Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Colin Wilson: 26 June 1931- 5 December 2013

Colin Wilson was a neoexistentialist philosopher, researcher, critic and novelist. His most famous work was “The Outsider”, an analysis of the alienation of the creative individual. According to Wilson “an ‘outsider’…is a self-actualiser who wants to sidestep the demands of everyday life and get down to creation. He (or she) wants to evolve, to move on.” Wilson wrote a vast amounts of books ranging from philosophy and religion to the occult and the history of crime. 

The basic element that underpinned Wilson’s work was the desire to overcome mundane reality and reach a new level of consciousness. Many people tend to think that a typical day is rather tedious and repetitive, but in reality they are just not making the effort to analyze their situation. Wilson insisted that people aren’t one-dimensional beings but also possess the abilities of critical analysis and imagination. He suggested that if we utilized our critical and imaginative abilities we would realize that the world is a meaningful and interesting place filled with infinite possibilities. 

Wilson’s most important idea was the theory of “peak experience”: these are brief but very intense experiences in which our senses and energies seem to heighten and the world takes on a new positive meaning. Artists and creative people seem to have this type of experience when they are inspired -Wilson proposed that anyone can induce them by sheer effort of the will. He saw these “peak experiences” as indications that humans possess unrealized potentialities and believed that our primary aim in life should be to develop and expand our understanding. He never failed to stress the importance of having a positive outlook on life and opposed pessimist theories which describe life as futile and meaningless.


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