Scattergood Journal — April 13-14, 1970

April 13, 1970

I have looked forward to beginning a new volume of a journal. I have just finished an experiment with the first notebook, which was initiated at the beginning of this, my Senior year, at Scattergood School. I am fairly pleased with the results of the first volume, but feel I made some errors. The reason for beginning, and continuing, the experiment was to have a record of my growth spiritually, and to try to promote this growth by writing down my thoughts. But as it happened, I spent more time writing down the thoughts of others. I enjoy re-reading these passages, and could perhaps continue a collection of other’s thoughts in another volume. Many have more profound thoughts than I, or at least express them more eloquently than I. But as I look over my first volume, I find my own writing more valuable to me, and believe the more I write, the more clear and meaningful my thoughts and writings might be. My hope is that this volume will be entirely my writing.

I have always been a serious student. I have always been interested in science. The first area I remember studying out of class, on my own, was atomic and nuclear physics, an interest I have yet today. (Note: you might imagine how disconcerted my parents were when publications from the Atomic Energy Commission routinely arrived in the mail.)  I spent a good deal of time studying chemistry. I had biology my first two years at Scattergood. My freshman year I worked with protozoa, and my sophomore year with bacteria during my free time. It strikes me now that I have always been interested in the fundamentals-the building blocks. Last year, thanks to my math teacher, I develop an interest in computer programming. Last summer I worked with Don Laughlin at the University of Iowa Hospitals writing computer programs. Last year I studied differential calculus, and this year integral calculus on my own.

I am motivated and independent in my areas of interest. At present I am doing independent projects instead of going to class in two classes–German (reading Die Bibel) and physics (computer programming of mechanics problems, involving calculus).  (Note: that involved writing a computer program to calculate the paths of three planets based upon the gravitational effects on each other, including a crude graphical plot of their orbits).

One of the reasons Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, was my first choice was because it had a good independent study program. Also it is small and a Quaker community. I have been accepted there and plan to attend. Of major concern to me lately has been the Selective Service System, something I will undoubtedly write more about later. At the time I turned 18 years old I was struggling to decide whether to be a non registrant or to apply for conscientious objector status. At the time I chose to do the latter. But after continued thought, I returned my draft card January 2, 1970. My parents and I had not communicated well and they were upset. We agreed that if I were to write a letter asking the draft board to let me reconsider, they would let me make my own decision after I had been in college for a while.

April 14, 2017

High moments of my life are the feelings of contentment and oneness when discussion deeply serious and important matters with F/friends. We had such a discussion about the draft this evening. The stand I take on this issue is the result of years, at least months, of painfully weighing alternatives and trying to determine where my beliefs lead me. It represents a tremendous growth and change in mind and spirit. My stand is often lonely and painful in one sense, when others are hurt by it. But in another sense I feel I am less lonely than most in the world. I have developed some strong convictions and beliefs, and a feeling, deep inside, that I am on the right track in life. But it is always wonderful to gather with those who feel as you do. One gathers strength from this bond of concern for and consensus with one another.

I have learned to value and draw upon this sense of concern, if not always consensus, in Quaker meetings. I greatly appreciate the silent Quaker meeting for worship.

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