Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Letter to a Friend


You blew me away with your comments. I was very moved by what you wrote. Also, for a person like me, who is so isolated from everyone else, I was touched by the fact that what moved me had the power to move someone else -- and particularly someone like you who are so intellectually gifted and spiritual. You have inspired me to continue writing for the blog. Though I will be taking a break from posting until Tuesday, December 27, 2005.

I need to tell you something about my writing. It is a mix of fantasy and reality. I was in fact lonely in college (as I have always been). I didn't really meet a couple of psychoanalysts. That is fantasy. But it is something that I wish could have happened. I didn't really study Sanskrit, but I did take a course in Indian history and culture. I have a deep identification with Indian culture, which places the spirit above the material. I sense that you embody the spirit of your people. The fact that you have responded as you have to my identifications and fantasies tells me that my feelings are genuine and deeply-held, even if the "facts" of my life as I present them are falsifications. I hope you understand what I am saying.

I feel a great connection to you, Shiv, and I am very honored by the things you have written and your action in dedicating your blog post to me click here. (Incidentally, today, December 23 is my birthday, so your blog post has an uncanny quality of specialness about it.)

I've read about your background and the work you have done in engineering. It means a great deal to me that someone of your caliber has responded to my writings as you have.

Thanks, buddy.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Homage to Mathilde Wesendonk

Im Treibhaus

Hochgewölbte Blätterkronen,
Baldachine von Smaragd,
Kinder ihr aus fernen Zonen,
Saget mir, warum ihr klagt?

Schweigend neiget ihr die Zweige,
Malet Zeichen in die Luft,
Und der Leiden stummer Zeuge
Steiget aufwärts, süßer Duft.

Weit in sehnendem Verlangen
Breitet ihr die Arme aus,
Und umschlinget wahnbefangen
Öder Leere nicht'gen Graus.

Wohl, ich weiß es, arme Pflanze;
Ein Geschicke teilen wir,
Ob umstrahlt von Licht und Glanze,
Unsre Heimat ist nicht hier!

Und wie froh die Sonne scheidet
Von des Tages leerem Schein,
Hüllet der, der wahrhaft leidet,
Sich in Schweigens Dunkel ein.

Stille wird's, ein säuselnd Weben
Füllet bang den dunklen Raum:
Schwere Tropfen seh ich schweben
An der Blätter grünem Saum.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Melange of Nothing

Another year has passed for me. One month ago I celebrated my 54th birthday. What have I done, lo, these past fifty-three years? What have I accomplished? I'll tell you what I have accomplished: Nothing. Or virtually nothing.

I don't really live, and never have. It's as if I simply move through time and space, and after fifty-two years I find myself (or have lost myself) in the selfsame void that I have always occupied.

To tell you the truth, I feel like the Henry James character, John Marcher: the man who was predestined to live an empty life, the man to whom nothing on earth was to have happened. You must know the Henry James story, The Beast in The Jungle.

"Everything fell together, confessed, explained, overwhelmed, leaving him most of all stupefied at the blindness he had cherished. The fate he had been marked for he had met with a vengeance -- he had emptied the cup to the lees; he had been the man of his time, THE man, to whom nothing on earth was to have happened. That was the rare stroke -- that was his visitation. So he saw it, as we say, in pale horror, while the pieces fitted and fitted. . . . It was the truth, vivid and monstrous, that all the while he had waited the wait was itself his portion." John Marcher waited a lifetime for a final judgment that when rendered resolved Nothing -- the nothingness that was his life.

All my life I have waited for something to happen. Perhaps something momentous. Perhaps not. But at least something. Yet I awaken each day to a life in which nothing has ever happened and probably never will.

Dear friends, that miserable patch of event, that melange of nothing, while you were looking ahead for something to happen, that was it! That was life! You lived it!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Indian Mystic and the Victim of Child Abuse

This post is dedicated to Sivananda Reddy.

It is striking that many mystical systems contain elaborate and central theories of memory in which the importance or the very existence of early childhood memories is denied and displaced backwards to prenatal events, or forward, to the present and future. Perhaps negated depression is the central unspoken element of mystic states of elation. The primary literature on mysticism is replete with alluring descriptions of states of mind characterized by depersonalization, derealization and deja vu -- descriptions devoid of genuine emotional content, and offering instead bland and repetitive reassurances. The impression is that of a panicked attempt to conjure up contentment through a magic, counterphobic gesture. The result is an alien state of mind, anxious and disturbing because these derealizations, etc., are screens behind which lie painful, unconscious memories. The mystic is seeking not future illumination, but protection from past dangers. Where can a traumatized small child find protection except in the arms of the one powerful enough to have originally inflicted the haunting pain? Thus the mystic, like all traumatized persons, is trapped in a compulsion to repeat, a component of which is an attempt at magical undoing.

A person who has been severely hurt emotionally early in life can reenact in manifold disguise the original traumas; but he cannot remember with full force of feeling. The screening process through the break in affective connections is evident here. Note that specific unhappy childhood memories which turn out to be false are false only in content, not in feeling. They produce a particular hurt in the hope of screening a deeper, more momentous and pervasive misery. Unpleasurable memories remain reverberating somewhere in the body and emotions.

The condition of emotional stillness, a dire symptom in human terms, is universally praised in many Indian and Western mystical texts and pursued by means of exercises and meditations. We can hypothesize that the various forms of emotional undernourishment, far more common than physical undernourishment, leave behind an insatiable craving, the search for mystical experiences, as if only the ecstatic stillness of trance-states could fill the void of a happiness never experienced. But this search is a symptom, always an unhappy substitution. Depression, rage and aggression are the obverse of the ecstasy and the inevitable hidden accompaniments of such journeys into a sad past. The apparent reliving of a lost past in terms of grasping at the illusion of ecstasy can only represent a falsification of memory for the purpose of defense. And the dry, brittle memories of an emotionally arid childhood are as fearsome as those of more openly violent abuse. The hunger that such childhood misery and emptiness leave behind often becomes "bound" in a phantom memory. Feelings of nostalgia for a lost past comprise a denial of childhood misery.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Four Last Songs

This post is dedicated to Dr. David Rosenbaum, Psychology Department, The Pennsylvania State University.

I first heard the songs as a teenager when I rifled through a bin of LPs at a record shop in Philadelphia. I came across a record of Richard Strauss music featuring Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. I had been acquainted with Richard Strauss since I was fourteen years old. In the ninth grade my high school orchestra, of which I was a member of the second violin section, performed excepts from Strauss's opera Der Rosenkavalier under the conductor Sidney Rothstein. The beauty of Schwarzkopf's portrait on the cover of the record caught my eye, but it was the title, Four Last Songs, that lured me in. Whose four last songs were these -- the singer's? The poet's? The composer's? Why four? Why not just one last song? It reminded me of a concert I'd been to where the singer kept saying, before each encore, "just one last song" -- then went on for several more. But there was something so definitive about this title -- so dark and mysterious, so final.

When I got home I put the disc on and sat back nervously. Though I was familiar with Strauss, nothing could have prepared me for the impact of these works. To a young man weaned on too much classical mythology, this sounded like the music of the spheres. From the murky stirrings at the beginning of "Fruhling" to the rhapsodic colorations of "Im Abendrot," the soaring soprano line threw me into a whirlwind of emotions, while the disarming strains of the orchestra kept me frozen in my chair. At the heart-rending violin solo in "Beim Schlafengehen," I nearly fell out of that chair. I had never heard music that sounded so otherworldy, so ethereal, yet so perfectly human.

Much of my reaction had to do with the poignancy of Schwarzkopf's performance. This was, I soon discovered, the second recording she'd made of the cycle (here with conductor George Szell). She was older, a little wiser, and expressed the innate weariness of the poetry. "Many people maintain the first recording with Otto Ackerman is better," the soprano notes in Elisabeth Schwarzkopf: A Career on Record. "It's different, of course. The voice is much younger. . . . But then the poems are not poems for a young creature. . . . It is not to be a spring-like noise."

Having played the Schwarzkopf album until it was a patchwork of scratches, I began to look around for other recordings. Adding a title here and there, I soon had a collection. Since the introduction of CDs, I've gathered nearly thirty versions, many of them recorded in the last few years.

I once heard a cycle performed live at Carnegie Hall. At the end of the Carnegie Hall performance, as I listened to the final measures, a smile broke out on my face. Finally I was able to answer that question I'd been mulling over ever since first discovering these works as a teenager. Whose Four Last Songs are these? They are mine.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Report to an Academy . . . by Gary Freedman

HONORED MEMBERS of the Academy!

You have done me the honor of inviting me to give your Academy an account of the life I formerly led as an undiscovered plagiarist.

What I am here to defend today is a practice that I believe can be a creative tool in extenuating situations.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Sometimes you may find that your own words, however powerful they may sound, just simply aren't enough to describe a joyous or sorrowful event. You may have been pressed for time, or worse -- untalented. But considering your own work woefully inadequate should not diminish your capacity to appreciate and celebrate others' works. At times like these, passages you have read someplace that otherwise would remain relegated to an existence in mediocre obscurity, may be used to convey the most apt sentiment for the moment. But what are you to do when slight paraphrasing, or interspersing remarks that clothe in the surrounding 'plagiarized' verse are in order? Are you to destroy the harmony of prose by intermittently warning the reader he is reading unoriginal material?

I believe that the moment you have strung together words and phrases to convey something, you've breathed life into it. It lives, and with the passing of the ages, dies. Communist and Confederate writings, for instance, are deceased, as are most of their authors. Alternatively, subject material the words seek to expound upon may dictate their age. If they are joyous words, they will prance and pirouette to a happy tune in youthful vigor. If they are somber, cheerless and basically dead, they will inhabit a special compartment for those from which may borrow.

