Monday, December 31, 2012

Books Read 2012

In his latest blog post, Eric Wagner remarks, "I find it fascinating how we choose what to read.  It can take a lifetime to start to understand some writers (Pound, Joyce, etc.).  Over the years I've encountered various ideas of the literary canon.  I've spent a lot of time reading books perceived as canonical by Bob Wilson and Ezra Pound, but when I became friends with Rafi Zabor a few years ago, I found a whole new canon I had not read (Chekhov, Tolstoy, Proust, etc.)."

Many of the books I read in the past year relate to Robert Anton Wilson's work in ways that may not seem obvious. I'm convinced, for example, that he would have loved A Renegade History of the United States. But I have many interests, and some of them don't really relate to this blog. Anyway, here's what I read this year:

1. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Mark Twain.
2. Emphyrio,  Jack Vance (re-read.)
3. Count to a Trillion, John C. Wright.
4. Shapeshift, Sherwin Bitsui.
5. Program or Be Programmed, Douglas Rushkoff (re-read).
6. The End of Eternity, Isaac Asimov.
7. The Hot Gate, John Ringo.
8. The Freedom Maze, Delia Sherman.
9. The Restoration Game, Ken MacLeod.
10. Death at Pemberley, P.D. James.
11. Temporary Duty, Ric Locke.
12. Iron Angels, Geoffrey Landis.
13. The Children of the Sky, Vernor Vinge.
14. Sweeter Than Wine, L. Neil Smith.
15. Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman.
16. In the Lion's Mouth, Michael Flynn.
17. Death of a Kingfisher, M.C. Beaton.
18. Natural Law, Robert Anton Wilson.
19. The War of 1812, Donald R. Hickey.
20. An Economist Gets Lunch, Tyler Cowen.
21. In the Shadow of Ares, Carlsson and James.
22. The Cult of the Presidency, Gene Healy.
23. The Night and the Music, Lawrence Block.
24. The Brandy of the Damned, JMR Higgs.
25. Inscapes, Francis Scarfe.
26. The Wars of Justinian, Procopius.
27. Procopius and the Sixth Century, Averil Cameron.
28. A Cold Day for Murder, Dana Stabenow.
29. The Secret History With Related Texts, Procopios, Anthony Kaldellis, translator.
30. The Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity, AD 395-700, second edition, Averil Cameron.
31. Procopius of Caesarea, Anthony Kaldellis.
32. New and Selected Poems, Ron Padgett.
33. A Renegade History of the United States, Thaddeus Russell.
34. Science Fiction Megapack: 25 Modern Science Fiction Stories.
35. Bed of Sphinxes, Philip Lamantia.
36. The Golden Age, Gore Vidal.
37. Savage Continent, Keith Lowe.
38. The Darkening Dream, Andy Gavin.
39. The Quicken Tree, Bill Knott.
40. Land Under England, Joseph O'Neill.
41. The Hydrogen Sonata, Iain M. Banks.
42. Quantum Psychology, Robert Anton Wilson.
43. KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money, JMR Higgs.
44. Burglars Can't Be Choosers, Lawrence Block.
45. Mad About Trade, Daniel Griswold.
46. The Homing Pigeons, Robert Anton Wilson (re-read).
47. Empires and Barbarians, Peter Heather.
48. The Chimes, Charles Dickens.
49. Work of Art, Sinclair Lewis.
50. The Universe Next Door, Robert Anton Wilson. (re-read)





Sunday, December 30, 2012

Two novels featuring the Illuminati

Via a Tweet I learned about two works of fiction by British author Graham Carroll which apparently mention the Illuminati: The Illuminati Kid Can Save You and Illuminati Rock God. Both are priced to sell on Kindle for 99 cents and what I presume is an equivalent amount on the United Kingdom Amazon. Has anyone tried these?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lots of Ezra Pound audio

UbuWeb has a large collection of Ezra Pound audio, including poetry readings and an interview. (Hat tip: John Merritt).

