Lipton’s Journal/February 1, 1955/404

From Project Mailer

At the other end of the spectrum is the saint. The saint (that is the total saint) has no S whatsoever, he is all H-expression, and so he is all goodness, all sensitivity, all-accepting, all-forgiving. To kiss the feet of a whore, to tell a parable to his flock, to be unafraid of all worldly—that is, social—power is always the same thing to him, merely another part of the whole, as natural as breathing, weeping, defecating, fucking, comforting, etc.

But, of course, in life, with perhaps the exception of Jesus, no total saint has ever appeared that I know about—certainly no sexual saint, unless it was some unknown tzaddik[1] of the Chasidim,[2] some wandering beggar in Asia, some illiterate frontiersman preacher of the West. But it is unlikely. Society would have ripped his arms and legs off, stuffed his genitals in his mouth, driven spikes through his belly, and eaten his eyes.

The saints who have appeared (that is genuine saints, three-quarter saints say, like Gandhi, St. Francis perhaps, Lincoln???? How can one ever locate them in history for their works are so few, and the legends about them so distorted—it is safe to assume that most of the Catholic saints were bureaucrats, psychopaths, monsters and half-mystics). What one can say is that there have been three-quarter saints, men (or women) who somehow—and this is a mystery to me—were capable of expressing their unexpressed sexual urges in other ways. They were free of society, they had the happy grace—and what a revealing word is Grace—of the animal raised to human stature, and so they were good. But they were never totally good, nor totally saints—they suffered from Temptation. Of course. Somehow they managed to avoid most of the sex-vs-society exhaustion, but one cannot avoid sex entirely, not without turning one’s food to poison. One can only accept sex completely, and one day when there comes such a man, there will be a total saint. By which of course I don’t mean that he will be fucking all the time. Simply—and how difficult—he will fuck when he feels like it with whomever feels like it, and rest when he is done.


  1. A Hebrew term meaning a righteous or holy person.
  2. A sect of Orthodox Jews that arose in Eastern Europe in the late 18th century. Mailer’s scholarly grandfather, Chaim Yehuda Schneider (1859-1928) was an ordained Orthodox rabbi, but anti-Hasidim in his leanings, believing that the sect put too much trust in their rabbis, and not enough in the Talmud.