the Sorokins and Russian War Relief

 

‘Town Rallies Behind War Relief’ – Winchester Chronicle

 

75 years ago: Town rallies behind Russian War Relief

By Ellen Knight

The Daily Times Chronicle (Winchester, MA)

June 13, 2017

http://homenewshere.com/daily_times_chronicle/news/winchester/article_38566ea6-5046-11e7-ada0-6fa227eccafc.html

 

 

Russian benefit – Boston Globe 12-15-1941

 

 

– posted by Roger W. Smith

     September 2021

 

“Even more absurd was a request from P. A. Sorokin.”

 

“There were other interesting ways in which intensity of feeling showed itself in irrational ways, showing how human good scholars can be.

“During my editorship of the ASR [American Sociological Review] the president of SSSP [The Society for the Study of Social Problems] sent in a proposed constitution for that organization, requesting that it be published in the ASR. Since the Review never had a policy of printing constitutions of other societies (or even that of the ASA!), the paper was returned. My reward was a denunciation in a Council meeting and a further drubbing in a letter to the president of ASA, with copies to various other leading sociologists.

“Even more absurd was a request from P.A. Sorokin, who demanded that I publish a statement accusing Talcott Parsons of plagiarism from Sorokin’s works. This was not the product of a reasonable mind; his principal argument was that Parsons had based a theory on the three elements of society, culture, and personality–an idea that was clearly in the public domain. On receiving a rejection, Sorokin responded with an angry letter, threatening to publish the statement elsewhere and to add that it had been refused by me, Editor of ASR. I terminated the correspondence by writing that if he did, he should add that the Editor had submitted the statement to every associate editor and that each one had recommended against printing it. I never learned if he attempted to publish it elsewhere.”

— “Recollections of a Half Century of Life in the ASA,” By Robert E. L. Faris, The American Sociologist, Vol. 16, No. 1 (February , 1981), pp. 51-52

— posted by Roger W. Smith

      August 2021

an interview with Don Martindale

 

Martindale and Mohan, ‘An Interview with Don Martindale’ – International Social Science Review’

 

Posted here as a PDF file:

Perspectives of a Contemporary Critical Realist: An Interview with Don Martindale

By Don Martindale and Raj P. Mohan

International Social Science Review

Vol. 58, No. 3 (summer 1983), pp. 142-154

Don Martindale was a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota. Raj P. Mohan was a professor of sociology at Auburn University.

Martindale makes personal observations about and comparisons between sociologists such as Sorokin, Talcott Parsons, Robert Merton, and C. Wright Mills which some scholars may find interesting.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

     August 2021

Russell Middleton: from his “History of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison”

 

Middleton excerpts

 

Posted here as a Word document are fascinating excerpts pertaining to Sorokin from History of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Volume 1: Challenges, Ups, and Downs, 1874-2016 by Russell Middleton (Madison, Wisconsin: Anthropocene Press, 2001).

 

*****************************************************

 

email from Russell Middleton to Roger W. Smith

August 22, 2018

 

Dear Mr. Smith:

I am happy to give you my permission to cite and quote from my discussion of the relationship between E. A. Ross and Pitirim Sorokin. Ross strongly disagreed with Sorokin’s view of the Soviet leaders, but he was taken in by Soviet propaganda. Nevertheless, he had great respect for Sorokin as a scholar and played a major role in helping him land a job at the University of Minnesota and later as chair of the Sociology Dept. at Harvard.

When I was a graduate student at Minnesota in 1951 there was a joke circulating among the sociology graduate students that Sorokin had read every book in the library. I almost came to believe it when I was looking for some good French sociology texts to use in practice for my French reading exam (which was required for the PhD then). In the stacks I pulled down some very old issues of L’année Sociologique, the famous French journal of Durkheim, Mauss, etc. I was startled to see that Sorokin was the last (and only) person who had checked out the volume in all the years since Sorokin had taught there.

When I run across people who argue that Lenin was a decent leader, in contrast with Stalin, I tell them to go read Sorokin’s autobiography.

