Lipton’s Journal/February 21, 1955/653

From Project Mailer

What occurs to me is that there may be a “death-instinct”—that the er deep within it knows that there is the hereafter of entering infinity, and when it has been mutilated by the sup it shrugs its shoulders and says, “To hell with advancing this fragment of the infinite—I return to the infinite.” And it welcomes “death” which is eternal life. Although I suspect the Hindus may be right and just like the fucking army one comes back from a patrol merely to be put on K.P. Which introduces reason and the sup.

To build society, to have men act in life, it is necessary that the sup penetrate the deepest reaches of the er and induce the counter-conviction, that there is no life after death and so one must do all one can now. To build a society one must believe in zero after death. Hence the sup while punishing man enables man to raise himself to the infinite. And that is why the sup (read the Super Ego) mysteriously relents at times. It knows that if it goes too far, the er will give up, it will begin to long for death.

So the sup as well as the er is a preserver of life. And that is why a genius needs a sup to match his available er (for all people have vast er—what differs is the amount available). If the genius did not have such a sup he would become a Taker and not a Maker-Giver. (Is this the effect of the Roximyl?[1] I’m so tolerant today. I see good in everything. Except for passing rage at the Lindner.[2] But notice the mellowness of this note now that I gave vent to my irritation.)


  1. Roximyl: unknown.
  2. 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.