First in babyhood the thumb, the dummy, the pacifier. Then in infancy the teddy, the dolly, the comfort blanket. In childhood the favourite story, the secret place, the imaginary companion. In youth the best friend and the worship of the hero or the heroine. In adolescence the
security of the group and the fanciful ideal in a sexual partner, and in adulthood? Ah, in adulthood, so St Paul tells us, we have put away childish things.

But have we? Suppose in fact we havenít, and that in our misapprehension of what we think of as reality, it only seems to us that we have .....

As human beings most of us perceive things - the impact on our senses of objects, facts, events, reality - in much the same way. But as we file them with experiences already held in the memory of the complex computer we call our mind, we begin to interpret them in ways unique to us. Their association forms the basis of concepts, each concept being inevitably personal to ourselves. The process is our conceptualisation.

Being human, we instinctively seek opportunities to link our concepts with those of our fellows - one aspect of Stanley's prison-wall tapping - in order to assure ourselves of the common ground we define as the mutual or universal aspects of our humanity. These links are managed effectively when we are each aware of the distinction between what we perceive as reality and what we conceive as our interpretation of it.

Sadly in the hurly-burly of existence we often apply the logic by which we perceive things to the imagination by which we form concepts, so confusng perception and conceptualisation. Artists need to be sensitive to the distinction, and Stanley's alertness to it was a vital factor in the power of his vision. It was the source, for example, of the unexpected subtitle he gave his Cookham Resurrection painting through which he was able to promote a subtext clarifying the difference between The Intellectual (the logically perceptive) and the Instinctive (the conceptually imaginative, or intuitive.)

The realm of conceptualisation
is the one to which the poet and the artist - especially one like Stanley who called it his up-in-heaven - instinctively dedicates his output, hoping that maybe others will find from it a sympathetic link to their own conceptualisation and thus achieve a moment of joint recognition. In Stanley's visionary art, it helps explain those frequent instances in which he shows himself in some associate form or figure as standing outside the reality of the experience he is depicting and presenting it to us conceptually as a reflection of our humanity or our universality. 

Those concepts which serve to comfort us (give us joy in Stanley's terms, or at least provide us with such comfort as is available) we adopt as our beliefs, or our hopes, or our longings or our ambitions. We weave them into the substance of a comfort-myth, an imaginative storyline we fashion for ourselves and by which we instinctively try to steer our lives.