Best wishes,
Russell Middleton
Prof. Emeritus of Sociology
University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

*****************************************************

 

I wish to thank Professor Middleton for giving me permission to post these excepts from his book.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

     August 2021

Mrs. Sorokine on Way to This Country Now

 

 

 

Posted here:

“Mrs. Pitirim Sorokine on Way to This Country Now”

Decatur Herald (Decatur, Illinois)

March 23, 1924

pg. 17

 

 

– posted by Roger W. Smith

     August 2021

“Overtaking the Lies”

 

‘Overtaking the Lies’ (editorial) – Decatur Herald 3-23-1924

 

Posted here as a Word document is the following editorial concerning Sorokin:

Overtaking the Lies (editorial)

Decatur Herald (Decatur, Illinois)

Sunday, March 23, 1924

pg. 6

The editorial is self-explanatory.

Sorokin was on a lecture tour. He had been in the US since November 1923

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

      July 2021

Sorokin’s “renunciation” letter

 

On October 29, 1918, in the Veliko-Ustyug provincial newspaper Peasant and Workers Dumas, the famous “renunciation” of Pitirim Sorokin was published, in which he announced his resignation from the Socialist-Revolutionary party and renounced the title of member of the Constituent Assembly.

I am posting the text of the letter here, first in Russian; and also, in my own English translation. If any corrections are necessary in the translation, I  would appreciate responses to that effect.

An English translation of Sorokin’s letter has not, to my knowledge, been published before.

 

— Roger W. Smith

 

 

Письмо в редакцию

«Крестьянские и рабочие думы»

Сим довожу до сведения граждан избирателей Воло-годской и Северо-Двинской губернии членов партии — с-р, что я: 1) отказываюсь от звания члена Учредит ельного собрания и всех прав и обязанностей, связанных с этим званием. 2) выхожу из состава партии соц иалистов-революционеров.

Основные мотивы, побудившие меня к этому шагу, таковы: 1) ввиду резко изменившихся, со времени выборов в Учред ительное собрание политических и социальных условий страны, а равно и политического настроения народа, я не могу считать себя правильным выразителем воли народа. 2) ввиду того же обстоятельства и чрезвы-чайной сложности современного внутригосударственного положения я затрудняюсь не только другим, но и самому себе указывать спасительные политические рецепты и брать на себя ответственное дело политического руко-водства и представительства народных масс.

При таких условиях каждый честный общественный деятель обязан сделать для себя надлежащий вывод, а именно: обязан отказаться от политики и прав и обязан-ностей политического работника. Этот отвод настоящим письмом я и делаю.

Сказанное объясняет и мой выход из партии соц иалистов-революционеров, раз я отказываюсь от всякой политической деятельности, то, естественно, я не могу состоять ни в какой политической партии, с одной стороны, числиться в партии мертвой единицей, с другой нести ответственность за ее политику.

К этим общественно-политическим мотивам должен еще присоединить мотив личного характера. Он состоит в моем горячем желании вернуться к прерванной чисто научной работе и к работе по культурному просвещению народа. Истекший год революции научил меня одной простой истине: политики могут ошибаться, политика может быть общественно полезной, но и может быть обще-ственно вредной, работа же в области науки и народного просвещения — всегда полезна и всегда нужна народу, в особенности же в эпохи коренного переустройства всей государственной и общественной жизни.

Этой работе, от которой на год с лишним я был оторван событиями и которую считал делом всей жизни, я отдаю отныне все свои слабые силы.

Приват-доцент Петроградского Университета и Психоневрологического Института, бывший член Учред ительного Собрания и бывший член партии с оциалистов-революционеров

Питирим Сорокин.

 

Letter to the editor

“Peasant and Workers’ Dumas”

I hereby inform the citizen voters of the Vologda and Severodvinsk provinces with party membership – s-r [Socialist-Revolutionary], that I: 1) renounce the title of member of the Constituent Assembly and all the rights and obligations associated with this title. 2) I quit the Socialist Revolutionary party.

The main motives which have prompted me to take this step are as follows: 1) in view of dramatic changes, since the elections to the Constituent Assembly, of the political and social conditions of the country, as well as the political mood of the people, I cannot consider myself a proper spokesman for the will of the people. 2) in view of the same circumstances and the extraordinary complexity of the current domestic situation, I find it difficult not only for others, but also for myself, to recommend salvific political recipes and take upon myself the responsible task of political leadership and representation of the masses.

Under such conditions, every honest public figure is obliged to draw the proper conclusion for himself, namely: he is obliged to renounce politics and the rights and duties of a political functionary. I am making that withdrawal by this letter.

