Gary Lachman discusses his book Beyond the Robot – The Life and Work of Colin Wilson. Colin Wilson was a literary and cultural rebel, and one of the most adventurous, hopeful, and least understood visionary intellects of the past century. Author of over a hundred books including the 1956 classic The Outsider, Wilson purveyed a philosophy of mind power and human potential that made him arguably the only optimistic existentialist.
In part one, we outline Wilson’s core philosophy and worldview which saw the purpose, meaning, and destiny of humanity – and indeed all life – in the evolution of consciousness toward ever more expansive states of complexity and awareness. Although Wilson felt that in many ways Western civilization has hit a dead end, he ultimately rejected responses rooted in nihilism and negativity. For Wilson, consciousness does not passively reflect the world, rather it reaches out and grabs it. Perception, he believed, is participatory, and we are active agents in shaping reality. However, our inculcated fear of responsibility, of freedom, and of our own creative capacity for greatness, keeps most of us mired in a meaningless, mechanistic view of the Universe drifting between hedonism and despair. Many of us ask if there is more to life than this, and the answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’ As Wilson himself wrote ”’My life’s task is to light a fire with damp sticks. The drizzle falls incessantly. Yet I feel that if only I could really get the blaze started, it would become so large and fierce that nothing could stop it.’
Bumper music: Cliff Martinez ‘Traffic OST’
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