Thursday, March 09, 2006

(128) An identity crisis: PUBLICLY or privately, what´s in the changing of a name (of father or son)?

On the evening of September 10th 1996, the day on which Entry 127 occured, I thought about what I thought had to be a spelling mistake by Roderick Main.
It was a note on page 330 of his thesis concerning the transformation of William Hartston by the experiences that he had in 1988, whilst reading my material.
It read:

Plaskett told me in 1993 that by then Hartston’s position regarding coincidences had, in spite of his experiences and admissions relating to them, reverted to one of scepticism – publically at least.
(My emphasis.)

I asked my wife what she thought that the correct spelling would be.
She replied that it ought to be "publicly".

She then added that, curiously enough, she had corrected the spelling of that very word earlier that day when correcting the proofs of her novel that she had had to rewrite.
In her case it had come out as "piublicly".

The novel was about James Bond coming out of retirement, and she had been forced to alter it after the estate of Ian Fleming had denied her the right to use Bond characters in any form.

So the names of many of the main characters had to be changed.

That day was the first time that she had printed out a draft of the first six or so chapters of her revised version, and it was then that she noticed that misspelling.
She told me that she thought that it had also existed in her two earlier versions, the second of these being a fantasy where a man imagines himself as an ageing James Bond, for the core of her first draft had persisted through the reworkings.

She had entitled it: You’re Never Too Old.
The plot concerns an elderly Bond "called" out of retirement when he bumps into his old friend Felix Leiter in Edinburgh, where Bond is now living. Leiter convinces the CIA and other organisations that there may be advantages to having a retired person act as a spy.

Her misspelling of publicly, highlighted below, occurs in the sixth of the book’s more than twenty chapters.
In Main’s thesis it also occurs in chapter six - of his eight chapters.

From the outset she had called the chief villain Dr Ernst Stein, but initially had been uncertain whose son to make him: it would either be that of a known (real) Nazi, or of a recognised, (fictitious), Bond villain.
She soon determined to make him the son of the arch Bond baddie Blofeld. Dr Ernst Stein was an assumed name.
As she had now to alter all associations with Fleming, she would have to change the identity of Dr Stein’s father.
Most probably then Stein would have to have the other possibility, a notorious Nazi dad, but she had not entirely abandoned the third option of creating her own new super bad guy.

Here is an extract from her novel:

The FBI had of course prepared a thick file on Dr Stein, but the early details were all drawn from his own writings. Jack had a copy of this. There was no confirmation in the way of birth certificates or statements from independent witnesses. Stein was just ten years younger than Brown, according to the file. He had said, often and piublicly (my emphasis) that his parents had been killed by the Nazis in a pogrom in Krakow. His father was German and his mother was a Polish farm girl. He gave the names but their records had been lost. All his relatives had been taken to Auschwitz. No record of their existence could be found either.

He had written a short autobiography covering the War years. Passages from it were often read in schools. It moved most of those who heard it to tears. The boy could read a little when his parents died and continued to educate himself from any books or newspapers he came across in his travels. But he had no formal schooling. He hid in cellars and managed to survive by living on scraps and insects. By the end of the War he had made his way slowly to Germany and Berlin. He lived there in an apartment block that had been deserted because of bomb damage.

In the weeks after the War ended he was taken in for questioning. He was picked up in the streets amongst the debris and confusion. Everyone around him was either celebrating or trying to escape loaded with their own or other peoples’possessions. The notes from that interview were still extant. The English officer who found him mistook him for a young Nazi. He noted that he spoke perfect German and was tall and well-fed and looked several years older than the age he claimed to be. Brown wondered when he read these details.
Could any child that had roamed the countryside, winter and summer, feeding on scraps, end up looking tall and well-fed by the age of eleven?

My wife (no connoisseur of soul music) had at that stage changed Bond’s name to James Brown.

There was no copyright necessity for her to change Dr Ernst Stein’s name; only that of his father, who was originally Ernst Stavro Blofeld, "probably the biggest crook in the world" (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) and who would have given his son, as was traditional in their family, the same first name as his father.
Main’s misspelling occurs as he discusses the implications of a series of related incidents which he titled The Hartston Case.

The second important component of this cluster was that Stan Gooch chose to begin the section entitled Synchronicity and Coincidence in his book The Paranormal, with a reference to Hartston, a coincidence, moreover, which does not properly exist until his name is altered, for it rests upon the name of the Cambridgeshire town of Harston.
See points (45-51) of Part Two: The Narrative;

And the significance of the tampering with Hartston’s name became more intriguing when he later told me that his father, also William, had changed the family name from Hartstein.
Hartston’s grandfather or great-grandfather (he was uncertain) fled pogroms in a region of Poland near Lodz, just as Dr Ernst Stein makes out in the novel (Krakow and Lodz are 116 miles apart).