The foregoing also explains my withdrawal from the Socialist Revolutionary party, since I renounce any political activity, then I cannot, naturally, be a member of any political party, considered a dead entity in the party on the one hand, while, on the other hand, bearing responsibility for its policies.

To these socio-political motives must be added a motive of a personal nature. It consists in my ardent desire to return to my interrupted purely scientific work and to work on the cultural enlightenment of the people. The past year of the revolution has taught me one simple truth: politicians can make mistakes, politics can be socially useful, but it can also be socially harmful, while work in the field of science and public education is always useful and always necessary for the people, especially in this time of radical transformation of all state and public life.

To this work, from which for more than a year I was torn away by events and which I considered the work of my whole life, I now give all my debilitated strength.

Privat-dozent of Petrograd University and the Psychoneurological Institute, former member of the Constituent Assembly and former member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party

Pitirim Sorokin.

Sorokin “is out” (was, here; twenty years ago)

 

 

Gehard Falk, ‘Tenure allows hest professors to succeed’ – Buffalo News 2-12-1999

 

 

Gerhard Falk

Tenure allows best professors to succeed without resentment   (editorial)

The Buffalo News

February 12, 1999

pg. B2

 

Academic tenure permits a professor or teacher to hold his job until retirement or for life. This arrangement has come under considerable criticism in recent months on the grounds that it tends to protect incompetent faculty from losing their jobs.

While this criticism is sometimes valid, it overlooks that tenure protects the best and most productive faculty from resentment against achievement. …

[T]he best work done in any university or college is done by tenured, full professors who are free to publish, teach and produce without worrying about the committee professionals and other self-appointed elitists who dominate almost every campus. Today, almost the entire academic establishment is dominated by those who demand conformity at any price. In fact, rigid conformity and puritanical thinking are the principal characteristics of the academic world, so that there is hardly any room for individualism anywhere in our institutions of higher learning. Those who express views not to the liking of campus politicians are either deprived of their jobs, denied promotions or excluded from faculty activities.

Aa a result, large numbers of faculty no longer attend any meetings, refuse to serve on committees for fear teaching [sic] subject matter not “politically correct.” That phrase refers to the belief that some thoughts should not be expressed, some ideas not exhibited, some books not written and some forms of expression not spoken. “Political correctness” is just one form of tyranny among the many that have plagued mankind. It is, however, most egregious that the academy is now “goose stepping” to the campus “thought police.”

For example, it is currently almost impossible for a graduate student in psychology to follow teachings of Sigmund Freud. Freud is “politically incorrect.” Similarly, a graduate student in sociology would not dare express an interest in the work of Pitirim Sorokin. He, too, is out. …

 

 

*****************************************************

 

Of course, while Sorokin may not have hated Freud personally, he had no use for Freud’s theories.

 

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

     March 2021

Sorokin on the city versus the country

 

 

 

мы знаем, что характер поведения людей (А) представляет результат («функцию») двух основных причин, двух «независимых переменных»: характера организма со всеми его наследственно полученными свойствами (В) и характера среды, как комплекса раздражителей (С), воздействующих на организм и вызывающих с его стороны ответные акты («реакции»), в своей совокупности и составляющие поведение.

A = f (B+C)

Если поэтому в этом уравнении меняется организм (В) или сфера (С) или обе «независимые, переменные», то меняется и поведение (А). Среда (С) города и среда деревни глубоко отличны друг от друга, а в силу различия этой «переменной», резко различным будет и поведение (с психикой) горожанина и земледельца. Первый живет главным образом «на лоне культуры», второй — «на лоне природы». Первый находится в среде «искусcтвенной», второй ‒ «естественной». Железо, бетон и камни, пар и электричество, огромная скученность населения, магазины, кафе, газеты, телефон, фабрики, машины, беспрерывно движущийся поток трамваев, автомобилей, и поездов, сумасшедшая толкотня и суетня на улицах, ‒ такова среда горожанина. Весь мир он воспринимает сквозь призму «культуры», сам он, так сказать, весь обернут газетами и пеленками «цивилизации» и только изредка подвергается прямому воздействию «природы». Не естественный ветер обдувает его, а струя вентиляционного воздуха, настоящее солнце ему заменяет электрическая люстра, почву ‒ мостовая, реку ‒ сжатый в железо и бетон, испачканный нефтью канал, лес и деревья ‒ подстриженный и напудренно-вылощенный сквер, чудеса и жизнь природы он видит лишь в «кино», жизнь животных ‒ в «зоологическом саду». Сам он весь «стилизован» и «окультурен», начиная с вставных зубов, пудры, корсета, и кончая … нефтью, машинным маслом и копотью угля …

 

 

We know that the behavior of people (A) represents the result (“function”) of two main causes, two “independent variables”: the nature of the organism with all of its hereditarily obtained properties (B) and the nature of the environment, as a complex of stimuli (C), acting upon the body and causing on its part reciprocal acts (“reactions”), in their totality and composite behavior.

