley or page proofs before being sent to Korzybski for ‘delousing’.

The preface was still giving him problems. To grab potential readers, he considered it one of the most important parts of the book. He wanted to use it to introduce his work and set the theme of the book succinctly and in the broadest, most accessible terms. He felt nervous about doing this adequately. He had come up with two analogies for identification: one, as a ‘lubricant contaminated with emery sand’ that ‘gunks up’ the mechanisms of human evaluating; and two, as an ‘infectious agent’ spread by misevaluating humans, which makes general sanity impossible. Korzybski was proposing a system, a practical method to filter out the ‘emery sand’, to immunize people from the ‘infection’:
The present work is written on the level of the average intelligent layman, because before we can train children in non-identity by preventive education, parents and teachers must have a handbook for their own guidance.* It is not claimed that a millennium is at hand, far from it; yet it seems imperative that the neuro-psycho-logical factors which make general sanity impossible should be eliminated. (15) 
[*Plenty of people would wonder at Korzybski’s apparently high regard for the ‘average intelligent layman’, but he never retracted this statement.]

Given his trepidations about the preface, he asked Ralph Lillie, the Fairchilds, and William Morton Wheeler to have a look at what he had written. Apart from a few suggestions, they all thought he had done a good job. He accepted their advice (which included not to make any mention of the Knute Houck case) and on August 2, along with some already proofed items, he mailed the manuscript of the “Preface” to the printer.

At this point, other than some proofs that still had to be produced and edited, the book was being printed. Alfred was anxious to have the job done as quickly as possible. The more time he had to look at things, the more things he was finding that needed correcting. The printer had somehow managed to produce new mistakes in the proofs. Would the printer also introduce mistakes into the final copy? Indeed, that turned out to happen, though given the size and complexity of the book such mistakes seem relatively few. For example, Alfred wrote to George Houck at the end of August instructing him to have a line from G. E. Coghill’s Anatomy and the Problem of Behaviour added to the preface’s introductory quotes: “When new turns in behaviour cease to appear in the life of the individual its behaviour ceases to be intelligent.” The printer entered Coghill’s initials as “C. E.” instead of “G. E.” which Alfred had spelled correctly.(16) Such a mistake was not the sort of new turn in behaviour Korzybski had wanted to encourage with the quote. Unfortunately, he failed to catch the error in the final proofreading of the “Preface”. It got printed in the book (and only indicated in the Fifth Edition’s “A Note on Errata”, long after Korzybski’s death).

He was still finding a few of his own mistakes as well. In early September, George Houck couldn’t find the final proofs of some pages of front matter that Korzybski thought he had already sent. When Alfred looked over some earlier proofs of the copyright page, he found two glaring errors he had previously missed. He wrote to Houck at once: “If this blessed delousing will not stop soon, you will have no customer but a corpse of A. K. at hand.”(17) 

At the end of September, the books were getting bound. The first week of October he got 12 books from the bindery. He was told to be careful handling them—the glue still might need to dry more. For international copyright purposes (the law seemed most unclear), Alfred had decided to have one date as the U.S. and International Publication date. To make this official, he sent some books to a man in Toronto who would telegram him when the book went on sale there. The man in Toronto telegrammed him on October 10. Alfred sent off another telegram at once:
October 10, 1933 
To Doctor Jaques Catell
     Science Press
     Lancaster, Pa.
Book Science and Sanity published today in United States
Please distribute at once
                                                 Alfred Korzybski (18)

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
15. “Preface To The First Edition 1933”, Korzybski 1994 (1933), p. xci. 

16. AK to George M. Houck, 8/22/1933. AKDA 2.213. 

17. AK to George M. Houck, 9/9/1933. AKDA 2.203. 

18. AK to Jaques Cattell, 10/10/1933. AKDA 2.176.

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