Thursday, April 7, 1983
Break the circuit
I should have continued with my notes today, but instead I find The Outsider more stimulating. “The curse of our civilization is boredom.” I have nine days left.
At dinnertime Lee rang me and said he’d been questioned by the police in connection with a fire at an empty mill near where we were stopped by the police on Sunday. For a moment I was worried, but I should’ve realised he was lying! He’s so convincing and I’m so gullible.
I finished The Outsider. The ending seems vague and somehow inconclusive. As a solution to the Outsider syndrome, Wilson says a “definitive” act is needed to “break the circuit” and offers the examples of Sri Ramakrishna, Thomas Traherne, Gurdjieff, etc. All these examples support the idea that what's needed is an act of will whose intensity puts things in their true perspective and gives life meaning and a “settled purpose.”
Is this really what all the questioning brings me back to? Is everything brought back to this one, simply stated conclusion? That to escape the boredom and triviality of life as an "intolerable shirt of flame," to achieve intensity and to cultivate Blake’s “visionary faculty,” just “make something happen” that will override the indecision without the wild, desperate grasping at straws. Am I reaching this conclusion as a matter of belief or merely because it's a “penance, . . . a deliberate burden”? Perhaps my old thing about the solitary life, the traveling life were just expressions of this same desire?
I watched film on the news of Challenger astronauts on their spacewalk. They drifted about the Shuttle cargo bay against a backdrop of a cloud-speckled earth.