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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What's the right pace for reading Illuminatus?

It's time to talk about a schedule for the group reading of Illuminatus!, which several of you said you'd be interested in participating in.

What would you think about a reading pace of 20 pages a week? The schedule was about 30 pages a week for Masks of the Illuminati. I'd almost like to take a slower pace for Illuminatus! I could make a case for 10 pages a week, but at 805 pages in the omnibus edition, it would take a long time to finish. At 20 pages a week, we'd be committed to a 40-week group read, about four-fifths of a year. Too long? Or about right for such a key work? And how about a start date of late February?

And is everyone comfortable with the procedure used in the other group reads, that I'd post something and then everyone can weigh in with the comments? I'm open to something else if anyone had any suggestions.

Monday, December 30, 2013

What I read this year -- the RAW connection

Every year, I post a list of the books that I read during the past year. This year, I will list first the books I consumed in 2013 that might interest many RAW fans, with a brief explanation for why, before I post the whole thing. I also read three books by Robert Anton Wilson, but it's pretty obvious why they'd interest a RAW fan. I've also left out some libertarian books, although anything with a libertarian slant could interest some RAW fans. "Constellation Games," for example, my favorite SF novel this year, features anarchist aliens. My "Best Books of 2013" blog post, featuring contributions from Roman Tsivkin and yours truly, is here.

Seven Shadows, L. Wayne Benner. I bought this book because Benner, a former prison convict who did time with Timothy Leary in California, collaborated with Robert Anton Wilson in an essay, "The RICH Economy." I finished the book feeling ripped off. Wilson is mentioned in exactly one sentence. There is a bit of material about Timothy Leary that seems to be true. The heart of the book is a dramatic narrative of a prison escape by Benner that as far as I can tell never actually took place -- Benner made it up.

Beethoven, Maynard Solomon. Biography of the famous composer that Robert Anton Wilson has referred to. There's some discussion about the relationship between Beethoven and members of the Illuminati and the Freemasons.

Chamber Music, James Joyce. Book of poetry from early in the career of the writer who was probably RAW's main influence.

Invented Religions, Carol Cusack. All about modern new religions such as Discordianism, the Church of the Subgenius, the Church of All Worlds, etc. Really interesting.

I Have America Surrounded, J.M.R. Higgs, excellent biography of Timothy Leary, sympathetic but not blind to Leary's faults.

The United States of Paranoia, Jesse Walker. History of conspiracy theories in America, with a whole chapter on Robert Anton Wilson and ironic uses of conspiracy theory.

Sketches Old and New, Mark Twain. Collection of short works, most of which hold up quite well. RAW was a huge Twain fan.

Mumbo Jumbo, Ishmael Reed. RAW also liked Reed's work a lot. This is a novel about warring secret societies, written at about the same time as Illuminatus!

Pause, Play: A Higher Consciousness Handbook, K.P. van der Tempel. Lots of references to RAW's work.

Holy Blood, Holy Grail, Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln. Heavy influence of RAW's novel, The Widow's Son.

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce. Should be useful for my re-read of Ulysses.

Feel free to mention your own "RAW related" books you read recently.

And here is my list of what I read in 2013. I haven't attempted to distinguish between books read for the first time and books that I re-read. Also, some of these were consumed as audiobooks:

Books read 2013

1. Seven Shadows, L. Wayne Benner.
2. The Unincorporated Future, Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin.
3. Beethoven, Maynard Solomon.
4. The Trick Top Hat, Robert Anton Wilson.
5. Listen to This, Alex Ross.
6. Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson.
7. Chamber Music, James Joyce.
8. Free Culture, Lawrence Lessig.
9. Francona, Terry Francona and Dan Shaughnessy.
10. The Sign of the Four, Arthur Conan Doyle.
11.  Constellation Games, Leonard Richardson.
12. Homeland, Cory Doctorow.
13. Invented Religions, Carol Cusack.
14. Coolidge, Amity Shlaes.
15. Masks of the Illuminati, R.A. Wilson.
16. Kill Decision, Daniel Suarez.
17. Sex at Dawn, Christopher Ryan and Cecilda Jetha.
18. I Have America Surrounded, JMR Higgs.
19. Arctic Rising, Tobias Bucknell.
20. Death of  Yesterday, M.C. Beaton.
21. Pirate Cinema, Cory Doctorow.
22. The First Church on the Moon, JMR Higgs.
23. The Drowned World, J.G. Ballard.
24. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick.
25. Chop Suey, a Cultural History of Chinese Food in the U.S., Andrew Coe.
26. The United States of Paranoia, Jesse Walker.
27. Light from a Lone Star, Jack Vance.
28. The View from Penthouse B, Elinor Lipman.
29. Inferno, Max Hastings.
30. Some Remarks, Neal Stephenson.
31. Sketches New and Old, Mark Twain.
32. In the Woods, Tana French.
33. On the Razor's Edge, Michael Flynn.
34. The Secret Sentry, Matthew Aid.
35. After Thermopylae, Paul Cartledge.
36. The Phoenix and the Mirror, Avram Davidson.
37. Musings from the Bay, James Milton Hanna.
38. Coming Apart: The State of White America: 1960-2010, Charles Murray.
39. Mumbo Jumbo, Ishmael Reed.
40. Tampa, Alissa Nutting.
41. Bleak House, Charles Dickens.
42. Weaponized, Nick Mennuti and Guggenheim.
43. Nine Inches, Tom Perrotta.
44. Pause, Play: A Higher Consciousness Handbook, K.P. van der Tempel.
45. Five Against Arlane, Tom Purdom.
46. The Things from the Lake, Eleanor Ingram.
47. Those Who Hunt the Night, Barbara Hambly.
48. Too Loud a Silence, Bohumil Hrabal.
49. Going Clear, Lawrence Wright.
50. Holy Blood, Holy Grail, Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln.
51. Coincidance, A Head Test, Robert Anton Wilson.
52. Average Is Over, Tyler Cowen.
53. The Stress of Her Regard, Tim Powers.
54. Generosity, Richard Powers.
55. Six Armies, John Keegan.
56. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