In this case in point, you would do well to note that nowhere do I claim the passages are my own, indeed, nor do I make mention of my references. I will admit I did consider citing my sources, if not for the reasons I mention, I figured at least for my readers' own reference. But upon further rumination, and on poring over my writings, I concluded that the special charm of my writings lay in my ability to evoke powerful emotions through a controlled use of words -- my own and others.

Sometimes the reader senses restraint, other times raw force, and yet again at times the reader feels robbed of climactic denouement. How often have you held back from orgasming after a protracted session, picked yourself up as if you were doing nothing and return to reading the morning paper? It is not easy, and certainly what no man would voluntarily want to do. However, if there was something -- someone, who can wield that kind of influence over you or control your thoughts in a park ride of emotions, through the mere use of words, you know you've met a powerful keeper.

I attempt to be that keeper, the keeper at the gates of wordsmith-heaven -- a place where millions of souls float about. Each of those souls encapsulate a body of work, which is art that would die from disuse. I seek to show in "My Daily Struggles" that these works permeate the ether and pierce through astral planes or spiritual dimensions to become available to us as tools.

On the whole, at any rate, I have achieved what I set out to achieve. But do not tell me that it was not worth the trouble. In any case, I am not appealing for any man's verdict, I am only imparting knowledge, I am only making a report. To you also, honored Members of the Academy, I have only made a report.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Pathway in the Park

I stride slowly through my room, then out the door through the common hallway to the lobby of my apartment building. Then I go out, down the street to the park. I have taken this walk a hundred times, but today everything -- apartment building, street and park -- seems to echo loneliness. The wind blows cold in the brown leaves arrayed along the street gutter and brings new fleecy rain clouds in low-hovering files. I shiver with the cold. Now they are all gone. There is no one to care for, to be considerate of, no one whose presence I have to maintain my composure, and only now, in this frozen loneliness of early March, are the cares and sleepless nights, the quivering fever and all the crushing weariness borne in on me. I feel them not only in my mind and bones but deep in my heart. In these days the last shimmering lights of life and expectancy have been extinguished; but the cold isolation and cruel disenchantment no longer frighten me.

Sauntering on along the barren paths of the park, I try to follow back the threads of my life, whose simple fabric I have never before seen so clearly. It comes to me without bitterness that I have followed all these pathways blindly. I see clearly that despite my many attempts, despite the yearning that has never left me, I have passed the garden of life by. Never have I lived out an impulse, an idea, or a passion to its bottommost depths. Never until these last days. At my writing table I have known, all too late, my only true love; then I have forgotten, and risen above, myself. And now that will be my experience, my poor treasure, as long as I live: my writing.

What remains to me is my writing, my art, of which I have never felt as sure as I do now. There remains the consolation of the outsider, to whom it is not given to seize the cup of life and drain it; there remains the struggle, cool, and yet irresistible passion to see, to observe, and to articulate with secret pride in the work of creation. That is the residue and the value of my unsuccessful life, the imperturbable loneliness and cold delight of writing, and to follow that star without detours will from now be my destiny.

I breath deeply the moist, bitter-scented air of the park and at every step it seems to me that I am pushing away the past as one who has reached the shore pushes away a piece of driftwood, useless driftwood. My probing and my insight are without resignation; full of defiance and venturesome passion, I look forward to the new life, which, I am resolved, will no longer be a groping or dim-sighted wandering but rather a bold, steep climb. Later and more painfully perhaps than most men, I have taken leave of the sweet twilight of youth. Now I stand poor and belated in the broad daylight, and of that I mean never again to lose a precious hour.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Lawrentian Musings

Brian Patrick Brown . . . William Decosta . . . Barbara Gauntt . . . Donna Kanin . . . Gary Freedman. Gary Freedman. Peculiar names we all have. Do you think we've all been singled out, chosen for some extraordinary moment in life, or are we all cursed with the mark of Cain?

I'm afraid Patrick was a martyred saint. A difficult name to live up to, wouldn't you say? And who is Barbara? She's a librarian. So are they all, all librarians. Except for me, of course. I'm no librarian. But perhaps I should be.

They do nothing, librarians. They direct people to books. That's all. But they impart the information they possess as if they were disclosing some mysterious secret. Hidden knowledge, forbidden knowledge. Things known only to librarians. They do it in hushed tones. "And where do I find biographies?" "Biographies? They're 92 in the Dewey Decimal system." All in a day's work. And that's just about all librarians do. I should be a librarian. It wouldn't be much of a step up from the life I currently lead, which amounts to nothing.

In a Norse myth, Barbara was a sinner who murdered her husband. Will Barbara Gauntt live up to that, do you think? Which would I prefer her to live up to, the sinner or the murderer? Who knows? No. I think Barbara Gauntt will live out her days directing people to 92 in the Dewey Decimal system. Always in hushed tones, of course. She was born in a library and she will die in a library. She will answer patrons questions -- in English or in Spanish -- till her dying day.

Ah, I see the perpetual struggle has begun. Oh, we all struggle so, don't we?

The female librarian. (If that's not being redundant.) The female librarian is like a fig. Secretive, mysterious. The librarian makes a show of her secrets.

The proper way to eat a fig, in society, is to split it in four, holding it by the stump, and open it, so that it is a glittering, rosy, moist, honied, heavy-petalled four-petalled flower. Then you throw away the skin, after you have taken off the blossom with your lips. But the vulgar way is just to put your mouth to the crack, and take out the flesh in one bite.

The fig is a very secretive fruit.

The Italians vulgarly say, it stands for the female part; the fig-fruit: the fissure, the yoni, the wonderful moist conductivity towards the center. Involved, interned. One small way of access only, and this close-curtained from the light.

Sap that smells strange on your fingers, that even goats won't taste it; And when the fig has kept her secret long enough. So it explodes, and you see through the fissure, the scarlet. And the fig is finished, the year is over.

That's how the fig dies, showing her crimson through the purple slit like a wound, the exposure of her secret, on the open day. Like a prostitute, the bursten fig, makes a show of her secret.

That's how women die too.

Would I like to go for a walk? Will I go for a walk. No. I'm quite sure. I don't want to go for a walk. I'll be like a sulky little boy, and stay put. I'll stay here.

Have I ever really loved anybody? Well, yes and no. But not finally. Finally, no. I don't know whether I want to love anybody. Well, let me reconsider that. Perhaps I do. I want the finality of love. Just one woman. Just one woman. There are times I don't think that a woman and nothing but a woman will ever make my life. I really don't. Lacking a woman, a companionship with a man would do. I sometimes believe that. He'd certainly relieve the sting of boredom.

What do I live for? When I worked I lived for my work. But I haven't worked in many years now. I suppose I live because I'm living. I find that one needs one single, pure activity. I would call love a single, pure activity. But I don't really love anybody. Not now. Do I mean that if there isn't a woman then there's nothing? More or less that, seeing there's no God. God. I'm not sure if there is a God. There's a higher power, to be sure. But certainly not the God as he's commonly conceived. I don't believe in that.

What is it that I really want? I want to sit with my beloved in a field, with daisies growing all around us. That is what I want.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Adolescent Investigations

At first my adolescent investigations were a flop. I did just about everything I could think of to my penis -- squeezing it, petting it, rubbing it between my hands, pushing it against my thigh, waving it around like a flag -- and nothing happened. It hadn't occurred to me that it would help if I had an erection. Then, one day as I was absentmindedly stroking my penis and thinking that I would have to retire from such pursuits unless more rewarding results were forthcoming, I became aware of some pleasurable sensations. I kept stroking, my penis got hard, and the sensations felt better and better. Then I was overcome with feelings I had never before felt and, God help me, white stuff came spurting out the end of my cock. I wasn't sure if I had sprung a leak or what. I was afraid but calmed down when I thought that since it was white it couldn't be blood. I kept stroking and it hurt. I didn't know if the hurt was connected with the white stuff (had I really injured myself?) or if the event was over and my penis needed a rest. But I decided to stop for the moment. Of course I returned the next day and did it again, thus beginning a daily habit that continued for many years.

I sensed dimly, at long last, what all the filth and crudity of sex was about: and how inadequate it was, how it left out of account the emotion, the softness, the wanting to please, not wanting to hurt; how girls were not just jam-rags and protuberances, revolting blood and masturbated semen, taboo and fetish; but all you weren't and much, much nicer, softer, more mysterious.

And thus I proceeded along the road of adolescent discovery. Thus I entered life's hall of learning.

The Marine Biologist

The Marine Biologist

Episode #78

Originally Aired: Wednesday, February 10, 1994, 9:30


Production Credits:

Supervising Producer ................. Larry Charles

Supervising Producer ................. Tom Cherones

Executive Producer ................... Andrew Sherman

Created By ........................... Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld

Teleplay By .......................... Larry Charles

Story By ............................. Bruce Kirschbaum

Directed By .......................... Tom Cherones



Jerry Seinfeld ....................... Jerry Seinfeld

George Costanza ...................... Jason Alexander

Elaine Benes ......................... Julia Louis-Drefus

Kramer ............................... Michael Richards


Newman ............................... Wayne Knight

Corinne ............................... Carol Kane

Lippman ............................... Richard Fancy

Testikov ............................... George Murdock

Diane ............................... Rosalind Allen


Hotel Clerk ............................... Daivid Blackwood

Woman at beach ............................... Heather Morgan


(Open Jerry's apartment, Jerry is at the table and Elaine is on the phone)

Elaine: (to the phone)Well did he bring it up in the meeting?

