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Religion and the Rebel, Part 8

Religion and the Rebel, Part 8

Colin Wilson believes we need a religion that will provide what the Outsider needs for a life filled with purpose and meaning. In this way, society can benefit from their genius. If “society dies from the head downward,” 1 the head being the creative minority of Outsiders, men and women of genius who formulate the path ahead for the culture, then it follows that the societal body flourishes via the living ideas and leadership of the head. By “solving the…

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Religion and the Rebel, Part 4

Religion and the Rebel, Part 4

It is the moral question that becomes an existentialist question only by the depth of the attempt to answer it: What shall we do with our lives? The Outsider’s standards are unusually high. For him, ‘success’ and ‘failure’ have a completely new meaning. Ordinary ‘success’ seems particularly poisonous to him: the success of a film star or businessman or the author of a best seller. That is only a way of wading out into the world’s stupidity and losing the…

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Religion and the Rebel, Part 3

Religion and the Rebel, Part 3

The concept of hell is only important in so far as it points to a concept of heaven. The concept of insanity only matters because it is a step toward supersanity (48). In Religion and the Rebel, Wilson wants to define what he means by “heaven” and “supersanity,” but first he wants to get at the true meaning of Existenzphilosophie, or at least “the meaning that the Outsider attaches to it” (ibid.). This is a German word that means “the…

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Religion and the Rebel, Part 2

Religion and the Rebel, Part 2

In the final two chapters of The Outsider, Wilson outlined several attempts at a positive solution to the Outsider’s problem. It is his plan in Religion and the Rebel to present a more complete answer. Just as a reminder, Wilson’s use of “religious” is not the typical dogmatic idea we have of the word. It is more akin to contacting the source of the sacred within oneself. The key to all religion, Wilson says, is “increased intensity of mind” (40)….

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Religion and the Rebel, Part 1

Religion and the Rebel, Part 1

Colin Wilson’s sequel to The Outsider, Religion and the Rebel, was published one year after his initial success. He lets us know immediately, in the opening sentence of the introduction, what his intentions are for this work: “The Outsider was an incomplete book” (1). Wilson says there were other ideas he wanted to deal with in Religion and the Rebel that he did not have the space for in The Outsider. He intends to “probe deeper into the Outsider himself,…

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Comments on The Outsider, Conclusion

Comments on The Outsider, Conclusion

I must admit that Wilson’s book, The Outsider, is one of the best I’ve ever read on the problem of attempting to go beyond the boring, everyday bourgeois world to find another mode of consciousness that has the potential to revolutionize one’s earthly experience. He brilliantly analyzes many who have tried and most who have failed. Let’s see how he wraps things up. As with the Existentialist viewpoint, in general, “the act of willing is important; the result, whether it…

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Thoughts on The Outsider, Part 3

Thoughts on The Outsider, Part 3

Wilson turns now to William Blake, perhaps the greatest poet who ever walked the earth. Blake is what Wilson calls a “religious Outsider” (Wilson 136), as was Dostoevsky. He is similar to Nietzsche in that he is life-affirming, making statements, such as, “Energy is eternal delight” (Blake 251), and “For everything that lives is Holy, life delights in life” (Blake 305). Wilson believes there is a definite correlation between Blake and Nietzsche: If we remember what Nietzsche has written of…

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The Brunian Revolution, Part 1: Religion

The Brunian Revolution, Part 1: Religion

Giordano Bruno was a rare revolutionary, whose intellectual powers only occasionally arise among humans.  The ideas he espoused during those days of religious oppression and intellectual suppression demonstrated a tremendous amount of courage. Even during the expanded intellectual and artistic freedom of the European Renaissance, the terrors of The Inquisition hung over his head like the sword of Damocles. But, unlike Damocles, he bore the tortures, suffering, and finally the flames. He left behind a legacy that is with us…

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Danger Lurks Below

Danger Lurks Below

  The supreme danger which threatens individuals as well as whole nations is a psychic danger (Jung 590 ). We usually think of the unconscious mind as being the source of creativity and blessing for our lives. We have been taught that if we could only become more conscious of what lies in the depths below, we would become more balanced and whole. This is true to a certain extent, but there is a ferociousness in the dark abyss of…

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