Two of the heroes of my youth passed away recently, COLIN WILSON (1931-2013) died December 5 and TOM LAUGHLIN, or BILLY JACK (1931-2013) died December 12.
Colin Wilson was known as one of the original “Angry Young Men” who dominated the British literary scene in the Fifties. His first book THE OUTSIDER was a brilliant exposition of the ideal of the artist or thinker who stood outside the mainstream in a pursuit of authenticity. For me, Wilson was an introduction to existentialism as well as mysticism. As a teen I went from the simple answers of Ayn Rand to the more complex questions of Wilson and came to intellectual maturity in so doing. In my late twenties I exchanged correspondence with Mr. Wilson and he advised me on a writing career, wise advice which I neglected to follow.
Tom Laughlin was an icon of the age having become the character he portrayed in film, Billy Jack, in real life as well. Billy Jack, the defender of the weak against bullies and mindless authority exemplified what a generation sought in its leaders but could never find. As the film ended, how many of us felt compelled to stand along with the young people in the film saluting the captured hero facing the consequences of his heroism.
It was nice to have someone to believe in.