On Vagueness and Precision

“It is precisely because of our ignorance that we see across the river [to the castle] with such precision. We know the precise carvings on the capital of each stone pillar and the precise history of each soul: they are transparent to our understanding. On our side of the river, even the most familiar lanes bear surprises around well-known bends; we see only a certain distance into the hearts of our wives and friends, before darkness and uncertainty begin. Perhaps, after all, this is the lure of legend: not the dreamy twilight of the luxuriating fancy, in love with all that is misty and half-glimpsed, but the sharp clarity forbidden by our elusive lives.”

— Steven Millhauser
from The Princess, the Dwarf, and the Dungeon