I had an e-mail correspondent, a woman steeped in the wisdom of this age, write me recently about her decision to leave her husband after over twenty years of marriage when she realized that the shackles of conventional marriage prevented her from unleashing and empowering "the inner goddess" that lay buried in her. A therapist helped her realize that she had unconsciously sabotaged the fulfillment of this "need" as the result of a twisted sense of self-punishment arising from the unspoken guilt she felt because her great grandfather had molested her when she was a young girl.
I'm no psychiatrist or psychologist, not even a therapist. I didn't know this woman well, and she corresponded with me initially because of her admiration for something I wrote on my professional blog (with which she did not agree, but with respect to which she liked the way I expressed myself). Proving the truth of the old adage "No good deed goes unpunished," I responded cordially and soon enough was rewarded with with too much information.
Drawing on my finely honed sense of the most appropriate bon mot for any occasion, I suggested that she read Chesterton's "Orthodoxy" for his insight about the efficacy of seeking "the inner light." As expected, it was the last I've heard from her.
Don't blame me, blame Gil.
From G.K. Chesterton's "Orthodoxy":
Of all conceivable forms of enlightenment the worst is what these people call the Inner Light. Of all horrible religions the most horrible is the worship of the god within. Any one who knows any body knows how it would work; any one who knows any one from the Higher Thought Centre knows how it does work. That Jones shall worship the god within him turns out ultimately to mean that Jones shall worship Jones. Let Jones worship the sun or moon, anything rather than the Inner Light; let Jones worship cats or crocodiles, if he can find any in his street, but not the god within. Christianity came into the world firstly in order to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm a divine company and a divine captain. The only fun of being a Christian was that a man was not left alone with the Inner Light, but definitely recognized an outer light, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, terrible as an army with banners.