My golfing partner from the “New’ Institute was depressed. That made two us. All those years of endless seminars, the tens of thousands spent on one’s Training Analysis, traipsing through the canyons of Beverly Hilla from one supervisor after another, 100 bucks a pop, the mountains of papers read, the 24 volumes of Freud’s Collected Works stacked in the bookcase. And here we were, sitting in darkness visible. For all the genius of Freud discovering and leading the world to a new creation, The Life of the Mind, after three or four years as Freudian psychoanalysts we had hit an impasse. Why had Romi Greenson called me, inviting free weekly supervisory sessions at his house? He had hit the same impasse! Why me, 30 years his junior?
I had studied under Romi. We got along famously. We both sauntered throgh the world with a swagger. He couldn’t believe I wasn’t Jewish. Ambition, what John Milton recognized as the “last infirmity of noble mind,” given Romi’s immense gifts, had catapulted him to world fame. And then one day, the world dumped on his doorstep its most famous woman, Marilyn Monroe.
Romi of course knew that Marilyn was suffering from, what Kierkegaard called, a “sickness unto death.” And he knew the limited resources from that First Day of Creation left him without a prayer for taming the demons of self-destruction. What was he to do? Refer her to someone else? Who? Throughout the land, he was recognized as first among equals. So, he took her in – literally – into his home. He would risk this leap into the unknown, unimaginable in the Freudian paradigm, as possibly providing an instrument of healing.There, with Transference at intensities unmeasured, he would unleash disciplining and nurturing energies. After Marilyn’s death, Romi took me on tours of his home. He would review in agonizing vividness the work done at the various sites.
Romi and I were dedicated, practical, reliable, wonderfully inventive with language, just what the doctored ordered for a “talking cure,”’ courageous, brilliant. All of the above? Sure. Geniuses? No. For 30 plus years, I had wrestled with the obvious incompleteness and 19th century physics limiting Freud’s tremendous achievement. Read everything from theologians, existentialists, poets, physicists, you name it. Couldn’t discover the deep structures. Now I couldn’t help my esteemed colleague, Romi Greenson. He was suffering terribly.
And then, during these very weeks, so surely sent by the Lord, Hanna Segal blew into town. Over a two week period, she gave lectures in the evenings, offered supervisory sessions during the day. As I mentioned, I signed up for ten. When she spoke for the first time in response to clinical data I had presented, dawn broke on The Second Day of the Creation of Mind.
I thought Hanna was the genius. Wrong. She was John the Baptist shouting from London, “Get ready for the coming of the Lord.” Melanie Klein, the Creator of the Second Day, was arriving.