What to read to understand 'Ulysses'?

I plan to re-read Ulysses next month. I don't have time to read 5-10 books about it. Can you folks suggest 1-2 of the best books to read to understand what's going on? I'm posting the query here as I assume there are other folks who want to understand James Joyce better as a key to understanding Robert Anton Wilson's writings.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Adam Gorightly on the 'Campbell Clan'

Adam Gorightly has a new post up at  on "Kenneth and Daisy Eris: A Campbell Clan Discordian Continuum," which provides interesting details on the staging of Illuminatus! by Ken Campbell and provides an update on Daisy Eris Campbell's efforts to stage Cosmic Trigger. I did not know that there was a touring production in the U.S., or that RAW and a bunch of his friends had gone to Seattle to see it.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A 'lost' Discordian novel by John F. Carr and Camden Benares

Adam Gorightly has been publishing lots of interesting material at his Historia Discordia website, but I was particularly interested in his new piece on the novel A Certain Flair for Death, unpublished for years after it was completed by John F. Carr and Camden Benares (author of Zen Without Zen Masters, etc.)

Although it went unpublished for years, Robert Anton Wilson apparently read it in manuscript. Here is RAW's quote: “The best psychological science-fiction novel since The Demolished Man…the tension mounts and mounts…I couldn’t put it down…it might do your head as much good as an Encounter Group with the Marx Brothers!” The book actually came out last summer after years in limbo,  but this is the first time I ran across any mention of it. The book has no reviews so far on Amazon, so maybe Gorightly (and my blog) can give it some much-needed publicity.

I have not read anything by John F. Carr despite my longtime SF reading habit; the Gorightly piece features an article by Carr which reminisces about Benares and the difficult history of the Crying Clown series (which includes A Certain Flair for Death; Carr plans to bring out two more completed novels.) I hope that at some point, Carr decides to pay attention to details. The formatting for Kindle for A Certain Flair for Death is not well done, as I discovered after buying a copy.

The SF Encylopedia entry on John F. Carr is here; interestingly, the only Carr book John Clute likes is Carnifex Mardi Gras, a prequel to A Certain Flair for Death. For more on Camden Benares, see Supergee's post. For more on the RAW connection to Benares, see my post. 

Rainbow Run is a Carr-Benares novel that came out last year.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas links

RAW on the pagan origins of Christmas.  (Re-run of a link I posted last year.)

A bit more on the pagan origins.

Salvador Dali's Christmas cards.

Ted Gioia's Top 100 albums of 2013 (in case you are looking for something to spend your gift certificate on,  or you want to take my advice on using your library cards to legally acquire free music.) (Ohio libraries are required to issue a card to any state resident who requests one. I have cards for three nearby libraries, allowing me to download nine Freegal tracks each week.)

About the Gioia list, Tyler Cowen writes, "Ted understands the acoustical nature of music, and the creation of alternative sound worlds, better than any other music critic I read. " And via Tyler, here is a playlist for the Gioia list.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

'Those who understand shine like stars'

Here is one of my favorite Robert Anton Wilson quotes: "It is a great privilege to be conscious in this universe. Those who understand shine like stars."

In fact, let's pull back and give the quote context by giving the full Q and A from the New Libertarian Notes interview with RAW, one of my favorite interviews:

CRNLA: Do you feel frustration living in the "real" world? After reading Illuminatus it's a downer to get back to reality -- even my usual escapist literature is depressing. How do you feel about that?

RAW: Every nervous system creates its own "reality," minute by minute -- or, in the language of Don Juan Matus, we live inside a "bubble" of neural abstractions which we identify with reality. In metaprogramming systems like Tibetan Tantra, Crowleyanity, or Leary's Exo-Psychology, you can make this neurological fact into conscious experience, and you will never be bored or depressed again. Just reading the scientific evidence that this is true, in social psychology or general semantics or neurology or whatever, will not liberate you; one needs actual re-training, in Tantra or Crowley or Leary, to experience what I'm talking about here. It is a great privilege to be conscious in this universe. Those who understand, shine like stars.

We may "shine like stars' metaphorically, but we also are made of material manufactured inside of stars; we are "star stuff," as scientists have tried to tell us. Here's a 1973 quote from Carl Sagan:

Our Sun is a second- or third-generation star. All of the rocky and metallic material we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star-stuff.

This blog post traces the same thought back to earlier incarnations.

