Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. Blog, Internet resources, online reading groups, articles and interviews, Illuminatus! info.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Gawker guide to the Illuminati

I've remarked  more than once about the recent upsurge in interest in the Illuminati. The lively tabloid/gossip site Gawker, also taking note of the phenomena, has produced an amusing "Comprehensive Guide to the Illuminati." Kudos to Gawker for dividing the article into two sections, one for believers (and for people who enjoy seeing believers condescended to) and one for skeptics. Mike Read, in his otherwise commendable piece, neglected to mention ILLUMINATUS!, but I noticed that was set right by the commentators.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Robert Shea on not voting

Want to do something agin the government but too old to refuse to register and unable to resist paying taxes? Refusing to vote is a form of nonviolent resistance to government. That it disturbs governments is underlined by the fact that it's a crime in Australia, punishable by a $5 fine. In totalitarian countries, where over 90 percent of the population is routinely dragooned into voting, not voting is even more of an act of resistance. The use of voting by dictators to legitimize their rule may have been started by Napoleon I, who in 1804 had himself elected hereditary emperor of France by 98 percent of those eligible.
                                                     -- Robert Shea (from No Governor #5)

Robert Anton Wilson also often refused to vote.

I've noticed considerable discussion on the Internet about the ethics of voting and nonvoting.

Supergee obviously thinks it's important to vote to support the Democrats and keep the Republicans out of power. He's still angry at Ralph Nader for helping Dubya beat Gore in 2000. I think most people would agree that Bush turned out to be a pretty lousy president, and that the election suggests that it does make a difference who wins.

Anarchist Charles Davis spends a lot of time arguing that there's little difference between the two major parties. He recently tweeted (as @charlesdavis84) "If I were to vote this year, it'd be entirely out of spite and for Ralph Nader."

Davis recently put up a blog post arguing that it makes little difference who wins this fall. Excerpt: "No matter who registered voters in the U.S. select to be the ruling class' spokesman for a four-year term, the coming presidential election will make very little difference to the lives of most Americans -- and non-Americans. Banks will continue to get bailed out, both overtly and by way of the tax code and other more covert means. Bombs will continue to be dropped on poor foreigners, be it in the name of humanitarianism or the fight against terrorism. The state will still serve the interests of the rich, and so on and so on."

And I think there's something in what Davis writes. Democrats in general and Obama in particular have been a big disappointment on peace and civil liberties. I voted for many Democrats in the last couple of elections and got little for my vote.

I've found it hard to give up voting. Usually there's someone to vote for or (more often) someone to vote against. If Gary Johnson gets the Libertarian nomination, I'll likely feel obligated to cast a protest vote for him.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A new "No Governor"

I've just posted issue No. 5 of "No Governor," the anarchist fanzine published by ILLUMINATUS! co-author Robert Shea. There's no material credited to Robert Anton Wilson in that issue. It does include quite a bit of material by Shea himself. There is an essay from one Balthasar Brandon, described as "a character from an unfinished novel," who I think may be Shea himself. The essay, "How to Study Mysticism," is quite good.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Antero Alli teaching Eight Circuit Brain Course

Next month, Antero Alli will be teaching an online course in the eight circuit brain model developed by Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson. Details here.

Anyone who doesn't have the $200 for the course or the time to take it presumably could read Mr. Alli's book on the subject.  I have not read Alli's The Eight-circuit Brain: Navigational Strategies for the Energetic Body and can't offer an opinion on it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Acceleration of information

Here are the opening sentences of the Wall Street Journal's review of the book Abundance by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler:

If every image made and every word written from the earliest stirring of civilization to the year 2003 were converted to digital information, the total would come to five exabytes. An exabyte is one quintillion bytes, or one billion gigabytes—or just think of it as the number one followed by 18 zeros. That's a lot of digital data, but it's nothing compared with what happened from 2003 through 2010: We created five exabytes of digital information every two days. Get ready for what's coming: By next year, we'll be producing five exabytes every 10 minutes. How much information is that? The total for 2010 of 912 exabytes is the equivalent of 18 times the amount of information contained in all the books ever written. The world is not just changing, and the change is not just accelerating; the rate of the acceleration of change is itself accelerating.

