They knew how to live with nature and get along with nature. They didn't try too hard to be all men and no animal. That's the mistake we made when Darwin showed up. We embraced him and Huxley and Freud, all smiles. And then we discovered that Darwin and our religions didn't mix. Or at least we didn't think they did. We were fools. We tried to budge Darwin and Huxley and Freud. They wouldn't move very well. So, like idiots, we tried knocking down religion. We succeeded pretty well. We lost our faith and went around wondering what life was for. If art was no more than a frustrated outflinging of desire, if religion was no more than self-delusion, what good was life? Faith had always given us answer to all things. But it all went down the drain with Freud and Darwin. We were and still are lost people.
God isn't the son of Memory; He's the son of Immediate Experience. You can't worship a spirit in spirit, unless you do it now. Wallowing in the past may be good literature. As wisdom, it's hopeless. Time Regained is Paradise Lost, and Time Lost is Paradise Regained. Let the dead bury their dead. If you want to live at every moment as it presents itself, you've got to die to every other moment.
Why do you love the woman you're in love with? Because she is. And that, after all, is God's own definition of Himself; I am that I am. The girl is who she is. Some of her isness spills over and impregnates the entire universe. Objects and events cease to be mere representations of classes and become their own uniqueness; cease to be illustrations of verbal abstractions and become fully concrete. Then you stop being in love, and the universe collapses, with an almost audible squeak of derision, into its normal insignificance.
Katy was neither a Methodist nor a Masochist. She was a goddess and the silence of goddesses is genuinely golden. None of your superficial plating. A solid, twenty-two-carat silence all the way through. The Olympian's trap is kept shut, not by an act of willed discretion, but because there's really nothing to say. Goddesses are all of one piece. There's no internal conflict in them. Whereas the lives of people like you and me are one long argument. Desires on one side, woodpeckers on the other. Never a moment of real silence.
Her cheeks were flushed. She caught hold of the Savage's arm and pressed it, limp, against her side. He looked down at her for a moment, pale, pained, desiring, and ashamed of his desire. He was not worthy, not... Their eyes for a moment met. What treasures hers promised! A queen's ransom of temperament. Hastily he looked away, disengaged his imprisoned arm. He was obscurely terrified lest she should cease to be something he could feel himself unworthy of.
Henry's universe was modeled on the highball. It was a mixture in which half a pint of the fizziest philosophical and scientific ideas all but drowned a small jigger of immediate experience, most of it strictly sexual. Broken reeds are seldom good mixers. They're far too busy with their ideas, their sensuality and their psychosomatic complaints to be able to take an interest in other people - even their own wives and children. They live in a state of the most profound voluntary ignorance, not knowing anything about anybody, but abounding in preconceived opinions about everything.
The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend