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

Friday, September 30, 2016

Review: 'Robert Anton Wilson meets Steve 'Fly Agaric' Pratt'

Robert Anton Wilson meets Steve “Fly Agaric” Pratt is really two albums in one: A spoken word album, featuring Pratt's interview with RAW, and a music album, with a soundtrack from the likes of Pratt, Youth (Paul McCartney's "Fireman" partner), Richard Rasa, Tim Egmond, Hagbard Celine and Garaj Mahal. (Pratt, a talented drummer, has played with Garaj Mahal). 

The album succeeds on both levels. The music is quite good and you can focus on that if for some reason it is not convenient at the moment to concentrate on the words. 

And the interview is meaty: While some of the topics Steve asks about cover familiar topics, he obviously worked hard to come up with new, fresh questions. (It's the only time I've seen or heard anyone ask Wilson, "What is your favorite sound?" This is a substantial interview.

You can read Steve's detailed online notes on the background of the interview, if like me you bought MP3 files of the album instead of buying the CD.

When I asked Steve if there were any detailed notes available anywhere for the musical credits for the tracks, he went to the trouble of putting them together for me. Here they are:

01. LSD.
Bob Acid by Steve Fly, feat. samples by Tim Egmond, Michael Ray (trumpet), live drums by Steve Fly, together with an excerpt from ‘Lonely No Longer’ by Youth. 2014.

02. Cannabis.
Music by Steve Fly, taken from the ‘Alan Moore discusses Robert Anton Wilson DVD, which was a perk of the Cosmic Trigger Play crowd-fund campaign. 2014.  

03. Drugscrime.
Drums intro by Steve Fly cut from the Cosmic Trigger Play, followed with ‘Nebula’ by Youth. 2014.

04. Killitics.
Drums by Steve Fly from the play, followed with ‘ by Zanoni by Rick Rasa. 2014.

05. Poundland.
Drums intro by Steve Fly cut from the Cosmic Trigger Play, followed with Shiva Nam Kevalam by Rick Rasa. 2014.

06. Satori Game Theory.
Drums by Steve Fly from the album ‘I mean you’, followed with excerpt from  by ’Suspended Atmosvex Pt2’ by Youth. 2014.

07. World Game.
Drums by Steve Fly taken from ‘I mean you’, together with an excerpt from ’Black Mass’ by Hagbard Celine (Ameoba) 2014.

08. Zen Bastard.
Music by Steve Fly, instrumental tracks ‘Mohawk’ ‘Carolina Moon’ ’My Melancholy Baby’ ‘Nobody Knows’ all from the album Mohawk, with John Sinclair.  2014.

09. Non Prophet.
Bicycling In Bombay (Steve Fly Remix 2006) by Garaj Mahal: Kai Eckhardt - Bass, Fareed Haque - Guitar, Alan Hertz - Drums, Eric Levy - Keys, Steve Fly - Turntables. Harmonized Records, 2005.

Martin Youth Glover sent a collection of remarkable ambient electronica productions for use in the Cosmic Trigger Play, used here with permission. Thanks Yoof. Garaj Mahal are Kai Eckhardt on Bass, Fareed Haque - Guitar, Alan Hertz - Drums, Eric Levy - Keys, Steve Fly - Turntables. 2005. Hagbard Celine (Ameoba) created a series of ambient works for initiatory purposes, used in the Cosmic Trigger Play. Rick Rasa also kindly contributed some of his delightful ‘starseed’ sitar compositions to the Cosmic Trigger Play. Tim Egmond and Steve Fly have collaborated on dozens of projects and tracks, Tim recorded and engineered and co-edited Mohawk by fly and John Sinclair, plus provided many useful samples used in the Cosmic Trigger Play. Thanks to Daisy and all those who helped the play see light of day, and all those who helped support the musical framework of the interview.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The illicit lure of heroin

I have been listening to the Robert Anton Wilson Meets Steve Fly Agaric Pratt album (review/article coming soon), and there's a bit that made me sit up.

There's a section where Steve and RAW talk about how drug use has gone up since drugs such as marijuana and heroin were made illegal, and Wilson remarks, "It doesn't matter if it's a good drug or a bad drug. Make it illegal and people get attracted to it."

Isn't that perhaps part of the reason why heroin use is going up? Marijuana is completely legal in some states and semi-legal in others. But heroin is totally illegal everywhere. Tell people they can't have something and it's human nature to think that if the government doesn't want you to have it, it must be great.

With the heroin/fentanyl/opioid epidemic raging across the U.S. (it's certainly big in Ohio, where I live), anti-heroin songs seem topical again. I've posted one of my favorites here, "Not If You Were the Last Junkie On Earth," by the Dandy Warhols.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Robert Anton Wilson on Hoopla

If you live in the United States and you have a library card, you should check to see if your local library offers Hoopla, a digital service that provides ebooks, audiobooks recorded music, movies, TV shows and comic books to your computer, smart phone or tablet. Hoopla is easily the best of the library digital services. If your local library does not have Hoopla, try to get a library card for a library that does.

I just ran a search for "Robert Anton Wilson" on Hoopla and found two items of interest. "Robert Anton Wilson: The Universe Contains a Maybe," is a 57-minute video. My search also turned up an ebook, Adam Gorightly's The Prankster and the Conspiracy, his biography of Kerry Thornley, which every RAW fan should read.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Adolf Hitler, junkie

It sounds like something out of Illuminatus!, but it's true: An article in the Guardian, about an upcoming book, tells the largely untold story about how Adolf Hitler was an enthusiastic drug user and how German troops used amphetamines during their invasion of France.

The book is Blitzed by Norman Ohler. It has not yet been released in the U.S. 

Hat tip, Eric Wagner.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Cosmic Trigger online reading group, Week 25!

