Wednesday, January 18, 2017

More on basic income

Scott Sumner

Robert Anton Wilson's interest in basic income seemed far out at the time, but now it's become a proposal that's in the mainstream.

Finland has launched a basic income experiment with 2,000 people.  (Hat tip, John Merritt)

Here are some interesting comments from Scott Sumner.  And he also takes time to answer some questions in the comments.

Some days, I favor an basic income guarantee, but sometimes I wonder if Congress shouldn't just make the Earned Income Tax Credit much bigger.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lawsuit seeks to destroy Techdirt

Mike Masnick isn't just a Robert Anton Wilson fan.  He also runs the Techdirt website, which has been a big resource for digital civil liberties in the Obama administration and also will be a big resource in the Trump administration — if he can stay in operation.

A self-proclaimed "inventor of email" has sued Masnick for $15 million. He's represented by the lawyer who sued Gawker and drove it into bankruptcy. At the Volokh Conspiracy, David Post writes, "There’s an enormous amount at stake here, as part of what promises to be a fierce battle over 'opening up,' as Donald Trump referred to it, our libel laws. Defenders of free speech will be sorely tested, and they will have to pick their battles; Masnick’s is an important one, and his posting lists a number of ways you can help him fight it."

Here is Masnick's article about the lawsuit.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Prometheus Hall of Fame finalists announced

[As I've mentioned before, the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award was the only literary award that Illuminatus! ever got. Thought I'd share the announcement for the latest finalists for the award. (I'm very active in the group that gives the award, the Libertarian Futurist Society.) Here is the official press release. -- The Management.]

The Libertarian Futurist Society has chosen six finalists for the 2017 Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, given in recognition of a classic work of science fiction or fantasy with libertarian themes. This year’s finalists are

"As Easy as A.B.C.," by Rudyard Kipling (first published 1912 in London Magazine), the second of his "airship utopia" stories, portrays a crisis in a twenty-first century society where an unpopular minority calls for the revival of democracy, and a largely hands-off world government is forced to step in and protect them.

"Conquest by Default," by Vernor Vinge (first published 1968 in Analog) is his first exploration of the idea of anarchism, in which a stateless alien society visits an Earth recovering from nuclear war. The story combines a novel approach to the problem of avoiding the decay of anarchy into government with an evocation of the tragic impact of cultural change.

"Coventry," by Robert A. Heinlein (first published 1940 in Astounding Science Fiction) envisions the Covenant, a social compact under which breaking the law, as such, cannot be punished unless actual harm to someone has been demonstrated. The story contrasts that society with a lawless "anarchy" into which those who break the covenant are sent.

"Harrison Bergeron," by Kurt Vonnegut (first published 1971 in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction), satirizes the idea of radical egalitarianism with a portrayal of a society where all talented people are compulsorily brought down to average --- until one gifted youth rebels against the system.
"Starfog," by Poul Anderson (first published 1967 in Analog) envisions a widespread interstellar society millennia after the fall of a Galactic Empire, unified by the Commonality, a mutual aid organization. The story explores methods of carrying out large-scale projects through voluntary cooperation and market incentives under conditions where central control is unworkable.

"With Folded Hands ..." by Jack Williamson (first published 1947 in Astounding Science Fiction), uses science fiction to satirize the modern "nanny state" and explore an ethical theme: the peril of unrestricted authority, even (or especially) when it is used totally altruistically to take care of those subjected to it.

In addition to the six finalists, the Hall of Fame Committee considered eight other works: "The End of the Line," by James H. Schmitz; "The Exit Door Leads In," by Philip K. Dick; The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood; The Island Worlds, by Eric Kotani and John Maddox Roberts; Lord of the Flies, by William Golding; Manna, by Lee Correy; "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," by Ursula Le Guin; and A Time of Changes, by Robert Silverberg.

