Lipton’s Journal/February 7, 1955/506

From Project Mailer

But what remains an enigma to me is what I called earlier life-force or life-energy or basic energy. And whether people are born with this—that is born unequally, or whether they develop it—that is, potentially, even actually, all infants or at least all sperm-ovule connections contain the same energy is almost impossible to even guess at.

What I am afraid is true is that life-energy, shall we call it the lerve (libido I don’t like—Freud has id I-death running through everything) is already conditioned to a certain extent by the parents. It makes more sense to me. If the condition of the body is a reflection of the psyche which travels through a social arena, how can one assume that the sperm itself should be unaffected.[1]

But here we’re even closer to the mystery and so more ignorant. What is undeniable is that the lerve seems to be the determining thing in keeping people alive and functioning despite the heavy psychic armor they carry. A person with low lerve reaches the end of his or her possibilities much sooner, and so must take the next step or perish. Like myself. Paradoxically enough I probably have low lerve (comparatively, that is). But there is so much more lerve in all of us than we are ever able to use, that once we make even a little more available our energy becomes incredible—as mine is at the moment.


  1. Mailer restated this in The Prisoner of Sex (1971): “Good fucks make good babies.”