Abréactions Associations : 8, rue de Florence - 75008 Paris | Tél. : 01 45 08 41 10
Home > > Fantasia of the Unconscious > The Lower Self

D. H. Lawrence

The Lower Self

Fantasia of the Unconscious: Chapter XV

Published on: Tuesday 9 October 2007

D. H. Lawrence, Fantasia of the Unconscious, Thomas Seltzer, Inc., New York, 1922.


So it comes about that the moon is the planet of our nights, as the sun of our days. And this is not just accidental, or even mechanical. The influence of the moon upon the tides and upon us is not just an accident in phenomena. It is the result of the creation of the universe by life itself. It was life itself which threw the moon apart on the one hand, the sun on the other. And it is life itself which keeps the dynamic-vital relation constant between the moon and the living individuals of the globe. The moon is as dependent upon the life of individuals, for her continued existence, as each single individual is dependent upon the moon.

The same with the sun. The sun sets and has his perfect polarity in the life-circuit established between him and all living individuals. Break that circuit, and the sun breaks. Without man, beasts, butterflies, trees, toads, the sun would gutter out like a spent lamp. It is the life-emission from individuals which feeds his burning and establishes his sun-heart in its powerful equilibrium.

The same with the moon. She lives from us, primarily, and we from her. Everything is a question of relativity. Not only is every force relative to other force or forces, but every existence is relative to other existences. Not only does the life of man depend on man, beast, and herb, but on the sun and moon, and the stars. And in another manner, the existence of the moon depends absolutely on the life of herb, beast, and man. The existence of the moon depends upon the life of individuals, that which alone is original. Without the life of individuals the moon would fall asunder. And the moon particularly, because she is polarized dynamically to this, our own earth. We do not know what far-off life breathes between the stars and the sun. But our life alone supports the moon. Just as the moon is the pole of our single terrestrial individuality.

Therefore we must know that between the moon and each individual being exists a vital dynamic flow. The life of individuals depends directly upon the moon, just as the moon depends directly upon the life of individuals.

But in what way does the life of individuals depend directly upon the moon?

The moon is the mother of darkness. She is the clue to the active darkness. And we, below the waist, we have our being in darkness. Below the waist we are sightless. When, in the daytime, our life is polarized upwards, towards the open, sun-wakened eyes and the mind which sees in vision, then the powerful dynamic centers of the lower body act in subservience, in their negative polarity. And then we flow upwards, we go forth seeking the universe, in vision, speech, and thought—we go forth to see all things, to hear all things, to know all things by acquaintance and by knowledge. One flood of dynamic flow are we, upwards polarized, in our tallness and our wide-eyed spirit seeking to bring all the universe into the range of our conscious individuality, and eager always to make new worlds, out of this old world, to bud new green tips on the tree of life. Just as a tree would die if it were not making new green tips upon all its vast old world of a body, so the whole universe would perish if man and beast and herb were not always putting forth a newness: the toad taking a vivider color, spreading his hands a little more gently, developing a more rusé intelligence, the birds adding a new note to their speech and song, a new sharp swerve to their flight, a new nicety to their nests; and man, making new worlds, new civilizations. If it were not for this striving into new creation on the part of living individuals, the universe would go dead, gradually, gradually and fall asunder. Like a tree that ceases to put forth new green tips, and to advance out a little further.

But each new tip arises out of the apparent death of the old, the preceding one. Old leaves have got to fall, old forms must die. And if men must at certain periods fall into death in millions, why, so must the leaves fall every single autumn. And dead leaves make good mold. And so dead men. Even dead men’s souls.

So if death has to be the goal for a great number, then let it be so. If America must invent this poison-gas, let her. When death is our goal of goals we shall invent the means of death, let our professions of benevolence be what they will.

But this time, it seems to me, we have consciously and responsibly to carry ourselves through the winter-period, the period of death and denudation: that is, some of us have, some nation even must. For there are not now, as in the Roman times, any great reservoirs of energetic barbaric life. Goths, Gauls, Germans, Slavs, Tartars. The world is very full of people, but all fixed in civilizations of their own, and they all have all our vices, all our mechanisms, and all our means of destruction. This time, the leading civilization cannot die out as Greece, Rome, Persia died. It must suffer a great collapse, maybe. But it must carry through all the collapse the living clue to the next civilization. It’s no good thinking we can leave it to China or Japan or India or Africa—any of the great swarms.