(Jerry picks up a yellow shirt and walks to Elaine)

Jerry: Elaine, see this T-shirts, six years I've had this T-shirts, it's my

best one, I call him...Golden Boy

Elaine: I'm on the phone here.

Jerry: Golden Boy is always the first shirt I wear out of the laundry, here

touch Golden Boy!

Elaine: No thanks. (to the phone)Yeah, Yeah I'll hold.

Jerry: But see look at the collar, see it's fraying. Golden Boy is slowly

dying. Each wash is brings him one step closer, that's what makes

the T-shirts such a tragic figure.

Elaine: Why don't you just let Golden Boy soak in the sink with some


Jerry: No!!! The reason he's iron man is because he goes out there and plays

every game. Wash!!! Spin!!! Rinse!!! Spin!!! You take that away

from him, you break his spirit!

(Elaine is suddenly excited)

Elaine: (to the phone)Yeah. Oh! What? He is! Oh! this is so fantastic! I'm

so excited! Yes I'm excited, OK I'll be in soon! OK, OK, I'm

coming, yeah, yeah I'm coming, I'm coming! (Elaine jumps up and

dances around) Yuri Testikov, the Russian writer!

Jerry: The guy in the gulag!

Elaine: Yeah! Pendant's publishing his new book, and I'm working on it!

Lippman and I are going to the airport to pick him up Thursday in a


Jerry: You wanna barrow Golden Boy!

Elaine: Oh! Don't you know what this means, it's like working with Tolstoy!

Jerry: Hey ya know what I read the most unbelievable thing about Tolstoy the

other day, did you know the original title for "War and Peace" was

"War--What Is It Good For?"!

Elaine: Ha ha.

Jerry: No, no.. I'm not kidding Elaine it's true, his mistress didn't like

the title and insisted him change it to "War and Peace"!

Elaine: But it's a line from that song!

Jerry: That's were they got it from!

Elaine: Really?

Jerry: I'm not joking!

(George enters with a handful of mail)

George: You can't handle the truth!(he solutes)

Jerry: What?

George: I'm working on my Jack Nicholson, You can't handle the truth!(he


Elaine: What, is this your mail? (She takes the mail and starts flipping


George: Yeah, I grabbed it on my way, I don't want my mother reading it.

Elaine: Oh! Your Alumni Magazine.

Jerry: Your mother reads your mail?

George: Yeah.

Jerry: What do you mean like post-cards?

George: No, anything.

Jerry: She doesn't open?

George: She'll open!

Jerry: You've caught your mother opening envelopes!

George: Yeah.

Jerry: What did she say?

George: I was curious!

Jerry: Isn't that against the law?

George: Maybe I can get her locked up.

Elaine: (She looks closer at the mag.) Hey Jerry, you're in the Alumni

magazine! Listen to this: Jerry Seinfled has appeared on "David

Letterman" and the "Tonight Show" and he did a pilot for NBC called

"Jerry"...that was not picked up. Georgie, why isn't there anything

about you in here?

Jerry: He can't handle the truth!

Elaine: All right.. this is too fun I gotta get back to work.

(Elaine leaves and in the hall she meets up with Kramer, he is holding a set

of golf clubs)

Kramer: Ah, maybe you could use this (he searches through his jacket) Ah,

here, ah, it's an electronic organizer, ah, here it is.

(Elaine Gasps)

Kramer: Yeah you know, for phone numbers, addresses, keep appointments,


Elaine: Wow!

Kramer: It's got an alarm that beeps!

Elaine: Oh! I can't believe this, Kramer! I've been wanting to get one of

these things! Are you sure...(Kramer drops a piece of paper and

bends over to pick it up and drops balls everywhere) Are you sure you

can't use one of these things??

Kramer: Oh no. I got all my appointments up here. (he points to his head)

Elaine: Where'd you get this?

Kramer: The bank, I opened a new account.

(Back inside Jerry's apartment)

George: Did you see that whale thing on TV last night?

Jerry: No.

George: I'm such a Huge whale fan. These marine biologists were showing how

they communicate with each other with these squeaks and squeals, what

a fish!

Jerry: It's a mammal.

George: Whatever. (George looks to the table) Hey new tape recorder?

Jerry: Yeah, got it from the bank.

(Kramer enters without his golf bag)

Kramer: (over excited) Hey

George: Hey

Kramer: (still over excited) Who wants to have some fun!

Jerry: I do.

George: I do.

Kramer: (once again, over excited) Are you just sayin' you want to have fun

or do you really want to have fun?!

Jerry: I really wanna have some fun.

George: I'm just sayin' I wanna have some fun.

Kramer: Right now there six-hundred Titleists that I got at the driving

range in the trunk of my car. Why don't we drive out to Rock-a-Way

and hit them-----------(very over excited) into the ocean! Now

picture this....we find a nice sweet spot between the dunes, we take

out our drivers, we tea up and (he makes a golf stroke), that ball

goes sailing up into the sky holds there for a moment and then.......

..... gulp!

George: Come on. Ya wanna go get some lunch?

Jerry: Yeah, let me just stop by the cash machine and I'll meet you at the

coffee shop.

George: Yeah, I'm gonna go get a paper.

(Kramer gets ready to make another swing)

George: Keep your head down.

(At the automatic teller machine Jerry is getting his money and there is a

woman beside him)

Jerry: Cash advance...yes (he looks over) no (he looks over again)balance (he looks again) (he looks again)

processing...processing...processing.(He opens the box and gets his

money and then looks at the woman and says)I won!

(Jerry starts to walk away)

Diane: Jerry?

Jerry: Yeah

Diane: Diane, Diane DeConn, from college. I've seen you on TV you're doin'


Jerry: Yeah pluggin' along.

Diane: I got the Alumni magazine. Ya know what ever happened to your friend

George? I never see him in there.

Jerry: Well he's kind of modest.

Diane: He was always such a goof-off. I mean did he ever get anywhere?

Jerry: Sure.

Diane: Yeah? What field?

Jerry: Marine biology.

Diane: George is a marine biologist?!

Jerry: A pretty damn good one, too!

Diane: I can't believe it I mean I would never had thought..

Jerry: Yeah...he specializing in whales. He's working on lowering the

cholesterol level in whales...all that blubber-- quite unhealthy.

You know its the largest mammal on earth but as George says "they

don't have to be."

(In the coffee shop Jerry and George are sitting)

George: Diane DeConn? You saw Diane DeConn!

Jerry: Something huh?

George: Yeah! How'd she look.

Jerry: She looked great. She asked about you.

George: She did! What did she say?

Jerry: "How's George?"

George: George! She said George? She remembered my name. Diane DeConn

remembered my name. She was the "it" girl!

Jerry: Yeah she asked for your number, I think she's gonna get in touch with


George: OK, I'm tellin' you right now if your kiddin' around I'm not gonna

be able to be friends with you anymore. I'm serious about that. You

got that.

Jerry: I got no problem with that.

George: Good. Cause if this is a lie, if this is a joke, if this is your

idea of some cute little game...we're finished!

Jerry: Expect a call.

George: Oh my god he's not kidding.

Jerry: Now I should tell you at this point she's under the impression the

you are a.....

George: A what?

Jerry: A marine biologist.

George: A marine biologist....why am I a marine biologist?

Jerry: I may have mentioned it.

George: But I'm not a marine biologist!

Jerry: I'm aware of that.

George: So?

Jerry: You don't think it's a good job.

George: I didn't think it was a job.

Jerry: Oh. It's a fascinating field!

George: What if she calls. What will I say?

(In George's parent's house...George is sitting in a chair. He is talking to

Diane on the phone)

George: Algae, obviously plankton, I don't know what else I can tell you, Oh

I just got back from a trip to the Galapagos Islands, I was living

with the turtles.

(In the limo Elaine, Lippman, and Testikov are talkin')

Lippman: We have got you in a very nice hotel, I don't know how you like to

work but I can arrange for an office if you want.

Testikov: I will work in hotel...much better. I will work away from all the

penny bickering and interference.

Lippman: You know Tolstoy use to write in the village square. The faces

inspired him.

Testikov: He didn't need any inspiration....God spoke through his pen.

Elaine: That is so true! Although one wonders if "War and Peace" would has

been as highly acclaimed as it was if it was published under it's

original name "War---What Is It Good For?"

Lippman: What?

Elaine: Yes. Mr. Lippman. It was his mistress who insisted he called it

"War and Peace." "War--What Is It Good For."(sang) Absolutely

nothin'! (spoken to Testikov)that's the song that they got from


Lippman: I'm sorry, it's just her sense of humor.

(Elaine's organizer starts beeping)

Testikov: What is that noise!

Lippman: What is that?

Elaine: It's coming from my purse. It must be my new organizer, here.


Testikov: Turn it off.

Lippman: It's the top one!

Elaine: I'm trying!

Testikov: HERE!

(He throws it out the window of the limo)

(On the beach Kramer is getting ready to hit a ball. He swings and misses.

He looks for it in the air and the notes that it is still on the

ground. Then he goes nuts)

Jerry: I did it for you.

George: Yeah, but what did you have to tell her that for. You put me in a

very difficult position, Marine Biologist! I'm very uncomfortable

with this whole thing.

Jerry: You know with all do respect I would think it's right up your alley.

George: Well it's not up my alley! It's one thing if I make it up. I know

what I'm doin, I know my alleys! You got me in the Galapagos Islands

livin' with the turtles, I don't know where the hell I am.

Jerry: Well you came in the other day with all that whale stuff, the

squeaking and the squealing.

George: Why couldn't you have made me an architect? You know I always

wanted to pretend that I was an architect. Well I'm supposed to see

her tomorrow, I'm gonna tell her what's goin on. Maybe she likes

me for me.

(Kramer bangs into the room with his golf clubs)

Kramer: Hey.

Jerry: Hey.

Kramer: Hey ya want these (He throws down the golf clubs) I don't want em!

Jerry: What?

Kramer: I stink! I can't play! The ball is just sitting there, Jerry, and

I can't hit it! I only hit one really good ball that went way out!

Jerry: Well what happened?

Kramer: I have no concentration!

(Kramer starts to scratch his body and rip his coat off)

Jerry: What, what, what's wrong with you?

Kramer: Sand, I can get rid of the sand. (Looking down his shirt) Look there

is still some in here, it won't go away! Look I even got sand in the


(He empties his pocket and tons of sand falls out)

Jerry: Hey you're getting it all over the floor!

(Karma falls over as the phone rings)

Jerry: (to the phone)Hello....yeah....yes it is....really....oh. Can you

hold on a second? (to George and Kramer) Hey listen to this, some

woman found an electronic organizer, my name was in it, she wants me

to help track down the owner.

George: How'd she find it?

Jerry: It hit her in the head!

(Woman on the phone and Jerry are sitting in the coffee shop)

Corinne: So I am walkin' along, minding my own business when all off the

sudden this thing come flying out off no were and cunks me right on

the head.

Jerry: Ya.

Corinne: Yeah, So they took me to the hospital and they put me in this thing

that fells like a coffin for forty-five minutes. Have you ever been

in one of those things? You could go berserk in there!

Jerry: Well you have insurance...

Corinne: I wish!

Jerry: Unbelievable!

Corinne: Yeah.

(Organizer beeps)

Jerry: What is with this thing.

Corinne: I don't know, it never shuts up. So anyway, you can see why I

would be interested in finding this person.

Jerry: Absolutely. You should not have to pay for that.

(Organizer beeps again)

Corinne: (shouting at the top of her lungs)Stop it! Stop it!

Jerry: Let me have a look at this thing.

Corinne: Yeah know somebody told me they thought they saw it coming out of

a limousine.

Jerry: Typical rich people, using the world for their personal garbage can.

Corinne: Boy am I lucky your name came up. I just pushed a button.

Jerry: I would like to know what my name is doin in this creep's organizer

to begin with.

Corinne: Ya.

Jerry: Who do I even know that would have been in a limousine yesterday

anyway. OHHHH!

(In the hallway Elaine knocks on Kramer's door, he answers)

Kramer: Oh, hey.

Elaine: Hey, "great" organizer that you gave me.

(Kramer is still itching cause the sand)

Kramer: Oh, you like it huh.

Elaine: It wouldn't stop beeping in the car so Testikov through it out the


Kramer: Oh.

Elaine: I transferred everything in there. I threw out my old book. I'm

lost now, Kramer.

(He goes crazy again)

Elaine: What, what is it?

Kramer: The sand, it's everywhere!

Elaine: OK I'll see you later.

(Kramer closes the door and Jerry walks up to his door)

Jerry: Oh, there you are!

Elaine: There you are!

Jerry: So?

Elaine: So?

Jerry: So what do you have to say for yourself?

Elaine: So what do you have to say for yourself?

(Jerry unlocks the door and they both walk in and close the door)

Jerry: Why should I have anything for say for myself?

Elaine: "War-- What is it go for?"!

Jerry: Ha Ha, who told you?

Elaine: Ha ha ha. Yuri Testikov, the Russian writer!

Jerry: You told Testikov that Tolstoy wanted to name his book "War-- What

Is IT Good For?"?

Elaine: Ya know what happened?

Jerry: Can I take a guess?

Elaine: Please.

Jerry: Oh I don't know, he threw your organizer out the window?

(Elaine pushes Jerry)

Elaine: What, how did you know that?

Jerry: Because I know who has it.

Elaine: What, how did you find it?

Jerry: Because the woman who got hit in the head with it found my name in

it, called me up, and we met!

Elaine: Well where is it, give it to me!

Jerry: I don't have it!

Elaine: Why not.

Jerry: Because she's not returning it until she gets the money back for the

hospital bill.

Elaine: But I didn't do Testikov did it, he should have to pay for it!

Jerry: How much is Testikov getting from Pendman for this book?

Elaine: One million.

Jerry: Well that's a start.

(George and Diane are walking on the beach)

George: Then of course with evolution the octopus lost the nostrils and took

on the more familiar look that we know today. But if you look

really closely you can still see a bump where the nose use to be.

Diane: Really?

George: Yeah, but enough about fish I can talk about other things like...


(At the hotel that Testikov is staying at)

Jerry: You know what room Testikov's in?

Elaine: Ya, 308. I'm crazy for doing this!

Jerry: Well, you want to get your organizer back don't you?

Elaine: Why are you so interested, you want to take her out?

Jerry: You know when Super Man saves someone no one asks if he's trying to

hit on her!

Elaine: Well you're not Super Man.

Jerry: Well you're not Louis Lane.

Elaine: Oh. Listen, you have the tape-recorder.

Jerry: Ya, are you sure you want to do this.

Elaine: Ya I got to get Testikov on tape. If this woman ends up in the

"New England Journal Of Medicine" I'm not going to pay for it.

Jerry: Ah, here she comes.

(Corinne enters through the hotel door)

Jerry: Hi, Elaine, this is Corinne.

Elaine: Hi, you got the organizer?

(The organizer starts to beep as Corinne opens her coat to show the organizer in her inside coat pocket)

Jerry: All right lets go. We'll meet you back here in ten minutes hopefully

with the money.

(At the beach George and Diane are still walking)

Diane: Your parents must be so proud of you, George.

George: Oh, they're busting!

(there is a large crowd of men and women)

Diane: What are those people doing over there?

(In Testikov's hotel room there is a knock and he goes to answer it. He

opens it up and it is Jerry and Elaine)

Testikov: (In a loud and cranky voice) What, What is it! Oh! Come in. That

is if you can spare a minute from your busy schedule! And you bring

guest for my entertainment?

Elaine: Um, yes this is my friend Jerry. He accompanied me, ya know, single

woman alone in a big city could be dangerous.

Jerry: Yes. That's why I where these sneakers, in case of any trouble and

zip, I'm gone.

Testikov: Yeah, Yeah. The sneakers. The Americans and their sneakers.

Always running from something. Well, sit stop running, two minutes

and I'll give you the latest manuscript!

(They both sit down and Jerry picks out a very large book from the coffee


Jerry: Oh! Ramscy, great great book if I my say so sir. I almost read the

whole thing.

(Corinne is standing in the hotel lobby smoking while the organizer is still


Corinne: What!

Hotel Clerk: If you can't thing off I'm going to have to ask you to leave.

Corinne: I'm waitin for two people!

Hotel Clerk: Well you can wait for them outside.

Corinne: Yeah I guess I'd better. Wouldn't want to take any attention away

from the hookers!

Hotel Clerk: All right, All right. Out, Out.

Corinne: What ever you say Cro..w-well!

(On the beach George and Diane are standing with the crowd)

Diane: What's going on over here?

Woman at beach: There is a beached whale, she's dying.

Voice: Is anyone here a marine biologist?

(In Testikov's room)

Testikov: Here is the latest draft. I see you next week. Same time, same

place. On time please.

Jerry: It was nice meeting you, real pleasure!

Elaine: Oh, by the way Mr. Testikov do you remember the other day when we

were in the limo and my organizer started beeping and you threw it

out the window?

Testikov: How could I forget?

Elaine: Well would you believe that it hit actually somebody in the head.

Jerry: Right in the head!

Elaine: Boing!

(The tape-recorder in Elaine's purse starts to squeak)

Testikov: (Shouting)What is that noise!

Elaine: Um ,nothing.

Testikov: What is the noise!

(He grabs the purse)

Elaine: Hey that's my purse!

(He pulls out the recorder)

Testikov: A recorder!

Elaine: No that's a radio..

Testikov: You were spying on me!

Elaine: No I wasn't.

(He throws the recorder out of the hotel window)

(Corinne is standing outside of the hotel and looks up to see the

tape-recorder falling to hit her in the head)

(Kramer is standing at his window knocking his boot on the windowsill trying

to get the sand out but he drops it)

(Newman is walking down the street whistling but he stops and looks up and he

yells as the boat hits him in the head)

(At the beach everyone is yelling at George)

Crowd: Come on! Save the whale! Hurry up it's gonna die!

Diane: Save the whale George... for me.

(He turns and throws his hat down. He walks into the ocean)

(At the coffee shop Jerry and Kramer are awaiting the story)

George: So I started to walk into the water. I won't lie to you boys, I

was terrified! But I pressed on and as I made my way passed the

breakers a strange calm came over me. I don't know if it was divine

intervention or the kinship of all living things but I tell you Jerry

at that moment I was a marine biologist!

(Elaine enters and sits down)

Elaine: George I was just reading this thing in the papers, it's amazing!

George: I know I was just telling them the story.

Kramer: Come on George, finish the story.

George: The sea was angry that day my friends, like an old man trying to

return soup at a deli!

(Jerry gives Kramer a "what the h-" glance)

George: I got about fifty-feet out and then suddenly the great beast

appeared before me. I tell ya he was ten stories high if he was a

foot. As if sensing my presence he gave out a big bellow. I said,

"Easy big fella!" And then as I watched him struggling I realized

something was obstructing his breathing. From where I was standing

I could see directly into the eye of the great fish!

Jerry: Mammal.

George: Whatever.

Kramer: Well, what did you do next?

