Category Archives: Essays

Welcome to Korea Bill Gates

Today, August 15, 2022, is independence day in Korea. On this day Korea gained its independence from the Japanese Empire after a long and arduous struggle. Sadly, ironically, the parasite tycoon Bill Gates, who has killed millions with his deadly vaccines, is visiting Korea today to deliver a speech at the National Assembly about the future fake pandemics he is planning.

The formal visit of Bill Gates, a mass murderer, to the Korea as a guest of state is a horrific travesty that calls into question the legitimacy of the government of the Republic of Korea. That is to say that Korea, like most countries in the world, has become the colony of an evil empire of multinational corporations, private equity and investment banks. Its media is run by technology giants for the purpose of destroying the ability of its citizens to think for themselves.

We demand that the Korean police arrest Bill Gates immediately and that he be jailed for his crimes against humanity. If the Korean police are unable to do so, the International Revolutionary Party is ready to step forward and do so.

Emanuel Pastreich

Head

International Revolutionary Party

August 15, 2022

Seoul, Republic of Korea

Pfizer Headquarters

A tribute to my wife Seung Eun (1968-2022)

A tribute to Seung-Eun Yi Pastreich

July 17, 1968-July 27, 2022

Born the fifth of six children to a mother who was fastidious about maintaining an orderly home, and sorry that she had not been able to attend high school, Seung-Eun had both a tremendous drive to learn and a humility about her remarkable insights into the nature of things.

Her father loved reading books, smoking cigarettes, and was generous, but silent, at the many lunches and dinners he arranged.

Seung-Eun was a deeply creative and loving woman, but her creativity was devoted to the spaces she inhabited and the subtle ways she expressed her love for those around her.

Family was the canvas on which she wrote her generous spirit broadly. Even in the midst of the worst setbacks, she found time for family, and managed to create a home. Marvelously and mysteriously, she found deep meaning in the smallest things and led us to understand better ourselves without ever speaking a word.

Seung-Eun 승은 was the name given to her by a Buddhist monk on a trip when she was 28 years old. She bravely decided one day that it would be her name and she never changed her mind. That alone is unusual in Korean society. Her original name was Lee Young-mi 이영미).

Although Seung-Eun grew up in a relatively well-to-do family, her father’s financial troubles meant that she suddenly lost everything at the start of college, and most of her wealthy friends abandoned her.

Some parts of that experience was something that we shared, and I think perhaps it was one of the reasons why she never left me, even under the most dire circumstances.

Seung-Eun made up her mind to study classical Korean music in college. Her parents were deeply worried as they thought the study of Western music would increase her chances of finding a good mate from a wealthy family.

And then she decided to marry me, and did so in spite of all the worries of her family.

She had a deep understanding of Korean music, of Korean traditional painting, and of Korean Buddhism. She was an excellent cook of Korean food and she knew exactly what each of her children enjoyed most. For her, art was life and life was art–but not in a conspicuous, ostentatious, sense.

She had a radiant smile, and a tremendous enthusiasm, that brought light, and energy, to the breakfast table, to the carefully laid out plates and cups in the cabinet, and to the cans and pasta stacked up in the pantry. She energized everything.

I met her in February, 1996, when I was studying in Korea for a year. She spoke no English and did not have any particular interest in the United States. I appreciated this quality immediately as I was tired of Koreans who took an unnatural interest in my sad and tired country.

But there was more. I was struck by the deep sense of respect that she showed for all people. The first time we had lunch together I noticed that she treated the humble woman running the little restaurant with a glowing warmth.

A slightly round face, brilliant eyes, perfect teeth, and a subtle beautiful voice defined Seung-Eun.

She had never visited the United States before she came to meet my parents in 1997. But although she could not speak a word, she had many of the characteristics I remember from my grandmother. She embraced my family as her family. It seemed as if the whole thing had been determined in advance at some ethereal level.

She was soon making all sorts of plans for our future. For my future, and for the children’s future. Some plans worked; some did not.

We ended up at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in1998 and in that rural town, she made a wonderful home, filled with the art and the pottery she had collected over the years. That space, and others that she created later on, still haunt me.

