Thursday, December 2, 2021

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

RAW featured in documentary

 From RAW Semantics on Twitter: "TechnoCalyps, a longish documentary (2006) on "transhumanism", with a good rating on IMDB, has a clip of RAW talking about the "Jumping Jesus" phenomenon (at around 52 mins in). Full docu:"

The clip is above. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, Chapter 9, episode 58

The Chapel Perilous, a 1920 illustration by Thomas Mackenzie

By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger

The discussion of Patty Hearst’s “responsibility” for her actions as Tania make think of comparing the novel The Shining by Stephen King with the film The Shining directed by Stanley Kubrick. King has complained that in the film Jack seems firmly responsible for his actions, whereas in the novel the hotel seems at least in part responsible for his actions. One might model the Overlook Hotel as a model of Chapel Perilous, especially at the end of the film. In fact, various models of Chapel Perilous appear in Kubrick’s films, from the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey to the brainwashing scenes in A Clockwork Orange to basic training in Full Metal Jacket to Tom Cruise’s New York City wasteland quest in Eyes Wide Shut. 

Apuleius Charlton pointed out that many of Jim Jones’s victims did not commit suicide; armed followers of Jones forced many of them to drink the poison. I remember seeing part of a TV movie about Jim Jones starring Powers Booth. I thought of that film when I saw Oliver Stone’s Nixon where Powers Booth played Alexander Haig and Bob Wilson’s beloved Anthony Hopkins played Nixon. I contemplated writing a book on the magic of casting called Casting Spells. The movie Nixon seemed rather sympathetic to the character Richard Nixon, but I kept thinking of Hannibal Lector in the back of my mind. 

Bob writes of immortalism in this chapter. Someone once asked the physicist R. C. W. Ettinger why, if crygenics provided the chance of immortality, more people didn’t take advantage of it.  

Ettinger said, “Many are cold, but few are frozen.” 

Exercise 6 in this chapter says to become a Nazi for 33 minutes. I did this; I began by studying a bit of German on Duolingo. I had intended to watch a bit of Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer I had DVR’d next, but my wife asked me to run an errand. I had a Sonny Rollins CD on in the car, and I found it distasteful in my Nazi head-space. I switched to the classical radio station and felt grateful that they had some German music playing (Mozart’s Thirtieth Symphony). I found it sobering how quickly this exercise affected my judgment.  

Sunday, November 28, 2021

New 'Bodge'


I have been struggling to keep up with all of the news here, but before too much time passed, I wanted to remind everyone that the penultimate Bodge was released on Nov. 23 by the Liverpool Arts Lab. Details and download link for the PDF here. 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Excellent 'Illuminatus!' themed video

 Here's a new Illuminatus! themed video from @amoebadesign. About two minutes, be sure to give it a look. (It's not on YouTube, so I can't figure out how to embed it here.) On Twitter, he explains, "Thinking of the late big jake black/Rev D.Wayne Luv today, been a lot of Hagbard Celine/Crowley/Jim jones/Illuminatus Trilogy/Robert Anton Wilson/Fake Festival Ritual/ synchromeshery going on in the amoebawurld...Cheers Jake u were the best Hagbard in VR.."

More here. 

Friday, November 26, 2021

Upcoming podcast: John Higgs on Timothy Leary

John Higgs

It's been announced that the next Hilaritas Press podcast, set for release on Dec. 23, will feature Leary biographer and everyone's favorite writer John Higgs on Timothy Leary. I am very much looking forward to it.

In the meantime, another interesting podcast has just been released, about Aldous Huxley and his book, The Doors of Perception, featuring Huxley biographer Nicholas Murray.  

I thought Mike Gathers and Ian Blumberg both did a good job of posing questions. Though I admit to being disappointed about one question that wasn't posed, about Aldous Huxley's alleged communication to his widow after his death, as described in Robert Anton Wilson's first Cosmic Trigger book. I have written to Mr. Murray about this; if I get a reply, I'll update this post.

The podcast is available at the link and also on apps:  Podbean, Spotify, Google and TuneIn. 

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Another reason to be thankful

I am thankful to live in a world where a character from the Illuminatus! trilogy can pop up in a rather funny Muppets video.  The show that it appears in  on aired in 1980, so in theory Wilson or Shea or both could have seen. it. 

Hat tip, Jesse Walker.  

UPDATE: On Twitter, Jesse remarks, "The Muppet Show was made in the U.K., and I think there was a little bit of overlap between its staff and the Ken Campbell crowd."

Previously on this blog. 


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Holiday shopping news

Alexandra Gardner

An announcement from the RAW Trust: Flying Lasagna Enterprises is selling pendants and rings based on the ring Robert Anton Wilson always wore. Details and order your jewelry here. 

The latest newsletter from the RAW Trust put out by Rasa also has an interesting announcement: Wilson's daughter Alexandra Gardner has volunteered to run Flying Lasagna Enterprises. (Of course, Wilson's eldest daughter, Christina Pearson, runs the RAW Trust).  Rasa writes: 

"A little bit about Alexandra: her interests and training have included hypnotherapy, advanced shamanic practices, and Vajrayana. When I asked her for some tidbit about her life in the house of RAW that she might share, she offered this reflection...

What comes up for me is how much I always miss Bob and Arlen around the holidays. And how I miss watching the old Hollywood classic movies with them. I’ve never known anyone more fun and educational than Bob to watch great movies with, and Arlen had such a deeply childlike enthusiasm for the holidays, that it rubbed off on all us kids.

