Monday, 12 November 2012

“The mind has exactly the same power as the hands; not merely to grasp the world, but to change it.”

Colin Wilson, 1956
 At my 'Living Powerfully' (Landmark Education) seminar last week, we were told a story about author and philosopher Colin Wilson which very much stuck in my mind for its relevance to the human condition (a.k.a. MY condition! Because I am only human.)

It's only now I've had time to find out more. What an intriguing, eccentric fellow he is, to be sure.

From an interview with Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove

Aged 16, thwarted in his ambitions...

 "This sudden feeling that God was making fun of me made me feel one day, "For God's sake, let's not have any more of this nonsense. I'm damned if I'll be played about with like this. Let me kill myself." And immediately I felt this, I felt a curious sense of inner strength.

So I went off to night school quite determined that what I was going to do was to take down the bottle of potassium cyanide from the reagent shelves and drink it. I knew that cyanide burns a hole in the bottom of the stomach and kills you within seconds.


Well, I went into the classroom quite determined. There was a group gathered around the professor at the desk. I went over to the reagent shelves, I took down the bottle of potassium cyanide, I uncorked it, and as I started raising this to my lips I suddenly had an extremely clear vision of myself in a few seconds' time with an agonizing pain in the pit of my stomach, and at the same time I suddenly turned into two people.

I don't mean that literally, but I mean that there was I, and there beside me was this silly, bloody little idiot called Colin Wilson who was in a state of self-pity and about to kill himself, and I didn't give a damn whether the fool killed himself or not.

The trouble was, if he killed himself he'd kill me too. 

And quite suddenly a terrific sense of overwhelming happiness came over me. I corked up the bottle, put it on the shelf..."

Yep, the human condition. The us that is anxious, self-destructive, pessimistic, pathetic...which sometimes tries so very hard to do away with (metaphorically far more often than literally) the us that is inspirational, courageous and up to big and creative things.

We just have to stop listening to that silly, bloody little idiot.