Lipton’s Journal/February 7, 1955/456
Just above I wrote 42 instead of 142. By now I’ve learned to trust my errors. So, I pondered. Was I trying to say something about the nature of numbers? Perhaps? But that was far away, and much too misty to be uncovered yet. So, next, I sat there passively waiting for a clue, a moment, and a small one came. It said, “Take a chance, turn back to page 42 in these notes.” I did, and while I did, I was wondering whether there were notes there about psychoanalysis. There weren’t, but there were first crude statements of things close to what I’ve been writing about all morning, to wit, the after-fuck look of Marilyn Monroe, and later today I’m getting into sex, the age of anticipation and the age of accomplishment. (In Naked I had Cummings—the artist turned general—say, “The nature of the twentieth century is anxiety. Society wished to turn man into a machine, and it’s not a process he instinctively enjoys.” Then, a big one on page 42. Memory. And with memory, déjà vu. Then Bob’s joke about the pickle factory and obscenity substitutes. It’s amazing. In those crude (and crude is good (in joy) with the r of rage and frustration added. Frustration is the rage at fucking being halted—without ‘r’s, frustration becomes fustation which is fuck of gestation) in those crude notes were the seeds of what I write about today.
As I wrote the above I thought, Look at page 24 mirror of 42. And that is even richer. Crude quick remarks which are the cliché of what I now make an expansion. Particularly 92 which was the substance expanded of not 456, which I interrupted by miswriting page 142. And in the fantastic complexity in which I now find myself, it is possible that the interruption was a sociostatic defense or more possibly an clue. For instance I think of turning to page 2, page 4, page 124, also the combinations in which 5 is added for note, it was note 456. But this is too contractive, and so I turn away. What I’m afraid of today, I note, is that my radicalism may go, that I may become too tolerant, and so accept the world, but note the peculiar contradiction in me, my radicalism is sociostatic, my conservatism is homeodynamic. My radicalism enables me to hate and to act—which is the demand of society. My conservatism, my H, enables me to love, forgive, and understand everyone, so that I should be born away in inaction.
- Mailer refers to the page number typed at the top.
- 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.