Monday, June 2, 2014

Illuminatus online reading group, Week 15

 Ayn Rand. Despite Simon Moon's amusing theory, she was probably not "the lost Anastasia" from the Romanov dynasty.

(This week: From page 144 "ILLUMINATI PROJECT MEMO #15" to page 154, "and you're going to tell the judge that, in exactly those words.")

Back on Page 62, i.e. Week Six, Simon Moon is discussing politics with his parents and he tells them, "You're both wrong. Freedom won't come  through Love, and it won't come through  Force. It will come through the Imagination."

His father tells him that he should concentrate on organization  instead. "If you want big words to talk to intellectuals  with, that's a fine big word, son, just as many  syllables as imagination, and it has a lot more realism to it." (Page 63)

And so now, in Week 15, Hagbard Celine explains to Simon that reality is something that is often imposed by force from the top (pages 149-150).

"Don't be  so bloody patronizing," Moon answers. "That's just Marx: the ideology of the ruling class becomes the ideology of the whole society."

"Not the ideology. The Reality," Hagbard replies, noting that in 1937, everyone in the U.S. who smoked pot became a criminal overnight, by an act of Congress. 

"And they really were criminals when the papers were signed. The guns prove it. Walk away from those guns, waving a joint, and refuse to halt when they tell you. Their Imagination will become your Reality in a second."

Moon reflects, "And I had my answer to Dad, finally ..." just as a cop attacks him with mace.

Hagbard's insight that reality is something that is created in people's minds can be illustrated by recent events. In the 1970s, gay rights were supported only by a minority of people. Today, gay marriage is becoming widely accepted. Marijuana legalization in the 1970s was something that only a few crazy people (such as libertarians) talked about; today, pot is legal in two states, and the legalization movement obviously is spreading to other states. A relatively small group of people imagined an end to the war on drugs, and now, although slowly, that's coming about.

Notes on the text:

SNAFU, page 145, later on, Hagbard Celine enunciates the SNAFU principle.

"I'm seven years older than he his," page 145, Simon Moon is talking.

"Source," page 147. The Libertarian American is a real publication, so I assume the cited article is real, but I don't know how to get a copy or who J.F.C. Moore is. Wilson mentions Moore's piece in this article.

"I was on Joyce's juices again,"  page 147. This article discusses Joyce's influence on Robert Anton Wilson.

"and Lennon's 'Why Don't We Do It in the Road?' was recorded a year in the future." Page 148. This is the Beatles song I mentioned in the discussion on Diogenes in Week 13. It's a brief song on The Beatles, aka "The White Album." And it's not a John Lennon song; it's a Paul McCartney tune.

"There thou might'st behold the very image of Authority," page 149. Hagbard is quoting from King Lear, Act Four, Scene 6: "There thou mightst behold the great image of authority: a dog's obeyed in office." This may also be a reference to an important Surrealist poem by David Gascoyne, "The Very Image."

" 'A is not A,' Hagbard explained with that tiresome patience of his," page 149. The phrase "A = A" is  used in Ayn Rand's work. I am not a Randian, but I believe that it refers to the idea in Objectivism that facts are facts, however much commie altruists might want to deny it. Steve Ditko, apparently a Rand fan, did a comic book called "Mr. A."

"I caught the reference to Aristotle," page 149. Ayn Rand was a big admirer of Aristotle. 

"that feisty little lady I always imagine is the lost Anastasia," e.g., Ayn Rand, who was born in Russia. Anasasia refers to the last czar's youngest daughter, murdered with the rest of her family by the Bolsheviks in 1918. After her death, various people claimed to be Anastasia and said that she had survived.

Grand Duchess Anastasia, who never got to grow up and read Ayn Rand.

"Property is liberty," Hagbard said. "I am quoting the same man who said property is theft." Page 152. Proudhon. See Appendix Zain, page 767.

(Next week: Page 154, "ILLUMINATI PROJECT: MEMO #17" to page 164, "That would probably be a Fascist plot, anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish and anti-Negro.")


Arthur Hlavaty said...

Private Pearson is probably Clark Kent/El Haj Stackerlee Mohammed, or related tro him.

Robert Nozick remarked that Marxism repeated itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.

"The Marx and our groupies" is a reference to "the mookse and the gripes" in Finnegans Wake

"A is A" works with things that don't change.

Thorfinn Axelson said...

