Lipton’s Journal/December 31, 1954/155

From Project Mailer

Bob Lindner. As he reads this note, he is going to think I am sniping at him again, and he doesn’t understand my feelings here. I am not sniping at him—if I were, I would not send him these notes,[1] for my competitive feelings would say, “He may take them a step beyond you, and he’ll get the credit.” But Bob is one of the few people I don’t feel competitive toward. I feel we could have a Marx and Engels relation, and leave the matter of who’s Marx aside until we both have grown.

But what I realized today in thinking about The Fifty-minute Hour is that Bob’s problems in creativity are the same as mine—his work, like mine, is the defense against letting go. For instance, I have come to realize that Bob’s therapeutic methods and styles are comparatively as old-fashioned as his literary style. They are as heavy and inadequate to his sensitivity as is his prose. Bob, like me, is wild in his ideas, but conventional in his treatments of ideas. And what we both need is to loosen our treatment. So, after a bold beginning, with hypnosis, Bob has given it up, although a part of him is always drawn to new therapies, Rosen’s,[2] Reich’s,[3] etc.

I wonder—this is wild,—if hypnosis is actually not better than free-association. Analysts never gave it a chance, they were terrified of the consequences, because hypnosis which is what I believe I get in some form under Lipton’s, opens man to his soul, immediately, powerfully, and perhaps irrevocably. Since few people have the situation or the resources to live with their soul, which means to war against society, hypnosis is indeed dangerous, but is it dangerous for the exceptional person? I suspect not. I suspect that techniques with drugs, hypnosis, group therapy, even orgiastic therapy, are inevitable for the future.



notes

  1. Mailer sent Lindner a sheaf of pages from “Lipton’s” perhaps every two weeks or so, and Lindner would reply in the letters included in this edition, over the phone or in person when they met in New York or Baltimore. Lindner was Mailer’s one-person audience for “Lipton’s,” as well as his informal analyst, as noted in the introduction.
  2. A physical therapist, Rosen (1914-2012) created the Rosen Method of psychological therapy, a program of therapeutic posture, breathing and bodywork exercises that purportedly helps patients access their unconscious more easily.
  3. An Austrian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who worked with Freud, Reich (1897-1957), and was the author of many clinical works, including The Function of the Orgasm (1942). He fled to the U.S. when the Nazis came to power. His eccentric and controversial theory of orgone energy, and the phone-booth size orgone accumulators he invented, got him into legal trouble and he was sent to federal prison where he died. Mailer was influenced by Reich’s ideas about sexual repression and character armor, and built his own orgone box.