Saturday, August 28, 2010

You Didn't Know Jack (But You Should Have)

 Jack Brehm (left) in 1983
I had the pleasure and privilege as a baby assistant professor of Social Psychology at the University of Kansas in 1980-81 to meet, work with and become the friend of Jack Brehm. Jack is known for his work on cognitive dissonance, originally working with Leon Festinger .  More importantly for me,  Jack was a wonderful intellect and a lovely person with whom to spend time.  We had many parties that year at rotating locations (although mostly at Jack's delightful house in the woods outside Lawrence) where Jack, other social psych professors and graduate students drank and talked in the small hours of the morning.  Kansas was a dry state then and I think I drank more that year than any other year of my life.

Jack  Brehm
This week I was looking at my old rolodex and saw Jack's number at KU.  I went on the internet to look for him and discovered to my sadness that he passed away a little over a year ago on August 9, 2009.  He was 81 when he died.

Tonight I was listening to Pandora which brought up a song by Henryk Gorecki.  When I was at KU, Jack went to Poland and brought me back an LP of choral music by Henryk Gorecki , who was not well known at the time among those in my classical music circles.  But Jack knew that I loved harmonies and he thought I would find Gorecki interesting.  He was right.  Gorecki's music can send chills through me.  Here's a video of Gorecki's Totus Tuus, which was not on the LP Jack gave me, but is nevertheless a breathtaking piece:

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