A = f (B + C)

If therefore in this equation the organism (B) or the sphere (C) or both “independent variables” change, then the behavior also changes (A). The environment (C) of a city and the environment of a village are profoundly different from one another, and due to the difference in this “variable,” the behavior (as well as the psyche) of a city dweller and a farmer will also be distinctly different. The first lives mainly “in the bosom of culture,” the second ‒ “in the bosom of nature.” The first is in an “artificial,” the second ‒ in a “natural” environment. Iron, concrete and stones, steam and electricity, a huge overcrowding of the population, shops, cafes, newspapers, telephones, factories, cars, a constantly moving stream of trams, cars and trains, the crazy hustle and bustle in the streets ‒ this is the environment of a city dweller. He perceives the whole world through the prism of “culture,” he himself, so to speak, is all wrapped up in newspapers and diapers of “civilization” and is only occasionally exposed to the direct influence of “nature.” It is not a natural wind that blows it, but a stream of ventilated air, the real sun is replaced by an electric chandelier, the soil is pavement, a river is compressed into iron and concrete, a canal stained with oil, a forest and trees are a trimmed and powdered and polished park, the wonders and the life of nature he sees only in the “cinema,” the life of animals ‒ in a “zoological garden.” He himself is all “stylized” and “cultured,” starting with false teeth, powder, a corset, and ending … with oil, engine oil and coal soot …

 

— excerpted from Pitirim Sorokin, “Город и Деревня. (био-социологическая характеристика)” (“City and Country. (Bio-Sociological Characteristics”); Prague: Peasant Russia Publishing House, 1923); English translation by Natalia S. Sergieva and Roger W. Smith

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith, October 2020

a “nostalgic multiple jailbird” (New Yorker interview with Sorokin)

 

 

Binder1

 

 

The following is the text of a New Yorker article based on an interview conducted with Sorokin:

“Longevity Recipe”

“The Talk of the Town”

The New Yorker

January 4, 1958

pp. 16-17

 

 

Longevity Recipe

Are kind, permissive, lurk-around-the house parents, so much de rigueur nowadays, all they’re cracked up to be, psychologically and pedagogically speaking? Does an absentee or punitive father spell future failure for his little ones? Do people learn by suffering or so they go to pieces? Such questions have furrowed our brow during several decades of buttonholing famous men, many of whom, it turned out, had been either quickly orphaned or personally abandoned or paternally cuffed. This ponderous line of thought possessed us anew the other morning when we sat down at a table in the West Fifty-first Street Schrafft’s for a prearranged chat with Professor A. Sorokin, director of the Harvard Research Center in Creative Altruism and author of thirty books, among them “Time-Budgets of Human Behavior,” “The American Sex Revolution,” and “Social and Cultural Dynamics.” A merry scholar of sixty-eight if we ever saw one, his face set in quizzically humorous lines, his work translated into fifteen tongues; happy married, by his own account, for forty years to a prominent biologist, and the father of two promising sons, one a physicist and the other a student at Harvard Medical School; a vigorous fisherman, mountain climber, camper-out, and tiller of a big do-it-yourself garden of azaleas, rhododendrons, lilacs, and roses in Winchester, Massachusetts, Professor Sorokin is also the possessor of an upper lip that seems somewhat smashed in. We would never have mentioned this if the Professor had not brought it up himself. “Father did it with a hammer when I was nine,” he said. “He was a good man, but he used to hit the bottle, and then he’d hit my brother and me. Our mother died when I was four. I was born in Touria, a village in Vologda Region, near Archangel. It was a barren rural, extremely cold section. I am from the very bottom of Russian society. Mother was the daughter of poor peasants and Father was an itinerant artisan who did painting, silvering, and gilding, in churches and peasants’ houses. After Mother’s death, my older brother and I–a younger brother was adopted by an aunt–moved with Father from village to village, helping him with his work. We separated from him after the hammer incident, and he died a year later. We continued our nomadic life, gilding icons, and so forth, until in one hamlet, Gam, I came across a newly founded school. I took an examination, was given a scholarship, graduated after three years, and won another three-year scholarship, at the Teachers College in Kostroma Region.”

