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

Thursday, August 20, 2015

RAW replies to a critic

A gentleman who reads this blog wrote to me yesterday and shared a couple of links with me (I didn't know if it was OK to give his name.) He shared a couple of links with me, including this piece from, which referenced criticism from Jay Cornell (in a review of Cosmic Trigger 2: Down to Earth) that Robert Anton Wilson's work is marred by "predictable ’80s pop leftism or nostalgic sentimentalism about the ’60s” and that “his trickster act needs updating.”

I enjoyed Wilson's reply so much, I thought I would share it with you:

“I never respond to that kind of criticism. First, nobody can be objective about his own work, and you make a fool of yourself if you pretend that you can. Second, if perchance my work has anything of lasting value, it will go on, as it has gone on for two decades, getting reprinted continually, and Cornell can’t stop it. On the other hand, if my work has no real lasting value, it will eventually all go out of print, and I can’t persuade people they ought to buy it to make me happy.”

As I've said before, I really like the second Cosmic Trigger book.


Chad N. said...

That's a good market-oriented (non) response.

I think CTII is probably my current fave too. Partly because of my own bias in liking RAW's political commentary. I believe it was in II that he discusses his being introduced to the individualist anarchists and revisionist historians like HE Barnes and Charles Beard.

I intend to re-read them as they're re-released by Hilaritas.

michael said...

I love the content, tone, ideas, and the form of CTII.

RAW once said that most readers will not discern anything about form, and if you want them to pay attention you have to tell them. Most of his ideas about form he got from Pound, I think.

RAW said CTII was "a Buddhist book" in an interview in 1994 with James Nye, collected in Email to the Universe, pp.225-226:

Q: In your second volume of autobiography, Cosmic Trigger II, there is a hint of resignation. You say that you would like to be shot into space and listen to Scarlatti. Have you given up on mankind?

RAW: That book was an attempt to present different sides of my personality as they've developed over time, and so you get the past mixed up with the present. The past does not always unfold chronologically. It's the same with ideas - some I held for a long time, some I held for just one afternoon. The book's an attempt to show there is no consistent ego. It's a Buddhist book. So the resignation was just a mood that George Bush {Sr.} put me in around the time of the Gulf War.