William Hartston’s father was Dr William Hartston (born Hartstein).
He became chief medical officer for London.

Like many Jewish immigrant families, the name was changed to avoid Semitic associations.
His brothers did likewise, but they chose several different variations e.g. Hartley, etc.

In Fiona’s novel Blofeld’s, (or now some famous Nazi’s or newly created villain’s) son, an outstanding doctor, adopts the name Ernst Stein to assume a Jewish identity.

Stein, in German, means stone.
Hart, in German, means hard.
Ernst, in German, means serious.

The interrogation takes place in Germany just after World War Two.
In the paragraph following the excerpt it is mentioned that Ernst Stein struck lucky in that present at the interview was an American Colonel who had lost his child and chose to adopt Stein, taking him back to America.
Colonel Rose had had a German grandfather, whom he was close to, and had learned to speak his language with a heavy American accent.

Fiona mentioned that when choosing the name Rose she had in mind that this might be a truncated version of a Jewish surname, although this possibility was not further developed in the novel.
Both pairs of father and son, Hartston and Blofeld, have the same Christian names.
William Senior was an outstanding doctor, as is Ernst Junior.

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Ian Fleming drew attention to the Blofeld family tradition of naming the first son Ernst.

The Germanic meanings of Hartstein and Ernst Stein can be regarded as identical, although Fiona did not know about Hartston’s father’s name alteration until after she had written the first draft, and neither was she thinking of any meaning to Ernst Stein.

It just sounded a plausible German name.

For many years I had been drawn to Hartston’s surname, prompted by the reference and alteration to it in Gooch’s book.
The Germanic meaning of stein I knew, but I did not know what meaning, if any, hart had in that language.
Neither did I see any point in pursuing that line of thought (what did German have to do with it?)
I might add that in 1988, when I discussed some of my initial coincidence material with Hartston at his Cambridge home, he was amused by my questioning about the onomastics of Hartston.
And when he told me of the change to the family name and saw me react with interest he turned to his (second) wife and said
"James thinks people’s names are significant, even in foreign languages!"

(She, of course, being one of only two people who had ever changed their names to Hartston.
The other woman also altered her name both to and later from Hartston. )

James Bond has become established as the hero or good guy.
In the Bond novels Blofeld is the baddie, none bigger according to Bond himself.

As with so many synchronicities, one’s attention is first hooked by the coincidence, and only afterwards comes the analysis for possible meaning.

Here the hook was the questioning of the correct spelling of the wordpublicly in the sixth chapter of two unpublished works on the same day.

In the first it is a footnote to a part of a thesis entitled The Plaskett Material, and in the second in a novel entitled You’re Never Too Old.My wife kept her maiden name when we married, but had submitted her novel to a publisher under the nom-de-plume of Helen Marsh, or, alternatively, Helen Plaskett.
This second identity could be taken as her real name, for even though she kept Helen Fiona Pitt-Kethley when we married, occasionally it has cropped up as Helen Plaskett, e.g. on medical documents.
On all previous occasions she had submitted works as Fiona Pitt-Kethley.

In the footnote in Main, Hartston is reported as distancing himself from his earlier reactions to coincidences and now claiming scepticism towards them, "publically (sic) at least."In Pitt-Kethley (and this a work submitted NOT under her acknowledged name, and at least once she presented it using, atypically, my surname) Dr Ernst Stein has said "... often and piublicly that his parents had been killed by the Nazis in a pogrom in Krakow".
Later in the book Fiona reveals that his autobiography is entitled Auschwitz Orphan. Obviously what Dr Ernst Stein was saying publicly was a deliberate attempt to deceive, because of his fears over the truth about himself, or, more importantly, about his father, becoming known.
My wife had to alter the names of the main characters in her novel who had featured in James Bond novels.
But that was only a prerequisite for its publication.

Thus far the content of the coincidence is quite clear.

There is always a danger of stretching things too far by deliberately looking for coincidences and their meaning, rather than innocently "apprehending" them.

But I want now to look more closely not only at some other external events, but also at the details of my wife’s unpublished novel and of another James Bond book.

Further to the themes of secrecy (spying) and Good Guy/Bad Guy, Dr Ernst Stein’s activities had already resulted in the FBI accumulating a large file on him.
In my wife’s novel he has opened a health spa in Israel entitled "The Fountain Of Youth" (Ma’ayan Haneurim, in Hebrew) which is concerned with treatments to prolong life and to rejuvenate.
The particular project is dubbed "Methuselah".(The Germans, of course, attempted the opposite: they tried to exterminate Jewish life.)

Or, at any rate, that is what Stein claims.

In fact he is just trying to lure rich dupes, but even more particularly world leaders, there. The former he wants just for their money.
But with the latter, it is also because he, like his father before him, enjoys power and mischief-making, including the killing of prominent figures.
Many of these people have been drawn by his miraculous claims and are conned by his established reputation in the medical field.

