“When Iâ€™m bored, my sense of values goes to sleep. But itâ€™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 â€˜The Outsiderâ€™ but I read some of his other work including two science fiction novels, â€˜The Mind Parasitesâ€™ and â€˜The Philosopherâ€™s Stoneâ€™, 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.
Wilsonâ€™s writing draws us into his quest for finding this â€˜trickâ€™ 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.