Image of the Buddha

By Charles Faris, Cosmic Trigger reading group guest blogger 

Welcome to week #25 of the Cosmic Trigger Reading Group, in which we wrap up PART TWO: Models and Metaphors. This week we are looking at The Octave of Energy (214) and The law of acceleration (219), the first of which seems like the final pitch for the biggest of the big ideas in Cosmic Trigger (8-Circuit Theory) and the second of which provides that essential ingredient for suspense and engagement — the sense that time is speeding up or running out (“immanentize the eschaton” anyone?).

The Octave of Energy


This little chapter is a very concise attempt to tie a lot of things together — cabala, tarot, astrology, I Ching, yoga, evolution, physics, chemistry, oh my. As noted on page 218, The Game of Life gives an exhaustive view of this glass bead game of correlations; here we just get a taste.


Bob does a lot of name dropping here — Pythagoras, Leary, Crowley, Buckminster Fuller, Buddha, Patanjali, Kepler, Mendeleev, Gurdjieff — and attempts to correct a historic injustice (John Newline being laughed out of the Royal Chemical Society for daring to think up 8 families of chemicals a decade before Mendeleev), all while attempting a sort of “support by association” case for that big idea of 8 brain circuits and all that they imply (terrestrial/post-terrestrial existence, etc.).

Timothy Leary

Lots of “idea dropping” as well — Octaves, I Ching, Noble Eightfold Path, 8 limbs of yoga. planetary motion, Periodic Table of Elements. Interestingly, Bob doesn’t really dive into music here, although it is certainly one of the most potent examples of the use of octaves, and interfaces extremely well with all of the states of consciousness explicated herein.

Kepler and his octave of planets

RAW also finishes with a salvo in the direction of his own brand of tantric non-dualism — “Any attempt to describe this octave as 'mystical' or as 'materialistic' misses the real point of Leary’s work.” (219)

Dmitri Mendeleev

A quick story about Mendeleev. When he broke Church rules and remarried without the standard 7 year cooling off period, Tsar Alexander III is reputed to have said—“Mendeleev has two wives, yes, but I have only one Mendeleev.” Unfortunately for Timothy Leary, official sentiment for his breakthroughs was not quite so enthusiastic.

The law of acceleration

This riff is certainly familiar with any regular reader of RAW, and while it is certain that there is acceleration of some sort playing out globally, in this local Universe everything didn’t go “jackpot around A. D. 2012.” Of course, neither Tim nor Bob nor Terence lived to see that fantastic non-occurrence. (I wonder how Dennis McKenna feels about that?)

Robert Anton Wilson

So—what happened? Of course, it could be that the idea was nothing more than a good idea, without real legs to move it along to fruition. Then again, maybe there is something to that notion that “most of the world falls in the category between 100% proven or 100% disproven. And we live among millions and millions, or as Carl Sagan would say, billions and billions of maybes, and only a few definite yes’s and no’s here and there. And they’re usually only temporary.”

And what of the possibility that the Grand Triumvirate of Trippers — Leary, Wilson, McKenna —weren’t wrong, only a bit naive about the strength of the power structures on Planet Earth, and the inability of living scientists, politicians, business moguls etc to wrap their heads around something just a little too far-out. Such that only the ARTISTS could grok it. And of course there was the crack-down on psychedelics, which pulled the advance edge back to circ5.

Of course, the Law of Octaves doesn’t describe a smooth and even course, as we can see on the musical scale in the difference in navigating from A to B and from B to C. And there is still a lot in here to dig out, even 40 years later with no BINGO in sight.

Terence McKenna

And even today, Bob’s writing is so compelling and speaks to a desire for the sort of Chaotic Harmony that dissolves the barriers between Mysticism and Materialism, Liberalism and Conservatism, the Eristic Illusion and the Aneristic Illusion that, just like Fox Mulder in The X-Files, I Want To Believe. Then I look at my calendar and think “maybe that’s what belief will get you.” Ah well, 40 years ago it was closer to the bone when RAW wrote: “As the McKennas say, it is hard to avoid hyperbole in trying to contemplate what this means.” And then the acid supply got dialed way down.

Okay — that’s it for this week. Next week we begin PART THREE: Trigger, from A FINAL FABLE (225) through Blood of the Gods? (229).

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday links

Not the eye in the pyramid, but the eye on the Lovecraft beer. (White Ship White IPA by Narragansett Beer, photo by Chad Nelson)

A tour of Aleister Crowley places. Hat tip, Supergee.

Robert Anton Wilson thought immortality would be great, but Alex Tabarrok points out that not everyone agrees.  

H.G. Wells writes to James Joyce. "Perhaps you are right and I am all wrong. Your work is an extraordinary experiment and I would go out of my way to save it from destructive or restrictive interruption. It has its believers and its following. Let them rejoice in it. To me it is a dead end."

The highest-paid public employee in each state. Guess, just guess.

The Chasing Eris website returns. 

Peace and liberty are my two biggest issues, but that's not how some progressives feel.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Libertarianism: Freedom for ordinary folks?

I enjoyed this Roman Genn caricature of Gary Johnson that ran recently on the National Review website, which I ran across because of my habit of reading Kevin Williamson. 

Arthur Hlavaty has a blog post up musing about how he is a "recovering libertarian."  Like other posts about Johnson lately, the post references a 2011 comment Gary Johnson made about climate change. (If anyone is interested, a 2016 update is available at Reason. I personally like the idea of a carbon tax.)

And then I saw Michael Johnson's remark in the comments in the last Cosmic Trigger reading group post about "The idea that, historically, you had to evolve to a sufficiently wealthy/comfy leisure class in order to activate a enlightened hedonism and Mind Your Own Business-ism? That makes a ton of sense to me."

Arthur's post remarks on how libertarians have won, at least in part, as society has relaxed many of its rules about sex, drugs, getting an abortion, etc.

