Sunday, January 11, 2009

the case of Robert at Gauss House, Crown College, UCSC

Time to discuss the events of 1980 when I was a student at UC Santa Cruz, specifically my 39th birthday party.

I bought 2 cases of champagne and invited all my unquestionable friends. This included most of the residents in my hall, which was all singles and mostly graduate students though I was a second bachelor's degree student a little older like the graduate students. This was Gauss Hall. The residential college was Crown, devoted to the sciences.

I had the party in a common room on one of the floors of Gauss.

After the party I was told that one of the residents in Gauss who I did not invite, by the name of Robert, was insensed that he wasn't invited.

Now this situation was subject to circumspection, it seems.

After I became homeless after leaving U.C.S.C. for graduate school at Yale, i returned to the U.C.S.C. campus and while walking to the base of campus I happened to pass on the sidewalk a student whom I had known before living in Gauss, when I was living in an undergraduate dorm by the name of Harvey House. I was told that this girl was very rich. could be. She acted very entitledly, if you get my meaning. I didn't particularly have a like or dislike for her and I didn't invite her to my party. At this meeting on the trail at U.C.S.C. we exchanged brief greetings and she mentioned that she was having a party. That was all. She was having a party. Well, I imagined she must be proud of her party giving, enough to mention this, and I immediately noted that this was all she intended to mention and did not intend to pass on the possibility I might want to receive an invitation. Not knowing her all that well, I didn't particularly want an invitation. However, I immediately perceived that this mention of a party was latent with meaning. I couldn't see any reason to tell me about this party if she had no intention of me thinking about it in one way or another, which I assumed she would not have if she didn't intend to invite me. What use was it to me to know that she was having a party? What use was it to her for me to know it? The only reason I have been able to come up with in all the ridiculously many years since then is that she wanted me to know I wasn't invited.

Could she have been conversant with Robert and his feelings about my own party, and wanted to produce justice in her eyes?


Now as a mentally ill person I am constantly barraged by considerations falling somewhere on the scale of reasonableness, between totally unreasonable and totally reasonable. I have to weigh the time I spend taking up considerations so as to optimize my effectiveness in managing life. We all do. It might seem ridiculous that this girl, whose name I do not remember, used her wealth to blackball me because of my not inviting Robert to my party. However, I am convinced someone has definitely blackballed me. Too much continuing bad luck. If so, I have to rifle through my memory of acquaintances for persons of the type who would blackball someone, a, because they have the power, and b, because they have the sort of disposition that prompts one to do such a thing.

As a student at Yale I knew a lot of wealthy people. So the power was there. But not the disposition. Yale people are high character and don't use power frivolously.

But this girl stands out on the score of the combination of power and disposition. so I am going to proceed on the merits of the reasonableness of the hypothesis that this girl is the one who blackballed me.

My handling of these merits is going to be as jurisprudent as I am able. I am not in the business of treating people unjustly. I do admit that I am not able to act conveniently to everyone else's needs. In that, there is amply possibility of injustice. What differentiates bad conduct from unjust conduct is in one sense unimportant and in another sense important. It has always been my assumption that people leave justice to the courts. Then i was blackballed and forced to reconsider.

So I have two fundamentally different responses to the matter of this party of mine. One looks at it as a possible bad behavior by me, not to the extent of injustice. The other looks at it as a possible injustice.

The badness possibility is easy to respond to. The injustice possibility is not so easy.

I will discuss the injustice possibility first.

Given all the facts concerning my party, there is no measurable possibility that there was an injustice. We must, however, consider the equitableness and that presents some possibility of injustice. I apologize for the logical inconsistency of my words--there was no injustice...there was injustice--but I am not a lawyer and the law is not something i know much about. Continuing, there is a possibility that my conduct was not equitable to Robert. Specifically, when I consider the number, out of all 30 or so residents in Gauss House, of the residents there whom I did not invite, I must allow that Robert may have been the only one. It is also possible the number was as many as five or ten. Now planning and executing the party involves one condition regarding equitableness, and this is a large condition where justice is easier than equitableness. There are lots of variables for lots of people involved one way or another. In this condition I don't feel there is much to say for the case against me. I don't recall if I ever even spoke to Robert, before or after the party. If I did, it wasn't congenial and it would be impossible for me then and now to consider him among those I unquestioningly consider my friends. As it was a private party, the location of it in the dorm notwithstanding, it would seem it was up to me to set the line between those invited and those not. If Robert was not the only person in the dorm not invited then there doesn't seem to have been any good reason to alter my criterion for invitation just for him. This consideration leads to the assaying of my memory regarding the possibility that Robert was the only one from the dorm not invited. As such it is a ridiculous exercise bordering on abuse of science.

Now there is a different impact of analysis when one considers the situation when I was informed of Robert's upset at not being invited. It was my decision, more or less automatic and not thoroughly considered, not to approach Robert and express my consolation to him. This single fact may be responsible for the result of my being blackballed. I consequently regard it with circumspection as well as human import. The human import is that if Robert was upset, and if I had spoken to him to indicate that his exclusion was not expected to elicit from him such displeasure, and if he had found this expression of some value, then Robert's upset might have subsided and no buzz leading to my blackball might have occurred. I am not so callow as to deem my blackball my only real concern and Robert's upset only important for its bearing on my blackball. An expression to Robert of my consolation, if it would have helped him, would have been a good idea. I was not able to approach Robert because of a combination of my estimation of his discomfort and my lack of adeptness at serving people's emotional needs. a more able person would have acted differently. Inasmuch as this assigns me to a lesser rank of person, at the time of these events, I will accept. but we all are lesser persons than we think, looked at from some or other point of view. Whether I am a better person now, with more understanding of people's needs, and more able to serve them, is beside the point. I may have treated Robert unequitably. The reasonableness of the possibility is great enough to warrant an apology. I do offer that apology. I am not able to do more than this, and the circumstances which I have mentioned are a necessary part of this apology, making some of the merits of the possibility that I acted unjustly subject to question. As I said, it is easier to consider the possibility I acted badly, and I believe I have provided some consideration of that.

If this is not the end of it, perhaps I will have an opportunity by reflection or conversation to address it further. But for now this seems to exhaust my reasonable fiduciary duty.