It's a pretty good-looking universe, too, as Phil Platt reminds us in the latest installment of his "Bad Astronomy" column at Slate, "The Best Astronomy and Space Pictures of 2013." The photograph of one particular shining star posted at the top of this post, of Sol, is taken from a similar posting in 2010. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Notes on early libertarians

Over at Overweening Generalist, Michael Johnson has posted "The Drug Report: December 2013: Inhalants, From the Mundane to Outre," which discussed inhaled drugs from nitrous oxide to marijuana. He also attempts to run to ground a Robert Anton Wilson anecdote about William James.

Michael doesn't mention this, but Herodotus, the first Greek historian, recorded early examples of marijuana use by the Scythians, a nomadic proto-libertarian group of peoples who lived north of the Black Sea. (Proto-libertarian might seem a stretch, but they avoided being absorbed into the Persian Empire and also kept their independence from Alexander the Great's empire.)

Herodotus records that "They take some hemp seed, creep into the tent, and throw the seed on to the hot stones. At once it begins to smoke, giving off a vapor unsurpassed by any vapor-bath one could find in Greece. The Scythians enjoy it so much that they howl with pleasure."

More here.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Joyce's Portrait of the Artist' — non serviam, I will not serve

James Joyce, aside from his inherent interest as a major writer, is interesting to Robert Anton Wilson fans because of the influence Joyce had on RAW's writings. I have been reading Joyce lately; this year I read Chamber Music and re-read Dubliners, and I just finished reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. 

Reading Coincidance was good preparation for reading Portrait, as is reading Wilson in general. Project Gutenberg has versions of the books in various formats; I read mine on my Kindle. (Of course, Gutenberg has just about everything by Joyce except Finnegans Wake). If you are on the fence about doing a Joyce read-through, see PQ's "16 Reasons Why James Joyce is the Greatest Writer Ever." 

PQ observes, in his "The Exasperating, Inexhaustible Simplicity of James Joyce's Portraitthat reading Portrait is a good preparation for reading Ulysses, and I am glad he says so, as I plan to re-read Ulysses next month.

Portrait is interesting stylistically; it begins with the language and point of view of a small child and then shifts into other styles and literary modes, including, of all things, fiery and vivid sermons on the nature of hell.

My favorite portions of the book were the declarations Stephen makes as he forges his own philosophy. Those were the parts I bookmarked.

For example, toward the end of the book, the hero, Stephen Dedalus (a person much like Joyce himself) calls away his friend Cranly and had a discussion with him about Stephen's obsessions, including his views on art and religion:

— Do you believe in the eucharist? Cranly asked.

— I do not, Stephen said.

— Do you disbelieve then?

— I neither believe in it nor disbelieve in it, Stephen answered.

— Many persons have doubts,  even religious persons, yet they overcome them or put them aside, Cranly said. Are your doubts on that point too strong?

— I do not wish to overcome them, Stephen answered. 

Stephen rejects pressures to conform to others' demand that he give obedience to religion or political movements:

After a pause Cranly asked:

—What age is your mother?

—Not old, Stephen said. She wishes me to make my easter duty.

—And will you?

—I will not, Stephen said.

—Why not? Cranly said.

—I will not serve, answered Stephen.

Stephen is committing, in the eyes of the church, the sin of pride. Here is a paragraph from one of those sermons earlier in the book:

—Adam and Eve, my dear boys, were, as you know, our first parents, and you will remember that they were created by God in order that the seats in heaven left vacant by the fall of Lucifer and his rebellious angels might be filled again. Lucifer, we are told, was a son of the morning, a radiant and mighty angel; yet he fell: he fell and there fell with him a third part of the host of heaven: he fell and was hurled with his rebellious angels into hell. What his sin was we cannot say. Theologians consider that it was the sin of pride, the sinful thought conceived in an instant: NON SERVIAM: I WILL NOT SERVE. That instant was his ruin.

Here is Stephen's key declaration to Cranly toward the end of the book, when he has rejected pressures from the church, his mother, the Irish nationalists among his fellow students, etc.:

—Look here, Cranly, he said. You have asked me what I would do and what I would not do. I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use—silence, exile, and cunning.

The phrase "non serviam" is used three times in Illuminatus!, to explain the essence of libertarianism (or, if you prefer, anarchism).

Friday, December 20, 2013

EFF's best books of 2013

This is the time of year when everyone comes up with their "best books of 2013" lists. (Mine will be out soon.) The wonderful Largehearted Boy blog always publishes a master list of the lists.

Because I believe that the fate of the Internet is one of the most important civil liberties issues of our day, I particularly liked the Electronic Frontier Foundation's list. Some of the books are available as a free download. I've read one of them (the Cory Doctorow), have a couple of others on my Kindle and plan to acquire some more.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The hippie physicist weighs in

A prediction for 2014, from everyone's favorite hippie physicist, Nick Herbert:

Alien starships fail to make an appearance. The reason? All really smart aliens travel from mind to mind. Aliens call Earth "Planet of the Hates". And who would wish telepathic contact with a world of whiners?

More here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

'Cosmic Trigger' staging advances

Daisy Campbell and some of the actors from the October London Fortean Society event.

Daisy Eris Campbell has announced that she has obtained an option from the Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea estates to bring RAW's Cosmic Trigger to the British stage. (The planned show also will feature scenes from Illuminatus!, which I assume is why she had to obtain permission from the Shea side.)