But did these rules ever apply to the rich, or just to ordinary people? Did rich people ever lack access to abortions? Did Jack Nicholson ever have to worry about being busted for smoking pot? It seems to be that libertarianism could at least partially be defined as taking the freedoms that rich people have largely enjoyed and attempting to make them available for everyone. And I would guess that being a "progressive" might mean providing a measure of economic security for everyone, not just folks who have money.

Just tossing that out there.

Michael also mentions "RAW's riffs about 3rd circ people vs. 4th circ people?" There's also a passage about another putative conflict:  "The current ideological struggle is between circuit IV tribal moralists-or-collectivists and circuit V hedonic individualists." That's a passage that I would guess Wilson's libertarian readers enjoy running across.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Special Report: The origins of 'Keep the lasagna flying'

As I mentioned about a couple of weeks ago, a German reporter named Maximilian Netter is hard at work on a German public radio documentary about Robert Anton Wilson. RAW's advice to "keep the lasagna flying" came up.

Herr Netter was busy interviewing Christina Pearson when quick-thinking Richard Rasa recorded this video:

Here is Rasa explaining the scene. Christina Pearson is of course RAW's eldest daughter, and Marlis Jermutus is Rasa's old friend and a member of Rasa's band, Starseed.

"Marlis and I had a great time in Santa Cruz hanging out with Christina and the German public radio reporter Maximilian Netter. Max is a really nice guy and interesting to us as someone from his generation who only discovered Bob’s writing two years ago through a friend who had pulled himself through rough times with the help of Cosmic Trigger. Max's focus in the hour long documentary, if I could paraphrase what he said, was to look at Bob’s view of reality and art and how that relates to the concept of Reality Tunnels. It’s public radio, so he has the time to explore Bob’s life and ideas. He had a wide range of questions for us. Max collected a lot of audio, probably about 6 hours or so just with the three of us. We had a long interview session with Christina, Marlis and me at Christina’s friend Kim's wonderful house in Santa Cruz, and the next day Christina and Max had another long session, a couple hours or longer. He had one other session with Marlis and me in our hotel room. On Saturday, with beautiful weather, he had a session talking with Christina in the back seat of my car as we drove around Santa Cruz, pointing out Bob and Arlen’s two homes, their favorite restaurants, places he liked to hang out, places where he spoke publicly, the Coconut Grove where his Meme-orial was held, and Monterey Bay where his and Arlen’s ashes were scattered.

Max interviewing Marlis (in German), in our hotel room. Marlis has spoken German to me since I met her in 1970, even before my German was good enough to follow what she was saying. Now I understand her perfectly, and so I was interjecting occasionally, although in English. My spoken German is not near good enough for a German audience. They would miss whatever point I was making while laughing at my accent and syntax. (All photo captions from Rasa)

"Before Max arrived on the West Coast, he stopped off in New York and had a session with Douglas Rushkoff. While in Santa Cruz, he also met with David Jay Brown, and I know he was planning on stopping by WAMM to see a few folks. He really wanted to meet Val Corral, the founder of WAMM and a very close friend of Bob’s, but Val is in Ireland so they intend on Skyping. After Santa Cruz, Max is heading down South to interview Adam Gorightly, and then he’s taking a little time off to visit Yosemite Park before flying back to Germany. Max really wanted to interview Paul Krassner and Nick Herbert, but sadly both of them have recently stopped doing interviews.

On the edge of Monterey Bay

"When we were all together at Kim’s, the subject of lasagna came up, more as one of Bob’s favorites foods. Before I could turn on the camera on my iPhone, Christina was explaining that her mother had an incredibly spontaneous and excitable manner when expressing herself, sometimes resulting in food flying. I clicked the record button and captured the rest of the description:

At Kim’s house in Santa Cruz. September 17, 2016. Christina, Max, Marlis and Rasa

"All of his audio in English will be translated into German for the documentary. Max says they have an interesting new way to do that while somehow preserving the English underneath. I’ll be curious to hear that. He says they would also like to produce an English language version and sell it to the BBC, but if that comes together that wouldn’t be until early 2017."

In front of Arlen and Bob’s Brommer Street apartment in Santa Cruz.

After Rasa wrote to me, I wrote back and confessed that I had never understood "keep the lasagna flying," and he wrote to me again. Rasa:

"I do believe that Bob first published the phrase "Keep the Lasagna Flying" in Reality Is What You Can Get Away With (1992).

"Here are the book's first mentions or references to lasagna representing the brain . . .

Alien Voice #4: Let there be Slack. Keep the Lasagna Flying.
CUT TO: Long shot of houses, and above, a flying Lasagna. 
(p. 8)
Lloyd: The brain has two hemispheres . . . . (graphic of lasagna flying out of head)
(p. 16)

"Bob came to take the phrase to mean something like “free your mind and keep it active.” He was a lover of Dadaism, so I think for him the metaphor seemed particularly playful. For a long time he ended all of his emails with "Keep the Lasagna Flying.” When Marlis gave him the German translation, he started using that: "Las die Lasagne weiter fliegen!"

"I think I may have written this to you once, but we had a flying lasagna incident when eating dinner with Bob and Arlen in their Brommer St. apartment sometime in the 90’s, so hearing this account from Christina was particularly enlightening for me!"

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Space colonization advancing?

Bob Richards, founder and CEO of Moon Express

The dream of colonizing space, as advanced by Robert Anton Wilson and Timothy Leary (and many others, of course) may not be as distant as you might think.

A blog post by Ryan Hagemann at the Niskanen Center's blog notes that these are exciting times for private space ventures.

"Despite what Donald Trump seems to believe,namely that U.S. space policy is “like a third world nation,” the past few days have seen a number of major milestones. Most notably, Moon Express became the first private company to receive regulatory approval to launch a mission outside of Earth’s orbit: to the moon.

