Sunday, 17 September 2017

Where did all The Outsiders go?

Sixty years ago - Colin Wilson published The Outsider (1956) then Religion and the Rebel (1957) - and at that time everybody recognised what he was talking about: these existentially-overwhelmed outcasts who saw the mainstream world as meaningless and pointless, who felt alienated, and who lacked a place in society.

Wilson gave a name to something everybody knew, something that (under various terms) had been a feature of The West since the dawn of Romanticism (in the late 1700s); and he provided numerous examples of more-or-less famous and accomplished Outsiders - analysis of what had been tried as solutions, and suggestions of what might be done in future...

But here-and-now, Outsiders are not merely socially invisible; but also people don't feel like Outsiders anymore: these are no longer the difficulties people express - the Romantic Outsider has disappeared.

Has the species gone extinct, has the Outsider somehow been 'cured' - is he now integrated into society? Of course not! Everything which caused the Outsider's alienation is now 100... no 10,000 times worse than it was in 1956...

He is still present, he has neither been cured nor integrated; but nowadays he no longer realises he is an Outsider, he no longer feels existential pain, he is outcast but indifferent; because the Outsider is now so rapidly, pervasively and persistently doped and distracted by the pervasive mass media as to be a person who never thinks consecutively for long enough to recognise his situation - never mind to raise objection or do anything effective.

The slightest glimmering degree of becoming existentially alienated, bored or aware; is now almost-instantly extinguished in one or another virtual-reality before it can have any effect.

The Outsider now has zero time to think or feel 'outside' of anything - or inside for that matter.

The cause of the Outsider was human consciousness; the cure would have been a development of consciousness - but what has instead-happened has been the all-but obliteration of consciousness.