Saturday, October 24, 2020

Timothy Leary comic book posted online

All sorts of events happened online Thursday during the centennial of Timothy Leary's birth and I mentioned some of them here, including of course the publication of The Starseed Signals, but there was one more opportunity which I thought I should mention.

Rene Walter posted an entire Timothy Leary comic book online, Neurocomics. After I read the posting at iO9, I went to the flickr site where the comic is posted.  An ad popped up in the way when I tried to read the comic online, but fortunately the whole thing can be downloaded and saved, and that's what I did before safely storing it and then reading the whole thing Friday night. It's all about the Eight Circuit model, space migration, etc., so it's topical to the release of Starseed. Art by Pete Von Sholly, script by Leary, Von Sholly and George DiCaprio (Leonardo's dad, apparently.)

Friday, October 23, 2020

A few notes on 'Starseed Signals'

 Rasa (I assume) checking out The Starseed Signals. Note the sitar on the wall, which Rasa plays for his band, Starseed. 

The centennial of Timothy Leary's birthday yesterday was marked in all kinds of ways (thanks again, Eric, for that piece) but for many of us the big news was the official announcement of the publication of The Starseed Signals -- Link Between Worlds: A RAW Perspective on Timothy Leary PhD. 

A few notes:

1. Given that the book would have been lost otherwise (RAW did a terrible job of taking care of his papers) we all owe a debt of gratitude to the people who preserved it and other documents in the Discordian archives: Greg Hill, Dr. Bob Newhart and, in particular, the current keeper and custodian, Adam Gorightly. It was Adam who discovered The Starseed Signals and brought it to light. I want to be sure and thank Adam. 

2. Rasa and his helpers worked hard to prepare the book from RAW's manuscript, and there are lots of nice extras, including Rasa's "A note from the publisher" piece at the beginning on the history of the manuscript, John Higgs' typically thoughtful introduction, two interviews of Leary by RAW and correspondence between RAW and Gregory Hill.  (Careful readers of this blog probably knew before almost anyone else that Higgs wrote the introduction for the book, see this interview, third answer.)

I don't know all of the details yet, but I know a lot of work was put into preparing the book, including working with amoeba on the cover, copyediting done by Charles Faris and Iain Spence, gracious assistance from Adam Gorightly (who did not, after all, get the chance to bring out his own edition of the work), even help on a point of physics from Nick Herbert.

3. For further background on the history of Starseed, see Adam Gorightly's "lost" forward to the "lost" edition of the "lost" book. 

4. As with many of the official announcements from Hilaritas, perhaps the best part is Christina Pearson's latest RAW memoir. This time, we get a great Leary anecdote and some candid information about the Wilson family at the time the book was written. So check out the announcement, if you haven't seen it yet, and sign up for the Hilaritas Press mailing list. 

5. In his introduction, Higgs says of the book (and the time it was written), "This was not Leary's finest hour, and neither was it Robert Anton Wilson's." Probably best not to raise expectations too high for a book that RAW himself did not attempt very vigorously to sell to a publisher, but the writing comes from probably my favorite period of RAW's writing life, the middle period, and I am very excited to have it. Don't look for a review from me anytime soon, however; I plan to read it slowly, probably a chapter a day. (I read Chapter One Thursday night and enjoyed it.)

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Breaking news -- 'Starseed Signals' is out


More Friday, but here is the official announcement from Hilaritas Press.

Eric Wagner on Timothy Leary

Timothy Leary in custody in 1972 (public domain government photo)

Timothy Leary, October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996

By Eric Wagner, special guest blogger

Tim Leary had a profound influence on Robert Anton Wilson. Recently I read a bit from his early book Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality and from his late book Surfing the Conscious Net. Man did he go through some changes. I also read a bit from Robert Greenfield’s rather hostile biography. I glanced at some relatively recent articles about Leary online. I don’t think any of them captured the unique intelligence I have gathered from Leary’s books. My favorite take on Leary comes from Bob Wilson in the piece “Lighting Out for the Territory” in Beyond Chaos and Beyond. I remember loving that piece when it first appeared in Trajectories in 1996 shortly after Tim’s death.

