It was this element of 'un-achievableness.' It reminded me of the feeling I used to get as a child if I was on a day-trip to the seaside, and the coach went over a river or past a lake: a curious, deep longing for the water that would certainly not be satisfied by drinking it or swimming in it. In the same way, C.S. Lewis has spoken of how he used to be convulsed with desire by the idea of Autumn -- the brown leaves and the smell of smoke from garden bonfires, and that strange wet smell about the grass . . . Sorme has the same suspicion about sex: that it is ultimately unattainable: that what happens in bed is a kind of confidence trick. . . .
In Ritual in the Dark, this inability to grasp the essence of sexuality becomes the symbol of our inability to graps the essence of anything important -- of Autumn, of water . . . This, it seemed to me, is the basic difference between human beings. Some are perfectly satisfied with what they have; they eat, drink, impregnate their wives, and take life as it comes. Others can never forget that they are being cheated; that life tempts them to struggle by offering them the essence of sex, of beauty, of success; and that she always seems to pay in counterfeit money.
Tags: Colin Wilson, The Outsider