It sounds an awful lot like what Robert Anton Wilson used to write about the acceleration of information, does it not? The rest of Michael Shermer's review is here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Gary Johnson interview

I interviewed Gary Johnson, the front runner for the Libertarian Party's nomination. As I assume that at least some of RAW's fans are still libertarians and/or might be interested in Johnson's pro civil-liberties, pro-peace stances, I link to it here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Changes afoot at

Changes are coming to the Robert Anton Wilson Fans Web site, which is hosted by Alterati/Hukilau (i.e., Joseph Matheny) and was assembled by Mike Gathers, with help from other folks who contributed material.

It's an excellent collection of Robert Anton Wilson articles, letters, interviews, videos and other good stuff. 

Matheny reports that he plans to redesign the site in the next few weeks so that it can be updated more often. Gathers says that when the update is complete, it will look like the Incunabula site. Moreover, once the redesign is complete, Gathers will have editing access to the site, and will be able to add links to more RAW material, including stuff published on this blog and the treasure trove of articles from "The Realist" that has been uncovered.

I'll share more information as it becomes available. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oz Fritz and the Overweening Generalist

Oz Fritz and Michael Johnson continue to explore concepts taken up by Robert Anton Wilson and Timothy Leary in the 1970s.

Oz has weighed in on his The Oz Mix blog with two new postings, one on space migration and one on life extension. 

Incidentally, Oz says exploration of inner space doesn't require artificial help:

Also would like to make it very clear that I'm am absolutely not talking about, alluding to, or suggesting using drugs of any kind in any way. Timothy Leary's name and reputation often incurs a reflexive association with LSD advocacy due to a thick fog of media gloss still looming over his name in repressive, conservative circles, yet he clearly had moved on in later life. LSD can act like an atomic explosion on the nervous system and this analogy holds true with potentially lethal radioactive fallout.

Meanwhile, Michael Johnson, who already seems smart enough without any help, writes about his researches into intelligence increase.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Beatles and ILLUMINATUS!

This morning as I drove to work, I listened to the Beatles' "Revolver" album. Sgt. Pepper is often described as the group's best album, but I've always felt that true Beatles fans would pick "Revolver."

"Revolver" is the album that includes "Yellow Submarine," and Hagbard Celine of course has a golden submarine that he deploys against the Illuminati. "Revolver" also includes "Tomorrow Never Knows," whoae lyrics, according to Wikipedia, are "adapted from the book The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead by Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, and Ralph Metzner, which in turn was adapted from the Tibetan Book of the Dead."

Robert Anton Wilson never seemed particularly interested in pop music, but Robert Shea may be another story. When I wrote to Shea's son, Mike Shea, and asked if his father was interested in the Beatles, Mike replied, "My dad was a HUGE beatles fan. One of his happiest days was when I left for camp listening to Michael Jackson and came back home listening to Sgt. Pepper."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Finnegans Wake reference in 'Cat'

Gary Acord (@gacord on Twitter) wrote to me a pointed out a reference in The Universe Next Door, the first book of Robert Anton Wilson's Schroedinger's Cat trilogy, to the opening of James Joyce's Finnegans Wake.

Joyce: "riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodious vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs."

Wilson: "Elverun, past Nova's atoms," the hairy Moon read on to his small circle of admirers, "from mayan baldurs to monads of goo, brings us by a divinely karmic Tao-Jones leverage back past tallchief tactics and aztlantean tooltechs to Louses in the Skidrow Dimehaunts. This way to Humptytheatre."

Moon is Simon Moon, reading from a manuscript "at one of Epicene Wildeblood's wild, wild parties" in the chapter "Louses in the Skidrow Dimehaunts" of The Universe Next Door. Gary tells me it's on page 47 of the one volume omnibus of Schroedinger's Cat. In the original Pocket Books paperback, copyright 1979, it's on page 66.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Prometheus Hall of Fame finalists announced

The Libertarian Futurist Society has announced the four finalists for the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award -- the only literary award, so far as I know, that was ever given to ILLUMINATUS!

