Lipton’s Journal/December 17, 1954/44

From Project Mailer

The saint and the churchman are polar in character. The churchman (by which I include most clerics and most churchgoers) has a most definite idea of what God is. Whether he conceives Him as a superior person, a force, as love or justice or whatever, the conception is not something he worries about. He merely uses it to nourish his vanity. He believes in God, knows what and who He is, and then proceeds, usually quite practically to do the business of society.

The saint is his opposite. The saint is consumed with the idea that God exists. Through all of his soul are the intimations of that. But what God is, he can but barely glimpse. And so his life, his way, his road are a search—he is the adventurer who never moves from a room. And that is where he is kin to the psychopath. For the psychopath is consumed with the desire to explore himself to the end, just as the saint is, but the psychopath makes the tragic error of conducting conducts his search in the world. Indeed, that is the reason we find the psychopath so fascinating, and why the villain of a story carries out interest.

Confronted with the collective soul of man (or whatever one wishes to call it) society can exorcise the Soul only be dividing it. So it says that saints are good, but of course we are all indifferent to saints. Then it brands the psychopath as evil, as the thing-to-be-destroyed, and allows us our fascination and terror of him. So society wins. The saint is ignored, the psychopath is shunned, and the purity of the human soul is concealed. We are returned to a world where we must be practical, mature, pluralistic, and confirmed in abysmal and false humilities—in return for agreeing to admit that we know nothing, we are offered the comforts, the securities, and the prestige of society.