Monday, October 31, 2011

Illuminati behind rap video's disappearance?

A reporter at the Daily Dot with the byline "Fruzsina Eördögh" (it's the usual spelling, I guess) reports that the Illuminati may be behind the mysterious disappearance of a music video for Tupac Shakur's video, "Hit Em Up."

The Daily Dot article explains, "The Illuminati is said to be an all-powerful secret society, whose members include top CEOs of banks and even former United States presidents—and is a favorite  of conspiracy theorists.

"The Tupac conspiracy videos assert Tupac was killed by the Illuminati because he was becoming too powerful, or because he had changed his “thug life” ways. Some videos include security footage purporting to show Tupac being beaten by security guards, and not rival rappers."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

RAW anthology from Polish record label

From the comments in the Oct. 16 posting -- thanks whoever you are -- a Polish record label has released "From Earth to Sirius," a compilation of tracks dedicated to Robert Anton Wilson.

From the Web site (Google English translation):

"Sirius - dog planet - the brightest star in the night sky, located in the constellation Canis Major. Known since antiquity. In many cultures left its mark on the shaping of particular worldview, beliefs, religious formation centers. The ancient Egyptians worshiped as a deity of Sirius, created their own calendar based on his cycle, closely associated with the flooding of the Nile before the summer solstice. Therefore, to build their own temples so that the star's light was visible from the altar.

"In the twentieth century, interest in the magical aspect of Sirius is not weakened. Through Discordians group of RA Wilson and T. Leary at the head of the myth is still alive ...

"Compilation of "From Earth to Sirius", dedicated to RA Wilson - one of the greatest scientific philosophers turn of the century - wise, przenikliwemu, full of humor and optimistic man , is an attempt to reinterpret the myth known to man for millennia."

I know zip about Polish pop music. Polish composers are very important to the modern classical music scene -- Gorecki, Lutoslawski, Penderecki, and probably a bunch more I'm not remembering right now. So I'm going to guess this might be a cool anthology.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

New RAW article

To make it easy to find, and for future reference, I have posted a separate link in "Feature Articles and Interviews"  to the RAW article, "Anarchism and Magicks in the Light of Interstellar Neurogenetics," which is in No Governor, Issue No. 2. That's the article where I drew the two quotes in the post for Oct. 27.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A very Discordian 'No Governor'

Issue No. 2 of Robert Shea's zine "No Governor," just posted under Feature Articles and Interviews, has contributions from Robert Anton Wilson, Kerry Thornley and Gregory Hill.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Two quotes from RAW on getting into outer space

Both of these quotes are from an article published in 1975:

Although it sounds spooky to say it, there is a real neurological link between the space-explorations of the 1960s-70's and the Hedonic revolution also occurring.

Every form of social experimentation is now illegal on Earth; methods of control and surveillance are improving yearly, monthly, even daily. All the long-hairs will be barbered; all the revolutionaries jailed in the Gulag or California archipelago! All the free, wild animals made extinct; all the soft earth covered with concrete; all the swingers led back to Calvinist or Stalinist domesticity. 

Both quotations are from "Anarchism and Magick in the Light of Interstellar Neurogenetics," an essay I'll make available shortly.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The three periods of RAW?

In the midst of a good-sized blog post ruminating on political corruption, Michael Johnson writes, "The middle period writings of RAW (which I consider as 1975-1985, with 1959-1974 the first period and 1986-2005 the third and last, not that anyone had asked) contains an abundance of non-Euclidean political writing, by which he meant that he saw value in left-libertarian and traditionally anarchist thought, and individualist-"right" libertarian ideas."

I am asking, in the sense that I hope Johnson will elaborate, but I agree that RAW's writings fall into three periods, because I've noticed a similar division in tone and content. The "middle period" (my favorite period of RAW's writings) are more optimistic, more overtly libertarian (although RAW espoused libertarian ideas, on and off, for the rest of his life), and more heavily in debt to Timothy Leary. The middle period also encompasses most of the fiction and all of the really good novels. The Widow's Son, a favorite of many of us, came out in 1985. Nature's God (1988) is certainly worth reading, but it's not one of his best. Thereafter we get nonfiction. The Historical Illuminatus series was never finished and the Bride of Illuminatus project apparently did not get very far.

As I continue to dig up old RAW articles, I am particularly excited when I find something from the middle period.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Like an author? Check him out

I live in the Cleveland area. I thought I'd share some searches I ran today in the online catalogs for CLEVNET, a consortium of northern Ohio libraries that includes 35 public libraries including the Cleveland Public Library, and for Cuyahoga County Public Library, which serves metropolitan Cleveland and has 28 branches.

