My “short” time with Al.
I decided to meet Al Wilson when Len reported the fantastic far-reaching conversations he had with him during a trip to Sebastopol, California. They covered topics from physics, mathematics, systems, origins of the universe to philosophy, ways of perceiving, life, God, and beauty. Even though I was living in Minnesota, I decided I just HAD to join Len on his next trip to see him.
Al was 91 years old when I met him for the first time. I remember entering his home which felt like a warm Buddhist sanctuary with almost every square foot of wall filled with bookshelves full of books – most of which were non-fiction. The topics ranged from Chaos theory, system science, complexity, cosmology to all forms of philosophy, religion, and spirituality. I wondered if he had read every single one and found out later that he had.
Al was a first class thinker and even at 91 his mind was sharp. Throughout our conversations he exhibited a deep well of knowledge that seemed to come readily to him. He was full of pithy sayings and mind-blowing perceptions. On top of all that he quickly understood (grokked) whatever points I made and valued them greatly. He had a way of making you feel special.
I only spent 4 days on my first trip and one week on my second trip to Sebastopol, but it was enough to have a big impact on me. I found that I treasured these deep meaningful conversations with Len and Al more than almost any other experience in my life. Furthermore, many of his pithy sayings still echo in my head: “Departure and Return”, “Everything is a Special Case”, “Width of Now” and “Width of Here”. He is an inspiration to me.