Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. Blog, Internet resources, online reading groups, articles and interviews, Illuminatus! info.
Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
RAW once said he thought Rand turned around and invented Objectivism as an atheistic religion to compete with the atheistic religion that killed her family members.
For sombunall of what RAW thought of Austrian economics, see the New Libertarian interview from Sept 5, 1976.
RAW seems more radical in general that any of the acknowledged-by-the-likes-of New York mag's "libertarians." Chomsky has often accepted the term "libertarian socialist." RAW's politics seem much closer to Chomsky's (who is almost totally marginalized in mainstream US media, but NOT in the rest of the world); the right-libertarians had ideas that RAW thought needed more of a hearing in the mass marketplace of ideas in the US; however, he thought the right-libertarians could care less about the poor, and that their ideas about regulations protecting the commons and the poor and disenfranchised had been shown to be demonstrably wrong...RAW was so radical he thought land/rent/banks/money were questionable ideas. I don't see much of that in Rand/Rothbard/Hayek/Mises/Friedman...which is why comsumers of mainstream media get to read about THEM as "libertarians," I suspect.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
"As best I remember (and Rick probably has a better memory than I do), this all started with him. He found out Bob was going to be in town, and he knew that I was a HUGE fan of the ILLUMINATUS! trilogy. So he set up the interview, the three of us met for dinner (I think Rick picked up the check), and we had a tape recorder going the whole time. Rick even has a couple of photos of the occasion," Shiner says.
"It was kind of a weird interview. At the time, I felt like Bob was not really listening to me, kind of talking over me and delivering somewhat prefab responses. Yet when I listened back to the tape, it was a really good interview, and he sounded very compassionate and wise.. "
We met Robert Anton Wilson in the lobby of the Marriott. It was April 28, 1988, and he was in Austin for a lecture and a workshop. He was dressed casually, his receding white hair combed straight back, his neatly trimmed beard slightly worn just under his lower lip, where he habitually rubs it while talking. He was only a little reserved, considering he'd committed himself to an evening with total strangers. We had a relaxed interview over dinner in the hotel. His answers were slow and well considered, delivered in a somewhat gruff voice that still has the accent of his New York upbringing.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
I recently checked out Maynard Solomon's bio on LvB; I found the
information surrounding him and the Illuminati fairly convincing. Was
he a member of the Illuminati? I don't know. Was he influenced by
their ideas? I'm about 90% sure he was, after reading what Solomon has
to say. (RAW posited LvB as a member of the Illuminati as a fanciful
lark, one of his reductio ad absurdum moves to satirize Beatles-as-
satanists he'd read about in the late 1960s/early 70s. It was yet
another "satirical prophecy." (see also _Everything Is Under Control_,
I just read Mencken's essay on LvB, first pub on April 24th, 1922, in
the Baltimore Evening Sun. I liked these lines:
"His most complicated structures retained the overwhelming clarity of
the Parthenon. And into them he got a kind of feeling that even the
Greeks could not match; he was preeminently a modern man, with all the
trace of the barbarian vanished. Into his gorgeous music there went
all of the high skepticism that was of the essence of the Eighteenth
Century, but into it there also went the new enthusiasm, the new
determination to challenge and beat the gods, that dawned with the
Nineteenth." - from _A Mencken Chrestomathy_
Meanwhile, in another universe - a Trick Top Hat one - a female Leary/
RAW/Bucky Fuller-ish-type thinker is President, and Things are quite
different than in "this" universe, although there seem some strong
similarities, and music critic Justin Case is pleased: "It appeared
that the administration was the first government in history to take
Beethoven seriously. To him, Hubbard's whole philosophy was obviously
derived from the last movement of the Ninth."
I love the description of the Hammerklavier that "Ezra Pound" of the
"Fair Play for Fernando Poo Committee" sends Dr. Dashwood in _The
Homing Pigeons_, pp.374-375 of the SCT omnibus ed.
