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Saturday, July 16, 2011

First Page Mondays: The Interpretation of Murder by author Jed Rubenfield


As part of the 'First Page' initiative, here is the first page from the book 'The Interpretation of Murder' by author Jed Rubenfield.

' In 1909, Sigmund Freud, accompanied by his then disciple Carl Jung, made his one and only visit to the United States, to deliver a series of lectures on psychoanalysis at Clark University, in Worcester, Massachusetts. The honorary doctoral degree that Clark awarded him was the first public recognition Freud had ever received for his work. Despite the great success of this visit, Freud always spoke, in later years, as if some trauma had befallen him in the United States. He called Americans ‘savages’ and blamed his sojourn there for physical ailments that afflicted him well before 1909. Freud’s biographers have long puzzled over this mystery, speculating whether some unknown event in America could have led to his otherwise inexplicable reaction.
There is no mystery to happiness.
Unhappy men are all alike. Some wound they suffered long ago, some wish denied, some blow to pride, some kindling spark of love put out by scorn – or worse, indifference – cleaves to them, or they to it, and so they live each day within a shroud of yesterdays. The happy man does not look back. He doesn’t look ahead. He lives in the present.
But there’s the rub. The present can never deliver one thing: meaning. The ways of happiness and meaning are not the same. To find happiness, a man need only live in the moment; he need only live for the moment. But if he wants meaning – the meaning of his dreams, his secrets, his life – a man must reinhabit his past, however dark, and live for the future, however uncertain. Thus nature dangles happiness and meaning before us all, insisting only that we choose between them.
For myself, I have always chosen meaning. Which, I suppose, is how I came to be waiting in the swelter and mob of Hoboken harbor on Sunday evening, August 29, 1909,for the arrival of the Norddeutsche Llyod steamship George Washington, bound from Bremen, carrying to our shores the one man in the world I wanted most to meet.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta