"How can we help? By acting instinctively and taking risks, on the understanding, as Mailer liked to say, that the best move lies close to the worst. It’s no good choosing a middle path. We have to risk being damned if we hope to save God, preserve our souls for reincarnation, and avoid cancer. The guiding power in all this business is the unconscious, which Mailer thought had 'an enormous teleological sense,' and which he named 'the navigator.'"
Another extract from that subscribers-only New Yorker article by Louis Menand about Norman Mailer. That jumped out at me in part because of the recent excitement over Justice Scalia's revelation that he believes in the Devil.