O! Sizeism seems a horrible thing!
PKD's last, unfinished novel, IIRC titled _The Owl in Daylight_, had a
main character based on LvB and Faust. PKD wondered where Beethoven
would've gone to try to transcend himself if he'd lived longer.
Beethoven only lived to 56? The idea of LvB going "further" than those
late string quartets, or the 9th, seems to me like pondering what
Joyce would've done after Finnegans Wake.
"Anyone who understands my music will never be unhappy again." -
that's LvB, as translated into English. We read such a quote and say
ahhh yesss. But what does it mean to "understand" any text, much less
something as abstract as music? If I consider "understand" as
metaphor, it seems related to a rational geometrical relationship
between subject/object, and I'm not sure I understand music in the
same way I understand, say, Euclid's axioms and demonstrated proofs.
Rather, I think a more apt metaphor would be tuning, or resonance. I
feel attuned to some music or other, or some piece of music resonates
with me. But I digress...
He's 240 today. May we all live as long, at least in dove sta memoria.
I did not finish the Solomon biography. I read about the first half
back in the 90's, up to the Eroica. I keep telling myself to go back
and read the whole thing. I have not read Mencken's essay. I haven't
read much by Mencken, except his translation of Nietzsche. I love the
Beethoven material in Schroedinger's Cat. I like the idea of the 7th,
8th and 9th Symphonies as a map of future evolution and the idea of
the 7th and 8th as successful tantric sex. (I saw part of a Seinfeld
last night where Kramer mentions tantric sex.)
I had not heard of that Phil Dick book. In The Transmigration of
Timothy Archer (I think) he suggests the new ending for the quartet
Op. 130 suggested a new period for Beethoven. I had tended to favor
the original ending, the Grosse Fugue, but when I hear the new ending
now I think of Phil and wonder what the Big B might have written
next. He had planned a piece using Hebrew modes. People often divide
Beethoven's work into three periods. At the end of each the influence
of Haydn shows up more than it usually does in his work. I think of
the Second Symphony near the end of the first period and the Eighth
Symphony near the end of the second period. Parts of the quartet op.
135 and the new ending to 130 have a Haydn feel, as Beethoven Z up
Joyce talked about writing a novel of the sea after Finnegans Wake.
For years I've imagined it called One Piece Bikini.
(Eric also appended some reviews of Beethoven recordings by Rafi Zabor on Amazon. I have
left them out for space reasons, but you can read them here.)
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I liked the illustration, so I stole that, too.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Wilson and Gardner had much in common, laid back intellectuals that could both instruct and entertain. Neither was Gardner an atheist. Gardner defended belief in God, prayer, miracles, and free will in The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener. And like Wilson, Gardner criticized fundamentalist religion. Where they differed was when it came to testing "psychic" or other weird claims. Gardner was skeptical of claims that he thought were based on pseudoscience, including Reich's experiments and hypotheses. Wilson on the other hand, didn't seem to mind if a thousand quacks had their day, because he was confident that in the end the truth will out. Wilson was also a self-experimentalist, dabbling in everything from magic to hallucinogens, mental imagery techniques, and even the latest brain frequency synchronizers. Wilson would have loved to have been invited (as was Shermer of The Skeptic Society), to sit in that recently developed machine that sends massive waves of magnetism into one's temporal lobes and often generates the feeling that one is out of one's body, or that someone is behind you. Gardner was raised in Oral Roberts country and after leaving the fold in college (see The Flight of Peter Fromm, a semi-autobiographical novel Gardner wrote) he was probably repelled by all sorts of hucksterism and gullibile behaviors. Yet as I said Gardner never could give up on the possibility of God, miracles, etc., being true.
