Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking ahead to 2012

I'll be posting a list of the books I read during 2011 in a couple of days, but I wanted to note here that I read "All Things Are Lights" by Robert Shea, read "TSOG:The Thing That Ate the Constitution" by Robert Anton Wilson for the first time, and re-read RAW's "The Widow's Son," "Nature's God," "Cosmic Trigger 1," "Cosmic Trigger 2," and "Cosmic Trigger 3."

I have still not read the following RAW books: "The Sex Magicians," "Wilhelm Reich in Hell," "Reality is What You Can Get Away With," "The Walls Came Tumbling Down," "Playboy's Book of Forbidden Words," "Sex, Drugs and Magick," "The New Inquisition," "Neuropolitique," "Ishtar Rising" (I have a copy of "The Book of the Breast"), "Natural Law," "Quantum Psychology" and "Everything is Under Control." Among Shea's books, I have only read "ILLUMINATUS!", "All Things Are Lights" and "Shaman."

I'll be busy in early 2012 reading nominees and possible nominees for the Prometheus Award, but my tentative plans are to re-read "Prometheus Rising" slowly, this time trying the exercises, followed by "Quantum Psychology," and to re-read "Masks of the Illuminati," which I haven't read in years. But what do you think I should read?


michael said...

I'd say make sure you read The New Inquisition and then Natural Law. These books aren't talked about nearly enough, IMO. But RAW thought the kind of writing done in those highlighted what he was really good at: creating "dialectical sparks." He's jousting with other intellectual groups, he's a Lone Knight, trying to create conversational space, and he's heavily fueled by the complete works of Jonathan Swift.

fyreflye said...
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Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Natural Law is an obvious choice for me, because I have been reading a lot lately about libertarianism, trying to figure out both its promise and its limitations; after I read your comment, I loaded a copy on my new Kindle.

If you recommend it that highly, then I guess I should read The New Inquisition. I've kind of been avoiding it because RAW's feud with the Skeptical inquirer folks isn't really the aspect of his philosophy that I find the most attractive, and I thought I've picked up enough of his gibes in other places. But I guess I should get around to reading it, too.

Oz Fritz said...

My favorite titles on your list of unreads is "Wilhelm Reich In Hell," "Neuropolitique" and "The Walls Came Tumbling Down." "Masks of Illuminati" definitely rewards rereading. "Sex, Drugs, and Magick" offers valuable instruction. "The Book of the Breast" shows where RAW came from and how he developed as a writer.

I don't know "The Sex Magicians." It's not a different title for "Sex, Drugs and Magick?"

michael said...

Tom: I think The New Inquisition has some major problems if we look at it from "success in the attack against what RAW called 'fundamentalist materialism.'"

But my basic take on the book is that it ended up being Something Else. There seem to be two major lines of rhetoric: perception/sense impression/how we make our worlds, etc, THEN creating doubt about how we get information about the phenomenal world from reports of bizarre and outlier data. I think it's some sort of weird species of phenomenology, but I'm NOT SURE.

It seems really amusing to me, every time I read it. Last few years I've been comparing it to a few philosophical postmodern probes on the sociology of science. I've found it very interesting to compare TNI with Jean-Francois Lyotard's The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, and the work of Paul Feyerabend, esp. Against Method. RAW uses Charles Fort a lot, and his tone is wonderfully infected by Swift. YMMV.

SatoriGuy said...

I would have to recommend Quantum Psychology. I think i's among his top 5 best books. It seems like one of his most philosophical/scholarly books and I personally felt a shift in my world view after absorbing all the knowledge RAW dropped in that book. I may try to read Korzybski's work at some point but I think in Quantum Psychology RAW distills the essence of Science and Sanity in a highly readable, interesting way.

As far as your fiction on the list, the only one I've had a chance to read is Natural Law, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I never thought I would enjoy historical fiction but this was really fun read.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...


You have convinced me! I'll get to The New Inquisition this year. So you're 2 for 2.

@Oz Fritz, Thanks for your recommendations; I will try to get to some of these, too.

The Sex Magicians is kind of a "smut" book, available as a PDF at I'm pretty sure it's different from the Playboy Press book you cite. Eric Wagner says the best bits from The Sex Magicians found their way into the Schroedinger's Cat trilogy.

@Satoriguy, I definitely plan to try to get to Quantum Psychology.

I think you may be referring to Nature's God. It's not bad, but the first two books of the trilogy are better -- they are must reads, in fact.