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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Paul Krassner is funny and interesting

Paul Krassner

When I was in college, I had a red, white and blue poster in my dorm room that proclaimed, "Fuck Communism!" I thought it was funny.

Many years later, and I've learned that Paul Krassner was involved in producing the poster. And there's a lot that I think is funny in his memoir, Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut.

There's a section, for example, where Krassner decides to try LSD.

When I told my mother about taking LSD, she was quite concerned.

She warned me, "It could lead to marijuana."

I keep reading sections of the book to my wife, and she just looks at me.

Krassner knew just about every interesting person involved in the culture. His first interview at The Realist was with Alan Watts. He knew Timothy Leary. He was friends with Norman Mailer. And on and on and on. So, reading the book tells you a lot about 1950s hipster culture and the 1960s counterculture.

There's a more direct reason for RAW fans to be interested in Krassner, which I'll get into soon. But his book is interesting on its own merits.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Paul Krassner meets Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro, hanging out with the East German Politburo. 

Fidel Castro is dead, and as usual, I feel like the odd man out. On the one hand, I am totally opposed to  invasions, assassination attempts and even trade embargoes. On the other hand, I find it hard to summon much enthusiasm for praising Communist dictators. Judging from my Twitter feed, I've failed in my duty to choose sides.

By coincidence, I've begun reading Paul Krassner's Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut, his memoirs, and Sunday I came across a passage about his trip to Cuba and his encounter with the Maximum Leader.

Krassner's mentor in magazine publishing, Lyle Stuart, was treasurer of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and in December 1960 Krassner was invited to take a trip to  Cuba. He met Fidel at a reception, gave him a copy of Krassner's magazine, "The Realist," and asked for an interview. Castro told him to set it up with his secretary.

Krassner never got his interview. He writes, "In retrospect, I would like to have asked him, 'Do you believe in term limits?' "

More on Krassner's book soon.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Interview with Kevin Carson

Kevin Carson 

Over at Secret Transmissions, Jeff Wolfe has an interesting interview with Kevin Carson, the outspoken anarchist. Excerpt:

You have written in favor of circumvention as a tactic over resistance. Can you explain that position that includes examples?

Generally it is far less expensive and effort-intensive to circumvent authority than to work within the system to change it, or to confront it head on through insurrectionary politics. 
Enforcement is the weak link in any system of power. And technology is rapidly cheapening the cost of circumvention and further increasing its comparative advantage over enforcement. The classic example is encryption and file-sharing technology, compared to political lobbying to reform copyright law or roll back the surveillance state. 

This bit sounds like somebody we know:

At the same time, power distorts information flow from bottom to top so that those in charge of the hierarchy are living in imaginary worlds (much like the people at Gosplan in the Soviet Union).

In general, Carson's politics reminds me of Robert Anton Wilson's. I'm not claiming they would agree on every issue, but a dialogue between the two would have been interesting.

I couldn't tell reading the piece what Kevin Carson actually does for a living. Does he really support himself writing freelance articles about anarchist politics?

Kevin Carson's website. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Why are the Iluminati in rap lyrics?

Beyonce, who says she's not a member of the Illuminati. “Y’all haters corny with that Illuminati mess.”

One reason that Illuminatus! remains relevant, in spite of the fact that it's also a product of a particular time, is that interest in the Illuminati has not faded. 

"Why Is Rap So Obsessed With the Illuminati?" by Steven J. Horowitz traces the first mention of the Illuminati in rap to a 1995 song, a 1995 remix of LL Cool J's "I Shot Ya." 

"It was the beginning of an entirely new school of thought in hip-hop, one as intelligent and informed as it was suspicious and paranoid," Horowitz avers.

Informed? Maybe. I like the bit about Jay-Z wearing the "Do What Thou Wilt" sweatshirt. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Nick Herbert on 'How to Contact Aliens'

Nick Herbert. Photo from his blog.

Posting at 4:23 p.m. about a week ago, Nick Herbert pens a charming poem, "How to Contact Aliens," which also reads like advice in the wake of the Cosmic Trigger reading group wrapping up. "We each attract the aliens we deserve," Herbert advises.

And if you haven't already, read "Nick Meets the Galactic Telepaths."

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Couldn't find the pictures I've taken of wild turkeys near my home, so here are Thanksgiving camels from The Wilds, near Columbus, Ohio. 

