Rousseau asks the reader to imagine infants born six feet tall. And if we add to these creatures the emotions Freud believes infants and children feel, we have monsters indeed. Or let us say we have adults but with no concern for the consequences of their actions and no sense really of their strength. If I were a woman I would of course be thankful that infants are not born 6 feet tall; we can all be thankful because the massacre would be enormous and the human race would come to a bloody pause.
I have seen a two year old wrench the bottle from its infant brother’s hand and run away to suck fiercely at it in some corner. The two year old feels murderous but relatively small, somewhat portable, and surrounded by giants is not likely to commit homicide. The feeling of having been abruptly uprooted and removed from the center of parental attention, however wavering, polluted, and pathological that attention may be by this obnoxious intruder and Johnny-come-lately may abate under ideal conditions, but is not likely to do so, as was my case, if one experiences one’s self as having been cast aside like an old shoe.
The face of the intruder will always remain the face of the intruder however much time and experience alter and weather that face. One cannot help but feel something darker and more mysterious than dislike because while one will always blame the intruder, one cannot help but wonder if something was and continues to be wrong (perhaps for example one’s nagging desire to strangle one’s brother) with one’s self to have been so early and precipitously handed over to the elements.
Why did he always get the larger ice-cream cone? Why when disputes arouse was he invariably in the right and I in the wrong? Why was he so confident and right when he said the world was flat, and I so dithering, and on the verge of wringing his neck, when I dared to contend otherwise. Why when I said he had done it, did my father say, he didn’t care because surely I had done something that week deserving of the licking he was going to administer.
He had the higher IQ (if one believes in such things) I was told on more than one occasion. He was tall, dark, and handsome. I was pale, bony, red-headed and homely. He looked more like my father; and I could have been my mother’s twin. He studied only what he liked to study and success was a snap. I did well in school but only because I was an “over-achiever.”
I knew a man, a professor of literature, who seemed always happy. I said, why are you always happy? He said, with curious honesty, because my mother loved me. There is nothing like a mother’s love. True enough, but a mother’s love comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. And knowing our mother, I must believe my brother may have paid a highly complex price for having been the apple of her peculiar eye.