George: Then from out of nowhere a huge title wave lifted, tossed like a

quark and I found myself on top of him face to face with the

blow-hole. I could barely see from all of the waves crashing down on

top of me but I knew something was there so I reached my hand and

pulled out the obstruction!

(George pulls out of the inside pocket a golf ball)

(Jerry and George just stare at Kramer)

Kramer: What is that a Titleist? A hole in one eh.

Jerry: Well the crowd most have gone wild!

George: Oh yes they did Jerry they were all over me. It was like Rocky 1.

Diane came up to me, threw her arms around me, and kissed me. We

both had tears streaming down our faces. I never saw anyone so

beautiful. It was at that moment I decided to tell her I was not a

marine biologist!

Jerry: Wow! What'd she say?

George: She told me to "Go to hell!" and I took the bus home.

Jerry: All right lets go.

Elaine: Are you in a bad mood?

Jerry: No, I just got my laundry back.

Elaine: Ohhh! GoldenBoy?

Jerry: He didn't make it.

Elaine: I'm sorry.

Jerry: This is GoldenBoy's son, BabyBlue.

Kramer: What's with you?

George: Sand. It's everywhere


Monday, January 14, 2008

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

I am sure it is from those days I spend in my room that I take the belief that the best of life is life lived quietly, where nothing happens but our calm journey through the day, where change is imperceptible and the precious life is everything.

What I call my home is really a compact room, a studio apartment. I had begun by attempting a very simple and exorcising decor, all wood and white walls; but the fashionable Finnish starkness I first tried to impose on it was inadequate to house the possessions I had acquired and continue to acquire in my travels through life. I introduced clutter, then more clutter, the odd print or lithograph that took my fancy, pieces of colonial furniture picked up in local shops as well as furniture I had assembled from mail-order kits, including a shaker table that ingenuously passes for an antique. A green-shaded banker's lamp sits atop the tabl

One day I had disinterred an old print of Beethoven from my apartment building's trash room where some tenant had relegated it, and cleaned it up and placed in a new frame. It now hangs over two low, two-shelf bookcases, disapprovingly grave, one of those portraits whose eyes seem to follow you everywhere. I had turned a deaf ear to the occasional visitor's horror of the thing. As a painting it was certainly not good enough to occupy a place of honor, and not quite bad enough to be amusing; which hardly represented its subject's true worth. But I had come to feel affectionate about the unremitting sterness of that gaze; and there were family relics I had reinstated, a small statue of a Chinese horse, a replica of an ancient artifact from one or other Chinese dynasty and miniature busts: one of Benjamin Franklin made of iron, presumably, that I had owned since boyhood and one of Richard Wagner in alabaster.

The room would not please an art director, but it feels like a home. Two large cases contain my abundant book collection, acquired over a lifetime's reading. A dark-blue wing-back chair that looks fittingly old, upholstered in naugahyde comes passably close to resembling leather. Eakins prints depicting skullers on the Schuylkill River cover one wall. Thomas Eakins is a particular favorite of mine. Both Eakins and I are alumni of The Central High School of Philadelphia. My crammed quarters house my worldly possessions and suitably reflect my eclectic temperament; the clutter adequately projects the image of tasteful collecting but is anything but garish or exotic. The room suggests its tenant's intellectual bent and reverence for the past.

Daily routine is the root of our being, and this room is the arena of my earthly passage. The room has a nostalgic glow, as if life were best understood in the episodic rhythms of daylight and darkness.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mid-January Ruminations

I put on a Mozart recording, the G minor symphony, Mozart's next to last symphony; and sat staring out of the window. It had begun to rain again. I went to the window and stared down at the rivulets of water that ran down the driveway adjacent to my apartment, at the snowdrops that clustered around the roof of the tool shed just beyond the window. The music behind me: I felt an abrupt wave of happiness, richness, fecundity, as if I was in advance of the actual season outside and transported two months on into full winter. The seed was in hibernation, the days -- winter's approaching expression -- were growing shorter; though I still felt it was a selfishness, an unwarranted optimism. Perhaps it all came from the simplicities of my childhood. I needed complexity, multiple promise, endless forked roads; and simply, at this moment, felt I had them. Just as the green-gold music had, beneath the balance, the effortless development and onwardness, its shadows, so also was there a component of sadness in my happiness: I was happy because I was a solitary at heart, and that must always cripple me as a human being.

Friday, January 11, 2008

An Absurd Loneliness

I have now fifty-three years behind me and I am just as alone as I was when a child. The year-in year-out lack of a really refreshing and healing human love, the absurd loneliness that it brings with it, to the degree that almost every remaining connection with people becomes only a cause of injury; all that is the worst possible business and has only one justification in itself, the justification of being necessary.

A solitary like me, unused to speaking of what I see and feel, has mental experiences which are at once more intense and less articulate than those of a gregarious man. They are sluggish, yet more wayward, and never without a melancholy tinge. Sights and impressions which others bush aside with a glance, a light comment, a smile, occupy me more than their due; they sink silently on, they take on meaning, they become experience, emotion, adventure. Solitude gives birth to the original in me, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous -- to poetry, But also, it gives birth to the opposite: to the perverse, the illicit, the absurd.

I simply cannot find within myself the ability to bear the proximity of another person on a regular basis. I cannot bear the physical closeness, to respond to the expectations of another human being.

The attitude goes further than my self-absorption; it goes profoundly into a distaste for other people, whether friends, relatives, or a potential wife. In some remote area I cannot completely comprehend, I fear the disorder an emotional and physical life entails. I am terrified of chaos, something I cannot control from my writing desk.

Perhaps the condition I recommend is virtually catatonic: Perhaps the best resource if some slip stops the entire process is to meet everything passively, to make myself an inert mass, and, if I feel that I am being carried away, not to let myself be lured and taking a single unnecessary step, to stare at others with the eyes of an animal, to feel no compunction, in short, with my own hand to throttle down whatever ghostly life remains in me, that is, to enlarge the final peace of the graveyards and let nothing survive save that.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Unlabelable Male Relationships

Opposites attract—partly by complementing each other.
Fritz Stern, Gold and Iron.
It is in just this way that truly meaningful friendships can arise among human beings: for antithetical qualities make possible a closer and more intimate union.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Elective Affinities.
In many ways it was an unexpected friendship. Eissler was much older, and seemed to be everything I was not: conservative in dress, brusque and apparently unfriendly in manner, spare in speech. But what Eissler and I experienced together was, while completely nonsexual, nonetheless romantic in some important sense of the word. For one, it was shot through with fantasy. For another, we both behaved as if we were somehow infatuated, both intellectually and emotionally.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
Let us say that . . .
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace.
. . . we were slowly to form such a true friendship that it seemed a thing of destiny.
Miguel Serrano, Jung & Hesse: A Record of Two Friendships.
In this he was deceived: but who, in his place, wouldn't have deceived himself about that?
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil.
I liked visiting Eissler in his home in New York. His office was a delight to me; completely buried in papers, articles, and books. What mattered most for me and seemingly for Eissler during my visits was that we got to sit in his office and talk psychoanalytic history.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
I felt as if I had . . .
Janet Malcolm, Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession.
. . . . intruded upon the holy of holies.
Jack London, Martin Eden.
It is hard for me now, from this distance, and with all that has happened in between to recapture the mood it put me in, but there is no doubt that I was completely absorbed.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
From the moment they were . . .
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace.
. . . alone together side by side . . .
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Elective Affinities.
—from that moment there sprang up a conversation that was contrary to all the laws of logic, contrary because entirely different subjects were talked of at the same time. This simultaneous discussion of many topics, far from hindering a clear understanding, was the surest indication that they fully understood each other. Just as in a dream when everything is unreal, meaningless, and contradictory except the feeling that governs the dream, so in this communion of thoughts, contrary to all laws of reason, the words themselves were not clear and consecutive, but only the feeling that prompted them.
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace.
I felt, rightly, that I had a great deal to learn from Eissler, and I was a good and willing pupil.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
For the moment the great gulf that separated them was bridged.
Jack London, Martin Eden.
It was no longer a relationship of dependence, but one of equality and reciprocity. He could be the guest of this superior mind without humiliation, since the other man had given recognition to the creative power in him.
Hermann Hesse, Narcissus and Goldmund.
It is dozens of years since . . .
Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams.
. . . I became interested in the origins of psychoanalysis and in Sigmund Freud's relationship with Wilhelm Fliess, the nose and throat physician who was his closest friend during the years Freud was formulating his new theories.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory.
The friendship between the two was an unusual one.
Hermann Hesse, Beneath the Wheel.
Two years younger than Freud, Fliess became his confidant in the mid-1890s. Freud’s letters to him, . . .
E. James Lieberman, Acts of Will.
. . . which constitute . . .
Charles Darwin, Origin of Species.
. . . the basic document as it were, the wellspring of psychoanalysis. . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
. . . combine passion with intellectual virtuosity.
E. James Lieberman, Acts of Will.
The last term in my last year of college . . .
Michael Chabon, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh: A Novel.
. . . I wrote an eager . . .
Mark Twain, Christian Science.
. . . paper on Freud’s letters to Wilhelm Fliess . . .
Michael Chabon, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh: A Novel.
. . . though I was interested in . . .
Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure.
. . . all the permutations of male relationships that are a little skewed: father-son relationships between two men who aren’t really father and son, this loving relationship between two men who aren’t lovers, unlabelable male relationships.
Dave Weich, Michael Chabon’s Amazing Adventures.
It may be stretching the term beyond its legitimate province, but in important ways, Freud imposed on Fliess a role akin to that of psychoanalyst. Freud's prolonged failure, his virtual refusal, to appraise his intimate friend realistically hints that he was caught in a severe transference relationship: Freud idealized Fliess beyond measure [and] even wanted to name a son after Fliess, only to be frustrated, in 1893 and 1895, by the birth of daughters, Sophie and Anna. He poured out his innermost secrets to his Other in Berlin on paper and, during their carefully prearranged, eagerly anticipated "congresses," in person.
Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Nothingness of Mu

As a creative person I am constantly seeking to discover myself, to remodel my own identity, and to find meaning in the universe through what I create. I find this a valuable integrating process which, like meditation or prayer, has little to do with other people, but which has its own separate validity. My most significant moments are those in which I attain some new insight, or make some new discovery; and these moments are chiefly, if not invariably, those in which I am alone.

