Dr. C.W. Rietdijk from The Netherlands, theoretical physicist and cultural philosopher, has a coherent and comprehensive theory of culture laid out in his magnum opus, The Scientifization of Culture. Central are the Red Thread - the evolutionary and historical progress in reason, morality and emotion - and the various irrational forces counteracting it. Violating more than one taboo, he unmasks the causes behind social and other abuses and offers rational solutions based on scientific facts. This interview covers some of the core topics in his work.
QUESTION 1 - What is your year of birth? I couldn't find that in your 1994 book "The Scientifization of Culture" or on your web site.
I was born in 1927, in Bergen op Zoom. My father taught mathematics on a local high school. I have one brother, and our family was in-between agnostic and liberally Protestant. From 1949 to 1984 I taught mathematics on high schools too.
QUESTION 2 - In The Netherlands there is much going on about "black schools"; schools with a high percentage of students of non-Western descent. Such schools are sometimes seen as problematic, and there have been incidents with violence of students against teachers and other students. Some propose to spread allochthonous children more to prevent the formation of black schools. What do you think is best?
In my opinion, spreading allochthonous children is no solution. People should have freedom to choose the school they prefer.
I propose some other measures:
a) Restrict yearly immigration of Third-World people to, say, 9,000, as Denmark does; ban the immigration of lowly-skilled and low-IQ marriage partners completely.
b) Reinstate the habit that children whose performance is insufficient repeat a class, and oblige all elementary schools [of a similar level, compare c) below] to carry through the same program, with identical standard books, and at the same speed. Those who cannot keep pace should repeat the relevant class. Thus the level of all relevant elementary schools becomes similar. This on the understanding that some elementary schools see 90 % of their pupils ultimately pass an entrance exam to the highest level of secondary education, and others only 10 %.
c) Apart from this, differentiate elementary schools according to three levels: low, medium and high, aside from specialized schools, inter alia, for handicapped children.
d) Restore the discipline of 1950 by making the director side with the teacher, the inspector or alderman with the director and the minister with the inspector or alderman. Banish regularly unruly pupils to specialized schools with a strict regime.
QUESTION 3 - What approach should the Western world take on with regard to Third World countries? Should there be developmental aid, and in what forms? I ask this knowing the study by Lynn and Vanhanen which shows the wealth of nations to be correlated with national average IQ in apparently a causal way (high average IQ being the cause of wealth).
I feel compassion should induce us to development aid, but it should be limited to countries that
a) respect human rights;
b) agree with supervision by the donor countries as to the suitability of the aid.
Further, education, rationalization of business, and improving health care should have priority as to the aid.
Actually, many Third-World countries could best hire experts from abroad for essentially running the country, as even "high-IQ" Singapore did for about 30 years (it hired the Dutchman Winsemius as top adviser).
QUESTION 4 - What is your opinion on an organization like High IQ for Humanity? They basically offer support and education to intellectually gifted children in developing countries. As they say: "Using a unique and proven doctrine of specialized education, High IQ for Humanity empowers developing countries by nurturing native human capital in the form of gifted children who will grow to become central forces within their communities and key figures in the advancement of their nations."
"High IQ for Humanity" is to be praised much, and donor countries should cooperate with it in order to cultivate the most precious base material, that is scarce particularly in many developing countries.
QUESTION 5 - The hardest to understand in your work, and the most difficult to accept, are your ideas on a realistically four-dimensional world involving the phenomenon of nonlocal coherence, which you say is responsible for paranormal phenomena, which you believe exist. For instance, you say (in "The Scientifization of Culture") an individual nonconformist may be (unconsciously) counteracted on the paranormal level by the collective orthodoxy whose ideas he opposes. You even give advice on how to ward off that influence. For the nonconformists among us, what are the best ways to do that according to your current insights?
This is a difficult subject for a short answer. There are a few separate points:
a) A realistically four-dimensional world is actually an irrefutable consequence of a remarkable - but generally accepted - implication of the Special theory of relativity. I.e., if an observer O in point A is (at rest) in-between points P and Q, at equal (large) distances from them (millions of kilometres), one can imagine three synchronized clocks in A, P and Q, all showing 3 o'clock at a certain moment.
