Blindly following the norms of their society and doing only what other people expect

In the words of the Old French text of The Quest of the Holy Grail, if he wants to succeed, he must enter the forest “at a point that he, himself, had chosen, where it was darkest and there was no path.” The wasteland in the grail legend is a place where people live inauthentic lives, blindly following the norms of their society and doing only what other people expect.”

The Spiral Staircase, P. 268

Exile, is of course, not simply a change of address

The violent upheavals of the twentieth century have made millions of people homeless in one traumatic uprooting after another. Exile, is of course, not simply a change of address. It is also spiritual dislocation. Anthropologists and psychologists tell us that displaced people feel lost in a universe that has suddenly become alien. Once the fixed point of home is gone, there is fundamental lack of orientation that makes everything seem relative and aimless. Cut off from the roots of their culture and identity, migrants and refugees can feel that they are somehow withering away and becoming insubstantial. Their world – inextricably linked with their unique place in the cosmos – has literally come to an end.”

– The Spiral Staircase, P.23-24.