Lipton’s Journal/February 21, 1955/623

From Project Mailer

I truly have the feeling that my self-analysis will succeed in making me a happier more effective rebel. More effective because I’ll be less afraid, more confident of my real stature. For example, for the first time in my life, I am becoming aware of how much effect I have upon people in my personality. Until now, ridiculously, I could only understand how people acted on me—I never realized how much I stimulate, frighten, warm and chill people around me. No wonder if my I-characters were always acted upon rather than acting.

The secret to being a successful rebel is to feel in one’s bones the wisdom of the two. Most rebels—for the rebel always has a strong sup—he would be a mystic otherwise. The only way he can accommodate the discrepancies of sup and er is to dream of a better society. So most rebels think in terms of a one. They think of what they should be, how they should act, and they attempt to force themselves—they give before they are ready to give, they refuse to take unless the taking fits the arbitrary (one) scheme they have set up for themselves.

These days I wander, I allow myself to follow my curiosity—I read or watch something with absorption until I am bored, and the moment I am bored, I respect the boredom, it means I have taken enough of whatever has been given (more accurately: allowed to enter), and now I must stop trying to force it, but instead “digest,” really take. So, from now on, so far as is possible, given the exigencies of outer life I am going to do what my body dictates. When I feel like exercising and not before, I will exercise; when I feel like staying up, I will stay up instead of trying to force sleep upon myself. My insomnia which used to be anxious, depressed and miserable, has been different the past few months—I do not sleep because I feel too active, my mind is too active, I am too full of life. Hence, I resent deeply forcing system upon myself. For insomnia like everything else is a double or more. The child’s insomnia—or rather its refusal to go to bed—is a legitimate expression of its taste for life, and within reason (outer social exigency) one should not suppress it.

On the business of sleep one does well to obey that too. If one cannot sleep long enough (to fit the idea of the scheme) one should get up. If one can sleep longer—as indeed I can—one should, and then work longer. From now on, I will try to ease myself from the tyranny of the eight hours. There are times when I need no more than six hours of sleep or even four; there are other times when I must have ten. So be it.

One further note on my Lipton’s fuckanalysis. It releases my paranoia, which is why I see far and always “exaggerate” the good or evil of my friends—paranoia is actually I believe legitimate perception, but it ignores social shaping—it leaps across time to see the end in the present, it seeks to grasp essential er character rather than er and sup character.

So, for example, on Lipton’s I realized suddenly that Dan[1] has a monstrous unconscious—that he is a sadist, a Tartar muzhik king. But he also has a sup, a benevolent-oriented, rational, highly social sup. Hence his impotence in life, his weak body, his passivity. He cannot get physically strong or more active in life for fear that he will express his great potential cruelty. No wonder he ducks analysis. He cannot bear to enter the enormous hatreds and viciousness he contains. On Lipton’s I realized this. The next day I realized in turn that beneath the Cossack is the little boy with the big sad brown eyes. But his journey would be too terrible to get back to that saintly loving little boy, for he’s got to do it over the corpses of all the victims he’s flayed with his Tartar sadism.

And in fucking, I learn also. One must not be ashamed of what one feels for one’s mate afterward. These days I am rarely depressed after making love. The reason: I do not try to force my emotions while fucking any longer. If I feel aggression or hatred, I allow myself to feel it, I wallow in it—amazingly, feeling of love follows it, and without guilt. If I feel masculine (giving) then I give; if I feel feminine and passive then I lie like a woman and allow Adele[2] to express her art, and I relish the passivity, relish it enough so that I arise refreshed from that phase of the continuing act, and enter the next phase where I wish to give.

So our fucking gets better and better, and as it does we love each other more. What I must allow Adele is to be actually sadistic with me—it is buried in her, she represses it, just as I repress the masochist, the male-female terrified of outer aggression. If I were to allow her to whip me for example, I’d probably be less afraid of being beaten up—for my fear of being beaten up has always been—I realize now—that I would grovel before my beater. Hence the almost paralyzing anxiety I feel before a fight. And for Adele, it would soften her occasional spasmodic aggressiveness, her at times unreasonable temper. So be it again—I will look forward to getting my ass slapped.


  1. A close friend of Mailer’s in the 1950s, Daniel Wolf (1915 – 1996), the co-founder of the Village Voice, introduced Mailer to his second wife, Adele Morales.
  2. Adele Morales (1925 – 2015), who he married in April 1954, was Mailer’s second wife. The mother of his daughters Danielle (b. 1957), and Elizabeth Anne (b. 1959), she separated from Mailer in early 1961 a few months after he stabbed her with a penknife, just missing her heart. He pled guilty to felonious assault and was given a suspended sentence. They divorced in 1962.