I find myself forever in a state that is not unlike that of the practitioner of Zen Buddhism, seeking my true nature. The matter of "my nature" has puzzled and eluded me my entire adult life. What could it mean? Did it exist? If it did, what on earth would I do with my "own nature?" Frame it, hang it on the wall? Burn incense to the thing? What is so important about my nature?

Finally, after years of seeking, some truth dawned. Whoever looks for his own nature is lost from the start. I can find something temporary -- my personality -- but who, including myself, cares about that? Mostly the personality is boring and irritating. As long as it is used as a polite mask, expressing a little loving kindness in daily dealings, as long as it pays bills, does the regular routine in a pleasing manner, the personality will serve until the day the body, another not too important and temporary manifestation, falters and is no more. I'm not my mask. Surely I'm not my body, either. The body is a useful instrument, to be washed and shaved, fed, treated kindly, but we don't have to get ridiculous here. It doesn't really matter that much. Do we care about the body's longevity, the personality's eternity, do we care to have our minds repeating familiar thought patterns? Who is the Who who cares? There is the story about the monk with the troubled mind who goes to the master to quiet the damn thing. "Can you do that, sir?" "Let’s, see, my friend. Bring me your mind so I can examine it." "I can't find my mind, sir." "There you are, I have quieted it down for you." "The monk's mind is no longer troubled."

But all this is a play on words. Minds are never untroubled. It's the mind's business to be always busy, always troubled about something. If it isn't one damned thing, it's another. The mind is just an instrument, like a computer, to analyze daily troubles, order them, find a solution. Once that is done, take a nap and shut it down for a while. Put it in sleep mode. I'm not my computer, my mind, my body. What's beyond? Nothing. "Mu," says the Zen practitioner. Nothing. But Mu is a word used to express the inexpressible.

After years of seeking my true nature, I invariably come to the same conclusion. Forget me. There is no me. No me-nature, no real-nature, no true-nature, no nothing. I can probe the principle forever and I'll never see my nature. Why should I, anyway? Who cares?

And yet, I never stop seeking. My seeking is a circle. Round and round I go, seeking my true nature. Then despairing that I will ever find my true nature, I give up the search -- but only temporarily. In time I will begin the search again -- and again.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Particle in the Universe

I hated my childhood and everything that remains of it. Surrounded by threatening figures as I was -- a harsh father and an intrusive mother -- I turned "artist" early on in order to manage them, through disappearance and transformation. I always held a hard, unforgiving view of my childhood, not at all tinged with nostalgia or pleasure, as though childhood were an obstacle course full of personal traps. I made it through, survived whatever my family could do to me. I feel I can say with assurance that my perceptions of myself and my world are an outgrowth of the traumas of overstimulation, loss, rejection, and neglect, although no one could have predicted precisely what turns that perception and world would have taken. I made myself into a reclusive shadow of a man, part of an invisible world of fantasy and vain hopes, a world different from that of other people.

In my writing I am like a gigantic vacuum, gathering in the methods and words of others and transforming them through my own unique experience. I have assimilated the use of memory associated with Proust into my own sense of time. I have assimilated Kafka's method of viewing the world through the eyes of a man without qualities; Freud's theories of the oedipal conflict, childhood sexuality, and unconscious, among others, are ripe ideas for me.

My angles of perception distance me from writers who remain unrelentingly object-oriented. My writings move toward abstraction as the crux of paradoxes and ambiguities. I, with my fierce internality, am an abstractionist both by temperament and development. I deny objects and depend on a personal reshaping of things into an almost Mondrian-like geometricality.

My philosophy of life is the philosophy of Sartre, of Nietzsche, of Kierkegaard.

Things as they exist in their nakedness have no essences, their existence is not confined by any words of explanation that we give them. The world of existence, of matters of fact have no connection with the world of words, reason, mathematics, and logic. Existence is not rational. There is no reason that things are as they are and not otherwise: There is no rational explanation as to why there is any world at all, rather than nothing.

I respond to the irrationality of existence with a sense of excitement, fear and nausea. As they were for Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Sartre, philosophies are for me not merely intellectual constructions or games, as they have come to be regarded by some types of contemporary philosophy. Philosophies are things we live by; they exercise a powerful effect upon human psychology and are a matter of life or death for the human spirit. And if it is true, contrary to the teaching of traditional philosophy, that nature has no rationality, and no order, is governed by no scientific laws and structured by no philosophic essences, then anything can happen in such a universe. A world in which essences do not fit existence and in which there are no necessary cause-effect relations, is a world without any structure--it falls apart and dissolves, and I myself dissolve along with it.

I am a shadow of a man, invisible and inert. I pass through time and space, unaffected by the affective bonds that tie other people together. I am an invisible particle in a meaningless universe, with no mass and no electric charge.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Homage to D.H. Lawrence: Blood Brotherhood

The following video is an excerpt from the movie, Women in Love, based on the novel of the same name by D.H. Lawrence. The sequence is derived from the chapter, "Gladiatorial."

Blood brother can refer to one of two things: Two males related by birth, or two or more men not related by birth, who swear loyalty to one another. This is usually done in a ceremony (Blood Oath) where the blood of each man is mingled together. In simple terms, this is an extension of fraternization.

The Lydia ceremony involved nicking their arms with a sharp object and licking the blood off of each other's arms. The Scyths would allow their blood to drip into a glass where it was mixed with wine and drunk by both participants.

In Asian cultures, the act and ceremony of becoming "blood brothers" is generally seen as a tribal relationship, that is, to bring about alliance between tribes. It was practiced for this reason most notably among the Mongols and early Chinese. There is some evidence that Native Americans also did it for this purpose.

Blood brothers among large groups was common in ancient Mediterranean Europe where, for example, whole companies of Greek soldiers would become as one family. It was perhaps most prevalent in the Balkan Peninsula during the Ottoman era, as it helped the oppressed people to more effectively fight the enemy. Blood brothers were also common in Serbia, Albania and Bulgaria.

It is still practiced today, but mostly as a throw-back to tribal times. The tradition of intertwining arms and drinking wine in Greece and elsewhere, is believed to be a representation of becoming blood brothers.

In modern times, a common blood brother ceremony includes having each person make a small cut, usually on a finger or the forearm, and then the two cuts are pressed together. The idea being that each person's blood now flows in the other participant's veins.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Life Imitating Art

This post is dedicated to my friend, Craig W. Dye.

In the mid-1980s I worked as a paralegal at a large law firm in Washington, DC. A new employee had just been hired by the firm in early October 1986. He was originally from Buffalo, New York, and had come to Washington to work on a master's degree in international relations at a local university. At that time I worked in an annex of the firm's library, located on the second floor of the firm's offices. The new employee and I shared workspace in the library. I could not avoid noticing him, nor could any of the other employees. This remarkable young man seemed much older than he looked; in fact, he did not strike anyone as a paralegal at all. In contrast to us, he seemed strange and mature, rather like a gentleman. He was not popular at first, did not take part in our office pranks, and only his firm, self-confident tone toward the senior managers won the admiration of fellow employees. He was called Craig Dye.

One day, I kept glancing toward Craig whose face held a peculiar fascination for me, and I observed the intelligent, light, unusually resolute face bent attentively and diligently over his work; he didn't at all look like a paralegal doing an assignment; but rather like a scientist investigating a problem of his own. I couldn't say that he made a favorable impression on me; on the contrary, I had something against him: he seemed too superior and detached, his manner too provocatively confident, and his eyes gave him a mature expression--which insecure people never like--faintly sad, with flashes of sarcasm. Yet I could not help looking at him, no matter whether I liked him or detested him, but if he happened to glance my way I averted my eyes in panic. When I think back on it today, and what he looked like as a coworker at that time, I can only say that he was in every respect different from all the others, was entirely himself, with a personality all his own which made him noticeable even though he did his best not to be noticed; his manner and bearing was that of a prince disguised among office staff, taking great pains to appear one of them.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Her Father's Daughter: Anna and the Freud Scholar

This post is dedicated to an unnamed federal official. By order of the U.S. Department of Justice I can't disclose the official's name.

