To be sane, he held, was either to be sedated by melancholy or activated by hysteria, two responses which were 'always and equally warranted for those of sound insight'. All others were irrational, merely symptoms of imaginations left idle, of memories out of work. And above these mundane responses, the only elevation allowable, the only valid transcendence, was a sardonic one: a bliss that annihilated the universe with jeers of dark joy, a mindful ecstasy. Anything else in the way of 'mysticism' was a sign of deviation or distraction, and a heresy to the obvious. (The Medusa)
Feeling unable to maintain this detachment of attitude towards human- and, in especial, matrimonial- affairs, I asked whether it was not true that she had married Bob Duport. She nodded; not exactly conveying, it seemed to me, that by some happy chance their union had introduced her to an unexpected terrestrial paradise.
The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must reflect what is projected upon him. And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic. This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions. The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself. Without this quality, even occasional greatness will destroy a man.