Interestingly, elements of both Wilson (his openness to weirdness and love of writing novels to expand people's minds) and Gardner (his love of astounding mathematical ideas and curious philosophical ones as well) are combined in the work of Clifford Pickover:
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
The Diagonal Relationship 20, 1982
My apologies to Mr. David Palter. His original letter attacking the Thoth exercise sounded dogmatic and intolerant to me, and I thought it was funny for someone to sound so certain about an experiment which he admitted he had never tried. Due to this misunderstanding, I wrote a short rebuttal which be quite correctly describes as "baroque sarcasm"; be also says that he was not dogmatic about the experiment, but only tentative. Well, everybody has a right to form tentative opinions (pro and con) about experiments they haven' t tried, so there is no real argument between Pa1ter and me. I merely misunderstood his style of expression.
Since this subject has aroused debate by others as well as Palter, I would like to add something. The Thoth exercise is in four parts. These are (1) the traditional assumption of god-forms, out of gnosticism and Tibetan Buddhism; (2) experiments in self-hypnosis with tape recorder; (:3) experiments in self-hypnosis adding marijuana to tape recorder; (4) reading books by Timothy Leary, John Lilly, Aleister Crowley, G. 1. Gurdjieff, Israel Regardie, and Mary Baker Eddy. These books will provide six contrasting "maps" (or models, or paradigms) to interpret the results obtained in steps 1, 2, and 3. Seeing that each of these "maps" fits the results to some degree leads to the last, synthesizing step of forming one's own conclusions about what such exercises offer and show many neurological programs they can be extended to reprogram. These books also suggest many other, more advanced exercises to accomplish more radical reprogramming and reimprinting.
Anybody who shares Palter's dread of such matters should emphatically emulate him in avoiding such experiments. "Fear is failure and the forerunner of failure"; or in Freudian terms, those who fear have reason to fear. There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamed of in Mr. Palter's philosophy, and one should not gaze into them if one is not prepared to have them gaze back at one.
And one from Shea (1980)
We have a lot to be thankful for. Many of us were too young to experience the Scopes trial, the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, the days when books like Ulysses had to be smuggled into the country, the McCarthy era and the judicial murder of the Rosenbergs. Now, as a consequence of election day 1980 we have a chance to live through a replay of those great days. Let us gird our loins, because if the New Christian Right has its way it will soon be illegal to have loins at all.
Friday, December 3, 2010
The Diagonal Relationship 18, 1981
In answer to Roy Tackett's question, "How many of these professed believers in the ancient gods have even the slightest knowledge of the ancient gods?" I would say: Having met with hundreds of neopagans in all parts of the country, I have been astonished at the abundant erudition they generally possess and their extensive and sometimes scholarly or pedantic knowledge of minute details about the old religions. If Mr. Tackett's question was rhetorical and he assumed the answer would be that most neopagans know little about their historical origins, then either he has met a different sampling than I have, or he has met few or none and formed his opinions without data. In any case, Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon is the most complete sociological study of neopaganism thus far, and it confirms my own impression of the generally high level of erudition among neopagans.
I assume that Tackett's sentence, "A superstition is a superstition is a superstition is a superstition is a superstition," is some kind of incantation. Certainly, he could not intend it as argument, since it is only a tautology. Perhaps there is a missing first term and we are to understand it as meaning "paganism is a superstition" etc. In that case, it is not a tautology, but a mere assertion, and still does not qualify as an argument. It is not clear to me whether Mr. Tackett will not argue his position or does not know how to argue it. Or perhaps his letter was a clever piece of satire, intended to illustrate the axiom that ignorance is the origin of intolerance.
As a lover of the past as well as the present and the future, I was delighted with David Palter's letter, in which he frankly stipulated that he did not try the Thoth exercise before passing judgment on it. I think all archaic ideas should be revived periodically, so that we may look at them anew and reevaluate them; and it is refreshing to have the classical antiexperimentalist dogma reasserted in our time. I had thought that position vanished around the time the Inquisition refused to look through Galileo's telescope before condemning what he saw through it. I hope Mr. Palter will continue to enlighten us about experiments he hasn't tried and Mr. Tackett to inform us about groups he scarcely knows.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
The Diagonal Relationship 17, 1981
I was delighted to read of your oceanic experience at the Samhain festival.