More: video of Pound being interviewed. (Click on CC when the interview is running to get captions). "No politics, but a Communist interviewing a Fascist is ironic," Merritt comments.

Friday, December 28, 2012

'Robert Anton Wilson Remembered' now a free download

Joseph Matheny, who hosts RAWilsonfans.com, has now made his audio CD, Robert Anton Wilson Remembered, a free download for everyone as a "holiday gift." (I bought it when it came out.) It features Douglas Rushkoff, Antero Alli, Tiffany Lee Brown, David Jay Brown, Zac Odin and Matheny himself. Details and download link are here.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

A look at RAW360.net

RAW360.net is a collaborative three-dimensional tribute to Robert Anton Wilson, put together by Steve "Fly" Pratt and Wayne "Chu" Edwards, with help from a couple of other folks.

The visitor takes a tour through what looks like a kitchen in an apartment. Colored dots provide a portal to resources such as the Boing Boing RAW archive and to Pratt's RAW sound projects. As one wanders about the room, there is a soundtrack that can be turned on and off. I haven't asked Steve about this, but I'm guessing that the links will be changed out from time to time.

A Wiki provides some background, although I confess it confused me, as it made me feel I ought to be able to find more on the site.

I wish I had the talent to develop something like this.





Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Finnegans Wake blog launches

PQ, the excellent blogger who does the A Building Roam blog, has begun a new blog devoted to James Joyce's Finnegans Wake; the new blog is called Finnegans, Wake! PQ promises he will continue to post plenty of material at his older blog, even as he gets the new one going. He also hosts a Finnegans Wake reading group in Austin, Texas.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

RAW360 launches

RAW360.net, Steven Pratt's new Robert Anton Wilson site, has launched. I'll write more about it soon -- I'm busy with Christmas today. Be sure you take a moment to look at it -- it's quite a cool site.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas/Happy Winter Solstice etc.

Here is a nice piece from Jesse Walker on "Puritans, pagans and Christmas."  And here is RAW's essay on the pagan origins of Santa Claus.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Another excised 'Cat' passage

As I read the Dell omnibus version of The Universe Next Door for Eric Wagner's Schroedinger's Cat class at Maybe Logic Academy, I've been looking at the Pocket Books original version to see what was cut. For the most part, it's the lesser material that's been excised, but I did very much like this paragraph, from a whole chapter (from the "Terran Archives 2083") cut from the original novel:

Concerning that which we cannot know with certainty, we should remain honestly agnostic. The reader will, of course, form a purely personal evaluation of Wilson's grandiose allegories and occult claims; the trick is to concentrate on the reality projected through the printed page. Every sentence is a signal from a lost world, a time of primitive, barbaric splendor and fantastic cruelty with which you can interface synergetically by crossing over and entering the form.

I particularly like the last sentence.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Amazon's 'Science Fiction Book Club'

When I was a teen (and for a few years afterward) I belonged to the Science Fiction Book Club. I still have a few of those books in my library, such as my copy of Robert Silverberg's A Time of Changes.

A few days ago, Amazon changed its Kindle Daily Deal. Every day, along with a deal for one adult book and one book for young people, it is offering a book for romance fans and a book for science fiction and fantasy readers. (Occasionally Amazon apparently will offer more books in its deal, as in Cyber Monday when it offered a big pile of titles. It also  put a bunch of Philip K. Dick books on sale earlier this year and I bought 3-4).

I don't recognize the names of all of the authors in the Daily Deal for SF/Fantasy, but in the past week the names have included the Strugatsky brothers (for the new translation of Roadside Picnic), John Scalzi and Raymond Feist. So the new approach seems like good news for science fiction fans.

RAW was published in his lifetime as a "science fiction writer." If Amazon ever puts any of his books on sale, I will do my best to let everyone know.

