Thursday, 23 August 2018
"Everyday consciousness is a liar" - forty years of Colin Wilson
It was forty years ago that Colin Wilson made me recognise explicitly something I had unconsciously felt for about five years; which was that ordinary everyday human consciousness is essentially worthless. A life spent at that level was not really being lived - it was a mere automatic behaviour. From then onwards my main and recurring focus in life was attaining a higher consciousness.
But in this I was hampered, thwarted, by my irreligion. I believed that reality had just-happened, was not 'created'; therefore reality had no purpose... and this deep nihilism always unravelled any attempt I made to find meaning in my experiences of higher consciousness.
I might often respond with intense happiness and aliveness to beautiful countryside, and after Wilson I might acknowledge that this kind of 'peak experience' was what life was about; but ultimately I regarded this as something that happened only in my mind - and that the countryside was just a stimulus to this pleasurable state (and this stimulus was contingent - just an accidental product of my makeup and experiences).
(And when my mind ended, with disease or death, so did the reality and significance of this experience.)
If only - I now think - I could have gone on and read A Geography of Consciousness by William Arkle; the foreword to which was my introduction to Wilson. Yet that book is very difficult. And I was immune to anything which I felt was an attempt to prove the reality of God to me - that raised all resistances.
If only I had read Arkle's Letter from a Father, perhaps things would have been different? (and this was nearly included as an Appendix to GoC, as Wilson's introduction explains...) - Because there Arkle doesn't argue but just assumes the reality of God, and has him explain what he is trying to do with creation.
But very likely I needed to go the long way round to this insight...