And here we are, we don’t look much like carrying through to a new era. What have we got that will carry through? The latest craze is Mr. Einstein’s Relativity Theory. Curious that everybody catches fire at the word Relativity. There must be something in the mere suggestion, which we have been waiting for. But what? As far as I can see, Relativity means, for the common amateur mind, that there is no one absolute force in the physical universe, to which all other forces may be referred. There is no one single absolute central principle governing the world. The great cosmic forces or mechanical principles can only be known in their relation to one another, and can only exist in their relation to one another. But, says Einstein, this relation between the mechanical forces is constant, and may be expressed by a mathematical formula: which mathematical formula may be used to equate all mechanical forces of the universe.

I hope that is not scientifically all wrong. It is what I understand of the Einstein theory. What I doubt is the equation formula. It seems to me, also, that the velocity of light through space is the deus ex machina in Einstein’s physics. Somebody will some day put salt on the tail of light as it travels through space, and then its simple velocity will split up into something complex, and the Relativity formula will fall to bits.—But I am a confirmed outsider, so I’ll hold my tongue.

All I know is that people have got the word Relativity into their heads, and catch-words always refer to some latent idea or conception in the popular mind. It has taken a Jew to knock the last center-pin out of our ideally spinning universe. The Jewish intelligence for centuries has been picking holes in our ideal system—scientific and sociological. Very good thing for us. Now Mr. Einstein, we are glad to say, has pulled out the very axle pin. At least that is how the vulgar mind understands it. The equation formula doesn’t count.—So now, the universe, according to the popular mind, can wobble about without being pinned down.—Really, an anarchical conclusion. But the Jewish mind insidiously drives us to anarchical conclusions. We are glad to be driven from false, automatic fixities, anyhow. And once we are driven right on to nihilism we may find a way through.

So, there is nothing absolute left in the universe. Nothing. Lord Haldane says pure knowledge is absolute. As far as it goes, no doubt. But pure knowledge is only such a tiny bit of the universe, and always relative to the thing known and to the knower.

I feel inclined to Relativity myself. I think there is no one absolute principle in the universe. I think everything is relative. But I also feel, most strongly, that in itself each individual living creature is absolute: in its own being. And that all things in the universe are just relative to the individual living creature. And that individual living creatures are relative to each other.

And what about a goal? There is no final goal. But every step taken has its own little relative goal. So what about the next step?

Well, first and foremost, that every individual creature shall come to its own particular and individual fullness of being.—Very nice, very pretty—but how? Well, through a living dynamic relation to other creatures.—Very nice again, pretty little adjectives. But what sort of a living dynamic relation?—Well, not the relation of love, that’s one thing, nor of brotherhood, nor equality. The next relation has got to be a relationship of men towards men in a spirit of unfathomable trust and responsibility, service and leadership, obedience and pure authority. Men have got to choose their leaders, and obey them to the death. And it must be a system of culminating aristocracy, society tapering like a pyramid to the supreme leader.

All of which sounds very distasteful at the moment. But upon all the vital lessons we have learned during our era of love and spirit and democracy we can found our new order.

We wanted to be all of a piece. And we couldn’t bring it off. Because we just aren’t all of a piece. We wanted first to have nothing but nice daytime selves, awfully nice and kind and refined. But it didn’t work. Because whether we want it or not, we’ve got night-time selves. And the most spiritual woman ever born or made has to perform her natural functions just like anybody else. We must always keep in line with this fact.

Well, then, we have night-time selves. And the night-self is the very basis of the dynamic self. The blood-consciousness and the blood-passion is the very source and origin of us. Not that we can stay at the source. Nor even make a goal of the source, as Freud does. The business of living is to travel away from the source. But you must start every single day fresh from the source. You must rise every day afresh out of the dark sea of the blood.

When you go to sleep at night, you have to say: "Here dies the man I am and know myself to be." And when you rise in the morning you have to say: "Here rises an unknown quantity which is still myself."

The self which rises naked every morning out of the dark sleep of the passionate, hoarsely-calling blood: this is the unit for the next society. And the polarizing of the passionate blood in the individual towards life, and towards leader, this must be the dynamic of the next civilization. The intense, passionate yearning of the soul towards the soul of a stronger, greater individual, and the passionate blood-belief in the fulfillment of this yearning will give men the next motive for life.

