Friday, October 21, 2016

Robin Hanson thinks for himself

Robin Hanson

Although I often read blog posts written by the likes of Tyler Cowen, Alex Tabarrok and Bryan Caplan, all libertarian-leaning professors at George Mason University, I have not paid much attention to Robin Hanson. 

John Merritt, however, wrote to me to call my attention to an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, "Is This Economist Too Far Ahead of His Time?" John remarked that Hanson "has some RAW riffs."

Certainly any Robert Anton Wilson fan, particularly ones who have just finished reading or re-reading Cosmic Trigger, will pick up on this bit: 

Like much of the George Mason economics department, Hanson leans libertarian, but he has also dreamed up his own form of government, called "futarchy." An enthusiastic student describes his true political philosophy as "meta, meta-everything": questioning how we arrive at political philosophies in the first place. To the dismay of his wife, Peggy Jackson, who has worked in hospice care, he is a member of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, paying a monthly fee so that one day his head will be cryogenically frozen. He thinks he may live a long, long time — if not forever, then possibly at least long enough to participate in the em future.

Dr.  Hanson has a blog, Overcoming Bias.  You can read  his reaction to the Chronicle piece, ("Honestly, 'baffled' is how most undergrads look to most professors during lectures."), his discussion of the case for a world basic income (another point of interest for RAW fans). You can read about his proposal for Futarchy. 

It seems to me that if we make up a category, libertarian futurists, people who are optimistic about the future of freedom and technology, we could include Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, Peter Thiel and Robin Hanson. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

'Waywords and Meansigns' news

Waywords and Meansigns, the project that has been setting James Joyce's Finnegans Wake to music, has a new website and is launching another recording effort.

Here are details from Derek Pyle:

Waywords and Meansigns just launched our new website. It looks less like 2003 and more like 2013. It is also easier to find specific recordings now, through the Artists page. Let us know what you think!

We are announcing a new call for contributors. Having set James Joyce's Finnegans Wake to music unabridged, we now invite YOU to take a much shorter passage - a page, or a few pages - to set to music. The upcoming winter 2017 release will be the final large group release for Waywords and Meansigns. 

We are interested in recordings from all kinds of people — musicians, artists, poets, scholars, weirdos, passionate Wake-heads, those totally ignorant of the Wake, and anyone generally adventurous. A range of recording styles and methods is no problem.

Please consider sharing this call for contributors on social media, on your website, and with anyone who might be interested. 

For a simple version of our call for contributors see

For a more detailed explanation see 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

New Falcon sends demand letter to Hilaritas Press

New Falcon publications has sent a demand letter to Hilaritas Press, insisting that Hilaritas, the publishing imprint of the RAW Estate, remove graphics and the original Israel Regardie introduction published in the New Falcon edition of Prometheus Rising. Rather than fighting a possibly expensive legal battle with New Falcon, Hilaritas has opted to obtain a new introduction and new illustrations.

I have bought books from New Falcon, including an ebook of The Game of Life by Timothy Leary that I purchased in July. I now regret that last purchase and I plan to never again buy anything else from New Falcon. Incidentally, the cover for The Game of Life was done by my friend Bobby Campbell. I have just learned that Bobby was never paid for his cover art. 

Here is the official statement from Richard Rasa, publisher at Hilaritas Press. It's also being posted at the Hilaritas Press website:

Hilaritas Press News Bite!

We recently received a demand letter from New Falcon Publications, previous publisher of many of Bob’s books, to cease printing and selling Robert Anton Wilson’s Prometheus Rising! The owner of New Falcon claims to own not only the Introduction (written by Israel Regardie) but also a number of the graphics.

(SNAFU WARNING: We are told that all of Israel Regardie’s copyrights, including for this introduction written specifically for Prometheus Rising, were bequeathed to the United States Ecclesiastical Society… which somehow or other now seems to be under New Falcon’s umbrella.  We’re not sure how or why that can be – as the USES is theoretically a nonprofit church of some sort – and New Falcon is a for profit venture. Conspiracy theorists – time to bring out your tools!)

After a month of back-and-forth, not to mention lawyer fees, we have decided that rather than spending money we don’t have to fight New Falcon’s (in Christina’s opinion – rather surreal) demands, we have simply decided to move forward, replacing the contested graphics with new interpretations, and commissioning a new Introduction to be written.

