psychology

Psychological attempts are false, false and dangerous. They lay claim, basically, to a serious but almost always rash judgment. The psychologist claims to judge the depths of the soul, yet he is unable to reach them, for to us the depths of the soul are but darkness and to God alone a light. The psychologist thus works by observing external manifestations and relates them to the innermost depths, but one cannot discern the depths through what appears on the surface. Luminous air bubbles sometimes rise from the ocean floor. Novelists with psychological pretentions create characters who appear real because they have been built from fragments of real things. But, if you put this same novelist in front of a real being and if you listen to what he has to say about this person, you will discover how little contact he has with who this person really is. All artists put themselves into their art, and novelists—even with psychological pretentions—are sometimes artists. So how can they form a true psychological character or even a copy, while mixing it with their own substance? It is easy to see the absurdity of such a situation. All of Balzac’s characters are false, their situations, their actions are all false. But in the atmosphere that he has created they rarely lack the most cogent reality. Reality is their right to exist; truth, a parade of appearances.

As for modern psychological pseudo-novelists, nothing is more eccentric and comical than their abilities: almost all of them are, basically, repentant or unsuccessful poets. Now, the distinctive feature of a poet is to know and have at his disposal only a single being, a single subject: himself. A poet watches himself live and listens to himself think. The poet is an obscure animal who sometimes writes, and who totally realizes himself when he has the chance to know, to be able to crystallize and condense what he most deeply feels and thinks in the most concentrated manner.

The greatest saints are perhaps known by God alone, as might be the greatest poets.