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Section 44

44. Contemplation alone stands untouched by magic; no man self-gathered falls to a spell; for he is one, and that unity is all he perceives, so that his reason is not beguiled but holds the due course, fashioning its own career and accomplishing its task.

In the other way of life, it is not the essential man that gives the impulse; it is not the reason; the unreasoning also acts as a principle, and this is the first condition of the misfortune. Caring for children, planning marriage- everything that works as bait, taking value by dint of desire- these all tug obviously: so it is with our action, sometimes stirred, not reasonably, by a certain spirited temperament, sometimes as foolishly by greed; political interests, the siege of office, all betray a forth-summoning lust of power; action for security springs from fear; action for gain, from desire; action undertaken for the sake of sheer necessities- that is, for supplying the insufficiency of nature- indicates, manifestly, the cajoling force of nature to the safeguarding of life.

We may be told that no such magic underlies good action, since, at that, Contemplation itself, certainly a good action, implies a magic attraction.

The answer is that there is no magic when actions recognized as good are performed upon sheer necessity with the recollection that the veritable good is elsewhere; this is simply knowledge of need; it is not a bewitchment binding the life to this sphere or to any thing alien; all is permissible under duress of human nature, and in the spirit of adaptation to the needs of existence in general- or even to the needs of the individual existence, since it certainly seems reasonable to fit oneself into life rather than to withdraw from it.

When, on the contrary, the agent falls in love with what is good in those actions, and, cheated by the mere track and trace of the Authentic Good makes them his own, then, in his pursuit of a lower good, he is the victim of magic. For all dalliance with what wears the mask of the authentic, all attraction towards that mere semblance, tells of a mind misled by the spell of forces pulling towards unreality.

The sorcery of Nature is at work in this; to pursue the non-good as a good, drawn in unreasoning impulse by its specious appearance: it is to be led unknowing down paths unchosen; and what can we call that but magic.

Alone in immunity from magic is he who, though drawn by the alien parts of his total being, withholds his assent to their standards of worth, recognizing the good only where his authentic self sees and knows it, neither drawn nor pursuing, but tranquilly possessing and so never charmed away.

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