"What’s more impressive is that the regulatory approval came not from one single federal agency, but from the FAA, State Department, NASA, and the White House. (To give a general sense of just how compelling Moon Express must have been able to make their case to receive inter-departmental and -branch approval so quickly, the FAA took four years just to approve initial rules for the operation of small UAS; and as discussed earlier, they weren’t even all that good.) This is a momentous event in the history of space policy, one on par with, if not superseding, the many recent accomplishments of Elon Musk’s SpaceX. But the best may be yet to come."

The Niskanen Center, if that doesn't ring a bell, is a fairly new (founded in 2014) libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C. I want to find out more about it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

'Paranoia' discovers RAW

Paranoia magazine, which publishes pieces such as "Why the Soviets Sponsored a Doomed Expedition to a Hollow Earth Kingdom" and "The Clintons, Scientology, and Drug-Smuggling," runs a new writeup of Robert Anton Wilson's Everything Is Under Control: Conspiracies, Cults and Cover-ups. Oddly, the piece doesn't really make clear that this isn't a new book.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Cosmic Trigger online reading group, Week 24

New edition of Prometheus Rising 

By Charles Faris, Cosmic Trigger online reading group guest blogger 

In 1973 Johanna Leary published Neurologic, a little book that introduces the concept and basic structure of Timothy Leary’s 8-Circuit Theory. In his biography of Timothy Leary John Higgs mentions  the profound affect that book had on RAW. After reading, re-reading, and absorbing the implications of this thin little volume Bob was a changed man. He pretty much dove into direct collaboration with Tim (Neoropolitics, The Game of Life, etc) in order to “get the word out,” or something like that. I cannot believe the zeal was anything less than that of John the Baptist, although Bob did for the most part manage to keep his head. [Does that make Johanna Mary Magdalene?]

In Tunnel-Realities and Imprints (201) Bob takes his first big stab at using words to describe something which by its nature cannot be understood by the rational mind, using the model to explain the meta-model as it were. RAW has been building up to this point for 200 pages. If the final secret of the Illuminati has yet to be revealed, 8-Circuit Theory may be the puzzle that points to that final epiphany. Bob affords it that space in the structure of this book that changes people’s lives.

New edition of Quantum Psychology 

This mystery of mysteries is the gift that keeps on giving apparently. Bob can’t seem to stop talking about it. It serves as a scaffolding for all of his subsequent work; the biggest, widest, wildest tunnel that he is ever blessed to view from, continually expanding and morphing not unlike Universe, impossible to pin down because it won’t stay damned still.

Over the course of his career post-Illuminatus! RAW kept coming back to 8-Circuit Theory, re-naming, re-ordering, and refining his understanding (and that of his readers). The chart below details a bit of this expanding/contracting/morphing—the shift in naming and ordering between 1977 and 1990.

Digging into this initial iteration of The System/Circuits According to Raw, I am faced with 2 frustrations. The first is my attempt to “understand.” Given that the system itself describes and advocates the use of 8 different “modes of being” it doesn’t make a lot of sense to obsess on grasping it solely through the use of my “thinking facilities,” and yet it is so hard not to. That’s what my thinkers like to do—figure things out! The solution I have developed in that regard is to simply view the system as a tool for discovering how to operate my nervous system. A map, and nothing more. Pull it out, have a look, fold it back up and put it away. Now go play in the territory. Of course, having a good map is quite useful when navigating unfamiliar territory, and quite useless in Chapel Perilous, which is by definition that place where none of your maps is accurate.

The awesome thing about 8 Circuit Theory, the System that is not a System (said Ouspensky on his deathbed), is that it is not just a map. It is also a telescope and a microscope and perhaps the most awesome mental multi-tool ever. As such, it is designed to be USED more than UNDERSTOOD, played with more than figured out. So the solution to my first frustration is to play with it (which includes, apparently, feeling free to re-name and re-order (and re-make/re-model) at Will), use it to look deeper into the world as well as to step back and get a broader perspective. Swiss Army Knife.

My second frustration lies in finding a more helpful way of viewing and working with Circuit/Systems 5-8 than through the terrestrial/extra-terrestrial lens. All Reality Tunnels have their limits and given my Earth-Bound Existence that particular dialectic hasn’t really served me for something like 25 years. It’s like waiting for the dog-mad Eschaton to bleeping Immanentize already! I can’t live in that space!

What I’m doing now is viewing THIS as the time of systems 5-8. I see this in how the on-line world, the social-media, are actively transforming our culture—the culture wars are being fought on-line, in the Neuroelectric/Meta-Programming circuit. As people self-select culturally, they are also then creating new gene-pool swarms. We can see how the Morphogenetic system pulls people of various DNA configurations toward each other. 

Well anyway, that’s my game. What’s yours?

Be here next week for more of this craziness: The Octave of Energy (214) and The law of acceleration (219).

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Robert Anton Wilson on the radio

I love radio and I collect radios, and I did a recent posting on a Timothy Leary speech archived at a website for KRAB, formerly a community radio station in Seattle. In response, fuzzbuddy and Jesse Walker posted links to three Robert Anton Wilson radio interviews on YouTube, which I'm posting here, with descriptions.

KTAR-AM interview on the Mel Young Show, March 6, 1988. 44:03 long. 

Interview on KPFK, a Pacifica station in Los Angeles, July 31, 1990, 1:23:20 long.

Interview on KPFK, again, on Jan. 6, 1989, 1:18:38. 

Jesse adds, "I'll be there are more floating around on YouTube."

I wish I knew how to download these as audio files.

One thing I want to note is that none of these interviews are listed in the audio links listed on I'll try to get that fixed, but in the meantime, here are three interviews for you to enjoy.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Too bad he didn't get a byline!

On his blog, Supergee links to J. Christian Greer's 2014 piece on "Timothy Leary as Illuminatus!" It's an examination of Leary's correspondence with Robert Anton Wilson, using the Leary archives at the New York Public Library. The library left off Greer's name, but it's him.

