Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dabbling in the Occult

Colin Wilson's The Occult is something of a triumph and a failure.  Published in 1971, this tome seems like it would cover the occult in-depth.  It is, after all, a thick read. If you are like me, a large book on a subject you are interested in is akin to a panhandler finding a cache of gold nuggets in the creek.  What it signifies here, however, is something quite different.

The book itself deserves praise for its scope.  Just about everything and  
anything occult related prior to the '70s gets mentioned.  (And some get referenced even though the occult ties are kind of spurious, such as the Masons.  I've never considered them in the realm of the occult, though I could see the argument that could be made.)  Because the book covers so much, it becomes little more than an overview, though in fairness to Wilson, even an overview from him becomes interesting reading.  It works as a history of the occult.  If you already knew some of the history going in, however, you can't help but feeling a bit empty after reaching the last page.  You want more.

There are books that go into great depth on each of the subjects, groups and people that Wilson covers in this book.  (Some of them are even written by Wilson.)  So to say this is the be-all end-all of occult history books is nothing more than a lie.  It is, however, an excellent place to start for someone who knows nothing of the past occult history.  Once finished, the reader can go seek out those subjects which peaked his interest while reading Wilson's work. 

I have an interest (though not a very deep one) in people like Aleister Crowley and Rasputin.  The thought processes of these men are fascinating, as is the hold they had (and still have) on people.  As I contemplate the theories that we live in a computer generated simulation, I find myself wondering how these men fit into that theory (quite well, actually).  That says to me that Wilson's book still has a place in our world.  Granted, there may not be a fascination with the occult like there was in the '70s, but it still has a use in our lives if only to send shivers down the spines of the easily scared and to open other minds to a new way of thinking.

Mandatory FTC Disclaimer:  Clicking on one of the links will not only curse you, but since it could be an affiliate, I could earn a commission.  I did not get a copy of this book for review.  I bought it.  That's right.  I paid cold, hard cash for it.

No comments:

Post a Comment