And then there are references to unexplained deaths from which Stein has benefited, e.g. that of Colonel Rose.
There is a conference to discuss celebrations for the Millennium being held in Jerusalem which many political leaders, and the Pope, are attending.
Since the health spa is not too far away, near the Dead Sea, possibly near Masada, it is quite convenient for them to visit it as well during their visit to Israel.

Eventually Israeli Intelligence figures out Stein’s true identity and tells Bond of it.
In a climactic struggle, Bond kills Stein.

Originally Fiona staged this in an opera house in Jerusalem during the singing of the Slaves’ Chorus in Verdi’s Nabucco, but then she had to reset it in Tel Aviv since there is no opera house in Jerusalem!

Another twist to the plot is that Stein, out for a fitting revenge for his father’s death at Bond’s hands (see You Only Live Twice) has flown in one of the world’s top plastic surgeons from California to perform, he believes, a small operation to remove bags from under James Bond’s eyes and also a facial scar.
This surgeon’s mother is a Japanese actress called Kissy Suzuki, with whom Bond had a fling in You Only Live Twice (Fleming refers to her being pregnant).
The boy is the result, and his name is James Bond Suzuki.
He knows Bond to be his father, but is uncertain of Bond’s appearance and also thinks badly of him for having abandoned Kissy and her child.

The dastardly Stein has Bond drugged and restrained, and then tells him of his plan to have AIDS-infected blood used by his unwitting son in the operation, thereby guaranteeing Bond’s death.
But Bond manages to break free by killing his guard. He arranges for the guard’s body to appear on the operating table, and, with difficulty, convinces Dr Suzuki of Stein’s nefarious intentions. Then together they escape.

Hence James Bond’s son, unaware that it was Bond upon whom he was about to operate, is prevented by Bond from unwittingly murdering his own father through an operation to alter his appearance.

The book ends with a reconciliation between the estranged father and son.
... ... ...
A naming (or renaming) of anything constitutes a form of recognition and identification.

Altering a name often indicates an attempt at deception.

But sometimes it can constitute a nailing of one’s true colours to the mast: an act of recognition.
... ... ...
The coincidence occurred on September 10th 1996, the same day as Entry 127.

The following morning my wife’s waters broke and she entered hospital, but the process dragged on to the extent that we left and went home!
We only went back on the 14th, and our son, Alexander Michael, was born at 4.02 a.m. on September 15th.
Things actually worked out almost on cue, for the 16th was the marker date that we had in mind.
That fact, as well as some others, was to tie in with the plot of a James Bond book.

On September 19th 1996, I asked Hartston some questions about his descent.
He said his mother was from a Scots family, but with a Jewish immigrant history similar to that of his Father.
He would not reveal her family name.
"Was it Windsor?" I inquired jokingly.

On Sunday September 22nd 1996, whilst I was engaged in my first writing up this example, I saw an item on the TV news concerning a Bishop revealing to the tabloids that he had a fifteen year old son.
Speaking from the pulpit, a saddened priest said how sorry he was that the Bishop had not given the boy his own name (Wright) thereby recognising him as his own.

In the spring of 1996, my wife handed me a copy of Fleming’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.She was overburdened with books one afternoon when I saw her off at Waterloo station, and asked me to hang on to it for a while.
Some months later she asked for it back, intimating that she was writing something to do with Bond.
In fact she had been checking through all of the Bond novels whilst writing her own continuation.
On the evening of September 20th 1996 I bent down to kiss my son as he lay on the floor of the front room, when I spotted this very book lying beneath the sofa. I retrieved it and started to read it.
I had seen the film several times, but the screenplay varied somewhat from the novel.

This was the only Bond film where George Lazenby played the lead.

In the story, Bond is on the trail of Blofeld. A mafioso helps him in locating Blofeld in Switzerland.
This gangster, Marc-Ange Draco, is indebted to Bond for having lent his daughter money, and also wishes for him to restore meaning to her life by marrying her, for unless this happens he fears she will kill herself.

Bond is taken, without explanation, by two of Draco’s men to his first meeting with this Mr Big.
Fearful of what lies in store for him, he breaks free and dashes into what he discovers to be Draco’s office.

Bond is very tense. There is a calendar hanging on the wall beside Draco.
Wanting to let off steam against something, anything, Bond says "September the sixteenth", and jerks his knife forwards in an underhand throw. It flashes across the room, and sticks, quivering, in the calendar.

Draco laughs. "Actually the fifteenth. But quite respectable." (O. H. M. S. S.)This conversation does indeed take place in September, although Fleming does not specify the exact day.
Two months later Bond visits the College of Arms in London, for he is informed that they have news of Blofeld.
(See Entry 137).
The College is concerned with tracing people’s family trees, allotting coats of arms and organising various royal ceremonies.
So what, we wonder has it to do with Blofeld?

