Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Steve Bellitt's Eris

The Eris of the Month this month at Historia Discordia is from artist, comics guy and RAW fan Steve Bellitt.

I'm inviting you to go over there and look at it, so I'm not posting the piece here. Instead, I've nicked a drawing I liked that Steve did to direct people from his blog to his Twitter account. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

John Higgs talks about RAW

John Higgs 

John Higgs, author of Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the 20th Century, KLF: Chaos, Magic, Music, Money and I Have America Surrounded: A Life of Timothy Leary, talks with The Quietus, a British online and pop music magazine. Much of the interview concerns Robert Anton Wilson. I thought this exchange between Ben Graham and Higgs was interesting:

GRAHAM: One thing that does make me slightly uncomfortable about Robert Wilson is the way that he's sometimes held up as a figurehead for American libertarianism.

This is fascinating, in that over here there are a lot of British socialists who absolutely love Robert Anton Wilson, and over there you get all these American libertarians. These are two tribes who really shouldn't have anything in common. But they just get on great, and it's partly because they've read Robert Anton Wilson and they don't believe that their one singular viewpoint is the one that has to be inflicted on everyone else. You saw this at the Find the Others Festival in Liverpool. There was this great coming together of people who had nothing whatsoever in common except for the fact that they'd read Robert Anton Wilson.

Wilson mocks Ayn Rand mercilessly in a lot of his stuff. In the Illuminatus trilogy, Atlas Shrugged is mocked as Telemachus Sneezed. There was a brief period where he found her interesting, but he quite quickly recognised Ayn Rand for what she was. So you don't get that strain of libertarianism that has this messianic faith in Ayn Rand liking Robert Anton Wilson. You just get people who are mistrustful of the state, but don't necessarily believe in the virtue of selfishness like Ayn Rand did, or anything like that. Robert Anton Wilson always used to say that the left's view of corporations is true, just as the right's view of the state is true. Multiple model agnosticism is not necessarily a political viewpoint; it sort of hovers above them all and it's valuable to everyone on the political spectrum, I think.

More here. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Cosmic Trigger online reading group, Week 12!

Charles Fort 

By Charles Faris, online reading group guest blogger 

Welcome to week 12 of the Group Reading of Cosmic Trigger. This week we are covering pages 91-98, in both the Hilaritas edition & the And/Or.

After a long stretch of “telling the story” the Author steps back from his own story in Beings of Light, talking dogs, more extraterrestrials and other weird critters and offers the Reader some “real world” examples as a comparison/contrast to the sorts of experiences he has been describing from his own life. Along the way the Semanticist continues to invoke the spirit of E-Prime and Relativity that he more directly addresses in Quantum Psychology (the concurrent reading of which book I must say highly Illuminates the reading of Cosmic Trigger), in order, perhaps, to gently “point” in the direction of something which is seemingly “unspeakable.”

Bob compares his experience of “entities” during the summer/fall of 1973 with the collected near-death experiences described by Dr. Raymond Moody and with a trio of UFO/“weird” stories from Jacques Vallee and Charles Fort.

One interesting and enlightening way to read Bob is to look for all of the italicized words in a given section. In this chapter, when Bob is writing about the qualities of “the entities” he italicizes intensely loving. When analyzing the messages received from said entities he italicizes time, the future, and infinity, and then repeats and emphasizes time. When offering a method for making “weird” stories less subjective and more objective he italicizes the phrases certain signals, organized by their metaprogrammer, and an impression, and then generalizes this into the notion that when you think you are doing x, you are receiving signals that your metaprogrammer is organizing into the impression that you are doing x.

More pointing, perhaps.

There are a few more italicized entries in this chapter — one, two, three, thought-projection and cognitive dissonance. I will let you make of those who you will.

One other interesting comparison/contrast occurs in the last paragraph, which begins with a direct reference to Charles Fort, and finishes with an oblique reference to Ambrose Bierce (The Damned Thing), about whom Fort had more than a passing interest.

Ambrose Bierce

All in all what we have here is Mr. Wilson offering up proof that other folks have had experiences at least as strange as his own, and then providing us with some tools to make those experiences seem at least a little bit less “weird,” and perhaps a bit more “grasp”-able.

Starseed opens with the wonderful sentence “The next step in whatever is wrong with me again involved Timothy Leary.” Note the present tense “is” and the past tense “involved.”

