When Colin Wilson died in December 2013, one perceptive obituary writer suggested that, despite the seemingly diverse subject matter of his books, Wilson’s legacy lay in the field of consciousness studies. This is undoubtedly true. In Super Consciousness (first published in 2009), Wilson, nearing the end of his creative life, decided to succinctly summarise the ideas he had developed during years of research first as an existentialist philosopher and a psychologist, and later as an explorer of the occult.
In the foreword, Wilson states: “I am now 75, and most of my life has been devoted to a search for what might be called ‘the mechanisms of the Peak Experience’, or ‘power consciousness’. This book might be regarded as a kind of DIY manual of how to achieve it.” Peak Experience – the experience of sudden overwhelming happiness – is a concept coined by the American psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908–1970), but while Maslow believed that Peak Experience could not be induced, Wilson thought otherwise. He points out that boredom and lack of purpose are among the most destructive states we can experience, and instead emphasises the importance of acknowledging the reality of free will and actively evolving our own consciousness to find deep meaning and joy in every part of life.
In this fascinating and optimistic work, Wilson looks at what we can learn from the Peak Experiences of Yeats, Blake, Sartre, Nietzsche, Robert Graves and other luminaries, revealing the process of how we too can gain incredible insight into the deepest mysteries of existence. This new edition includes a foreword by Colin Wilson’s bibliographer, Colin Stanley.