I'm grateful for all the people I've met through the blog. If you can believe what the experts say, gratitude is a major component of happiness. Happy Thanksgiving!

Link: What Supergee is grateful for.   Also, gratitude from Tyler Cowen.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bruce Sterling, in full hipster snark mode

Bruce Sterling. Photo by Pablo Balbontin Arenas, published under a GNU Free Documentation License.

Bruce Sterling is an excellent science fiction writer (I particularly like the novel Islands in the Net, which I'll always think should have won a Hugo), and also a gifted essayist. Apparently his talents don't extend to literary criticism, at least when he's in hipster snark mode.

Check out Sterling, back in 1992, weighing in on the merits of Illuminatus! and The Illuminati by Larry Burkett, a novel put out by a religious publisher which without a trace of irony warns about the diabolical alliance between liberal Democrats and the dread secret society of the book's title. Sterling does a comparison and contrast piece. Guess which work Sterling prefers:

I recommend this novel highly.  Larry Burkett's ILLUMINATI has already sold some 100,000 copies through Christian bookstores, and it seems to me to have tremendous crossover potential for hundreds of chuckling cyberpunk cynics.   To my eye it's a lot more mind-blowing than any of Wilson's books.

And to MY eye, Sterling seems to value too highly whether the late Mr. Burkett's tome gives Sterling something to snigger about.

Here is a quote from the first review listed in the "Top Customer Reviews" section of Amazon's page for Burkett's novel. "It is clearly obvious that many of those who have posted a review of this book do not understand how the Illuminati operates or they want to keep people from buying this book to keep them in the dark. I encourage you to first do some research on the Illuminati (particularly in relation to 9/11)and then read this book. The book is mind blowing and highly suspensefully from beginning to end. Keep in mind it is a novel and does not clearly lay out information about the Illuminati it simply use brilliant characters to depict how the Illuminati operates. You must read this book if you want to know the truth and as you read it think about the world we live in and what is going on today."

No doubt to Sterling's mind, people such as the reviewer, who think that Burkett's novel reveals deep truths "about the world we live in and what is going on today," are only part of the fun. It's part of the joy of being a "chuckling cyberpunk cynic."

I'll note that Illuminatus! clearly shows compassion for people trying to make sense of a complex world; the characters are doing their best, but some of them fall short. The message, over and over again, is that everyone is trying to figure out what is going on, and it's no easy task. 

Thanks to Jesse Walker, for helping me find Sterling's piece.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Adam Gorightly on two sources for Illuminatus!

Illuminati Project: Memo #5 and Memo #7 from "Pat" to "J.M." (i.e. Joe Malik) in the Illuminatus trilogy has two particularly unusual citations: An article on "The Conspiracy" from Teenset magazine, and an article from the RogerSPARK, a small left wing magazine in Chicago.

Adam Gorightly has a new posting up which reveals that both of the cited pieces were written by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea, "so in essence they were quoting themselves in Illuminatus!" 

Adam even has a PDF so you can download the entire issue of RogerSPARK.

If Illuminatus! ever enters the literary canon, future literary critics will have to acknowledge that Adam did much of the work of illuminating the novel's sources.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Wilson, Leary and William Gibson

William Gibson. Creative Commons photo by Gonzo Bonzo. 

Robert Anton Wilson and Timothy Leary were fans of science fiction writer William Gibson's Neuromancer and other books. But it seems that Gibson's isn't particularly a fan of either of them.

Over the weekend, I noticed Oz Fritz's post on "Neuromancer, Leary's S.M.I L.E. and the 23 Enigma."

Oz wrote, "Gibson seems so tuned in and turned on to Leary's vision that I attempted to find out what kind of influence Leary had on him before he wrote the book.  I couldn't find any evidence that he'd ever read Leary or Wilson, but also didn't have much time to research it. Leary and Gibson certainly bonded after Neuromancer published.  Leary developed the video game Neuromancer based on the book.  He also included the two obvious life extension methods Gibson put in the novel in a 1991 essay for Magical Blend magazine: 22 Alternatives to Involuntary Death.  This got expanded and is currently available as the book Alternatives To Involuntary Death."

I knew that William Gibson is on Twitter, so I thought I'd try to get Oz's question answer. So Sunday I posted a question and got an answer.

Oh, well! Kudos, by the way, to William Gibson for answering the question. He has about 202,000 followers on Twitter.