The four finalists are Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold, " 'Repent Harlequin' said the Ticktockman" by Harlan Ellison, "The Machine Stops" by E.M. Forster and "As Easy As A.B.C." by Rudyard Kipling. (I sit on the judging committee that picked the four finalists. I nominated the Harlan Ellison story.)

Official press release follows. Robert Shea's acceptance speech when he received the award is here.

[official press release]

The Libertarian Futurist Society has chosen four finalists for this year's Hall of Fame Award. The Award will be presented at the 70th World Science Fiction Convention, to be held in Chicago over Labor Day weekend.

The nominees are Falling Free, a novel by Lois McMaster Bujold, first published in 1988. An exploration of the legal and ethical implications of human genetic engineering.

"'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman", by Harlan Ellison, first published in 1965. A satirical dystopia set in an authoritarian society dedicated to punctuality, where a lone absurdist rebel attempts to disrupt everyone else's schedules.

"The Machine Stops,” by E.M. Forster, first published in 1909. Described by the author as a reaction to H.G. Wells's fiction, it portrays a decaying future of human beings incapable of independent existence or first-hand contact.

"As Easy as A.B.C.," a short story by Rudyard Kipling, first published in 1912. An ambiguously utopian future that has reacted against the mass society that was beginning to emerge when it was written, in favor of privacy and freedom of movement.

The winner will be chosen by ranked choices voting by the members of the Libertarian Futurist Society.

Eleven other works were nominated: Sam Hall, by Poul Anderson; The End of Eternity, by Isaac Asimov; Courtship Rite, by Donald M. Kingsbury; That Hideous Strength, by C. S. Lewis; A Mirror for Observers, by Edgar Pangborn; 2112, by Rush; A Time of Changes, by Robert Silverberg; Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson; A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, by Mark Twain; Emphyrio, by Jack Vance; and The Book of Merlyn, by T. H. White.

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, show paths to its enhancement, or warn against abuses of political power.

Since 2000, it has been open to short stories, films, television episodes or series, graphic novels, musical works, and other narrative and dramatic forms.

LFS President William H. Stoddard chairs the Hall of Fame Committee. All members of the Libertarian Futurist Society are eligible to serve on it and to nominate classic works for its consideration.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Whats up with UPDATED

Until I saw PQ's comment in yesterday's post, I did not realize that, a wonderful archive of Robert Anton Wilson material, had suddenly become a Joseph Matheny site. Does anyone know what's up?

I will post updates if/when I learn anything.

UPDATE: Joseph Matheny has posted  on Twitter that his Alterati Web site was hacked.

UPDATE II: Mike Gathers informs me that Mr. Metheny is redesigning the site. No timetable is available. I will spread the word when the RAW material becomes available again.

UPDATE III: It's back up -- yay!

Friday, February 17, 2012

PQ on The Illuminati Papers

PQ has just put a long, thoughtful review of The Illuminati Papers up at his blog, A Building Roam. He does a really good job, as usual.

A few comments/reactions:

(1) I agree that it's one of RAW's best. I suspect that's because it's the first book that collects many of
RAW's short pieces, and he had a lot of good material to draw on at that point. Email to the Universe, RAW's last book, apparently is strong for much the same reason -- Mike Gathers and Company had gathered a lot of good pieces on, which the book apparently drew on.

(2) PQ says this is a "perfect companion text to Prometheus Rising." That's true, although I've always thought of The Illuminati Papers as an extension of the appendix in ILLUMINATUS!

(3) PQ remarks, "Many of the essays have bylines showing the name of characters from the Illuminatus! novels but, the more one learns about RAW, the more clear it becomes that these are all written by him. Again, I wouldn't be surprised if those bylines were a late addition. (They seem pretty convoluted if you ask me.)"

I can confirm that's true in at least once case; the essay published as "Neuroeconomics" by Hagbard Celine was pubbed as "A Few Blunt Statements About Neuro-Economics" by Robert Anton Wilson in "No Governor 4."

