Phoenix from the Ashes: The Literature of the Remade World

By Carl B. Yoke | Go to book overview

1
A PSYCHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF THE MYTH OF THE REMADE WORLD

Carl Goldberg

Who has driven the light out of my world? What has happened to the warm, protected and rejoicing days promised to me in my youth--the summers of pride--if I chose the virtuous life? They have vanished like lost sands into a starless night! I live in a world in which I am a stranger, a world I do not know. I seek to find an intimacy . . . that from which I have always felt excluded. I seek to return to innocence so that I might taste the fruits that seemed once so much the promise of my world and which are impossible to obtain alone.

-- C. Goldberg, In Defense of Narcissism ( 1980)

The purpose of this chapter is to explain the psychological motivation that impels writers of science fiction to create new worlds. I have not been asked in my more familiar role as a clinician to interpret and make psychological inferences about the precursors of behavior of a person referred to me for psychological evaluation, nor have I been asked as a behavioral scientist to decipher the psychological manifestations of a single dramatic or literary work. I have been asked to explain the creative endeavors of all writers of science fiction--perhaps even all creators of fiction.

It would be presumptuous to imply that I expect to explain creative endeavor comprehensively. Even if I had sufficient insight into the matter, it would require more than a single volume, let alone a single chapter. 1 A comprehensive account of creative endeavor requires a multidimensional explanation. Creative endeavor is overdetermined. Consequently, in this chapter I will choose several levels of explanation to account for it. I will examine the invention of fictional worlds

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