The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
I realized that in those two years, in order to preserve something — an inner hush maybe, maybe not — I had weaned myself from all the things I used to love — that every act of life from the morning toothbrush to the friend at dinner had become an effort.
Unless madness or drugs or drink come into it, this phase comes to a dead end, eventually, and is succeeded by a vacuous quiet. In this you can try to estimate what has been sheared away and what is left. Only when this quiet came to me did I realize that I had gone through two parallel experiences.
So what? This is what I think now: that the natural state of the sentient adult is a qualified unhappiness.