I heard Tim speak seven times, and I got to talk with him a few times. We never hit it off, but he still had a great effect on me.

“He told me that when they put him solitary confinement, ‘I realized it was either going to be hell or a learning experience. So I set out to make it a learning experience.” – Robert Anton Wilson, Beyond Chaos and Beyond. This reminds me of my attitude towards social isolation in 2020.

Boing Boing also is marking today's centennial of Timothy Leary's birth. This 1995 photo of Leary with Carla Sinclair and Mark Fraunfelder is from one of the posts.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

RAW in Gallery magazine

Hugh Crane (Twitter account here) sent me some photographs of the first issue of Gallery magazine, a Playboy imitator, and there are some interesting RAW features.

Table of contents. Notice contributions from both Robert Anton Wilson and Simon Moon.

The RAW story in the issue, "I Opening." Here is my information about the story: "I Opening is all the Hugh Crane/Cagliostro content from Schrodinger’s Cat condensed into a short story. RAW changed the story a little for the book, including a different ending where Crane’s death is a mystery." You can read the text of the story. 

Page with RAW's contributor's biography. It says, "Wilson, who plots the life and death of a Reichian rebel in his story I Opening presents us with the following when asked for a 'biographical paragraph.' 'Robert Anton Wilson was born in Hong Kong and majored in electrical engineering at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. More interested in non-Euclidean geometries and Cabalistic numerology, he never practiced as an engineer but has worked as hospital orderly, laboratory technician, salesman, advertising copywriter, astrology columnist, mentalist in a carnival and editor of a variety of magazines. His first novel Illuminatus or Laughing Buddha Jesus Phallus Inc. will soon be published by Dell. 'My writing,' he says, 'Is based on my obsessive concern with one fact: if I don't have more money by Tuesday, they'll turn off the heat. I can't say if my stories are realism or fantasy. To me, they're logical developments of such great American institutions as the Put On, the Whooper Cushion, the Joy Buzzer, or the Hot Foot."

The masthead; I did not see names that were familiar to me. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

RAW's favorite president

John Adams, who in Nature's God defends Captain Preston in a trial over the Boston Massacre. "Adams had won, then, because he sincerely believed Captain Preston had acted in self-defense and that the cause of the Colonies must not depart one jot from pure justice as he understood it." (From Chapter Six). 

Here is a trivia question appropriate for a looming presidential election: Can you name Robert Anton Wilson's favorite U.S. president?

After I posted a link to the article on how Reason magazine staffers will vote, Jesse Walker realized he had never told me about a couple of Reason pieces that Wilson contributed a few sentences to. One was an "Iraq progress report" roundup dating to 2006, and the other, a 2004 survey on which presidential candidate Reason staffers and other prominent libertarians planned to vote for, similar to the piece I linked to last week. 

In the latter, participants such as RAW answer four questions, including favorite president, and here's Wilson's answer on that one: "John Adams, because he didn't trust anybody in politics, including himself."

Monday, October 19, 2020

Prometheus Rising discussion/exercise group, Week Two


It seems to me that in a sense, Prometheus Rising falls into a clear category of American publishing -- the self help book.

When I look at my reading for the past several years, recorded at Goodreads, I notice a number of books which could fall into the category of self-help books. 

Probably my favorite is the last one I read -- How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, by Scott Adams, which I thought was quite good. 

But other books I've read in recently which fit pretty well into the category include Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America by Scott Adams,  Don't Unplug: How Technology Saved My Life and Can Save Yours Too by Chris Dancy, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport and How to Listen to Jazz by Ted Gioia. 

