(From the Foreward)
Having read my story, some of my friends asked me why I had written an allegory. They demanded: 'Why is it about trees and lions and tigers and bears? Why didn't you simply write about human beings?' Before reading my story, every reader should hear the answer to that question.
The Lovesong Tree is pre-eminently the presentation of a complex theory, which belongs mostly to the field of depth psychology. Some people will find that the tenets of this theory are exceedingly repulsive to them. At least, so they will proclaim them, if they conclude the author is proposing to speak the absolute truth regarding every human being's hidden motives.
Hearing what appeared to be venomous assaults upon the dignity of man; and hearing them from the lips of one they felt was claiming to be the mouthpiece of God - what could most men do but loudly denounce my story as 'bigoted,' 'dogmatic,' 'narrow minded,' and so forth? As a result, some who might have profited from reading my tale would then be prejudiced against the very idea even of touching it.
If I am to ward off such developments, it is imperative to make it quite plain at the very beginning that I am nowhere claiming to set forth a single truth about anyone or anything. It is for God and His duly appointed representatives to do that. Being neither God nor the vicar of Christ on Earth, and being pleased that I am neither, I gladly confess that I have neither the right, nor the commission, nor the need to make any infallible pronouncements about anything.
In fact, to know me is to know that I cannot possibly claim to be anything more than - at best! - a theoretician presenting his own theoretical ramblings. I am, after all, undeniably a very ill individual with serious emotional, psychological, and moral problems.
To my credit, I recognized that fact very early in life. That's why to date (1982), I have spent thirty-one of my forty-six years trying to heal myself. Because I believed that all mental illness can be cured by knowledge of its causes, I have spent uncountable hours intensely examining my own feelings and thoughts.
To maximize the number of hours available for such self-examination, I spent thirteen years in dire poverty and whatever degrees of extreme seclusion it was physically possible to maintain. There was even a period of four years in succession during which I very, very rarely spoke to another human being and limited virtually all my communications to written notes.
For all my efforts at self-knowledge, I am still today plagued by substantially the same bevy of internal disorders with which I started. For that reason, the ideas presented here can hardly claim to be anything more than the desperate conjectures resulting from a neurotic's thirty-one year probe into the murky depths of his own deranged psyche.
Notwithstanding all of that, I do have reason to believe that my speculations about the nature of my illness have indeed kept me from bashing out my brains and have helped me to live a bit more fully at peace with myself, my family and my friends. From that, it is reasonable to assume that these 'conjectures of a
Neurotic' may have some truth and may help other neurotics like myself to live a bit more fully in peace with themselves and the world around them.
Here, then, is the challenge: How can one write a theory in such a way it manifestly claims to be nothing more than theory leaving each and every reader free either to dismiss the entire thing as mere fantasy, or, in the event he finds it contains valuable insights into his own hidden self, to apply the theory to himself in whole or in part?
Doesn't the answer to that question leap instantly to the fore? One must write a fantasy about lions, and tigers, and bears, and the other creatures of the forest. One must then leave it up to the reader to decide whether or not there is-in those creatures of the forest-some resemblance to himself.
What is written here, therefore, claims to be nothing more than a purely fantastical story about the figments of the very active imagination of a freak-a neurotic with no commission from either God or anyone else either to teach or to prove anything to anybody. It is a story without relevance or application to anyone or anything except the creatures of the forest and those who freely choose for themselves to intrude themselves into the ranks of those imaginary figments.
Since The Lovesong Tree is the fantasy it clearly is, there is one charge which most certainly can never be brought against it. It could never be called bigoted dogmatism by sane men, because only the insane would make such a charge against what is manifestly nothing but a fairy tale.