Thursday, March 31, 2011

More on 'All Things Are Lights'

I recently corresponded with Patricia Monaghan — author, DePaul University professor and Robert Shea's widow — about All Things Are Lights, Shea's excellent solo novel, which shares many themes and ideas with ILLUMINATUS! I thought it might helpful to share some of our correspondence:

From my email:

I'm very fond of "All Things Are Lights," and I tend to think of it as a kind of prequel to ILLUMINATUS!, as there are references to many topics covered in the other work, such as the Assassins, the Templars, secret societies and so on.

But I did not notice any directly links between the two works. Were there any names I missed that are common to both works, or anything else that directly ties the two works together? Do you remember if Mr. Shea ever said anything about the relationship between the two?


Part of Dr. Monaghan's reply:

I'm glad you like All Things, which is such a terrific book. You are right in the "prequel" idea in that Bob's interest in secret societies and such folded over from Ill! to All Things, but there was not direct connection. What drove Bob as an historical novelist was an interest in the underdogs of history, the people who were "lost" from a historical point of view. (I keep thinking that Saracen should be made into a movie, now, with the rise in interest in the Islamic world--but of course Bob's Muslim characters weren't terrorists! Well...they were...sort of....) The Cathars were persecuted in what was really a land-grab by the French against the Spanish--in Languedoc today, you can still see, in bars, maps of France before and after the "Albigensian crusade," which make very clear that France exploded in size after grabbing that land. Bob's last published book, Shaman, looked at the Black Hawk War from the Indian side. That was his way--always to focus on the "other" in any historical situation.

For more on Shea (including electronic copies of his books) see my links on the right side of this page.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Doing your work for you

Go here. Via Michael Johnson. I don't know how he did it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Raymond Chandler and RAW

I have begun listening to an audiobook of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep, and I can see why Chandler influenced RAW's style; lots of wit, lots of energy, just as in the best of RAW's prose.

From an interview by Science Fiction Review, reprinted in The Illuminati Papers:

Wilson: My style derives directly from Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Raymond Chandler, H.L. Mencken, William S. Burroughs, Benjamin Tucker and Elephant Doody Comics, in approximately that order of importance. Chandler has also influenced my way of telling stories; all my fiction tends to follow the Chandler mythos of the skeptical Knight seeking Truth in a world of false fronts and manipulated deceptions. (Of course, this is also my biography, or that of any shaman.)


Monday, March 28, 2011

RAW on Bob Dylan

One more excerpt from the New Libertarian Notes interview, and then I won't write about it until I can post the whole interview. This is a follow-up after the interviewers ask about Wilson's favorite books, TV, shows and movies.

CRNLA: What do you think of M*A*S*H, the Freak Brothers, Bob Dylan?

RAW: I loved Altman's film of M*A*S*H but I can't stand the TV series. The Freak Brothers are funny, but I deplore the lifestyle it celebrates. Of course, Einstein and Michelangelo were sloppy, too, but only because they were too busy with real work to fix their attention on sartorial status games. Hippies generally aren't busy with anything except feeling sorry for themselves. Dylan seems to me a totally pernicious influence -- the nasal whine of death and masochism. Certainly, this would be a more cheerful world if there were no Dylan records in it. But Dylan and his audience mirror each other, and deserve each other; as Marx said, a morbid society creates its own morbid grave-diggers.

This is pretty amusing, but also something I didn't see coming; I would have thought RAW would see some merit in songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind," "A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall," and "Subterranean Homesick Blues." Allen Ginsberg was a big fan of Dylan, and RAW was a big fan of Ginsberg.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A daily meditation

I recently obtained a wonderful interview with Robert Anton Wilson, published in 1976 in the New Libertarian Notes. (Thank you Mike Gathers.) It's not available on rawilsonfans.com, and I will be sharing it with you here when I can, but today I wanted to reprint one of the questions and answers:

CRNLA: What magazines and newspapers do you read?

RAW: I read everything, including the labels on canned food. I'm a hopeless print addict, a condition alleviated only by daily meditation which breaks the linear-Aristotelian trance. (Most rationalistic libertarians would do well to try the same circuit breaker, or LSD. National Lampoon, Scientific American and Green Egg are what I read most obsessively. I also read at least one periodical every month by a political group I dislike -- to keep some sense of balance. The overwhelming stupidity of political movements is caused by the fact that political types never read anything but their own gang's agit-prop.

I love the part about reading a magazine you disagree with every month, but I also like the revelation that in 1976 RAW meditated every day. I don't know anything about his meditation routine, but I do know that ILLUMINATUS! co-author Robert Shea also meditated. When I interviewed Shea's son and literary executor, Mike Shea, I asked Mike to to tell me a few things about his father fans might want to know. One of the things he mentioned was that "He meditated every day for about fifteen minutes as well. The Zen philosophy sort of sunk into me and has even further over the years."




Saturday, March 26, 2011

What's going on here?

Can someone who apparently understands the Internet better than I do tell me what's going on with this?

Friday, March 25, 2011

A look at possible futures

I thought some of you might be interested in Glenn Harlan Reynolds' interesting review of a new futurology tome, Michio Kaku's Physics of the Future. (Yes, Reynolds is the right wing Instapundit guy, but he's also a science fiction fan and he does a good job here.)

According to Reynolds, Kaku says that "today's unemployment levels may look reasonable once the advance of machines really kicks in." This sounds like a point that Robert Anton Wilson tried to make for years.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New RAW area on Facebook

It's hard to keep up with all of the Internet spaces devoted to Robert Anton Wilson, but this one on Facebook appears to be new and to be a useful place for posting news, updates, etc.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

RAW reviews Pound's prose

(Here I reprint Robert Anton Wilson's article from "Conspiracy Digest," Spring 1978, Vol. 3, No. 2. Thank you to Mike Gathers for supplying the piece.)

BOOK REVIEW

By Robert Anton Wilson

Selected Prose 1909-1965, by Ezra Pound. New Directions, New York, 1973. 475 pages. $4.75.

Ezra Pound, probably the greatest poet of the 20th Century, was obsessed with the injustices of modern banking which he characterized as a false-system of book-keeping which prevents the producers of wealth from buying back their own product. He wrote about this in essays which grew increasingly angry and "fanatical" in tone as the decades passed, because he found that, despite his recognized literary stature, he could not get anything on this subject printed in any of the major media but only in "little magazines" of limited circulations. Eventually he began to suspect that the major publishers were in collusion with the major bankers, and his writings grew even more angry and "fanatical." Contemporary literary opinion generally regards this whole aspect of Pound's life work as a mania or obsession, but those who think for themselves might form a more favorable impression from this volume which contains nearly half a century of serious research and documentation.

The much-derided "fanaticism" is there, yes; but it is relieved by wonderful humor (Pound was the funniest polemicist of his time, even surpassing Mencken) and by frequent flashes of the poetic visionary who co-existed with the angry moralist in Pound's complicated organism: "The enemy is ignorance (our own)." "Arguments are caused by the ignorance of all the disputants." "We think because we do not know."

The main reason for buying this book is that it gives you, for only $4.75, hundreds of significant historical details you could only obtain otherwise by spending a small fortune to dig up the sources Pound found in his half century of obsession with this subject: medieval histories of the Medici banks, relevant passages in the letters of Jefferson and Adams, the Autobiography of Martin Van Buren, Brooks Adams' Law of Civilization and Decay, Del Mar's History of Monetary Systems, etc.

Pound does not merely castigate the crimes of what he, following medieval theologians, called Usura (defined by him as "a charge for the use of purchasing power, levied without regard to production, sometimes without regard even to the possibilities of production.") He also suggests remedies, and he is remarkably impartial and non-fanatical and even ecumenical in this area. ("There may even be several economic solutions to any problem," he notes. "Gasoline and coal both serve as fuel.")

Among the solutions discussed by Pound are C.H. Douglas's National Dividend (currently revived, or diluted, in Friedman's Negative Income Tax plan), the stamp-script of Silvio Gesell (money which creates negative interest, i.e. favors the spender rather than the lender), shortening the working day (now inevitable as cybernetics advances) and reorganizing the Congress, guild-style, so that we would be represented by our labor unions or professional organizations rather than by politicians. He does not insist that any one of these would produce Utopia, and often discusses combinations or permutations among them. To my delight, he also admits, several times, that the ultimate escape from the tyranny of the present banking system must be "local control of local purchasing power," but he is uncharacteristically vague about how this might be managed, evidently never having discovered the People's Banks and alternative currency schemes of libertarians such as Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker.

