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September 10, 2008 |

By Brian Prisco | Books | September 10, 2008 |

1561840564.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpgI really despise the entire self-help/spiritual awareness section. Seriously. For the most part these are books that prey on weak-minded people. They are full of aphorisms and cutesy little quotes meant to inspire and provoke thought, but when boiled down are actually nonsense. “The mighty eagle makes high his nest.” The fuck? What? Eagles are mighty because they build their nests on mountains? Fuck you, sir.

Well, I had hope for Wilson, because he’s a sci-fi writer of great accord and acclaim, and also, he has a very stylish bullshit-o-meter. So I thought, well, at least this should promise to be an interesting discourse.


Most of his book discusses how we’re all fucked up from birth, and how we are able to modify our internal bio-computers (our minds) to better ourselves. He tends to mock the mockable (I would love to hear his own personal take on Scientology), but for the most part, he keeps touting either yoga or heavy drug use. And then he couples this with two things that irritate me.

1. He constantly refers to the use of drugs in a manner such that “if you can handle it” or “if your fragile superego permits.” As if I’m some sort of weakling because I choose not to use drugs to alter my mind state. I refuse to buy into the argument that chemically altering your brain to achieve enlightenment will make me happy. I know plenty of people who frequently abuse drugs, and none of them are enlightened or smarter. In fact, most of them are miserable, and use them as a method of escape. Granted, maybe they’re using them “incorrectly.” But frankly, the entire point is to be high. Whether or not you look around and discuss philosophy with the angels or slouch on a couch and watch The History Channel, it’s your dimebag, pal.

2. He essentially couches his argument with the whole “well, if you think this is stupid, it’s because you aren’t ready to believe.” This is faith-healer propaganda, and I expected better of Wilson. If the Reverend Jimmy Sweatytoupee can’t get the little boy to stand out of the wheelchair, it’s obviously because someone isn’t praying hard enough. Granted, Wilson is self-deprecating to astonishing levels, but to make that case smacks to me of bullshit.

Maybe I’m not enlightened enough or ready to be happy. I have yet to find a way to make myself happy. But I don’t need a book translated from the original Atlantean or transcribed by aliens, or fortune cookie wisdom muttered around shitty essays full of the obvious. I know why I’m not happy. I know what it will take to make me happy. Getting there is a hard road. And maybe I’m supposed to be miserable on it.

But it’s certainly not because I’m not taking enough drugs or because I’m not willing to have an open mind. But maybe that’s the whole point. Maybe because I close my mind off to what I think is stupid, I’m the one who’s wrong and ignorant. But that doesn’t change that fact that the greater portion of the material is stupid.

I guess if I got something out of this book, it’s that I need to do more yoga. I might actually start looking into it. I’d still prefer doing martial arts. That’s like yoga where you punch people.

This review is part of the Cannonball Read series. You can read more about it, here.

Cannonball Read / Brian Prisco

Books | September 10, 2008 |

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