Ayn Rand is smoking (but not so smoking hot). I wish you had a pic of RAW smoking as well, to indicate that, despite all their signification of understanding, they were relatively unknowing, weak egghead-aspiring Federally-controlled tobacco addicts grasping at strawmen. Neither has written an effective self-help book as Think and Grow Rich, or The Art of Money Getting. I think they both had a special cold-mania or something. Indeed, Arlen was the brains behind RaW in terms of anything grounded, Rand was, like RAW, a victim of the tobacco companies unknowingly tasked with keeping libertarians and anarchists quietly indoors reading and smoking dross as their country dissolves into nothing good at all. Mind your Business mindfucked Rand, We are One mindfucked RAW. Neither could swallow the whole Fugio cent, and regurgitate it unmarked by their personal imprinted and conditioned predjudice. Like Bill Hicks, they were performance art cigarette ads designed to make people like us, think we were smarter than RJ Reynolds. (so proud of that sentence)Neither was as good at reality-bending as the great L. Ron or M. Blavatsky! as truth-dispensers, they can't even beat one good billboard macho flash from the Marlboro Man. then again, maybe they were just human, telling their stories. A monkey can smoke and confound scientists, and fling poop around. Sombunal levity aside, Both are to be highly respected for making people think outside the Pyramid. RAW is a writer of infinite colour, urbanity and subtlety. Rand is written in houndstooth. Neither is as witty as PT Barnum, or as inspiring as Napoleon Hill. Those concerned with relationship can find what they need to live reasonably well there, Rand and RAW have all the superficial what if, stuff covered. Just label yourselves Americans, and go by the Fugio. Don't need no other label, just need to put it through the rinse cycle. What is it that doesn't change? A common cent. Canada recently gave up its copper cent (well, steel since 1980s). As people who value freedom and responsibility....This officially has nothing to do with Illuminatus! what am I doing, it's sunny outside, fence needs mending, I need a smoke.

Jesse said...

Pot legalization looked pretty plausible in the '70s, actually. In the '60s, on the other hand...

Jesse said...

(Or the '80s...)

Eric Wagner said...

I remember Bob talking about "being summoned into the presence" of Ayn Rand. While they talked, Bob put an equation on the chalkboard. Ayn said, "I do not approve of modern mathematics." (Bob said this in a Russian accent.) Bob said this imperious tone made her see her as Anastasia.

"Their Grace and My Gripes" on pg. 147 reminds me of the Mookse and the Gripes in Finnegans Wake, as does "The Marx and our groupies" on pg. 148.

McCartney, not Lennon, wrote "Why Don't We Do It in the Road." (pg. 148). Bob Wilson didn't have a huge appetite for rock.

Oz Fritz said...

There are two ILLUMINATI PROJECT MEMO #16s, one on p.146 and one on p.150. Whether intentional or not, I do not know but 16 = the key number for a Buddhist Meditation called "Beaten and Scattered Corpse" and the first Memo #16 immediately follows mention of Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield one beaten (emotionally) the other scattered (decapitated) corpses.

The second memo #16 immediately follows someone else, not sure who, getting beaten and scattered ("crumbled in pain").

p. 148: "... they were half blind, like Joyce splitting his Adam into wise hopes. And I wasn't much help, because I was too busy crying myself."

We see a Joycean pun on splitting an atom and Adam Weishaupt. "too busy crying" seems emotionally opposite the sentence before demonstrating Crowley's 0=2 formula.

p. 149: "You don't have to be a waterman, I thought, to know which way my mind is blowing"

This paraphrases a classic Bob Dylan line from "Subterranean Homesick Blues," the same line that also apparently provided the inspiration for the name of The Weathermen (Weather Underground) 60's radical group.

p.154 " The earth will die, and the stars will no longer shine! The Great Mother herself may die!" The old man was crying unashamedly. "And it will be because men do not speak words but speak shit!"

- this resembles the death of Concepcion at the end of ch. 3

p. 148: " If the things below are the things above, as Hermes hermetically hinted, then this set is the bigger set..."
- one of the fundamentals of magick theory. This set = blog comments for the purpose of this discussion.

The timing of this reading continues the strong feeling of living inside Illuminatus!I experience.

All Hail Eris and Discord!

michael said...

p.148: "What was it Charley Mordecai said: 'First as tragedy, then as farce?'"

"Charley Mordecai" was an Ezra Pound-ism for "Karl Marx." Marx said that history repeats itself first as tragedy then as farce in his _Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon_.

JCG said...

Now guns have changed the Reality. It isn't a public park. There's more than one kind of magic." p.150

As to the other kinds of magic, I believe one could be ritual magic/ initiation (p.68), and another could be image magic/model creation (p.79). In regards to these two, magic is presented as the central means by which an individual reaches higher levels of understanding.

This section is my fav.s in the trilogy as I think it offers the most lucid illustration of Discordianism's chaos ontology, aka ontological anarchism.

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