As for Pound's notorious anti-Semitism: this book makes clear that, while he did slip into that idiocy on occasion as his temper rose, he very carefully avoided it on other occasions, scrupulously noting that racism is "the tool of the man defeated intellectually" (a confession of his own diminished intelligence when anger overcame him?). Culturally, as distinguished from racially, he is much harder on Christianity than on Judaism, noting for instance that "Inasmuch as the Jew has conducted no holy war for nearly two milennia, he is preferable to the Christian and the Mohammedan." Typical of the confusions of those who are both geniuses and very angry, he denounces Protestantism, into which he was born, more than Catholicism, which he knew only at a distance.

This book is not an easy pill to swallow; as the Buddha (whom Pound also detested) said, "There is nothing haters do to haters or enemies to enemies as bad as what an angry mind does to itself;" Pound's anger is as ugly and depressing as a fool's anger, even if he is a genius. He confessed, in old age, "I lost my center fighting the world," and the evidence of that loss of center is here. But there is also fantastic erudition about the whole history of money and banking, a contagious passion for justice, and a great wholesome, hearty, totally sane humor that saves even the most bitter passages from hatefulness.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Free Lovecraft ebook

Ruth, aka Cthulu Chick, has created a free ebook of the Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft in two formats -- EPUB (useful for the Nook) and Kindle (as in the Amazon device).

EPUB is a standard for electronic publishing used on many different devices. To find out what you need to read the Complete Works on your particular computer, phone or gadget, see the Wikipedia article. You may need to experiment with different file formats and software book readers to find something that works with your particular device. Mobi seems to work better in Ubuntu than EPUB, at least on my machine.

If you've read ILLUMINATUS!, you'll probably remember that the plot incorporates the Cthulu Mythos and that Lovecraft himself appears as a character in the book.

For more on Lovecraft, see Dan Clore's Necronomicon site.

Lovecraft as a substitute teacher here (via Supergee.)

RAW on Lovecraft (from the excellent Lewis Shiner interview):

Were you a Lovecraft fan before you got into Illuminatus?

I was a Lovecraft fan since I was about 12. I think it was when I was 12 I heard "The Dunwich Horror" with Ronald Coleman as the narrator. It impressed the hell out of me. I started looking for Lovecraft and I couldn't find any Lovecraft books, but I found a few short stories by him in anthologies. Then when I was 14 I found a whole book of Lovecraft, edited by August Derleth. So Lovecraft has been a passion with me most of my life. I like the way he uses techniques that make you think, "Gee, maybe this isn't fiction." That fascinates me, because doubt lasts longer than faith and provokes thought rather than discouraging it.



Monday, March 21, 2011

Does membership have its privileges?

Kind of disappointing these guys haven't sent me an invitation (or have they?), but I suppose they have to be choosy. (Hat Tip: Michael Johnson at alt.fan.rawilson).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Jokes for intellectuals

I am posting this link to a collection of jokes for intellectuals because I am certain RAW would have thought they were funny.

A couple of samples:

A solipsist's pick up line: "would you sleep with me if I were the last man on earth?"

A guy walks into a sandwich shop and sees a sign that reads, "Home of the Meanest Grilled Cheese in Town." So he orders the grilled cheese. When his bill arrives the waitress asks him how he liked the sandwich. "Eh, it was about average."

Via Supergee's above average blog.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

RAW musicology

From "The Wilderness Diary of Sigismundo Celine," chapter 7 of Nature's God.

Vivaldi: The Neapolitan heat, the Neapolitan eroticism, the Neapolitan paganism invading their "Christian" festivals.

Mozart: The planets revolving in Newtonian orbits, while children play and birds sing.

J.S. Bach: a naked goddess, a compass, a mason's square.

J.C. Bach: black opium in a lush and expensive brothel.

C.P.E. Bach: you see the loveliest woman in the world and then notice she has a nervous tic.

I plan to download some Johann Christian Bach next week; Wilson's description did make me wonder what his music sounds like.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Death of the acid king

Michael Johnson deserves credit for spotting this early, but much of the rest of the world has noticed too: Famed LSD chemist Owsley Stanley has died, at age 76, in a car accident in Australia. The New York Times obit makes fascinating reading.