This chapter seems devoted to synchronicities between Wilson’s “Sirius Transmissions” and Leary’s “Starseed Transmissions,” with a bit of Crowley and Charles Fort (him again!) thrown into the mix. As Oz Fritz noted in last week’s comments:

P. 90 - “Mostly the Holy Guardian Angel communicated by synchronicity.” This could serve as a huge clue for anyone attempting the “Knowledge and Conversation of the HGA,” as Crowley formally puts it.

Moving on, Magick, Technology, or Both? serves as a primarily “evidential” chapter, parsing out a quick argument that UFO’s fail to fit into the Aristotelian either/or of Magick vs Technology. It also contains this gem of a proposal from Brad Steiger that “the only safe generalization about UFO’s is that they always fit into the cosmology of the human observer…” At this point it might be a fair question to ask what is more important to the Author—the Doggiez from Sirius? or Teaching the Reader How to Think?

And then this short chapter ends with a potential answer to the question posed in its title—“Maybe.”

That’s it for this week. Next week we dive into Those mysterious Sufis and A message from Cosmic Central?, pages 98-107 Hilaritas and 98-106 And/Or. As always, engaging with the comments benefits everyone — even last week and the week before etc.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016

More on reading

Pattie Boyd

After I did my post on reading the other day, Michael Johnson and Oz Fritz both responded with comments. Michael talked about his addiction to reading and Oz discussed his own reading style. I appreciated them both weighing in.

Michael writes that he is "obviously addicted to reading" and I think the addiction model of reading is rather undersold. I guess the addiction is more like being a sports addict than a drug addict — you don't see many news stories about people being found dead with reading paraphernalia nearby — but I know that I'm a reading addict. I have to do at least a little bit of book reading every day or I'm not going to be happy, and if I can do more than a little, so much the better. I've resumed using up most of my (pretty long) commute to book to listen to audiobooks, mostly because that allows me to consume more books than I otherwise could.

I'll have to read the Pattie Boyd book Oz mentions. That's what you get when  you hang around readers, the stack of things you want to read grows into a mountain. I gave up reading Beatles books for awhile because I knew so much nothing ever surprised me anymore, but there have been some new ones recently that weren't bad. Patti was in an interesting position to be a witness to rock history, simply because she caught a Beatle's eye.  Check out her photos. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Wilson and Pratt album now available!

A followup to my June 16 post about the new album,  Robert Anton Wilson Meets Steve 'Fly Agaric' Pratt, which combines Steve's interview with RAW with music by Steve and his musician friends: It is now available for download from the usual outlets. I bought my copy today from Amazon digital music, but I also checked and found it on iTunes.

I did not pay sufficient attention to the release date, which was actually June 23, in the future when I wrote this nonsense sentence on June 16: "(It was released on June 23 but I did not know of it until I saw a Tweet yesterday from Steve)." Of course, Steve was promoting an album that had yet to be released but I somehow managed to not grasp that. I apologize to Steve for my confusion and hope he will say "it's OK, mate" in that charming English accent he unleashes on his new release.

Anyway, congratulations to Steve on his new release, which I was able to purchase on Amazon for only $5.99 — two cups of fancy coffee, at least here in the states. As I wrote in an earlier post, the album combines Steve's interview with RAW with music by Steve and other musicians.

P.S. You can also buy it as a physical object audio CD at the usual outlets, too. I just ran a search on Amazon and verified that.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

How do you read?

Janice Weber

I've just finished reading Swing Set, a somewhat unusual sex novel by Janice Weber that I read because I am trying to read all of Janice Weber's books.

And that prompts me to wonder if other people's reading habits resemble mine.

I do read quite a few books that are one-offs — I will read the book, and quite likely enjoy it, but I don't feel a need to read other works by the same author.

But once I discover an author I really like, it is my tendency to read as much of their work as possible. So, since high school, I have read a Vladimir Nabokov novel once every couple of years or so. (I still have a few left). I've read almost all of the fiction of science fiction writer Jack Vance, and a lot of Philip Jose Farmer. I've read every Tom Perrotta and Jane Austen book I can find. I am trying to read all of Neal Stephenson and Iain Banks, but still have a way to go (I discovered Banks relatively late, and also didn't follow Stephenson at first.) I like Richard Powers a lot, and Janice Weber. And of course, I have explored Robert Anton Wilson's work and have been reading Robert Shea's solo novels.

What are your reading habits?

By the way, I know the name "Janice Weber" is less familiar than some of the author names above, but she is both a classical pianist and a novelist, and she's very interesting; you can read my interview with her.