Bond is met by an official who tells him that Swiss lawyers representing Blofeld have contacted them because he is styling himself "Monsieur le Comte Balthazar de Bleuville" and wishes to establish his claim, through blood descent, to this title.

He sums Blofeld up:
Snobbery is Blofeld’s Achilles heel… This is why Blofeld has broken cover He wants to change his name He wants to become a new, a respectable personality… But above all he wants to become a count… He wants a new skin. (My Italics.)

(Compare the Suzuki operation in You’re Never Too Old.)
This man knows he is unclean, a social pariah… Now he has thought up this way of buying himself a new identity. If you ask me, we must help the hair to grow and flourish on his heel of Achilles until it is so luxuriant that he trips on it." (On Her Majesty’s Secret ServiceSo Bond masquerades as an emissary of the College sent to Blofeld’s HQ under the subterfuge of validating the claim to the title.
In fact he hopes to get Blofeld out of Switzerland and then have the Secret Service kidnap him, "rather like the Israelis did with Eichmann." (O. H. M. S. S.) He is already sure that Blofeld’s claim is bogus because the official specifies that all of the Bleuvilles lack ear lobes, and Bond knows Blofeld to have large lobes.

On December 15th, the College receives a communication from Blofeld’s lawyers that their client would be pleased to meet "Sir Hilary".
Could he arrive at Zürich airport at 13.00 hours on December 21st?

On Bond’s prompting, a response is cabled that Sir Hilary Bray has a prior engagement but would be able to manage the following day.
By return comes a cable agreeing, and confirming to Bond that they have him "hook, line and sinker."

He is met at the airport and flown by helicopter to Blofeld’s alpine retreat, the Institut für Psychologische Forschung."The Count" claims to be a leader in the treatment of allergies. Bond is introduced to several British girls there, all known only by their first names.
When he attempts to find out the surname of one Blofeld’s secretary intervenes:

"No surnames here… We use only first names for the girls. It is part of the Count’s treatment. It is bound up with a change, a transference of identity, to help the cure. You understand?" (My italics and emphasis.)

But in fact the unwitting girls are intended by Blofeld to serve as the agency by which dreadful viruses are to be introduced into the British Isles.

And this happens, because of Bond’s deliberate deferral of arrival, on December 22nd.

This is so often the key date in the context of transformations for the better (see Appendix One of Part Two: The Narrative; .

The next day Bond is visited by a naïve girl called Ruby Windsor who asks him to see if she may be distantly related to the Royal Family.
(I originally thought that this is mentioned in the film version, and might have been subliminally aware of it when making the quip to Hartston.
Yet this encyclopedia entry makes it clear that her name also is changed in the film -
I find it neat that the joke should fit so well, for although I had had cause to think about the character of Bond, there was nothing yet to specifically redirect me to this book.
And I did not come across it until the next day.)

Blofeld meets with Bond.
So acute is the crook’s snobbery weakness and so keen is his desire to this title, that he has undergone great bodily change, including the removal of his earlobes. He even offers a bribe to "Sir Hilary" to get him to produce bogus documentation to support his claim.
The College of Arms official recommended to Bond that he could best expedite an audience through posing as somebody with a title.

And a Herald of the College has also told Bond that he may in reality be able to establish a claim to a genuine Baronetcy himself.
It is that of Sir Thomas Bond, after whom Bond Street is named.

James expresses no interest in it.

He is also informed that the meaning of his surname is "husbandman, peasant or churl" (i.e. as far from the nobility as you can get) and that the family motto is "The world is not enough".

There is a unique actor playing Bond in the film of this book, and another unique feature (of both versions) is Bond definitively altering his identity.
He marries Draco’s daughter, la Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo.
Bond’s happiness is short-lived.
As they drive off to begin their honeymoon, Blofeld attempts to assassinate them both. He succeeds in only killing the lady.
... ... ...
In his thesis Synchronicity as a form of Spiritual Experience and also later in his book Revelations of Chance
, Roderick Main notes four pervasive themes within my Narrative material:
Identity, Transformation, Spirituality and Synchronicity (see Appendices Three and Four of Part Two: The Narrative, Epilogues and Appendices section) .

I believe that these themes are also demonstrated with great clarity in this example.
Particularly the first two.
Particularly since earlier that same day Entry 127 had occurred, for questions about neo-Darwinism concern the true identity of us all.

Modern scientists say they are accident investigators.

No design, meaning nor purpose has been detected in Nature.

There is but physical matter, and no spiritual dimensions underlying or interpenetrating it.
No proof for the survival of consciousness after death has been found.
The only function of organisms is to pass on their genes.
Darwinism is distinguished from other evolutionary doctrines by its absolute materialism.
Other evolutionists spoke of a life force somehow expressing itself via the changes in form and of the essential irreducibility of mind.

Darwin spoke only of random variation and natural selection.