"Jerry Garcia liked Illuminatus!, especially the concept of the catma (less dogmatic than a dogma) ... " (An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson, Eric Wagner, page 93).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A couple of aphorisms

Nature's God has a nice collection of aphorisms in Chapter 7, "The Wilderness Diary of Sigismundo Celine." It reminds me both of the Dhammapada, or, less pretentiously, "The Notebooks of Lazarus Long," from Robert Heinlein's novel, Time Enough for Love

Anyway, whatever you think of my comparisons, there are a couple of aphorisms that I thought particularly captured Wilson's metaphysical worldview.

There is no governor anywhere, but there are hierarchies of competing intelligences everywhere, all motivated by the joy of creativity and the Will to Power.

***

Forms emerge from Chaos, linger awhile, fade away, and are replaced by new forms. This is absolutely all I know. Everything else is speculation -- that is, acquired prejudices and wild guesses.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Atlantis found again

I am not sure whether this is breaking news or breaking BS, but anyone who reads very much has run into Atlantis here and there, and the legendary lost whatever-it-was plays a role in ILLUMINATUS! So for what it's worth, there has been a rash of recent reports claiming that Atlantis has been discovered to be a set of ruins in southwest Spain, of a city allegedly wiped out by a tsunami. No doubt more evidence about this will emerge.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

RAW on 'Nature's God'

After I wrote yesterday's post about Nature's God, I got an e-mail from Jesse Walker, the Reason magazine managing editor and notable RAW scholar. Walker says,

"I mentioned that book to Wilson in 1993, commenting that I had enjoyed it but it felt less meaty than the first two in the series -- like a bridge to the fourth volume more than a self-contained book. He replied that he had been pretty sick when he wrote it & had pumped it out quickly to raise funds. FWIW."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Re-reading 'Nature's God'

I just finished re-reading Nature's God, Robert Anton Wilson's last completed novel, published in 1988. While of course I enjoyed re-reading it, it has to be considered a little disappointing, not least because it has a cliffhanger ending inviting the reader to continue on with The World Turned Upside Down, a fourth novel which was never completed. Well, I'm glad he finished Nature's God. It has many fine passages (Maria Babcock's underground best-seller about God and the Willy, Sigismundo Celine's collection of aphorisms, the witty dialogue among the French people toward the end), although for my taste it does not add up to a whole as impressive as The Widow's Son or some of the other novels. I'll be blogging about the book for a couple of days.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Prometheus Hall of Fame finalists announced

The only literary award I know of that Robert Anton Wilson ever received during his career was the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award. ILLUMINATUS! won the award in 1986; you can read Robert Shea's acceptance speech under "Feature Articles and Interviews" on this page.

This year's five Prometheus Award Hall of Fame finalists have been announced. (The finalists for the Prometheus Award itself, which honors current works, will be announced later). One of this year's finalists, "'Repent, Harlequin!' said the Ticktockman" by Harlan Ellison, was nominated by your humble blogger. A list of past winners of both awards is here.

Here's the text of yesterday's press release from the Libertarian Futurist Society:

The Libertarian Futurist Society has selected five finalists for the
2011 Hall of Fame Award from 21 nominated narrative and dramatic works.
In chronological order, the finalists are:

"The Machine Stops," by E. M. Forster (1909), is a short story
portraying the breakdown of a dystopian future society whose inhabitants
are dependent on a technology they can no longer control or understand.
Forster described the story as a reaction against H. G. Wells's visions
of the future.

"As Easy as A.B.C.," by Rudyard Kipling (1912), is a short story
exploring the political implications of worldwide freedom of movement,
unusual for its time in its bitter condemnation of racial hatred.

Animal Farm, by George Orwell (1945), a short novel, retells the
story of the Russian Revolution in the literary form of beast fable,
reflecting the post-World War II disillusionment of many communists.

"'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman," by Harlan Ellison (1965),
is a short story about an absurdist rebellion against a future society
of enforced conformity. Ellison's structural and stylistic experiments
made him a key figure in the New Wave of 1960s science fiction.

Falling Free, by Lois McMaster Bujold (1988), is a hard science
fiction novel about genetically engineered "quaddies" seeking freedom
from their corporate creators and owners. Bujold's engineer hero
embodies not only technological competence but professional and ethical
dedication to truth and integrity.

The winner will be chosen by a vote of the LFS's membership. The award
will be presented at Renovation (Worldcon 69) in Reno, Nevada, to be
held August 17-21, 2011.

