“When I’m bored, my sense of values goes to sleep. But it’s not dead, only asleep. A crisis can wake it up and make the world seem infinitely important and interesting. But what I need to learn is the trick of shaking them awake myself . . . And incidentally, another name for the sense of values is intelligence. A stupid person is a person whose values are narrow.” ~ Colin Wilson The Black Room (1975)
I learned that one of my favourite authors, Colin Wilson died in December at the age of 82. I never read his most celebrated mainstream book ‘The Outsider’ but I read some of his other work including two science fiction novels, ‘The Mind Parasites’ and ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’, that I rate very highly. One of his themes, the major one, is that there is something blocking humans from being all that we could be. In his sci-fi he identifies the blockage with discarnate alien entities who have some reason for inhibiting our development. In his non-fiction he talks about boredom and the ‘trick’ of shaking ourselves from it.
Wilson’s writing draws us into his quest for finding this ‘trick’ of shaking ourselves awake and he constantly reminds us that it is necessary and possible to stay awake. He was a very optimistic writer and one whose writing and ideas may well be worth revisiting.