We realize that this is a challenge, and we sincerely wish we didn’t have to change Prometheus Rising at all. The owner of New Falcon does not want payment for the use of the graphics or the Introduction, he simply does not want us to use them. The obvious explanation appears to be retaliation, sadly without regard for Bob’s legacy. Christina thinks he may have a “stick up his butt” because she did NOT renew any contracts when the time limits were reached, as we planned to publish Bob’s books through Hilaritas Press.

To add greater pressure, we have to remove the old graphics by November 15, 2016 — just one month away, and there are 37 cartoons to replace!

To the RAW World and beyond: we need new cartoons! We are asking any and all interested cartoon artists to submit two examples of ideas for new graphics. We have selected two cartoons that we’d like to see re-interpreted as samples of your work. The text in the cartoons should be the same, but the drawing concept has to be different from the original interpretation. You can’t just copy the original in your own style.

A note about money: as a brand new publisher working hard just to stay afloat (and besieged by a former publisher creating unwanted waves), we need to let you know that we are happy to pay, but will have to work out a fair payment plan if our chosen illustrator would like to be paid for the graphics!

I have mixed feelings about this whole endeavor. I’ve always loved the cartoons in Prometheus Rising, and I really hate to see them go, but the previous publisher’s poor printing in subsequent editions of Prometheus Rising left a lot of the images in a very poor state - something we lamented in putting together our new edition. However, Bob was an optimist, and in that same spirit, both Christina and I are looking forward to this opportunity to update this amazingly relevant book for the delight of both new and old readers.

Please help us out by passing the word far and wide (and inter-dimensionally if possible). Please send all sample illustrations to:

Please note: submissions should be Grayscale and in jpeg format. Please make your new cartoons using the concepts in the graphics displayed in our most recent Hilaritas Press blog post.

Many thanks to all of you for your understanding and help.

— Rasa, with Christina, publishers, Hilaritas Press

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

BREAKING: Hillary Clinton a secret Discordian!!

OK, maybe Hillary Clinton just wants to avoid carbohydrates. 

What, you think I'm using a clickbait headline? Here's proof. 

Via Julian Assange, Adam Gorightly and Suspence Nicholson. 

Some context (item III). Note that the email shows Secretary Clinton is eating her hotdog on the proper day.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Cosmic Trigger Reading Group, Week 28

The Via Dolorosa

Welcome to week 28 of the Cosmic Trigger Reading Group. This week we are working with the final 2 chapters (233-244 Hilaritas) of Cosmic Trigger (not counting the afterwords by Saul Paul Sirag, about which more later), and if you haven’t read those chapters I advise you not to read this post. Cosmic Trigger is a mostly spoiler-free book, and that is not the case here.

The Dark Companion

Bob does a formal invocation of Hadit, whom Crowley identifies with Sirius, and a week later Time magazine runs a full-page review of Temple’s The Sirius Mystery. He finds the lack of conclusiveness to be infuriating. When Rolling Stone runs an ad for a German rock group with a singer named Winifred (ala Illuminatus!) Bob finds this “even more suggestive and even less conclusive.”

Saul-Paul Sirag suggests that sometime the first experiments with a time machine will be conducted sometime in the 1990’s, with resulting odd effects creating all of the “occult” events that Cosmic Trigger has chronicled. These time machines might require the use of the Dark Companion of Sirius, the nearest dwarf star to Planet Earth.

Via Dolorosa

Straight out let’s note that Via Dolorosa, the Way of Pain, Grief, or Suffering, is the name of a street in Old Jerusalem that Jesus is held to have walked down on the way to his crucification. It also ties in to the Gurdjieffian concept of Intentional Suffering as a high powered method of scraping away the chaff and getting closer to one’s Original Essence, which Bob relates to Circuit 8 in the Leary Octave of Consciousness. So the Way of Suffering is revealed as (one of) the most powerful ways to expand your consciousness and climb the ladder of personal development. Be careful what you wish for.

G.I Gurdjieff

Speaking of Gurdjieff, watch how Bob hides the final secret of the Illuminati right out in the open, right at the end, just like Mr G did in his (much longer and more difficult to digest than Cosmic Trigger) epic Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson.