Friday, December 21, 2012

RAW on YouTube

There's a lot of Robert Anton Wilson on YouTube, but where to start, and how do you know you are not missing anything. Brian Shields (on "Robert Anton Wilson Fans" on Facebook) says this is a "pretty comprehensive YouTube playlist of  all things Bob."



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gothic novel featured the Illuminati

Reason Magazine's Jesse Walker, a RAW scholar often mentioned in these posts, reached back to 1800 (last item) when he was asked to name the best book of 2012.

Julia and the Illuminated Baron by Sally Wood is a Gothic novel, apparently in the tradition of Ann Radcliffe, author of 1794's The Mysteries of Udolpho. The original Gothic novel genre is mainly remembered now because of Jane Austen's satire of it in Northinger Abbey.

Jesse explains, "Coming in the wake of the Illuminati panic of 1798, in which Federalists fretted that the secret society was aiming 'to subvert and overturn our holy religion and our free and excellent government,' Wood weds those anxieties to a Gothic melodrama set in pre-revolutionary France, featuring an Illuminatus who holds a young woman captive and plots against her virtue. Wood's Illuminati are a depraved band of nature-worshippers, seizing personal pleasures as they prepare for the Jacobin apocalypse. At one point Wood has a woman describe the order's initiation ceremony: 'disrobed of all coverings except a vest of silver gauze, I am to be exposed to the homage of all the society present upon a marble pedestal placed behind which sacrifices are to be offered.' The character adds, 'This sect increases daily. They will in a few years overturn Europe and lay France in ruins'." (Notice how Jesse, with a keen eye for detail, manages to find what's likely the one salacious sentence in the book.)

Here's an interesting article about how the University of Maine at Machias brought the long-forgotten novel into print.

You likely won't find Julia in your local bookstore, and I couldn't even find it on Amazon. You'll have to follow a link from Jesse's article to buy a copy.

But an Amazon Kindle version is in the works. When I wrote to the "Library of Early Maine Literature" at UMM Press to ask about a Kindle edition, I was told to look for it this summer, maybe fall. I got a follow-up email, however, telling me the new target date is the end of January.



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Radio broadcaster criticizes RAW

Is "dishonest right-wing radio broadcaster" a redundant phrase?

Alex Jones, a right wing radio broadcaster who rails against "world government," has a piece on the Internet criticizing the Mayan doomsday hoax, the claim that Mayans predicted the end of the world in 2012.

I'm fine with that, but if you watch the video, you'll see that he claims that Robert Anton Wilson helped foment the hysteria in Cosmic Trigger 1. 

Here's the full paragraph that Jones cites, with the one sentence that Jones took out of context highlighted: "Sirius is only 8.6 lightyears away. The British Interplanetary Society already has a design for a starship that could be sent to Barnard's Star (6 lightyears away) in 2000. The first O'Neill space cities will be orbiting the earth by then, and by 2004, according to Dr. Asimov's calculations, the biological revolution will be producing DNA for any purpose we want, possibly including immortality. In 2012, if the McKenna scenario is right, comes the Omega Point. In that case, Dr. Temple, we are all pulling a cosmic trigger."

Obviously, this is another example of Wilson's technological optimism running away with reality. I haven't noticed any space cities. (Notice, incidentally, how this goes back to what I blogged about on Dec. 17.) But there's nothing about Mayans or the Apocalypse. (If you search inside the book on Amazon for "Maya" or "Mayan," you get nothing.)

Hat tip: Aidan-Isaacs Cooley at Robert Anton Wilson Fans.

Update: Rob's comment makes me think I was a little harsh, so I've toned down my headline and lead sentence.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lots of cuts were made to "Cat"

I've been re-reading the Schroedinger's Cat trilogy for my Maybe Logic Academy class. Our assignment is to read The Homing Pigeons First, followed by The Universe Next Door and The Trick Top Hat.

