It was this basic fascination obviously that motivated me, not money. Neither have I said that if I had become a millionaire I would have stopped writing. I most certainly would not have. What I have said is, that if my first novel Ritual in the Dark had been turned into a movie, as it almost was in 1960, all of my subsequent novels would probably have been filmed and I would have been very comfortably off. But certainly I would not have been driven in the way that I have been driven, and I can not help feeling when I look back on this that the way that I have been driven is not necessarily a bad thing.
Once, Fritz Peters turned to Gurdjieff in a state of depression, and Gurdjieff was forced to make a terrific effort to get him out of this depression. Then at this moment crowds of people arrived, and Gurdjieff, from looking exhausted, suddenly looked absolutely, magnificently full of vitality. He said to Peters, you have forced me to make a terrific effort, but this has been very good for both of us. Thank you for reminding me. Now, very often the very efforts we do not want to make prove to be the very best that we could make. So, in a sense, being too successful would simply remove some of that inner pressure. You would slip into what I have been calling ambiguity.
DJB: What similarities and differences do you see between pathological or criminal minds and the creative process?
COLIN: Shaw said that we judge the criminal by his lowest moments, and the creator by his highest moments. So obviously, in a sense, they are absolute opposites, and that is what’s so interesting about them. And yet you can also see very often that the criminal maybe, particularly nowadays, a quite interesting intellectual creative sort of person. And that when he explodes, as let’s say Bundy did, into crime, he’s choosing a path just as much as let’s say a painter, like Picasso, or more Van Gogh, chooses to create this kind of thing.
The explosive sort of force behind Van Gogh’s painting is obviously a force based upon a sort of frustration, and it’s the same frustration that you would find in a criminal. The only difference is, of course, that Van Gogh deliberately makes the effort to transmute that to a much higher level. The criminal merely says, oh the hell with it, lets go, and invariably destroys himself in doing so, destroys something essential in himself.
There’s a play by Pushkin called Mozart and Salieri in which he explores this myth that Salieri murdered Mozart. One of the main points of the play is discussion in which they state that a man who is a criminal cannot also be a great creator. When Salieri has poisoned Mozart, it suddenly strikes him that he’s poisoned Mozart because he considers him his chief musical rival. But, in a sense, by poisoning him, he’s proved that he himself is no Mozart. He’s a second-rater.
DJB: You said this weekend that it is mathematically provable that “head consciousness is the answer.” Do you think that the intellectual mind is superior to the emotional circuit in regard to solving the problems of human existence, as you seemed to imply here this weekend at Esalen? Don’t you agree that one should integrate many ways of “Knowing,” as you say, besides the intellectual mode of interpretation? For instance–sensory, emotional, phermonal, intuitive, perhaps telepathic, etc.
COLIN: What I have said basically is that up to now, the twentieth century culture has tended to emphasize these other modes you mention. So that, for example, someone like D. H. Lawrence said, what we have to do is so back to the solar plexus, to sexuality, and mistrust the intellect. Henry Miller would have said the same kind of thing. Walt Whitman also was saying in a way, trust the body. Now, all of this is perfectly correct in its way, but if Walt Whitman had said trust only the body, or D.H. Lawrence had said trust only the solar plexus, then they would have been totally wrong.
Now what I’m trying to say is that the body, the solar plexus, and all of the rest of them, play their part in this synthesis. You know the old Latin tag, men same encalporsano, a sane mind in a sane body. But, at the same time we have to recognize that the ultimate arbiter is the mind, and that when you see something to be true, as it were, you can see that it is true intellectually, Now it is this intellectual recognition of truth that must be the foundation of all these other things. No good having this D.H. Lawrence attitude that you should not trust the intellect because it will always tell you lies. This is the reason that Lawrence’s novels, particularly ones like Women in Love and so on, always end with a strange feeling of bitterness, defeat, and futility.
DJB: What do you think happens to human consciousness after physical death?
COLIN: As a result of writing the book Afterlife, and studying this, I came almost reluctantly to the conclusion that it does survive, that there is survival after death. It