The Worm’s Eye View


But my central point is this. Man is a very young creature: his remotest ancestors only date back two million years. (The shark has remained unchanged for 15,000,000 years.) And although he longs for this ‘third world’ as his natural home, he only catches brief glimpses of it. For it can only be ‘focused’ by a kind of mental eye. This morning, as I cleaned my teeth in the bathroom a fragment of Brahms drifted through my head and caused that sudden feeling of inner-warmth. The person labelled ‘Colin Wilson’ ceased to matter: it was almost as if I had floated out of my body and left him behind, as if the real ‘I’ had taken up a position somewhere midway between myself and Brahms. In the same way, when I am working well, I seem to lose my identity, ‘identifying’ instead with the ideas or people I am writing about. But very often, I cannot even begin to focus the ‘third world’ the real world distracts me, and keeps my attention fixed on its banal ‘actualities’ like some idiot on a train who prevents you from reading by talking in a loud voice.


All the same, this ‘third world’ is a place; it is there all the time, like China or the moon; and it ought to be possible for me to go there at any time, leaving behind the boring person who is called by my name. It is fundamentally a world of pure meaning. It is true that my small personal world is also a world of meaning; but of trivial, personal meaning, distorted and one-sided, a worm’s eye view of meaning.


– Colin Wilson




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