Lipton’s Journal/December 17, 1954/62
I have always hated sentimentality: mother and children, church, the flag, the nation, the good man, the affirmative novel. And there is a reason. For these are society’s
bastardizations of what the soul knows. Sentimentality is the abuse of an abuse. It is the abuse of words which are already an abuse albeit a necessary one, and so for good cause it was always intolerable to me. For what after all are the respective symbols above. They are
- the mystery of the creation of life,
- the symbol of the brotherhood of men,
- the brotherhood of men,
- the man in possession of his soul, and
- the vision.
But only compare the “vision” to the average affirmative novel with its last sentence, “John stood up and walked up the stairs. Up there she was waiting, and the sun was shining.”
I still think the psychopath is close to the saint. He is the saint turned inside out, his soul exhausted upon the world, but let him withdraw from the world (harder for the psychopath than anyone else, for the ghost of his soul which is the only “me” he can feel has to be chased through all circuits of the world)
but let him withdraw, and the “dark magnificence” of his life is converted to its echo.