Number of Robert Anton Wilson works listed in the CLEVNET catalog: 21. Number of Robert Shea items: five, but just three titles.

Number of Robert Anton Wilson books held by the Cuyahoga County Public Library: None. Number of Robert Shea books: None.

Libraries have a limited amount of shelf space. They constantly buy new books, which means that old ones have to be culled from the collection and gotten rid of in some way (sales by library volunteer groups, sealed in boxes and thrown away, etc.). The easiest, most logical way to cull the collection is to get rid of the books that haven't been checked out in awhile. If you want your favorite writer's books to remain available in public libraries, check them out.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A few words on copyright

Some weeks ago, a reader who follows the blog wrote to me and asked if I have permission from Robert Anton Wilson's estate to post the articles that I place here.

I haven't had any contact with RAW's daughter, although I've tried to email her. So I can't guess what she might think of this blog.

However, almost all of the articles that I post on this site, and the interviews (other than the material I create myself) are obscure  pieces that have sat, forgotten, in obscure journals for many years. In some cases, I have the permission of the original publisher to reprint the piece. In other cases, I would not know who to ask. In all cases, I believe I am helping the estate by bringing to light material that could be published in a later book.

I don't believe in publishing material that's available from a RAW book that's in print. I don't link to sites that circulate pirate electronic editions of books that are in print. I support RAW's children by buying new editions of books that are in print (I've bought several books in the last couple of years) and I urge everyone else to do the same.

If you can't afford to buy RAW's books, or as many as you would like, there are still ways to support his writing and his place in the literary canon. I will talk about that tomorrow.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Have a Lovecraft story read to you

This is the time of year to listen to spooky stories. So in honor of RAW's interest in H.P. Lovecraft, and the fact that the Cthulhu Mythos appears in ILLUMINATUS!, here's a link to listen to Lovecraft's "Nyarlathotep." Hat tip, @t3dy on Twitter.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

James Bond's 23, and ours

At the Oz Mix, Oz Fritz looks at the 23 glyph "as a viable and extremely useful technique for brain change."

Excerpt: "Like many fans of Robert Anton Wilson, when I first encountered his works and for several years after, I began having lots and lots of unusual coincidences with 23. Too many to write off as selective perception though there were some that fit that category. I usually regarded them as an indication of my awareness of a new life as a spiritual being, evidence of going in the right direction."

Definitely a read the whole thing post.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pynchon reading group

Over at alt.fan.rawilson, a group of Robert Anton Wilson fans are reading Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day. It started a few days ago, but they haven't gotten very far, so it isn't too late to join in.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Eureka! They found Archimedes' lost books

On the theory that somebunall Robert Anton Wilson fans might be interested in lost lore, here is a New York Times article about the discovery of two "lost" works by Archimedes, and a related story about the discover of "lost" speeches by the Greek orator Hyperides.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Maybe I don't watch Colbert enough?

Tweet from Ted Hand: "How many people see the fnords for their first time watching #Colbert these days? First effective translation of illuminatus! to video? #ows"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Discordian blog

Gnosis Discordia! is a new blog that I just discovered. The author has a long, recent post about Robert Anton Wilson. I could not find anything on the site identifying the author.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Another RAW resource

Inside the Mind of Robert Anton Wilson is an area in the Temple Illuminatus Web site, with postings on topics such as "Favorite Book by Robert Anton Wilson" and "The Eight Circuits of Consciousness."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Listeners, do what you Ott shall be the whole of the law

I recently discovered that our ally Fly Agaric 23 is not the only electronica artist influenced by Robert Anton Wilson. Ott also likes to use clips from RAW in his music. A rather good track that uses a RAW clip, "Signals from Bob," can be played here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

'Free Love, Sexism and All That' by Robert Anton Wilson

Although the typography of the PDF is a bit of a struggle (the librarian had a bit of bother scanning the document) RAW's essay in the first issue of the zine "No Governor" is well worth reading. (Shea's anarchist zine is posted under "Feature Articles and Interviews" at the right side of this page.)

The article, on page 25 of the zine, is entitled "Free Love, Sexism and All That." Here is a good sentence from the article: "If you do not 'own' your genitals -- if the Church owns them, or any stronger person in the room owns them, or some 'irresistible impulse' owns them -- you do not possess anything like self-identity." Here is another good sentence: "To an anarchist aware of anarchist theory the issue remains clear:  Love is either free or coerced. The former represents anarchism and the latter represents tyranny."