The assigned text for the class is the one-volume Dell edition first published in 1988.  It's my first encounter with that edition, which I had to check out of the library. When I re-read the trilogy a couple of years ago, I read the original novels, which I still have in my personal library.

A couple of days ago, after I finished re-reading The Homing Pigeons, I pulled my original Pocket Books edition off the bookshelf to compare it with the Dell version. I compared the last few pages of the two versions and saw there were significant cuts in the Dell.

When I re-read the trilogy a couple of years ago, I noticed that The Universe Next Door was my favorite of the three. As I began reading the Dell version, I was surprised at how much was left out in comparison with the original version, at least in the early part of the book.

If your only experience with The Universe Next Door is the Dell omnibus, for example, you may not know that the original version had an "Overture," two pages long, about a guy named Joe Malik writing a novel with a protagonist named Robert Anton Wilson.

And you'd miss other material.

For example, in the Dell version, the first chapter, "Don't Look Back," ends with the words, "The planet as a whole continued to drowse."

In the original Pocket Books version, that's followed by three paragraphs:

Nihilism had been invented in Russia in the nineteenth century. It was a philosophy based on materialism, skepticism and a fierce demand for social justice. Naturally, various deranged individuals quickly made it an excuse for violence, and Nihilism became a synonym for horror.

Anarchism was similar. It had been invented in France in the nineteenth century and was also based on materialism, skepticism and a fierce demand for social justice. It attracted the same types as Nihilism and also quickly acquired a bad reputation.

The Nihilist Anarchist Horde believed that they had chosen that name to refurbish the sane, sound side of Nihilism and Anarchism. Actually, they were kidding themselves. They really enjoyed having a name that scared the bejesus out of everybody.

Now, when I re-read the "Cat" trilogy a couple of years back, I did feel that some of the sex scenes could be cut without damaging the literary value of the work very much.  The attack on Dell in the second chapter of the original version of The Universe Next Door,  criticizing the publisher for making too many cuts to Illuminatus!, is tactfully removed from the Dell version, and I suppose that's no great loss. But it seems to me that many of the cuts in the Dell edition remove a great deal of detail and nuance.

The Dell version is still a pretty good work of literature, but I'd kind of like to see the original version brought back into print. I'd also like to know why the work was cut in the first place.






Monday, December 17, 2012

Peter Thiel picks some books

In an earlier blog post, I remarked that Internet billionaire (and philanthopist) Peter Thiel is interested in many of the ideas that Robert Anton Wilson is interested in — immortality, space migration, the Internet, and more. And he's putting his money where his mouth is, trying to make these things happen.

So when I saw that Thiel was one of 50 people that the Wall Street Journal interviewed to ask about their favorite books of 2012, I was interested. Here is the first book Thiel mentioned:

"Sonia Arrison's 100 Plus was first published in 2011, but its message is evergreen: how scientists are directly attacking the problem of aging and death and why we should fight for life instead of accepting decay as inevitable. The goal of longer life doesn't just mean more years at the margin; it means a healthier old age. There is nothing to fear but our own complacency."

The rest of his picks are available here; you'll have to scroll down a bit, but the people quoted are in alphabetical order, so you can find Thiel pretty quickly.

The WSJ also did a weekend interview with Thiel a couple of years ago that I had missed; it's here.

Here's a bit from the piece that reminds me of RAW: "Innovation, he says, comes from a 'frontier' culture, a culture of 'exceptionalism,' where 'people expect to do exceptional things' ..."




Sunday, December 16, 2012

RAW360.net to launch on Dec. 21


(Wikipedia Commons photo of Chichen Itza)

Steve "Fly Agaric 23" Pratt, on  his way to the fabled Mayan city of Chichen Itza (pictured above) shares some news about RAW360.net, his new site dealing with Robert Anton Wilson:


"We are planning to launch raw360 on Dec. 21st.

"I'll be in Chitchen Itza playing drums at the synthesis festival on the 21st, helping project the launch into the media mayhem (mayahem) that may decend on Palenque. Wish me luck."

