Tuesday, November 07, 2017

48. The Mind Parasites by Colin Wilson

I loved Spider World (though it never really ended properly) and have found Colin Wilson's other works intriguing but sometimes a bit too philosophical.  I suspected that of this book but this cover is absolutely irresistible.  I picked it up at Pulp Fiction books in Vancouver, but I can't remember at which store now that it has become a mini and much deserved empire out there.

The Mind Parasites is written as a non-fiction fiction (there must be a word for this).  It is made up long excerpts from a scientist's journal, with some other excerpts and footnotes added here and there to fill out points or bring an added perspective.  In effect, because it is mostly one long excerpt by Professor Gilbert Austin, it becomes basically a story with Austin as its narrator.  He has made a fantastic discovery on an archeological dig in Turkey, a massive structure built under the earth that is evidence of civilizations long before previously thought.  It is explicitly Lovecraftian and the professor posits that Lovecraft's fiction was actually recountings of true visions he was having.  However, it's all a feint, because in his exploration of these ruins, he discovers something else inside his own mind: faint hints of some parasitical species.  He further discovers that these species have been in humanity's mind for the last 200 years and worse are responsible for our inability to evolve past stupid, warring behaviours.

It's kind of a pulp action book where most of the exciting action, at least in the first half, takes place in Austin's mind as he explores deeper while trying not to alert the parasites to his awareness of them.  He recruits other like-minded scientists and the war begins.  It gets pretty ambitious and crazy and is preposterous and a lot of fun.  It's very appealing to think of all the shit going down today and the stupidity and greed of the elites in the world and how it all could be attributable to a parasite that is feeding off our life energy but keeps us stunted enough that we won't discover their existence.  The only thing that I didn't really jibe with was the idea that somehow up until the end of the 18th century, our great thinkers were unfettered and positive and then somehow everything got shitty because we realized there was no God.  That is the parallel that Wilson makes.  He seems really down on 19th century western culture, but I don't know enough about that history to really be critical. 

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