19 January 1957
More Marjorie Morningstar:
Noel wavers between his conceit and doubts – dependence and independence.
iconoclast: an image breaker; one who attacks superstitions or shams.
Reminiscent of Tom:
. . . good for nothing else . . . It takes a displaced neurotic of the worst kind, a walking ghost with no roots in the real world, to do . . . (What (Mike Eden) feels he is only good for).
. . . Therapy for me takes the form of excessively tense action, it’s a known pattern, and that’s what makes me useful . . . You’ve seen me as I been for years, not at a low point or crisis, not in the least. I am what you saw on the ship, that’s all . . . Most people can’t stand me, you know, I’m a jagged . . . supercilious, mean tempered son of a bitch. Yet you like me. I know it and it’s given me some new red corpuscles. But don’t try to come anywhere closer, darling, I’m used up, excellent for what I’m doing. Good for nothing else.
He (Mike) rested his hands lightly on her shoulders and looked earnestly into her face. “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, it might have been . . . I’ve never felt the force of that old overworked old jingle until now.
Exit Mike Eden – encyclopedia extraordinary. I used to call Tom a walking encyclopedia.
The thought suddenly struck me as I wrote the copying above: what makes me different is that I see people as they are – I see the inner person, most everyone else sees the outer person. I can’t quite explain it. Something about I see the core of the person and I am so busy with it, [that] what most other people see, I’m not aware of. Other people see others in relationship to the social standards, the taboo standards, whatever it is most people judge their fellow man by. I see something entirely different and it just doesn’t have anything to do with the “real world”. In fact, I just don’t exactly know what the “real world” is supposed to be. It has something to do with conforming and measuring up to the popular standards of the day or era. Something I just don’t pay any attention to – not deliberately – I just don’t know anything about these standards – and the little bit I know of them seems exceedingly nutty to me. As I see people, the individual is what matters – his pain, sorrow, joy. I guess that’s it – their feelings. It’s their feelings that interest me. The only impression I get is the particular balance, imbalance, of their feelings. It’s like being in a picture show – a movie – everyone else is watching the action on the screen – I’m watching them.
For example, it would never occur to me to cross anyone off my social register for being “unsuccessful” – whatever that is by “real-world” measurement – I guess it varies from person to person. I would cross them off my list only if they were a Sammy Glick, or Hans, or Dodi – Dodi particularly – if they failed to show sensitivity for the pain of another, the genuine need of another, the helplessness of another. If they trampled upon another person’s ego.
Insensitivity to human dignity I abhor. It hurts me as much, pains me as much, embarrasses me as much, as though it were happening to me.
Mike Eden is telling Marjorie about his life. He says: “Your wife’s death isn’t what’s troubling you. You’re covering your unsolved neurosis by harping on the accident. Find out what’s really bothering you and you’ll stop worrying about having (unconsciously) murdered your wife.”
“Can you tie that, Marjorie, for obsessed mumbo – jumbo? I killed my wife sure. But that’s not what’s really bothering me. (His wife is killed in an automobile accident when he fell asleep at the wheel.) Hell no! I was taken off the breast too early in infancy, that’s (the Freudians say) is what’s bothering me.” etc., etc.
Actually to me, there is a truth in the one line: Your wife’s death isn’t really what’s troubling you. You’re covering your unsolved neurosis by harping on the accident.
Mike Eden’s expression about true Freudians: Oedipus and sex and all that, is rot! Except that it ties up with taboos – man-made. But there is this, as I see it. We do obtain feelings of guilt from our life patterns due to various man-made taboos. It has nothing to do with bowel movements or the sucking instinct per se. What Mike never read was Paul Brunton. Mike senses he is serving some purpose in life, because he is alive – thereby acknowledging the presence of the great pattern of creation which is unfathomable to all of us. Actually, he is rebellion against the seeming silliness of God’s, the creator’s or, whatever you want to call its pattern for him. He imagines he created his own little self and is responsible for himself. Actually, he is in the world due to an unknown creative power behind the universe – that power, silly, inept or logical created him and is responsible for his being. Mike Eden had very little control over his own destiny due to his evolved personality, as it found itself in a world of earth, water, air, and living things.
The only part he plays in this world is to move in the orbit he finds himself to whatever capacity he finds himself capable.
He is a pinpoint in time – how shocking to the ego to learn we individual human beings are so really minute in a universal scheme of things because, after all, to ourselves we are the most important personage on earth.
If you follow guilt to its logical conclusion, you assume man-made penalties for everything. You are actually guilty every time you deny, or refuse to accept, another individual’s estimation of what your own behavior should be. Basically, there are fundamental natural laws for orderly existence – founded on natural laws: caring for the young, the mating instinct, the need to stay warm and sheltered and cared for. The rest is so much whipped cream, with or without nuts on top, or any other whimsical “necessity”. Orderly life to a great extent, as it should be lived, is more or less the essence of the 10 commandments. The natural real reasons underlying the 10 commandments in our present era have fallen into dusty unconcern. We are mostly busy fussing with a more important matter: the whipped cream of life – the contrived essentials.
Still – they are the myth and order of the day – only more so, perhaps, than they have ever been though through the panoramic history of mankind. Bread-and-butter Americans can get plenty of – but oh! For those gobs of whipped cream!
Marjorie Morningstar again: Mike speaking: [“]Noel is quite an iconoclast (destroyer of conventional myths) isn’t he? Probably impressed you deeply. Rightly so. He is a wonderful talker. Still Noel is very much a creature of his time, so he takes the current myths for solid facts.” The one thing in all those 20 pages that Noel takes seriously is the analytic explanation of his own conduct. He’s right proud of it. It never occurs to him that the Oedipus complex really doesn’t exist, that it is a piece of moralistic literature. He’s as Orthodox as your own father, Marjorie, in his own fashion, but he doesn’t know it. (He actually wants to be a conformist) but living up to whip cream versions of life yet knowing they are contrived, not bowing his head to the fact he is a small part of creation itself. He cannot see himself or the world around him. He is arguing with his pinpoint in the conventional time and his spot in it.
Mike Eden: on premonitions: when you’re engaged in a course of action that’s possible or dangerous, and hiding the folly or danger from yourself, the subconscious mind seizes on any gloomy fact like a broken mirror, or an ominous slip of the tongue, or a black cat in the way, to try to scare you into saving yourself.
When I was afraid, really concerned about stepping on a crack and breaking my mother’s back, I guess I really did want to break her back. When I stop to think of it, even in my late teens and early 20s I sort of picked up my toes inside my shoes on a bus at the different intervals. I felt the bus passed cracks on the sidewalk outside the bus window.
Oh God! When I think of all the pent up, hidden away hatred I had for my mother! No wonder I eventually exploded into neurosis. Well, she was not a very kinder lovable person. I don’t think she ever knew the meaning of the word “love” in the usual sense. To her it was all translated into power and position for herself, through her children.
After a conversation with Mary Anderson:
it’s easy to be sophisticated penetrating, and satirical about the whipped cream of life. That’s what’s wrong about it. According to Mary what needs to be done then is to go back to the fundamentals again, the really were the ideals of life – the brotherhood of man (E. Z. Baker), the natural goodnesses, and seed them.
Guess I better do it a bit of investigating of the “natural goodnesses and morals.”
There was one final line that stayed with me after Kurt finished the book, Marjorie Morningstar, that left me a little bleak, it was:
“However, it isn’t often that one solves an old mystery in one’s life.” I have so many I don’t know the answers to.