Work ethic of an outsider

“You ask me how I try to ‘become god’. I can only reply that I try constantly to awaken my mind and to deepen my control over my own powers. I do this by trying to keep my life free of irrelevancies. I live quietly. I don’t chase women, and I try to avoid too many ‘friends’…

I am afraid that one of the favorite fallacies of men of talent is that they ought to be Living with a Capital L. Lots of women, public triumphs, discussions into the dawn. This is stupidity. I admire a Kant or Heidegger more, who lives a quiet life and tries to reach the stars only in his mind…

If the definition of a mystic is a man who is completely concerned with his inner-life, then I suppose I am a mystic. But I am a mystic who does not shirk the responsibilities of expressing his insights in language.”

Colin Wilson on Henry Miller, 1965

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One Response to “Work ethic of an outsider”

  1. Raymond Harrison Says:

    I am currently reading – In Search of P. D. Ouspensky – by Gary Lachman and I came upon a passage (p 50) that bears relation to the story about Eric Schadt.
    Ouspensky has a mystical experience one morning while looking at an ordinary ashtray. Lachman relates that a “whirlwind of facts and associations emerged from the ashtray, spreading out before him like a great web of relations.” His consciousness expanded from the perception of an individual object to a comprehension of how its materials were mined, how its metal was created, how the ashtray was manufactured, and how it was transported to his table.
    Mystical experiences are characterized by immediate integration of ordinary facts and information into a greater unified whole. The supercomputer also seeks to analyze and relate seemingly infinite facts into an integral web.
    Could it be that the capacity of a computer to associate and integrate infinite pieces of data and information in a very rapid manner into a more unified and coherent whole is similar to the process that occurs in a spontaneous mystical revelation?
    Perhaps the ability of a supercomputer to order and integrate information is a precursor to a new form of “rational mysticism”.
    Both Reason and Mysticism attempt to explicate the infinite complexity of the Universe through experiences of unification.
    Perhaps Truth must include a unification of both the Rational and the Spiritual. Perhaps Truth must integrate Science with Art.
    Currently we are in an intellectual period I would characterize as ‘Axis Duality”. One is either an Evangelical or an Athiest. One is either a monotheistic creationist or a cosmological materialist. Both claim with absolute certainty that the Universe was created in a specific way and both seek legislation to have their world view taught in the public schools. Both believe in their world view at the exclusion of belief in the worldview of the other. Life is characterized by Either…Or, when perhaps the truth lies in a more unitive – Both…And.
    What if we are all Mystical Athiests! What if the true complexity of the Universe includes both a Rational and a Spiritual consciousness not as opposites in a merely dualistic conception but as two different Axes of Consciousness that meet in a common center. The common center is that place where Ouspensky traveled on the morning while looking at an ashtray, and it is the place Eric Schadt seeks to travel on the wings of his supercomputer.
    Since I am writing a book on Poetry, Painting, Language and the Evolution of Human Consciousness, why would I return to a blog on technology so often? I can think of no more incompatible languages than computer code and lyric poetry. I continuously ask myself how both of these are essential languages of human consciousness and how both are integrated into a greater Unitive whole?
    Axis Duality would mistakenly take one set of dualisms for the whole truth. So what I am investigating is a Quaternity that says the Universe is much more complex than any dualism or monism. What we delineate as a dualism is actually two pairs of dualisms that offer different ways of knowing. The Atheist walks on the path of duality between the perceptual and the rational. The Mystic walks on the path of duality between the imaginal and the intuitive.
    Both the Rational and the Mystical paths are necessary in order to adequately delineate the complexity of the Universe.
    And Perhaps the path is more like a labyrinth than a straight line.
    Perhaps we are still trying to understand Albert Einstein, most mystical of scientists, who intuited that space is not rectilinear but rather curved.
    I find it curious that the Burning Man Celebration held each summer in the deserts of the Southwest and attended by many from the silicon valley high tech computer culture, is an unusual mixture of Sensuality, Art, Spirituality, and Technology. Seemingly, these four ways of knowing about the world are no longer fighting for exclusivity and pre-eminence, but are seeking out each other in order to explicate a more unitive whole.

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