Archive for counter culture

Merry Christmas: New Books for a New Year

Posted in Introduction, Notebook with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2016 by Gary Lachman

I’m sure you all have much better things to do today than to read this, but when you get a chance I’d like to mention that I’ve just finished my twentieth book. It’s called The Lost Knowledge of the Imagination and it will be published by Floris Books in spring 2017. Floris publishes three of my books in the UK:  Rudolf SteinerThe Quest for Hermes Trismegistus, and The Caretakers of the CosmosThe Lost Knowledge of the Imagination develops an idea that runs throughout The Secret Teachers of the Western World, namely that the imagination is not, as we tend to believe it is, a means of evading reality and of entering a world of ‘make believe’, but a faculty first and foremost of knowing and influencing reality. I try to bring this message across by looking at the work of Goethe, Owen Barfield, Henry Corbin, Kathleen Raine, Ernst Junger, and others who understood that the imagination is a unique faculty we possess that enables us to reach ‘inside’ reality and know it from within. I will post an excerpt as we get closer to the publication date.

I’ve also just received a commission from my US publisher, Tarcher Penguin, now Tarcher Perigee, for Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of Trump. The book will look at the influence ‘mental science’ and ‘positive thinking’ has had on Trump’s rise to power, and will explore the links between the new ‘alt.right’ movement within the political far right and the political philosophy of the Italian esotericist Julius Evola. I will also look at the influence Alexandr Dugin, a radical political theorist influenced by Evola, ‘chaos magick’ and Martin Heidegger,has on the Russian President Vladimir Putin. In different ways both Trump and Putin seek to destabilize the west and reshape the political and economic map of Europe. With this in mind I will look at the possible connection – if any – between the European Union and a strange political philosophy that began in the late nineteenth century and according to some reports had a hidden but effective influence on European politics. This is what is known as Synarchy, the complete opposite of anarchy. Anarchy means no government; Synarchy means total government. I write about Synarchy in Politics and the Occult  and Dark Star Rising will pick up my account of the occult influence on modern politics from where I left it in 2008.

And speaking of Politics and the Occult, I’ve recently heard from Javier Sierra, author of the bestselling  The Secret Supper that the Spanish publisher Planeta has bought the translation rights to that book! I’ve learned that Javier is a reader of my books, and he is sending me a copy of his latest, The Master of the Prado, which I look forward to reading in the new year.

And let me say a very big Thank You to the people who make writing a worthwhile, even necessary occupation: You. The Secret Teachers of the Western World has done very well in the year it has been out. Not a bestseller, but a decent one and a book, I hope, that people will go to if they want to get a good idea of the esoteric history of the west. And I have to thank my editor Mitch Horowitz, author of One Simple Idea and other books, for taking a chance on Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson, a book that is very important to me and which it was an honor and pleasure to write. All the best for the time ahead.

Getting Beyond the Robot at Watkins Bookshop: Colin Wilson, Outsiders, Peak Experiences and More

Posted in Introduction, Notebook with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2016 by Gary Lachman

Here is a link to a video of a talk I gave at Watkins Bookshop here in London on Friday November 11. Watkins is the oldest and most well-known of London’s esoteric and occult bookshops, having catered to a clientele that included W. B. Yeats, Aleister Crowley, and Mick Jagger – Sir Mick, I mean. It’s a landmark spot, on Cecil Court, an atmospheric alley off Charring Cross Road in the West End, lined with rare book stores and memorabilia shops. I talk about my latest book, Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson, to an appreciative crowd. Watkins has a publishing wing and in recent years has released new editions of some of Wilson’s work, specifically The Occult  and Beyond the Occultthey also published one of Wilson’s last works, Superconsciousness.

Colin Wilson at Parabola: Richard Smoley reviews Beyond the Robot

Posted in Introduction, Notebook with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2016 by Gary Lachman

Here’s a link to a thoughtful and constructive review of Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson by my friend and colleague Richard Smoley, author of How God Became GodForbidden Faith, and other works on western esotericism. Richard was for many years an editor at Gnosis magazine and is now editor at Quest and his book Inner Christianity is a classic. My review of How God Became God can be found in the September-October issue of New Dawn, no. 158.

Colin Wilson goes Beyond the Robot on Rune Soup

Posted in Introduction, Notebook with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2016 by Gary Lachman

Here’s a link to an interview I did recently with Gordon White on his pungent Rune Soup website. Gordon knows his Wilson – and much else besides – and as usual, we discuss many things over a wide range of topics, most of which have something to do with Wilson, existentialism, phenomenology, the occult, consciousness, and what place the Outsider has in our day and age.

Colin Wilson, Radio 3, the British Museum, and To the Best Of Our Knowledge

Posted in Introduction, Notebook with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2016 by Gary Lachman

Outsiders will have to get their skates on next week. On October 11, I’ll be talking about my new book Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking program. I’ll be speaking with the presenter Matthew Sweet and the writer Suzi Feay, both of whom are fans of Wilson’s work and things off beat in general. The next day I’ll be back in the BBC studios to record an interview for the Wisconsin based talk show To The Best Of Our Knowledge, where I’ll be speaking about Wilson, but also about my work in the history of western esotericism in general. I’m not sure at the moment exactly when that program will be broadcast, but I will post the date when I know. And on the 16th I’ll be talking about Wilson’s time sleeping on Hampstead Heath while writing his first novel Ritual in the Dark at the all-day Folk Horror event being held at the British Museum. Famously, Wilson curled up by night on the Heath in a waterproof sleeping bag , and cycled down to the British Museum in the morning, where he worked on his existential thriller, which is best described as Jack the Ripper meets the Brothers Karamazov. If there is a film to be made of one of Wilson’s’ novels, this is the one.

Stephen Greenleaf goes Beyond the Robot

Posted in Introduction, Notebook with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2016 by Gary Lachman

In recent months I’ve noticed Stephen Greenleaf’s reviews and tweets about my work and have come to appreciate his considered, insightful appraisals and criticisms. So I was chuffed, as they say in the UK, to see that he had written a long, intelligent, and honest review of Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson. It’s the kind of review that Colin Wilson himself should have got for some of his books. Notwithstanding Stephen’s reservations about the occult and the afterlife – not to mention Wilson’s own cautious acceptance of them – I feel that if he is not busying himself with more important matters, Wilson may be chuffed – or however one gets on ‘the other side’ – to read what Stephen thinks of the book and its subject himself.

Go Beyond the Robot on a Pilgrimage to Tetherdown

Posted in Introduction, Notebook with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2016 by Gary Lachman

I’ve posted an excerpt from the Introduction to my new book, Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson on my blog over at the Daily Grail. Greg Taylor, who tends the grail, very kindly tweeted about the excerpt at Reality Sandwich and invited me to share. So here is an account of my journey, some thirty-three years ago, to meet the original Outsider himself.