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Excerpt from a novel

Like almost everybody else, "Ike" thought the Communists had taken over Russia, not Unistat.

One of the most insidious things the CIA Communists did when they took over Unistat was to change the Constitution.

The original Constitution, having been written by a group of intellectual libertines and Freemasons in the eighteen century, included an amendment which declared:

A self-regulated sex life being necessary to the happiness of a citizen, the right of the people to keep and enjoy pornography shall not be abridged.

This amendment had been suggested by Thomas Jefferson, who had over nine hundred Black concubines, and Benjamin Franklin, a member of the Hell Fire Club, which had the largest collection of erotic books and art in the Western world at that time.

The Communists changed the amendment to read:

A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged.

All documents and textbooks were changed, so that nobody would be able to find out what the amendment had originally said. Then the Communists set up a front organization, the National Rifle Association, to encourage the wide usage of guns of all sorts, and to battle any attempt to control guns as "unconstitutional."

Thus, they guaranteed that the murder rate in Unistat would always be the highest in the world. This kept the citizens in perpetual anxiety about their safety both on the streets and in their homes. The citizens then tolerated the rapid growth of the Police State, which controlled almost everything, except the sale of guns, the chief cause of crime.

(Schroedinger's Cat trilogy, pages 481-482 in the omnibus edition, i.e. The Homing Pigeons, by Robert Anton Wilson.)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Anyone up for a 'Masks' discussion?

I've been planning to re-read Masks of the Illuminati, which I haven't read in some years.

Would anyone be interested in an online discussion of the book, hosted at this blog? I wouldn't be able to do it right away — I'm busy studying Schroedinger's Cat in Eric Wagner's Maybe Logic Academy course -- but I would be ready to read it sometime the first half of next year.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

RAW interviews Bucky Fuller



Robert Anton Wilson's interview with Buckminster Fuller (Pdf) appeared in the May 1981 issue of "High Times" magazine. I'm making it available to you thanks to Mike Gathers. Image via Danny Rollingstone at Robert Anton Wilson Fans on Facebook.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Best Books of 2012

Somebunall of you may be interested in my "Best Books of 2012" piece for my daytime blog. Robert Anton Wilson's name is mentioned.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Influence of 'Ulysses' still strong, critic says

Critic, novelist and English professor Darin Strauss, in "Reasons to Re-Joyce" in the New York Times Sunday book review, argues that literary fiction in the U.S. remains strong and that the influence of James Joyce's "Ulysses" can be seen in many of the best novels published within the last year.

Strauss also touches on other novels influenced by "Ulysses." For Robert Anton Wilson fans, the obvious omission in the piece will be the Schroedinger's Cat trilogy, which name-checks the book in a running plot line that runs through all three books. Could this be an example of how Wilson was injured by being labeled a "science fiction writer"? Did that make books like Schroedinger's Cat invisible to people such as Darin Strauss?


Monday, December 10, 2012

PQ finishes "Finnegans Wake"

PQ has finished reading Finnegans Wake, and in his blog post on the subject, he discussed the book itself and the several books he read as guides and commentaries. His post itself offers a kind of guide how to read it.

There's also an announcement: "It's going to take a while for me to assimilate all of my observations and notes into a full piece about the experience and I will in fact be starting up a separate blog to be entirely devoted to Finnegans Wake stuff."

Sunday, December 9, 2012

RAW on Mozart?

Following up on yesterday's post: Does anyone know of a RAW essay, comparable to the Beethoven one that I referenced, where RAW talks about Mozart? Mozart appears as a character in the "Historical Illuminatus" books, but I cannot remember any references to Mozart in RAW's writings that last more  than a sentence or two.