The final vote by LFS members will take place in mid-2017. The Prometheus Hall of Fame award will be presented at a major science fiction convention.
The Prometheus Awards, one of the oldest fan-based awards in SF, have recognized outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy that dramatize the perennial conflict between liberty and power, expose the abuses and excesses of coercive government, critique or satirize authoritarian ideas, or champion individual rights and freedoms as the mutually respectful foundation for civilization, cooperation, peace, prosperity, progress and justice.

Nominees, which must have been published or broadcast at least five years ago, may be in any narrative or dramatic form, including prose fiction, stage plays, film, television, other video, graphic novels, song lyrics, or epic or narrative verse; they must explore themes relevant to libertarianism and must be science fiction, fantasy, or related genres.

Nominations for the 2018 Hall of Fame Award can be submitted at any time to committee chair William H. Stoddard. While only LFS members are eligible to nominate, any fan, author or publisher may suggest works for consideration.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Philip Jose Farmer's 'Riders of the Purple Wage'

It occurred to me this weekend that I ought to say something about Philip Jose Farmer's Hugo Award winning novella "Riders of the Purple Wage," as this is a blog aimed at readers, and sombunall of you would possibly be interested.

Published originally in Harlan Ellison's famous 1960s  anthology, Dangerous Visions, "Riders of the Purple Wage" also has long been one of my favorite stories. RAW was a Farmer fan and Farmer was a RAW fan, as you can see here.

It is the earliest SF story I can think of that talks about a basic income guarantee (the "purple wage" of the story's title) and it contains many puns and explicitly name checks James Joyce's Finnegans Wake.

Aside from being found in Dangerous Visions, the story is reprinted in four Farmer collections, The Purple Book, Riders of the Purple Wage, The Best of Philip Jose Farmer and The Classic Philip Jose Farmer 1964-1973  and also is found in an early Hugo Awards anthology, the vol. 1 and 2 book edited by Isaac Asimov. For information about Farmer, go here.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Eight Circuit news

G.I. Gurdjieff

The folks at Disinfo has posted a new piece: "A Second Look At Leary’s Eight Circuit Model: Gurdjieff’s Law Of Octaves And The Major Arcana Of The Tarot," by Phillip Newman. Newman's piece explains the eight circuit model of consciousness developed by Timothy Leary and discussed by Robert Anton Wilson in Prometheus Rising, explains how Leary sought to apply it to the major arcana of the Tarot and then says, "Had Leary paid closer attention to his Gurdjieff while residing at Millbrook, he might have thought to apply the sequence of Tarot cards to Gurdjieff’s Law of Octaves." An explanation of the Law of Octaves follows.

I don't know anything about Newman, but a bio explains, "P.D. Newman is a member of Tupelo Lodge No. 318, Free and Accepted Masons. He has had papers published by the MS Lodge of Research, Guthrie Scottish Rite Journal, Knight Templar Magazine, Ad Lucem Journal, The Invisible College, Dragibus, Disinformation, Reality Sandwich, Neuro Soup, Living Stones Magazine, The Working Tools Magazine, etc."

Hat tip, John Thomas.

And here's a link, one more time, to the latest Antero Alli course on the eight circuits. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

A nice RAW anecdote

Robert Anton Wilson's drinking buddy, at least in theory. 

Here's an anecdote from Robert Anton Wilson's Boswell, Los Angeles teacher and writer Eric Wagner, that made me smile:

"I remember talking with Bob once about having dinner with famous poets from history. I said I imagined Pound and Dante talking intensely about craft. Bob said he and Shakespeare would slip off to the bar."

The Kindle version of Eric's An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson is a rather reasonable $5.

Some literary Discordian numbers: April 23 is the date of Shakespeare's death and is traditionally listed as the date of his birth, and April 23 also is an important date in Illuminatus! April 23 is a motif in Ada by Vladimir Nabokov, a novel I've just finished reading. Ada is in five parts, so it conforms to the Law of Fives.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Eris Magazine shutting down

Eris Magazine has announced that it is shutting down. The Twitter announcement: "Eris Magazine is shuttering later this week. Enjoy, screen shot your favorite articles this week!"A Tweet yesterday said, "Eris Magazine  will be accessible until Friday." So if you want to save something from the site, better hurry.