20 July 2018

Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes

Somehow I've become emotionally separated from everyone and everything.

I dedicated my first piano concerto to Fay. She was excited by the idea of having something dedicated to her, but I don't think she really liked it. Just goes to show how that you can't have everything you want in one woman. One more argument for polygamy.

"I could have hired a psychiatrist, but at the price I'd have to pay I'm able to hire two psychologists – men who aren't afraid to give away a part of themselves to these people."

"What do you mean by 'a part of themselves'?"

He studied me for a moment, and then through the tiredness flashed an anger. "There are a lot of people who will give money or materials, but very few who will give time and affection. That's what I mean." His voice grew harsh, and he pointed to an empty baby bottle on the bookshelf across the room.

"You see the bottle?"

I told him I had wondered about it when we came into his office.

"Well, how many people do you know who are prepared to take a grown man into his ams and let him nurse with the bottle? And take the chance of having the patient urinate or defecate all over him?"

I'm on the edge of it. I sense it. They all think I'm killing myself at this pace, but what they don't understand is that I'm living at a peak of clarity and beauty I never knew existed. I soak it up into my pores during the day, and at night – in the moments before I pass off into sleep – ideas explode into my head like fireworks. There is no greater joy than the burst of solution to a problem.

Intelligence is one of the greatest human gifts. But all too often a search for knowledge drives out the search for love. This is something else I've discovered for myself very recently. I present to you as a hypothesis: intelligence without the ability to give and receive affection leads to mental and moral breakdown, to neurosis, and possibly even psychosis. And I say that the mind absorbed in and involved in itself as a self-centred end, to the exclusion of human relationships, can only lead to violence and pain.