Friday, 23 November 2018

Colin Wilson and the wisdom of the 1950s

Colin Wilson published his first book, The Outsider, in 1956: it was an international sensation and best-seller, and it was about the alienation of modern man.

The Outsider was a deep analysis; and in his second book, a year later, Religion and the Rebel; Wilson completed his argument and outlined what must be the solution: this solution was Romanticism and Religion (specifically a Romantic Christianity).

Although Wilson was far from the first to reach this conclusion - for example Owen Barfield had been absolutely explicit about it in Romanticism Comes of Age a decade earlier - but accessible to only a tiny audience of Anthroposophists...

My point is that by the middle 1950s we knew what was the fundamental problem with our Western Civilisation and what to do about it; and we also knew what would not work.

What has happened over the past 60 years is that we now no longer know what is wrong with our civilisation, and all the ideas of what to do about it that have occupied so many people for the past two generations have been wrong and harmful.

We have spent decades of a vast and thousand-fold enlarged and still-amplifying realm of public discourse in the mass media; in analysing, discussing, debating, implementing and resisting stuff that cannot possibly work - even if it was perfectly implemented in an ideal world.

This applies without exception to the entirety of mainstream political, social and academic discourse - it has been a truly colossal... what? Waste of Time? Displacement activity? Deliberate harm?

And still it goes on! Truth and True-Motivation recede further and further from consciousness. And in this respect the opposition are no better than The Establishment; since the opposition spend all their time analysing, debating and resisting the Establishment agenda - and remain utterly indifferent to the fact that even-if the world was remade in the way they aspire-to; it would only get us back to where we were in the 1950s...

- which we know (from Colin Wilson, at least) was intrinsically intolerable to the human spirit.