Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A new zine from Arthur Hlavaty

Lots of nice content can be found in "Nice Distinctions 33," the new zine (after three years) issued by Arthur Hlavaty. I'm on his email list, but you can go grab your own own digital copy easily enough. (If you get hooked, see the Hlavaty zine archive. )

Much of the zine has an kind of amusing grumpiness about it, as when he says "I  never liked golf. It's not a major problem for me, at worst taking up space on the sports page for some reason." Or when he says he stopped listening to new music 45 years ago. (Doing the math suggests he stopped in 1975. Is it too late to turn him on to 1980s Tom Petty and Elvis Costello? I knew a guy in Lawton, Oklahoma, who thought classical music went bad in about 1775.)

But the jokes also merge into thoughtful content, as when he reviews two books about the "golden age" of science fiction, or writes pithy obituaries, here are two I liked but the others are worth reading too:

Justin Raimondo quite seriously described himself as the #1 gay supporter of Pat Buchanan (he admitted there was not a lot of competition), but that was not the whole story. I have abandoned the hope of having a society without a few elements controlled by a legitimized armed gang, but I still have a lot of sympathy for libertarianism, not just sex&weed&dirty books but two other good ideas: 1) distrusting the cops. Radley Balko proudly upholds that one, now more liberals are noticing, and that may be the one element of vestigial libertarianism in Rand Paul's makeup. 2) staying out of Asian wars. Going back to Woodrow Wilson and continuing today there is the allegedly liberal doctrine that democracy is so wonderful that we must impose it everywhere no matter how many people we have to kill. Justin Raimondo and stood up to that idea. 

Paul Krassner was the first great corrupting influence in my life. _The Realist_ introduced me to Robert Anton Wilson and Albert Ellis, among others, and he himself commented incisively on the follies of our times. In the 70s he went through paranoia and came out the other side. I always sent him my zines, and one of the high points of my writing life was being quoted in _The Realist_.

Wednesday links

From @Kaosreigns23 on Twitter: "The Revelation parchment print by Alex Screen. Showing the birth of the Erisian Movement, when a simian herald of Our Lady of Discord appeared to Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley one night in a bowling alley and unveiled the sign of the hodge podge.

Latest John Higgs newsletter. I've covered some of his news but not all of it. 

Review from PQ: "The Interstellar Corridors of Killah Priest's Rocket to Nebula"

"1970 - The FBI opened a file on George Carlin after his first appearance on the Carol Burnett Show."

Interesting profile of Susanna Clarke, who has been ill and housebound for 15 years and finally has a new novel out. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

James Heffernan's new book


[A book announcement from James Heffernan, which he's been posting to the RAW groups on Facebook. I earlier did a posting on Heffernan's book on the Eight Circuits model, Nonlocal Nature: The Eight Circuits of Consciousness. -- The Management.]

I am a longtime follower of and contributor to this group, and so wanted to let you all know that I have just released a book called Unfolding Nature: Being in the Implicate Order, based on the ideas of David Bohm, who of course is featured prominently in many of RAW's books. Take a look if you're interested! Here is a brief excerpt:

I think in time we will find that reductionism doesn't make any sense.  The particles we reduce to are themselves abstracted from the unified  background. To say that these abstracted entities called atoms are  themselves the fundamental causal agents of reality is circular, you  see. And this is precisely the circle we find ourselves in when we try  to say, as almost everyone does, that atoms are the fundamental causal  agents of all of infinity. After thousands of years of scientific  development, and the quantum revolution in the twentieth century, we  have been able to infer, and then much later “photograph,” individual  atoms. 

But then, if atoms are the reason everything happens,  where do the fundamental forces come from? These forces are responsible  for how the atoms behave, but they are not “in” the atoms, are they? And  without these forces, the whole notion of an atom would be entirely  meaningless. So we have these mysterious forces which we just have to  throw up our hands and say are a “given.” We also know that atoms are  constantly shifting from matter to energy and back again. And then there  are nonlocal phenomena, which seem to transcend space and time  completely – the dimension in which our atoms exist. 

So we can  see that to suppose atoms are the whole story rather falls apart when we  consider how complex the situation is. And this is to say nothing of  the fact that it goes much deeper than just the atom. We have subatomic  particles, of which there are several hundred! And of course when we  posit phenomena like the quantum potential and the implicate order,  atoms are rather put in their place. So this ultimate reduction to atoms  seems to have some very serious problems indeed. And of course, it is a  primary theme of this book that there are very good reasons for this.

                                                                      -- James Heffernan on Facebook 

Monday, September 21, 2020

RAW Semantics on metaphor in language

RAW Semantics takes on what Robert Anton Wilson wrote about metaphors, and how metaphors are used in language. Excerpt:

When RAW writes that the principle software of the human brain consists of metaphors and disguised metaphors, he appears to be referring primarily to what linguists mean by conceptual metaphor.

Examples of poetic/’figurative’ metaphor

“Juliet is the sun” (popular metaphor relating to romantic love, from Shakespeare)

“The Scum” (popular metaphorical label for The Sun newspaper, from Liverpool)

Examples of conceptual metaphor

Right where you are sitting now, if you’re concerned that you might be wasting your time, then imagine the reality tunnel of a culture with no notion of time as a commodity that can be wasted or not wasted. (Such cultures have existed. The conceptual metaphor of time as a resource or commodity-like thing that can be squandered, utilized, saved, spent, invested, etc, isn’t universal, but owes a lot to the concept of work as it has developed over the centuries – particularly, but not solely, in modern Western societies.)

More here. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Ad for RAW's newsletter


The clever "why you should subscribe" advertisements used to be one of my favorite parts of the old Boing Boing magazine (which came out in the late 1980s and early 1990s, before the well-known website). 

It turns out that the ads for Robert Anton Wilson's "Trajectories" newsletter, put out by RAW and D. Scott Apel, were pretty interesting, too. Here is an ad from "Magical Blend," April 1991, posted on Twitter by Michael Clinton.  (Michael and Ken Condon are the folks behind the work featured at the website; if that doesn't ring a bell, go look at it.) And of course, much of the material for Beyond Chaos and Beyond, edited by Apel and published in 2019, as well as RAW's Chaos and Beyond came from RAW's newsletter. 

This would have been about the time I subscribed to Boing Boing, by the way. I never subscribed to "Trajectories" or even heard about it until years later; maybe they should have run an ad in Boing Boing. (Back issues of Boing Boing are available at the Internet Archive.) 

Boing Boing was put out by Mark Frauenfelder and his wife, Carla Sinclair; I currently subscribe to Mark's new newsletter, The Magnet. 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Knights Templar church may have had crypts, secret tunnel


Saint Stanislaus chapel in the Polish village of Chwarszczany, built by the Knights Templars. 

Who doesn't enjoy a little bit of Knights Templar gossip? Smithsonian Magazine reports that crypts and a possible "secret tunnel" have been found beneath a Polish church built by the Knights Templars. 

A Knights Templars member is a major character in Robert Shea's novel, All Things Are Lights, they are mentioned in Illuminatus! and as the Smithsonian piece mentions they of course are featured in many other works, including Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. 

Hat tip, Jesse Walker on Twitter. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

Brenton Clutterbuck on the Illuminati


Where is all began, or at least some of it. 

A multiple choice question, blog readers! When Brenton Clutterbuck poses for a photo at Theresienstra├če 23 in Ingolstadt, Germany, he is standing:

A. In front of Arthur Hlavaty's house.

B. In front of Angela Merkel's house.

C. In front of Eric Wagner's house.

D. In front of Adam Weishaupt's house.

I'll bet many of you know the correct answer is D (or at least can guess -- it has to be, with that address, right?). And many of you will likely enjoy Brenton's blog post at Adam Gorightly's Historia Discordia web site, "The Illuminati Files, Part One: A Conspiracy is Born by Brenton Clutterbuck." (Mr. Hlavaty's current whereabouts probably are far from Ingolstadt, but you do get to see the "Anti-Illuminati Discordian business card" he designed.) 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

British Discordian news roundup


1. While the John Higgs play HG Wells & the Spiders From Mars, a one-man production that would have starred Oliver Senton, was cancelled because of the pandemic, the recent news that Venus may have life has inspired the release of one of the songs from the play, "Life on Venus" from Tim Arnold, and you can listen to the song on Bandcamp and also download it. Details from John Higgs. (The song will be up for 23 days but you can buy a copy.)

2. Daisy Campbell is teaching her online "Get Your Show Written" class for writing plays; if you didn't sign up in time for the sold-out course, you can go on a waiting list for the next class. 

3. "The multi-dimensional Michelle Watson - Cosmic Trigger producer/actor - as well as many other things (artist/poet/singer-songwriter) - has the most wonderful collection of poetry and spoken word out now under her Moksha poet moniker." More here. 

4. "Cosmic Trigger" actress Kate Alderton is pursuing her The Dreamfishing Society project: "I held our first sessions of ‘Dream Crossing’ also hosted by The Cockpit -back in August. It was a deep dive, fusing meditation with social dreaming, working with dreams as a complimentary map to waking reality and exploring how our dreams link and connect to create patterns of meaning."

More on all of this here, and see also Kate's signup page for her Dreamfishing Society newsletter. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Latest from Bobby Campbell, and John Higgs


A couple of new items that will be of interest to RAW fans.

Above, Bobby Campbell artwork, Bobby explains (on Twitter), "New commission! CAGLIOSTRO THE GREAT from  @RAWilson23's Schrodinger's Cat :)))" I have Bobby's art hanging on my walls, follow the link for more information. 

I also just listened to the new podcast interview with John Higgs by the comedian Young Southpaw.  I've have listened to or read quite a few interviews with Higgs (and done a couple myself) and this is a particularly good interview that discusses Robert Anton Wilson, Aleister Crowley, the magicians' war against Hitler, James Bond and other topics of interest. The last few minutes focuses on the rock group Iron Maiden. John is apparently a heavy metal fan as well as a Beatles fan. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

This may be a good time to help the Robert Anton Wilson Trust

Rasa and the Hilaritas Press folks are hard at work on Starseed Signals: Link Between Worlds by Robert Anton Wilson, the "lost" RAW book from the 1970s. I believe it will be out soon, but I have no inside information on what "soon" means. It could be 15 minutes after I post this, it could be another couple of weeks.

I do know that Rasa has been working hard on the book, calling in extra copy editing, doing careful fact checking (he asked physicist Nick Herbert for help on a section that discusses interstellar travel at very near the speed of light), fussing over the cover to make sure it is right. Rasa wants to get the book out, but he wants to make sure it is the best possible book.

I suspect the reason for this is that Starseed represents a real opportunity, for the Robert Anton Wilson Trust and its publishing imprint, Hilaritas Press. By definition, Starseed is not a book that most RAW fans already own. We'll all have to buy it, so there might be some actual decent sales for Hilaritas. 

Starseed is also news. A cult author, whose work has been kept alive by an informal, unusual  network of literary activists, is being revived by the publication of an unexpected new book, even as efforts are being made to turn his best-known work into a TV series. 

So this is where RAW fans come in. It would be nice for the publication of the book got enough attention that readers outside of the usual RAW community got a chance to hear about Robert Anton Wilson, his new book, and his work.

If you have a social media account, or a blog, or a website, or if you know someone who writes about the literary world for a newspaper or a magazine, or if you know somebody who works at NPR, or if you can do something else I haven't mentioned here (suggestions welcome), please help publicize Starseed when it is released. Please help get the word out.  

Monday, September 14, 2020

Reminder: Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group starts October 12


The above is a graphic created by Rasa (it will appear in an Hilaritas Press newsletter soon) but I thought I would post it as a reminder to get  your copy of the book and join us for the new Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group.  Please consider joining us; it's not an opportunity that arises every day. 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

I think I know where the yellow submarine in 'Illuminatus' comes from

A yellow submarine sculpture in Liverpool. Creative Commons photo 

In Illuminatus!, Hagbard Celine remarks that the "yellow submarine" he operates is "right out of a rock song."

Robert Anton Wilson never offered much evidence that he paid close attention to pop music. In John Higgs' excellent KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band Who Burned a Million Pounds, Higgs relates how he met Robert Anton Wilson while researching his book on Timothy Leary, and took the opportunity to ask RAW about the KLF, who of course recorded songs that referenced Illuminatus!, including "Justified & Ancient (Stand by The JAMs)" . Wilson claimed, "I've never heard of them."

On a hunch, I emailed Mike Shea about what kind of music his dad, Robert Shea, listened to and whether his father was a Beatles fan. Here is the relevant part of Mike's answer:

My dad listened to a ton of classical music while writing. He had piles of tapes recorded back to back with classical music. He found that any sort of dialog in his music hurt his ability to work with words on screen. 30 years later, I’ve found the same thing. I listen to video game music tracks. I have a playlist with 49 hours of video game music on it I listen to while writing. I bet he’d have loved that.

