Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
On Twitter, Cosmic Trigger the Play posted some favorite RAW quotes.
I did a favorite RAW quotes blog posting in 2013 for RAW Day. Here is the one I chose, which is still like quite well:
"The Western World has been brainwashed by Aristotle for the last 2,500 years. The unconscious, not quite articulate, belief of most Occidentals is that there is one map which adequately represents reality. By sheer good luck, every Occidental thinks he or she has the map that fits. Guerrilla ontology, to me, involves shaking up that certainty. I use what in modern physics is called the "multi-model" approach, which is the idea that there is more than one model to cover a given set of facts. As I've said, novel writing involves learning to think like other people. My novels are written so as to force the reader to see things through different reality grids rather than through a single grid. It's important to abolish the unconscious dogmatism that makes people think their way of looking at reality is the only sane way of viewing the world. My goal is to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone, but agnosticism about everything. If one can only see things according to one's own belief system, one is destined to become virtually deaf, dumb, and blind. It's only possible to see people when one is able to see the world as others see it. That's what guerrilla ontology is — breaking down this one-model view and giving people a multi-model perspective."
Monday, January 18, 2021
By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger
Bob Wilson died on January 11, 2007. January 18, 2021, marks the 89th anniversary of Robert Anton Wilson’s birth. Deadheads call period between August 1, Jerry Garcia’s birthday, and August 9, the anniversary of his death, “The Days Between” after one of the final songs he wrote with Robert Hunter. I’ve taken to calling the week between January 11 and January 18 “The Days Between” as well. The date 1/11 relates to the number 111 which plays an important role in Finnegans Wake as well as in the Kabbalah of Aleister Crowley. Beethoven’s final piano sonata has the opus number 111 as well.
Chapter 1, exercise 5, says, “With your own ingenuity, invent similar experiments and each time compare the two theories – ‘selective attention’ (coincidence) vs. ‘mind controls everything’ (psychokinesis).” On January 7 I decided to start with the hypothesis that James Joyce’s work has something to offer me right now. I will spend 23 days beginning using a “selective attention” model and then 23 days using a “mind controls everything” model. During the first few days of using the selective attention model I read Joyce’s short story “After the Race” with some commentary, read a chunk of Ulysses and a bit of Finnegans Wake, and finished rereading a book on Joyce by Sheldon Brivic.
My Finnegans Wake Club at the high school started its 23rd year last August, and we began again at the beginning of the book. We finished chapter three on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany and the date of Joyce’s story “The Dead”, and we started chapter four on January 13. This week I also watched a nice Anthony Burgess video on the Wake on Youtube and started listening to a Bob Wilson interview on Joyce and Joseph Campbell. I didn’t realize Bob had met Joseph Campbell.
Sunday, January 17, 2021
Robert Anton Wilson's birthday is Monday. In honor of that, High Times has reprinted its interview with RAW that took place in 1980. While the interview also is available at Robert Anton Wilson fans, it is welcome to see RAW getting some publicity.
A couple of the questions and answers:
High Times: One critic has described Illuminatus as a “psychedelic novel.” What is a psychedelic novel?
Wilson: Illuminatus is a psychedelic novel in the sense that it is a novel of initiation and revelation in which the characters go through various forms of brain-change. Robert Shea and I were generally dismayed and pissed off by the stupidities of American politics in the late ’60s, when we began it. We had this strong drive to write a satire on all political movements, all the way across the spectrum.
High Times: One last question: Dr. Wilson, what is your business?
Wilson: My business is making people see that there’s more than one reality.
Saturday, January 16, 2021
Friday, January 15, 2021
A new podcast called Strange Exiles ("a new podcast about ideas, identity and ideology") has posted its second episode, and it featured Ian "Cat" Vincent and was billed as being of interest to Robert Anton Wilson fans.
So I checked it out and I liked it. RAW serves as almost a third person participating in the dialogue between the show's host, Bram Gieben, and Cat, because RAW's ideas are brought up again and again.
Cat for example has a nice discussion of the 23 Enigma early in the podcast. There's also discussion about Cat's ideas on magick, about Hookland, his loathing of Nazis in the subcultures he participates in, how magick can incorporate pop culture heroes, and much more. I like many of Cat's ideas, a few of his notions seem a bit "out there" to me, but it's all interesting and it seemed to me I learned quite a bit.