In September 1976 Bob enters alpha during a group brain-wave harmonization and gets a flash that his son Graham would die soon.  He immediately utilizes “concentration methods learned from Crowley” to banish fear and anxiety. He also sets out on a course of rituals to protect his son and, based on his awareness that “this might only deflect the calamity slightly,” the rest of his family as well. Remember that on pages 101 and 137 Bob has already written about a couple of other interesting psychic events involving Graham, one of which involved creating a protective “cone of power” around him.

Then he drops the bomb and tells us about the last time he told his daughter Luna how much he loved her, and then the jumble of events following her death. This section seems unhinged from time and space, a sort of mini-Chapel Perilous, as Bob hears about her death from a police officer with “the most pained eyes I have ever seen, ” and spins in and out of grief and gratitude, rationalization and uncontrollable sobbing, finally emerging to find himself surrounded by a network of unbelievable love and support as the immortality community rallies around him and jumps through the million and one hoops necessary to cryonically preserve Luna’s brain.

One line in particular, at the bottom of page 241, reveals this Chapel Perilous period of time: “I often found myself in a room, going somewhere, without knowing how I had gotten there, or what I was looking for.” Compare this to the famous description of Chapel Perilous on page 5 (Hilaritas): “You might think that you are just…wandering from room to room looking for your cigarettes…”

It is that Network of Love that eventually shows Bob out the door of Chapel Perilous into a world more connected than the one he had inhabited before. he takes a new imprint: “I entered a belief system in which the Network of Love was not one hypothesis among many but an omnipresent Reality.”

This is the chapter that can be read a million times, although I always face it with dread. It’s like the camel that actually makes it through the interminable squeeze through the eye of the needle to come out on the other side, as shiny and radiant as the golden apple of Eris, as new as a fresh dewy morning, connected, revealing, as Bell’s Theorem does to Saul-Paul SIrag (241) that “there is no true separation anywhere.”

Timothy Leary 

And it finishes with Tim Leary rapping that “positive energy is as real as gravity,” and answering the final question in a book full of questions: “What do you do, Dr. Leary, when somebody keeps giving you negative energy?”

“Come back with all the positive energy you have.”

And so Bob “finally learned the final secret of the Illuminati,” which is you and me and everyone else who employs that secret to the benefit of ourselves, each other, this entire struggling planet, and all of Universe.

Next week we have a special update to his Afterwords by Saul-Paul Sirag. You won’t want to miss it. As always, please chime in with your own thoughts regarding Bob’s final 2 chapters of Cosmic Trigger.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Bob Dylan, Nobel Prize for Literature winner

Robert Anton Wilson didn't like Bob Dylan, but he did like the guy with Dylan, Allen Ginsberg. Creative Commons photo by Elsa Dorfman. 

By  now, you've probably heard of Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize for Literature. I was delighted by the news and ran to tell my wife early Thursday morning as soon as I heard the news. I was stunned someone I actually liked would win. In  typically perverse fashion, the "News" section of the official site has nothing about the award, not even the customary press statement from the artist that anyone else would have issued by now.

Robert Anton Wilson wasn't a Bob Dylan fan, or at least he wasn't back in 1976, when he gave a long interview to New Libertarian Notes.  The interview starts out with a few questions about RAW's favorite writers, musicians, etc.,  and includes this exchange:

CRNLA: What do you think of M*A*S*H, the Freak Brothers, Bob Dylan?

RAW: I loved Altman's film of M*A*S*H but I can't stand the TV series. The Freak Brothers are funny, but I deplore the lifestyle it celebrates. Of course, Einstein and Michelangelo were sloppy, too, but only because they were too busy with real work to fix their attention on sartorial status games. Hippies generally aren't busy with anything except feeling sorry for themselves. Dylan seems to me a totally pernicious influence -- the nasal whine of death and masochism. Certainly, this would be a more cheerful world if there were no Dylan records in it. But Dylan and his audience mirror each other, and deserve each other; as Marx said, a morbid society creates its own morbid grave-diggers.

Wilson apparently got his dislike of Dylan from Timothy Leary, from the days when Leary was trying to get the Man off his back by writing for National Review. More here. Leary changed his mind; I don't know about Wilson.