Out of the Quagmire

From Dennett's 'Quining Qualia':
... that is just what we do when we seem to ostend, with the mental finger of inner intention, a quale or qualia complex in our experience. We refer to a property -- a public property of uncharted boundaries -- via reference to our personal and idiosyncratic capacity to respond to it. That idiosyncrasy is the extent of our privacy.

From Time Regained, v. 6 of Proust's Recherche:

At most I noticed cursorily that the differences which exist between every one of our real impressions -- differences which explain why a uniform depiction of life cannot bear much resemblance to the reality -- derive probably from the following cause: the slightest word that we have said, the most insignificant action that we have performed at any one epoch of our life was surrounded by, and coloured by the reflexion of, things which logically had no connection with it and which later have been separated from it by our intellect which could make nothing of them for its own rational purposes, things, however, in the midst of which -- here the pink reflexion of the evening upon the flower-covered wall of a country restaurant, a feeling of hunger, the desire for women, the pleasure of luxury; there the blue volutes of the morning sea and, enveloped in them, phrases of music half emerging like the shoulders of water-nymphs -- the simplest act or gesture remains immured as within a thousand sealed vessels, each one of them filled with things of a colour, a scent, a temperature that are absolutely different one from another, vessels, moreover, which disposed over the whole range of our years, during which we have never ceased to change if only in our dreams and our thoughts, are situated at the most various moral altitudes and give us the sensation of extraordinarily diverse atmospheres.

These qualia that Dennett speaks of -- they seem more like some Questing Beast -- the Beast Glatisant -- hunted by so many knights, most notably the poor Pellinore on his endless quest. These knights, they all seem to agree that they cannot speak of their quarry -- they can't compare their quarry, can't describe, define, or delineate what it is they hunt, but the quest just the same. They still want a captive. Just as the young boys at the start of the Once and Future King capture the unicorn -- they try to bring him home to their mother, but can only carry the gruesome head -- chopped, ragged and bloody -- but they have caught their quarry.

And then there's Proust, or rather his narrator, an aged man, sitting in a quiet room, waiting to join a crowd, waiting and finding that extemporality that is necessary for the true remembrance of time past, of an event experienced. He sees in his moments of extemporality -- when time and the self are suspended and experience falls pure and clear -- he sees something -- sees that he must interpret his gift of second-sight, must interpret the madeleine, the unevenness of the flagstones --

the task was to interpret the given sensations as signs of so many laws and ideas, by trying to think -- that is to say, to draw forth from the shadow -- what I had merely felt, by trying to convert it into its spiritual equivalent. And this method, which seemed to me the sole method, what was it but the creation of a work of art?
The interpretation of the inner text of sensation, experience, imagination -- the quantity of qualia that one life will produce. I think of the process of divination -- of reading one's own fate from the signs given:

As for the inner book of unknown symbols (symbols carved in relief they might have been, which my attention, as it explored my unconscious, groped for and stumbled against and followed the contours of, like a diver exploring the ocean-bed), if I tried to read them no one could help me with any rules, for to read them was an act of creation in which no one can do our work for us, or even collaborate with us. How many for this reason turn aside from writing!