Lipton’s Journal/February 14, 1955/566

From Project Mailer

I’ve come up with something on “st.” It represents the total fixing of society. It is factness, society-thingness. For example, stop, stasis, stable, stink (what characterizes a stink is that it sticks) stare (the social permanence of air) sty (the freezing of the eye) stone. (The petrification of the one which is pronounced own. Note: won, one, own and just possibly “on”). Also: student, study, (which brings up the ud—the mating of the you (the externalization of oneself—we project onto a you what we feel)—so we have the u, the you with the d of death. Study opens expertization, socialization, etc. Star: the fixing of the ah and the ‘r’. R to me now means more than rage, it is the active element, the motility of feeling which gives shape, color, emotion, life, illuminated form to our passivity.

Just note: life and rife. Rifeness is the state (st again) of life in its active form. Life is the state of life in its passive form. r is action, will to completion, l is passivity, contentment, euphoria. s and t give such tremendous stasis to a concept because s as society and t as thingness are both societal concepts—they are “ones.” After all, a thing implies an envelope rather than a continuity. As viz Bob[1] with his quick confidence that he knew what “color” was, until I reminded him that color was an attribute of light which is not knowable, not yet.


  1. A prominent Baltimore psychoanalyst and writer, Robert Lindner (1914 – 1956) became acquainted with Mailer after reading Lindner’s 1952 sharp critique of current psychoanalytic practice, Prescription for Rebellion (1952), published by Mailer’s publisher, Rinehart. The letter, which contained both praise and criticism for Lindner’s ideas, led to a close friendship over the next four years, including many visits and the sharing of work, including Lipton’s. See extended note on entry 56.