Now consider a colleague observer O' of O who - at such time of 3 o'clock - passes O at A in the direction from P to Q, and at a very large velocity. Then relativity theory implies something very striking: for observer O' - agreeing with O that the time is 3 o'clock at his passing O at A - times at P and Q, at the event of his passing O, are 2 and 4 o'clock, respectively! That is, as O' passes O at A, he can say truthfully to O: "Your future (clock pointers indicating 4 o'clock) as regards Q is already realistic present, 'now', for me!". Because, according to Special relativity, all observers are equivalent, independently of their velocity, we can conclude:
The "now in Q at a distance" for O' (at his passing A) is equally realistic if the Q clock reads 4, as Q is realistically existing at 3 o'clock for observer O (at the moment O' passes him at A).
This means that the 4-o'clock situation in Q, which still is an hour in the future for O in A, is already present for O' in A and, therefore, exists in a realistic sense!
I gave four different rigorous demonstrations of "the future is 'already' there" in the professional Journals, and none has been refuted. See for details my website <www.xs4all.nl/~bcb/rietdijk26.html>
One simplified proof is given with Fig. 1 there, and the complete demonstrations can be found in the References.
b) Nonlocal coherence - also discussed on the above web page - will be necessary in explaining paranormal phenomena, apart from its playing a part in some microphysical ones such as Young's double-slit experiment and the paradox of Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen (EPR).
As to relations between nonlocal coherence and the paranormal, and literature about the reality of paranormal phenomena, see Chapter 10 of my "The Scientifization of Culture" and p. 158 of my "Wetenschap als bevrijding" (sold out).
c) I feel it to be obvious that, if telepathy, psychokinesis etc. exist in principle, they will also actually play a part in our lives, such as in influencing human relations. E.g., there may be unconscious telepathic "pressures" from the majority on nonconformists towards the latters' adjustment to the group. Flags, national anthems and other "inductors" may play a part here as instruments of conformism. Compare that certain phenomena in connection with clairvoyants indicate how inductors may indeed help with paranormal communications among men.
d) I feel - and am convinced to have experienced - that a nonconformist can best ward off inimical paranormal influences originating with "the orthodox group" in two ways:
First, by an assertive and militant inner rejection of the whole of the atmosphere and complex the relevant dissident is in conflict with, and of associations ("inductors") that may connect him or her with such complex.
Second, a general inner strength and purity - that go with one's being and living in harmony with moral elevation - work favourable. They help in keeping evil at bay. Though in practice religion will be a frustrating orthodoxy, its occupation with the sacred has also an essential positive message for us. Alas, there were many Pharisees and few Jesuses...
I see all of this within a strictly rational scope of coherence implied by natural laws, of which nonlocal coherence is an aspect. Also see my web page on the paranormal.
e) In the last resort, my conviction that nonlocal coherence - such as in EPR, striking coincidences and the paranormal in general - indeed appears stems from the same source as my rationalism: the persuasion that the world is not only coherent and strictly defined by laws on a small, local scale, but also as to large-scale processes and dimensions. That is, the "great things", such as macro-evolution, human destiny, the relations among men and end results in general, obey subtle laws and are no coincidence, no more than the local things physics is mostly occupied with. Einstein's "God does not play dice" holds for such great things too.
QUESTION 6 - In the study of human evolution, there is a controversy between the "Out of Africa" and the "Multi-regional" hypotheses. The first says all present humans descend from the Homo sapiens who evolved in Africa about 100 000 to 200 000 years ago and spread out over the world, displacing the local variants of Homo erectus everywhere, while the second says Homo Sapiens developed locally from Homo erectus (with some migration and intermixture in the process), the latter having migrated out of Africa between 1.5 and 1 million years ago. Which do you consider most likely?
This is indeed a relevant question, also in view of the evolutionary stages of various current races. But I am too little expert here to have any bias towards one of the two theories.
