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A relationship that strays from one’s prototype is limbically equivalent to isolation. Loneliness outweighs most pain. These two facts collude to produce one of love’s common and initially baffling quirks: most people will choose misery with a partner their limbic brain recognizes over the stagnant pleasure of a “nice” relationship with someone their attachment mechanisms cannot detect. Consider the young man described in the last chapter wrestling with the present-day reenactment of the long-ago love with his fiery, critical mother. As an adult, he faces a binary universe. If he connects with a woman, she turns out to be his mother’s younger clone. But a supportive woman leaves him exasperatingly empty of feeling—no spark, no chemistry, no fireworks.
Every reader, as he reads, is actually the reader of himself. The writer's work is only a kind of optical instrument he provides the reader so he can discern what he might never have seen in himself without this book. The reader's recognition in himself of what the book says is the proof of the book's truth.
“When before the beauty of a sunset or of a mountain you pause and exclaim, ‘Ah,’ you are participating in divinity.” Such a moment of participation involves a realization of the wonder and sheer beauty of existence. People living in the world of nature experience such moments every day. They live in the recognition of something there that is much greater than the human dimension.
The real artist is the one who has learned to recognize and to render what Joyce has called the “radiance” of all things, as an epiphany or showing forth of their truth.