Obviously, many other books I have read aim to change my thinking about an issue or even change some of my behaviors. I would argue that all of Robert Anton Wilson's novels are not meant to be merely exercises in entertainment and escapism. But what all of these particular titles I have just mentioned  have in common, although they are rather disparate titles, are that none of them are meant to be read merely to entertain or inform. All of them strongly seek to get the reader to take action to change one's life. 

Wilson makes it clear that's his intent, too. "The reader will absolutely not understand this book unless he or she does the exercizes given at the end of each chapter," he writes. 

Here is the first exercise at the end of Chapter One:

1. Visualize a quarter vividly, and imagine vividly that you are going to find the quarter on the street. Then, look for the quarter every time you take a walk, meanwhile continuing to visualize it. See how long it takes you to find the quarter. 

As a blog housekeeping measure, I need to mention that I no longer have a handy quarter on the sidewalk near my house. 

I blogged on September 5 that a sidewalk in my neighborhood where I often do my daily walk had two quarters glued to the sidewalk with a piece of gum, making it easy to carry out the first exercise in Chapter 1. Well, although the quarters stayed there for weeks, the lure of an easy 50 cents apparently proved too much for somebody, because the quarters are now gone. 

So I am in the same position in hunting for quarters as anyone else. In fact, I am already worried that I might get stuck for weeks if I can't find any quarters and not be able to advance through the other exercises. I will give it an honest shot for a few weeks, but if I get stuck, I guess I will ask Eric for advice. 

In any event, I walk every day that the weather allows, and I have begun on the first exercise. 

I'll just have to see, also, what to do about the "go to a party" exercises, as I have been avoiding crowds since the pandemic began.

In any event, we are spending many weeks on the first chapter, and you should read it and be getting started on the exercises.

Next week you get Eric Wagner, and then Gregory Arnott returns. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Leary Day will be celebrated online Thursday


Leary Day, "a cyberdelic celebration of art, music and culture," will be celebrated Oct. 22 in honor of Timothy Leary's 100th birthday. 

It is a free virtual event, but the organizers want you to sign up; details here.

Hat tip, Eric Wagner. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Some new podcasts of note

Logo for the new "Live From Chapel Perilous" podcast. 

1. Live From Chapel Perilous with Leroy and Maz. New, began in September. First episode: "Leroy and Maz discuss the idea of "Chapel Perilous" as popularized by Robert Anton Wilson in his 1977 book Cosmic Trigger and briefly explore the history of secret societies from the Knights Templar thru to modern concepts of “The Illuminati”.  Season premiere." The most recent covers Aleister Crowley. I listened to the season premiere and it was entertaining, kind of like a college bull session. 

2. The Thaddeus Russell podcast "Unregistered"  interviews Jesse Walker. Website link. "Jesse Walker has studied conspiracy theories, fringe political movements, moral panics, and mass hysterias for most of his life. He is the books editor at Reason magazine and the author of The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory. Now was the time to talk to him." Unregistered is a consistently interesting podcast.

I have linked to websites in this post, but your usual smartphone podcasting app should work; my Podkicker Android phone app worked fine. 

Friday, October 16, 2020

Znore's new book

Znore had talked about turning his excellent "Groupname for Grapejuice" blog into a book, and now he has done it.

From the announcement:

27 essays taken from Groupname for Grapejuice from 2012 to 2015 plus one yet unseen introduction. Four hundred and two pages, seven major sections, their titles composing a Lovecraftian tale of seven lines. 

Gorgeous original cover and interior art by Kaylee Pickinpaugh -- a new zodiac gyring out or spiraling into an interior empyrean of the Earth and transfiguring the whole text into a magic item. Endless curling details. Flanked by Moon and Sun, bridged at usura and Eleusis, shining throughout. Thoth and Pan.

Editing and layout wizardry by Alan Abbadessa and Jason Barrera of Sync Book Press. A melange of fonts, formats and letter dimensions: start it anywhere, bibliomantic and aphoristic. A tactile object that's exactly the right smoothness, size and weight in one's hands.