First awarded in 1983 to Robert Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh
Mistress
and Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, the Hall of Fame
Award honors classic works of science fiction and fantasy that celebrate
freedom or warn against abuses of power. Since 2000, eligible works have
included not only novels, but also short stories, films, television
series or episodes, graphic novels, musical works, and other narrative
and dramatic forms. Last year's award went to Poul Anderson's short
story "No Truce with Kings" (1963).

LFS Vice President William H. Stoddard chaired the Hall of Fame
screening committee. All members of the Libertarian Futurist Society are
eligible to serve on it, to nominate classic works for its
consideration, and to participate in the final vote.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The history of SF as art

Go here to see a big artwork by Ward Shelley that depicts the history of SF. You'll want the enlarged view. If you are looking for RAW, you'll find him next to Philip K. Dick. (via Io9.)

Friday, March 11, 2011

A RAW tribute page

Dylan Fogle is a fan of The Toasters, a ska band with a loyal following. This pleases me, because I like The Toasters, too. But I mention him because Dylan also has a Robert Anton Wilson tribute page at his Discordian Zen Web site. It includes videos, quotations, links, useful lists and other material.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Should ILLUMINATUS! be a movie?

At Pegasus News, apparently a news site based in Dallas, Todd Maternowski composes a list of "11 Books/toys/comics that should be made into movies." ILLUMINATUS! makes the list.

He writes, "#5 - The Illuminatus Trilogy: Robert Anton Wilson's epic counterculture fantasy/detective/occult/mystery/sci-fi novel of drugs, sex, magic, Nazis and intergalactic conspiracies makes The Da Vinci Code look like a barcode on a box of tampons. There's simply never been a more entertaining and enlightening conspiracy story ever made, period."

There's an illustration for the entry, apparently showing a group of devils, which says, "Just think of the marketing toy-ins and Happy Meal toys!"

ILLUMINATUS! seems more of a miniseries to me, given the length and complexity of the work, but I don't pretend to be a movie expert.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

RAW on national TV

In his essay, "Ecology, Malthus and Machiavelli," in the book Right Where You Are Sitting Now, Robert Anton Wilson wrote that in 1980 he decided to vote in a presidential election for the first time since 1964. After eliminating other candidates (including the Libertarian candidate, Ed Clark, because "I am not that kind of Libertarian, really; I don't hate poor people"),

"I finally voted for John Anderson, just because his speeches (with which I did not always agree) were so wonderfully weird. 'The Doonesbury Candidate' did not seem to me to be trying to win, but just having a hell of a good time saying what he really thought in front of huge audiences. I identified with him. I have always wanted to get my ideas on television, too; and I figured that that was what was motivating him."

While Wilson never got his ideas on TV in a big way, he did appear on national TV at least once, on "Politically Incorrect," apparently in 1996.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

RAW on consciousness

The Robert Anton Wilson Twitter fee (@RAWilson23) keeps coming up with cool quotes. Here's a recent one:

"My hunch is that consciousness is a non-local function of the universe as a whole, and our brains are only local transceivers."

Monday, March 7, 2011

RAW on artists and self-confidence

"You cannot have too high an opinion of yourself because the world will always strive to correct you. The only thing most people hate more than success is self-confidence-a warning signal that you might be a success soon. This is not what they teach you in Sunday School, but it happens to be true: at any evidence that you might be a success, the envious will do every-thing in their power to destroy you. Therefore, there is no chance at all that a high self-esteem will go unchallenged; it will be challenged on all sides, daily. On the other hand, if you have a low opinion of yourself, nobody will ever correct it. You will have it for life unless you correct it yourself."

The entire essay, "Making It As a Writer," is well worth reading.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

A chronology on the bloodline of Jesus, the Grail, etc.

Here is an interesting Internet curiosity — The Grailhunter's Timeline 1944-2019, which chronicles "modern day authors and other researchers of the Knights Templar, Oak Island, Rennes-le-Ch√Ęteau, The Da Vinci Code, the Gospel of Judas, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, the Shugborough Monument, the Newport Tower, Rosslyn Chapel, the Jesus Bloodline theory, and much more: year by year, often month by month, for the last fifty years."

It's put together by George Smart, who wrote a book called The Knights Templar Chronology. Mr. Smart, who evidently has a sense of humor, brags that the book sold "literally dozens of copies."