That's just one of the pieces of news from a meaty email announcement that Ms. Campbell has sent out to folks on her Cosmic Trigger email list. Here are some of the other news flashes:

• A production company has been created.

• An official website will launch soon.

• There will be an event in Liverpool next month, apparently similar to the London Fortean Society event held a couple of months ago.

• The official crowd-funding campaign currently is scheduled to launch in April, but you can send in donations of 23 pounds (or $23) if you want to help now.

If you came in late, Daisy Eris Campbell is the daughter of two prominent figures in the world of English theater, the late Ken Campbell, who staged a long stage production of Illuminatus!, and Prunella Gee, a British actress. Daisy has said she was conceived backstage during the Illuminatus! production. For more on Daisy, click the tag at the end of this blog post.

Here is the text of Daisy's official communique. She said I could quote from it, so I'm sharing all of it:

Ho Ho Hail Eris! 

An update for the Cosmically Enthused

Hail n that you marvellous cosmic types,

Firstly a quick update for the as-yet uninitiated:

Plan is to stage an adaptation of Cosmic Trigger by Robert Anton Wilson, with scenes from Illuminatus! woven through, as well as a dramatised peek backstage at the original Liverpool production (directed by my dad, Ken Campbell). To be funded by crowd, staged by enthusiasts and encircled within a festival of Higher Intelligence. We've had a successful read-through of the first draft, done a talk with some scenes WATCH HERE and folk have started sending in money, despite not yet launching an official crowd-funding campaign...

Right, consider yourself initiated. And when you send in your £23 or $23 you will also become a Discordian Pope. And if you're already a Discordian Pope, then I'm excommunicating you until you cough up.

And for those of you who are Popes, here's what's happening:

All I can say is this show seems to want to happen, and bad. I'm surfing wave after wave of good will around this project, and please, keep the support coming....

So, the big news is we have the option on the rights from the Wilson and Shea estates! - Heartfelt thanks to Christina Wilson and Mike Shea for their permission to proceed with this adventure.

And we are days away from a production website. Thanks go to Dom, Gary and Bobby for this.

We have a production company: "This Book Changed my Life Productions", for projects in the genre of impossible to adapt, non-fiction life-changers. Thanks, Greg.

And we have more offers of help than you can shake a stick at. Thanks to Michelle for collating all these offers. We will be gathering one and all when the time is ripe for Britain's Got Cosmic Talent - an open-door audition event for artists, musicians, actors, mystics and ontological guerrillas who feel they simply must be involved. We agree! This event will be repeated when we get ourselves Stateside...

I've been on a crowd-funding masterclass, gleaned many good tips and have a filmmaker on board to make the campaign video. Thank you, Nic.

Thanks too to Nick and Tom for their help with spreading the word.

We have a date and venue for our next jamboree: Liverpool AirSpace 22-23rd February (follow link for some readings from Illuminatus from Liverpool actors). More talks, more scenes, more John Higgs, and songs for a Cosmic musical number or two - thanks to Richard who is on a roll. This will go up on YouTube for those who can't be there live.

And I am working on some really special rewards for the crowd-funding push (which we hope to launch in April):

an exclusive, never-before-heard interview with Shea and Wilson backstage at the NT
Ken Campbell box-set of recordings of his one-man-shows - not previously available!
The audio recording of the original Illuminatus! production
All beautifully presented in collectors' editions - oh yeah baby. Thanks to Nadia and Scott for help with this. This is subject to being able to clear all the relevant rights. Ah, bureaucracy...

And all this is thanks to the donations you have made so far - extra special thanks to Nina and Monk!


Donating before we launch the crowd-funding campaign will get you on the guest list to an exclusive after-show party - only available to the Inner Circle of early supporters.

DONATE HERE email address:

I'm going to ground for January, to get this darn second draft written, so please forgive me if I'm even slower than usual in replying to your emails. And if you see me on Twitter, boot me off.

I'll send a quick note when the website is up and running, and there will be contact details on there for other members of the team to contact if you want to get involved.

One other way you might wish to help is to put together a bit of research for me while I'm writing the second draft. I'll give you a subject and you condense what you discover into an easy-digest page or two. If that appeals, then email with the subject RESEARCH HELP.

See you on the other side.

May you achieve Pure Slack this Christmas.

xx xxx Daisy

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

More guaranteed income discussion

The idea of providing everyone with a guaranteed basic income continues to be a relatively hot topic. The Cato Institute's Daily Podcast ran a recent segment on the idea (about 12 minutes, listen online or download the MP3), featuring Matt Zwolinski, a philosophy professor and blogger at the Bleeding Heart Libertarians web site. Zwolinski's blog post on the idea is here.  The post has many links for more information -- again, from a generally libertarian point of view. Tyler Cowen posted about the idea recently.  It seems to me that Tyler's post emphasizes that Zwolinksi also talks about -- only a "pure" guaranteed income will be better than the current welfare system, at least from the libertarian point of view.

Monday, December 16, 2013

When Ezra helped James

Author and critic Ted Gioia, last seen here writing a review of Illuminatus!, has just published an article, at the Daily Beast, about two of Robert Anton Wilson's favorite writers, James Joyce and Ezra Pound. The piece, "The Letter That Changes the Course of Modern Fiction,"  details how 100 years ago Pound, at a critical point in Joyce's life when Joyce was having a great deal of trouble getting any serious work published, Pound wrote Joyce an unsolicited letter and offered to help.