The Amazon book page also is worth a look, and here is the book blurb from there: "An inebriated exploration of reality and other myths featuring Finnegans Wake, William Blake, Robert Anton Wilson, Philip K. Dick, Emma Goldman, Ezra Pound, Robert Duncan, Terence McKenna, Gertrude Stein, Carl Jung, Marshall McLuhan and others as guides and waylayers. A cast of hundreds. Blog becomes book becomes new medium entirely. Synchronicity, siddhis, numerology, psychedelics, anarchy, the gods, yes. The poetics of anti-authority. Beautifully illustrated. Read with tea."

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Only Maybe Arts Lab is moving

The Only Maybe Arts Lab, the discussion area/BBS Bobby Campbell set up in conjunction with his Maybe Day project, has moved to a new location at (see above). 

"Hey everybody!

"Just a quick note that the OM ARTS LAB will be picking up sticks and moving over to the Principia Discordia forum.

"The fine folks over at PD have offered a space to host this project, which I hope will be mutually beneficial, and serve as a launch pad for all new all different trajectories :)))

"Even when first setting this space up it felt a bit like reinventing wheel, in terms of the PD forums being a still active and entirely wonderful Discordian bbs, but since I was setting the Maybe Day stuff up on a deadline, and wasn't sure how they would feel about my using their forum for my weirding ways and means, went ahead and opened up this somewhat redundant platform.

"Since all the hoopla surrounding Maybe Day has gone dormant, and this space has been mostly unused, I figured it would be a good time to consolidate Discordian energies over at PD.

"This forum will self-destruct."

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Wednesday links


Meme for Lenny Bruce's birthday, which was yesterday. 

Harry Reid talks about UFOs. 

"You live better than kings did."

How Reason staffers will vote

Willie Nelson's albums, ranked, all 143 of them. Based on the relatively few I know, a good article. 

Sean Ono Lennon restates the Cosmic Schmuck principle. 

The Cosmic Schmuck Principle holds that if you don't wake up, once a month at least, and realize you have recently been acting like a Cosmic Schmuck again, then you will probably go on acting like a Cosmic Schmuck forever; but if you do, occasionally, recognize your Cosmic Schmuckiness, you might begin to become a little less Schmucky than the general human average at this primitive stage of terrestrial evolution. - p. 21, Natural Law: Or Don't Put A Rubber On Your Willy

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

A RAW speech at the Harvard Club

The Harvard Club in New York City. (Public domain photo). 

While we wait for the new Starseed book, Brian Dean of the RAW Semantics blog has found something interesting for you to read: Robert Anton Wilson's Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture, "The Map Is Not the Territory: The Future Is Not the Past." 

It was delivered Nov. 7, 1997, at the Harvard Club in New York City and when the Institute of General Semantics reprinted it in 2001 in an organization publication, an editor's note stated, "Note: This address is printed without censorship, as it is Bulletin policy to record these events as they happened."

You'll see some familiar material in the speech but there are lots of nice bits. The section on bookstores struggling to figure out where to shelve Wilson's books is interesting and amusing:

I suddenly found myself in the New Age section, God knows why, and there I was next to Von Daniken, just because my name begins with a "W", and I suffered from that indignity for years . I just heard recently that Barnes & Noble has moved me from New Age to Philosophy. So I am now next to Wittgenstein, which is where I'd much rather be than next to Von Daniken. 

I like these sentences:

The world is changing faster and faster in more and more ways, and people cannot understand that this is the result of information flow changing technology, which changes business, which changes everything else. They have to look around for something to explain it, so they look for a conspiracy to blame. Aha, it is the elders of Zion after all, no, it's the Freemasons, no, it's the Jesuits, no, it's the Bilderbergers . Thats because they haven't learned to think in terms of mathematics and information flow and chaotic systems .