It's a piece I eventually realized I had linked to and written about before,  but it's such a good piece, you really should read it if you haven't. It's worth a "rerun" blog post.


[After explaining that Wilson and Leary had met a few times previously].

"It was the prison letter exchange, though, that laid the foundation for their decades-long friendship, during which they co-authored books, developed a psychologized form of esotericism termed “the 8-Circuit Model of Consciousness,” and collaborated on “stand-up philosophy” tours throughout the United States. Financial difficulties prohibited the Robert Anton Wilson estate from maintaining a posthumous archive, and thus the Leary papers at NYPL represents not only an essential resource for Wilson’s work, but also acts as one of the few repositories of Discordianism’s material history."

Read the whole thing. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

H.R. Giger's 'Illuminatus!' painting

H.R. Giger. Creative Commons photo by Matthias Belz

OK, everybody loves H.R. Giger, right?

I learned today that he did a painting called Illuminatus, inspired by you-know-what. See the posting at the blog "Alien Explorations,"  devoted to "Exploring the 'Alien' Movies and HR Giger."

Hat tip, Adam Gorightly.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Thursday links

Daisy Eris Campbell's Twitter image.

Daisy Eris Campbell announces two new events in London, Oct. 22 and Oct. 23.

Daily Grail piece on Kerry Thornley by Adam Gorightly. 

ACLU launches "Pardon Snowden" campaign. 

A plea for divided government. Election advice from a professor at my alma mater, the University of Oklahoma: 

"I'm making a plea for our good friend Divided Government to save us yet again.

"If you are so messed up that you are gonna vote for HRC, then please please please vote Republican in your congressional race(s) (House and maybe Senate).

"If you are so moronic that you are gonna vote for Trump, then it's kind of your moral duty to vote Democrat in the congressional races.

"My own preference would be for HRC to be prez but the republicans continue to hold both legislative branches. Her brand of lawlessness I think is more amenable to congressional checks than the Trumpster's.

"If you vote for Gary Johnson (and if I vote, that's who I'll vote for), please please please vote for the party that you think is going to lose the presidency when you vote for congress!"

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I keep bumping into David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace

I have thus far managed to avoid reading any books by David Foster Wallace, although I have a copy of Infinite Jest on my Kindle, waiting for when I have a lot of time on my hands. In a sense he is the anti-RAW, a cult writer who has a LOT of fans and doesn't need any help from me, or any other obscure blog.

What I'm struck by is the synchronicity that I keep running into Wallace in all kinds of odd ways.

Recently, I was followed on Twitter by @madampsychosis, a "book hoarding sea witch." Sounds like a good person to know! I looked at her Tweets and noticed she is a big Wallace fan.

The Alan Moore interview in the New York Times mentioned in a recent blog post surprised me because of Moore's recently-acquired Wallace fanaticism. "I’ll try not to burden this volley of questions and answers with too many mentions of David Foster Wallace."

Then Supergee points to an essay by Amy Hungerford, "On Not Reading."  The money quote: "My small act of countercultural scholarly agency has been to refuse to continue reading or assigning the work of David Foster Wallace."

What is the universe trying to tell me? And who should I listen to, the sea witch or Amy Hungerford?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Stanislaw Lem and Philip K. Dick, the Polish view

Stanislaw Lem, Polish science fiction writer and Philip K. Dick fan. 

Yesterday was the birthday of Stanislaw Lem (1921-2006), the famous Polish science fiction writer.

Lem's interactions with Philip K. Dick, a writer many Robert Anton Wilson fans also enjoy, were interesting, as this article from last year by Matt Davies from recalls. 

Lem was famously hostile to American SF, insisting to the point of absurdity that it was all junk. (In hindsight, this feels like jealousy that he was ignored in the U.S. for years while becoming famous in the rest of the world. His resentment, if that's what was happening, seems understandable). The one exception Lem allowed was Dick. Lem thought Dick was "A Visionary Among the Charlatans," as Lem put it in an essay.

Dick repaid this praise by writing a crazy letter to the FBI in 1974, revealing to the feds that Lem, “probably a composite committee rather than an individual," was the main force behind a Communist conspiracy to control American minds.

Even then, it was pretty easy to figure out that Lem was an actual person. It's also an odd conspiracy that depends upon getting Americans to read a Polish science fiction writer in translation. I made a point of reading some Lem and enjoyed his work, but I doubt most American SF readers bothered. Science fiction fans with literary inclinations did read him, but I never saw any sign that Lem developed a mass following in the U.S.

Dick also made crazy accusations about Thomas M. Disch, as this piece notes. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Cosmic Trigger online reading group, Week 23!

Charter members of the Fundamental Fysiks Group: Jack Sarfatti, Saul-Paul Sirag, Nick Herbert, Fred Wolf

By Charles Faris, Cosmic Trigger reading group guest blogger

Welcome to lucky week 23 of the RAWIllumination Cosmic Trigger Reading Group. This week we take a look at ERP and Bell’s Theorem (193) and “see what modern physics has to offer.”

Esalen Institute co-founders Michael Murphy and Dick Price

Of course, what Bob called “modern physics” in the mid 1970’s is not what we would call modern physics today. And of course, like Bob, I am not a physicist. The Author’s primary sources for information on the relationship between physics and consciousness were members of the Fundamental Fysiks Group, which included Jack Sarfatti, Nick Herbert, Fred Wolfe, Fritjof Capra, and Saul-Paul Sirag. Many of the members of this group also made up the Physics-Consciousness Research Group, which was founded by Sarfatti and Michael Murphy (of the Esalen Institute) and funded in part by Werner Erhard of EST fame.