QUESTION 7 - Do you think eugenics - selective procreation to improve human quality - is a good thing? Which eugenic measures would be applicable in the various parts of the world? And will "conventional" eugenics still be needed when genetic engineering technology becomes available?
Indeed genetic engineering may make parts of eugenics superfluous. But quite a long time may elapse before genetic engineering becomes feasible for large numbers of people. Until then, chronic problem cases - think of crime, addiction, chronic anti-social behaviour, - should not procreate, within the scope of a qualitative population policy. It is totally unreasonable and immoral if high-IQ people would limit their offspring while at the same time IQ<85 groups and anti-socials procreate the more. Lowly educated women now produce substantially more children than highly educated ones, on an average, as has been found by Richard Lynn from Northern Ireland. Further, "The Bell Curve" (Murray and Herrnstein) demonstrated that IQ correlates rather strongly positively with many other good qualities, as to personality, health, etc.
QUESTION 8 - Why are you so opposed to "networking", "lobbying", "relatiocracy" and the like, and what could be done to reduce those phenomena?
I think networking largely amounts to favouritism and old-boys networks, in contrast with meritocracy. It often frustrates "the right man in the right place", as to business leaders, professors, politicians, successful artists etc. This harms the public interest. Also, because few want to be "ostracized" as "not belonging", and because most people feel dependent on "friends", networking fosters conformism too. We see this around us, e.g., in so many being politically correct.
It is not easy to fight the phenomenon. But actually it is worse in Italy, Belgium and Japan than in North-Western Europe, so that a change of mentality matters. In the long run, better lie-detection and "measuring man's psyche and genes" (also applied to finding out motives as to appointments) may produce a solution.
QUESTION 9 - You have written about the scarcity of attractiveness and the desirability of rational sex markets. You advocate prostitution. Do you consider prostitution morally acceptable? And what about homosexual prostitution? And paedophilial prostitution? An argument against prostitution could be that prostitutes do it for the money and not out of true affinity, so that prostitution may only be effective for the type of men to whom sex is no more than scratching an itch, so to speak.
If prostitution - homo or hetero - makes more people happy, why oppose it? If a musician's music moves me, I will take it into the bargain if he or she produces it for money or fame. A prostitute may act as a violin or guitar in producing emotion.
Further, it is asserted that paedophilia is damaging to the relevant youngsters. "For the time being" I believe the experts who say so, which implies my supporting its prohibition. But the near-hysteria about child pornography - even as to computer-constructed Internet specimens - also makes me a little bit suspicious. In any case, the Dutroux's are very bad. Let's prohibit actual paedophilia, pending further research.
[Note by PC: Marc Dutroux, meant in the previous paragraph, is suspected of having kidnapped, raped and murdered several children.]
QUESTION 10 - What are the best arguments to use against those who say all is relative and deny the existence of objective good and evil?
One of my "Oneliners" reads: "Evil is as objective as the suffering that is caused by it". Further relevant points:
a) You and I, and almost everyone else, agree that our personal suffering, such as torture, should be avoided. Well, let's be rational and help each other in actually prevent it, and jointly try to optimize happiness.
b) If good and evil were relative, Auschwitz would be so too. Then, the rationality of a) would be violated. Moreover, everyone agrees that all of our children being tortured would not be "relative" as to its being preferable or not. Hence, relativism as to "what should be done" appears to be incorrect as regards at least one course of action.
c) The Nazi's being equally right as the opponents of Auschwitz, no motive would remain as to optimizing happiness. This would violate man's most primary instincts, such as self-preservation optimized by reason (i.e., helping each other with it).
d) Essentially, optimizing total happiness is positive for many, whereas other ethical systems, such as about "the honour of God or the country", have no rational arguments telling for them.
