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Friday, July 26, 2013

Another RAW interview

One of our friends over in Albion, Nick Helweg-Larsen, wrote to me to tip me off about a Robert Anton Wilson interview that isn't online.

A book called Inside Angels and Demons, by Dan Burstein and Arne De Keijzer, is a handbook for readers who want to explore what's behind the bestselling Dan Brown novel. It's apparently part of a series; there's a Secrets of Mary Magdalene, and Secrets of Inferno is coming out this September.

Anyway, Inside Angels and Demons has an interview with Robert Anton Wilson, and it's a rather good one. I'm kind of old-fashioned about the copyright thing, so I won't try to reproduce it here, but in the spirit of fair use, here's a brief excerpt to illustration why it's worth hunting up the book.

One of your characters from the Illuminatus! Trilogy begins to see conspirational connections everywhere—in numerology (the law of fives), in history, in literature both high and low, in politics, in folklore, etc. Once you begin to accept the plausibility of a conspiracy, is this sort of free fall inevitable? What can conspiracies tell us about different modes of knowing?

RAW – I suspect a great deal, but believe nothing. After finding the law of fives everywhere, I no longer claim to know anything for certain. This has led me to formulate what I call maybe logic, in which I consider ideas not simply true or false, but in degrees of probabilities. If other conspiracy theorists learned this much, they would sound less like paranoids and people would take them more seriously.
Maybe logic is a combination of general semantics, neurolinguistic programming, and Buddhism—all three as methods of bullshit control, not as dogmas. I joined the Flat Earth Society for a year once, just to challenge myself. I didn’t learn much from that experiment but it was fun. I just preach that we’d all think and act more sanely if we had to use “maybe” a lot more often. Can you imagine a world in which Jerry Falwell hollers “Maybe Jesus was the son of God and maybe he hates gay people as violently as I do.” Or every tower in Islam resounds with “There is no God except maybe Allah and maybe Muhammad is his prophet”?

Copies of the book are available cheap at Amazon. There's a whole section in the book on the Illuminati, with contributions by George Johnson, Michael Barkun, James Wasserman and Alexandra Robbins.

1 comment:

Eric Wagner said...

I remember reading this interview when I saw this book at Walmart.

I've encountered a number of high school students who believe the Illuminati run the music industry. Interestingly, I haven't encountered any high school students reading Dan Brown for a few years. His moment seems to have passed. I've seen the posters for Inferno at the bookstore, but I haven't heard anyone talking about it.