By Charles Faris, Cosmic Trigger online reading group guest blogger
Welcome to week 10 of the Group Reading of Cosmic Trigger. This week we are covering pages 70-79 Hilaritas edition, 71-79 And/Or.
We begin with A Discordian signal from Aldous Huxley, deceased, in which The Materialist begins his experiments with Crowleyan techniques for mutating consciousness and winds up with a “cryptic and ambiguous” message from Aldous Huxley.
First off, Bob bans the use of the word “I” and bites his thumb hard whenever he lapses, entering an altered state in 7 days. He announces that he is a psychic and gives tarot readings, although this trick takes 2 years to deliver anything impressive. He also dives into “Crowley’s method for achieving and transcending religious visions.” This method is further elaborated upon in Chekovian (never reveal a loaded gun unless you are going to use it) and/or Nietzschian (Eternal Recurrence with a twist) style a few pages later when The Space Lady returns once again.
Bob claims that working with these techniques resulted in his becoming skeptical of skepticism, and achieving ecstasy and “contact” without drugs. I would be interested is what methods our readers have used, and what results they have achieved thereby.
In The Net or the Network Bob ruminates of Jano Watts’ Net and notes that Aldous Huxley was a friend of Jano and Alan Watts, as well as Tim Leary. Huxley died same day as JFK. Kerry Thornley, the "2nd Oswald," named his son Aldous Wilson Thornley after Huxley and Bob, and Aldous had originally been turned on to peyote by Aleister Crowley, who styled himself Epopt of the Illuminati.
Wilson traces another chain with Alan Watts, who introduced him to Zen Buddhism in 1957, Leary in 1964, and Crowley in 1971, leading Wilson to ponder if he was part of "a Net of coincidence or a Network of adepts."
Then Bob deftly wraps these two chains around each other (double helix?) by mentioning that Watts had been “initiated into a magickal order” by one Dimitrije Mitriniović, a “rascal guru in the tradition of Crowley and Gurdjieff.”
Key line for me: Alan Watts describing himself as neither a “Guru or a philosopher or even a teacher…I am merely an entertainer.” This seems, as much as anything, to be a fair description of Old Bob himself. An entertainer adept at planting seeds, perhaps.
The Lady of Guadalupe sees Bob quitting his job at Playboy, moving to San Miguel de Allende, first municipality in Mexico to be liberated from Spanish rule. Bob digs into the Illuminati connections of Father Hidalgo, leader of the liberation, and from there steps into the eternal re-occurence of The Space Lady, this time in her guise as The Lady of Guadalupe.
"The Shaman's whole family had now become involved in yoga and magick; weirdness was commonplace." The picture Bob paints of his family life in Mexico is touching and telling—a glimpse into the micro-world of The Author, which he balances with a short description of the crazed events happening in the world at large — “Nixon and Kent State and Cambodia and everything.” And central to it all, Tim Leary’s struggle to remain out of jail, which seems to an emblem of just how hopeful the world appears to Bob at any given moment.
A key passage here is his daughter Luna’s description of how the metaprogrammer works—“You believe in ESP, so it happens around you. You don't believe in levitation, so it doesn't happen around you.” These two sentences, ingested with the proper set and setting, could replace the entire corpus of Bob’s work on programming and metaprogramming. Any thoughts the readers has on the efficacy of simplicity vs elaborateness would be gratefully received in comments!
Standard of Father Hidalgo, Father of Mexico, featuring The Lady of Guadalupe
With so many obscure references dropped like little seeds within the pages of Cosmic Trigger, I’ve noticed that one advantage the reader of today has over the reader of 1977 is that it doesn’t take days and days in a library to (sometimes vainly) follow up on Wilson’s leads. A few of those which I found to be both interesting and enlightening were Alan Watts’ rascal guru Dimitrije Mitriniović, and Father Hidalgo, so I am including links for both of those characters.
And that about wraps up this weeks reading. Next week we will dive into Sirius Rising and The Holy Guardian Angel, pages 79-91 in both of the editions I am referencing. Please feed the conversation with your comments, questions, and cross-talk, and most importantly — Do The Exercises! (And tell us what you got!)