One of the pleasures of the podcast was finding out little bits of information about Mr. Vincent I didn't know. He's from a village where Pocahontas is buried? He's a Harlan Ellison fan? Also, the community next door from where he's from is where Mick Jagger and Keith Richards is from, which does nothing to help me deal with my delusion that everyone in Britain personally knows a famous pop star. (This is related but separate from my belief that everyone in Britain is only a couple of degrees of separation from Paul McCartney, something each British person keeps secret from Americans to avoid envy).
The podcast is an hour and nine minutes long, but it's broken up into manageable bits with a nice tune from an artist called Asthmatic Astronaut and I did fine listening over two nights.
I'm providing a link to the episode on Spotify, but as with many podcasts, you should be able to find it on your favorite app; I found it on my Android app, Podkicker.
The book Cat recommends at the end of the podcast is Six Ways: Approaches & Entries for Practical Magic by Aidan Wachter. More information at his website.
Addendum: I can't resist sharing this Tweet from Cat: 'everyone in Britain knows a pop star' Well, I'm mates with Julian Cope, so...
Thursday, January 14, 2021
I know a lot of Robert Anton Wilson fans like William Blake, but just recently I have been appreciating just how influential he is. Lately everything I read seems to reference him.
The last book I finished in 2020 was the novel Plowing the Dark by Richard Powers, which as I wrote recently seems to reference a line in a poem by William Blake. And the first book I finished this year was Death Sweat of the Cluster by Znore, which has a lot about Blake.
One of the points Znore makes is that Blake readers often seem to have sudden visionary experiences from reading him. Yesterday, I read passages from the new book Lost and Found in Alaska by Joel Rudinger, a retired English professor in Huron, Ohio, not far from Sandusky and about an hour west of Cleveland.
Rudinger's book is a memoir about his decision to go and study in Alaska in the early 1960s, when he was a college student, so a connection to William Blake was not obvious to me. But Blake comes up in the first chapter, which describes Rudinger's decision to head north from Ohio. He's just been shown an article in "Time" magazine which describes a skinned moose skin hanging from the window of a dorm on an Alaska college campus, and the professor in his class walks in and teaches a unit on Blake's famous poem, "The Tyger." Here are the first two stanzas:
In Rudinger's telling, the "What the hand, dare seize the fire" line helped fuel his sudden decision to move to Alaska and become a graduate student in English; Rudinger's book relates subsequent adventures, such as having to go behind a tree to escape a moose attack and almost freezing to death on Christmas Eve. All partially inspired by a line in a William Blake poem.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Julian Assange (Creative Commons photo by David Silvers)
Matt Taibbi has a great article on Assange, and on the kinds of people who actually get pardons in the U.S.:
Our invasion of Iraq had been a spectacular failure — unlike pictures of returning coffins, that couldn’t be completely covered up — and Americans learned about grotesque forms of war profiteering. These included the use of mercenaries to whom the taxpayer unknowingly paid lavish sums, to commit horrific war crimes like the Nissour Square Massacre, also known as “Baghdad’s Bloody Sunday.”
One of Donald Trump’s most indefensible (and bizarrely, least commented-upon) acts was the pardon of the four Blackwater guards who shot and killed those seventeen Iraqi civilians, including women and children. The New York Times story covering the Blackwater pardon spent just four paragraphs on the case, sticking it below apparently more outrageous acts like the pardon of George Papadopoulos.
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
As I wrote recently, I really enjoyed Znore's new book, Death Sweat of the Cluster.
The book opens with an essay on "The 108-year Rosicrucian Cycle," and you can read the online version to see what I am talking about here.
The essay argues that a 108-year cycle began with 1904, which Znore links with the transmission Aleister Crowley received in 1904, launching the Age of Horus. June 16, 1904, is also the date for all of the events in James Joyce's Ulysses. The cycle ended in 2012. Znore ties 2012 to Terence McKenna's suggestions about the importance of the date.
"There is some evidence that Robert Anton Wilson also was aware of the 108-year cycle from 1904 to 2012," Znore writes. "Cosmic Trigger, first published in 1977, was one of the first books to feature an analysis of Terence McKenna's speculations about 2012."
It amused me to think that if Znore's theory was correct, I ought to be able to tie other important cultural events to 1904 and to 2012.
It seems to me 1904 is important as the first year of aviation. The Wright Brothers first flew their airplane in December 1903, so 1904 was the first entire year there was such a thing as an airplane.
