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By Celia Green

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It is then confidently assumed that physiological processes will take over the restrictive function. There is every sign that the human race has a great resistance to admitting what is really going on. No hint is given to children or adolescents that from the age of twenty-five onwards they may expect to conduct their lives under the gloom of an irreversible process of decay. No one publicises the early age (usually not later than the early twenties) at which most people begin to find their outlook blighted by the first signs of balding, wrinkles, rheumatics, and so on.

However, I knew, as I have said, that this was not really possible for me and that the activity in question had no reality except in imagination. There is nothing in the process of 'having a pleasure' except the imagination of having a pleasure. Of course someone may imagine the process of taking pleasure in a nice cup of tea contemporaneously with drinking tea; but the apparent gratification arises from the imagining that accompanies the process; it is not inherent in the process itself. If ever you stop the imagining (which I suppose in most people must go on habitually) and look at what you are experiencing, asking what is really in it — you will see either the barrenness of human life or the astonishing fact of existence, depending on the efficiency of your psychological defences.

1 Observe the categorical and sweeping nature of this statement. Not 'I do not know of anyone who . . ' or 'Probably no human being . '; but 'It is impossible for a finite being . '. ) This confidence is, of course, completely unrealistic in the sense that it can have no philosophical justification. The total uncertainty does not permit you to infer from your past states of mind that states of mind radically different are not possible. Even if it could be proved that no human being had ever considered reality for more than a flash of time, this would still not constitute a proof that no human being ever could do so.

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Advice to clever children. by Celia Green

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