She played elaborate games with the children, Benjamin (born 2001) and Rachel (born 2004). Engaging them in fantastic worlds was her specialty. And the snacks she offered up were created especially for then–and no one else.

She did not have large numbers of friends, but those to whom she was close, she was very close to. She made a special effort to establish friendships with the parents of our children’s friends. She did so, methodically, over decades.

After we moved to Washington D.C. in 2004, in the midst of yet more chaos, she created a regular family schedule and made the children feel that they were the center of the world–which they were, of course. It was a simple apartment in Falls Church, but everything was carefully arranged. The kids always knew she would be there for them and that she cared about them more than anything.

She was a great teacher. She had tremendous patience with the two of them and she tried always to figure out exactly what they needed. Teaching was not simply about things and numbers. I sensed that there was always a deep ethical component to teaching the children for her. And I also learned so much myself, without even noticing it. I would later realize just what a genius she had, how much smarter than just about anyone else she was. But I never, never perceived her genius at the moment. I only understood it much later.

She was not a teacher in the sense of a Ph.D at a university. She was a teacher who was effective precisely because her teaching was invisible.

When we moved to Korea in 2007, to the smaller city of Daejeon, suddenly lifted out of Washington D.C. and placed in a location that did not have many amenities, it was a bit of a shock for all of us. Moreover, the university, and the governor’s office, were not always friendly environments. But Seung-Eun was able to create a stable family environment anyway, one full of hidden sacred spaces, even when we had to move every year, or every nine months.

She became deeply involved in Buddhism while we lived in Daejeon. At her command, we all loaded up in the car and drove out to various temples deep in the mountains, especially to Bongamsa 봉암사 Temple near Mungyeong. Bongamsa Temple is a deeply spiritual place near a quick flowing river that threatens to carry you away in its current. We spent our days there wandering the paths around the temple, wading in the pools on top of the great boulders further up in the mountains, and speaking with the monks on the wood verandas of the temple. I still remember her dragging us to the services at dawn when the drums rumbled in the stillness. .

After we moved to Seoul in 2011, Seung-Eun started to study Buddhist art history at Korea University and for a few years was buried in books. She even took off on a trip along the Silk Road all by herself from which she brought back hundreds of photographs of odd and intriguing temples and carvings.

She was almost finished writing her master’s thesis on temple portraits in Korea and Japan when she was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014. The surgery and chemotherapy, stopped the cancer, for a while, but they sapped her energy and slowed her down immensely. She continued to love her children, to be concerned for those around her, but she could not work as long, read as much, or make the elaborate plans that she once did.

We tried moving back to Washington DC in 2019. She again made an amazing space to live in within the brick house we rented. But her health was worse and I could no longer find the employment necessary to support us.

That meant that we went back in Korea.

The last year, after 2021, Seung-eun’s mother grew weaker and weaker and Seung Eun spent much time taking care of her. Eventually she lived with her mother full time. I think that taking care of her mother helped Seung-Eun to regain some energy. It was love, after all, that gave her power.

She made plans to go back to the United States so she could be with the children, and she worked at a restaurant in order to make some money that she could send to them.

She did not tell anyone that the cancer had reoccurred. We had no idea just how serious the situation was. I think that not telling us was her way of protecting us.

There can be no doubt about the concern, and the love, that Seung-Eun had, day and night, for the children, and for me.

I feel that the family unit, the four of us became so incredibly close because of the loving attention that she gave to us without hesitation. We did not know that she was the cement that held us together, a kind of invisible cement.

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Our wedding, November 8, 1997 @ Lark Creek Inn, Larkspur, California.

The Blessed and Cursed United States

The Blessed and Cursed United States

The United States was the best of nations; it was the worst of nations. Harvard’s halls were filled with wisdom; Corporate headquarters overflowed with greed.

It was a nation of faith; it was a nation of barbarism. It shined light forth to the world; it was wrapped deep in darkness.

America offer eternal hope; America’s cold shopping malls drove us to despair.

We had everything we could want; we had absolutely nothing.

We were sure we were doing Heaven’s will; we were all heading straight to hell.

