author of The Ecstasy of Michaela and assorted stories and essays
Epigraph/epitaph: "He has been a sick man all his life. He was always a seeker after something in the world that is there in no satisfying measure, or not at all."
The mind, then, passes from sensation to thought through a middle disposition in which sensuousness and reason are active at the same time, but just because of this they are mutually destroying their determining power and through their opposition producing negation. This middle disposition, in which our nature is constrained neither physically nor morally and yet is active in both ways, preeminently deserves to be called a free disposition; and if we call the condition of sensuous determination the physical, and that of rational determination the logical and moral, we must call this condition of real and active determinacy the aesthetic.
Friedrich Schiller, On the Aesthetic Education of Man in a Series of Letters (trans. Reginald Snell)
The problem with displacing the supernatural “back” into the realm of psychology … is that it remains precisely that: only a displacement. The unearthliness, the charisma, the devastating noumenon of the supernatural is conserved. One cannot speak in the end, it seems to me, of a “decline in magic” in post-Enlightenment Western culture, only perhaps its relocation within the new empire of subjectivity itself … But the effect was to demonize the world of thought. We have yet to explore very deeply the social, intellectual, and existential implications of the act of demonization.
Nabokov saw the intellectual vacuity of Freudian theory and its pervasiveness in the popular and the professional imagination. He thought it corrupted intellectual standards, infringed on personal freedom, undermined the ethics of personal responsibility, destroyed literary sensitivity, and distorted the real nature of childhood attachment to parents–the last of which has been amply confirmed by modern developmental psychology.