QUESTION 11 - To solve problems caused by drug addicts, you have proposed compulsory "kicking the habit", and letting those who fail to kick the habit die peacefully of an overdose. But what about the drugs themselves; should they be legalized or not? And does it make sense to distinguish between soft and hard drugs when it comes to legalization?
a) Many policemen would be freed for other tasks;
b) Addicts need no longer steal;
c) Life for addicts would become happier.
a) The price mechanism would cause (far) more people to become addicted, who sponge on society because they cannot work (note the consequences of cheap drugs on Curaçao);
b) Dealers may seek other rewarding kinds of crime;
c) Some kinds of drugs, such as crack, make people aggressive, so that they will make victims among the not-addicted.
As to soft drugs: medical research should teach us more about their damage. Various doctors have already said they are far from harmless.
Conclusion: better than criminalizing trade is criminalizing the addicts themselves; they are also much easier to find, and should be interned until they kicked the habit.
QUESTION 12 - Can you identify personality traits in yourself that have caused you to arrive at so many insights generally received as controversial, and to express those insights publicly, even at the risk of becoming an outcast?
a) Seeing the cruelties and chutzpahs of history, and those present establishments are responsible for, I lost any respect for "the group" and our speechmakers who accepted all of this. That makes me innerly immune to being made an outcast by them. I feel it to be honourable to be rejected by such kind of people.
b) Any compromise with them was also impossible for me in the first place. For how could one compromise with those who
1) Accept whistle-blowers to be fired even if they appeared to be right, and who made no laws against this for decades.
2) Release a criminal on account of a technicality and often reduce the effectiveness of finding the truth because of "privacy" arguments.
3) Prohibit euthanasia as to seriously handicapped newborns, thus causing much unhappiness to many parents.
c) I do not need the moral support of any community after looking at the stars, listening to moving music or seeing a beautiful woman.
d) I may be even more innerly vulnerable than the average person, but precisely for that reason I experience violations of truth, integrity, efficiency or compassion [as apparent from, inter alia, b) above] as so extremely bad that all my emotions, moral instincts and intelligence are at war with people causing no uproar about situations as those under b).
e) Further, by "mere genes" I am an individualist rather than wanting to belong. For my being interested in others, they should meet moral and intellectual standards. Those accepting situations as under b) do not...
QUESTION 13 - How do you view the fundamentalist Islamic terrorism of the past years? What do you think are its causes, and what could be done against it?
The causes of anti-Western terrorism from non-Western cultures and regions may be similar to those of the hatred many within the West feel with respect to the Enlightenment, rationalism, individualism and the idea of progress. Think of anti-globalists, Greens, anti-rationalists and the "adversary culture", from hippies to incoherent modern art. Also think of anti-sexual tendencies in both the West and the Islam.
On the other hand, the West itself also gives much occasion for disrespecting it. Think of strong here-and-now hedonism, materialistic egoism (oil, trade policy, power,...) and hypocritical cruelty (Cambodia, Rwanda, Saudi-Arabia, the approach of Saddam in the past...).
What should be done is primarily giving law enforcement authorities considerably more competences to crack down on terrorists - no "privacy", no "rights" prejudicing finding the truth, no limits to the exchange of information,... "Human rights" that frustrate finding the truth are useless, especially in a free society. Free citizens need law enforcement authorities as powerful allies in a total war against all terrorism.
QUESTION 14 - You have spoken up against incoherence in modern art, where often the emperor has no clothes. Can you name examples of contemporary art - be it literature, visual art, music or theatre - that do NOT suffer from incoherence?
I think of Hochhuth's "Der Stellvertreter" (about Pius XII), Orff's Carmina Burana, Zadkine's statue "The ruined city" (in Rotterdam), many paintings simply to be seen in shop-windows, the better genre of "Schlager" music, such as of Vicky Leandros and Demis Roussos, and various non-incoherent novels. All of this gets little attention from the "experts" who, e.g., prefer "innovative" "Finnegan's wake" to beauty or a novel about substance.
QUESTION 15 - Do you think lie-detectors are reliable enough for the mass lie-detector controlled interviews of politicians and other public figures you propose? And what do you expect to be exposed in such interviews?
