John Higgs' big book, Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century came out today, and to celebrate, let me point you to a recent interview with Higgs which I think illustrates why many Robert Anton Wilson fans will want to track down a copy. (The interview is illustrated with photos of Aleister Crowley and the Emperor Norton.) Excerpt:
The idea behind the book is that we're very comfortable with all the innovations and discoveries up until the end of the 19th century; photography, electricity, agriculture, democracy – as a whole, we're fairly happy with these and understand how they work. Then we get to the turn of 20th century and we get relativity, existentialism, modernism, quantum mechanics and all these things that are fairly terrifying for many of us, so we back away from them. Which results in some of us in the 21st century looking at the world through 19th century eyes and not fully making sense of it all. We need to take on board everything we learned from the 20th century and not shy away from it all.