Sunday, March 23, 2014

In Praise of Joyce Collin-Smith

Miss Marple of The Occult

“It is still not enough for language to have clarity and content…it must also have a goal and an imperative. Otherwise from language we descend to chatter, from chatter to babble, and from babble to confusion.” 
― RenĂ© Daumal

In the years of scouring, sorting and rummaging through this life for any clue as to what any of this was all about, I have encountered many a interesting and fascinating individual, who have impressed me with their keenness of intellect as well as sincerity.
Joyce Collin-Smith was a professional journalist who had the knack of maintaining a sense of sharing with her readers what she had encountered without selling anything in particular, unlike most... who have misbegotten core of evangelism. This review of one of her books sums up my admiration for her accomplishments....

"For reasons that I am not quite sure of I nicknamed Joyce Collin-Smith to 'Miss Marple of the Occult'. Perhaps it was because, like Agatha Christie's famous figure, she has got on in her years, but has retained a very sharp wit. Or perhaps even more because she is very much to the point in a similar kind and gentle, but firm, fashion. Or was it because she has found out things that many others, in spite of hearing from them, have not really discovered?
The Pathless Land is written in an 'unobtrusive' way. One of my first impressions was that Joyce Collin-Smith is not selling me any of the ideas she is writing about. She says it herself by asking the reader to test her knowledge and not to believe. This approach had an interesting effect on my reading of the book - I started to make discoveries myself!
The book is full of the writer's own discoveries, which she openly wants to share with the reader - as her friend - and she has a lot to share. Joyce Collin-Smith's search with the questions 'who am I?', 'what am I supposed to be doing?' and 'what do I want?', which she writes in the first paragraph of Chapter One, led her into contact with many teachers of the way. She got deeply involved with the different teachings, and when she had learned what was taught, she managed to get out of the teacher-pupil situation and was able to go on her journey in the 'pathless land', where no other man than each of us in ourselves is the master.

Her online book 'Call No Man Master' was an autobiographic book. 'The Pathless Land' contains the results of a lifetime's search for truth.

It is a beautiful book!

Reijo Elsner, Denmark"

Another thread in this weave that coincides with any journey is the precarious balance it requires to avoid self deception, depression or in extreme cases I am aware of, the danger of a certain madness where one loses the ability to discern fairy tales from self verification.
For yours truly keeping any sense of discernment can be challenging for what few brain cells I possess.
If there's any sincerity involved there is always hope poised against despair
One thinks of Daumal's "Mount Analogue"..Mountain climbing without a rope.

“A knife is neither true nor false, but anyone impaled on its blade is in error.” 
― RenĂ© DaumalMount Analogue

All of this for myself began many years ago when I sent a hand written letter to Mrs Thomas DeHartman in New York after reading their account of travelling over the Caucasus Mountains in the midst of the Russian Revolution with Mr Gurdjieff. That is a story in of itself.

Eventually, I came around to reading Rodney Collin's "The Theory of Celestial Influence", which in turn led me to Joyce, who wrote an account of her brother's quests and his strange death in "Beloved Icarus" as well as reading "Call No Man Master", regarding her own scouring for knowledge.

She was and is a remarkable woman. I thought some might enjoy being acquainted with her work. I suggest reading her account of the suicide of James Webb which illustrates the dangers of losing one's way in all this.

1 comment:

  1. I finally found a copy of her book and loved it. I liked that she always followed her own mind.