We have to sink back into the darkness and the elemental consciousness of the blood. And from this rise again. But there is no rising until the bath of darkness and extinction is accomplished.

As social units, as civilized men we have to do what we do as physical organisms. Every day, the sun sets from the sky, and darkness falls, and every day, when this happens, the tide of life turns in us. Instead of flowing upwards and outwards towards mental consciousness and activity, it turns back, to flow downwards. Downwards towards the digestion processes, downwards further to the great sexual conjunctions, downwards to sleep.

This is the soul now retreating, back from the outer life of day, back to the origins. And so, it stays its hour at the first great sensual stations, the solar plexus and the lumbar ganglion. But the tide ebbs on, down to the immense, almost inhuman passionate darkness of sex, the strange and moon-like intensity of the hypogastric plexus and the sacral ganglion, then deep, deeper, past the last great station of the darkest psyche, down to the earth’s center. Then we sleep.

And the moon is the tide-turner. The moon is the great cosmic pole which calls us back, back out of our day-self, back through the moonlit darknesses of the sensual planes, to sleep. It is the moon that sways the blood, and sways us back into the extinction of the blood.—And as the soul retreats back into the sea of its own darkness, the mind, stage by stage, enjoys the mental consciousness that belongs to this retreat back into the sensual deeps; and then it goes extinguished. There is sleep.

And so we resolve back towards our elementals. We dissolve back, out of the upper consciousness, out of mind and sight and speech, back, down into the deep and massive, swaying consciousness of the dark, living blood. At the last hour of sex I am no more than a powerful wave of mounting blood. Which seeks to surge and join with the answering sea in the other individual. When the sea of individual blood which I am at that hour heaves and finds its pure contact with the sea of individual blood which is the woman at that hour, then each of us enters into the wholeness of our deeper infinitude, our profound fullness of being, in the ocean of our oneness and our consciousness.

This is under the spell of the moon, of sea-born Aphrodite, mother and bitter goddess. For I am carried away from my sunny day-self into this other tremendous self, where knowledge will not save me, but where I must obey as the sea obeys the tides. Yet however much I go, I know that I am all the while myself, in my going.

This then is the duality of my day and my night being: a duality so bitter to an adolescent. For the adolescent thinks with shame and terror of his night. He would wish to have no night-self. But it is Moloch, and he cannot escape it.

The tree is born of its roots and its leaves. And we of our days and our nights. Without the night-consummation we are trees without roots.

And the night-consummation takes place under the spell of the moon. It is one pure motion of meeting and oneing. But even so, it is a circuit, not a straight line. One pure motion of meeting and oneing, until the flash breaks forth, when the two are one. And this, this flashing moment of the ignition of two seas of blood, this is the moment of begetting. But the begetting of a child is less than the begetting of the man and the woman. Woman is begotten of man at that moment, into her greater self: and man is begotten of woman. This is the main. And that which cannot be fulfilled, perfected in the two individuals, that which cannot take fire into individual life, this trickles down and is the seed of a new life, destined ultimately to fulfill that which the parents could not fulfill. So it is for ever.

Sex then is a polarization of the individual blood in man towards the individual blood in woman. It is more, also. But in its prime functional reality it is this. And sex union means bringing into connection the dynamic poles of sex in man and woman.

In sex we have our basic, most elemental being. Here we have our most elemental contact. It is from the hypogastric plexus and the sacral ganglion that the dark forces of manhood and womanhood sparkle. From the dark plexus of sympathy run out the acute, intense sympathetic vibrations direct to the corresponding pole. Or so it should be, in genuine passionate love. There is no mental interference. There is even no interference of the upper centers. Love is supposed to be blind. Though modern love wears strong spectacles.