Joyce, Gioia explains, had been unable to find a publisher for A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and had even once tried to burn the manuscript. Gioia writes,

"Pound proved of incalculable value to his new friend. In the coming months, he would arrange for the serialization of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in a fashionable literary journal. He sent off Joyce’s short stories to H.L. Mencken, the influential American journalist and editor. Pound also featured Joyce’s poem “I Hear an Army,” written a decade earlier and now all but forgotten, in an anthology of Imagist poetry.

"These two young men were unlikely allies. In his first letter to Joyce, Pound admits: 'I imagine we have a hate or two in common—but that’s a very problematical bond on introduction.'

"But Pound’s efforts on Joyce’s behalf didn’t stop there. He spread word of the Irish author’s genius to his numerous contacts in the literary world, and started laying the groundwork for the later success of Ulysses. In championing his new discovery, Pound brought his work to the attention of Harriet Weaver, later Joyce’s chief financial backer, and Sylvia Beach, the Parisian bookseller who would eventually publish Ulysses. In the face of every obstacle stifling Joyce’s prospects—financial, editorial, legal—his new American friend searched for solutions, and more often than not found them."

It's not a very long piece. Go read it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Latest upgrades

George Dorn Screams

I've added a couple of links to the Quantum Psychology Online Study Group links on the right side of the page; as a kind of introduction, meditation teacher Caroline Contillo's piece on how reading Quantum Psychology helped her overcome depression.  And as a kind of afterword, Klaus Pieter van der Tempel's article on Quantum Psychology. 

I've also added a couple of things to the "Musical Tributes to RAW" page, most notably a music video by the band George Dorn Screams, a Polish band. I agree with Drew Zi -- they're a good band. They've put out several albums, but all I could find on Amazon was one overpriced album. Nothing on Amazon MP3, nothing on iTunes, nothing at Emusic. Thank heavens they've averted the possibility that somebody watching their videos on YouTube might want to actually buy their music. That would be selling out!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Golden Horde photo feature

The Golden Horde was an Irish rock band based in Dublin,  remembered by RAW fans for The Chocolate Biscuit Conspiracy!, the group's collaboration with Robert Anton Wilson. The album (probably more of an EP, I guess, six songs) was issued in 1984. The songs are here. 

Nick Helseg-Larsen recently purchased a copy of the original LP from someone in France, and he made big photos of his prize to share with everyone. Here they are.  You should be able to make them bigger by clicking on them.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Join the German Apple Front!

Yes, the colors are reminiscent of a former German political party, now fortunately in decline. But you are looking at members of the German Apple Front, a German political movement that satirizes extreme right-wing groups.

Here are of the principles of the Front Deutscher Apfel, translated by Google:

1 No alienation of the German fruit stand more! In the past, purely German fruit again and again contaminated by the grafting of alien species. Stop it!

2 Tropical fruits out! There can not be that German children grow up with bananas and oranges and do not appreciate the nutritional value of a good German apple or a pure juicy pear. Therefore: close borders for foreign fruit!

3 Way with rotten windfalls! Among our German trees hangs more and more rotten windfalls around. Whether it hung formerly in German trees, it must be supplied to the national community finally a useful purpose. Power windfalls to a pulp!

I don't know if these folks have any interest in golden apples, but I noticed that the Wikipedia article refers readers to the article on Discordianism. The Boskop apple, the preferred apple of the movement, is sometimes a golden color. The group's official salutation, "Boskop Heil!", may be translated as, "May the Boskop (apple) be with you!"

Here is a sentence I liked in another article about the group: " The Apfelfront is now demanding infiltration by a government spy, saying that it will give the organisation credibility."

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Michael Johnson on RAW's "Tale of the Tribe"

In the post for the last section of the Coincidance discussion group, I admitted that I didn't know what Robert Anton Wilson was talking about in the last sentence of the book when he referred to "a centering process which I hope the reader has by now grasped intuitively since it cannot be expressed symbolically." I didn't grasp "intuitively" what the centering process was. I didn't grasp it at all.

Michael Johnson, as part of his new posting on "Robert Anton Wilson's Tale of the Tribe: Scrying for Shards," offers an apparent explanation:

RAW, in discussing Bruno, puts in bold print:
Bruno's universe, infinite in both space and time, has no "real" or absolute center, since wherever you cut a slice out of infinity, infinity remains. Thus every place an observer stands becomes a relative center for that observer. -p.205, TSOG
You're at the center, right where you are sitting now.

"Tale of the Tribe" is the book project that RAW discussed at the end of TSOG but never completed. Michael has a good discussion about it and links to this site, which I think is a kind of syllabus for Steve Fly Agaric's Maybe Logic Academy course (somebody please correct me if I'm wrong.) See also the discussion thread on TofT that Steve started years ago at the Maybe Logic Academy forum (h/t Eric Wagner for pointing it out to me.)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Latest news from Daisy Campbell [UPDATED]

UPDATE: Daisy has decided she doesn't want to discourage donations after all, so please disregard the below. Latest news will be posted Dec. 17 or 18 -- The Mgt.

