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And if the particularization happen to affect the Ego, traditions of defense appear which are older and more strategic and fuller of tactics than military affairs. The poet craved a power which would cause us to see ourselves as others see us. He would observe his own Ego. Since Ego came of tasting the forbidden fruit, no doubt it is canonically forbidden also to bite into its illusion. I forget the page and number of the commandment, but I am sure there must be one. Dozens, indeed. How does one go about setting one's teeth in a chimera?
What its effect would be on the survivors--on residual morale--the army has not calculated. There is, instead, a kind of contempt implicit in the very announcement of this order-of-magnitude statistic. And since contempt arises from its opposite, an inferiority complex, some colossal specimen of inferiority must support the cold emotion that accompanies the statement of home-front jeopardy. If the estimate is rational--which it is--then the very manner of its pronouncement and the comparative apathy of its reception represent a squalor in soldiers and the public soul as well--an inferiority, a fear.
To man, the daily riddle of now is obsessive because it appears impossible of solution. He can no longer experience the moment: it approaches or it has gone by, but it is not here. of it. If the conclusion in these pages concerning man's sacrifice of his contact with eternal time is correct, that situation would be expectable. So would another. The idea of the infinite would haunt and baffle the ego as severely as does the elusive Now. Man would trace time forward and backward as far as his imagination could go-and pursue the stretch of space to the last resource of his invention; it would seem to him that these must end, or stop, and yet wherever he put a boundary in his mind, the necessity of a Beyond would seem to be instantly established and the enigma would so indefinitely continue.