Professor Sorokin paused to polish off some ham and eggs. “In 1906, when I was seventeen,” he said, “I was arrested there by the Czarist police and imprisoned for four months for giving revolutionary talks at factories. I was later arrested twice more by the Czarist police and three times by the Bolsheviks. Being arrested under the Czar was rather cozy. Czarist prisons were first-class hotels. The wardens were our office boys. ‘Telephone your friends from my office,’ they would say. “Help yourself to the books there.’ Bolshevik arrests were very different. Every day was a day of jeopardy. After Teachers College I went to night school in St. Petersburg, and then spent several years studying, and subsequently teaching, at the Psycho-Neurological Institute and the University of St. Petersburg. I gave courses in criminology and penology. In 1917, I was one of four founders of the All-Russian Peasant Soviet and a member of its executive committee, and I became secretary to Kerensky, then Prime Minister. I was also editor-in-chief of Volia Naroda, the Petrograd newspaper that was the main voice of the Kerensky government. My first Bolshevik arrest, for opposing such Communist leaders as Lenin, Trotsky, and Kamenev, was in January 1918. My second, in the fall of that year, was for helping engineer the overthrow of Communist government in Archangel. I was condemned to death, was released after six weeks through the intercession of a former student of mine, and returned to the university, where I founded its Department of Sociology. I wrote five books on sociology and on law, and underwent my final arrest. I was then comfortably banished, and went to Czechoslovakia on the invitation of my good friend President Masaryk, and in 1923 I came here to lecture at the Universities of Wisconsin and Illinois. I joined the University of Minnesota faculty in 1924, and in 1930 I went to Harvard, where I organized, and became chairman of, the Department of Sociology. In 1948, I founded the Research Center in Creative Altruism there, with the financial support of Eli Lilly, an altruistic Indianapolis pharmaceutist. So far, Mr. Lilly and a fund called the Lilly Endowment have given us a hundred and thirty-five thousand dollars between them to conduct studies on how to make human beings less selfish and more creative. I haven’t been arrested since 1922, but I have revied a few parking tickets. I rather miss being arrested.”

This nostalgic multiple jailbird passed us the sugar, and we pressed him for a further word on creative altruism. “In brief, as a result of my studies, beginning in the nineteen-forties,” he said, “I came to the conclusion that if individual human beings, groups, and cultural institutions in general did not become notably more creatively altruistic, nothing could save mankind. Popular prescriptions, such as political changes, religious changes, and education as a panacea against war, won’t do it. This century, in which science and education have reached unrivalled heights, is the bloodiest of all the twenty-five centuries of Greco-Roman and European history. Have you read my ‘Altruistic Love’? It deals with some of the ascertainable characteristics of five hundred living American altruists and forty-six hundred Christian saints. The extraordinary longevity and vigorous health of the saints is remarkable! Or my ‘The Ways and Powers of Love’? It uncovers a sufficient body of evidence to show that unselfish, creative love can stop aggressive inter-individual and inter-group attacks, tangibly influence international policy, and pacify international conflicts, and that altruistic persons live longer than egoistic individuals. Or my ‘Man and Society in Calamity’? In this, I confirm the law of polarization, which runs contrary to the Freudian claim that calamity and frustration uniformly generate aggression, and contrary to the old claim, reiterated recently by Toynbee, that they lead uniformly to the moral and spiritual ennoblement of human beings. What the law of polarization holds is that, depending upon the type of personality, frustrations and misfortunes may be reacted to and overcome by positive polarization, resulting either in an increased creative effort (consider the deafness of Beethoven, the blindness of Milton) or in altruistic transformation (consider St. Francis of Assisi and Ignatius Loyola), or they may induce negative polarization, in the shape of suicide, mental disorder, brutalization, increase of selfishness, dumb submissiveness, or cynical sensualism. This works both individually and collectively.”

We unfurrowed our brow and left, resolved to love one and all, and to live to be a hundred and three.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

      October 2020