But love is really blind. Without sight or scent or hearing the powerful magnetic current vibrates from the hypogastric plexus in the female, vibrating on to the air like some intense wireless message. And there is immediate response from the sacral ganglion in some male. And then sight and day-consciousness begin to fade. In the lower animals apparently any male can receive the vibration of any female: and if need be, even across long distances of space. But the higher the development the more individual the attunement. Every wireless station can only receive those messages which are in its own vibration key. So with sex in specialized individuals. From the powerful dynamic center the female sends out her dark summons, the intense dark vibration of sex. And according to her nature, she receives her responses from the males. The male enters the magnetic field of the female. He vibrates helplessly in response. There is established at once a dynamic circuit, more or less powerful. It would seem as if, while ever life remains free and wild and independent, the sex-circuit, while it lasts, is omnipotent. There is one electric flow which encompasses one male and one female, or one male and one particular group of females all polarized in the same key of vibration.

This circuit of vital sex magnetism, at first loose and wide, gradually closes and becomes more powerful, contracts and grows more intense, until the two individuals arrive into contact. And even then the pulse and flow of attraction and recoil varies. In free wild life, each touch brings about an intense recoil, and each recoil causes an intense sympathetic attraction. So goes on the strange battle of desire, until the consummation is reached.

It is the precise parallel of what happens in a thunder-storm, when the dynamic forces of the moon and the sun come into collision. The result is threefold: first, the electric flash, then the birth of pure water, new water.

So it is in sex relation. There is a threefold result. First, the flash of pure sensation and of real electricity. Then there is the birth of an entirely new state of blood in each partner. And then there is the liberation.

But the main thing, as in the thunder-storm, is the absolute renewal of the atmosphere: in this case, the blood. It would no doubt be found that the electro-dynamic condition of the white and red corpuscles of the blood was quite different after sex union, and that the chemical composition of the fluid of the blood was quite changed.

And in this renewal lies the great magic of sex. The life of an individual goes on apparently the same from day to day. But as a matter of fact there is an inevitable electric accumulation in the nerves and the blood, an accumulation which weighs there and broods there with intolerable pressure. And the only possible means of relief and renewal is in pure passional interchange. There is and must be a pure passional interchange from the upper self, as when men unite in some great creative or religious or constructive activity, or as when they fight each other to the death. The great goal of creative or constructive activity, or of heroic victory in fight, must always be the goal of the daytime self. But the very possibility of such a goal arises out of the vivid dynamism of the conscious blood. And the blood in an individual finds its great renewal in a perfected sex circuit.

A perfected sex circuit and a successful sex union. And there can be no successful sex union unless the greater hope of purposive, constructive activity fires the soul of the man all the time: or the hope of passionate, purposive destructive activity: the two amount religiously to the same thing, within the individual. Sex as an end in itself is a disaster: a vice. But an ideal purpose which has no roots in the deep sea of passionate sex is a greater disaster still. And now we have only these two things: sex as a fatal goal, which is the essential theme of modern tragedy: or ideal purpose as a deadly parasite. Sex passion as a goal in itself always leads to tragedy. There must be the great purposive inspiration always present. But the automatic ideal-purpose is not even a tragedy, it is a slow humiliation and sterility.

The great thing is to keep the sexes pure. And by pure we don’t mean an ideal sterile innocence and similarity between boy and girl. We mean pure maleness in a man, pure femaleness in a woman. Woman is really polarized downwards, towards the center of the earth. Her deep positivity is in the downward flow, the moon-pull. And man is polarized upwards, towards the sun and the day’s activity. Women and men are dynamically different, in everything. Even in the mind, where we seem to meet, we are really utter strangers. We may speak the same verbal language, men and women: as Turk and German might both speak Latin. But whatever a man says, his meaning is something quite different and changed when it passes through a woman’s ears. And though you reverse the sexual polarity, the flow between the sexes, still the difference is the same. The apparent mutual understanding, in companionship between a man and a woman, is always an illusion, and always breaks down in the end.

Woman can polarize her consciousness upwards. She can obtain a hand even over her sex receptivity. She can divert even the electric spasm of coition into her upper consciousness: it was the trick which the snake and the apple between them taught her. The snake, whose consciousness is only dynamic, and non-cerebral. The snake, who has no mental life, but only an intensely vivid dynamic mind, he envied the human race its mental consciousness. And he knew, this intensely wise snake, that the one way to make humanity pay more than the price of mental consciousness was to pervert woman into mentality: to stimulate her into the upper flow of consciousness.

