Auden once wrote,”When all of life fails, what’s the use of going to Wales?” Wales, I guess, was a vacation destination in those days. Well, life has sucker punched me in the past couple of weeks. No, it is not some fatal diagnosis or complete financial meltdown. Just some incidents that took me down an emotional pathway that that tears away the curtain and reveals the utter somnolent insipid banality of my life. And I don’t know what to do about it.
I wrote to Peter Kingsley, of all people. He has written a series of books about the real origins of Western civilization. The latest is A Story Waiting to Pierce You. I told him I was in despair. He doesn’t know me at all. But he wrote back. He said despair is good, it keeps you honest. The man knows something. Our whole “culture of convenience” is designed to remove unpleasantness. Despair is a negative, must be replaced by something positive. NO! It is telling me that my life is based on falsity.
Even my meditations have as their secret mission nothing than to make me, precious me, feel better. Then I remembered that Peter wrote in his book In the Dark Places of Wisdom:
If you’re lucky, at some point in your life you’ll come to a complete dead end.
Or to put it another way, if you’re lucky you’ll come to a crossroads and see that the path to the left leads to hell, then the path to the right leads to hell, that the road straight ahead leads to hell and that if you try to turn around you’ll end up in complete and utter hell.
His books give us a whole other take on the common root of our various cultures and civilizations. He certainly shook me up.
Thank you Peter.