There is one connection between RAW and the "cyberpunk" movement.  Although I liked Gibson's Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive, I haven't really kept up with him. My favorite "cyberpunk" author was Bruce Sterling, and I've read many of Sterling's books. I don't know if Sterling ever read any RAW. But another fine writer, Lewis Shiner, was part of a group of Austin, Texas, writers who associated with Sterling, and Shiner, a big Illuminatus! fan, did one of my favorite interviews of Robert Anton Wilson. Shiner kindly assisted me in making the interview available online. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

British girl, 14, gets wish to be cryogenically frozen

Cryonics Institute building near Detroit, Michigan. By Cryonics Institute (Cryonics Institute) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Today's posting is a kind of footnote to our recent discussion of Cosmic Trigger: A British girl, 14, won a court case to be cryogenically frozen after her death from cancer, in hopes that she someday may be revived.

The Telegraph had a long story about this. You can also read about the Cryonics Institute, where the girl's body wound up, in Michigan, near Detroit.  It's not terribly far from where I live, a drive of about two hours and 45 minutes, according to Google Maps.

Sean Gabb, director of the Libertarian Alliance, discussed the case in a BBC interview (about 12 minutes).

For an American, one startling aspect of the case is the way the judge was able to issue dictatorial pronouncements about news coverage. From the Telegraph: "The case can only now be reported because Mr Justice Jackson ruled that nothing could be published until one month after JS’s death. He also ruled that her parents’ names and other specific details should remain secret."

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Mitch Horowitz' modern esoterica classics

Mitch Horowitz

Mitch Horowitz has posted a new article, "An Incomplete List of Must-Read Modern Esoterica." 

He lists 14 books, including The Rosicrucian Enlightenment and The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age by Frances A. Yates, a book often cited by Robert Anton Wilson.

None of Wilson's own books are cited, but I think we have to cut Horowitz some slack. He jokes on Twitter that the list "Comes with a coupon: 'What!! You didn't list____________?? Are you CRAZY?' "

Moreover, he's the guy publishing the new Robert Anton Wilson biography that's in the works.

Friday, November 18, 2016

A RAW meme on democracy

Thought I'd share a meme I found on Twitter. Hat tip, Angela. 

The quotation is from Chapter Eight of Prometheus Rising.

Scott Sumner, however, argued a few weeks ago that while democracy often produces bad outcomes, it remains the best available system. 

Replying to Bryan Caplan, he writes,

"I wonder if Bryan is too sensitive to the 10% of the glass that is still empty, because of the stupidity and corruption of politicians, and not sensitive enough to the miracle of our modern rich and free society, which is a product of the 90% of decisions that they get right and that we never even think about because they are not hot button political issues. Decisions like, 'Americans can own their homes.' Or 'Americans can read pretty much any book they choose.' Or 'Americans can buy cars from Japan.' Etc., etc.

"Perhaps a North Korean peasant farmer would have an easier time appreciating the 90% of things we get right."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Ted Hand calls out the trolls

Ted Hand (with Erik Davis). Facebook photo.

The Robert Anton Wilson Fans group on Facebook has many sincere RAW fans, but as in other corners of the Internet, it also seems to attract some trolls. Ted Hand posted Tuesday that he's had enough:

Cruelty has no place here. Old Bob was about compassion and empathy, and looking at every problem from multiple angles. Please don't post hate literature, including memes. I spoke at RAW's funeral and have been participating in the fan culture since the Usenet days, but I'm not going to hang around if this group becomes a cesspool of white supremacist and homophobic sloganry. Thanks to those who have already spoken out.

There's been a lot of commenting about Ted's posting, much of it favorable.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Emperor Norton isn't forgotten

Emperor Norton 

The Emperor's Bridge Campaign supports a variety of projects to support the legacy of Emperor Norton.

Follow on Twitter.

And also on Facebook. 

"Everybody understands Mickey Mouse. Few understand Herman Hesse. Hardly anyone understands Albert Einstein. And nobody understands Emperor Norton."

— From Illuminatus! Page 276

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Jack Williamson and Jack Parsons

Jeff Jones cover for Darker Than You Think

I have been reading a lot of classic SF lately (as part of my duties with the Libertarian Futurist Society) and I can report that Jack Williamson's novella, "With Folded Hands," holds up really well. I haven't yet read the novel-length version, The Humanoids.

