Lipton’s Journal/January 31, 1955/343

From Project Mailer

Fascination keeps us on the saint-psychopath spectrum. Without it we become either saints or psychopaths depending on whether pure attraction (saint) or pure repulsion is felt toward the outer thing (be it person, idea, object, etc.). So, the genius is always fascinated, which is why a genius always expresses himself in work. Work as the product of H vs. S is also the product of attraction vs. repulsion.

So it is good in a way that I have my retreats, my depressions over this journal. They are what keep me working. This journal is the record of my attempts to overcome my disgust for these pages. So the journal has grown, and ideas which were crude and banal in the early pages develop into more satisfying insights later. But continually new crude “wild” ideas occur. Those give the hint to where I’m going if I can continue working, that is, continue being repelled, rather than just take off into saintliness and be shriven of repulsion and the desire to work.

But I feel a real crisis for me as a novelist. My novels have always been explorations. I can never stop to expound the idea once I have it, I have to go on. And where now could I begin a novel? I have the unhappy thought that the insights of these pages have taken away from me ten years of solid novels. I hope not, but I suspect yes. Perhaps now I do have to go back to science which I quit when I was an engineering student because engineering, I knew in my bones, was merely the passive exposition of an idea handed you by another man. Ah, well, Malraux moved on, maybe I can too.