Fritjof Capra

Werner Erhard

At the time that Bob was writing Cosmic Trigger the PCRG approach was white hot, and best-sellers such as Space-Time and Beyond (1975—Fred Wolfe), The Tao of Physics (1975—Capra), and The Dancing Wu-Li Masters (Gary Zukav—1979) were high in the public consciousness. The Zukav book in particular, partially ghost written by Sarfatti, Bob’s primary source for New Physics in CT, was a big hit and set the tone for the popularization of anything that mixes Quantum Mechanics and Eastern Mysticism into a frothy stew. Today we have Deepak Chopra, Amit Goswami, and Michio Kaku, all of whom are prone to much more Pronouncement and much less Model Agnosticism than Bob, which could explain a bit about his life-long financial struggles (but I digress).

Gary Zukav

Deepak Chopra

Amit Goswami

Michio Kaku

Of course there was also a lot of push-back from The Skeptics, led by The Amazing Randi and his famous million dollar prize, which has yet to be collected, although this is hardly surprising given that PSI, ESP, and Telepathy etc. seem to operate more in a Quantum Chaos throw the dice manner, whereas Randi wants proof that looks more Newtonian Classical, like “put that damned particle through the left slot EVERY TIME, dammit.” Again, not much Model Agnosticism going on.

The Amazing Randi

Since The Author wrote Cosmic Trigger a lot has changed as far as interpretations of Quantum Mechanics go, and there are now at least 13 competing (and perhaps commingling) interpretations currently.

Since he was apparently Bob’s primary source in the writing of Cosmic Trigger, I contacted Jack Sarfatti and asked him to bring us up to date on the information presented in this chapter. Bearing in mind that the following is Jack’s particular reality tunnel, it may perhaps be best to utilize this chapter as a historical view—if anyone has a well-written contemporary piece of similar intent and agnostic attitude, please let us know!

Herewith is my email interview of Sarfatti regarding the info in ERP and Bell’s Theorem:

CF: ERP “proves” that if Quantum Mechanics is “true” this requires instantaneous contact between some particles, even if at opposite ends of Universe.

JS: Not accurate. Back when it was written it was plausible, but no longer.
Quantum entanglement is very fragile, and for particles out in space, the initial entanglement will almost certainly be destroyed by collisions with other particles.
Even if it was not, it is of very little consequence since actual message using entanglement alone is not possible in quantum mechanics.

CF: BELL’s theorizes 3 possible interpretations of the ERP effect—QM fails, OBJECTIVITY fails, LOCALITY fails.

JS: Not accurate. Back when it was written it was plausible, but no longer.

We now know through the work of Yakir Aharonov, Huw Price, Ken Wharton, and Rod Sutherland, that the only way to correctly understand quantum theory is through OBJECTIVE LOCALLY REAL RETROCAUSALITY in which future "destiny" causes post-determine what happens in the present in addition to the common sense past "history" causes. OBJECTIVE LOCAL RETROCAUSALITY is the only way to understand quantum entanglement without violating Einstein's special and general theories of relativity.
FASTER-THAN-LIGHT NONLOCALITY never happens directly. It is a mirage, the effect of OBJECTIVE LOCAL RETROCAUSALITY as probably first explained in the 1950s by O. Costa de Beauregard as the "zig-zag" also used by John Cramer in his "transactional interpretation." Indeed, so long as the entanglement is not destroyed by environmental decoherence, the statistical correlations do not depend on the space-time separation between the localized strong measurements on each particle in the entangled network.

Quantum uncertainty (e.g. Heisenberg) in the present is only because we must integrate over all possible future destiny causes. Therefore, our quantum theory using only past causes is incomplete as Einstein correctly thought. When one includes future destiny causes "God does not play dice with the universe." However, because quantum theory does not allow stand-alone quantum entanglement messaging, the usual Heisenberg uncertainties apply as a pragmatically useful effective description for simple scattering experiments on dead matter. This situation changes for those degrees of freedom responsible for life and consciousness in open complex systems with long-range quantum coherence (as first discussed by Herbert Frohlich). The situation changes for living matter, which is a POST-QUANTUM THEORY effect.

CF: If QM fails, then we have a Whole New Ball Game—I assume we are not at this juncture.

JS: Yes, we are. QM fails for living matter. We now have a Bohmian Pilot-Wave/Beable Post-Quantum-Theory PQM that explains living matter. It solves the "hard problem" of David Chalmers i.e. how our conscious "qualia" fit in with laws of physics and it opens up the door for new kinds of super-technology.

CF: If Objectivity fails we might have an Observer-Created World, which would allow for Psychokinesis, and/or Many World’s Model, which allows for Time Travel without paradox.

JS: No, the "observer-created world" is largely a fantasy. It's the same as believing in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. One does not need to sacrifice objectivity to allow for psychokinesis, and time travel to the past without paradox. That is a wrong idea that was plausible in the 1970s when Bob wrote Cosmic Trigger, but no longer.

CF: If Locality fails we have Superluminal Information Transfer, which allows for ESP and Extra-Terrestrial Communication, and/or Synchronistic Acausal Connections, which is like a Jungian World.

JS: No, again this is muddled. There is never Superluminal Information Transfer SIT - that is Fool's Gold that we all bought for a long time. What we have is PQM OBJECTIVELY LOCALLY REAL RETROCAUSAL ENTANGLEMENT MESSAGING THAT ZIG-ZAGS IN SPACETIME AND WHICH IS MISTAKEN FOR SIT. It's AS IF there is SIT, but in fact it is BACK FROM THE FUTURE PQM messaging.

above is picture of the objective locally real but back-from-the-future retrocausal zig-zag that explains the MIRAGE the Fool's Gold of FTL spooky action

it's really BACK FROM THE FUTURE SPOOKY ACTION - that does not violate Einstein's relativity.

Bottom line—everything R A Wilson wrote over 40 years ago was how we thought back then, but no longer.
We have advanced significantly since then.

