Halo Effect: Gold
Gold is associated with everything that a society holds in highest esteem, so the metal translates into strength, warmth, and so on. Also, we’re easily dazzled by the sight of gold, and will do foolish things to obtain it.
“I had fallen helplessly in love with one of the performers. She was so different from ‘the girl I left behind,’ and I was beginning to understand I had only pretended she was right for me. I pursued my beautiful acrobat obsessively until she let me be with her—then I suffered her rejection and contempt. Once again, I had created an ideal of the perfect soulmate, and tried to graft it onto her. It didn’t fit. Such illusions have colored my whole life.”
All that glistens is not gold. This is the mid-point of the story arc. Enter the love interest. The protagonist had a love in his earlier life but he put that behind him. Now he finds himself seduced by his own fantasies, which he projects onto a beautiful dancer he meets in the teeming city. In fact, the woman is not who he thinks she is, and once he sees past his fantasies, he sees he hasn’t found true love at all. Maybe the woman he loved in his earlier life is in fact the love that he’s been seeking. Neil says “halo effect” represents a psychological term for the effect beautiful people have on us. We tend to project onto beautiful people what we want to believe about them, and that blinds us to their true nature. Eventually we’re disillusioned.
More on “Halo Effect.”