Daisy Eris Campbell, busy with her plans to stage Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger, is temporarily asking people to hold onto their would-be donations and support the official funding drive, due to launch next year. She explains (after I asked if Yanks can donate $23 instead of 23 pounds),

"I'm asking all would-be donators to hold fire now until we launch the official crowd funding campaign in the new year, as we want to make sure that goes with a bang.

"When that does go live there will be an option to donate both £23 (about $36) and $23 (about £13) and plenty more for flusher RAW fans! The rewards will differ accordingly... "

I'll update with news as it becomes available.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Golden apples from Italy

(I occasionally get submissions for this blog from readers. This one comes from Fausto Marcon of Italy, a Robert Anton Wilson fan who started writing to me a few weeks ago. Using a compendium of bits and links from Wikipedia, Fausto's piece taught me a lot about apples, golden and otherwise, and I thought I would share it with you. Note that it is perfectly OK for me to reprint Wikipedia material in my blog. Or, at least, it seems to me I have complied with Wikipedia's terms. If you are curious what they are, go here.

Fausto said I could give him a name as a new pope, but don't popes choose their own names? I was tempted to dub him Pope Italo I, for Italo Calvino. Fausto lives in Treviso, not terribly far from Venice. He is the chief editor of eartbooks and is on Facebook. -- The Mgt.)

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away"- 
(a reality tunnel research about apples)  
by Fausto Marcon

Umbrella term


The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family (Rosaceae). It is one of the most widelycultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members ofgenus Malus that are used by humans.

I throw the apple at you, and if you are willing to love me, take it and share your girlhood with me; but if your thoughts are what I pray they are not, even then take it, and consider how short-lived is beauty.
PlatoEpigram VII

In the wild, apples grow readily from seeds. However, like most perennial fruits, apples are ordinarily propagated asexually by grafting. This is because seedling apples are an example of "extreme heterozygotes", in that rather than inheriting DNA from their parents to create a new apple with those characteristics, they are instead significantly different from their parents.

Apples are self-incompatible; they must cross-pollinate to develop fruit. During the flowering each season, apple growers often utilize pollinators to carry pollen. Honey bees are most commonly used. Orchard mason beesare also used as supplemental pollinators in commercial orchards.


Aztecs and other peoples in Mesoamerica used the fruit in their cooking. The exact date of domestication is unknown: by 500 BC, it was already being cultivated in southern Mexico and probably other areas. The Pueblopeople are thought to have believed that those who witnessed the ingestion of tomato seeds were blessed with powers of divination. The large, lumpy tomato, a mutation from a smoother, smaller fruit, originated in Mesoamerica, and may be the direct ancestor of some modern cultivated tomatoes.
Spanish distribution
Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés may have been the first to transfer the small yellow tomato to Europe after he captured the Aztec city of Tenochtítlan, now Mexico City, in 1521, although Christopher Columbus, a Genoese working for the Spanish monarchy, may have taken them back as early as 1493. The earliest discussion of the tomato in European literature appeared in an herbal written in 1544 by Pietro Andrea Mattioli, an Italian physician and botanist, who suggested that a new type of eggplant had been brought to Italy that was blood red or golden color when mature and could be divided into segments and eaten like an eggplant—that is, cooked and seasoned with salt, black pepper, and oil. However it wasn't until ten years later that tomatoes were named in print by Mattioli as pomi d’oro, or "golden apple".
The recorded history of tomatoes in Italy dates back to 31 October 1548 when the house steward of Cosimo de' Medici, the grand duke of Tuscany, wrote to the Medici private secretary informing him that the basket of tomatoes sent from the grand duke's Florentine estate at Torre del Gallo"had arrived safely." Tomatoes were grown mainly as ornamentals early on after their arrival in Italy. 

Fruit or vegetable?
Botanically, a tomato is a fruit: the ovary, together with its seeds, of aflowering plant. However, the tomato has a much lower sugar content than other edible fruits, and is therefore not as sweet. Typically served as part of a salad or main course of a meal, rather than at dessert, it is considered avegetable for most culinary uses. One exception is that tomatoes are treated as a fruit in home canning practices: they are acidic enough to process in a water bath rather than a pressure cooker as vegetables require. Tomatoes are not the only food source with this ambiguity: green beanseggplantscucumbers, and squashes of all kinds (such as zucchiniand pumpkins) are all botanically fruits, yet cooked as vegetables.

Tomato records
The massive "tomato tree" growing inside the Walt Disney World Resort's experimental greenhouses in Lake Buena Vista, Florida may be the largest single tomato plant in the world. The plant has been recognized as a Guinness World Record Holder, with a harvest of more than 32,000 tomatoes and a total weight of 522 kg (1,151 lb). It yields thousands of tomatoes at one time from a single vine.

Golden apple
The golden apple is an element that appears in various national and ethnicfolk legends or fairy tales. Recurring themes depict a hero (e.g., Hercules orFăt-Frumos) retrieving the golden apples hidden or stolen by a monstrousantagonist. Alternatively, they are depicted as divine food and the source of immortality in Norse mythology.

The contemporary religion Discordianism draws upon the Golden Apple of the goddess Eris, also known as the "Apple of Discord" which was used by this goddess to set off the conflict among the goddesses of Olympus that lead to the Trojan War as a result of Eris not being invited to a party (the so-called "Original Snub"). Emblazoned upon the apple is the word "Kallisti" meaning "to the fairest". The golden apple can be seen as a metaphor for a practical joke meant to cause cognitive dissonance in the target.