Oddly enough, although Mr. Smart mentions Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, he doesn't mention the first novel to cover these topics, The Widow's Son by Robert Anton Wilson. These topics also are covered in the essay "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary," in RAW's rather good collection, Email to the Universe.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

News on the liberaltarian front

At various times in his life and in various places, Robert Anton Wilson sounds like an anarchist, a libertarian or a conventional Democratic Party liberal. His interests and his emphasis evidently shifted, and it would be misleading to describe him as someone who had fixed, unalterable positions throughout his long life. ("Left and Right: A Non-Euclidian Perspective" is an interesting essay on his political thought at one point.) With those disclaimers in mind, I have argued that the liberaltarian movement comes closest to closest to resembling Wilson's interests in combining liberty, a viable social welfare system, and peace. Liberaltarianism remains pretty much invisible the mainstream media, but it has been growing and taking shape as an Internet movement.

The latest example is Bleeding Heart Libertarians, a new group blog from six academics, which explores issues and definitions in the movement. If you are interested in this sort of thing, see also Will Wilkinson's blog.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Celine's laws on Wikipedia

A posting by Michael Johnson draws my attention to something I hadn't noticed: There's an article on Wikipedia on Hagbard Celine's Laws. There's also a separate entry on Celine himself.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

New book on information and quantum mechanics

When I read John Horgan's review in the Wall Street Journal of James Gleick's new book, The Information, I was surprised at how many topics Robert Anton Wilson wrote about that the book discusses -- the nature of information, quantum mechanics, paradoxes, the limitations of reason. I look forward to tracking down a copy of the book.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Left libertarians, model agnosticism and RAW

Some of the material I link to in these blog posts relates directly to Robert Anton Wilson, but sometimes I link to an article because I think RAW would have been interested in it, or because I believe his fans might be.

I am about 90 percent sure that RAW would have enjoyed Jesse Walker's interview with historian Thaddeus Russell, reprinted on Reason.com from the magazine's March 2011 issue. Russell is the author of a new book, A Renegade History of the United States. Walker explains, "The book’s title deliberately echoes A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn’s retelling of the American story from a New Left perspective. But Russell’s book takes a rather different vantage point, celebrating the prostitutes who seized new freedoms for women, the gangsters whose gay bars opened spaces for same-sex liaisons, the lower-class Birmingham blacks who threw bricks at racist cops, and the consumer revolution that expanded American pleasures."

I think RAW would enjoyed Russell's thesis and his provocative ideas, but I think he would have been interested in Russell's politics. Russell is a left-libertarian. I often feel a little bored when I read about the opinions of a conservative, or a liberal, or even a libertarian, because there's seldom any chance of a surprise. The ideology has pretty well been worked out. I can easily guess what George Will or Ezra Klein will say about a given issue. The "correct answer machine" as RAW would put it is ready to provide an answer.

It seems to me that a sense of doubt arises more often with left libertarians, a sense that they may not have all of the answers. Robert Anton Wilson "was" a "libertarian" but he also was a "progressive" who supported a social safety net. (In the Mung Being interview, referenced earlier this week, Wilson advocates "Voluntary taxation: you pay for government programs you want; you don't pay a penny for any programs you don't want." But would that generate the necessary income for the kind of national health program Wilson advocated?)

In the Thaddeus Russell interview, the term "model agnosticism" is never used, but Walker skillfully presses Russell to admit that he hasn't put everything together yet. Russell observes, "You’re really homing in on the stuff that’s the trickiest things for me to deal with, that almost no one else in the world would get. (laughs) I don’t want to defend either one—the welfare state or slavery. But my ideas about them are mixed."


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

RAW, the Mung Being interview

Thanks to help from Michael Johnson and Mike Gathers, I now know that the interview from which yesterday's quote was extracted is "23 Questions With Robert Anton Wilson," an interview from MungBeing Magazine that can be read here. It's a very good interview.

As I seem to be talking about politics lately, I wanted to reproduce one of my favorite quotes from RAW on the subject, taken from his book Right Where You Are Sitting Now.

To me, it doesn't matter if your scapegoats are the Jews, the homosexuals, the male sex, the Masons, the Jesuits, the Welfare Parasites, the Power Elite, the female sex, the vegetarians or the Communist Party. To the extent that you need scapegoats, you simply have not got your brain programmed to work as an efficient problem-solving machine.

Show me a movement that doesn't hate somebody and I will join it at once.