The first "satori" is a turning point; the second is much easier. After a while, it becomes fairly regular and even deeper....One discovers gradations in the oceanic, more and more comes through....(See Maslow on what he calls "the Peak Experience.")
Encouragement: it tends to happen after 35, as documented by Bucke in Cosmic Consciousness. If this is the fifth neurological circuit, as Leary sez, it may be genetically programmed. Bio-survival circuit turns on at birth, emotional-territorial circuit at about 8 months (walking), semantic circuit between one and two years, sociosexual circuit at puberty, between 11 and 13. Neurosomatic (oceanic) may be more and more likely to open up (if one is not rigidly armored against it) the more years one lives after about 35 or 40....Maybe it is becoming more common because people are living longer than they used to.
Further encouragement: in many cases, after neurosomatic circuit begins to work, conditions like asthma "miraculously" disappear. (That's why Mary Baker Eddy invented Christian Science after her fifth circuit opened....)
I don't share Michael Shoemaker's disdain for those who think they have found something new, or for those who think they are important. Everybody I admire in history (a) thought they found something new and (b) thought they were important. E.g. Beethoven, Shakespeare, Joyce, Michelangelo, Galileo, Leonardo, Jefferson, Newton, Blake, Frank Lloyd Wright, etc. etc. etc. As Wright said, give me honest arrogance rather than hypocritical humility any day. And as Mark Twain said, it is dangerous to associate with the depressed, because they will make you depressed, whereas those who expect to accomplish great things will make you think you can do great things yourself.
All my friends believe they are geniuses or damned close to it; that's why they're fun to have around. You can find all the humility you ever care to see at a mental health clinic, but that scene is very dreary indeed.
I also disagree with Shoemaker's Ecclesiastes-like insistence that "there is nothing new under the sun." Evolution being a stochastic process, there is newness appearing every second; one has only to open one's eyes and LOOK for it. Besides, as Picasso or somebody else of that school said once, Art always shows heredity but never shows identity. Many are children or grandchildren of Pirandello, as Shoemaker would have it, but all are new voices nonetheless.
I hope that Shoemaker soon comes to feel that he is so damned COSMICALLY important that he will enjoy rather than deprecate the possibility that others are important, too.
(A) Anybody who speaks English probably has, somewhere, a signal that I can learn from; (B) The more important they think they are, the more likely they are to utter that signal.
In this connection, I also dissent from Mary Frey's expressed wish that people stop discussing religion in your pages. I had no desire to write anything about religion for you when 1 saw that letter, but after seeing it I nonetheless felt constrained, repressed, mildly annoyed, and somewhat (in the jargon of the day) "dehumanized." I think the desire to communicate is very strong in third-circuited (symbol-using) critters and all repressions of it are unhealthy. It is, in general, much better for humanity if those who wish to avoid certain signals (political, religious, pornographic or whatever) simply AVOID them, i.e., avert their eyes, go elsewhere, etc., rather than trying to shut up those who wish to communicate. That is, I think it is more in keeping with our humanity for people to walk away from communication than to stifle the communicator. (This is a generalization but not an absolute. In some cases, seeing real distress, I am willing to stifle myself until an unhappy person leaves the scene. Courtesy and tact are real factors even if one can't include them in a legal definition of civil liberties....)
Since I believe that ONLY immediate sense impressions are given to us by the universe (and even they are edited by our previous imprints and ideas), all maps and models and theories are projections of the mind that creates them. Thus, the Atheist creates an Atheist universe, the Theist creates a Theist universe...and both are too modest to take credit for such marvelous artistic-philosophical organizing and information making skill! (They don't even take credit, generally, for making roses red....) Perhaps they both need more sense of self-importance.