Golden apples in other languages
In many languages, the orange is referred to as a "golden apple". For example, the Greek χρυσομηλιά, and Latin pomum aurantium both literally describe oranges as "golden apples". Other languages, like German,FinnishHebrew, and Russian, have more complex etymologies for the word "orange" that can be traced back to the same idea.

Frequently, the term "golden apple" is used to refer to the quince, a fruit originating in the Middle East. The tomato, unknown to the ancient world of the Greeks, is known as the pomodoro in Italian, meaning "golden apple" (from pomo d'oro). One reason that oranges might be considered to be "magical" in so many stories is because they bear flowers and fruit at the same time unlike other fruit.

Apple of Discord

An apple of discord is a reference to the Golden Apple of Discord(Greek: μῆλον τῆς Ἔριδος) which, according to Greek mythology, the goddess Eris (Gr. Ἔρις, "Strife") inscribed "to the fairest" and tossed in the midst of the feast of the gods at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, thus sparking a vanity-fueled dispute among HeraAthena and Aphrodite that eventually led to the Trojan War[1] (for the complete story, see TheJudgement of Paris). Thus, "apple of discord" is used to signify the core, kernel, or crux of an argument, or a small matter that could lead to a bigger dispute.

Apples and oranges

A comparison of apples and oranges occurs when two items or groups of items are compared that cannot be practically compared.
The idiomcomparing apples and oranges, refers to the apparent differences between items which are popularly thought to be incomparable or incommensurable, such as apples and oranges. The idiom may also be used to indicate that a false analogy has been made between two items, such as where an apple is faulted for not being a good orange.
Oranges as a type of apple[edit]
In many languages, oranges are, implicitly or explicitly, referred to as a type of apple, specifically a golden apple or a Chinese apple (conferhesperidium). For example, the Greek χρυσόμηλον (chrysomelon) and Latinpomum aurantium both literally describe oranges as golden apples. In other languages like German, FinnishPolish, or Russian the terms for the bitter orange (a related species) are derived from Latin pomum aurantium. Additionally, the Hebrew word תפוז (tapuz) is a shortened form of תפוח זהב(tapuakh zahav), or golden apple.
In Dutch, sweet oranges are called sinaasappel, which is derived fromChina's apple. The Latvian apelsīnsIcelandic appelsínaSwedishapelsin,Norwegian appelsinFinnish appelsiini, Russian апельсин (apelsin) and German Apfelsine share similar etymology.

Eris (mythology)

The most famous tale of Eris recounts her initiating the Trojan War by causing the Judgement of Paris. The goddesses HeraAthena andAphrodite had been invited along with the rest of Olympus to the forced wedding of Peleus and Thetis, who would become the parents of Achilles, but Eris had been snubbed because of her troublemaking inclinations.
She therefore (as mentioned at the Kypria according to Proclus as part of a plan hatched by Zeus and Themis) tossed into the party the Apple of Discord, a golden apple inscribed τῇ καλλίστῃ (Ancient Greektē(i) kallistē(i))  – "For the most beautiful one", or "To the Fairest One" – provoking the goddesses to begin quarreling about the appropriate recipient. The haplessParis, Prince of Troy, was appointed to select the fairest by Zeus. The goddesses stripped naked to try to win Paris' decision, and also attempted to bribe him. Hera offered political power; Athena promised skill in battle; and Aphrodite tempted him with the most beautiful woman in the world:Helen, wife of Menelaus of Sparta. While Greek culture placed a greater emphasis on prowess and power, Paris chose to award the apple to Aphrodite, thereby dooming his city, which was destroyed in the war that ensued.

Isaac Newton

Apple incident
Reputed descendants of Newton's apple tree, (from top to bottom) at Trinity College, Cambridge, the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, and the Instituto Balseiro library garden
Newton himself often told the story that he was inspired to formulate his theory of gravitation by watching the fall of an apple from a tree. Although it has been said that the apple story is a myth and that he did not arrive at his theory of gravity in any single moment, acquaintances of Newton (such asWilliam Stukeley, whose manuscript account of 1752 has been made available by the Royal Society) do in fact confirm the incident, though not the cartoon version that the apple actually hit Newton's head. Stukeley recorded in his Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton's Life a conversation with Newton in Kensington on 15 April 1726

Apple Inc.

According to Steve Jobs, Apple was so named because Jobs was coming back from an apple farm, and he was on a fruitarian diet. He thought the name was "fun, spirited and not intimidating".
Apple's first logo, designed by Ron Wayne, depicts Sir Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree. It was almost immediately replaced by Rob Janoff's "rainbow Apple", the now-familiar rainbow-colored silhouette of an apple with a bite taken out of it. Janoff presented Jobs with several different monochromatic themes for the "bitten" logo, and Jobs immediately took a liking to it. While Jobs liked the logo, he insisted it be in color to humanize the company. The logo was designed with a bite so that it would not be confused with a cherry. The colored stripes were conceived to make the logo more accessible, and to represent the fact the Apple II could generate graphics in color. This logo is often erroneously referred to as a tribute toAlan Turing, with the bite mark a reference to his method of suicide. Both Janoff and Apple deny any homage to Turing in the design of the logo.
In 1998, with the roll-out of the new iMac, Apple discontinued the rainbow theme and began to use monochromatic themes, nearly identical in shape to its previous rainbow incarnation, on various products, packaging and advertising. An Aqua-themed version of the monochrome logo was used from 2001 to 2003, and a Glass-themed version was used from 2003 to 2013. With the release of iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks in fall of 2013, the logo appears flat and white with no glossy effects.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were Beatles fans, but Apple Inc. had trademark issues with Apple Corps Ltd., a multimedia company started by the Beatles in 1967, involving their name and logo. This resulted in a series of lawsuits and tension between the two companies. These issues ended with settling of their most recent lawsuit in 2007.

