Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Brian Dean on the 'RAW Resurgence'

To learn more about "framing," you can read Brian Dean's book.

At Disinformation, Brian Dean posts a piece on the resurgence of interest in Robert Anton Wilson. He mentions the new RAW biography that's in the works and John Higgs' book, Stranger Than We Can Imagine. But he doesn't mention the Cosmic Trigger play, Hilaritas Press, the thriving RAW community on Facebook at Robert Anton Wilson Fans and Discordian Libertarians (and Jake Shannon's FnordU), Adam Gorightly's barrage of books and  his website,  and so on. I'm sure I've leaving out something obvious. [UPDATE: But see the comments. Apparently, he turned in a much longer piece.]

Dean seems particularly interested in exploring the parallels he sees between RAWs ideas and George Lakoff's ideas: "My enthusiasm for RAW’s ideas precedes my interest in the somewhat drier linguistics work of George Lakoff by about 20 years. I owe my appreciation of the importance of Lakoff’s Frame Semantics to those two decades in which I internalised RAW’s multiple-model neurosemantics approach."

Michael Johnson also has written about Lakoff. James Taranto, the right wing pundit, has argued that liberals hurt themselves if they follow Lakoff's advice. 

UPDATE: Jesse Walker also offers a skeptical take. 


Sue Howard said...

Brian mentions at his blog that the original piece was nearly twice as long (he shortened it for Disinfo's preferred max article length) - so perhaps he included some of the examples you mention in the longer version.

However, I think his point was about the current "mainstream" interest - he points out there's always been a lot of interest in RAW outside of that. (He talks about the "ironies of going mainstream", etc).

As for a lasting RAW legacy (in terms of ideas getting taken seriously in the 'intellectual' realm, long-term - something RAW expressed that he hoped for) I think the side of RAW's writing mentioned in the piece (the semantics) seems one likely contender.

I think Lakoff is mostly misunderstood on conceptual metaphor, although I'm surprised there aren't more RAW aficiandos seeing the significance there (Michael Johnson at the excellent Overweening Generalist being one example you rightly mention).

supergee said...

Lakoff is a fundamentalist materialist, but he seems to know some good rhetorical tricks

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

@Sue, I would argue that Daisy Campbell's "Cosmic Trigger" production fits the mainstream definition — it got coverage in "real" newspapers, not just weirdo websites like this one; it used "real" actors with legitimate credits.

You've made a good point. It's a good sign that big book publishers are putting out books that will call attention to RAW.

I read once that RAW was disappointed he never got much time on TV to advance his ideas.

There is something to be said for the idea that "mainstream" is hard to define. Boing Boing has done a lot to promote RAW. It sure has a big audience.

Sue Howard said...

Tom, yes I very much agree on the difficulty of defining "mainstream" - always seems a good idea to put that word in quotes.

I know for a fact that Brian's original piece mentions Hilaritas Press and the new Cosmic Trigger stuff. He also credits your blog and Overweening Generalist for keeping interesting RAW-related developments constantly alive and debated.

As Oz commented on a previous post of yours, we all have our different takes - RAW's creative sphere seemingly far too big to capture "in one go", as it were. And there's never enough room when you need it.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

@Sue Kind of ironic his piece was "too long" for the Internet. For years, when my newspaper articles were published only on paper, they were routinely cut because they were too long to fit the physical space. This doesn't apply to Internet publication, but editors are a reality on all platforms, I guess!

Sue Howard said...

Yeah. With Disinfo, they say on their site that the long posts (over 1,200 words) clash with "mobile usability", which they're trying to optimise for.

Chad N. said...

I have a somewhat unrelated question. Hopefully I'm not hijacking this thread. Is anyone here familiar with Dr. Christopher Hyatt's writings? I know who he is generally but am not too familiar with his work. I read a few essays of his in Rebels & Devils and really liked 'em. Read RAW's intro in Energized Meditation and was blown away by it. Looks like a neat Discordian-like book.

Then I listened to a Hyatt interview and didn't find him as mind-blowing as I'd anticipated. Anyone found great value in Hyatt? Was he influenced by RAW?

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

I've never read him, but he was RAW's publisher for years at New Falcon.

Sue Howard said...

Chad - I've read most of his books (not his "Black Book" series) and found much value in them. I've heard some interviews where I haven't found him convincing on social/political topics, but on the "work on self" stuff of various types I regarded him as fascinating/useful. I also found the "Undoing Yourself" Reichian-type exercises of *extreme* value, still do. Worth a look, for sure.

Chad N. said...

Thanks, Sue!

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