It happens sometimes that the Angel of Death, when he comes for a soul, sees that he has come too soon, that the man’s term of life is not yet expired; so he does not take the soul away, does not even show himself to it, but leaves the man one of the innumerable pairs of eyes with which his body is covered. And then the man sees strange and new things, more than other men see and more than he himself sees with his natural eyes; and he also sees, not as men see but as the inhabitants of other worlds see: that things do not exist “necessarily”, but “freely”, that they are and at the same time are not, that they appear when they disappear and disappear when they appear.
The testimony of the old, natural eyes, “everybody’s” eyes, directly contradicts the testimony of the eyes left by the angel. But since all our other organs of sense, and even our reason, agree with our ordinary sight, and since the whole of human “experience,” individual and collective, supports it, the new vision seems to be outside the law, ridiculous, fantastic, the product of a disordered imagination. It seems only a step short of madness; not poetic madness … but the madness for which men are pent in cells.
And then begins a struggle between two kinds of vision, a struggle of which the issue is as mysterious and uncertain as its origin.