Strange Is Normal: The Amazing Life Of Colin Wilson
Allow me to apologize for the horrible title of this review, up front.
I was delighted for discover there was a full length documentary on Colin Wilson. I first read 'The Outsider' two years ago and was, like others, amazed at its relevance and intelligence. It still remains an important philosophical work and a master piece of autodidact writing.
However, I, like so many others, quickly grew a little vary and confused regarding Wilsons later output. He has written several hundred books, and the quality ranges like it would when insisting on publishing so much. Overkill seems to be the word. He repeats himself over and over again, and it seems that the essence of his work lays in The Outsider and Superconsciousness. (Though 'Supernatural' was a rare diamond).
Don't get me wrong, Wilson is a treasure. But it's hard to refute that at times he seems overly self-obssessed, indulgent, and that too much of his work is a lot of wrapping with little content.
As for the documentary:
For a long time I combed for every audio and video interview with Wilson I could find. What I discovered was heartbreaking. Every single interview sounds like the last. He repeats the same points, the same stories and the same conclusions every single time. The story of being told not to write a book of the occult, being a celebrity, discovering Maslow, and the same examples of peak experience.
So, if you are familiar with Wilson, through his books or interview, very little new is to be found here.
Another con, and this is very subjective, is the fact that I bought the audio book "Strange is Normal" a year before buying this documentary. I quickly realized that the audio book is merely the sound from this documentary, and that the video added nothing.
In other words, if you have the audio book, dont bother buying this one.
Maybe it's posted clearly, but I didn't realize this fact and it took me five minutes to realize it all sounded too familiar.
In addition, it's sometimes painful to watch the way Wilson conducts his life. The sheds where he keeps his books... One of which should have been a garden shed or boat shed for his wife. But "they" decided he needed it for his books. (I somehow imagine he's not a very good husband, and his wife should get a bravery award... Poor thing)
All that being said, it is wonderful to see Wilson talk from the comforts of his home. And though it would be nice to hear interview with others, this one and a half hour interview with Wilson is a treat for Wilson fans, especially if you didn't buy the audio book.
Hope they'll make another one, including other interviews and a more documentary-feel before his death.