Saturday, September 11, 2010

So are we pagans?

I've never thought of myself as a pagan, or thought of Robert Anton Wilson as a pagan. But some Internet humor that's been making the rounds, "The Field Guide to Neo-Paganism," posted by The Mad Angry Pagan, name checks RAW.

The satiric guide attempts to describe different kinds of neo-pagans. This is the entry for "Discordian Neo-Anarchist":

"Argumentative. Infuriating. Goes on philosophical tangents for hours, only to lead the discussion into obsurdities that make your brain hurt to think about them. Smiles too much. Laughs too much, especially at things that are *NOT* funny. Makes fun of everyone's sacred cows, especially yours. Is iconoclastic to the point of cliche'. Rants and raves about huge conspiracies and secret centuries-old organizations.
Distinguishing Signs: Yin/yang pendant with a pentacle and big yellow apple inside. Carries around any books by Douglas Adams or Robert Anton Wilson. Refuses to take themselves - or anyone else - seriously."

A couple of the other categories also mention RAW and/or Discordianism. Hail Eris!

15 comments:

michael said...

If we must label ourselves...

Yes! to the above writer's description of the "Discordian Neo-Anarchist."

Paganism seems to me wildly diffuse, but for RAW (and "us"),that "old time religion": pre-monotheistic revelry involving sex, drugs, music, and anything else that induces ecstatic states...if this falls under your rubric of paganism, then I guess we're "religious."

IIRC, "pagan" wuz woid xtians used for "the people on the other side of those hills," those weirdos in the forest, "the country dwellers," outside the only true civilization: the walled cities or early metropolises (metropoli?)

RAW has written in many diverse places about the ethical philosophy of "enlightened hedonism," which seems fairly isomorphic with the ideas around "urban shamanism" and "neo-paganism." Indeed, many forms of anarchism... Much of this seems to center on a radical re-thinking of the origins of feelings of shame, etc. For RAW also: mutualism and etiquette (!) figure in this world of sensual pleasure. I also see an infl of Kung-fu-Tze, Epicurus and Lucretius on the Enlightened Hedonistic ethical philosophy.

And LO! I preach thusly: There seem to be a small but significant population of humans who enjoy things that we ourselves can't imagine wd be enjoyable. For the most part, let them "be" as long as they aren't hurting others, and let us sit back in wonder at the "polymorphous perversity" of the species. A guy can't get enough of Mickey Spillane? Hoo-kay! A girl wants her boyfriend to pee on her? Alright...I don't "get it" but I can't see the harm. Myself? I can listen to loud, shredding "self-indulgent" metal guitarists for hours on end - I LOVE that stuff! - and most of my friends just shake their heads in abject bafflement. (I also derive great enjoyment from hours of reading phenomenological sociology books, and Ulysses and Ezra Pound's crazy essays, so...)

Finally: let us continue to have serious doubts about those who refuse neurosomatic raptures for themselves, and even seriouser doubts about those who seek to prevent others from those pleasures.

Brian Shields said...

My friend Michael and I share the love of shredding metal guitarists, in fact I just saw a sick band last night called Son of Aurelius that fits the definition.

But back to the point, in my more pedestrian understanding of paganism, especially of the pantheistic variety, they tend to see "god" in all things, the trees, the plants, the animals, the cosmos, etc. That seems to me not too far from what Bob often talked about in terms of non-synchronous apprehension, that the intelligence in the universe if from all parts to all parts all of the time. The Christians will tell you their god is omni-present but that is clearly absurd since their guy can't be in hell, or can he? But to me it's not a stretch between what the pagans and the pantheists were suggesting and Bob.

Afeenast said...

Thank you for the link to my silly blog post and for mentioning my blog on yours. I did not write that list I simply posted it. I know it has been added to many times. Humor is a gift that all of us no matter what are path may be can share.

michael said...

I forgot to add Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Giggle Factor: ideas that usually receive a hushed, reverent attitude are instead treated irreverently, which seems to paraphrase many of the quotes from The Field Guide to Neo-Paganism.

Suffice?: a deep humor and ability to laff at oneself also seems sine qua non here.

quackenbush said...

> Are we pagans?

No. We are discordian neo-anarchists.

michael said...

Can't speak for Meister Quackenbush, but some of us are Armenian Presbyterian Lesbian Vegetarians, with Aquarius Rising and our moon in Uranus.

Royal Academy of Reality 1132 said...

Well, I still find E-Prime very useful. I like Wilson's ideas about henotheism. Wikipedia says, "Henotheism is a term coined by Max Müller, to mean worshipping a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities." I also like the Subgenius concept of the short duration personal savior (Shordurpersav). Crowley recommended practicing Bhakti yoga on a deity until one encounters the deity and then switching to another deity. One can play the neo-pagan game this way, worshiping Aphrodite for a while, then the Great Pumpkin, Eris, Anna Livia Plurabella, Dionysis, Nuit, Calliope, etc.

michael said...

It seems Ezra Pound spent a long time doing Bhakti on Aphrodite and her analogues. Evidence? The Cantos. I have not found much data that he ever took Crowley seriously. Ironic? Maybe...

Royal Academy of Reality 1132 said...

When I asked Bob Wilson how to use the Cantos as a grimoire, he suggested rereading it and writing down all the sections about Aphrodite and then reading Liber OZ by Crowley. Next reread those Aphrodite sections of the Cantos every day until I encountered Aphrodite. Then repeat the whole sequence with Dionysus.

Royal Academy of Reality 1132 said...

Note when posting that last comment, the computer asked me to type in "tripp" to confirm.

Royal Academy of Reality 1132 said...

Oops, not Liber OZ but the one on bhakti yoga. I forget its name; it appears as an appendix in Magick in Theory and Practice.

Oz Fritz said...

Liber Astarte vel Berylli covers bhakti yoga thoroughly ... and effectively, when applied. The instruction to switch deities seems a Bob Wilson innovation. Though he attributes it to Crowley in CT1, that instruction doesn't appear in that Liber or anywhere else in Crowley's works as far as I can tell. A good addition.

As far as the topic, are we pagans?: Static labels are for those entities who don't handle multiple realities. RAW also studied G.I. Gurdjieff who once described his work as esoteric Christianity.

Royal Academy of Reality 1132 said...

Great to see you here, Oz. We've started a read through of Wilhelm Reich's The Mass Psychology of Fascism over at alt.fan.rawilson. We'd love to have you join us.

Yes, that line about switching deities does seem to come from Bob, although he attributed it to Uncle Al.

I must admit, I do find E-Prime useful. Sometimes many of us seem like pagans.

Oz Fritz said...

Thanks for the invitation, I'll mosey on over. Haven't read that one.

My last key word to post here was "welly" which seemed very deep, to me. :)

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