Other useful links are

If you would like to see how Jack writes when he is not trying to be simple, this is worth a look:

If this subject is of particular interest to you I recommend How the Hippies Saved Physics, which is mentioned quite a few times right in this blog. Nick Herbert’s Quantum Tantra blog is also a good place to explore if you are interested in a contemporary gloss on this sort of thing, and his book Quantum Reality is still a good look at Quantum Mechanics from the more psychedelic POV, even if it is 30 years old. Jack Sarfatti is active on Facebook and has an active blog as well. [You can also follow @JackSarfatti on Twitter — The Management.]

Okay — that’s about it as far as the physics goes. If anyone has any interesting insights into this intellectually challenging area please share them with the group. Next week we change tack and look at the Leary 8-Circuit Model of Consciousness with Tunnel-Realities and Imprints (201).

Sunday, September 11, 2016

RAW ambition

John Higgs

Back in July, British author John Higgs, just endorsed in the New York Times by Alan Moore,  kindly did a guest posting for our ongoing Cosmic Trigger online discussion group, and wrote about how Daisy Campbell faced a difficult problem in her stage adaptation of the book — how to explain the eight circuit theory without bogging down the action of the play. As he demonstrated with a video clip, she took a daring but successful approach:

"Yeah, that’s right, she turned it into a song and dance number with the personal dramas of other prisoners utilised to illustrate eight circuit theory, and she threw in a Beastie Boys reference to keep it light. She basically had a creative problem that was extremely difficult, and she solved it by making her task much harder. This is similar to the approach Alan Moore took with the chapters in the last third of his epic novel Jerusalem, where he designed every chapter to be essentially impossible to write in order to keep things interesting, for himself as much as for his readers. Sometimes wild ambition is the only sensible approach."

Later in the piece, Higgs returns to the idea:

"Do we lack the intelligence to imagine a future worth building? Here I think Daisy Campbell’s staging of this chapter, and Alan Moore’s approach to writing, can help us. When you have a difficult path ahead, intelligence alone isn’t enough. You need ambition too. Leary knew that, when he took the baton from Crowley.

"When you look over Bob’s work, it is striking that no book he wrote was easy – both in terms of explaining what it is about, as well as the challenge of actually writing it. There was a level of ambition to his books, which raised them above the general tone of the 70s counterculture and which is why we are still talking about them today. You can see why Tim Leary like Bob Wilson so much."

I wanted to note here that Robert Anton Wilson's most popular work, Illuminatus!, also was his most ambitious. It was so ambitious that Dell didn't know what to do with it at first after buying it, and finally cut it and divided it into three pieces. One of my other favorites, and the favorite of many of Wilson's readers, The Widow's Son, also is quite ambitious in structure, with an unusual use of footnotes that cite spurious sources as well as real ones.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Alan Moore in the New York Times

Alan Moore

One of my favorite bibliophile features anywhere is the New York Times' "By the Book" feature, in which a famous person is quizzed, using pretty much the same set of questions, about what they like to read.

Modern literary culture being as vast as it is, usually the persons interviewed have interests that verge from mine, although of course I enjoyed the Nick Offerman piece.  But the latest is an interview with Alan Moore, and it turns out I like a lot of the same authors he does (besides Robert Anton Wilson).  Bless him for mentioning how great John Higgs is, and here are some of his favorites: "Pynchon; Coover; Neal Stephenson; Junot Díaz; Joe Hill; William Gibson; Bruce Sterling; Samuel R. Delany; Iain Sinclair; Brian Catling; Michael Moorcock (his currently underway “Whispering Swarm” trilogy is astonishing); Eimear McBride; the remarkable Steve Aylett for everything, and in particular for his indispensable and quietly radioactive “Heart of the Original”; Laura Hird; Geoff Ryman; M. John Harrison; screenwriter Amy Jump."

Moore doesn't mention Robert Anton Wilson, but the interview focuses largely on living writers, so that's apparently why.

Hat tip, R.U. Sirius on Twitter.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A really good Adam Gorightly interview

Adam Gorightly

Over at Secret Transmissions, Jeff Wolfe does an interview with "crackpot historian" Adam Gorightly about the Manson cult, conspiracy theories, Donald Trump, and other topics. This is a long, thorough interview, and everyone who reads this blog should look at it. I particularly liked Adam's explanation of the conspiracy theory scene in the 1960s and how Wilson and Shea used those theories in writing Illuminatus! Adam also appears to have discovered where Donald Trump gets many of his conspiracy theories.

In his intro, Jeff writes, "What makes Gorightly stand apart is his keen sense of humor and healthy skepticism. After suffering through much hysteria myself, it was refreshing to come across a researcher unbent by a political or religious agenda. What I've found in his writing is a curious man, fascinated by the truly unbelievable synchronicities that lay right there just beneath the surface of some of histories most arcane events." This is true, but I would also add that I admire Adam's hard work when he researches a topic, and his modesty about expressing an opinion when he hasn't done the research. See for example this question and answer:

JEFF: What did you make of Gov. Jerry Brown overturning the California review board’s decision to grant Leslie Van Houten parole?  Do you think Brown really believes that she poses “an unreasonable danger to society” or more that she deserves to die in prison because of her crime? Or is the decision purely a safe political move for him to make?

ADAM: It’s hard to answer that without looking at what evidence was presented at the parole hearing, and admittedly I didn’t review any of that, so I probably can’t give a fair assessment if keeping her locked up was justified.

Just viewing it from a distance, I would doubt Van Houten is much of a threat at this point, but it’s become such a political hot button issue still after all these years, and what Governor wants to be remembered as the guy who approved the release of one of the notorious Manson Family members?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Michael Johnson, on asthma, mystics and artists

Aleister Crowley, asthma sufferer 

I was on vacation last week, and as part of that, I tried to avoid staring at my computer and smartphone for hours every day. Consequently, I am trying to get caught up on items I missed.

