Monday, June 15, 2015

Week 69,Illuminatus online reading group



Benjamin Tucker

(This week: Pages 756-768, appendices Daleth, Tzaddi, Vau, Zain and Cheth).

Many of the sections in this part of the book refer to individualist anarchists from the 19th century, whose teachings have ever since influenced libertarians and anarchists, including Josiah Warren and Lysander Spooner. Pierre Proudhon,  and Benjamin Tucker. 

Wilson read much of that material when he lived in Yellow Springs, Ohio,  in the 1960s, editing an alternative magazine. (That sojourn is immortalized in Illuminatus!.Yellow Springs is the home of Antioch College, where Simon Moon majored in math.) There are references to Wilson's reading material in, for example, Cosmic Trigger 2: "Two years earlier, at the School for Living library, I had read most of the classics of anarchist theory. The State was created by conquerors, these books said, to police the peoples they had enslaved. The revolutions of the 18th Century failed because, instead of abolishing the State and organizing society into voluntary communes and syndicates, we had stupidly continued the State apparatus, thinking we could 'control' it by democratic elections. These elections cannot control the state because the Great Pirates who own the Earth and its resources own the State, too, and know how to buy elections." (Page 198.)

Wilson also says, on page 206, "I learned a lot about Third Choice systems — social doctrines that were neither Capitalist nor Marxist — at the School of Living, which had a great library of radical and off-beat literature. It was there that I found and read all of the issues of Liberty, the individualist-anarchist magazine edited by the brilliant Benjamin R. Tucker ("the clearest mind ever, in politics," Joyce called him.)

So as  you can see, the roots of Wilson's anarchist/libertarian thinking reach back much farther than relatively modern libertarian writers such as Ayn Rand. (Wilson did go through an Ayn Rand phase, which he also recalls in Cosmic Trigger 2: "Like most Randoids, I went around for a few years mindless parroting all of the Rand dogma and imagining I was an 'individualist'." (Page 119).

Probably the closest modern equivalent of the sorts of people Wilson was interested in would be the Center for a Stateless Society, although Wilson remains an influence on more conventional libertarians.

There is also discussion in this section of the appendices about alternative private currencies, which thanks to the Internet are being realized in the form of Bitcoin and other alternatively currencies. Here's a review of a new book about Bitcoin. 

(Next week: Appendix Lamed: The Tactics of Magick, pages 768-783). 

81 comments:

JCG said...

Appendix Daleth is quite enjoyable as well.

Here readers are presented with the familiar (legendary) narrative concerning the Ishmailis; however, presented through the lens of the authors own spiritual commitments. For example, this particular Islamic spiritual order is portrayed as one of the myriad mystical paths (including ‘Buddhists, Taoists, Vedantists, Rosicrutians, etc.’) which all lead to the same spiritual truth. (Assumption 1) This truth is approached through the recognition of the allegorical meanings of the scriptures (Assumption 2), and this line of development ends with a theophany (Assumption 3). However, the final teachings, the gateway to supreme enlightenment, is only achieved by subjecting the theophanic to ‘the most merciless analysis and criticism’ and, the authors continue, ‘that there is no guide superior to reason.’(Assumption 4) The Ishmaelian adept who has achieved transcendental illumination was, then, ‘a total atheist-anarchist subject to not authority but his own independent mind.’ (Whoa! p.757) After undergoing a series of theophanic experiences of his own, Wilson would come to call this apex of spiritual development transcendental agnosticism.

What a fascinating model of Discordian mysticism!

Moreover, the plot of the book uses this narrative as a framework, casting Hagbard as Hassan, and the LDD as composed of loyal subjects initiated into Discordianism through the same means the Ishmaeli Imam used to induce undying loyalty in his recruits, namely, a ‘magick chemical’ which the authors refers to as ‘Alamout Black’ (described as ‘almost pure hashish with a few pinches of belladonna and stramonium’) p.759 [[[this mixture was familiar to Wilson, who personally experimented with Belladonna, and had a miserable time with it, apparently]]]].

One thing that interests me is how Wilson and Shea's use of this legend fits into Burroughs assumptions concerning the Old Man of the Mountain.

JCG said...

'since they are unaware of the secret of Magick.' p.762
Wow, what a claim. At the risk of falling into such a trap, what would you all make of interpreting the 'secret' of the number 23 as an extrapolation of the law of 5s?

Oz Fritz said...

I haven't been able to read this week's assignment yet, hope to tomorrow, but just looking at the subtitle of Appendix Daleth - "Hassan I Sabbah And Alamout Black" and the qabalah appears obvious when doing the math. Daleth is the path that connects Chokmah with Binah, the Father with the Mother; archetypal male with the archetypal female. Using Notariqon to add the intials of the subtitle we get 79. Looking up 79 in "777" it says "conjunction, meeting, union."