I can certainly argue that 2012 was important, too, particularly for Robert Anton Wilson fans. That's the date that a court decision paved the way for the creation of the Robert Anton Wilson Trust. According to RAW's daughter, Christina Pearson, "The Trust was initiated as part of the probate court judgment that finally closed the RAW estates probate in October of 2012. The court required a Trust to be created, and assigned me as Trustee. The RAW Trust was established in January of 2013 with the responsibility of protecting Bob’s literary legacy (his only resource)."
All of the activities of the Trust, including the establishment of Hilaritas Press and that small press' efforts to preserve Wilson's literary legacy, can be dated to that 2012 court decision.
Monday, January 11, 2021
Well, I finally found my second quarters.
On Saturday, I had a good-sized glass of iced coffee sitting by my chair in our living room, and one of my cats was in my lap. I don't know I can really blame the cat or whether it was all my fault, but the glass was knocked over, spilling the coffee.
This launched a cleanup effort from both myself and my wife, and after the chair I was sitting in was moved forward, a coin hoard was discovered, of coins that had apparently slipped from my pocket over months or even years and landed underneath the reclining chair.
My wife told me to take the coins and put them in a piggybank, and I belatedly realized later that as I put them in, I noticed that some of them were quarters.
It wasn't how I envisioned finding them when I did the visualization exercise, but I think it counts as finding quarters. Of course, I have seen quarters around the house from time to time, such as on a counter after I empty my pocket, but this was completely a surprise discovery.
And I'm pleased that with the task of finding quarters finally out of the way, I can move on to the other exercizes.
As I was struggling to find the quarters, Eric Wagner was offering me advice on the topic, which I pass on to you. Eric tells me he does not consider it "cheating" to go to drive-through fast food places when they are closed, perhaps early in the morning, and look on the ground where drivers are likely to drop coins. This seems like especially good advice when many of us are curtailing trips to the store, removing ordinary opportunities to look on the ground for coins. I was planning to do that until I stumbled into the quarters under my chair.
How are the rest of you doing? I plan to re-read the first chapter and move on to the other exercises.
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Prop Anon, who recently announced he has found a publisher for his biography of Robert Anton Wilson, has been working to get his Patreon account established. He has just launched a podcast and has posted a new video, about 42 minutes long, "The Death of Qanon and the Age of Prop Anon,."
He explains, "This is my inaugural extemporaneous video "lecture" about how I view the last four years while providing information about Propaganda Anonymous, the philosophical and artistic concept that I created in 2001."
I've embedded the video here; if you enjoy it, please check out his Patereon.
Saturday, January 9, 2021
Confusingly, there us more than one "Starseed Academy" out there on the Internet. and I am not in a position to help you sort through them. But this one seems to be one put together by an entity and entities who have read their Leary and Wilson.
"The binary star system of Sirius is at the core of many calendars, texts and sacred knowledge of many ancient, advanced civilizations such as Lemuria, Atlantis, Ancient Egypt, Sumeria and many indigenous tribes around the globe." That's from the "Starseeds and Galactic Civilizations" section.
I can't find an "About" area claiming authorship for the site.
Hat tip: Charles Faris.
Friday, January 8, 2021
An article at Medium, "Tim Leary, Robert Anton Wilson and Developmental Psychology," posted last month by Don Dulchinos, discusses The Starseed Signals, the Eight Circuit model and the psychology system of Clare Graves (which I know nothing about).
Excerpting a couple of paragraphs may provide an idea of what the article focuses upon:
I was inspired by Mike Gathers’ recent essay, Freud, Jung and a Platypus Get an MRI [PDF here] to take another look at the 8 circuit model (BTW, shout out to Mike in the 303 — I’m in Boulder.) Leary came of age professionally in the 1950’s, when psychology was undergoing an encounter with behavioral psychology, notably B.F. Skinner, and the reaction was humanistic psychology — Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers and others. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has become iconic, but wasn’t the only such model.
Mike’s piece was especially interesting to me as I’ve been doing recent work on a developmental psychology system put forth by Clare Graves, also starting in the 50’s, and known under the popular title Spiral Dynamics. Graves taught psychology at Union College in Schenectady, NY, where he consulted in organizational psychology at General Electric’s world headquarters, and where I studied briefly with him as an undergraduate.