Forbidden fruit

Forbidden fruit is a phrase that originates from Genesis concerning Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:16–17. In the narrative, the fruit of good and evil was eaten by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. As a metaphor, the phrase typically refers to any indulgence or pleasure that is considered illegal or immoral.
In Western Europe, the fruit was often depicted as an apple, possibly because of a misunderstanding of, or a pun on mălum, a native Latin noun which means evil (from the adjective malus), and mālum, another Latin noun, borrowed from Greek μῆλον, which means apple.[4] In the Vulgate,Genesis 2:17 describes the tree as de ligno autem scientiae boni et mali: "but of the tree (lit. wood) of knowledge of good and evil" (mali here is thegenitive of malum). The larynx in the human throat, noticeably more prominent in males, was consequently called an Adam's apple, from a notion that it was caused by the forbidden fruit sticking from Adam's throat as he swallowed.

Apple (symbolism)

Apples appear in many religious traditions, often as a mystical or forbidden fruit. One of the problems identifying apples in religionmythology andfolktales is that as late as the 17th century, the word "apple" was used as a generic term for all (foreign) fruit other than berries, but including nuts.[1]This term may even have extended to plant galls, as they were thought to be of plant origin (see oak apple). For instance, when tomatoes were introduced into Europe, they were called "love apples". In one Old English work, cucumbers are called eorþæppla (lit. "earth-apples'), just as in French,DutchHebrewPersian and Swiss German, the words for potatoes mean "earth-apples" in English. In some languages, oranges are called "golden apples" or "Chinese apples". Datura is called 'thorn-apple".
Ethnobotanical and ethnomycological scholars such as R. Gordon Wasson,Carl Ruck and Clark Heinrich write that the mythological apple is a symbolic substitution for the entheogenic Amanita muscaria (or fly agaric) mushroom. Its association with knowledge is an allusion to the revelatory states described by some shamans and users of psychedelic mushrooms.[2][3][4]At times artists would co-opt the apple, as well as other religious symbology, whether for ironic effect or as a stock element of symbolic vocabulary. Thus, secular art as well made use of the apple as symbol of love and sexuality. It is often an attribute associated with Venus who is shown holding it.

Robert Anton Wilson

Robert Anton Wilson (born Robert Edward Wilson, January 18, 1932 – January 11, 2007), known to friends as "Bob", was an American author andpolymath who became at various times a novelist, philosopherpsychologist,essayisteditor, playwright, poet, futuristcivil libertarian and self-describedagnostic mystic. Recognized as an episkopos, pope, and saint ofDiscordianism, Wilson helped publicize the group through his writings and interviews.
Wilson described his work as an "attempt to break down conditioned associations, to look at the world in a new way, with many models recognized as models or maps, and no one model elevated to the truth". His goal being "to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone but agnosticism about everything.

The Illuminatus! Trilogy

The Golden Apple refers to the Golden apple of discord, from the Greek myth of the Judgement of Paris. In the trilogy it is used as the symbol of the Legion of Dynamic Discord, a Discordian group; the golden apple makes a number of appearances, for example, on the cover, on a black flag, and as an emblem on a uniform.

The Illuminatus! Trilogy is a series of three novels written by Robert Sheaand Robert Anton Wilson first published in 1975. The trilogy is a satirical,postmodernscience fiction-influenced adventure story; a drug-, sex-, andmagic-laden trek through a number of conspiracy theories, both historical and imaginary, related to the authors' version of the Illuminati. The narrative often switches between third and first person perspectives and jumps around in time. It is thematically dense, covering topics like counterculture,numerology, and Discordianism.
The trilogy comprises The Eye in the PyramidThe Golden Apple, andLeviathan. They were first published as three separate volumes starting in September 1975. In 1984 they were published as an omnibus edition, and are now more commonly reprinted in the latter form.

Shooting an apple off one's child's head

Shooting an apple off one's child's head, also known as apple-shot(from German Apfelschuss) is a feat of marksmanship with a bow orcrossbow that occurs as a motif in a number of legends in Germanic folklore (and has been connected with non-European folklore). In the Stith Thompson Motif Index it is F661.3, described as "Skillful marksman shoots apple from man's head" or "apple shot from man's head", though it always occurs in the form of the marksman being ordered to shoot an apple (or occasionally another smaller object) off his own son's head. It is best known as William Tell's feat.

"A Pembrokeshire proverb. Eat an apple on going to bed, And you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread."
"Ait a happle avore gwain to bed, An' you'll make the doctor beg his bread; or as the more popular version runs: An apple a day Keeps the doctor away."