Men pass their whole lives in error when they might pass them in truth. They do wrong when they might do good. The result is suffering when it might be peace. When all the chief decisions of a man's life are made in a condition of spiritual ignorance, what other results may be expected than unfortunate ones? It is a bitter moment--and the consciousness of his error falls painfully upon him--when he discovers that the aims he pursued have led him up a blind alley and that the ambitions he nurtured have yielded only ashes for his hands. The parable of the Prodigal Son now assumes an intimate meaning for him. He may derive an astringent wisdom from all these unpleasant consequences of the lower ego's activities. It has indeed been like a blind man tremblingly feeling his way and moving from one mishap to another, making one false step after another.
-- Notebooks Category 1: Overview of the Quest > Chapter 2: Its Choice > # 282