“The Point Is Ecstasy”

“Whatever men make,” she says, “what they felt when they made it is there. If it was made to make money, it will smell of money. That’s why these houses are so ugly, all the corners they cut are still in them. All the savings. That’s why cathedrals are so lovely; nobles and ladies in velvet and ermine dragged the stones up the ramps. Think of a painter. He stands in front of the canvas with a color on his brush. Whatever he feels when he makes the mark -if he’s tired or bored and proud -will be there. The same color, but we’ll feel it. Like fingerprints. Like handwriting. Man is a mechanism for turning things into spirit and turning spirit into things.”

“What’s the point?” Nelson asks.

“The point is ecstasy,” she says. “Energy. Anything that is good is in ecstasy.”

from Rabbit ReduxJohn Updike, 1971


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