He applied his materialistic theory of evolution to everything, including what he termed "the citadel itself" – the human mind.
And if mind has no real existence beyond the brain, can God be anything more than an illusion invented by an illusion?

Natural selection will account for all, and man is but a risen ape.

The central idea of yoga, however, is to connect the personality with some higher self, or soul.
In classical yoga teachings the personality is spoken of as the son and the soul, as the father.

The yogi’s goal of union he often asserts through the attempt to make the maxim "My father and I are one", an ever-increasing reality.

Progressive unification, it is said, may produce spin-off phenomena.
Amongst these is meaningful coincidence.

Conventional psychology does not accept this dualistic depiction of man’s make-up (The Ghost in the Machine) but then few mainstream psychologists have ever bothered to investigate it.

This view of life, with its intimation of hidden spirituality, sees man as more of a fallen angel, or, at least, an ape with spiritual potential.

Many people who call themselves rationalists regard all kinds of religious thinking as nonsense and a sad remnant from a benighted pre-scientific era.
They think that the last four hundred years have shown the superiority of science over blind dogma.

I also abhor uncritical thinking, but to ignore the claim that yogic techniques can demonstrate to the inquirer the validity of spiritual reality is not to be rational.
It is simply not looking.

The Enlightenment hoped that the promotion of reason and atheism, would lead to a better world.

But has it?

For all our technology, it has resulted in an outlook of pointlessness, rendering many people pessimistic as they are asked to accept that life is a futile brief sojourn in matter to be followed by permanent consignment to oblivion.

In my wife’s novel, Dr Ernst Stein is running a clinic ostensibly for the prolongation of life and the promotion of good health.

In fact he is bumping off rich clients and planning the deception and murder of world leaders.
The hope is that the institution would prove salutary, but in fact it has the opposite effect.

The rift between science and religion is one of the features of our time.

On September 10th 1996, there was a re-enactment of the 1860 clash, and The Daily Telegraph comment calls for peaceful coexistence between the two, pointing out that each is a different way of looking at life, the one asking How? The other Why? (see Entry 127).

And I note that Hartston’s first question to me about his coincidence concerning castling was "How can that happen?"
See point (45) of .
It was only subsequently that I suggested to him that contained within the events was also a clue as to Why (?).

Darwinism ("descent with modification") asserts that all life is explicable via physical processes.
Richard Dawkins "could not imagine being an atheist at any time before 1859."

But, as Rupert Sheldrake observes, "the mechanistic theory of evolution by blind chance and natural selection has failed to win the hearts and minds of most people, despite the strenuous efforts of neo-Darwinian evangelists."

But I guess some people are happier living in disguise.
... ... ...
Publicly Hartston has been very guarded both about his assessment of my material and also the impact of the experience he had whilst reading from it in the spring of 1988.
Then, in 1989, he became a father.

The family tradition was to call the eldest son William, as with he and his father.

But he varied from it, and named the boy James William.!/jhartston?ref=ts
... ... ...
The Daily Telegraph
piece of February 22nd 2000 was devoted to Kasparov’s defeat in an internet knockout tournament by Dutch GM, Jeroen Piket.
See point (51) of Part Two: The Narrative, Epilogues and Appendices ,
Looking back at the continuation of the Hartston/Harston theme there I note that Pein comments that Hartston also lost the same classic, technically drawn ending to Stean in 1972, through exactly the same inaccuracy.

Kasparov, the greatest player ever, and the man charged with the responsibility of pushing human intelligence to its limits, humbled, in the identical manner to the non-GM Hartston.

In 1981, GM Michael F. Stean had teased me to guess what his middle initial stood for. One clue he gave was that "Oscar Wilde could have written a play about me."
Thus I hit upon Frank, for he had to be referring to The importance of being Ernest.

He said that at school he was known as "Frankenstean".

Well, the meanings of frank and earnest are not precisely the same, but each conveys the concept of sincerity and openness.
"Undisguised" is one definition of frank.

Michael Stean is Jewish. His surname is almost certainly a variant on or transliteration of Stein.

Kasparov’s father, Kim Wainstein, died before Gary was ten.
He then abandoned his father’s name and took that of his mother; Kasparov(a).

You can alter your name, publicly, but that will not change your true identity. (See also Entry 127.)
... ... ...

...and Furthermore

On the morning of July 11th 1997, I was reading from Richard Milton´s critique of neo-Darwinism, The Facts of Life. I was scanning through Chapter Eighteen, also sub-titled The Facts Of Life.
On p.247 Milton queries the neo-Darwinists´ hope that all biological processes, such as those regarding self-repair and corrective maintenance, are similar to those performed by a computer. He points out the differences between the functioning of a spelling checker on a computer and the self-regulatory mechanisms of some organisms.