In short, America was so contradictory, both attractive and repulsive, both pure and blasphemous, that its loudest authorities insisted on being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Emanuel Pastreich

June 21, 2022

COVID 19 Tragedy in Korea

This photograph depicts a mother walking with her young son who has been reduced to walking with a cane by the COVID-19 vaccines. he is most certainly less than 20 years old. The photo speaks volumes about the horrific tragedy just starting to unfold across the nation, a tragedy so massive in scale that few dare address it.

The tale of the leopard, the mama monkey and the baby monkey

The release of the monkey pox scam for global consumption over smart phones via Facebook comes precisely at the moment that global finance is implementing its plans to further undermine global governance, and local governance, by coopting all leadership and by destroying the minds of the citizens. This photograph represents perfectly the plight of the local citizen, lulled to sleep by false narratives for years, now waking up to a horrible reality but left with no options but to cling to dead, or dying, institutions like governments, universities, and newspapers. This is the consequence of infantalization at a national and global level.

The Military and the Rich

I am sorry, but I did not get the memo. Which part of the Constitution, which law passed by Congress, declared that the role of the military is to defend the interests of the rich? How do the interests of the shady figures who hide behind the multinational corporations, corporations that pay no taxes and have their headquarters offshore, how do those interests correspond with the interests of the working men and women of the United States of America? How does keeping us addicted to imported oil, or to imports in general, make us more secure?

The military should be about people, not contractors, and most certainly not contracts. Security is not about overpriced fighter planes made to order for Goldman Sachs. Security must be about the real, long-term, threats to ordinary people, not wacky scenarios cooked up by some private consulting firm drowning in the cash poured down by private equity. What is the relationship between security and the unregulated money pouring into the Ukraine to pay for what? for whom? Will that money ever leave the Beltway? I doubt it.

Some of the threats we face cannot be fought with tanks. Growing our own food, making our own furniture will be a critical part of security as we recover from the assault on our economy by the globalists.

Some of the enemies do not wear foreign grab or follow unfamiliar ideologies. No! They look like us, and they speak so powerfully about the issues that concern us. But they are the enemy within, painted as conservative or progressive in accord with the advice of marketing, and they are ready to reduce your sons and daughters to slaves in their ruthless pursuit of profits.

Enough is enough. It is not isolationist to demand that we follow the Constitution, that they follow the Constitution, and that we rip up the thick layer of parasitic contractors and investment funds, often with silent partners from around the world, who have covered Washington D.C. wall to wall like a lush carpet, and thereby, destroyed our nation. To follow the Constitution and to serve our citizens is our duty.

Emanuel Pastreich

May 14, 2022

Lock up the bogus, pay-to-play “libertarians

We have so much of this “libertarian” ideology floating around in conspiracy circles, that is no doubt funded by the billionaires in secret as a fake, dead-end, confusing, anti-establishment path for the foolish.

According to the “libertarians” the problem is all with government, and with our bad habits. Taxes should be ended because they are a fraud from the beginning. The assumption in their arguments is that somehow those billionaires became billionaires because they were smart and hard working, unlike us. But the bottom line is that the billionaires are criminals who have stolen most of that money from us through investment banks and who are are reducing us to slavery.

Yes that tax system exploitative and wrong for the working man. It was a mistake from the beginning to have taxes based on income. But the liberatarians will never suggest that taxes could be based on assets, not income. What about the billionaires and their pets and lackeys?

The real liberatarian would say,

“they got rich by stealing from us through the Federal Reserve, or through the COVID 19 pandemic. The tax for them should not be income tax. Their assets should be seized to compensate the millions of victims. Call it is a tax if you want. But I think it is simply justice, in accord with the sacred Constitution.”

So far, I have not met such a real liberatarian. All I see are blow-up, gilded, pay-to-play liberatarians, sucking at the teat. They might as well be on the Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, or ALEC for all I can see.

