Koestler on “the Convert”

Koestler introspectively captures his own experience and lays out a psychological “pattern” that operates in both individuals and groups.  Dogmatic thought systems of all types–religious, political, social–fueled most often by charismatic leaders–become attractive to those seeking such “certainties.” The critical mind is our only defense. To quote a phrase: There is more “faith” in honest doubt than half the creeds. Tennyson.


Something clicked in my brain that shook me like a mental explosion. To say that one had ‘seen the light’ is a poor description of the mental rapture which only the convert knows. The new light seems to pour across the skull; the whole universe falls into pattern like the stray pieces of a jigsaw puzzle assembled by magic at one stroke. There is now an answer to every question, doubts and conflicts are a matter of the tortured past—a past already remote, when one had lived in dismal ignorance in the tasteless, colorless world of those who don’t know.” Arthur Koestler, Arrow in the Blue, pp. 236-237.