Author of The Geometry book again meets critics; it's 4.5K BUT LES, PLEASE READ AND COMMENT

                              Hal Pepinsky
                            November 15, 1993

AUTHOR MEETS CRITICS OF The Geometry of Violence and Democracy (cont.)

Les Wilkins tells me he only reads my messages if they're less than 2K,
and Les, I want you to read this one even if it's 3.5K. I also propose to
Jurg Gerber that it be published in The Criminologist as a response, in
part, to Tom Bernard's review of my Geometry book there.

When Jill and I came home yesterday from our humanist sociology gathering
in New Orleans, I found a packet from IU Press of four reviews of the
Geometry book--by Tom Bernard in the May/June '93 issue of The
Criminologist, by Donald West in vol. 3, no. 2 (1993) of Criminal Behavior
and Mental Health, by Michael Keith in vol. 33, no. 2 (spring 1993) of the
British Journal of Criminology, and by Marty Schwartz in vol. 18, no. 1
(spring 1993) of the Criminal Justice Review. I am flattered by all four
reviews, including the serious honest criticism each contains. Many
thanks to these forthright, thoughtful critics. I also think, at last,
that perhaps I can put my finger on an underlying criticism of all four
reviews: that in the final analysis I am engaging in loose, anecdotal
speculation without scientific, empirical foundation.

Axiom 1 in my theory is that distinctions between violence and democracy,
and their attendant consequences, will be common to all systems we bother
to know--living and dead, physical and spiritual. While my critics
consider my allusions to tetrahedronality and chaos theory, inter alia, to
be illustrative only of some otherwise ungrounded "theory," I find in each
story an uncovering of an element of the patterning of all contexts and
systems, across levels and hierarchies--social and otherwise. While I
find myself marveling at the unfolding of the symmetry of nature,
including social existence, your logic tells you I have in fact found
nothing but my own imagination until I "prove" that this or that pattern
rules the context or system in the story. I believe we respond with alarm
to "violence" BECAUSE interaction of motives as we define them in
ourselves and others mirrors entropy, death and destruction across energy
fields. My Mama tells me my thinking reminds her of Kurt Lewin's.

Analogy is the empirical building block of my theory. The pattern becomes
real because of its universality across scale and context. The theory
consists of as yet uncontradicted universality.

As Les Wilkins taught me long ago, it is pointless to argue whether one
theory is more real than another. The question is whether the theory
works. I consider it as unfair to require me to have exhaustively tested
my theory as it would have been to tell Edwin Sutherland to hold off
publishing Criminology until he had proved the validity of differential
association theory. And isn't that a "theory" now, really? Any of my
critics is fully as capable of testing my theory as I am.

In the Geometry book I was just integrating my theory of violence and
democracy for the first time. I did not take much time there to test it.
And in fact, in my framework, the most honest hypotheses are those which
cannot be foretold because they have not yet occurred when stated. In the
original version of "Violence as Unresponsiveness," upon returning from
Norway the summer of 1986, I predicted that the advent of Gorbachev
heralded a post-WWII generation of leadership in which the east-west white
military divide would be supplanted by Soviet-US white military axis
against Muslim terrorist forces to the south. I further elaborated the
point in what became chap. 3 of the Geometry book. I DEDUCED the prophecy
from applying the behavior of strange attractors and periodicity from
chaos theory--extrapolating this prophecy. I believe history is
confirming my theory in this context today.

In an earlier critique, Tom Bernard began by confessing that as a member
of a peace church he knows what I say to be true, but must separate that
faith from his science of criminology. I cannot believe, Tom, that your
religious faith is blind. Rather, I believe that in the world that
matters most because it works best, you have discovered much the same
theory as mine. I call that your best science. Meanwhile, can anyone
offer me in a sentence one--just one--firm proposition that has emerged
from all the criminological science in which my critics seem to believe so