Colin Wilson: Beyond the Robot, A Talk for the Theosophical Society

Here’s a link to a video of a talk I gave on 29 February 2020 on Colin Wilson’s life and ideas for the Theosophical Society here in London. As often happens with my talks, Part 1 ran over the original hour scheduled, so it was agreed that I would return later this year to give Part 2. The first part deals with Wilson’s early career, with The Outsider and the “new existentialism” he tried to establish through the books of the “Outsider Cycle.” Part 2 will deal with Wilson’s ideas about the occult, the paranormal and mystical experience. As readers of Wilson know, all of his work is centered around the question of the evolution of consciousness.

As you may notice, toward the beginning of the video I mention an odd synchronicity I had on the way to the talk. En route I stopped at a local market. While in the checkout queue, I casually looked at the magazine rack. There were a stack of Vogue magazines with most of the cover of the top one obscured by the magazines in the lower rack. But what was visible were the words “The Outsider.” As it turned out, this was the title of an article about a current pop singer and had nothing to do with Wilson. But as I was on my way to talk about The Outsider, I took it as a sign. It was the kind of synchronicity that Wilson himself would have loved, and it will feature in the book about precognitive dreams and synchronicity that I am about to start. It’s tentative title is Time and the Dreaming Mind.

Here’s a link to my tweet about this.

14 thoughts on “Colin Wilson: Beyond the Robot, A Talk for the Theosophical Society

  1. So many facets to his genius, and that’s just the beginning! Looking forward to part two.
    I notice you mentioned Doris Lessing, and you also reference her briefly in the book. I’m curious to know whether you’ve written about her work elsewhere.

    1. No, I haven’t written about Doris Lessing elsewhere, but Wilson speaks highly of her work in The Angry Years. He says she is the only one of his contemporaries whose work he admires, because like himself, she is concerned with the potentials of human evolution.

  2. After posting that question, I came across the passage in your introduction to The Caretakers of the Cosmos in which you describe the impact Briefing for a Descent into Hell had on you as a teenager. I had a similar experience in my teens with The Four-Gated City. That novel cast a lifelong spell on me, in part because it introduced me to the concept of synchronicity, or what Lessing calls “those moments when that other pattern briefly becomes visible, manifested in coincidence” (p. 278 — I’m reading it again).

  3. I was at the talk and was quite disappointed I had to leave early. There were so many things that made sense to me personally and I am sure there will be even more in the second part I am really looking forward to. I can totally relate to your moment of synchronicity as I experienced it quite often in my life. I am grateful for the knowledge you share.

    1. I’m glad you liked the talk. I’m working on a book about precognitive dreams and synchronicity, which will come out some time next year. I’ve recorded many in my own life over the years. The one on the way to the talk seemed like a real clincher. All the best.

      1. I hope you and your loved ones are doing well in this extraordinary situation. Thinking of the second part of this conference, I was wondering if you would consider holding it online. Sorry if my request sounds inappropriate. Many thanks.

  4. Hullo.
    Am about to listen to your Theosopical Society talk on Colin Wilson.

    Wanted to write you to say thanks – as am reading ‘Beyond the Robot’, and enjoying it immensely. I’m self-nominating as one of those for whom Wilson has been a very important ‘read’ from the beginning of discovering him. Thanks to you, have also added/re-added more of his books to my collection.

    My particular fave is ‘The Mind Parasites’; have a ‘beginning to be battered’ copy that i re-read, say once a yr or so? as it never fails to remind me of how much more we / i can be. Interesting to think of depression/negativity in ourselves as those very parasites….

    Just bought your Jung book, so it’s next, and am ‘exploring’ activate imagination again, and will reread – 3rd X ? ‘memories/dreams/reflections’.


  5. Hey just wanted to say that i’ve become a huge fan of yours – found you through Jeff Mishlove on YT. I’ve purchased (and read) 5 of your books – secret teachers of the western world was really really good. And I also wanted to thank you for bringing Colin Wilson into my life, i’m half way through his occult trilogy.
    You are an excellent writer and your talks are quite good too. Have to say that through your work my life has grown in scope and span. Thank you very much. Your work is very much appreciated – not just by me i’m sure.

    1. Thank you for this. I am glad that you are getting something out of my work, and especially glad that it has brought you to Colin Wilson. Getting messages like these is heartening and encouraging. All the best!

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