On the other hand, ILLUMINATUS! has material in the appendix attributed to Hagbard Celine. Wikipedia says that The Illuminati Papers has new and collected material, so perhaps some of the bylines in TIP were present from the beginning.

Arthur Hlavaty's review of The Illuminati Papers is here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

'First Contact'

"All acts of love and pleasure/Are invitations to alien contact." Nick Herbert, author and "hippie physicist," posted a poem I liked, "First Contact," on his blog, so I thought I would link to it here.

If you've read Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati, you know that Herbert was part of Robert Anton Wilson's circle in California.  Herbert's tribute to RAW is here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Michael Johnson on space migration

Inspired by Oz Fritz, Michael Johnson has begun a (projected) three part series on the SMI2LE formula for "space migration, intelligence increase and life extension" that was much-discussed by Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson is days of yore.

Michael's first posting tackles the space migration part of the formula. Thoughts on intelligence increase and life extension are promised soon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

IO9 on an ancient Greek psychedelic cult

IO9, the science fiction blog that's part of the Gawker article, runs an interesting article on the Eleusinian Mysteries (or, as IO9 puts it, "The Psychedelic Cult That Thrived for Nearly 2,000 Years.")

Interesting sentences: "If you would like to check out a modern production of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the Aquarian Tabernacle Church uses the scant knowledge of the mysteries to recreate the known rituals every year around Easter during their Spring Mysteries Festival at the Fort Flagler State Park in Washington State. The ceremonies are open to anyone and provide a rare insight to one of the most popular societies of ancient Greece and Rome."

The Eleusinian Mysteries are mentioned a couple of times in ILLUMINATUS!

Anybody who wants to go to the trouble can find out, for instance, that the "secret" of the Eleusinian Mysteries was the words whispered to the novice after he got the magic mushroom: "Osiris is a black god!" (Page 123)

[amanita muscaria claimed as] the sacrament used in the Dionysian and Eleusinian mysteries in Greece (page 297).

Thanks to Rob Pugh, on Twitter, for the pointer.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A different kind of book club

I've been in a number of book discussion groups over the years.

Most of these book groups are organized in one of two ways, both of which involve dictating what the members will read. Usually the sponsoring organization (such as a library) or the group's leader will pick the "homework assignment" for everyone else. Or the members themselves will vote on which book to read.

The Omni Book Club, organized in 2009 by Laura Nemeth -- marketing manager at the Sandusky Register in Ohio, where I work as a reporter -- and Marian Hancy, a retired high school English teacher in Huron, Ohio,  follows a different model.

The members sit around the table at a public meeting room and take turns describing what they've read in the past month. That's a system that allows members to read what they please, but also exposes the others to books they might never have considered reading.

And although there's no pressure, it's not unusual for a particular title, over the months, to wend its way through the group. Many if not most of Omni Book Club's members have read "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls. After I described "The Secret Life of Eva Hathaway" by Janice Weber, and read one or two sentences capturing the book's scathing style, several club members read it.

After each meeting, every title brought up during the discussion is listed in a post in the book club's blog.

The format also allows books to be discussed that wouldn't be featured in many book clubs. You can probably guess who brought up the books by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea.

When I took a trip about a year ago and had dinner with some old friends in Lawton, Oklahoma, I told them about the book club. They then formed a sister club in Lawton. Another sister club is being discussed in Seattle, Wash.

The Omni Book Club offers a model for democratic book club meetings that allow everyone to have a say in the discussion.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Did the Illuminati kill Whitney Houston?

I would have thought that "Did the Illuminati kill Whitney Houston?" would be a question that would NOT come up. There have been reports for years about her problems with drugs. Isn't this one of those sad "OK, everybody act surprised" celebrity deaths?

Nonetheless, Jesse Walker kindly points me to a posting at Yahoo Answers where the question is raised. The highest-rated answers say "Yes." Lil_Pad says, "yes, they are usually the culprit, mainstream media will fill the sheeples head with false info, so u have ur work cut out, btw, they will prolly delete ur question too." Another answers, "yes of course, illuminati deaths usually take place on the 11th or 25th of a month."