Friday, October 14, 2011

ILLUMINATUS in Spanish

"Fue el año en que finalmente hicieron inmanente el Eskatón." Do you recognize that first line?

It is the first line of The Eye in the Pyramid, translated into Spanish by one Mazzu Stardust, who identifies himself as a resident of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He appears to have translated the entire trilogy into Spanish, posting his labors at a Blogger blog, 

Hat tip to Laynd, in the comment for my Oct. 9 posting.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Peace — A litmus test for libertarians?

This article by Robert Higgs argues that although libertarians should not look for excuses to quarrel with one another, peace is a legitimate "litmus test" for whether someone is really a libertarian. I've linked to it because (1) I agree (2) I think Robert Anton Wilson would agree. (Via @Antiwar2, aka Angela Keaton, on Twitter.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

But Siriusly folks

Mysteries of Sirius, a Web site I ran across recently, explores the speculation involving the "enigma of the dog star" and includes Robert Anton Wilson material.

I confess I have not studied this matter closely enough to have an opinion on Robert Temple's book, The Sirius Mystery,  and the Sirius matters discussed in RAW's Cosmic Trigger Vol. 1: The Final Secret of the Illuminati and other works.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Science Fiction Encyclopedia launches

The beta version of the Science Fiction Encyclopedia has launched, thus making available for everyone the same book that I bought years ago as an expensive hardcover. ("Beta" means that some of the content is still missing from the free Internet version.) There is a quite decent-sized entry for Robert Anton Wilson, plus entries for related subjects such as Robert Shea, the Prometheus Award, libertarian science fiction, etc.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Robert Shea quote

I've been reading through the first issue of "No Governor," Robert Shea's anarchist zine (Spring 1975, list price, 25 cents). Although I tracked it down to read the Robert Anton Wilson article, I like some of the other pieces, particularly Shea's own article, "Doing Anarchist Yourself." The last paragraph is worth quoting:

We are all victims of an authoritarian mind-set that dates back, at least, to the neolithic era. The anarchist movement, little more than a century old, represents a beginning effort by some members of our species to erase that programming and try to think about human problems in a new way. This new thinking, and doing, whatever it may become, will not originate with leaders or groups. It will come from individuals, from the voice and the light within.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Robert Anton Wilson resource site

The Robert Anton Wilson 417vibe.com site is an apparently new site that attempts to provide a "one stop shop" gathering together videos, audio, articles and a bibliography. It's a nice supplement to other sides, although for some reason it doesn't collect interviews, and the anonymous compiler (there is no contact information) apparently is not aware of rawillumination.net and doesn't include  any of the material I have found. (Via triangleeye, apparently a new blog.)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

One more Steve Jobs post

Here is Professor Juan Cole, on "Steve Jobs: Arab-American, Buddhist, Psychedelic Drug User and Capitalist World Changer."

Friday, October 7, 2011

A band from the book

Ultraviolet Hippopotamus is one of the bands listed in book three of ILLUMINATUS! It's also a real band.

From the Grand Rapids Press: "(By the way, [drummer Joe] Phillion says the band's name comes from one of author Robert Anton Wilson's "Illuminatus" works.)"

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The news of the day

We all live in Steve Jobs' world, and so when I learned last night that he had died, I was shocked that he had left us to fend in the world on our own.

John Markoff's obituary in the New York Times is a must-read. I apparently haven't followed Jobs' career very closely, because I didn't realize just how much it was influenced by the California counterculture that Robert Anton Wilson was so familiar with. Here is one of the sentences that jumped out at me: "He told a reporter that taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he had done in his life. He said there were things about him that people who had not tried psychedelics — even people who knew him well, including his wife — could never understand."

My other take on Jobs is here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A prediction from RAW

Here is a posting from DemocraticUnderground.com, from "drokhole," who says,

You want an eerily accurate prediction of these protests/uprisings? Robert Anton Wilson from 1990:

"If the rate of increase of information does have the structure of a Mandelbrot set, as McKenna claims, by the year 2012 we should have information doubling every day and, later in the year, every hour and then every nanosecond. I can't imagine what this means practically in terms of social change, because every doubling of information in the past has resulted in totally unexpected social revolutions, violent or non-violent."

With the utilization of twitter, facebook, YouTube, Occupy Wall Street sites posting up-to-date "meeting minutes," other Occupy Everywhere sites popping up every minute, and livestream (talk about up-to-date by the nanosecond), I'd say that was a pretty amazing prediction. That man's intelligence and wit is sorely missed.

