Lipton’s Journal/March 4, 1955/706

From Project Mailer

In the interim while I was not working on this journal I thought more things than I could possibly begin to sketch in many weeks on these pages. There is no use even trying to recapitulate them, but philosophically one vast problem I’ve gotten into is the business of what is ethical conduct. And I suspect that the answer is that one must always do what one feels like doing subject of course to keeping out of danger most of the time. (danger, ranger, manger, changer)

But to act well toward one’s friends when one does not feel it is the height of arrogance among other things. For we are making the assumption that we know what is good for them, what they need. And it is a reflex of life that we learn from hostility being expressed toward us as much as learn from love being expressed toward us. Each has its value, each contains its potential benefit—to maintain cordial relations with friends when one does not feel cordial is merely to deaden the relationship and introduce large elements of mutual deception in it.

As Bob Lindner[1] said to me some time ago, a lot of people are going to be hating you soon. That may well be true, but what is far better that I like myself—that is my health—and since I have always been a rebel and have always found the meaning of my life and the most intense sense of my own existence at those moments when I rebel with some size and confidence, so I have been hampered and fucked up in the past by my overanxious desire to be loved.

These days I give much less of a fuck whether most people like me or not, and the result is that to my amazement I am far more capable of handling myself. For example Laughton and I worked together very well for the whole week—it was a collaboration in the best sense and that was the first time in my life that I was able to work with a man whom I felt was an equal.

Also a thousand other things that have been going better together with a price. My depressions when they come these days are pretty Christ-awful. They come invariably late at night and I sit alone in the living room that too-white too bare living room and feel empty and dull inside and I wonder if I am completely deteriorating, and if everything in the journal is an hysterical attempt to hide how desperate I am. But these days my depressions always but always come when I am low in energy, in lerve. Last year I could be full of energy and still be very depressed.


  1. 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.