Friday, July 16, 2010

Wilson on karma

As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of Robert Anton Wilson’s areas of expertise that doesn’t get mentioned very often is Buddhism. To me, it seems quite obvious that he must have read many books on the subject, as he seems quite conversant with the various strains of Buddhism thought (and not just the trendy schools such as Zen.)

For example, here is Wilson discussing the Buddhist concept of karma:

“We should all try to give out as much good energy to other human beings as we possibly can. I honestly believe that every bit of bad energy we put out has adverse effects that go on forever. This is the Buddhist doctrine of karma. The Buddhists believe that every bit of anger, resentment, hate, and so on that goes out passes from one person to another, without stopping. The same is true of good energy: every bit of good energy one puts out makes someone else feel a little bit better. I think if people were really conscious of this psychological fact, they would try very, very hard to put out nothing but good energy, no matter what happened to them. They would certainly not be so casual about passing on bad energy. All the bad energy in the world builds up like a giant snowfall, until we have a huge war. Nowadays, it can mean a total nuclear Armageddon. This is traditional Buddhism, as I say, but I think it's materialistic common sense, too. One only needs to study human behavior to realize it. I regard those people who make a career out of being nasty as emotional plague carriers.”

This is from one of the many interviews collected at the excellent Robert Anton Wilson Fans site.


2 comments:

michael said...

1: Dr. Jeffrey M. Eliot asks Robert Anton Wilson (c.1980):


JE: Are you affected by the critics? Do their opinions concern you?


RAW: As William Butler Yeats said, "Was there ever a dog that loved its
fleas?"
Critics have been very kind to me, personally. Of all the reviews of my
published books, something like 90 percent have been highly favorable, so I
have no personal grudge against critics. On the other hand, in an impersonal
way, I have a strong moral objection to critics. Whenever I see a critic
tearing a writer or actor or any artist to shreds in print, I feel a sense
of
revulsion. I write a lot of criticism myself, but I only review things I
like.
I don't admire the desire to tear other people apart. I can think of two
unfavorable reviews I've written in my whole life, and I regret them. One
was
about a book in which a woman gets raped and is said to enjoy it; the other
was
a review of a very dogmatic book on UFOs, in which the author described
those
who disagreed with him as neurotics. People who like to write witty, nasty
things about other people are not generous or charitable, to put it mildly.
We
should all try to give out as much good energy to other human beings as we
possibly can. I honestly believe that every bit of bad energy we put out has
adverse effects that go on forever. This is the Buddhist doctrine of karma.
The
Buddhists believe that every bit of anger, resentment, hate and so on that
goes
out passes from one person to another, without stopping. The same is true of
good energy: every bit of good energy one puts out makes someone else feel a
little bit better. I think if people were really conscious of this
psychological fact, they would try to put out nothing but good energy, no
matter what happened to them. They would certainly not be so casual about
passing on bad energy. All the bad energy in the world builds up like a
giant
snowfall, until we have a huge war. Nowadays, it can mean total nuclear
Armageddon. This is traditional Buddhism, as I say, but I think it's
materialistic common sense, too. One only needs to study human behavior to
realize it. I regard those people who make a career out of being nasty as
emotional plague carriers.
-from an interview in _Literary Voices #1_
- - - - - - - - - -
2. Lawrence Grobel asks James Ellroy (1998):


LG: Kirkus Reviews called you the comic-book Dos Passos of our time.


JE: I never read Dos Passos. Kirkus can suck my dick. Fuck them up the ass
with
a faggot pit bull with an 18-inch dick and shoot a big load of syphilitic
jism
up Kirkus's ass.
-from and interview in _Endangered Species:Writers Talk About Their Craft,
Their Visions, Their Lives_

I posted this on Usenet many years ago, seeing the two quotes by writers as polar opposites...RAW gave this interview in the early 1980s - he saw fit to reprint it in Email To The Universe, pp.213-217, saying he gave it in Spring 1981 when he and Arlen lived high in the Berkeley hills, and Arlen later read the interview and told Bob he must've been stoned. Nevertheless, RAW mostly adhered to these karmic tenets, with a few interesting exceptions...RAW's idiosyncratic negotiations/reading of "eastern" texts deserves a few long paragraphs in a book, eh?

He DID at times say/write very Menckenesque or nasty things about people - like calling George W. Bush an "asshole" on CNN when the Santa Cruz gvt gave out free pot to users in medical need as a symbolic act towards the Feds - but by and large I think he was pretty consistent in not feeding the "emotional plague."

Re: his view of karma. Yea, I find it refreshing when someone puts in terms of ethics and emotional terms and emotional energy rather than the far more "pop" "what you are experiencing now is the result of your actions in past lives" thing, although I think this "mass" reading of karma is very poetic.

Just my 3 cents.

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