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C.S. Lewis on Sehnsucht as Thrillseeking

Surprised by Joy (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: 1955), 168.

I smuggled in the assumption that what I wanted was a “thrill,” a state of my own mind. And there lies the deadly error. Only when your whole attention and desire are fixed on something else — whether a distant mountain, or the past, or the gods of Asgard — does the “thrill” arise. It is a byproduct. Its very existence presupposes that you desire not it but something other and outer. If by any perverse askesis [asceticism or discipline] or the use of any drug it could be produced from within, it would at once be seen to be of no value. For take away the object, and what, after all, would be left? A whirl of images, a fluttering sensation in the diaphragm, a momentary abstraction. And who could want that? This, I say, is the first and deadly error, which appears on every level of life and is equally deadly on all, turning religion into a self-caressing luxury and love into auto-eroticism.