바른 눈을 가진 한국인이 꿈꾸는 국혼(國魂)

Korea IT Times

“바른 눈을 가진 한국인이 꿈꾸는 국혼(國魂)”

 2022년 5월 2일 

임마누엘 페스트라이쉬

국가의 격이 높아지고 경제발전이 급격히 부상한 대한민국에 대해 필자는 외국인으로서 매우 복잡한 감정을 갖게 된다. 최근 서양 문명이 갈수록 사양(斜陽) 길에 접어드는 것을 보면서 동양문명, 특히 활기찬 많은 한국의 위대한 정신문화속에서 새로운 영감과 새로운 가치관을 찾는다. 한국의 전통 사상과 철학은 서양문명과 대체 할수 없는 특별한 가치가 있기 때문이다.

아편전쟁 이후 지구의 보편적인 기준으로 간주 되어온 서양문명은 과학, 인문학, 행정 외교안보 분야에서 위상이 많이 퇴색됐다. 어느 언론에서도 과거 서양의 권위를 읽기가 어렵다. 이러한 변천속에서 필자는 보물처럼 숨겨진 한국인들의 철학과 미학, 행정학 등 건전한 정신과 생활 습관을 체험하고있다. 하지만 정작 한국인들은 그들의 성숙한 국혼을 제대로 활용하지 못하고 있다. 한국은 오히려 역방향으로 가고 있는 것 같다. 많은 한국인들은 맥도날드와 스타벅스가 표상하는 서양의 표면적인 소비 문화에 집착하는데 비해 한국의 전통문화와 미래는 고민하지 않는다.

왜 한국인들은 한국인만의 큰 희망이자 미래의 산물인 전통문화를 무시하는가? 한국이 보유하고 있는 고유하고 질 높은 전통 문화는 바로 미래를 증명하는 새로운 희망이다. 하지만 그들 자신의 발밑에 켜진 등불은 보지못하고 멀리 보이는 썩은 서양문화, 광적인 소비문화에 매력을 느끼는지 불가사의한 일이다.

물론 국제공동어로 정착된 영어사용은 편리성이 우세하고 과학은 지난 300년 동안 대단한 업적을 세웠으니 그 전통을 버리면 안 된다. 그러나 시간의 바퀴는 서양의 과학과 교육, 그리고 외교안보 여러면에서 붕괴를 보이는 길로 접어들었다.

한국인들이 주체성을 급히 회복하지 못하면 급속히 재편되는 문화의 소용돌이 시대에 상당한 위험과 비극을 초래할 수 있다. 지난 60년 동안 빠르게 성장한 경제발전 속에서 한국인들은 높은 교육수준과 과학기술 업적이 놀랄만하다. 특히, 한국은 세계적으로 치안이 좋고 생활수준이 높아 외국인들의 부러움을 사는 나라중 하나다. 그럼에도 불구하고  한국 지식인들은 한국전통문화에 대한 긍정적인 태도보다는 여전히 서양문화를 무조건 모방만 한다.

고대부터 20세기까지 한국의 우수한 전통을 재평가 하는 한국 지식인이 누가 있는가?  “중국은 역사상 한국의 일부였다” 를 출간한 역사학자 심백강 박사를 제외하고는 어느 누구도 찾기 힘들 것 같다. 그 이유는 부족한 교육수준의 문제가 아니다. 한국 만큼 미국의 하버드대 박사들이 많은 나라는 미국 빼고 없다. 한국의 미래를 제대로 생각하지 못하는 이유는 주체성의 문제이다. 국혼이 바로 서지 않는다면 아무리 교육 수준이 높다하더라도, 기술이 발전하더라도 한국이 나침판 없는 배처럼 나라는 제대로 방향을 잡기 어려울 수 있다. 그래서 반도체 개발 투자보다 한국의 보물인 전통을 찾고 바른 국혼을 잡는 것이 한국의 미래 발전의 필수 조건이다.

한국은 미국 헌법의 문헌을 모방했지만 정치철학과 건국정신 파악이 중요했다.