My dad was a HUGE Beatles fan (as am I!). My mom shared the story about how he waited and waited for the White Album to come out. He was the first to buy it, take it home, and listen to it non stop. It blew him away.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

John Higgs' Paul McCartney playlist, and mine

You probably know who this guy is. (Creative Commons photo)

John Higgs recently put together a "confused and obscure" Paul McCartney playlist, so I thought I would post it and post my own playlist of favorite Paul songs.

But first, a little bit on the individual Beatles. Was it Tom Robbins who said you could tell a lot about a person by asking the person to name his/her/their favorite Beatle? William Breiding recently mentioned (in his fanzine, Portable Storage) that his favorite Beatle was Ringo, which struck me as unusual, and it prompted this exchange between us in the lettercolumn of PS No. 4.

Here is our exchange:

ME: But I wonder how many people are like me. I have not a fixed favorite Beatle all of my life; my choice has changed over the years. As a teen, my favorite was George. He seemed to be kind of an underdog, only allowed a couple of songs per album, and "All Things Must Pass" was the first really good solo album. Then, too, the organized the charity concert for Bangla Desh, which coaxed a great live performance out of Bob Dylan.

Then John Lennon was a favorite for awhile -- he seemed like the intellectual of the bunch, the one who seemed the most interesting, and the one whose songwriting seemed to hold up the best after the Beatles broke up.

But as I aged, I decided Paul was my favorite. In many ways, he seems the most adult of the Beatles, the one who valued children and treated them well, the one who was loyal to women and seemed to treat them well, too, and the one who always seemed to be working hard at his art. He has been the one who has regularly toured, allowing fans to see him, and who has worked all the time on new recording projects, and gone out of his way to challenge himself with different approaches -- he even made electronic music albums that no one  noticed for a long time. I finally got to see him live in Cleveland a couple of years ago. 

WILLIAM: Ever since "A Hard Day's Night" I have identified with Ringo. As I became an adult, Ringo seemed to be the only Beatle that had a sense of humorous perspective. Upon rediscovering the Beatles in my 60s I came to realize that Ringo's drumming completely dominates the sound of the Beatles. Without him they would have been a different band. Your argument for Paul is not without merit. He is probably the nicest of the Beatles. I never liked John. He always seemed like a mean little man to me. George? A lost spiritualist. 

OK, here is John Higgs' Paul McCartney playlist, John explains, "I’ve done this playlist because I know I haven’t quite got my head around McCartney, in the same way that I ‘get’ John, George and Ringo. So this is a personal and idiosyncratic playlist of songs in which I find clues that help understand him."

1. Riding to Vanity Fair.

2. Monkberry Moon Delight.

3. Jenny Wren.

4. Watercolour Guitars.

5. Tomorrow.

6. Temporary Secretary.

7. Here Today.

8. Smile Away.

9. What Do We Really Know? 

10. Goodbye.

11. Letting Go.

12. This Never Happened Before.

13. I've Just Seen a Face.

14. Dress Me Up As a Robber.

15. Spin It On

16. You Gave Me The Answer.

17. Mr. Bellamy

18. Old Siam, Sir

19. Calico Skies

20. Blue Sway

21. Sing the Changes

22 The End of the End

John's Twitter thread discussing his selections is here. 

I was interested in this as a I have a personal playlist on YouTube Music of my favorite Paul songs, here is my list. Unlike John, I have no justifications, I just like the songs:

1. Jet

2. My Brave Face

3. Heaven on a Sunday

4. Did We Meet Somewhere Before?

5. Save Us

6. Jenny Wren

7. Traveling Light

8. Single Pigeon

9. Get On the Right Thing

10. Old Siam, Sir

11. Soily

12. Band on the Run

13. Bluebird

14. Another Day

15. Your Way

16. Live and Let Die

17. The World Tonight

18. Every Night (live performance)

19. Let Me Roll It

20. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey

21. Maybe I'm Amazed

22. Friends to Go

23. Cut Me Some Slack

24. Junk

25. Mr. Bellamy

Footnote: Portable Storage, referenced above, is a fine genzine. Follow my link above to get PDFs!