chapter  5
8 Pages

The necessity of illusion

It now looked as if some of the spiritual dangers to be faced in this matter of coming to see as the painter sees were concerned with the transfiguration of the external world; in fact, with a process of giving to it something that came from within oneself, either in an overwhelming or a reviving flood. Also this process could be felt as a plunge – a plunge that one could sometimes do deliberately but which also sometimes just happened, as when one falls in love. But although the mechanism seemed to be a giving out of something from within oneself and the experience of such a giving could feel like a plunge, I could not understand at first what it was that one gave; also I did not know the difference between this intense kind of feeling about something one was looking at and the more ordinary ways of looking, I did not know whether it was a difference of kind or only of degree. But then I chanced to read something which did seem to throw light on what might be happening. It suggested that the bit of oneself that one could give to the outside world was of the stuff of one’s dreams, the stored memories of one’s past, but refashioned internally to make one’s hopes and longings for the future.