I’m wondering today if Millennials and Gen-Xers (like my own “kids”) have the same bias I once did: that “our collective knowledge is doubling every year, so nothing that was written more than a few years ago can possibly be as good or relevant as the latest stuff.”
You might think that here I’m going to mention Shakespeare or Aristotle, but you would be wrong. I’m thinking Ken Keyes, Jr.
I am re-reading his “Handbook to Higher Consciousness” for perhaps the third or fourth time. It was written 41 years ago, so it can’t possibly have anything of value to say to humans in The Year of Our Armageddon 2012. Ah, but it does.
But let me first tell you why many would dismiss it, as my younger brother is fond of saying, as “pap, crap and claptrap.” Keyes’ mother was an alcoholic. He worked in naval intelligence as a censor for cablegrams to and from the U.S. He was married four times, two of those wives were clinically depressed, and Keyes admitted his own serial affairs and obsession with sex. He suffered from polio and for years was quadriplegic. He fought with his partner in his “Living Love” center. He was, like all of us, a flawed human being.
But his “Handbook to Higher Consciousness,” written and self-published at the height of the peace-love-hippie movement, has transformed lives ever since. I’m about to clip and paste just a few of the comments by contemporary readers of the book, but I’ll preface it by lowering your expectations yet again: my 1974 copy contains amateurish drawings, the 12 Pathways and Seven Centers of Consciousness might sound corny, and Diagram 2 (“How You Create Happiness in Your Life”) is ridiculously confusing. Like the man who wrote it, this book is not perfect.
But it is the most effective self-help book I’ve ever read, and I’ve read hundreds (and have even written one), and it makes more sense with each reading.
This is what other readers posted about Keyes’ “Handbook to Higher Consciousness” on Amazon:
“Most important book I’ve ever read”
“Simply, the best that ever was, or ever shall be”
“The one book that really changed my life”
“This book is timeless and one to give to all your loved ones”
“Better than the Bible, and I read the Bible cover to cover 34 times”
Oh, and check out Shakespeare and Aristotle, too.