Suppose that lie-detectors have the margin of error of 15 % experts will attribute to them, and that one interviews, by means of such apparatus, all 42 socialist members of Dutch parliament, asking this question:
"Do you feel the liberal immigration policy of the left to stem from
a) love of one's neighbour with respect to the immigrants, or
b) the hope that such "disadvantaged" will in due course vote for leftist parties?"
If then all representatives answer a), while the apparatus indicates "lie" in 30 among the 42 cases, the public - in view of the 15 % margin of error - knows much more than now.
As soon as serious rumours about corruption emerge, one could also interview many businessmen, union and state officials having something to do with the New York harbour, rather than doing nothing (as all relevant people keep mum). Everyone refusing to answer will be considered guilty, at least of contempt of court.
Or interview all lawyers, defendants, policemen, magistrates etc. related to "the affaire Marc Dutroux" in Belgium.
QUESTION 16 - Regarding economics, you write that some forms of government interference in free markets are good while other are bad. Which forms are good?
From 1950 to 1990, Japan had an economic growth rate of about 10 % a year. This strongly suggests that the cooperation of business, governments and unions in such period worked very positively. In 1990 and afterwards one chose the wrong remedies against inflated land, real estate and stock prices. Viz. high interest rates rather than
a) radical liberalization of the land and real-estate markets;
b) largely paying off bad bank debts (resulting from falling real-estate prices) by the government by means of created money;
c) leaving the inflated stock market to its own devices, so that it could gradually decline, rather than its also being hurt by high interest rates.
Further, in South-Korea the "Japanese miracle" repeated itself, and also in China. The economic systems there to all appearance are more dynamic than in most traditionally capitalistic countries, in which the authorities do little to stimulate growth and exports.
Still, do not forget that the Japanese, South-Korean and Chinese economic systems have serious drawbacks too! E.g., think of various inefficiencies, such as in the Japanese distribution system, high real-estate prices,...
QUESTION 17 - In Japan, income differences are smaller than in the USA and other Western countries. Do you think this is simply a result of how the Japanese economy is organized? Or could it also suggest, considering what we know of the relation between wealth and IQ,, that the distribution of intelligence in Japan is narrower? The latter would also explain why, despite having the highest average IQs in the world, the East Asian countries have historically not produced the most geniuses.
I feel it to be an original and clever idea to invoke the hypothesis about the distribution of intelligence, also in connection with the scarcity of Eastern Nobel laureates. Still, there are rather many brilliant Japanese and Chinese physicists in the US. A (US-based) Japanese Nobel laureate in medicine once said in Tokyo that he would never have won the prize if he had stayed in Japan: Japanese society and value system were too little attuned to independent thinking and acting, and to rewarding them.
My hypothesis is that, apart from a possibly more even IQ distribution, Japanese are indeed less inclined to "Columbus-like enterprises", in science, business, socially,... This reduces the number of self-made millionaires. Further, Japanese society is less morally inclined to ascribe all of a person's success or its absence to his personal merit. This is a psychological factor in socially helping the poor (especially think of family) and in not morally accepting very high incomes for business leaders, high officials, in the professions, etc.
Further, making money absorbs most of the energy of innumerable Americans, whereas in Japan status (also apart from money) plays a more important part.
QUESTION 18 - You recommend meritocratic rather than "relatiocratic" selection and education of elites; that is, of individuals to occupy important positions in society (politics, business etcetera). Which selection methods and education forms do you suggest?
Ultimately, only a true "measurement of man" - genes, IQ, EQ, personality tests, measuring brain waves, lie-detection,... - will decisively foster meritocracy (the right man or woman in the right place). Until then, examinations, interviewing by independent selection committees and one's past performances should prevail on cooptation and networking, such as referring to "old friends from one's students' union". A further change of climate in the direction of meritocracy - as already appeared since the French revolution - is also important. Recruiting business leaders from limited (old-boys) networks ("our kind of people") should gradually become socially unacceptable. In our value system, one's connections, way of speech and clothing, memberships, and further social "ambiance" should be much reduced as to their weight, as compared with more objective qualities and performance. If our speechmaking community would champion progress, efficiency and integrity rather than "social coherence" and conformity, meritocracy would not have to wait for better techniques of measuring man. I do not dare to predict how fast actual developments will pass off.
