An Evolutionary Leap: Colin Wilson on Psychology

Author(s) : Colin Stanley

An Evolutionary Leap: Colin Wilson on Psychology

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When the existential philosopher Colin Wilson died in December 2013, it was suggested by one perceptive obituary writer that, despite the seemingly diverse subject matter of his books, his true legacy lay in the field of Consciousness Studies. This is particularly apparent when studying his many essays and books on psychology and taking into consideration his close association with the celebrated American psychologist Abraham Maslow whose concept of ‘Peak Experiences’(PEs) became, for Wilson, an important link to experiencing enhanced consciousness. Maslow, however, felt that PEs could not be induced at will; Wilson thought otherwise and through his work sought to encourage his readers and students to live more vital and appreciative lives thereby paving the way toward an evolutionary leap for mankind in consciousness—indeed, a change in consciousness that would potentially change everything.

In this study, Colin Stanley, Wilson’s bibliographer and author of Colin Wilson’s ‘Outsider Cycle’: A Guide for Students and Colin Wilson’s ‘Occult Trilogy’: A Guide for Students, provides an illuminating essay on each of Wilson’s nine major books on psychology. Also included is Wilson’s ‘Notes on Psychology’ to the psychiatrist George Pransky and ‘Remembering the Outsider’, Stanley’s Colin Wilson obituary.

Reviews and Endorsements

Read a review of this title in 'Colin Wilson World'

‘Although most known as a writer on the occult and crime, Colin Wilson was at heart a philosopher and psychologist, and in this important book Colin Stanley brings together some of Wilson’s most insightful ideas about the human mind and its mysterious workings. Anyone interested in peak experiences, the “intentionality” of consciousness, the relationship between our two cerebral hemispheres, the creative potential of thought, and existential advantages of optimism will glean much value from this inspiring collection.’
— Gary Lachman, author of Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson, The Secret Teachers of the Western World, and Jung the Mystic

‘Colin Stanley does a wonderful job of stating Colin Wilson’s importance as a psychologist, isolating and highlighting the concepts and insights that were always at the core of his vast output. Essential reading not just for admirers of Wilson but for all psychologists too.’
—Steve Taylor, PhD, author of The Fall, Waking From Sleep and The Calm Center

‘Colin Wilson had one overpowering impulsion: his drive to explore how humankind should expand consciousness. It is to Colin Stanley’s great credit that he has here not only compiled and commented on many of Wilson’s most significant writings on psychology, but also done so in such a cogent fashion.’
— Dr Vaughan Rapatahana, author of Wilson as Mystic

‘A brilliant distillation and synthesis of Colin Wilson’s writings on psychology. Colin Stanley has captured lightning in a bottle by conveying the sheer vigour and sparkling intelligence of Wilson’s work. This is a book to engage both longterm readers of Wilson and those unfamiliar with one of the twentieth century’s most vital yet underrated thinkers.’
— Chris Nelson, writer and editor

‘Colin Stanley provides an absorbing, informed and lucid survey of Wilson’s key works on psychology from The Age of Defeat to Super Consciousness. Stanley expertly traces Wilson’s engagements with Freud, Reich and Jung and, most crucially, with the American psychologist Abraham Maslow, and charts Wilson’s development of an affirmative existentialist psychology that heralds the evolutionary advance of humankind.’
— Nicolas Tredell, retired lecturer, University of Sussex, and author of Novels to Some Purpose: The Fiction of Colin Wilson

‘Essential reading for anyone concerned with the cutting edge of psychological science as well as the future of humanity.’
—Stanley Krippner, PhD, co-author of Personal Mythology

About the Author(s)

Colin Stanley was born in Topsham, Devon, in 1952 and educated at Exmouth School. Beginning in 1970, he worked for Devon Library Services, before moving to Nottingham with his wife, Gail, where he worked for the University of Nottingham until July 2005. Managing Editor of Paupers’ Press, he edits Colin Wilson Studies, a series of books and essays written by Wilson scholars worldwide. He now spends his time at the cinema and theatre, listening to music, writing, editing, reading and watching cricket.

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