Like most classical music fans, I have quite a bit of Mozart in my music collection. A few weeks ago, I got  a Mozart collection from Amazon called Mozart -- 100 Supreme Classical Masterpieces: Rise of the Masters, a huge budget collection for $2. Yes, it has recordings by lesser-known musicians, but it's still an amazing bargain. I've been going through it, checking out some of the compositions I had not heard before.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

RAW on Beethoven

Because I've been listening to so much Beethoven recently, I re-read RAW's "Beethoven as Information" essay in The Illuminati Papers. All of it is valuable; here is one paragraph I particularly like:

"Perhaps some mystics have achieved higher levels of consciousness than Beethoven (perhaps!), but if so, we cannot know of it. Aleister Crowley once astonished me by writing that the artist is greater than the mystic, an odd remark from a man who was only a mediocre artist himself (although a great mystic.) Listening to Ludwig, I have come to understand what Crowley meant. The mystic, unless he or he is also an artist, cannot communicate the higher states of awareness achieved by a fully turned-on brain; but a great artist can. Listening to Beethoven, one shares, somewhat, in his expanded perceptions; and the more one listens, the more one shares. Finally, one is able to believe his promise: if one listens to that music enough, one will never again be unhappy."



Friday, December 7, 2012

Senior Recital Blues

I've been listening to more classical music than ever these days (listening to Beethoven is one of the assignments for Eric Wagner's class that I'm currently taking at Maybe Logic Academy.) John  Merritt apparently is into classical music, too. Here is his  sad tale of how a "flaky soloist" largely ruined his big moment as a music performer in high school.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Article on Sirius enigma

Who Forted?, a blog/Web site devoted to weird stuff (a la Charles Fort) posts an article on the Sirius enigma, with a long section about Robert Anton Wilson. The site appears to be something of a hotbed of Robert Anton Wilson fans. (Via Jon Swabey, posting at Robert Anton Wilson Fans on Facebook.)



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Robert Anton Wilson letter to "No Governor"

[Here is Robert Anton Wilson's letter in issue No. 11 of Robert Shea's zine, "No Governor," dated July 1990. This is a pretty cool letter -- I didn't know, for example, that RAW was a John Barth fan, and the great defense of the principle behind civil liberties is valuable. -- The Mgt.]

Issue #10 of No Governor seemed great to me, as usual.

I can't answer Arthur Hlavaty's question about what John Barth thinks of my novels, but I can easily answer his second question. I enjoy Barth's books enormously. I think his Sabbatical covers the malaise of our time better than professional spy-thriller writers like Ambler and Le Carre have ever done. Just because one is never sure if the CIA killed the man on the boat or is trying to kill the hero, Sabbatical leaves one with precisely the sense of uncertainty and dread that has hung over this nation since democracy was abandoned in the National Security Act of 1947 and clandestine government became official.

Sometimes I find it astounding that we have lived under fascism for 40 years while continuing the rituals of democracy -- and that hardly any "major" novelist has tried to grapple with this issue. I salute Barth for his subtlety and the eerie atmosphere he creates in describing our increasingly Machiavellian world. To be brutally frank and eschew false modesty, I think only Mailer, Pynchon and myself have captured the terror of the situation as well as Barth did in that book.

Oh, yeah, I like Barth's other books, too. Sabbatical just happens to be my favorite.

I think Neal Wilgus has his head up his ass. With all his ifs and ands and buts and subordinate clauses and modifications, he still seems to be endorsing the idea that any "moralist" that thinks X's way of life is "immoral" has the right to come in and trash anything X owns, and I find that bloody damned terrifying. It only seems remotely akin to sanity if  you substitute some person or group you violently dislike for "X,"but put your own name in the place of the "X's " and read it again. See what you think then. If it doesn't work with "the NAACP" or "Bob Shea" or "the Credit Unions" in place of X, it seems a very dangerous idea, even if "Mobil Oil" or "the American Nazi Party" in place of X does not upset you immediately.