미국은 한국인들의 향수다. 그러나 미국의 투명한 정치 및 합리적인 행정은 이제 많이 쇠태 했다. 필자가 보기에 한가지 미국이 성공적인 기반을 구축한 것은 헌법이다. 한국도 미국 헌법을 모방했다. 그런데 미국 헌법의 성립 과정을 생각 해보자. 독립전쟁이 끝난 다음, 1787년에 몇 명의 애국정신을 갖고 있는 지식인들이 겨우 2주간 한방에 모여서 뜨거운 논쟁을 하면서 새로운 나라를 위한 제헌회의를 열었다. 그러나 250년 동안 미국의 나침판 역할을 한 미국 헌법은 그 20명들의 상상으로 만든 것이 아니다. 고대부터 서양의 정치철학, 특히 플라톤, 아리스토텔레스, 키케로 등 고대 그리스 및 로마 철학가 사상과 행정을 참고로 가장 우수한 사례를 고대 정치 전통에서 발췌해서 헌법으로 제정한 것이다.

미국 헌법은 그 후 프랑스 혁명을 비롯해서 전 세계에 큰 영향을 미쳤다. 그런데 지금 한국인의 태도를 보자. 당시의 미국하고 반대의 모습을 보인다. 특히 대한민국이 1987년 헌법을 준비했을 때, 미국 헌법 그 문헌을 모방한 것 같다. 잘 모방한 것도 아니고, 결과는 미국 헌법 정도도 안되는 헌법을 만들어 냈다. 만약 한국이 미국 헌법을 배우려면, 그들의 콘텐츠 자체를 모방하는 것보다는 한국과는 다른 서양 문화에서 정치철학을 기초로 한 그 당시의 미국 건국 정신을 파악하고 그 건국의 방식을 배우는 것이 더 큰 의미가 있을 것이다.

즉 대한민국 또는 통일 한반도가 한국의 고대부터 근대까지 위대한 정치철학, 각 왕조의 우수한 행정 사례, 그리고 중국 고대 정치철학을 깊이 생각해서 그 문화와 역사의 흐름을 바탕으로 한국에 맞는 새로운 행정 방법을 찾고 새로운 한국의 정신을 세우면 된다. 한국의 전통과 국혼을 활용하고, 서양 전통도 일부 활용해서 한국인들이 휼륭한 헌법을 세우면 국민들 한테 많은 희망을 주고 전 세계에서 모범국가의 사례를 만들수도 있다.

한국인들은 그런 새로운 헌법 준비가 충분히 가능하다. 물론 쉬운 것이 아니지만 한국 전통에 도움이 되는 콘텐츠가 있다. 한국인들도 충분히 그런 제헌 회의를 할수 있는 능력도 있다. 문제는 아무리 하버드대학의 박사학위 소지자가 많아도 한국인들이 한국의 역사, 문화 습관 및 정치철학을 모르고 또한 알려고 노력도 하지 않기때문에 어려워진다.

아무리 서양의 문화가 썩어서 붕괴되더라도 한국인들은 나라의 미래를 한국의 과거 역사에서 찾을 생각을 못한다. 세계적으로 보기 드물게 급속히 발전한 한국의 맹점이 바로 여기 있다. 이제는 “국혼이 바로 선 나라-한국” 이라는 자부심을 구축할 때가 왔다. 돈, 예산의 문제 아니다. 교육 기술의 문제도 아니다. 기하급수적으로 해체되는 서양, 미국, 호주, 유럽의 문화, 행정제도를 보자. 한국이 잘못된 서양의 사례를 따라하면 절대 안 된다는 교훈을 받을것이다. 한국만의 전통 문화 자부심을 세울 시간이 얼마 남지 았았다.

필자는 미국인으로 한국에서 살고 있다. 외국인의 눈으로 보이는 느낌은 지금 한국인의 의식은 명나라 말기 조선왕조 그 시대의 한국인 하고 비슷한 점이 많다. 임진왜란 이후 수 많은 명나라 지식인들은 조선으로 왔다. 그만큼 중국 국내의 제도 붕괴와 정치 싸움이 심했다.

그런데 당시 한국인들은 명나라의 심각한 상태를 잘 파악 못했다. 왜냐하면 명나라의 문화, 명나라 철학, 명나라 과학기술의 표준 등이 한국 국내에서 항상 모범이 되었기 때문에. 명나라의 위기는 아무리 심하더라도 눈에 안 보였다. 많은 조선시대의 지식인들은 명나라는 영원히 변하지 않고 또 같이 있을 것이라고 생각했다.

