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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A RAW quote from 1973

Here is a quote from Robert Anton Wilson that you quite possibly have never seen before, because it comes from an article in a 1973 underground newspaper, Chicago Seed, and was never reprinted in any of his books:

People believe the damndest things. The average American, for instance, will tell you that torture was used as punishment in the middle ages, but has been abolished since then. He will then walk past a jail without any mental activity or rumination or any variety of dawning awareness that he has been talking nonsense. Locking people in cages is not torture, in the popular estimation. Why? Because only cruel nations in the dim past practiced torture; what we do, today, is by definition not torture. The demand that prisons be abolished only arises from a few eccentric and anarchist thinkers and is regarded as absurd. "But what will we do without jails?" people ask -- just as they once asked other reformers, "But what will we do without thumbscrews and iron boots?"

Or: consider the right to live on the planet. It is popularly believed that feudalism has been abolished; the people who believe it pay their monthly tribute (rent) to the lord-of-the-land, now abbreviated as landlord, just as if feudalism still existed. When really pissed off, they will have a "rent strike," and withhold the rent for a short time, until some "reform" is grudgingly granted. The idea that we have as much right to live on this planet as horses or birds or monkeys do, and don't have to pay anybody anything for that right, does not percolate.

And some even believe that slavery has been abolished. It has -- until the government decides to reinstitute the draft again, which it might at any time.

Tomorrow I will explain how I tracked the article down -- it's called "Serpent Power" -- and post links to download a copy.


michael said...

This is vintage Early RAW. I have never seen this. Thanks for posting it. I had a link to this from last week, but I kept getting "file too large to you still want to download?," which I had never seen. I didn't want my computer to crash; it's the only one I have.

RAW took a lot of these ideas and combined them in some interesting ways in the 1970s. Pound had been very interested in Leo Frobenius's concept of paideuma, and seemed to define it in a few ways. When I talked to RAW about this idea he said, "Yea, it's the semantic unconscious..." So, a large part of RAW's project, as I see it, was making conscious what was unconscious. RAW, similar to the Frankfurt School thinkers, thought of himself as performing psychoanalysis on the entire culture!

The guerrilla ontology was a ludic method that was effective in that it didn't bore people and was accessible to non-academics. Among g.ontology's popular accomplices, one of the least known was Harold Garfinkel's Ethnomethodology.

Eric Wagner said...

Did George Lucas really study with Garfinkel? I started the "Serpent Power" essay, but I have yet to have enough success with the heart chakra exercise with which it begins to feel ready to read the rest of it.

Thanks for the great quote.

Oz Fritz said...

Small amounts of cannabis can boost serpent power. Small, carefully regulated dosage seems a key for using assisting factors effectively.

Also, thank-you Tom for posting this vintage RAW.