Tuesday, June 25, 2019

George Rosenkranz: 1916-2019

Guest blog by Charles Wilson

George Rosenkranz has died and, if you needed a reminder, Great Lives are lived fully, taking what is presented and Apprehending what is given – using that word in a very acquisitive sense. The mind does not float above the world of “Mere Appearances”. It is an agent in this world and actively engages the surroundings. Rosenkranz and his associates changed the world.

When I taught High School Math (A fellow teacher referred to it as “Warehousing and Crowd Control”) I would tell my students that, “Math is something that you do, not something you think about”. Rosenkranz lived his life that way and it is worth examining, if only for a few moments.

In the summer of 1969, after a disastrous Senior Year of High School spent in another city, I returned to Birmingham, Alabama to achieve some “Closure”, visiting old friends and looking one last time at the city in which I lived for my first 18 years. I literally walked down a street in the Woodlawn section and saw a sign in a screened in porch that stated, “Room for Rent”. $7.50 a week. For the next month or so, before going to college, that was my home.

One weekend there was a get-together of the Future Hippies of America in Avondale Park. I saw an acquaintance from my old school. I asked her how she was.

“I’m pregnant...again”, she said.

Disaster upon disaster. We spent the next few weeks in each other’s company, trying to find out What Went Wrong. As the saying goes, “It’s not paranoia if they’re really after you”. What DID happen to all of those good times we were promised? They appeared to be nowhere in sight.

I suppose I did find some closure in those few weeks although it wouldn’t have mattered since I had to go to that Kollege on the southern tip of St. Petersburg, Florida by early September, 1969, closure or not.

By October, I was ummm...involved in the flora and fauna of the Campus. Starting to grow my hair down to my ass, growing a beard, wearing the required Bell Bottoms – What a time to be alive!

Someone found me during this time and, No, her mind and her sight were not compromised. One evening around the second week of that October, she came up to me in a dorm hallway:

“Char...I’m on the Pill.”

The Transcendent Transcended. Transvaluation of All Values. Jackpot!

All thanks to one George Rosenkranz and Co-Workers.

This Obit is good. It tells what had to be done to get to the First Pill. As I recall, there was a large root from a Mexican native plant that provided the Template for the chemical make-up of The Pill that eventually changed Society.

Rosenkranz also played Bridge. His place in History is therefore doubly assured. He invented the Romex System of Bidding with Phillip Alder.

He was a Champion, winning many Titles, mostly in the US. FWIW, I never played Romex although I looked at Romex, Kaplan-Sheinwold and Schenken Systems. Early in my first year of college, I found Precision and have played it ever since. The Logical Mind will find ways to express itself and as you look at Romex, you see much in the way of Logical Classification.

In one sense, Rosenkranz reminds me of the Multi-Talented Genius who goes in whatever direction he wants and finds success. Abner Shimony comes to mind, especially since I’ve had reason to reference his work lately. There are, of course, many others, from the Bohrs to Feynman et.al..

I can argue Morals with you ‘til the cows come home but, all things considered, The Pill ended up being a Very Good Thing. Many disagree Morally, yet, from the fact that wheels have been used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons it does not follow that we should ban wheels. Given the two examples I experienced within four months of each other in the middle of 1969, the results are quite apparent. We owe a debt to George Rosenkranz and the others.

I would have been honored to play Bridge with him.
Charles Wilson

P.S. by LM: George Rosenkranz was also 30 years ahead of time in politics. Already in 1986, he published the book "Trump leads" with "everything you wanted to know about it but you were afraid to ask". ;-) Only he and the Simpsons were able to predict that Trump would lead.

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