그런데 역사에는 300년 가는 왕조는 많지 않다. 항상 나라의 제도가 발전 할때도 있고 후퇴할 때도 있어 반복되고 있다. 이제 미국, 그리고 유럽은 명나라하고 비슷하게 내려가는 길로 접어들었다. 물론 그 과정은 오래 걸릴수 있지만, 한국인들은 좀더 빨리 그 사실을 파악하고 한국의 본질적인 철학 및 정신부터 찾아서 한국이 무엇인지를 깊이 고민하고 한국의 오래된 역사속에 존재 하는 미래 도전의 해결방법을 발견하면 한국의 진정한 성공은 가능할 것이다.

Remarks on the passing of Robert Paul Levine

Remarks on the passing of Robert Paul Levine

January 26, 2022

Emanuel Pastreich

I met Paul Levine at a point in my life when I thought I was full-formed, independent and well along on my way in my career. He certainly was not my father, although he would marry my mother and I would be tied to him, in one way, or another as a result. Or at least that is what I thought.

But I underestimated the power of Paul and I certainly did not imagine that by the end he played the role of my father on many occasions to a greater degree than anyone else. Perhaps it was precisely because he never assumed such a role that he had such an impact on me, and on my children.

That was Paul. Who he was, in a straightforward sense, was obvious.  But who he was in a spiritual and creative sense was a puzzle, a mystery, an invitation to something far beyond the ordinary—although he would never have said something like that. As spiritual as he was, he always presented himself as a strict scientist, of course.

When I visited his little house in University City, Missouri, back in 1991, he was not so easy for me to talk to. He was a bit gruff, a bit defensive and he was unwilling to discuss any but a few topics. But even at that less than perfect start, I could tell that there was tremendous depth in Paul. I noticed how he had arranged his items in the bathroom with tremendous care, and also with striking simplicity, suggesting a deep aesthetic sense that did not draw attention to itself.

I saw him reading a broad range of books in different fields, and I observed his ability to interact with just about anyone, to find in the depth of his learning the means to engage whomever he met.

I thought his gruff and laconic style meant that he was a typical elitist academic, something like what I tended to be back in those days. But that also was a complete misunderstanding.

Over the years I watched how Paul spoke to those around him, regardless of their background, with a deep sense of respect for everyone, and also an honest curiosity about how people thought.

I assumed that Paul wanted everyone to see the world like he did. But, in fact, he wanted to understand how others perceived the world.

I came to understand that although he had started at Harvard, there were deep principles that undergirded his interactions, above all a commitment to equality in the pursuit of truth.

I observed, over the decades, Paul’s skill as a teacher, not as a lecturer—as I never heard him teach—but as a poser of questions who engaged in a subtle Socratic method with those around him.

I saw the sophisticated manner in which he spoke with my children, Rachel and Benjamin. He imparted knowledge to them, but he was eager, at the same time, to learn about them, to learn from them.

He was teaching them, I believe, to teach themselves. Paul represented that tradition of teaching as “learning out loud.” 

In the case of Benjamin, his exchanges with Paul on science and the history of science were involved and included the reading of books and frequent debates that left me behind. There is no doubt that Paul played a tremendous role in Benjamin’s intellectual development.

Martha’s Vineyard has become the familiar site for interactions with Paul, meeting with him in his study where he wrote, read from his piles of books and articles, watched classic films late at night, and was able, remarkably, to step out of that tremendous rush forward of modern life and to stop and to observe.

He had a certain stability in his spirit so that whatever might have irritated him a minute ago quickly vanished and he went back to observing things as they are. No matter what the challenge, the crisis, Paul was always back on an even keel before the sun went down.

I feel that Paul was a scholar in a spiritual sense, in a sense that most professors today are not, and he continued to be a true scholar long after he retired.

Paul’s passing is, in a profound sense, the passing of a generation of intellectuals like Jeremy Knowles and Henry Rosovsky at Harvard, men who played such a central role in making scholarship human.    

Paul was clear-headed and insightful until his last minute.