For the true polarity of consciousness in woman is downwards. Her deepest consciousness is in the loins and belly. Even when perverted, it is so. The great flow of female consciousness is downwards, down to the weight of the loins and round the circuit of the feet. Pervert this, and make a false flow upwards, to the breast and head, and you get a race of "intelligent" women, delightful companions, tricky courtesans, clever prostitutes, noble idealists, devoted friends, interesting mistresses, efficient workers, brilliant managers, women as good as men at all the manly tricks: and better, because they are so very headlong once they go in for men’s tricks. But then, after a while, pop it all goes. The moment woman has got man’s ideals and tricks drilled into her, the moment she is competent in the manly world—there’s an end of it. She’s had enough. She’s had more than enough. She hates the thing she has embraced. She becomes absolutely perverse, and her one end is to prostitute herself and her ideals to sex. Which is her business at the present moment.

We bruise the serpent’s head: his flat and brainless head. But his revenge of bruising our heel is a good one. The heels, through which the powerful downward circuit flows: these are bruised in us, numbed with a horrible neurotic numbness. The dark strong flow that polarizes us to the earth’s center is hampered, broken. We become flimsy fungoid beings, with no roots and no hold in the earth, like mushrooms. The serpent has bruised our heel till we limp. The lame gods, the enslaved gods, the toiling limpers moaning for the woman. You don’t find the sun and moon playing at pals in the sky. Their beams cross the great gulf which is between them.

So with man and woman. They must stand clear again. They must fight their way out of their self-consciousness: there is nothing else. Or, rather, each must fight the other out of self-consciousness. Instead of this leprous forbearance which we are taught to practice in our intimate relationships, there should be the most intense open antagonism. If your wife flirts with other men, and you don’t like it, say so before them all, before wife and man and all, say you won’t have it. If she seems to you false, in any circumstance, tell her so, angrily, furiously, and stop her. Never mind about being justified. If you hate anything she does, turn on her in a fury. Harry her, and make her life a hell, so long as the real hot rage is in you. Don’t silently hate her, or silently forbear. It is such a dirty trick, so mean and ungenerous. If you feel a burning rage, turn on her and give it to her, and never repent. It’ll probably hurt you much more than it hurts her. But never repent for your real hot rages, whether they’re "justifiable" or not. If you care one sweet straw for the woman, and if she makes you that you can’t bear any more, give it to her, and if your heart weeps tears of blood afterwards, tell her you’re thankful she’s got it for once, and you wish she had it worse.

The same with wives and their husbands. If a woman’s husband gets on her nerves, she should fly at him. If she thinks him too sweet and smarmy with other people, she should let him have it to his nose, straight out. She should lead him a dog’s life, and never swallow her bile.

With wife or husband, you should never swallow your bile. It makes you go all wrong inside. Always let fly, tooth and nail, and never repent, no matter what sort of a figure you make.

We have a vice of love, of softness and sweetness and smarminess and intimacy and promiscuous kindness and all that sort of thing. We think it’s so awfully nice of us to be like that, in ourselves. But in our wives or our husbands it gets on our nerves horribly. Yet we think it oughtn’t to, so we swallow our spleen.

We shouldn’t. When Jesus said "if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out," he was beside the point. The eye doesn’t really offend us. We are rather fond of our own squint eye. It only offends the person who cares for us. And it’s up to this person to pluck it out.

This holds particularly good of the love and intimacy vice. It’ll never offend us in ourselves. While it will be gall and wormwood to our wife or husband. And it is on this promiscuous love and intimacy and kindness and sweetness, all a vice, that our self-consciousness really rests. If we are battered out of this, we shall be battered out of self-consciousness.

And so, men, drive your wives, beat them out of their self-consciousness and their soft smarminess and good, lovely idea of themselves. Absolutely tear their lovely opinion of themselves to tatters, and make them look a holy ridiculous sight in their own eyes. Wives, do the same to your husbands.

But fight for your life, men. Fight your wife out of her own self-conscious preoccupation with herself. Batter her out of it till she’s stunned. Drive her back into her own true mode. Rip all her nice superimposed modern-woman and wonderful-creature garb off her. Reduce her once more to a naked Eve, and send the apple flying.

Make her yield to her own real unconscious self, and absolutely stamp on the self that she’s got in her head. Drive her forcibly back, back into her own true unconscious.

And then you’ve got a harder thing still to do. Stop her from looking on you as her "lover."