As its dictionary grows in volume a spelling checker becomes more efficient in one way, as it will highlight only real spelling errors.
However it will prove less efficient in another because it will become more probable that a typing error could accidentally spell a real word.
Such a typo will not be reported, and this actually happened to me when the published work Coincidences contained an instance of the word ´there´ going uncorrected when I ought instead to have had ´their´:

"Paradoxically, although the spelling checker is more efficient, the resulting book is full of contextual errors:´pubic´ instead of ´public´, ´grate´ instead of ´great´, and so on ... In other words the spelling checker isn´t really a spelling checker. It has no conception of correct spelling. It is merely a mechanism for reporting exceptions.
(My emphases.)

With such methods, programmers can get computers to behave in an apparently intelligent way when they are really only obeying simple rules and, understandably, this gives reductionist biologists, including neo-Darwinists, much encouragement that life processes may at root be just as simple and mechanical.
For example, in cell biology there are natural chemical properties of complex molecules that lend themselves to automatic checking and excepting of this kind. Many molecules are stereo-specific, that is they will attach only to certain other specific molecules and only in special positions.
We can also think of very much more complex forms of exception reporting, for instance as part of the mind´s cognitive processes, e.g. when we recognise our name mentioned in the hubbub at a noisy cocktail party.

But it requires a real spelling checker - a human intelligence, not a mechanical exception reporter - to ensure that the intended result is produced."

Is it not curious that in the given quote from Milton we see a deliberate misspelling of the adjective public in an evolutionary context?
The adverb publicly was misspelled in the first example included in this Entry in contexts that were tangential to evolution (genealogical research being also, of course, an attempt to discover one´s origins).

And, I might add that what was being publicly presented about origins in the first coincidences mentioned in this Entry was deliberate deceit.

My wife had overlooked the misspelling of publicly as ´piublicly´ in two previous reading-throughs of her novel.

She only spotted it that day, Sep 10th 1996, when she did not deploy the spelling checker, but rather just read it through herself.
The neo-Darwinian view that organisms have assembled themselves by trial and error, with all their self-maintenance, self-repair and self-reproduction mechanisms, goes hand in hand with the reductionist concept that they are no more than machines whose functioning is ultimately explicable in terms of just chemistry and physics.

Neither the idea that there is some life force animating them (vitalism) nor that there is a spiritual component housed within them (dualism) was acceptable to 20th century biologists.
Not publicly, anyway.

I note that Main thought he was using the correct spelling, my wife´s error was a typing slip, and Milton quite deliberately misspelled ´public´ in order to illustrate the dubious claims of neo-Darwinists.

(I now give the final paragraph of this Example - number 24 - as it appears in Coincidences.)

"Consider too that when Hartston´s father changed the family name this was a deliberate attempt to conceal origins. In Gooch´s book a point relating to the limits of human intelligence is made by removing one letter from it. The mispelling in Malcolm Pein´s piece was just a typo."

In that last sentence I myself have actually misspelled the word ´misspelled´, despite several proof readings and use of a spell checker (!!).
... ... ...

I had pretty much intended to leave this Entry, comprised as it is of these two examples concerning the dissonance between a person´s public expression of their credo and what they really thought, as it stands.

But then I saw that there was some other highly germane stuff that could be added as codicils.


Conquest’s disclaimer
I sold a copy of Coincidences to Stuart Conquest during a tournament in Mondariz, Spain in September 2000.

I asked him later in the event what he thought of it and he said
“Good in places”.
He then expressed incomprehension of the first coincidence in this Entry.
I attempted an exegesis.

I mentioned to two purchasers in Mondariz, Jonathan Parker and Conquest, the similarity between the photo of myself and Seiffert, which is given here as point (2) in Part Two: The Narrative, Epilogues and Appendices .

Both chorused "It´s not!". Parker added, "That picture´s all grainy!"

Later that week, Alan Norris told me that Stuart had still told him that the book was not worth buying and that following my explanation of the first coincidence of this Entry he still could not understand it!

So I sent Conquest an e-mail a couple of months later -

Dear Stuart,
It has been brought to my attention that following your remarks about the obscurity of the contents of example 24 and related examples in my book, and my subsequent attempts at elucidation, you still found the material... opaque.

So let me try to make things clearer.

And I then outlined the themes of a critique of neo-Darwinism and groupings of coincidences to do with both that and the spellings of the words PUBLICLY and "PUBLIC" that I encountered.

Also how what someone says PUBLICLY may be very different from what he actually believes.
William Hartston, we discovered, is in S.Gooch's 1978 book The Paranormal, a work neither Hartston nor I knew existed.
HE is the first person mentioned in Gooch's sub-section on "Synchronicity and Coincidence".