Saturday, February 11, 2012

RAW on consciousness after death

Rob Pugh, a " zen taoist anarchist transcendentalist existentialist agnostic libertarian conspiracy theorist yogi kung fu superhero," at his Relaxed Focus blog reads a Mavericks of the Mind interview with Robert Anton Wilson and shares this:

"DJB: What do you think happens to consciousness after physical death?

 ROBERT: Somebody asked a Zen master, “What happens after death?” He replied, “I don’t know.” And the querent said, “But you’re a Zen master!” He said, “Yes, but I’m not a dead Zen master.” Somebody asked Master Eckart, the great German mystic, “Where do you think you’il go after death?” He said, “I don’t plan to go anywhere.” Those are the best answers I’ve heard so far. My hunch is that consciousness is a non-local function of the universe as a whole, and our brains are only local transceivers. As a matter of fact, it’s a very strong hunch, but I’m not going to dogmatize about it

DJB: Could you share with us any experiences you might have had communicating with what you thought to be extraterrestrial or non-human entities?

ROBERT: I’ve had a lot of experiences with what could be interpreted as extraterrestrial communications. They could also be interpreted as ESP, or as accessing parts of my brain that are normally not available, or as contacting a non-local consciousness that permeates everything. There are a lot of different models for this type of experience. I got fascinated by the extraterrestrial model at one stage in the early seventies, and still, every now and then, it makes more sense to me than any of the others. Other times the non-local model makes more sense, which is a development of Bell’s Theorem. This was stated most clearly by Edwin Harris Walker in a paper called The Complete Quantum Anthropologist. He developed a mathematical theory of a non-local mind, to which we can gain access at times. It’s a complete quantum mechanical, mathematical model to explain everything that happens in mystical and occult experience. That makes a great deal of sense to me, especially when I found that Joyce was using the same model in Finnegans Wake. I think it also underlies the I Ching. I explain this at length in my book Coincidance.

Friday, February 10, 2012

PQ on James Joyce

Lately, I am seeing more great stuff out there than I have time to link to. So if you write something wonderful and I miss it, you will just have to forgive me.

Before I forget, I wanted to point you to PQ's excellent posting on James Joyce, in honor of Joyce's birthday. Lots of other good stuff at the A Building Roam blog. Follow him on Twitter as @PQuadrino.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oz Fritz on outer -- and inner -- space migration

Over at the Oz Mix, Oz Fritz has done a series of excellent posts (three, so far) on Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson's S.M.I.2L.E.formula. The first post is here.

A taste:

A piece of common senses advice from Dr. Tim I personally benefited from - if you want to learn something, hang out with people who seem smarter than you at the subject you wish to learn. This relates, in a gentler way, to P.D. Ouspenky's stern dogmatic pronouncement that transformation is absolutely impossible unless one finds a School. At a stage in my life when I took Ouspensky way too seriously, I attended a workshop given by RAW and got a chance to ask him what he thought about Ouspensky's statement. RAW simply said, "I think it's a good idea," and bypassed commenting on Ouspenky's insistence, who, by the way, has doubt surrounding whether he followed his own advice.

This kind of a "School", sometimes called an Esoteric or Mystery School can sometimes exist very briefly, informally, and nondoctrinaire. Any group working together for the purpose of Invocation makes for the broadest definition of this type of School, but it could just as easily read: any group gathered together for the purpose of Intelligence Increase. They don't necessarily have to work closely together in physical Space or simultaneous Time to function as a School. Some extraordinary online courses I've attended operationally existed as this kind of a School, in my opinion and experience. The community of musicians around Bill Laswell comprise an informal, nondoctrinaire School that has greatly increased the transmission of Musical Intelligence over the years.

