In Keeping Ourselves in the Dark, psychotherapist cum “anthropathologist” Colin Feltham mounts a freewheeling inquiry into the myriad superstitions, illusions, maladies, and derangements that bedevil us. Rejecting rose-tinted clichés and niceties on all fronts, Feltham affirms the pessimist’s verdict: Every glass is empty, and there is nothing to be done. Our search for “meaning,” much less “enlightenment,” was doomed from the start. Our most earnest questions are posed before the entropic churn of an indifferent universe, an abyss that only yawns back.
So be it. Feltham’s assessment of the human predicament may be bleak, but he isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. Raising a glass in death’s antechamber, he instead brings his refreshingly undisciplined insight to bear on a dizzying range of subjects – from depressive realism to fringe ecology, from the madness of religion to the folly of psychotherapy, from the mystery of existence to the vicissitudes of the Danish tax code. While asking impertinent questions concerning the raft of social anxieties, absurdities, anomalies, and taboos that vex and perplex us, Feltham even struggles to understand brighter views.
In a gallows tour sustained by conversational buoyancy and threaded with provocative (and often disarmingly funny) digressions, Feltham rests his pronouncement that while much of life is dark, and indeed hopeless, it can at least be interesting. There are yet choices to be made. And unless we bail out early, we are left to find ways to survive and retain our sanity.
If you do not count yourself among the cheery-minded billions, if you can’t bring yourself to swallow the blue pill, if you scoff at the propaganda of religion and positive psychology, if you re not “lovin’ it” as much as you’re entreated to, enter this portal of ironic Zapffean consolation now.