But the work I wanted to mention today is perhaps Williamson's best-remembered work, Darker Than You Think, a werewolf novel. Have any of y'all read it? I finally read my copy after getting it autographed by Williamson at the 1998 worldcon. (Williamson, born in 1908 in "Arizona territory," spanned a long period of science fiction with his work. As a teenager, Isaac Asimov was a fan. When I was a teenager, I read some of his latest stories in the Ted White-edited "Amazing." Williamson won a Hugo for best novella in 2001).

Darker ThanYou Think is a really good fantasy novel. It tells the story of a young man's attraction to a young red haired woman who turns out to be a rather wild girl.  When I finished "With Folded Hands" the other day, I looked up entries about Williamson at the Science Fiction Encylopedia and on Wikipedia. The Wikipedia piece quotes this from Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist Jack Parsons by George Pendle:

"Parsons had a particular interest in one of Williamson's stories that had recently appeared in the fantasy magazine Unknown.
"The story's description of a scarlet-haired woman riding a great beast recalled Crowley's own personal mythology, and the tale of Will Barbee seems to have captured Parsons' imagination because it resonated with his own awakening fervor for the OTO."

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Another book that I want

Here's a book I want, published in England but available in the U.S. as an import: The Odditorium: The tricksters, eccentrics, deviants and inventors whose obsessions changed the world, edited by David Bramwell and Jo Keeling. From the publisher: "The Odditorium is a celebration of history's lesser known creative mavericks; the tricksters, subversives and pioneers whose passion and obsession proved there are no limits or rules when it comes to human potential."

One of our British correspondents, Nick Helseg-Larsen, just bought a copy. He writes, "One of the contributors is John Higgs and there is a 4 page piece on Bob as well as others such as Leary, Crowley, Bucky, Watts, and Emperor Norton."

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thinkforyourself pundits

Will Wilkinson 

I like thinkers who lean libertarian but who also think for themselves and don't just spout an ideological party line. RAW of course would be an example. I finally got a day off Thursday and created a Twitter list, "Thinkforyourself pundits," with six Twitter accounts — Scott Adams, Jesse Walker, Charles Murray, Tyler Cowen, Robin Hanson and Will Wilkinson. It's really for me, but I did make it public in case anyone else was interested. The idea is to keep up with folks who won't just spout the same old predictable stuff. The idea is to keep it manageable so I can keep up, so I'm trying to decide whether to add anyone else.

Here is a posting from back in May by Will Wilkinson on "Why Trump Might Win." Seems spot on.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Robert Anton Wilson on the election Experts

Huffington Post Expert Ryan Grim, who deserves props for apologizing to Nate Silver. 

The 2016 election was not a good outcome for some of our nation's Experts, as Robert Anton Wilson called them in Cosmic Trigger Vol. 3.

Here, for example, is the Huffington Post forecast that put Clinton at having a 98 percent chance of winning.  You can also read the Huffington Post expose of Nate Silver,  by Ryan Grim which rips Silver for saying that Trump has a chance to be elected. I saw innumerable headlines from Experts at Salon about Trump's impending humiliating defeat, such as this Amanda Marcotte piece. 

Commenting on the strange fact that Experts sometimes are wrong, Robert Anton Wilson wrote (in CT #3): "Yesterday a Gay Rights demonstration occurred in Washington. Naturally, the Expert police estimate of the crowd (300,000) falls far short of the estimates given by the Expert organizers (1,000,000 or more). Even in counting heads, people 'see' in accordance with pre-established programs."

Also: "You become a leading Expert by acting as if everybody else's opinion deserves no attention and never even deserves the courtesy of an answer."

Thanks for Michael Johnson for his help with this blog post.

Bonus links on the election:

Arthur Hlavaty weighs in. 

Tyler Cowen on who rises and falls in status. 

Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams, who predicted a Trump win, answers questions. 

Jesse Walker says third party candidates can't be blamed for the Trump victory. 

Marijuana was legalized in four more states. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Obama the optimist

President Barack Obama served as the guest editor for the current editor of Wired magazine. The issue includes an essay by the president, and as Charles Faris noted when he wrote to me to call it to my attention, "The optimistic tone here is very Bob-like." (The essay is titled, "Now Is The Best Time To Be Alive.")