Cure her of that, if you haven’t cured her before. Put the fear of the Lord into her that way. And make her know she’s got to believe in you again, and in the deep purpose you stand for. But before you can do that, you’ve got to stand for some deep purpose. It’s no good faking one up. You won’t take a woman in, not really. Even when she chooses to be taken in, for prettiness’ sake, it won’t do you any good.

But combat her. Combat her in her sexual pertinacity, and in her secret glory or arrogance in the sexual goal. Combat her in her cock-sure belief that she "knows" and that she is "right." Take it all out of her. Make her yield once more to the male leadership: if you’ve got anywhere to lead to. If you haven’t, best leave the woman alone; she has one goal of her own, anyhow, and it’s better than your nullity and emptiness.

You’ve got to take a new resolution into your soul, and break off from the old way. You’ve got to know that you’re a man, and being a man means you must go on alone, ahead of the woman, to break a way through the old world into the new. And you’ve got to be alone. And you’ve got to start off ahead. And if you don’t know which direction to take, look round for the man your heart will point out to you. And follow—and never look back. Because if Lot’s wife, looking back, was turned to a pillar of salt, these miserable men, for ever looking back to their women for guidance, they are miserable pillars of half-rotten tears.

You’ll have to fight to make a woman believe in you as a real man, a real pioneer. No man is a man unless to his woman he is a pioneer. You’ll have to fight still harder to make her yield her goal to yours: her night goal to your day goal. The moon, the planet of women, sways us back from our day-self, sways us back from our real social unison, sways us back, like a retreating tide, in a friction of criticism and separation and social disintegration. That is woman’s inevitable mode, let her words be what they will. Her goal is the deep, sensual individualism of secrecy and night-exclusiveness, hostile, with guarded doors. And you’ll have to fight very hard to make a woman yield her goal to yours, to make her, in her own soul, believe in your goal as the goal beyond, in her goal as the way by which you go. She’ll never believe until you have your soul filled with a profound and absolutely inalterable purpose, that will yield to nothing, least of all to her. She’ll never believe until, in your soul, you are cut off and gone ahead, into the dark.

She may of course already love you, and love you for yourself. But the love will be a nest of scorpions unless it is overshadowed by a little fear or awe of your further purpose, a living belief in your going beyond her, into futurity.

But when once a woman does believe in her man, in the pioneer which he is, the pioneer who goes on ahead beyond her, into the darkness in front, and who may be lost to her for ever in this darkness; when once she knows the pain and beauty of this belief, knows that the loneliness of waiting and following is inevitable, that it must be so; ah, then, how wonderful it is! How wonderful it is to come back to her, at evening, as she sits half in fear and waits! How good it is to come home to her! How good it is then when the night falls! How richly the evening passes! And then, for her, at last, all that she has lost during the day to have it again between her arms, all that she has missed, to have it poured out for her, and a richness and a wonder she had never expected. It is her hour, her goal. That’s what it is to have a wife.

Ah, how good it is to come home to your wife when she believes in you and submits to your purpose that is beyond her. Then, how wonderful this nightfall is! How rich you feel, tired, with all the burden of the day in your veins, turning home! Then you too turn to your other goal: to the splendor of darkness between her arms. And you know the goal is there for you: how rich that feeling is. And you feel an unfathomable gratitude to the woman who loves you and believes in your purpose and receives you into the magnificent dark gratification of her embrace. That’s what it is to have a wife.

But no man ever had a wife unless he served a great predominant purpose. Otherwise, he has a lover, a mistress. No matter how much she may be married to him, unless his days have a living purpose, constructive or destructive, but a purpose beyond her and all she stands for; unless his days have this purpose, and his soul is really committed to his purpose, she will not be a wife, she will be only a mistress and he will be her lover.

If the man has no purpose for his days, then to the woman alone remains the goal of her nights: the great sex goal. And this goal is no goal, but always cries for the something beyond: for the rising in the morning and the going forth beyond, the man disappearing ahead into the distance of futurity, that which his purpose stands for, the future. The sex goal needs, absolutely needs, this further departure. And if there be no further departure, no great way of belief on ahead: and if sex is the starting point and the goal as well: then sex becomes like the bottomless pit, insatiable. It demands at last the departure into death, the only available beyond. Like Carmen, or like Anna Karenina. When sex is the starting point and the returning point both, then the only issue is death. Which is plain as a pike-staff in "Carmen" or "Anna Karenina," and is the theme of almost all modern tragedy. Our one hackneyed, hackneyed theme. Ecstasies and agonies of love, and final passion of death. Death is the only pure, beautiful conclusion of a great passion. Lovers, pure lovers should say "Let it be so."

