In a few weeks, many people in Japan will post something about the atom bomb. There is an interesting real story about one of the major physicists who led the actual designing and making of the first atom bombs, which were tested and dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki towards the end of WW2. This story has nothing to do with the morality of whether the atom bomb is good or bad. ‘Hiroshima’ is too often used as a tool to unite the leftists and the rightists under the slogans of either nationalism or some kind of moral preaching, of which I am tired of hearing. I’m writing this story here in the hope that others may find it interesting and can learn something about human psychology from it.
The novelist and journalist, Colin Wilson writes about him in his book “The Devil’s Party”, a book mainly about cult leaders such as Charles Manson and Asahara Shoko. He is introduced as ‘Kirk Allen’, a pseudonym, Allen was a genius as a scientist.He looked normal, but it became apparent that he might be suffering from a peculiar form of delusional insanity. He thought that his true identity was as a ruler on Mars. He had been a section chief at Los Alamos Laboratory, where the atom bomb was developed, when his director sent him to a psychiatrist named Robert Lindner.
‘Kirk Allen’s fantasy developed from a trauma that he suffered as a child. He had spent his childhood in Hawaii, and his parents had left him completely in charge of a Polynesian nurse. When he was 12 years old, and was beginning to show the first signs of adolescence, she started to seduce him, while at the same time making him feel that it was something furtive and forbidden. Because he was not yet at the age, when he could understand and control his sexuality, the result was similar to that of a girl who is sexually abused at a young age and becomes terrified of sex. One of the differences between male and female sexuality is that the male sexuality is active, not passive. A boy often dreams of situations where he takes the lead or of a situation where a woman he admires yields to him. Because the governess used Allen almost as a sex toy, she turned this situation upside down. Any hint of sexual demand would make him flee. He developed a powerful imagination as a substitute for the self-esteem that is induced in most males by sexual conquest.
Sexual feelings could produce a revulsion in him, and he would find himself sitting at his desk on Mars, dressed in robes of his high office. Whenever a crisis develops, the unconscious mind would rise and create a waking dream to protect him and send him out to be the ruler of Mars.
“Have I discovered the secret of transportation?”, he would ask his psychiatrist.His psychiatrist, Lindner felt that Allen’s trip to Mars had a reality that the human imagination seldom achieves. What happened next was equally surprising. Lindner was also a fan of science fiction and H.G.Wells. He found it easy to enter into Kirk’s fantasy world. Soon, Lindner became just as obsessed . The Martian language would drift into his head, and not go away. It began to influence the doctor’s thoughts and behavior. He became completely sucked into Allen’s fantasies. Lindner began to feel that perhaps Allen had possibly developed some peculiar faculty that may be latent in all human beings.
Then one day, Allen told him, “It’s a lie! All of it.”
For weeks, he had not been making any trip to Mars, but was only inventing the material that Lindner wanted to hear.
When his doctor began to share his delusions, it became obvious to Allen that it was all a delusion and that he dragged his psychiatrist into it. Without intending to, Lindner had cured his patient, and the patient had also cured his doctor.
This story tells me a lot about the power of imagination. While it is true that biological factors such as a healthy body does make people of both sexes more attractive, it is the imagination that is the real driving force in both love and sex. Real love may be the feeling of that you and another person are One. But the power of a runaway imagination can ruin all our lives. You’ve all heard of many messed up stories of love and sex. The trauma Allen suffered made him develop his imagination in unusual ways. It also takes a lot of imagining skills to be able to help create the first atom bomb. This is the secret life of one brilliantly successful scientist.
– written by Ayuo