Are You Serious?

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Life is filled with preoccupations: the latest fad of pop culture, which team will win the Cup and the prestige value of one’s material possessions. Given such things, there’s often little time to talk about the really big picture.

That’s fine. The details of human culture are fascinating, I love football and if people get off on nice clothes and cars, good on them.

But I only get one chance to live. What’s more, I’ll probably only get one chance to write a book. I was born in an era during which we have the opportunity to think about the context of our lives in a more complete way than ever before. There’s magic beneath the madness of this world and rhythms in its hustle and chaos. I want to talk about those things.

One feature of modern societies is that we go around in circles with arguments that (in an intellectual sense) are already settled. Much-discussed examples include whether life forms evolve across generations and whether certain parts of certain holy texts are true in a literal sense.

We can go around in such circles for a thousand years if we wish, and people should be free to believe, and talk about, whatever they choose. But there’s a more interesting set of discussions we could be having.

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The Jolly Pilgrim is jam-packed with information, but I’m not claiming access to privileged data. Our ever-improving understanding of the universe is throwing up lots of insights. I just think it’s time they were synthesised into an up-to-date world view which, once said, will seem obvious. Everything I use is in the public domain and available to anyone who can read. It just needs spelling out.

It wasn’t been easy.

Synthesising all this required going around the world, looking into as many corners as I could, giving myself colossal amounts of headspace and tearing through mind-expanding reading material for two years. Articulating it required working flat out for another year. It required getting outside the box, and staying out of it, in circumstances where lots of people – who weren’t interested in the fact that there’s a box – were determined to drag me back in.

Even when that was done, polishing the manuscript took another 19 months. Selling and marketing it, a further year on top of that. Organising my life to achieve all this was an enormous logistical undertaking, which tested my emotional resilience to the limit.

Next: Process Part 1: A Year in a Shed >

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