Could the community of RAW fans who interact on the Internet constitute a "School," or am I taking the metaphor too far? I'm going to lean toward a "yes" -- I think we learn from folks like Oz Fritz.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

That's just what THEY want you to believe

Tyler Cowen on his excellent Marginal Revolution blog points to a new study which offers little comfort to folks who are eager to embrace conspiracy theories uncritically.

The most interesting part is the willingness of many people to believe conspiracy theories that contradict each other. "In Study 1 (n = 137), the more participants believed that Princess Diana faked her own death, the more they believed that she was murdered. In Study 2 (n = 102), the more participants believed that Osama Bin Laden was already dead when U.S. special forces raided his compound in Pakistan, the more they believed he is still alive. Hierarchical regression models showed that mutually incompatible conspiracy theories are positively associated because both are associated with the view that the authorities are engaged in a cover-up (Study 2). The monological nature of conspiracy belief appears to be driven not by conspiracy theories directly supporting one another but by broader beliefs supporting conspiracy theories in general."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I, ROBOT by Robert Anton Wilson

(This short essay, another of Robert Anton Wilson's "Illuminating Discords" columns from New Libertarian Weekly. It's from issue No. 80, July 3, 1977. -- Tom). 

Fairness? Decency? How can you expect fairness or decency on a planet of sleeping people?
                                                                                          -- Gurdjieff, 1918

Last year in Oui magazine, Dr. Timothy Leary and I published an article ghoulishly titled, "Brainwashing: How to Fold, Spindle and Mutilate the Human Mind." I would like to summarize our basic positions here, preparatory to a more general discussion of neurological relativism.

Human beings, Leary and I propose, are basically giant robots created by DNA to make more DNA. (So are all the other multi-cellular organisms on this backward planet.)

Of course, there is nothing new about the robot theory of biology. The Sufis and yogis knew about it centuries before Pavlov, or even before Mark Twain wrote his stunningly prescient essay, "Man, A Machine." Nonetheless, it is so patently offensive to human narcissism that almost everybody recoils from it "as the devil would from holy water."

(Incidentally, you can get a quick estimate of a person's intelligence by asking them how much of themselves is robotic. Those who say "not at all" or "less than 50%" are hopeless imbeciles, always. The few who say "about 99%" are worth talking to; they are quite intelligent. Dr. Leary, who is the freest human being I have ever known, estimates he is 99.9999 percent robot.)

The circuitry of the human robot, like that of other primates, is wired to take imprints at crucial moments of what ethologists call "imprint vulnerability." These occur on a pre-programmed schedule: the bio-survival imprint is taken as soon as the mother's breast is offered; the territorial imprint as soon as the infant is able to walk about, yell, and generally meddle in family politics; the laryngeal imprint as soon as the DNA-RNA signals trigger the talking stage; the sexual imprint at the first orgasm or mating experience, etc.

For literary convenience, we can think of the bio-survival imprint as Will and personify it as Scotty, brooding over the life-support and weapons technology. The territorial or emotional imprint, then, is Ego, or Dr. McCoy, the mammalian moralist. The laryngeal (symbolic) imprint is Mind, or Mr. Spock, the linear computer. And the sexual imprint is Adult Personality, or Captain Kirk, the father-protector.

Each of these imprints exists in the nervous system as a separate circuit or network. Any one of them can be kinky or odd, since the biocomputer imprints literally anything at the moment of imprint vulnerability.

A kinky bio-survival imprint may take such forms as anxiety, phobias or outright autism. A weird territorial-emotional imprint can be either overly submissive, in which case the subject suffers, or overly dominant, in which case those unfortunate enough to associate with the subject do the suffering. A bizarre symbolic imprint is, at this stage of evolution, the norm: almost every society educates the  young for stupidity, dogmatism, intolerance and inability to learn anything new. As for the sexual imprints: everybody can see how compulsive and weird everybody else's sexual imprint is; but, alas, few can see that about themselves.

Brainwashing consists of creating artificial imprint vulnerability. You can do this either with drugs, or with prolonged isolation ("sensory deprivation"), or with terror (new imprints are always taken at the point of near death, which is what most shamanic initiations rely on), or with a combination of drugs, isolation and terror.