Civil liberties remain indivisible, and what can be done to Catholics or Mobil Oil today can be done to Protestants or nudists tomorrow. ("If they can take Hancock's wharf they can take your cow or my barn," as John Adams once said.) Since the majority always rejects the Bill of Rights whenever a sociologist tries the experiment by offering it for approval by a cross-section of the population, and since George Bush earned great enthusiasm for his attacks on the ACLU, I don't suppose Wilgus or most people will understand this point, but we libertarians  have to keep saying it over and over, every generation, and hope it will eventually register.

Maybe Wilgus thinks he knows who "is" "really" "immoral" and who isn't, and only supports vigilante action against the "really" "immoral"? I would congratulate him on having attained Papal Infallibility, except that I suspect he has only obtained the delusion of Papal Infallibility.

Wilgus asks, "What about the Luddite minority who don't want your damn progress?" Well, some questions remain unanswerable within the context where they are raised, just as some problems prove unsolvable at the time and place where they appear. Minorities have been the victim of monarchy, tyranny, fascism and every other authoritarian system, and they have usually been the victim of democracy, also. For instance, there is no way the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland will ever get justice through democracy; the Protestant majority will always outvote them. I also recall a TV show about the aborigines of New Guinea in which one of them said, as well as I can recall the words, "Democracy means the white majority will always get what they want and we will never get what we want. There must be something better than democracy."

I think the Bill of Rights and the division of powers were built into our government because the founding fathers, or some of them, saw that problem clearly and wanted to avoid total democracy in order to protect minorities from majority prejudice. Like all human inventions, the Bill of Rights and 3-headed government did not solve all problems, and minorities still get screwed frequently. As a libertarian (intellectually) and a sucker for the Under Dog (emotionally) I have sympathy for all minorities, including the Luddites, but I do not see any workable solution for Luddite problems within the present context.

Evolution, however, will soon move us to a new stage in which the Luddites can be segregated from the "progress" --ives without coercion and with free choice all around. I refer, of course, to the socio-genetic mutation of Space Migration. The Luddites will naturally have no part of anything so repugnant to their principles, and will stay on Terra. The strongly neophiliac will pioneer the first space colonies, the moderately neophiliac will follow later, and those even slightly neophiliac will join the migration eventually. The evolutionary vector, as I see it, indicates that everybody except the most Stone Age (neophobic) Luddite types will be moving into space sooner or later, and the Luddites will have this planet all to themselves, with no "damn progress" to annoy them. I suspect that all science and technology later than c. 1760 will leave when the creative spirits leave, and all the charms of pre-democratic pre-industrial Europe will gradually return to Earth to fill Luddite hearts with joy.

I offer that Utopia to Wilgus for whatever comfort it gives him.

Shea, I enjoyed your rebuttal to Carl Watner's commentary on the Conchis dilemma but I doubt that he understood it any more than he understood my original argument. I increasingly suspect Gurdjieff spoke accurately in describing the state of most people as deep hypnosis, and I would define "morality" as a condition of hypnosis so deep that the subject has not had a waking moment in an entire lifetime. Watner believes in his General Principles and cannot imagine or experience the concrete existence in sensory space-time around him of the 300 men who must die, according to his General Principles. The words (of the ideology or moral code) are experienced as real; the people are not.

I begin to agree with Shaw's verdict that people invented "morality" as an excuse to do things so terrible they would be ashamed to admit they enjoy them. I have noticed that when people do kind or generous things they do not mention "morality" or other abstractions at all; they just say something like, "I felt his pain," or, "I cried when I saw how she was suffering." They only talk about "morality" when they are about to add to the suffering and violence in the world, not when they are trying to heal or comfort one of the victims of that brutality.

Since all amoralists in history combined have not perpetrated as much cruelty and damage as the average moralist does in one lifetime, I think that whenever anybody starts raving about "morality" one should quickly trade the car in for a tank, buy a gun and a stack of ammo, wear a steel helmet and build a bomb shelter. Such people are dangerous. -- Los Angeles, California.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Harnessing the power of peppers

In his latest "Drug Report," Michael Johnson reports on the sensory altering properties of hot peppers and describes an adventure in a Thai restaurant that resulted in "seeing" Angelina  Jolie in the next booth.

