By Charles Faris, Cosmic Trigger online reading group guest bloggerWelcome to week 5 of the group reading of Cosmic Trigger. After reading the INTRODUCTION, PREFACE, FOREWORDS, and PROLOGUE, we finally get to PART ONE: The Sirius Connection.
A little note on Keeping Together — Cosmic Trigger is composed of some 49 mini-chapters, titled and not numbered, plus some 7 odd “fables.” I will list each week’s reading by titles and page numbers. Because I own the new Hilaritas edition (2016) and an old And/Or Press edition (1978) I will use those page numbers. For simplicity I will refer to them as “new” and “old”. Since the chapters are generally from 3-5 pages in length, with the occasional 9 pager thrown in, it shouldn’t be too hard to locate anything anyone is referring to.
This week we are opening with an illustration of a seminal Aleister Crowley quotation by the exquisite John Thompson. From there we dive into the INTRODUCTORY FABLES and our first two mini-chapters—The Door to Chapel Perilous, and Did a Leprechaun leave the Simonton pancakes. All of this wonderfulness occurs between the pages of 17 and 29 (19-31 old).
At this point I am approaching the text in a couple of ways:
First, as a linear tale that begins with The Door to Chapel Perilous and ends with Via Dolorosa, all the way from “I was born” to “the final secret of the Illuminati.”
Second, as a series of themes interwoven in such a way as to Make A World in a way that a simple progressive argument could not. Cosmic Trigger is put together more like a pastiche, a cubist painting, a montage, or a hologram. Of course, the linear tale is one of those themes, the one that serves to provide drama and a sense of propulsion, as well as to lull the rational mind into a sense of safety and “understanding” while the myriad other themes warp and woof their way from one shaggy dog story to another, eventually weaving together a web that can be traversed in any time-space direction one chooses, as often as one chooses, always offering new and unusual perspectives and insights.
As a linear process, we begin with the quote from Aleister Crowley in which we are “warned against attributing objective reality or philosophical validity” to any of the models and metaphors to follow, a notion which is re-inforced in the first (How do you know?) and third (You must have a big head to hold a rock that size.) of the Fables that follow on the next page. Of course, this is a theme which we will see a lot of in the pages that follow.
We also get our first introduction to 8-circuit theory in the Fable of Ishtar entering Eternity, and of course, we will be seeing more about this as we progress.
The Door to Chapel Perilous opens with a bang. RAW gets born, becomes an atheist, undergoes 3 forms of psychotherapy, and begins experimenting with “mind-altering drugs,” all in the space of 30 years and 4 paragraphs! Over the next 2 pages (and the next 6 months) Bob introduces the notion of the multi-selved being (The Materialist), tours “the vestibule of Chapel Perilous,” and logs “40 trips to inner space” via the “magical chemical” peyote, coming to the conclusion that “one had to be a shaman to know how to use it profitably.”
Soon, Bob seems to be in telepathic communication with plants, although “the Materialist knew too much to take it seriously…” He also begins to contact various “entities”, experiences for which he tries to find a “psychological, neurological, even parapsychological explanation.” Noting that such varied historical personages as Paracelsus, Goethe, Steiner, Fechner, Carver, Burbank, Edison, Vogel, and Reich had their own experiences with various energies/entities/spirits, Wilson continues to weigh a variety of different models, ultimately finishing the chapter with “Maybe.”
In Did a Leprechaun leave the Simonton pancakes Bob lines up Peter Pan, Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, Irish leprechauns, Mescalito and a kitchen chair, and notes that they are all products of our human nervous system’s interpretation of the raw data broadcast by Universe, the three-dimensional hologram we call reality. After a long rap which ties together Mullah Nasrudin, Dogen Zenji, Dr. John Lilly, Sigmund Freud and Nietzsche, Wilson lays our interpretation of the world at the feet of The Metaprogrammer, which he declares to be (at this point) a human chauvinist.
Thematically, Wilson introduces at least 10 of the myriad ideas that will be repeatedly interwoven with the “story” of Cosmic Trigger. Like Eric Wagner wrote in last weeks comments, “I like that this book has an index.” Here is my list of 10 themes, in order of appearance, along with page numbers and incidences of repeated occurrence. Please do chime in with your own observations.
2. Against attributing objective reality to magickal (or any other) acts—16
—how do you know?—17
—zen master vs student rush to judgement/absurdity of statement—17
—through future research…—19
—being a dogmatic oldfangled…—19
—psychological, neurological, even parapsychological explanation—22
—archetype vs spirit—23
—Mescalito could be both—23
—a third model--Clarke's Law and Wilson's Corollary—24
—as many as want to—24
3. Circuit theory—17
—terrestrial and future circuits—21
4. Chapel Perilous—18
—here come the drugs—18
—the vestibule of Chapel Perilous—20
—here come the drugs—december 28 1962—19
—by mid 1963–40 trips in 26 weeks—20
—Mescalito—one day after—22
—re-organize or reimprint—19
—one can train oneself—24
—Mescalito vs kitchen chair—26
—Nasrudin, donkey, Cosmic Secret, most common error—27
—Nietzsche’s “greater artists”—28
7. Many Selves (24?)
—being a dogmatic oldfangled—19
—The Materialist had seen him…most perplexing—22
8. Multi-model perspective—22-24
9. Planet of Sleeping People
—regimented urban hive—20
—walk in mindless indifference—24
—remembering the invisible donkey (or rabbit) is the first step—28
—awakening reveals…invisible intelligence—28
—telepathic communication with plants—21
—The Materialist knew too much to take it seriously...he continued to know too much…—21
—contact with entities—21
Next week we will dive into The Kennedy Assassination and the Net and A visit to Millbrook, 29-38 new, 31-40 old.