One of them was Michael Johnson's piece on the relationship of asthma to creativity; it turns out that many artists and mystics have suffered from asthma (as does Michael, who in addition to being a writer also is a musician who plays the guitar and gives guitar lessons.) Interesting piece, with good contributions in the comments. And it was Charles Faris' ongoing Cosmic Trigger pieces here that got him going.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

German public radio plans RAW documentary

The German equivalent of the BBC or National Public Radio is the ARD, which has both TV and radio broadcasts. ARD is an abbreviation for "Arbeitsgemeinschaft der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland." (Consortium of public broadcasters in Germany.) 

A German radio journalist is traveling to California in a few weeks to work on a planned German public radio documentary on Robert Anton Wilson.

The journalist's name is Maximilian Netter. He has lined up interviews with Adam Gorightly, Richard Rasa, Christina Pearson and Douglas Rushkoff, so he has good sources.

More Adam Gorightly news soon.

In other German news, Rasa reported in the latest RAW Trust newsletter, "We feel saddened but honored to take a moment to mention the passing of Dieter Hagenbach, the first publisher of Bob's books in German. As the founder of Sphinx Publishing he also brought to the German language the works of Joseph Campbell, H.R. Giger, George Gurdjieff, Jean Houston, Timothy Leary, John Lilly, Terence McKenna, Alan Watts, and others. Working closely with his friend Albert Hofmann, Dieter was a life-long proponent of the intelligent use of psychedelics. Farewell to a kind soul."

Monday, September 5, 2016

Cosmic Trigger online reading group, Week 22

Image of Dagon 

By Charles Faris, Cosmic Trigger online reading group guest blogger

Welcome to week 22 of the RAWIllumination Cosmic Trigger Reading Group. This week we are diving into the first chapter of PART TWO: Models and Metaphors (185), including FURTHER FABLES AND ALLEGORIES, and The Sirius Evidence. 

PART TWO opens just as PART ONE did so many weeks ago, with an awesome John Thompson illustration of a quote by Aleister Crowley illustrating, in more poetically concise language this time around, the Author’s notion of Model Agnosticism and the power of Doubt to refresh itself eternally while Faith always inevitably suffers and dies at the hands of newfound evidence.Bob then goes on to offer three fables which flesh this notion out, just in case you need him to slip you a convincer.

From the Sufi we discover that Doubt belongs to Eternity, From the Jewish we learn that Logic can lead to a sore nose, and From the German we learn something about the limits of our Knowledge. The stage thus set, the Author now goes about recapitulating The Sirius Evidence.

The Sirius Evidence

The question is this: “Have real honest-to-God extraterrestrials from Sirius been meddling in the affairs of this backward planet?” Because we’ve all theoretically read the previous 200 pages, and because this chapter is relatively short, I am going to stick to little things I have noticed that may shed some light or perspective on this little Summation of Evidence.

Jim Garrison

Page 189—Is Bob’s use of Garrison’s term “propinquity” (which word actually refers to physical or psychological proximity, as in "he kept his distance as though afraid propinquity might lead him into temptation" and which according to Google hit peak popularity in 1926 and began a steep decline in use beginning in, wait for it, 1973) a hidden code that all of this “coincidence” may be just that, meaningless coincidence? Recall that all of Garrison’s evidence never added up, and ultimately contributed to the downfall of Kerry Thornley.

Page 190—Bob asks, "Is it possible that the French anthropologist who collected the Dogon legends about Sirius — Professors Griaule and Dieterlen – – are a pair of hoaxers?” A few other possibilities—the Dogon were goofing on Temple, and had obtained knowledge of Sirius b from earlier anthropologists…which is the Carl Sagan stance, although that actually seems more far-fetched to me than some of the more “outrageous” ideas.

Interesting to note here the Dogon/Dagon connection, which ties in H.P. Lovecraft, whose name is the 5th “word” of this book! And for those interested in how the Pope’s hat figures into all of this…

Page 191—"Over and over," Bob writes, "one wishes that Temple had read a little in modern occultism to supplement his seven years of research into the Egyptian and Babylonian mysteries." If Temple had done his homework then Bob would have had much less to offer to the conversation!

Assyrian image

191—Temple surmises physical contact in Sumeria ca 4500 B. C., and traces this tradition via secret societies etc through Egypt, the Near East, and Greece until the 5th century AD and the neoplatonist Proclus.

191—Bob surmises telepathic contact and connects it to “the secret tradition of Tantra and sex magick in the West, the tradition of which Crowley was the latest public representative.”

192—nifty chart

193—Bob links the Crowley and Gurdjieff traditions back to that same 4500 B. C., including contact with Sirius, and decides that the most economical explanation of all this seems to be that an Earth-Sirius communication has occurred at least once, probably several times.

I have to think that Bob also pondered on many a dark and star-filled evening—“How the hell did I tap in to this channel?”

So what do you think? Does Bob make a good case? Did it seem so when you first read Cosmic Trigger? Does it seem so with 40 years under the bridge?

Next week we look at ERP and Bell’s Theorem (193) and “see what modern physics has to offer.”

Sunday, September 4, 2016

New print Quantum Psychology, new RAW memorabilia auction

A photograph of the new print edition of Quantum Psychology, in northern California

Hilaritas Press, the publishing imprint of the RAW Trust, has just issued the new print edition of Quantum Psychology. The announcement is in the latest RAW Trust newsletter, available here. 

For those of you who tuned in late, RAW's estate has been publishing new, definitive editions of his works, both in print and as ebooks. So far, Cosmic Trigger I, Prometheus Rising and Quantum Psychology have been issued, in both formats. 

The new edition of Quantum Psychology features a new introduction by David Jay Brown, and also an index of names and bibliography by Charles Faris, who is currently leading our online discussion of Cosmic Trigger I. 

Email to the Universe is planned as the next volume. 

The newsletter also has an announcement that a new auction is planned for some of Robert Anton Wilson's personal effects, including clothes that he wore, books that were in his library, art objects from his home, and so on. No date for the online auction has been announced, but see these details from Christina Pearson.  I will post an update when it becomes available.