The priests, pedagogues and shamans of all tribes and nations know enough, on the empirical level, about imprint vulnerability. All the crucial transition stages of life are surrounded by ritual, repetition and redundance -- and frequently with terror and isolation, and sometimes (in many societies) with drugs -- to ensure that the local belief systems and "morals" are heavily imprinted.

In short, the process of acculturation is itself a brainwashing process.

Thus, the Samoan lives inside an imprinted Samoan reality; the German inside a German reality; an American inside an American reality. That's why a crowd of Americans are immediately recognizable in a street full of Turks or Hindus or even in a street of Englishmen or Irish. The naive chauvinism of a traveler who says "all foreigners are crazy" is actually quite valid; indeed, foreigners are crazy; the chauvinist merely lacks the insight to realize that his imprint-group is crazy, too.

(As mentioned in previous columns, there are four other imprints, intended for future evolution off this planet and therefore only appearing rarely thus far in our history. These are the neurosomatic imprint, which we call Hedonic Engineering or the art of staying high; the neuroelectric imprint, or Magick; the neurogenetic imprint, or DNA consciousness; and the metaphysiological imprint, or "cosmic consciousness.")

Leary's idea of Intelligence-squared thus does not mean merely an increase in linear I.Q. on the third circuit. (Super-Spockism). It means learning how to "brainwash" yourself; that is, to selectively tune, focus and serially reimprint all 8 circuits, beginning with as many of them as you can handle. (It is unwise, for instance, to attempt any 6th circuit psionic operations until great skill has been attained in self-metaprogramming the bio-survival, emotional, mental, sexual and Hedonic circuits).

The plain fact is that most bio-survival anxieties are phobic are irrational, most emotional games silly and infantile (they are imprinted in infancy, after all), most mental sets rigid and nearly blind, most sex-roles as robotic as the mating dance of the penguin. At the same time, the ultimate sophistication is to avoid laying your own bio-survival needs, emotional cons, belief systems and sex games on others, which elementary courtesy is really what libertarianism is all about.

Unfortunately, libertarianism as a third-circuit idea (laryngeal signal) has no more effect on this backward planet than any other third circuit reality-map. The other circuits continue their robotic trips, anchored in the neurochemistry of the imprinting process. Intelligence-squared, or self-metaprogramming, allows libertarianism to become more than an idea. This is what the Neurological Revolution means; this is what the Great Work of the alchemists aimed for. When the robot awakens and becomes a self-programmer, it can easily have all the goals promised by the alchemists: The Stone of the Wise, the Medicine of Metals, True Wisdom and perfect Happiness. All of those traditional terms are metaphors for the awakening of Intelligence-squared.

Usually people are libertarians or fascists or snake-worshippers or Republicans or nudists or whatever, because of conditioned networks that fit smoothly into their imprints. People achieve Intelligence-squared, and become effective libertarians, only if they work for it.

                                                                     -- Robert Anton Wilson

Monday, February 6, 2012

Michael Johnson on paranoia

Michael Johnson writes a post on paranoia and winds up relating his thoughts to Robert Anton Wilson's first Cosmic Trigger book.

See also in a related vein his comment to my Hutaree post that ran Sunday, and my reply.

Michael also has begun writing for the Double Dip Politics site, and his first contribution (as the "Overweening Generalist") is here.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Illuminati won't get their day in court

Or rather, an expert on conspiracy theories involving the Illuminati won't be called to testify.

Prosecutors had hoped to call Professor Michael Barkun of Syracuse University, an expert on the conspiracy theories retailed by right wing militia groups in a trial in Detroit for members of the Hutaree, a purported right wing Christian militia group.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts granted a defense motion to nix Barzun’s testimony. “This is not a case about the New World Order, the Illuminati, stigmatized knowledge or any other conspiracy theory or concept,” Roberts wrote, in her 15-page opinion, reported on the “Volokh Conspiracy” blog.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

BOING BOING runs my RAW piece

BOING BOING has run my RAW piece for the extended "RAW Week," almost four weeks after Mark Frauenfelder wrote me on Jan. 8 to solicit it. I'm pleased he ran it, and especially pleased I was able to slip in a plug for Robert Shea, who I think tends to be a bit overlooked.

