In his 2009 book Super Consciousness, Colin Wilson describes the phenomenon of what he calls peak experiences. These moments of extreme realization and observation might not be common experiences, but they do happen with some repetition in healthy individuals. In fact, studies have shown that the more aware of this we become, the more likely a peak experience is to occur.
Peak experiences can explain many oddities and otherwise unexplainable event. So called “occult” experiences, Wilson goes on to say, can clearly be explained through the lens of these peak experiences. This includes things such as clairvoyance and telepathy. There have been dozens, if not hundreds, of documented occurrences of these phenomena, some of which Wilson draws upon as examples. This happens because of the simple fact that our brains filter out much of the information that they intake. How many times have you driven your car home late at night only to arrive at your home and not remember parts of the trip? Our brains fly on autopilot for the vast majority of the mundane tasks we act out on a daily basis. This leads to a severe limitation of observation and thus potential. This is a kind of robot effect on human awareness.
Everything changes when we experience super consciousness. During these times, we become aware of much more of our surroundings and the world around us. Things that we thought were impossible suddenly become feasible and realistic. Our five senses are extremely limited in our observations of the world, this suggests. In this light, it becomes evident that there are things that we cannot be aware of unless we increase our level of observation somehow. The “real world” that we live in is therefore only a slice of actual reality. When we are in the midst of a peak experience, true reality is exposed to a higher degree. While it is impossible for man to comprehend the totality of our universe and even more impossible to describe it with words, we can at least take an active role in a tiny part of it.
The ending of the book is devoted to the real life application of peak experiences. For starters, Wilson is adamant that most philosophy is too passive for such an experience. Experiencing the real world necessitates action and doing, rather than sitting and thinking. He concludes his look at the peak experience with a how-to guide for experiencing your own version of this phenomenon. Wilson claims that with practice, you can experience a peak experience on your own volition.
This book stands out because of the extremely detailed look that Wilson takes at the past and how the peak experience has been portrayed over time. He uses the 19th century fascination with hypnosis as an example. A hypnotized individual is capable of things that they might otherwise deem impossible, but by unlocking normally unused sections of the brain, these impossibilities become givens. This elusive concept has been acknowledged as a part of human nature since at least the days of the Old Testament. By outlining his case with a slew of historical examples, Wilson creates a solid case for the human race’s ability to expand their consciousness. Call it super consciousness, peak experiences, mystical visions, or religious enlightenment, this phenomenon has the ability to make an otherwise normal person operate on a higher plane, if only for a brief moment.