Jonathan Black

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My childhood in Cambridge brought mystical experiences. Later when that visionary gleam faded I decided to try to revivify it with hallucinogenic drugs. Then at Oxford I studied Philosophy and Theology. I loved the philosophy but found that it ate up all the theology - to the extent that I began to worry that sacred discourse might be meaningless. A degree in Philosophy and Theology also makes you almost completely unemployable, and I drifted for several years, discovering esoteric philosophy and exploring magic and other non churchy approaches to the other worldly. When I drifted into publishing I found myself getting know and finding out what the world looks like to many different people from many different backgrounds - including soldiers, spies, comedians, actors, scientists, archaeologists, artists, film makers, rock stars and criminals. But I never lost my fascination with the arcane and mystical and, as I describe in The Secret History of the World, an initiate of more than secret society came to visit me in my office at Random House. My talks with him over the years enabled me to make sense of much of what I’d read, such as Paracelsus, Boehme and Rudolf Steiner and alchemical traditions preserved in Freemasonry. It’s also been my privilege to work with, edit and learn from visionaries and mystics including Lorna Byrne, Graham Hancock, Rupert Sheldrake, Gordon Smith, Robert Lomas and now Mooji. In my writing my aim has been to reinvent esoteric thinking in a way that speaks to modern consciousness and to combine the intuitive and visionary with critical intelligence. I want to invite dialogue with readers who recognise in my writing, an account of their own innermost directions of the heart - however bizarre these may seem to common sense. My books have sold so well, I think, because they fascinate people who are already members of secret societies, but mostly those who like me have had spiritual or mystical experiences that seem to suggest that the world and its history work in a way which almost precisely the opposite of what we were taught to believe at school and university. Esoteric thinking is thinking out of the box if the box is materialism.
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