And one is always tempted to say "Let it be so." But no, let it be not so. Only I say this, let it be a great passion and then death, rather than a false or faked purpose. Tolstoi said "No" to the passion and the death conclusion. And then drew into the dreary issue of a false conclusion. His books were better than his life. Better the woman’s goal, sex and death, than some false goal of man’s.

Better Anna Karenina and Vronsky a thousand times than Natasha and that porpoise of a Pierre. This pretty, slightly sordid couple tried so hard to kid themselves that the porpoise Pierre was puffing with great purpose. Better Vronsky than Tolstoi himself, in my mind. Better Vronsky’s final statement: "As a soldier I am still some good. As a man I am a ruin"—better that than Tolstoi and Tolstoi-ism and that beastly peasant blouse the old man wore.

Better passion and death than any more of these "isms." No more of the old purpose done up in aspic. Better passion and death.

But still—we might live, mightn’t we?

For heaven’s sake answer plainly "No," if you feel like it. No good temporizing.


"Tutti i salmi finiscono in gloria."

All the psalms wind up with the Gloria.—"As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, World without end. Amen."

Well, then, Amen.

I hope you say Amen! along with me, dear little reader: if there be any dear little reader who has got so far. If not, I say Amen! all by myself.—But don’t you think the show is all over. I’ve got another volume up my sleeve, and after a year or two years, when I have shaken it down my sleeve, I shall bring it and lay it at the foot of your Liberty statue, oh Columbia, as I do this one.

I suppose Columbia means the States.—"Hail Columbia!"—I suppose, etymologically, it is a nest of turtle-doves, Lat. columba, a dove. Coo me softly, then, Columbia; don’t roar me like the sucking doves of the critics of my "Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious."

And when I lay this little book at the foot of the Liberty statue, that brawny lady is not to look down her nose and bawl: "Do you see any green in my eye?" Of course I don’t, dear lady. I only see the reflection of that torch—or is it a carrot?—which you are holding up to light the way into New York harbor. Well, many an ass has strayed across the uneasy paddock of the Atlantic, to nibble your carrot, dear lady. And I must say, you can keep on slicing off nice little carrot-slices of guineas and doubloons for an extraordinarily inexhaustible long time. And innumerable asses can collect themselves nice little heaps of golden carrot-slices, and then lift up their heads and brag over them with fairly pan-demoniac yells of gratification. Of course I don’t see any green in your eye, dear Libertas, unless it is the smallest glint from the carrot-tips. The gleam in your eye is golden, oh Columbia!

Nevertheless, and in spite of all this, up trots this here little ass and makes you a nice present of this pretty book. You needn’t sniff, and glance at your carrot-sceptre, lady Liberty. You needn’t throw down the thinnest carrot-paring you can pare off, and then say: "Why should I pay for this tripe, this wordy mass of rather revolting nonsense!" You can’t pay for it, darling. If I didn’t make you a present of it you could never buy it. So don’t shake your carrot-sceptre and feel supercilious. Here’s a gift for you, Missis. You can look in its mouth, too. Mind it doesn’t bite you.—No, you needn’t bother to put your carrot behind your back, nobody wants to snatch it.

How do you do, Columbia! Look, I brought you a posy: this nice little posy of words and wisdom which I made for you in the woods of Ebersteinburg, on the borders of the Black Forest, near Baden Baden, in Germany, in this summer of scanty grace but nice weather. I made it specially for you—Whitman, for whom I have an immense regard, says "These States." I suppose I ought to say: "Those States." If the publisher would let me, I’d dedicate this book to you, to "Those States." Because I wrote this book entirely for you, Columbia. You may not take it as a compliment. You may even smell a tiny bit of Schwarzwald sap in it, and be finally disgusted. I admit that trees ought to think twice before they flourish in such a disgraced place as the Fatherland. "Chi va coi zoppi, all’ anno zoppica." But you’ve not only to gather ye rosebuds while ye may, but where ye may. And so, as I said before, the Black Forest, etc.

