22t | CR Book VIII, Chapter 4 - Reifications [1940]

to go on in another world. The new self no longer
recognises what the old self saw. It is astonished
by everything, marvels at it. The memories of a
glorious past have burnt out the worldly memories.
The memory-element in perception is thus extingu-
ished. Even the most common things appear as
though one has never seen them before.

As the fulness of one's attention is drawn to the
invisible light, things here go into the background,
are seen as in peripheral vision. As things be-
come more distant, no real, close & intimate contact
with them seems possible. As one retrains one's
own instincts so much that one's natural intent-
ions are always defeated, one's own natural being
is not confirmed by objects, and that estranges
them further. As one forgets the wherefore of
things, grasps the meaninglessness of words, & wi-
sely takes signs no longer as signs of things, all
that is sometimes left is but an oppressive so( )e-

Intimate familiarity comes from either love, or
complete mastery. Neither is here possible. You
lose your sympathy with things as objects of cra-
ving. As subjects of suffering they evoke a com-
passion which you cannot live out because you
feel powerless to remove this gigantic mass of

This process of estrangement must also seize the
person. The body, looked at as an object, like
others, seems in its very existence a strange acc-
ident, as certainly not one's own, as an incompreh-
ensible fate. If a man is not one with, not in his
voluntary effort, he loses the consciousness of
self-activity. What he does happens by itself, not
through him. In vain he asks himself whether he
is himself and in the exhaustion of his natural
powers he finds no reply.

This condition marks an essential period of trans-
ition. Our attitude to what a thing, or a person,
or the self, is, should go through a movement of
3 stages, and it is the rhythm of this movement
which gives its meaning to the transcendental af-
firmation-negation (ch 2).

(1) If you take a carrot, you start with the assum-
tion that you know quite a lot about it, from the
familiarity of dealing with it, handling it etc.
(The carrot is, of course, a carrot). (2) If then, by
analysis you try to explain what the carrot is in