I remember how he cooked salmon for us when our family visited and how he delighted the children with his odd jokes, and made them feel right at home because they could sense, without him saying a word, that they were important to him.

We assume that as people grow older, they become crotchety and inflexible. I do not know whether that is the case. What is clear is that Paul was the complete opposite. He was stubborn and difficult to speak with when I first met him, but in his eighties, and especially in his 90s, he displayed infinite patience and a kindness, an openness and a solidity of spirit, that is hard to find.

In the old days, when I called on the telephone, Paul would say, “I will get your mother.” The conversation was over. But later, he would not only engage me in a thoughtful discussion, but even displayed an uncanny ability to anticipate, and to respond to, what it was I had in mind.

I do not think Paul would want a tribute that piled up all his academic achievements like a marble mausoleum. He would not want us to list his famous textbook Genetics and his hundreds of academic journal articles. He never mentioned any of that research in any of our conversations.

He was certainly a product of institutions, and he enjoyed the processes by which events are planned and carried out. His planning for the troubadour performances in Martha’s Vineyard were fastidious and devoted. But the creative part was most important for Paul.

Even when he talked about his time at Harvard or Stanford, it was never about the big institutional structures, but the humous asides, the odd encounter with Julia Childe, or the humorous exchange at a boring faculty meeting.

To be honest, I have known many scientists in my 25 years as a professor, but I never met a scientist who had the degree of love for history, music, art and literature that I observed in Paul. It was not merely that he has read everything because he was a genius. No, nothing like that at all. Art and literature was at the core of what was Paul.

I am sorry I did not have the chance to spend more time with Paul over the years. I most certainly would have learned an enormous amount from him.

I would have learned about history and culture, about science and policy. Above all, I could have learned how to be human, how to listen and how to just be there, when just being there is one’s role.

Even if we cannot get out to Martha’s Vineyard regularly, Paul will always be there in his study, with his various objects on the shelves around his desk, devices for navigation, the stones picked up long ago, that he placed carefully amongst his favorite books.

My mother, Marie Louise, is the artist, but Paul is also an artist who creates a carefully-ordered ecosystem around himself. The difference, perhaps, is that he does not draw attention to his creations. You could walk by them, as I often did, without noticing what he had invented with such grace.

The loss of Paul is a hole in our universe, a rip in the walls of our reality. At the same time, however, it is also a door to something beyond. It is not only the case that Paul has gone somewhere outside the everyday—but that he opened a portal, like a black hole, that links us to another universe.

The truth is that Paul always offered a window to a deeper understanding of human experience. We just did not notice how remarkable an individual he was.

So, as a proper epithet to Paul, and so as to draw attention to what we have gained, I will close with a poem that sums up what Paul will mean to us going forward, a view of the world from Paul’s perspective. The poem captures how Paul, forever at his desk at the house, has also blended into the very landscape of Martha’s Vineyard.

Do Not Stand by My Grave and Weep

Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand
By my grave, and weep.


I am not there,
I do not sleep—


I am the thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints in snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle, autumn rain.
As you awake with morning’s hush,
I am the swift, up-flinging rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight,
I am the day transcending night.


Do not stand
By my grave, and cry—
I am not there,
I did not die.

Just one little hint about my new book “How to take down a Multi-Billionaire: A Manual”

People keep asking me about the plot of my new novel “How to take down a Multi-Billionaire: A Manual.” I have to tell them that I am bound by my contract to keep as silent as the grave until the book is published. Yet, my fans keep pushing me. So I will give you all just one little hint, to get you through to Christmas.

“How to take down a Multi-Billionaire” is much less like “Harry Potter” and much closer to “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” You see, from ancient times the Vampire has been the ultimate invisible power that makes us its prey—just as does a billionaire. The vampire is a parasite so advanced that it does not believe it is a parasite, even as it sucks the lifeblood of its victims. The vampire seduces its victims, convincing them that they want their heart blood and soul blood to be sucked out of them by this charming parasite.

Yes, there is a lot to be said about my book, but we have already said too much.

“And what do you want for Christmas, Mary? What do you want Santa to bring you?”

“I want a multi-billionaire in a coffin. That is all I want.”