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Albert Guérard – The danger in the dark

July 29, 2014

“The natural language of the poet is symbol, the natural language of the prophet is passion, the natural language of the mystic is silence. I, a teacher, must be satisfied with plain rational discourse. I am aware that there are worlds beyond speech and beyond sense. But when I put my thoughts on paper, I am condemned to abide within the limits of the intelligible. I know twilight when I reach it; and beyond that, I know the dark. …

But prophet, poet, lover, mystic, and modest rationalist, although they move on different planes, have one great duty in common: to preserve their integrity. For all of them, the first and greatest commandment is: ‘Thou shalt not pretend, least of all to thyself.’ There is some hope for the man who seeks to deceive others: if exposed, he has to acknowledge the error of his ways. But a soul which cannot discriminate between deception, make-believe, will-to-believe, belief and knowledge is in danger of hell-fire.”

(from Bottle in the Sea [1954])

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