Cosima had committed herself to marriage with von Bülow when she was still in her teens and had been swept away by a concert in Berlin conducted by him. The concert program had included the first Berlin performance of Wagner’s Venusberg music from Tannhaüser. Von Bülow had proposed to her on the same night. Both of them were in love with Wagner and completely transported by his glorious music; one wonders who he was wooing and who she was accepting.

— Sue Prideaux, I Am Dynamite!: A Life of Nietzsche

In Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, Albertine’s professed undying love for the Narrator and his intellect is explained as a result of those mornings when he had just shaved; it was his smooth skin she really loved, though she instinctively rationalized it as something more profound. How many times do these mischievous ghosts hover over our shoulders, redirecting our thoughts, diverting our feelings? How often do we focus on the figure rather than the background as the source of our happiness, only to feel disappointed or betrayed when that surrounding context changes? And yet, how many great things are nonetheless born of those humble parents Inattention and Error?