the process is the artwork

Trance of Sorrow, Trance of Wonder

“The imagination cannot pierce beyond terrestrial conditions, or the sense of self grasp more than the natural consciousness.

One thinks at first no more than this: “there is nothing possible that is good enough for me.” Only as one grows by Initiation does one approach the asymptote “sabbé pi Dukkham”* *”Everything is Sorrow” of the Buddha, when the relations of subject and object, both expanded to infinity, are seen to be no less in the bosom of the Great Curse than were their first avatars, the petty Ego and the perceptible Universe.

So also for the transcending of this Trance of Sorrow. At first the victory often comes by trick of mind; extending subject or object, as the case may be, by an effort to escape reality, one seems for a moment to have defeated the Equation; but the clouds regather as the mind recovers its equilibrium. Thus, one invents some “Heaven,” defining it arbitrarily as free from sorrow: only to find, on exact examination, that its conditions are the same as those of “Earth.”

– Aleister Crowley. Little Essays Towards Truth: Sorrow. (Available from URL:

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