QUESTION 19 - What do you think of the concept of "EQ" or "emotional intelligence"?
Emotional intelligence probably will indeed appear to be an important concept. Within the scope of increasing knowledge as to genes, brain waves, biochemistry, psychological testing etc. - "measuring and understanding man", just as other phenomena - EQ is one of "man's parameters". It will also be interesting to find out the relation between "nature" and "nurture" factors regarding emotions, and what is the role of the emotional in coherence with intelligence and other faculties. We should also think about how it may best be "managed" to make people more happy.
QUESTION 20 - Is normal social functioning in current Western society possible for someone of very high intelligence and very high moral quality? And if not, what could such a person do to make life more bearable?
I feel that a vital factor is here: how much innerly independent of others is such high-quality individual, and what is his job? If he or she is rather independent, also in his job (and he/she is a kind person, avoiding needless conflict), it may not be so difficult to live (very) bearably.
A problem may be finding a somewhat "fitting" love partner, because kindred spirits are rare and the general climate in the "outgoing ambiance" is superficial rather than serious. A large-scale, transparent love market is long overdue, in particular with respect to the best among us. Internet probably will become a solution.
QUESTION 21 - If repetitive serious criminals were removed from society for good, crime would drastically go down. Why then is this not done consistently in western society?
The mere myriad "rights" of defendants, the role of "privacy" and technicalities, and many soft verdicts, just as the frequent fate of whistle-blowers, show that among our leaders enforcing integrity not precisely takes priority in the first place. This may also be caused by such leaders' knowing that their own methods too not seldom are far from straightforward. Further, egalitarian dogma implies that people only became bad by their social environment and, therefore, will be resocializable. "One should not put off an individual". Moral relativism plays a part too. I surmise that our leaders do not really feel habitual criminals and anti-socials to be errors in the evolution.
These points of mentality are compounded by some more concrete vested interests:
a) Lawyers have a direct interest in defending a repeater, say, 20 times rather than his being removed from society for good, say, after 3 serious or 10 light crimes.
b) They also thrive on complication, rights and technicalities.
c) Psychiatrists, rehabilitation officers and various kinds of "experts" also have an interest in the problem of crime not to be easily solved. More generally, many experts and bureaucrats in various domains don't like at all "ready-made solutions", "simplification" and everything else that would imply any reduction of their own role or importance. "Complicated problems" constitute their jobs.
Further, our society is so "corporatistic" that the authorities will listen more to representatives of vested interests (lawyers, business, unions, doctors, farmers,...) than to the general public. E.g., note that 58 % of Americans feel that their country is run for the benefit of a few big interests. ("The Scientifization of Culture", p. 380.)
QUESTION 22 - You see moral quality as something that is inborn and differs between individuals, like for instance intelligence. How can individual differences in moral quality be objectively measured?
For the time being, we cannot but judge one's moral qualities from his or her actions. Probably, suitable psychological tests will be developed, and gene combinations discovered, that are relevant as regards our knowledge of an individual's moral qualities. Once people are more convinced of the vital importance of moral quality - in politics and elsewhere - also lie-detection and technical progress with respect to it will get more priority. Actually, lie-detection and measuring man more generally - by means of polygraphs, voice analysis, brain wave research, tests,... - may be the best ways to find out people's motives and mentality. That is, their moral level.
Former revolutions wholly or partly became disappointments because evil, hidden motives - mostly ambition for power -, in the minds of the leaders played their indeed hidden parts. The "beta", techno-scientific revolution, on the contrary, may be more successful because it will eventually lead to methods by which we can better expose evil and hidden motives. For the rest, such techno-scientific revolution is already massively going on around us.
Furthermore, it is precisely their instinctive fear from such "fighting troubled waters" (from enlightenment up to the unconscious and the intimate) which causes many to have a horror of both such revolution and my ideas...