Some ad lib musings on the scientific reception system.
Ivor Catt 26 January 1983.
These ideas may or may not be in my published writings. Tom Ivall, the last editor of Wireless World, the only journal in which I am free to write my technical material in Britain and the U.S.A., thought that any discussion by me of the barriers to communication would tend to damage my technical case by creating a paranoid image for me. On the other hand. I have always been anxious to have my experiences on public record. I think that one who pursues an unusual career is only damaged by secrecy, or lack of public information as to what he is doing and what his reasons for doing it are. My first move in this direction was when I broke the then prevailing taboo about being fired, and published a book on the subject of myself being fired. Partly as a result of that book, I suppose, the taboo is much weaker now.
The only material which I have been able to publish during the last ten years in a reputable journal (Wireless World being semi-reputable) is, curiously, material on the subject of suppression. This has been published by the learned journals of librarians. See http://www.electromagnetism.demon.co.uk/w99anbk6.htm
The new editor of Wireless World obviously does not have the same concern about avoiding my being classified as paranoid, and when I clearly give him the choice to publish or no, as in the January 1983 letter, he published the lot. I think it is important to "say it like it is", whether this is personally damaging or not. The truth is important.
In the Kuhnian sense, it looks very much as though the revolution from one paradigm to the next is nearly at the flood. I feel that the unremitting pegging away every month (almost) for four years in Wireless World must be having an effect. Guy Kewney, the journalist, once told me that in order to get an idea noticed you had to publish it every month for a year. Even by that stringent test, the new theories on e-m, theories H and C, must now be being noticed. Wireless World was recently 60,000 circulation, perhaps the biggest and best journal for this purpose, and now we have some mention of our ideas in perhaps 50 issues of perhaps 60,000 each, total 2.5 million magazines! Admittedly the letter is sometimes short and obscure. I think that in about three years time it will be dangerous for an established physicist claiming expertise in e-m to claim to have no knowledge of theories H and C. (See Wireless World December 1980.)
[Ivor Catt, 12 July 2003. Twenty years later, the opposite remains true. It is dangerous for an accredited physicist to admit to having heard of Theory H or Theory C.]
I have come to the conclusion that it is not possible to articulate new knowledge onto old institutions. The IEE is an organisation set up to celebrate old knowledge and to protect it. This function is incompatible with the handling of new information. Similarly, an old institution of learning (say Bedford College) is dedicated to the celebration and protection of old knowledge, and presided over by the knowledge brokers who live off and trade in that old knowledge. New knowledge, say Theory C, requires that new publishing houses (C.A.M. Publishing), new teaching organisations (C.A.M. Consultants) etc. etc. be set up. Once these new institutions are operating, it is possible to transfer the new knowledge sideways across from the now old teaching institution (C.A.M. Consultants) to other old institutions, say Bedford College.
Society's prime function is to defend itself against attack, be it by the book burners or the book replacers. Society is in an adversary position to new information or to invention, in the same way as it is in an adversary position to the vandals, who also would change society. The innovator or inventor needs to appreciate that he poses a threat to society and its institutions, and should be grateful if his society allows him to survive after so threatening it. Because the reason for invention or discovery is often to save society, the innovator has to realise that as he saves society (for instance by developing new sources of energy), society will attack him.
The concept of a paranoid society is important. Society has a paranoid fear of invention and innovation, but projects its paranoia onto the individual innovator. It has to do so, because it cannot live with the idea that it habitually attacks its saviour. In this sort of way it is easy to see every significant inventor or innovator as a minor Jesus figure, and all the syndromes and psychoses shown up by Jesus are shown up to a lesser degree by the human response to the innovator. All the time, the innovator experiences an ambivalent response by those around him.
c Ivor Catt 26 January 1983.
[The C.A.M. Invention was suppressed by all relevant journals for fifteen years. For this reason, it took 17 years from when it was patented around the world in 1972 to the date when it came to market amid media acclaim. (See Wireless World, now called Electronics World, March 1989 and June 2003.) Catt's theories on electromagnetism remain suppressed. He has given up trying to publish new theory, and migrated to asking an elementary question on the fashionable theory, see the editorial in Electronics World August 2003.) The question is suppressed, while contradictory answers are provided by established luminaries. See http://www.ivorcatt.com/2812.htm and
Do a Google search for "Pepper FRS" . Ivor Catt 12 July 2003.]