They made everything perpetually interesting in their own eccentric ways. The sounds coming from their epic, convoluted, and admiring conversations, along with the clacking typewriter, became the underlying background "music," no matter where we lived or what the circumstances were. And the circumstances were unvaryingly kaleidoscopic!

Flying Lasagna also offers T-shirts, mugs and other goods. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Neal Stephenson and 'fallibilism'

As I never got close enough to Neal Stephenson Monday night to take a good photo with my cell phone, here is an official photo from his website. 

Neal Stephenson is busy doing a press tour to promote his latest book, Termination Shock, a new novel about global warming. He actually came to Cleveland this time and I saw him last night at a library in Parma. 

Also Monday, The Week magazine published his list of six books about information manipulation. And you can also read a longer version of the list, which has 11 titles. I plan to read at least one of the books; I'll also read his new novel soon. 

Via those lists, I learned a new word: fallibilism. Stephenson defines it as "the disarmingly simple idea that none of us can ever be sure that our beliefs are correct, which is why we need a process for agreeing on what's true." Wikipedia defines it as "the philosophical claim that no belief can have justification which guarantees the truth of the belief, or that no beliefs are certain."

In a sense this is a restatement of Robert Anton Wilson's claim that few things in life are certain; it's best to talk about probabilities.

Stephenson's main concern appears to be that people get locked in to false beliefs and then refuse to give them up; he expressed surprised Monday night that so many people don't seem to consider COVID-19 real and he also wants global warming to be accepted as a reality that must be dealt with. Hence his concern for "agreeing on a process for what's true."

The concern with being able to change your views and admit you are wrong would also seem to fit with RAW's "Cosmic Schmuck" exercise, i.e. you become a little less of an idiot if you admit you might be wrong and are willing to revise your views. 

I saw Stephenson, one of my favorite authors, in Pittsburgh in 2019; here is my blog post about it. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, Chapter 9, episode 57


Mug shot of Patty Hearst (public domain photo)

When I read Chapter 9, these two paragraphs seemed particularly vivid and interesting to me:

"When Patty-Tania [i.e, Patty Hearst] was captured and brought to trial, the defense claimed that she had been 'brainwashed.' The jury either did not understand or did not believe this; they sentenced Patty to prison for the crimes Tania had committed. Debate about this case continues to the present, since some people think Ms. Hearst was 'responsible' for the consciousness change she underwent while held captive by the SLA and others are just as sure she was not 'responsible.'

"Leaving metaphysical questions of 'responsibility' aside for a moment, it seems obvious that a young lady of Hearst's class and background would almost certainly not have taken up bank robbing if she had not first been kidnapped and incorporated by the SLA."

It certainly seems obvious to me that Hearst totally was a victim in this case and that a tremendous injustice occurred when she was sent to prison. Yet, as Wilson points out, that did not seem obvious to the jury, even thought it was completely clear even at the time that she had been violently kidnapped and terrorized by a depraved left-wing gang of murderers and kidnappers. I remember at the time, Patty Hearst had very little sympathy from the public; she was seen as a spoiled rich kid trying to avoid responsibility for her crimes. This now seems like an incredibly ignorant opinion. 

Check out the Wikipedia article on Patty Hearst, which has details which seem shocking to me. Consider for example that she was sentenced to 35 years in prison for bank robbery. Contrast that to the lighter sentences given to the actual criminals in the SLA gang who victimized Hearst, such as Emily Harris, who got only eight years for murdering a woman during a bank robbery. Harris was the triggerwoman who actually committed the murder.

The exercises for the chapter seem a bit dated, as they concern such things as the John Birch Society and nudism. If you are a committed Democrat, why not use social media to enter the minds of Trump fans? And as someone who obtained a vaccination against COVID-19 as soon as I could, I've certainly had interesting conversations with anti-vaxxers. I recently talked to a health official who described how a nurse at his organization had resigned rather than agree to follow a mandate to be vaccinated. The woman had recently buried her husband after he died from COVID-19, the official told me. Now, that's a woman who lives in a reality tunnel different from the one I'm in. 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Next on Hilaritas podcast: Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley in 1954 (public domain photo)

The next Hilaritas Press podcast sounds very interesting: Scheduled to be be out Tuesday (i.e. on the 23rd of the month) it will be about Aldous Huxley and his influential The Doors of Perception book. It will feature Nicholas Murray, who wrote a biography of Huxley.

I learned this when I got caught up with the Hilaritas Press podcasts by listening to Episode 2, the Wilhelm Reich podcast.  It was quite interesting and Mike Gathers was an ideal host, although I did have to listen closely at times to understand what Dan Lowe was saying as he was interviewed. 

The first episode was on Alfred Korzybski. You can listen to the podcast at the Hilaritas Press link (which also has detailed show notes and links for each episode). The podcast also is available via Podbean, Google, Spotify and TuneIn. 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

'All Hail the Goddess Eris'

Eris on an Attic plate, ca. 575–525 BC

An explanation of Discordianism from Robert Anton Wilson, published in Gnostica in 1974 and made available to us today by Martin Wagner. 

"It will be understood by the Cabalistic reader that Discordianism is a system of transcendental Atheism, agnostic Gnosticism, skeptical Monotheism, and unified Dualism. In short, the Erisian revelation is not a complicated put-on disguised as a new religion, but a new religion disguised as a complicated put-on."