Article — From the January 1955 issue

The Jet-Propelled Couch

Part II: Return to Earth

( 3 of 13 )

Frustrated in all of his affectional aspirations, Kirk began to nourish intense feelings of hatred which rapidly declared themselves in destructive fantasies. Because he could not tolerate the devastating emotions to which the continual denial of his natural needs gave birth–emotions that provoked urges to aggress, to hate, and to destroy–he began to employ, first, distance, and, later, time, as the central features of his fantasies. By converting his inner turmoil and accompanying negative feelings to the stuff of fantasy and then projecting such fantasies to distant scenes and other times he found he could tolerate his impulses.

His premature sexual experiences with Miss Lilian increased his burden of inner hostility, his smoldering aggressiveness, and his destructive urgings. The capacity to divert these thoughts and feelings through fantasy projection was breaking down–not because he lacked imaginative invention but simply because no fantasy structure he could then envision was powerful enough to carry the tremendous weight of his negative impulses. The discovery of the “biographical” books was a life-saving accident.

It needed no more than the fortuitous correspondence of names to create the bridge across which Kirk traveled from painful reality to all-satisfying fantasy. And in the years to come, he needed these light-years of distance, these eons of time; for, after his father’s death, during the lonely period that followed, his inner rage, bitterness, and fury grew to frightening proportions.

The shift from merely recalling what had been written in his “biography” to amending it by imaginative excursion beyond the confines of the books was, his analysis revealed, a natural psychic consequence of his strange development. The “biography” was unable to supply all his. requirements for discharging anxiety and mastering experience, and when he reached this point he was forced to invent new material that would take more adequate account of his needs.

The discovery of this mental “gimmick” carried us far along the path of reconstructing Kirk’s life in its finest details, for with this insight employed as a skeleton key to his past, it hecame possible to show him, eventually, how (and why) an almost one-to-one correspondence existed between his fantasy inven- tions and his actual past experience: in order to relieve its anxious consequences, he had transformed each significant event of his life into a bit of fantasy.

His second shift in technique–from recall of the future beyond the “biography’s” scope to a sense of actual experience–was also a defensive psychic maneuver, necessitated by a new element that entered his life soon after he settled in his job at X Reservation.

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October 2018