Lipton’s Journal/February 14, 1955/616

From Project Mailer

As I said to Bob,[1] “Faith is an argument over perception.” Whatever we do not perceive consciously ourselves we ascribe to the warp of “faith” or subjective “projection” of needs on the part of the other person. The person with relative “faith” in the given debate sees the other’s arguments as willful or hopeless “blindness.”

Yet, the rationalist must admit this: that of the two debaters one or the other is more correct—is closer to the material reality in which the rationalist has faith. And the scientific rationalist—the socialist—believes that history—objective scientific evidence—will give the proof to one or the other. So, there will be times when the one with “faith” will be more correct. What has been assumed to be a warped subjective projection turns out to be a closer objective estimate. Therefore, the rationalist must admit that faith in and of itself does not disqualify one of the debaters, nor by extension does paranoia, nor “projection.”


  1. A prominent Baltimore psychoanalyst and writer, Robert Lindner (1914-56) became acquainted with Mailer after reading Lindner’s 1952 sharp critique of current psychoanalytic practice, Prescription for Rebellion (1952), published by NM’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.