Neo-Darwinism is the argument that life is meaningless.
Synchronicity must be arguing something to the opposite.
... ... ...In November 2000 I received this reply -

Concerning coincidences: many examples in your book struck me as being so amazing that I felt there was something "supernatural" (for want of a better word) about them, i.e. I was truly shocked. Hartston's dream was particularly ghostly
( Entry 102 here )
- if something like that ever occurred to me I would have no problem expressing my feelings publically. And Alex Wohl's out-of-body thing also gives me goosepimples. In any event, I am naturally inclined towards "higher powers" and against Neo-Darwinism (is this the same as atheism? - I guess it comes down to the same thing), although I am (like yourself?) not religious in any conventional way.
But, with synchronicity/meaningful coincidence, I do maintain that once one starts deliberately seeking and making note of such phenomena, their frequency can quickly become (seemingly) unreal. I mean that the human brain is seeing and registering millions (?) of units of information every day, and thus for an intelligent person who is in any case trying to make links and patterns, it ought to be almost impossible NOT to form chains of coincidences.
Thus, the important issue (as ever) is the "quality" (unlikeliness?) of any set of events, rather than the number of incidents which one can find.
And while many of your examples definitely (for me) fall into the first category, I do feel that many could have been left out, because they are of the kind that all of us would discover, were we only to stop and look.
I left your book in Spain - I only came back for these few days - so I cannot look up your references right now. When I get back I'll re-read some of those parts.

Best wishes,

... ... ...
Note how Conquest himself spells “publicly”.

Alan Norris had said to me, re Conquest´s dismissal of my work; “He’s not going to tell you to your face, is he?”
But his open sentiments in the above e mail about how he felt compelled to regard some of my examples of coincidence as "supernatural", suggest that it might be the opposite conclusion that he was loath to voice in public!?
... ... ...
The next - and most important - codicils happened on July 20th 2010.
I had posted off to Leslie Aletheia!/leslie.aletheia a copy of Coincidences on July 15th 2010. 5 days later she left a message for me on my wall at Facebook saying that it had just arrived -
"Muchas gracias, Jim! I got the book today--that was really fast."

I responded by promptly posting this at my Facebook wall -

De nada, Doña Aletheia.

But in the intervening 10 years many of the examples have been expanded and honed and also a couple of hundred more are now visible at
The content of the Narrative section may be viewed in a more structured and analytical form here -


At that very moment, 11:31 a.m. my wife hooted with laughter and cried out that she had just noticed a very amusing misspelling on the front page of the online version of the Spanish newspaper La Verdad.
It concerned plans for a tunnel very near us -

20.07.10 - A. LÓPEZ CARTAGENA.

La Comunidad ultima un plan para poner transporte público hasta Escombreras
Construirán un túnel de 900 metros para desdoblar la carretera de Cala Cortina y mejorar los accesos al Valle

Los obreros que trabajan en el polígono industrial del Valle de Escombreras verán satisfechas sus reivindicaciones. La Consejería de Obras Públicas de la Comunidad Autónoma ultima un estudio para poner en marcha una red transporte púbico en el núcleo industrial y mejorar con otras medidas la movilidad en su interior.

Also, that morning I had left the house at 9:10 for a dental appointment. My wife saw I was clutching a copy of Denis Alexander´s book: Creation or Evolution: Do We Have To Choose?
She teased me (she would oft encourage me to spend more time acquiring a better grasp of the Spanish language) by saying that I would do better to read the Spanish newspaper La Verdad which she knew, through having attended the same dentist, they kept amongst the magazines in the waiting area as their only newspaper.
... ... ...
Later on the afternoon of July 20th 2010 I received an e mail from Hartston asking "Apologies for what?"
This was a response to an apologetic one I had sent out to almost all in my address book a few days earlier when I feared that some virus might be indiscriminately sending out spam from my e mail address.
I wrote back explaining that and adding that I had been amending Entry 128 at my Blog ("Very much about Hartstons") when I noted his e mail.

That must have prompted him to read this Entry for later that day he e mailed to say that he had checked in the Oxford English Dictionary and found that indeed it does give publically as an alternative and acceptable spelling of publicly (!)

That means that, contrary to my assertions both at this Entry and previously in Coincidences, both Main and Conquest had not misspelled the word.
... ... ...
So, ultimately, the constituents of this Entry are -

1) On Sep 10th 1996 I query my wife about the spelling of ´publicly´ on the same day that she had discovered that a manuscript of hers, which she had previously run through twice with a spelling checker, had that very word misspelled.

2) The (supposed!) misspelling upon which I also chanced that day was in the sixth chapter of an unpublished work. So was hers.

3) The character associated with this querying of the spelling of ´publicly´ in her novel has been given a name of Ernst Stein. The Germanic meanings of the original family name of Hartston (Hartstein) and Ernst Stein may be regarded as identical.

4) Then there is the specificity of the contexts in which the querying of the spelling of ´publicly´ occurs, e.g. Dr Ernst Stein has said "... often and piublicly that his parents had been killed by the Nazis in a pogrom in Krakow". The other also queries the veracity of a person whose Jewish family had actually fled from that part of the world.