The next layer deeper consists of adding the subtitle's initials in sequence and taking a read on the numerical series it makes. For instance, (H = 5 )+ (I = 10) = 15 + (S= 60) = 75 etc. The series in this case comes up as: 5, 15, 75,76, 77, 79. It makes a qabalistic sentence; two of the adjacent numbers could get interpreted as male and female, and of course, it begins with the Law of Fives!

Oz Fritz said...

p.761 - the unsympathetic account of the "Tibetan system" available in "The Confessions of Aleister Crowley" appears as fantastic as anything in "Illuminatus!" I suspect other reasons for directing the reader there. Tibet gets mentioned briefly and tangentially twice in "The Confessions: (p. 320) "If you want to acclimatize yourself to mountain conditions, you can go and live a bit higher than the hillmen of Tibet. If you do this for fifteen generations or so, your descendents will acquire a thorax like a beer barrel and a heart capable of doing three times the work that it can at present. If you then get incarnated in your clan, you can lay siege to Chogo Ri ( 2nd highest mountain in the world) with a reasonable prospect of success. As the hymn says,
Patience and perseverance
Made a Bishop of His Reverence."

Crowley's second reference to Tibet bears a little, but not much more resemblance to the theocracy of Tibet: (p.474) "The general weakening of the imperial authority lead to the outbreak of raids on the part of the Buddhist lamas who lived in remote serais perched upon the inaccessible crags of the mountains bordering Tibet. Bands of these monks swept down from their fastnesses to indulge in orgies of rapine, rape, murder and cannibalism. (The official descriptions of the various hells in the Buddhist canon are of course actual pictures of fact; the tortures of the damned are simply slight exaggerations of those actually inflicted by Buddhists upon their enemies. In particular, it was the custom of these lamas to devour the hearts and livers of their enemies in order to acquire their vitality and courage. As I have already explained, I do not regard this as superstitious; I think it is practical common sense."

Seems a great deal of irony and leg-pulling similar to "Illuminatus!" among other layers of communication.

Oz Fritz said...

p.761 - immediately following the reference to Crowley's "practical common sense" we have, "For instance, the first time Simon Moon tried it, in early 1968, he had occasion to use the men's room in the Biograph Theatre (where he had gone to see "Yellow Submarine" while under the influence)..." This seems based on RAW's first experience with weed in the men's room of the Village Gate. He notably changes the year to 1968 which connects with "Yellow Submarine", both the film and the sub in "Illuminatus!"

Simon discovers the Illuminatti toilet paper with the slogan EWIGE BLUMENKRAFT! which translates as "flower power forever" and seems one good descriptor of the magick function represented by 68. That he sees it on toliet paper also appears metaphorically related to the same function.

p.762 - the last sentence of Appendix Daleth forecasts Appendix Tzaddi: "He's a studly dude..." - clearly a male dominated phrase phrase while also adding to 70 = The Devil (tarot) = the card that most strongly portrays male energy. Hasan i Sabbah X = (H. + i. + S, his, = 75 = Nuit = archetypal woman ) + (X = 90 = The Emperor [tarot] the card associated with Tzaddi) = 165 = "to make them know" and also = NEMO, Crowley's term for an adept who has successfully balanced their own male and female energies to go beyond gender. The picture of the Emperor in the Thoth tarot shows his legs in the same posture as the legs of the Hanged Man, another card that relates to NEMO. More about this in Appendix Tzaddi. Also interesting is that they spell Hasan X's name with a small i.

Oz Fritz said...

Forgot to mention that the last phrase of Appendix Daleth, "and we didn't press him." = 96 = work.

p.762 - near the start of Appendix Tzaddi: "...the secret teachings of Magick. One theorist, noting that Sidney Carlton in Dickens' 'Tale of Two Cities' is the twenty-third man guillotined in the final scene..."

"One theorist" = 79 = union which the authors connect with Daleth as noted above. Daleth connects sephira 2 and 3, (male and female) that then leads to sephiroth 1.

"Sidney Carlton" = 68; "Dickens" = male; "Tale of Two Cities" = 96. This and more in this paragraph seems to portray what happens when working with too much male energy - head cut off, etc. followed by the telegraph operator's meaning of 23: "stop transmitting ... shut up" which could be an instruction to someone working in this way.

The next paragraph brings the "Justified Ancients of Mummu," a designation which both illustrates the problem and the solution of excessive yang energy. Adding the caps, JAM = 51 = "ate, devoured;" also "pain and failure." The "o" (of) = 70, the probable cause of this failure. Mummu contains the solution as it suggests Mem(in English the letter 'm") = The Hanged Man. Also, Mummu = 132 which maybe reads as to get to one, put three before two.

I love the first sentence of Appendix Tzaddi which appears to predict that some smartass will come along and attempt to explain all this nonsense. I will take the initial meaning of 23 given and shut up ... for the moment.

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