Friday, February 3, 2012

'Fairness' and politics

A quote from Robert Anton Wilson (from the Illuminati Papers): "Politics consists of demands, disguised or rationalized by dubious philosophy (ideologies). The disguise is an absurdity and should be removed."

Those political demands, I would argue, usually are made using claims for "fairness."

Here's another quote from his article about Aleister Crowley, which you can read under the "Feature Articles and Interviews" section of this page "If you recognize that your latest problem is totally without 'moral' significance -- for instance, you have a disease which you can't, by the wildest stretch of the imagination, blame on anybody -- then it's just a question of coping with the situation as best you can. When you finally realize that people are on the same natural evolutionary continuum with bacteria and wild animals, then you can begin to deal with hostile humans the same way you deal with infections or four-legged predators -- rationally, without claiming you're 'right' or they're 'wrong.' This discourages cruel fanaticism, and encourages sane horse-trading."

I mention these two quotes because we are in the middle of the political season (i.e., the "ideology" season) and there going to be a lot of discussion about "fairness."

One of my favorite bloggers, Will Wilkinson has just written a piece on fairness and it's one of his best. Wilkinson doesn't quite agree with Scott Adams' acid observation that fairness is "a concept invented so dumb people could participate in arguments." Wilkinson says, "I would conclude not that judgments of fairness are purely subjective, but that the rhetoric of fairness is used so opportunistically that we would be wise to look upon arguments from fairness with a jaundiced eye."

Except: "Suppose I'm a surgeon pulling down six figures. Perhaps doing my fair share is to pay 33% of my income in taxes. But, hey, wait! My sister, who could have been a surgeon, chose instead to make pottery in a little hippie arts colony. She makes only as much as she needs to get by, works relatively short hours, smokes a lot of weed with her artist friends, and pays no federal income tax at all! If paying 33% of the money I make saving lives is doing my fair share, then it's hard to see how my sister—who could have been a surgeon, or some kind of job- and/or welfare-creating entrepreneur—is doing hers. But if she is doing hers, just playing with clay out there in the woods, benefiting next to no one, paying no taxes, then clearly I'm doing way more than my fair share. Which seems, you know, unfair.

"Are you doing your fair share? How would one know? Actually, I just made myself feel slightly guilty for not going to med school and joining Médecins Sans Frontières. But unless government can come up with a way of taxing the leisure of people who aren't doing as much as they might for kith and country, I reckon I'll just stick to part-time pro blogging and let all you 9-to-5 suckers finance the necessary road-building and foreigner-bombing."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Taking a look at TubeGnosis

I've only begun to look at the interesting stuff on TubeGnosis, which comes rather close to being "a video site for Robert Anton Wilson" fans, but a couple of days ago I watched two videos: "Grandmother," an early film by David Lynch, and a Dutch TV documentary about John Allegro, author of The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, which argued that psychedelic mushroom use was at the heart of many Mideast religions.

I then checked out the Wikipedia entry on Allegro, and learned that Allegro has made something of a comeback despite his death, with several scholars defending his conclusions. Among them: Carl A.P. Ruck, mentioned earlier in this very blog.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Instant surrealism on Twitter

A web site called That Can Be My Next Tweet takes your Tweets and remixes them to create new Tweets. The result is a Tweet that sounds like you but also ventures into surrealism. (I tried it, and sent out a Tweet that said, "I scored 80 percent. MT Supervillain or me? Maybe both purged at Penn State: But thanks for being!" I sent one more: "No one of RAW book that MLB could do without the Rapture happens Saturday, we'll lose our coach." It reads like the 1960s collage poetry of Charles Henri Ford, although a more appropriate comparison here would be the cut-up prose technique invented by Brion Gysin, popularized by William Burroughs and used by Robert Anton Wilson

Hat tip: Roman Tsivkin (@zenjew on Twitter).