I know, Columbia, dear Libertas, you’ll take my posy and put your carrot aside for a minute, and smile, and say: "I’m sure, Mr. Lawrence, it is a long time since I had such a perfectly beautiful bunch of ideas brought me." And I shall blush and look sheepish and say: "So glad you think so. I believe you’ll find they’ll keep fresh quite a long time, if you put them in water." Whereupon you, Columbia, with real American gallantry: "Oh, they’ll keep for ever, Mr. Lawrence. They couldn’t be so cruel as to go and die, such perfectly lovely-colored ideas. Lovely! Thank you ever, ever so much."

Just think of it, Columbia, how pleased we shall be with one another: and how much nicer it will be than if you snorted "High-falutin’ Nonsense"—or "Wordy mass of repulsive rubbish."

When they were busy making Italy, and were just going to put it in the oven to bake: that is, when Garibaldi and Vittorio Emmanuele had won their victories at Caserta, Naples prepared to give them a triumphant entry. So there sat the little king in his carriage: he had short legs and huge swagger mustaches and a very big bump of philoprogeniture. The town was all done up, in spite of the rain. And down either side of the wide street were hasty statues of large, well-fleshed ladies, each one holding up a fore-finger. We don’t know what the king thought. But the staff held their breath. The king’s appetite for strapping ladies was more than notorious, and naturally it looked as if Naples had done it on purpose.

As a matter of fact, the fore-finger meant Italia Una! "Italy shall be one." Ask Don Sturzo.

Now you see how risky statues are. How many nice little asses and poets trot over the Atlantic and catch sight of Liberty holding up this carrot of desire at arm’s length, and fairly hear her say, as one does to one’s pug dog, with a lump of sugar: "Beg! Beg!"—and "Jump! Jump, then!" And each little ass and poodle begins to beg and to jump, and there’s a rare game round about Liberty, zap, zap, zapperty-zap!

Do lower the carrot, gentle Liberty, and let us talk nicely and sensibly. I don’t like you as a carotaia, precious.

Talking about the moon, it is thrilling to read the announcements of Professor Pickering of Harvard, that it’s almost a dead cert that there’s life on our satellite. It is almost as certain that there’s life on the moon as it is certain there is life on Mars. The professor bases his assertions on photographs—hundreds of photographs—of a crater with a circumference of thirty-seven miles. I’m not satisfied. I demand to know the yards, feet and inches. You don’t come it over me with the triteness of these round numbers.

"Hundreds of photographic reproductions have proved irrefutably the springing up at dawn, with an unbelievable rapidity, of vast fields of foliage which come into blossom just as rapidly (sic!) and which disappear in a maximum period of eleven days."—Again I’m not satisfied. I want to know if they’re cabbages, cress, mustard, or marigolds or dandelions or daisies. Fields of foliage, mark you. And blossom! Come now, if you can get so far, Professor Pickering, you might have a shrewd guess as to whether the blossoms are good to eat, or if they’re purely for ornament.

I am only waiting at last for an aeroplane to land on one of these fields of foliage and find a donkey grazing peacefully. Hee-haw!

"The plates moreover show that great blizzards, snow-storms, and volcanic eruptions are also frequent." So no doubt the blossoms are edelweiss.

"We find," says the professor, "a living world at our very doors where life in some respects resembles that of Mars." All I can say is: "Pray come in, Mr. Moony. And how is your cousin Signor Martian?"

Now I’m sure Professor Pickering’s photographs and observations are really wonderful. But his explanations! Come now, Columbia, where is your High-falutin’ Nonsense trumpet? Vast fields of foliage which spring up at dawn (!!!) and come into blossom just as quickly (!!!!) are rather too flowery even for my flowery soul. But there, truth is stranger than fiction.

I’ll bet my moon against the Professor’s, anyhow.

So long, Columbia. A riverderci.

Partenaires référencement
Psychanalyste Paris | Psychanalyste Paris 10 | Psychanalyste Argenteuil 95
Annuaire Psychanalyste Paris | Psychanalystes Paris
Avocats en propriété intellectuelle | Avocats paris - Droits d'auteur, droit des marques, droit à l'image et vie privée
Avocats paris - Droit d'auteur, droit des marques et de la création d'entreprise