The literary reviews of THE MISFITS mostly emphasize that Wilson's book is worth reading because it is about sex, and specifically about the sexual deviations of many famous people, including Paul Tillich, Havelock Ellis, and Carl Jung. This does indeed make the book fascinating. In fact, the book could well be entitled "A History of Pornography," or more generally, "A History of Sex in Western Literature." But this is NOT what the book is really about.
The basic thesis of THE MISFITS is that man is capable of being in control of his own evolution through the power of his imagination. The primary problem is that our imagination is too often embroiled in -- and hence stunted by -- indulgence in sex. People cultivate the indulgent child within themselves because it gives them so much pleasure; but such cultivation of sexual deviation leads to self ignorance and lack of self control. Most people probably know the joke that the brand name Adidas stands for, "All day I dream about sex." Unfortunately, this is really an accurate description. So if one did not waste so much mental energy obsessed with sexual and romantic daydreams, what would occupy one's mind instead? This is the important question Colin Wilson addresses. The human mind most often functions like a robot - like Susan Blackmore's "meme machine" - so we spend most of our time in dreary triviality and repetition, with a worm's eye view of the world. Colin Wilson presents the optimistic premise that we can develop the imagination to give us a bird's eye view of the world, and hence give life meaning. This makes him one of the most important writers of our time.
Wilson is often criticized for being gullible and superstitious. He speaks of developing "hidden powers," the most important of which is "Faculty X: the ability to suddenly grasp the reality of other times and places," all of which smacks of the occult (and in fact, on of Wilson's most interesting books is THE OCCULT). In THE MISFITS, Wilson employs Rupert Sheldrake's theory of "morphic resonance," which includes the notion that when something has once been learned by some people, other people can learn it more readily. Sheldrake is generally considered a crackpot by the mainstream scientific community, and it has even been suggested that his books should be burned. This assessment is supposed to be based on Sheldrake's flawed scientific procedure. This might be so, though I have only heard his ideas denigrated, and have yet to hear specific reasons why his observations are untrustworthy. If consciousness is an intrinsic property of the universe, and there is no reason why this assumption is less reasonable than the assumption that it is an unintended consequence of blind physical processes, then such phenomena as synchronicity and morphic resonance are not inherently absurd.
(Peter Payne, author of CAPTAIN CALIFORNIA: A YOUNG MAN'S ENCOUNTER WITH THE EVIL WITHIN HIMSELF).