Lipton’s Journal/February 14, 1955/608

From Project Mailer

Which is where an understanding of habit comes in. Habit is the suspension of the gambling-faculty——Juggler is given his sleep. To live in society demands habits. Otherwise, the Juggler would be overworked. (The Juggler works while we sleep, rest—generally—while we act and move. Each night the Juggler lays out the choices for tomorrow, makes the Great Debates, and judges them by his lights.)

But the Juggler to conserve his energy frequently makes the decision to take the most irreconcilable, the most difficult-to-decide of the choices and freeze it, make it a habit, a habit which will not be broken until he decides that the health of the body-mind (homeostasis) radically demands it. Which could account for the over-determination of neurotic symptoms. Choice-energy must not be wasted. In order for Life to function amidst Other-Life in the Body-Mind, a day to day altering of habit will exhaust the lerve—Symbolically, a habit is to brain as a shell-fragment is to the flesh—to disgorge it is a surgeon’s decision. Each “destructive” habit becomes more difficult to disgorge as one grows older and the lerve wanes—which is why we cannot carry the impediments of youth in middle-age.

So, the over-determination of the neurotic symptom-habit is not really “over-determination.” A habit must be placed beyond day-to-day questioning, for if it is not, lerve is wasted in considering it, debating, coming close to decision, and then retreating, and the waste of lerve (that is the continual expenditure of more lerve than is recreated) encourages bankruptcy and death. So the over-determination of habit reflects the need of the Juggler to conserve lerve.