In 1980, I met with Anna Freud and Dr. K. R. Eissler, the head of the Sigmund Freud Archives and Anna Freud's trusted adviser and friend, in London, and Miss Freud agreed to a new edition of the . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory.
. . . Freud . . .
Frances FitzGerald, Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam.
. . . archival collection . . .
Joel Glenn Brenner, The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars.
—including . . .
Frances FitzGerald, Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam.
. . . the unpublished letters between Sigmund Freud and his best, perhaps his only, friend, Wilhelm Fliess.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
It took more than a year of cajoling and persuading to convince . . .
Joel Glenn Brenner, The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars.
. . . the Freud Archives . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
. . . officials to cooperate with me.
Joel Glenn Brenner, The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars.
As a result I was given access to this sealed correspondence (the originals are in the Library of Congress), which constitutes our most important source of information concerning the beginnings of psychoanalysis.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory.
I was editor-in-chief of an elaborate series of translations of Freud's unpublished letters that were to be published by Harvard University Press in the coming years. My daily life consisted in talking to people around the world who would work on these editions, in finding letters still missing (which involved, to my pleasure, a great deal of travel), in frequent trips to the Library of Congress, almost daily conversations with Kurt Eissler, a large correspondence, and of course my own research.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
And so . . .
Joel Glenn Brenner, The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars.
. . . the inner circle of psychoanalysis . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
. . . lifted its veil of secrecy ever so slightly, in a rare attempt to justify its actions to the public.
Joel Glenn Brenner, The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars.
As I was reading through the correspondence and preparing the annotations for the first volume of the series, the Freud-Fliess letters, I began to notice what appeared to be a pattern in the omissions made by Anna Freud in the original, abridged edition. In the letters written after September 1897 (when Freud was supposed to have given up his "seduction" theory), all the case histories dealing with the sexual seduction of children had been excised. Moreover, every mention of Emma Eckstein, an early patient of Freud's and Fliess's, who seemed connected in some way with the seduction theory, had been deleted. I was particularly struck by a section of a letter written in December 1897 that brought to light two facts previously unknown: Emma Eckstein was herself seeing patients in analysis (presumably under Freud's supervision); and Freud was inclined to give credence, once again, to the seduction theory.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory.
All that had been suppressed and edited out reappeared . . .
Dan Levin, Spinoza.
. . . as clear, as transparent as . . .
Alexandre Dumas, Ten Years Later.
. . . objective.
Paul Wienpahl, On Translating Spinoza.
I asked Anna Freud why she had deleted this section from the letter. She said that she no longer knew why.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory.
A masterpiece of evasion.
Don Delillo, The Names.
It was while she held a photograph . . .
Virginia Woolf, Night and Day.
. . . of Emma Eckstein . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory.
. . in her hands that she exclaimed, impulsively, if incongruously:
Virginia Woolf, Night and Day.
It never occurred to me to know more.
William Shakespeare, The Tempest (Modern English Version).
When I showed her an unpublished letter from Freud to Emma Eckstein, she said that she could well understand my interest, since Emma Eckstein had indeed been important to the early history of psychoanalysis, but the letter should nevertheless not be published. In subsequent conversations, Miss Freud indicated that since her father had eventually abandoned the seduction theory, it would only prove confusing to readers to be exposed to his early hesitations and doubts. I, on the other hand, felt that these passages not only were of great historical importance but might well represent the truth. Nobody, it seemed to me, had the right to decide for others, by altering the record, what was truth and what was error. Moreover, whatever Freud's ultimate decision, it is my belief that he was haunted by the seduction theory all his life.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory.
The question . . .
Emile Zola, Germinal.
. . . of child sexual abuse, . . .
Robert A. Phillips, Jr., Introduction to Truddi Chase, When Rabbit Howls.
. . . I was sure . . .
Bertolt Brecht, Galileo.
. . . continued to trouble him, though he had supposedly, with scientific smugness, settled it.
Emile Zola, Germinal.
There exists, as far as I know (I looked without success), not a single published account of the devastating effects of incest or childhood sexual abuse before Freud’s time. And yet if this was happening to anything like the extent that is true today—and why should it be any different?—then at least one in three women, possibly more, in the general population had been exposed to a forced and unwanted sexual advance during childhood. In other words, sexual abuse of one form or another was the core trauma of many women’s lives, yet there was total silence about it.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
In the tradition we are dealing with, . . .
Alice Miller, For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence.
. . . one was allowed . . .
Nathan Englander, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges.
. . to perform these acts but not to speak of them.
Jean-Denis Bredin, The Affair: The Case of Alfred Dreyfus.
There was no taboo on the commission of incest, only a taboo on speaking about incest.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
As a scientist . . .
Bertolt Brecht, Galileo.
. . . Freud . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
. . . had an almost unique opportunity.
Bertolt Brecht, Galileo.
Here was a man, possibly the first in recorded history, who heard about the sexual abuse of children and recognized what it really meant.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
At that time, had one man put up a fight, it would have had wide repercussions.
Bertolt Brecht, Galileo.
For Freud to have broken that taboo of silence was, to my mind, one of the great moments of history.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
And yet—
Bertolt Brecht, Galileo.
Later, in one of the most famous retractions in the history of ideas, Freud . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
. . . contrary to the truth . . .
Jean-Denis Bredin, The Affair: The Case of Alfred Dreyfus.
. . . had recanted.
Bertolt Brecht, Galileo.
As he put it in 1925 in An Autobiographical Study: “I was at last obliged to recognize that the scenes of seduction had never taken place, and that they were only fantasies which my patients had made up.”
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
Freud’s earliest insights . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, The Assault on Truth: Freud's Suppression of the Seduction Theory.
. . . about child abuse . . .
Leonard Shengold, Soul Murder.
. . . would only reemerge much later, provoking a host of other episodes.
Jean-Denis Bredin, The Affair: The Case of Alfred Dreyfus.
I showed Miss Freud the 1932 correspondence I found in Freud's desk concerning Ferenczi's last letter, which dealt with this very topic. Clearly, I thought, it was her father's continued preoccupation with the seduction theory that explained his turning away from Ferenczi.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory.
Most of the items brought silence.
Don Delillo, The Names.
After Fliess, Sandor Ferenczi (1873-1933) was for more than twenty years Freud's closest analytic friend (Freud often addressed him as "dear son"). Until the last years of his life, Ferenczi was a loyal pupil, loved by many analysts, a constant source of papers, ideas, encouragement, and inspiration to younger analysts. But in the last few years of his life, Ferenczi began developing in a direction that alarmed Freud. In a series of three papers that uncannily parallel Freud's three 1896 papers, Ferenczi began to believe more and more strongly that the source of neurosis lay in sexual seductions suffered by children at the hands of those closest to them. . . .

