A sympathetic link can be made between Stanley’s art and aspects of continental philosophic thinking of his time, such as that promoted by Heidegger and by the contemporary French classicist and philosopher Henri Bergson (1859-1941.) Although there seems no record of Stanley having read their writings, the parallelism in so much of their creative thinking suggests a close indirect influence, perhaps through the general literary dissemination of their ideas in his day and its effect from Stanley's conversations with friends. 

Bergson's ideas reflected in part the thinking of early Greek philosophers such as Heraclitus, whose outlook favoured the intuitive in human thought, rather than the more reasoned systems of the later Platonic-Sophoclean schools from which our Western thought was to develop. In Stanley's day, the latter were considered the norm by analytical philosophers like Bertrand Russell and A.J.Ayer, and were accepted without question by contemporary 'Bloomsbury' artists like Roger Fry, Duncan Grant and Clive Bell.

There is no doubt that Stanley was sensitive to the divide between the systems and instinctively opted for the Bergsonian approach, as evidenced in
 the subtitle he gave The Cookham Resurrection, The Instinctive and the Intellectual. One result was that the conventional art world of his time, and particularly the Bloomsbury artists, became critical of his output, so that their advocate in his life, Patricia Preece, was never able to value his art as he wanted. 

Bergson offered two propositions which match Stanley’s outlook. One was that our conception of reality, which conventionally we may presume to grasp by using reason to box into individual entities (the 'intellectual' Platonic-Sophoclean approach), becomes more effective if envisaged as a continuum of experience - a fluid stream-of-consciousness captured by the use of our intuition (the instinctive in Stanley's vocabulary).

To adapt to this approach we may have to turn our thinking back to front (very much a Stanley instinct) and see our concepts not as individual static images in need of interconnection, but more like frames in a movie, amalgamating into meaning when linking with each other in a designed sequence on a time-scale intrinsic to itself. We ourselves, of course,
invent and design the sequence, sometimes so unexpectedly that we feel it must have been revealed to us from somewhere outside us. The sequence - the movie - becomes a story we have fashioned for ourselves and which we are convinced is true within the parameters of its storyline.

In our movie - our expressed stream of consciousness - each frame must be relevant to the whole. Its attributes have to be accurately determined to begin with, and thereafter must remain unalterable. This is the source of Stanley's insistence that each of his concepts needed to be imaged accurately on canvas, and once formed, to remain unchanged - eternal. The recognition and gradual assembly of such eternal concepts into some kind of personal framework, however dimly glimpsed or expressed, becomes a further function of our intuitive thought and forms the fundamentals of metaphysical or spiritual or religious or artistic endeavour.

This accords well with the substance of Stanley’s visionary art in which, this website has argued, each painting was constructed to express a concept or 'message' but which, when assembled progressively with its followers (his 'pilgrimage'). would eventually lead him to understand the 'true' nature of reality (his 'Holy Grail') as represented by his church-house.

Since we are all confined within the limits of our experience, difficulty arises when we try to enter into the 'movies' of others, or to engage, as Stanley put it, in our prison-wall tapping. We are aware that we can never achieve understanding of the totality of someone-else's stream-of-consciousness, but if we are to take the first steps towards it (the beginning of love in Stanley's meaning) we need to glimpse at least something of the order of his or her 'movie' frames. To view a single 'frame' standing alone can offer only a muted comprehension, in the way a still picture from a movie gives only a glimpse of the whole. Artists through the centuries have devised what ways they can to make their 'movies' clear to the rest of us, but this website has drawn attention to Stanley's remarkable use of counterpoint in imagery (see fugue)

It is argued that in employing the device Stanley was not merely joining two frames together to increase their effectiveness, but was setting them together in such a way that from their conjoining a new concept emerged adumbrating the 'storyline' - the eternal theme - of his stream-of-consciousness. When we grasp a meaning to it we find satisfying, then we feel we are beginning to comprehend the whole he is trying to convey to us. Facing one of his pictures, we find ourselves as though temporarily in a cinema where he is the permanent projectionist, and as we watch the excerpt he happens to be screening, the 'unreality' of his projected imagery turns us inside out and becomes a moment of 'real' experience for us  - 'truth'. We emerge from his cinema (pass on from his picture) into the real ('unreal') world of our own lives in a state of catharsis in which we are still in the unreal ('real') world of his 'movie'. He has temporarily 'taken us out of ourselves'. Of course, for most of us the moment of catharsis passes, although we can retain memories of its impact. But for Stanley it persisted as his 'up-in-heaven' - a vivid 'eternal'.

The other proposition in which Stanley's thinking seems to match Bergson’s was that if intuition were the discoverer of ‘truth‘, then it must play a significant part in the sphere of human creativity. In the Darwinian theory that all forms of life are motivated to adapt to existence in the most favourable way they can (their striving for perfection) Bergson saw intuition as a response specific to our human species. He labelled it the élan vital (translatable as ‘the creative impulse’) in days before the discovery of the structure of DNA opened up our knowledge of genetics and of the specific genes which facilitate the activity of our memes, the imitative processes which are being recognised as spurring the evolution of our species.

Bergson was perspicacious in concluding that the 'creative impulse' operated the expansion of our ability to form concepts faster than that of other creatures. All species are ingenious in their instinct for survival, and increasingly we are recognising the often unusual forms of awareness they use to achieve it. But only our own appears to have acquired the ability to filter creature instincts through the fine mental sieves of reason, experience and memory, permitting us to conceptualise beyond mere survival impulses. The ability certainly seems to have provided the 'switch' by which Stanley was able to lift himself from down-to-earth to up-in-heaven.

If the impulse can be said to power our personal concepts, then it must also power our general concepts, seeing that personal concepts are shaped into general concepts when associated with those of our fellows with whose concepts we agree. The process provides our world-view, our life-frame. The new concepts become super-personal, and in need of a language to describe their global impact. Of the many terminologies invented to cope with the process - philosophy, psychology, neurology and so on - Stanley favoured the more abstract 'spiritual' language of religion or metaphysics, intuitive languages in which an individual heaven could transform into a Heaven, and a personal love into Love. In concentrating on the Christian form from early familiarity, he did not exclude the sympathetic concepts of the many other forms he came across in later life. But in his art, its familiarity served as a paradigm for him.

Inevitably there were many of more logical temperament who considered - and sometimes dismissed - such views as unrealistic. Stanley's art, intuitively sharing Bergson's precepts, came to be seen by many critics as pitched misguidedly outside contemporary conventions. Even Stanley's academically-minded friends like James Wood and Desmond Chute did their best to deter him at times, arguing that if he chose the intuitive stream-of-consciousness approach to reality, then 'truth' as a concept became fluid and there was no logic by which it could be given definition at any point.

Perhaps an answer lies in the words of Graham Greene : The truth is there is no truth, but the mind persistently demands in a story something it can recognise as the truth. Stanley's art, in particular and in toto, is ultimately the telling of a story (a 'comfort-myth' perhaps, most of us seem to need one) but one which in his case turns reality as we think we perceive it inside out, so that a 'down-to-earth' becomes an 'up in-heaven'. If we too can manage to turn our conventional concept of reality inside-out, then any 'funniness' we might think we see in Stanley's art disappears. No longer does it smack of randomness, but on the contrary, in its accuracy it touches the deep well-springs of our experience.