After I read Michael's piece, my wife announced we were going to a Chinese restaurant for dinner, so I tried to replicate Michael's experience by making my kung pao chicken as hot as possible. Laura Linney did not appear at the next booth, so I guess the experiment was a failure.


Monday, December 3, 2012

'Cagliostro ghost sightings' spook Arezzo

"Arezzo, November 15 - Italian paranormal-phenomena experts have been called to the Tuscan hilltown of Arezzo to probe a dozen alleged sightings of the ghost of legendary 18th-century alchemist, adventurer, con-man and occult dabbler 'Count' Cagliostro ...  An alchemist, fake physician and necromancer, Cagliostro became extremely rich selling miraculous cures and elixirs of youth, also posing as the founder of an occult branch of freemasonry. Although he was an impostor, his daring and ingenuity briefly made him the darling of Europe. He was wined and dined by high society across the continent and wound up marrying a member of a high-born Roman family. His real name was Giuseppe Balsamo and he was born to a poor family in Palermo in 1743."

More here. Of course, he is a character in RAW's "Historical Illuminatus!" books.

Via Brian Shields at Robert Anton Wilson Fans on Facebook.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

'Diabolical World Conspiracy Exposed'


Here is the cover for the March 1969 issue of "Teenset" magazine. I went out and found the graphic after reading Michael Johnson's comment on yesterday's post: "Supposedly Shea wrote an actual article to Teenset magazine in 1969, under the name 'Sandra Glass.' If true, part of it is in Illuminatus!, pp.40-41, and note that 'Sandra' is getting her info from 'Simon,' who would be RAW.

"This Memo was dug up by 'Pat' the researcher, who's throwing Saul a lot of curves, knucklers...Something ain't right about this gal."

As you can see, the cover of "Teenset" mentions an article, "Diabolical World Conspiracy Exposed!" An ad on eBay for an issue of the magazine (alas, it had been sold) states that the article was about the Illuminati. I'd love to get my hands on an actual issue of the magazine, but apparently there really was such an article. I am pleased to be able to vindicate Pat, at least partially.

Thanks, Michael!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Robert Shea fanzine address in Illuminatus!

Yesterday, I asked whether it's true that there are any references in Illuminatus!  to "No Governor," Robert Shea's "zine of Illuminated anarchism."

Arthur Hlavaty wrote to point me to this passage in the work (page 622 of the omnibus):

On Feb. 2 Robert Putney Drake received a book in the mail. The return address, he noted, was Gold and Appel Transfers on Canal Street, one of the corporations owned by that intriguing Celine fellow who had kept appearing at the best parties for the last year or so. It was titled Never Whistle While You're Pissing, the and flyleaf had a bold scrawl saying, "Best regards from the author," followed by a gigantic C like a crescent moon. The publisher was Green and Pleasant Publications, P.O. Box 359, Glencoe, Illinois, 60022.

If you look at the colophon for the early issues of "No Governor," you will see that it's credited to "Green and Pleasant Press," of the exact same address as the novel. The last issue of the zine has a slightly different address -- the P.O. Box is 319 rather than 359.

While Wilson and Shea could have come up with this joke on their own, I'll point out that they both loved Robert Heinlein's work and that Heinlein put his own address, to similar humorous effect, in his short story, "--And He Built a Crooked House--," a favorite of mine when I was in high school. ("Own address" is a slight simplification. Here is the sentence from the Wikipedia article: "In the story, it says that Quintus Teal lived at 8775 Lookout Mountain Avenue in Hollywood, across the street from 'the Hermit, the original Hermit of Hollywood.' That address is actually across the street from Heinlein's own house at the time the story was written.")

Thanks, Arthur!