But I shall look into myself.  There I  shall seek my real difficulties and my actual observations of my real states; there I shall find my own sense of the rational and the irrational; I shall see whether the alleged antithesis exists and how it exists in a living condition.  I confess that it is my habit, when dealing with problems of the mind, to distinguish between those which I might have invented and which represent a need truly felt by my mind, and the rest, which are other people’s problems. Of the latter, more than one (say forty per cent) seem to me to be nonexistent, to be no more than apparent problems: I do not feel them. And as for the rest, more than one (say forty per cent) seem to me to be badly stated…. I do not say I am right. I say that I observe what occurs within myself when I attempt to replace the verbal formulas by values and meanings that are nonverbal, that are independent of the language used. I discover naive impulses and images, raw products of my needs and of my personal experiences.  It is my life itself that is surprised, and my life must, if it can, provide my answers, for it is only in the reactions of our life that the full force, and as it were the necessity, of our truth can reside.

From “Poetry and Abstract Thought” in Paul Valery: An Anthology.  James Lawler, editor. (Bollingen, 1977) pages 140-141.

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