(All of the above from the original posting; hat tip to Michael Johnson on alt.fan.rawilson. Go here for Michael's 10-point plan in reaction to the protests.  -- Tom)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thank God the police are protecting us from movie posters

One of the recurring themes of Cosmic Trigger 3: My Life After Death is the absurdity of PC though on college campuses.

Here's a real-life example of the sort of thing that amused Robert Anton Wilson. A theater professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout put up a poster on his office door of a character in the "Firefly" TV show, captain "Mal" Reynolds, saying "You don't know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you'll be awake. You'll be facing me. And you'll be armed."

If, without knowing the context of the quote, you are thinking "Gee, I wonder if my professor would be cool enough to be a Firefly fan" or "that's a poetic way of saying I won't talk about you behind your back," you don't think like a college administrator. The campus police chief removed the poster. When the prof put up another poster, protesting fascism, she removed it, too. She also reported the professor to the "threat assessment team."

Three top administrators then issued a statement defending the police chief's actions and stating, without a trace of irony, "This was not an act of censorship."

Email exchange between the police chief and professor is here.

I'm reporting Police Chief Lisa Walter, Chancellor Charles Sorensen, Provost Julie Furst-Bowe and Vice Chancellor Ed Nieskes to the stupidity assessment team.

Monday, October 3, 2011

H. P. Lovecraft's eldritch places

Robert Anton Wilson was a Lovecraft fan, and we're getting into the Halloween season, so here's a couple of links: Five places that helped inspire Lovecraft and a virtual walking tour of Lovecraft's Providence, Rhode Island.

ILLUMINATUS! has a scene (page 329 of the omnibus edition) in which Robert Putney Drake calls on Lovecraft in a house on Benefit Street. This may be either a mistake or a dramatic liberty; the Wikipedia entry on Lovecraft says that Lovecraft lived on Barnes Street until 1933; 135 Benefit Street is the address of "the shunned house," from the Lovecraft story. Does anyone know if Lovecraft ever lived on Benefit Street?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

'Magic mushrooms' can cause lasting personality changes

A new study suggests that a single dose of psilocybin can bring about a measurable personality change that lasts at least a year, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers. Specifically, the  dose caused "in the part of the personality known as openness, which includes traits related to imagination, aesthetics, feelings, abstract ideas and general broad-mindedness."

The study leader, Roland R. Griffiths, "believes psilocybin may have therapeutic uses. He is currently studying whether the hallucinogen has a use in helping cancer patients handle the depression and anxiety that comes along with a diagnosis, and whether it can help longtime cigarette smokers overcome their addiction.

"There may be applications for this we can't even imagine at this point," he says. "It certainly deserves to be systematically studied."

Hat tip: Mike Gathers, via alt.fan.rawilson.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

New William Burroughs opera

An announcement of an opera, The Ticket That Exploded: An Ongoing Opera.

"Based on William Burroughs’ 1962 dystopian novel about identity disintegration, oppression of humanity’s collective consciousness through technological influence, and revolution through the subversion of those very technologies.

"Featuring live vocalists Ted Hearne, Nick Hallett, Anne Rhodes, and Megan Schubert, video vocalists Melissa Hughes, Steve Dalachinsky, and Ryan Opperman, an ensemble of thirteen instrumentalists, and live video projections from Jason Ponce, the opera will be organized using the same cut-up techniques and emphasis on fragmentation of language that distinguishes Burroughs’ literary work.

"An ongoing opera is one which has set material but is perpetually reconfigured during the performance, mixing composed material with indeterminate composition strategies and conducted improvisations. With zero staging, all visuals are conveyed through projected live video manipulations. Pre-recorded video performances will facilitate vocalists to interact with other vocalists who are not present, or even to sing a duet with themselves. These efforts to perpetually repurpose the musical and visual content of the opera are a direct effort on my part to draw comparisons between the performative and the generative-- to make the very act of reorganizing materials function both as a blueprint for making art and as art itself."

Hat tip: Jesse Walker, currently fending off an attack from a Randroid named Tibor Machan.

Walker: "“Every one of us has our perceptions filtered by the thousands of stories and assumptions and rituals that constitute our culture. Every one of us has held beliefs that seemed self-evidently accurate but were actually contingent elements of the time and place that produced us. This is true not just of the people reading this article, but of every person, in every era, who has been capable of perceiving anything at all. You can stretch those perceptions, expose yourself to new worldviews, learn new things, but you’ll always be embedded in a cultural matrix." Machan: "The passage exemplifies just such a viewpoint, whereby no one is capable of objectivity and everyone is caught in some set of preconceptions."

Jesse didn't actually say that no one is capable of an objective opinion, but never mind. Objectivism today, objectivism tomorrow, objectivism forever!