Reflections on an Outsider: Colin Wilson

Here’s a link to an article on Colin Wilson that I wrote for Quest Magazine. My thanks to Richard Smoley, the editor, for posting it on line.

9 thoughts on “Reflections on an Outsider: Colin Wilson

  1. A very well written article which flows beautifully through my mind like water. But one reading is never enough. I always have to read and re-read parts over and over again to ‘suck’ out all of the essence and not miss a drop!

  2. I discovered Colin Wilson a few years ago. The first Colin Wilson book I read was Alien Dawn. This book made an impression because its author obviously had depth of mind and breadth of intelligence and knowledge, beyond simply being an expert on the subject of aliens.
    I can’t remember the exact order in which I read Colin Wilson’s books, but I went on to read many more. When you speak about Colin Wilson and the impression his books made on you, I can relate. Colin Wilson made a similar impression on me. Here’s a link to something I wrote about him:
    I was also very impressed with and enjoyed your book, The Dark Muse. I read your other books too !!! 🙂 rock on !!

  3. This reflection on Colin Wilson is excellent. It’s a great and personal account of a person I just can’t get enough of.
    Colin is so outside, he’s in. That sounds kind of hipsterish, but true for me. The man is a genius and I speak in the present tense because I feel his presence so palpably. Colin is that rare person who was trying to discover, explain and expand our notion of consciousness. He was a fish, very much aware of the water. He was eagerly trying to understand it, while most of us blissfully, or often not, just drift around in it, oblivious to the profound world we live in. I guess I am an outsider as well. In “The Matrix” movie, they talk about the splinter in your mind – pop culture I know – but one that points to a truth. Colin Wilson’s writing, yours and the other writers and thinkers that you both reference, has both soothed my discomfort and awakened it.
    I feel like a teenage fan of some pop group when I think of Colin Wilson – except that I’m 56 and The Who remain my favourite band. After reading your piece I’m glad it isn’t David Bowie – I would have to re-evaluate that if you and he disagreed about Wilson’s work.
    When people, including Colin Wilson, say that he wrote the same book over and over again, I think of Woody Allen and his joke about “War and Peace”. After taking a speed reading course, Allen says the book involves “Russia”. To say that about “War and Peace” is as shallow as saying that Colin wrote about the same subject. I have only scratched the surface of Colin’s writing as I hunt down used copies of books tragically long out of print. Yet I never fail to learn something new of Colin’s thinking as I expand my own. I recently read my first fiction book by Colin, “The Philosophers Stone” and found as much new material to ponder than I had in any of the non-fiction I have read so far.
    Gary – again I am reminded of my gratitude for you to have put me on to Colin Wilson. I am presently reading “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” by Julian Jaynes and rereading your excellent book, “The Secret History of Consciousness” . I just received Jean Gebser’s “The Ever-Present Origin” – thanks to your book “Revolutionaries of the Soul”. Next up is Husserl – I suspect my reach will exceed my grasp in the latter two authors. I’m embarrassed that in high school I joined my friends in mocking another friend interested in philosophy, who went on to get his PhD as a student of Kant.
    Your piece here on Colin Wilson is outstanding. I will pass it along to all those who have to bear my raving about Colin Wilson.
    As you wrote in an earlier post Colin believes humanity is on the cusp of an evolutionary leap in consciousness – I have no doubt he is right and he is playing a big role in that even now. Thank you for carrying the torch for Colin Wilson, along with Colin Stanley. I’m not sure how it could be accomplished, but nothing would please me more than seeing all of Colin’s books available in some form or another, beyond used books. Good luck in your future work – I will continue to follow it closely.

    1. Many thanks once again John for your encouragement. I’m glad you’re following up CW’s leads – they will take you to some remarkable places. Re: Husserl, he isn’t easy; I’d suggest finding a good introduction to phenomenology. And CW’s take on him is rather different than most academic approaches. And re: Gebser, if you can find a copy of George Feuerstein’s Structures of Consciousness, I think you would find it helpful. I used it for my section on Gebser in Secret History of Consciousness. All the best, Gary

      1. Thank you Gary. I appreciate the recommendations. I just received “Colin Wilson The Man and His Mind” by Howard Dossor. Collin’s preface is a wonderful synopsis of his approach and Howard Dossor’s introduction makes me excited to read the book.

        I don’t know if you are aware of this, but Howard Dossor’s book “The Philosophy of Colin Wilson: Three Perspectives” is available from two sellers for just $2000.00. For that, you still have to pay the $3.99 shipping! Now perhaps I will pick one up as an investment since the value can only increase after your book!

      2. I’m flattered that you think my book on CW will increase the value of anything, but I’d check with Colin Stanley at Pauper’s Press to see if he has a copy lying around… All the best

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