Ferenczi had returned to Freud's earliest insights, while putting a different interpretation on many later analytic concepts. For example, he maintained (July 24, 1932) that the Oedipus complex could well be "the result of real acts on the part of adults, namely violent passions directed toward the child, who then develops a fixation, not from desire [as Freud maintained], but from fear. 'My mother and father will kill me if I don't love them, and identify with their wishes.'"
J. Moussaieff Masson, The Assault on Truth: Freud's Suppression of the Seduction Theory.
His aim was a human nature reconciled to itself, that did not depend on illusion.
Dan Levin, Spinoza.
The paper he read before the 12th International Psychoanalytic Congress is a somewhat milder distillation of these views. Yet the ideas he expressed in the paper met with the strongest disapproval by every leading analyst of the day. Ferenczi's tenacious insistence on the truth of what his patients told him would cost him the friendship of Freud and almost all his colleagues and leave him in an isolation from which he would never emerge.
J. Moussaieff Masson, The Assault on Truth: Freud's Suppression of the Seduction Theory.
And now what kind of truth was I stalking?
Irvin D. Yalom, Love's Executioner.
Miss Freud, who was very fond of Ferenczi, found . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory.
. . . several papers . . .
Joseph Conrad, Chance.
. . . in her father’s . . .
Thomas Hardy, Life’s Little Ironies.
. . desk . . .
Charles Dickens, Bleak House.
. . concerning . . .
Thomas Hardy, Life’s Little Ironies.
. . . Ferenczi’s . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory.
. . . last letter . . .
Wilkie Collins, The Law and the Lady.
. . . painful reading and asked me not to publish them. But I insisted that the theory was not one that Freud had dismissed lightly as an early and insignificant error, as we had been led to believe.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory.
I thought the final argument was the coup de gr­ace—the killer point that she couldn't counter. Instead . . .
George Stephanopoulos, All Too Human: A Political Education.
She would insist that nothing of significance had been omitted, and when I tried to argue she would become upset.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
No real answers were forthcoming . . .
The Watergate Hearings: Break-in and Cover-Up.
She and I said nothing . . .
Don Delillo, The Names.
. . . further . . .
H. Rider Haggard, Montezuma’s Daughter.
. . . to each other about the
Don Delillo, The Names.
. . . issue.
H. Rider Haggard, Montezuma’s Daughter.
It was coded matter. It was matter we could refer to only within the limits of a practiced look. Even this became too much.
Don Delillo, The Names.
For a psychoanalyst, she was remarkably closed on many issues that one would expect her to be open to.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
I was trying to be perceptive about her . . .
Don Delillo, The Names.
. . . but I remember thinking at the time . . .
Stewart Edward White, Arizona Nights.
—canny therapist that she is—
Striking Silence. Film Critic James Harvey Explores the Singular Landscape of PARSIFAL.
. . . she will remain . . .
Charles Dickens, Bleak House.
. . . evasive and distant.
Irvin Yalom, Love’s Executioner.
She hated the feeling that someone knew her mind.
Don Delillo, The Names.
Central Casting would have made her the librarian of a New England Christian Science reading room. She was a small, fine-featured, quiet, thoughtfully intelligent, generous . . .
Leonard Garment, Crazy Rhythm.
. . . lady with . . .
Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady.
. . . a purity of purpose, a holiness to her devotion that gave off a whiff of religious piety. I did not find it attractive, but it was genuine, and I was impressed. I don't think she invented this trait, either. I am sure she got it from her father, who of course was entirely consumed with holy zeal for the cause. Her father's legacy lay heavy on her shoulders . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
Woe to any truth-seeker who endangered it.
Dan Levin, Spinoza.
Of course, she was curious about his actions and correspondence. But . . .
Irvin D. Yalom, Love's Executioner.
Her unquestioning loyalty made it impossible to deal with events on their basic, real level, he thought. Her stubbornness was difficult to contend with. At times he imagined her as the heroine of a movie, the devoted daughter defending her embattled, innocent father.
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, The Final Days.
For her . . .
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
. . . her father . . .
Irvin D. Yalom, Love’s Executioner.
. . . had died only yesterday. And, by Jove! the impression was so powerful that for me, too, he seemed to have died only yesterday—nay, this very minute. I saw her and him in the same instant of time—his death and her sorrow—I saw her sorrow in the very moment of his death. Do you understand? I saw them together—I heard them together.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
Here in this house . . .
H. Rider Haggard, Montezuma’s Daughter.
. . . in London, . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory.
. . . Between one June and another September . . .
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Marina.
. . . Freud lived out the year he still had to live . . .
Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time.
. . . extremely ill; . . .
Henry James, The Chaperon.
. . . an exile, . . .
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Excerpt from Evangeline.
. . . alone in an alien culture.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Flight To Italy. Diary and Selected Letters (Explanatory Note by T.J. Reed).
What images return
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Marina.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Flight To Italy. Diary and Selected Letters.
crossing the Channel
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
through the fog
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Marina.
by the night boat
Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time.
water lapping the bow
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Marina.
Then, land!—then England!
Elizabeth Barret Browning, Aurora Leigh.
reaching the other shore
Commentary on the Diamond Sutra.
the first eight weeks of freedom
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Flight To Italy. Diary and Selected Letters (editor’s note).
June, May . . . April . . . February . . . November
Simon Gray, Butley.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Flight To Italy. Diary and Selected Letters (editor’s note).
this long disease
Simon Gray, Butley.
his daughter Anna,
Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time.
Freud, Living and Dying
Max Schur, Freud, Living and Dying.
—his death and her sorrow—
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
the final summons
James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans.
What is it—what?’
Robert Frost, Excerpt from Home Burial.
My daughter.
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Marina.
“—and the doctor.”
Martin Gregor-Dellin, Richard Wagner: His Life, His Work, His Century.
his loyal and loving physician
Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time.
the morphine
Jack London, The Sea Wolf.
Freud’s end as a stoic suicide
Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time.
syringes and needles
Alan Dershowitz, Reversal of Fortune: Inside the von Bulow Case.
the portal where they came
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust (Part II) (Final Scene).
this last of meeting places
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from The Hollow Men.
The pulse in the arm, less strong and
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Marina.
his last words
Wilkie Collins, The Law and the Lady.
the words of bliss, the sentence,
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust (Part II) (Final Scene).
This form, this face, this life
Living to live in a world of time beyond me; let me
Resign my life for this life, my speech for that unspoken,
The awakened, lips parted, the hope
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Marina.
My hope
Henry James, The Aspern Papers.
My daughter.
T.S. Eliot, Excerpt from Marina.
And now, in this house, . . .
Agatha Christie, The Mysterious Affair at Styles.
Anna Freud—
Robert Coles, Anna Freud: The Dream of Psychoanalysis.
. . . who was . . .
Alice Sokoloff, Cosima Wagner: Extraordinary Daughter of Franz Liszt.
. . . inordinately proud of being her father’s daughter . . .
Bertolt Brecht, Galileo.
. . . listened in stony silence while I painted a marvelous mural of all the hidden truths coming to light; doors being unlocked, things falling into place.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
She seemed staggered by my confrontation and retreated by sinking into her body.
Irvin D. Yalom, Love’s Executioner.
I told myself that the road ahead would be hard.
Peter Gay, My German Question: Growing Up in Nazi Berlin.
The end of man is knowledge, but there is one thing he can't know. He can't know whether knowledge will save him or kill him. He will be killed all right, but he can't know whether he is killed because of the knowledge which he has got or the knowledge which he hasn't got and which if he had it, would save him. There's the cold in your stomach, but you open the envelope, you have to open the envelope for the end of man is to know.
Robert Penn Warren, All The King's Men.
But there is more than this.
Margaret Brenman-Gibson, Clifford Odets: American Playwright.
There was . . .
David Evanier, The Man Who Refused to Watch the Academy Awards.
. . . I now began to see . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
. . . the chance to be an actor in a drama of historical importance.
K.R. Eissler, Crusaders.
I found myself, after years of comparatively unproductive labor, on the threshold of what might prove to be a magnificent discovery.
Howard Carter and A.C. Mace, The Tomb of Tut-Ankh-Amen.
It is hard for me to convey the excitement . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
. . . the fever of suspense, the almost overmastering impulse, born of curiosity, to break down seals and lift the lids of boxes, the thought—pure joy to the investigator—that you are about to add a page to history, the strained expectancy—why not confess it?—of the treasure-seeker.
Howard Carter and A.C. Mace, The Tomb of Tut-Ankh-Amen.
There were puzzles everywhere, and not unimportant ones. Why did Freud keep a whole packet of Ferenczi material, all connected with Ferenczi's views about childhood seduction, in the top middle drawer of his desk? Why was it so important to him? Or had somebody else put it there? Who?
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
The cache of letters had lain unnoticed in a locked drawer of a battered wooden box that . . .
Gina Kolata, When Bioterror First Struck the U.S. Capital.
. . . looked . . .
Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence.
. . . like the slanted top of a lectern.
Gina Kolata, When Bioterror First Struck the U.S. Capital.
A puzzlement.
Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers, The King and I.
How did they end up in that wooden box, which apparently . . .
Gina Kolata, When Bioterror First Struck the U.S. Capital.
. . . dated . . .
Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence.
. . . from around 1900?
Gina Kolata, When Bioterror First Struck the U.S. Capital.
I, of course, kept my reverie to myself.
Irvin D. Yalom, Love’s Executioner.
At times . . .
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, The Final Days.
I asked myself what I was doing there, with a sensation of panic in my heart as though I had blundered into a place of cruel and absurd mysteries, not fit for a human being to behold.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
One day Anna Freud . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
. . . motioned me to a chair. We sat down.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
It had become very still—
Arnold Schoenberg, A Survivor from Warsaw.
I laid the packet . . .
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
. . . of material . . .
Jack London, Grit of Women.
. . . I had found . . .
Jack London, The Sea Wolf.
. . . gently on the little table, and she put her hand over it . . .
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
And then, as he was silent, she . . .
Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence.
. . . said something in German . . .
Don DeLillo, White Noise.
. . . in tones so clear and evenly-pitched that each separate syllable tapped like a little hammer on his brain:
Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence.
“Herr Doktor, . . .
Don DeLillo, White Noise.
Um Gott, was klagest du mich an? War ich es, die dir Leid gebracht?
Richard Wagner, Lohengrin.
Dr. Masson take note!
Leonard Shengold, Soul Murder.
. . . Mein Vater . . .
Richard Wagner, Lohengrin.
(Whenever she used that phrase "my father" I would shudder a bit at its historic magic—knowing, too, that in just a few years, nobody else would ever be able to say that again . . . )
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
. . . my father . . .
Anna Freud, On Losing and Being Lost.
. . . based his rejection of these women's memories on clinical material. He recanted because he was wrong the first time."
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
" . . . I am proud to know I understood him better than anyone on earth—he told me so himself. . . ."
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
"Is that not plain enough for you, Dr. Masson?"
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
Anna Freud urged me to . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory.
. . . begin anew, make a new start . . .
Langenscheidt’s German-English/English-German Dictionary.
But over all else . . .
Jean-Denis Bredin, The Affair: The Case of Alfred Dreyfus.
Anna Freud urged me to direct my interests elsewhere.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory.
I wanted to get inside her, see myself through her, learn the things she knew.
Don Delillo, The Names.
That, of course, was futile.
Zane Grey, The Gold Desert.
She spoke faster, more expressively. Blood vessels flared in her eyes and face. I began to detect a cadence, a measured beat. She . . .
Don DeLillo, White Noise.
. . . held out as firmly as ever . . .
Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence.
. . . in defense of her . . .
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina.
. . . dear father
William Shakespeare, The Tempest.
At the same time, she started to make gestures as if she were bored, gave evidence of some restlessness, and looked repeatedly at her watch.
Otto Kernberg, Borderline Conditions and Pathological Narcissism.
I began to suspect that there were a lot of secrets I was not to know about.
Gottfried Wagner, Twilight of the Wagners: The Unveiling of a Family's Legacy.
The uneasy thought came to him that perhaps . . .
W. Somerset Maugham, A Man with a Conscience.
. . . somewhere . . .
Emile Zola, The Debacle.
. . . contained in those papers . . .
Foster W. Cline, An Essay on Dreaming.
. . . somewhere, there’s something nobody knows about.
Alfred Hitchcock and Thornton Wilder, Shadow of a Doubt.
He tried to persuade himself that what was done was done and that he had really not been a free agent, but he could not quite still the prickings of his conscience.
W. Somerset Maugham, A Man with a Conscience.
I decided that the best step would be for me to get an outside opinion . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis.
But . . .
Bruno Bettelheim, The Ultimate Limit.
Where should he go? Whom could he ask?
Emile Zola, The Debacle.
In conversations with other analysts close to the Freud family, I was given to understand that I had stumbled upon something that was better left alone.
J. Moussaieff Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory.
Some added—
Bruno Bettelheim, The Ultimate Limit.
" . . . Everything is treated like a secret over there. Everything."
Joel Glenn Brenner, The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars.
I knew I was taking a risk.
Irvin D. Yalom, Love's Executioner.
(This was made even more apparent when my connections with the Freud Archives were suddenly terminated).
J. Moussaieff Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory.