TALKININKAI / CONTRIBUTORS
|Written by LPA|
Future generations will marvel at how the United States in the twentieth century so effectively destroyed those who would superceed both the democratic forms of its constitution and that of the capitalist economy which had already subverted its structures. Faced with judicial murder of such activists as Joe Hill, many activists chose anonymity especially following the defeat of the international wave of struggle following the First World War. William Sidis was just such a person.
Sidis had a rude introduction to the Society of the Spectacle. At the age of eleven he was regarded as an infant prodigy. He delivered a lecture to Harvard professors on the Fourth Dimension. When word of this reached bars where local journalists would drink, they started his persecution: he was later to recall how he would be physically attacked by journalists with one holding him down while the other photographed him. Grub Street did not need Murdoch to teach them how to be abusive.
Born in 1898, the son of perhaps America’s foremost psychiatrist, his story was projected into the newsphere by his father, and later his mother, who wanted to promote their views on child-rearing. At an early age he study politics and economics and soon developed a socialist perspective. The boy savant could not understand what role money had except to deny people access to the things they need. By 1919 he had become an activist in the Communist movement, and was arrested for carrying a red flag on the May Day demonstration in Boston that year. His father managed to pull strings to get him released from the so-called “justice system” and kept him prisoner in the private sanatorium he ran. His political evolution was regarded as a psychological problem and he was drugged and terrorised by his mother. His parents threatened him with a one-way trip to the insane asylum if he did not conform. Escaped their clutches and avoided them for the rest of his life.
Like so many activists across the world, he soon realised that the regime being developed in Russia was not communist but just as much a perversion of the human desire for a fair society as the United States itself. He also continued his mathematical studies publishing The Animate and the Inanimate in 1925. Here he discusses the psychological aspects of the four dimensions and challenges the Second Law of Thermos-dynamics and was the first published account of black holes. The book passed unnoticed without a single review, and was only over fifty years later that the book got any recognition.
Sidis also wrote extensively on American History and in away which highlighted the role of Native Americans and the impact of their classless society on American radicalism. This was linked to his psycho-geographical theories linked to continuity: “One of the strongest forms of social continuity is continuity of place. In spite of complete changes in the nature of the population, the tendency is very strong for institutions in the same general locality to persist to some noticeable extent. Where a new people take over a locality, there is a strong tendency for them to acquire at least a powerful admixture of the institutions of the people that lived there before them.”
Before his death in 1944 he was investigated by the FBI for his role in the Boston Metropolitan Transfer Group. This was a psycho-geographical group of which he was the sole member (although he used a number of pseudonyms). It’s principal aim was the collection of transfer tickets, which enabled the purchaser to continue their journey on a second vehicle.
See http://www.sidis.net/index.html for an online archive of Sidis work.