5) The recurrent theme of altering of names.
Fiona was reading through the novel as she was now forced to change the name of the father of Stein since Ian Fleming´s estate would not permit him to be the son of Blofeld.

The long-established tradition of giving the firstborn son the father´s name is departed from both by the character in the novel with whom the first questioning of the spelling of ´publicly´ occurs and later with the real man who featured earlier that same day in the other (incorrect!) questioning of the spelling of ´publicly´.
Hartston´s father had altered their surname. Stein has chosen a false identity.
In OHMSS Bond appears claiming to be someone else.
Blofeld is trying to claim a title and name to which he is not entitled.
In Gooch´s section on Synchronicity and Coincidence, of his 1978 book The Paranormal, he leads off with an example involving Hartston, but which only works if his surname is altered.
See points (45-51) of Part Two: The Narrative;

Leslie (née Johnson) chose to alter her surname to Aletheia. It means ´truth´.

And the unlikelihood of two people who adopted the name of Aletheia both knowing Grandmaster Ben Finegold.
Leslie told me she knew Ben as a chess teacher of her son. Kelly Cottrell - who had used the handle of Aletheaa at the Internet Chess Club when I taught her in 1999 - had gone on to marry him and bear his child. (See Entry 164 )
The title of the Spanish newspaper, La Verdad, also means The Truth.
The message Leslie had left at my Facebook wall was a thank you in Spanish.
My response addressed her in Spanish.
... ... ...
On July 25th 2010 I made a follow up to a very minor coincidence of a few days earlier.
I had found myself musing on a quote from a chess magazine of the late 1970s which said that "Grandmaster Walter Browne favours gaudy raiment".
An accompanying photo showed Browne brightly attired.
I had noted that at a piece had gone up at June 20th 2010 regarding Browne´s sartorial deportment at around that time.
For some daft reason I found myself dwelling on "gaudy raiment". Interesting phrase.

Then I spotted that Anil Salick had added me to a list he was constructing at Twitter -
I saw that one of the other listed "Freethinkers" was a Mr Gordon Rayment (!)

I wondered how common a surname Rayment might be and discovered that there is a website devoted to them.
From that I moved on to looking at websites for my own surname and found one which listed Plaskett migrations to the USA.

First person listed is ADOLF PRICE PLASKETT of Leicester as a passenger on The Numidian which docked at New York, from Glasgow, on February 29th 1904.

This was my Great-Grandfather whose actual name was Adolphus but the officials at Ellis Island were notorious for misspelling the names of new arrivals.

His name is misspelled as that of Adolph, i.e. the supreme NAZI baddie.
(I heard he died in Chicago in 1927.)

6) Re father and son connection, re-connection, yoga and going public -
The day after the first querying of the spelling of "publicly", September 11th 1996, Fiona´s water broke, i.e. the birth of our firstborn son, began.
Leslie Johnson kept her maiden name (not taking that of her Jewish husband) when she married and only changed it to Aletheia whilst pregnant with her first child: a son.
The misspelling in the piece in La Verdad about the opening of a tunnel near us makes the Spanish word for "public" into "pubic".

I note the pubic tunnel through which a child must pass.

7) On July 20th 2010 Hartston e mails me for the first time in months, whilst I am amplifying this example, which is very much about Hartstons.

8) My thus mentioning Entry 128 to him must have prompted his reading this Entry in its original form and he notifies me that "publically" is actually NOT a misspelling!
This on the day we get the third instance of "pubic" instead of "public".

... ... ...
Conquest´s thoughts on dismissing much of the coincidence material and also accepting that some coincidences had to be of supernatural origin were surely spot on.
For him the most "ghostly" component of my book was Hartston´s dream of Entry 102.

And the stock argument against synchronicity - that coincidences will inevitably arise - is perhaps most powerfully refuted by the counter argument that the tendency of coincidences to GENERATE further coincidences clearly points to their spiritual origin.

See point d) of Entry 257, elements of Entries 253, 240 point (g), 235, point (e), 224 (linking with Entry 40), 218, 211, 204, 192, 189, 188, 187, 186, 172, 167, 164, 154, and 49, and also points (45-51) of Part Two: The Narrative;

That tendency I perceive as marvellously exemplified through the crop of coincidence that arose in this nexus.

AND Leslie Aletheia´s involvements with this misspelling did not cease there!

Firstly, on September 29th 2012, Jackie Barclay Bates Bonham posted this at her Facebook wall -

Can't believe where I've been bitten by a mozzie. Embarrassing itching will no doubt ensue (in public and err otherwise).
Like ·  · 

That prompted me to contribute to her thread with a link to one based around the theme of the same misspelling.
THEN on October 11th 2012 this codicil went up at Facebook -

Just drove past a sign on a building.....the "L" is broken so it read "Pubic Storage"!
Like ·  · 56 minutes ago near Santa Ana, CA · 

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