Let’s start with the big picture. By almost every measure, this country is better, and the world is better, than it was 50 years ago, 30 years ago, or even eight years ago. Leave aside the sepia tones of the 1950s, a time when women, minorities, and ­people with disabilities were shut out of huge parts of American life. Just since 1983, when I finished college, things like crime rates, teen pregnancy rates, and poverty rates are all down. Life expectancy is up. The share of Americans with a college education is up too. Tens of mil­lions of Americans recently gained the security of health insurance. 

More here. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Cosmic Trigger reading group notes

Charles Faris

First of all, I want to thank Charles Faris for the wonderful job he did in leading the Cosmic Trigger online reading group discussion. He tackled each episode with diligence and insight. Consider, also, the all-star team he assembled of guest bloggers and interviewees: John Higgs, Adam Gorightly, Jack Sarfatti, Daisy Eris and Saul-Paul Sirag.

In the Week Thirty and last installment, Charles posted three comments, on 34 personalities in the book, on people in the book and on themes in Cosmic Trigger. I left them there, of course, but I wanted people to be able to easily find them, so I copied them to separate pages, turning them into appendices. All 30 installments of the discussion and three appendices are now archived as handy links on the top right of this page.

All online discussions held so far are archived here, so that if you like, you can read all or some of the entries as you read or re-read one of Robert Anton Wilson's books. There are discussions available for the Illuminatus! trilogy, Cosmic Trigger 1, Coincidance, Masks of the Illuminati and Quantum Psychology

Saturday, November 5, 2016

How would RAW vote? How will you?

Recently, Kevin Williamson wrote a piece on what William F. Buckley might have thought of the 2016 election,  noting that it's tempting to imagine what WFB would have to say, but concluding, "If you think you know what Bill would have had to say about Trump vs. Clinton — or anything else, really — then you did not know Bill."

It is also tempting to wonder what RAW would have made of the 2016 election, but his political views are not always easy to predict. I know RAW fans who supported Bernie Sanders, who support Hillary Clinton, who support Gary Johnson, who support Donald Trump.

I don't know what upset me more in the current election — the "libertarians" who wound up enthusiastically backing Trump, or the "progressive" enthusiasm for Clinton, despite her record on peace, civil liberties and other issues that Democrats care about when a Republican happens to be in the Oval Office. The only people I could relate to this time were the "lesser of the two evils" voters.

If anyone cares, I supported Johnson but wound up voting for Hillary Clinton in a vote swapping arrangement. The latest polls suggest that Trump is actually leading in Ohio, or at least very competitive. I had noticed on Facebook that a Facebook friend, a woman I knew years ago in Lawton, Oklahoma, had planned to do a vote swap but it had fallen through. I wrote to her and asked if she was still interested, and we agreed that I would vote for Clinton in Ohio, a "swing" state where such a vote is useful, if she would vote for Johnson in Oklahoma where Trump seems sure to win. I had looked forward for months to voting for Johnson, but my trade means that he didn't lose any votes. I would hate to see Trump carry Ohio. That's my ballot, above, before I mailed it in Friday. (I voted for Ted Strickland for Senate after hearing him say in a forum that his most important vote in Congress was against the Iraq War and he opposes U.S. ground troops in the Mideast.)

There is a site dedicated to this sort of thing. 

There were no Libertarian candidates, by the way, as the party is not a recognized party in Ohio. Getting Johnson on the ballot in Ohio was a big hassle.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Arthur Hlavaty on Alan Watts and on Illuminatus!

Arthur Hlavaty (with Bernadette Bosky)

You have too many publications to keep up with, I have too many to keep up with, we all do. But I look at the Supergee Livejournal blog every day.

Arthur Hlavaty on Alan Watts:

Watts Happening 

Shortly after reading Stranger in a Stranger Land, I read my first Alan Watts book. Oh. That's what "Thou art God" means. (Well, one part of it.) Watts introduced me to the whole Hindu/Buddhist/Taoist thing (and as a full-fledged sloppy syncretist, that's how I still think of it). Yes, I do realize that quantum physics doesn't really tell us that we must eat our vegetables and refrain from clubbing baby seals, but the images of unity and wholeness and interdependence that the East teaches us do have some relevance. Watts may be the best spokesman for this sort of thing, or at least he speaks to me, and he has furnished my mind: Light shines in darkness because what else would it shine in? The environment is my body. Laws against consensual sex and drugs turn the police into armed clergymen. 

On the other hand, he drank himself to death, which suggests that he was not entirely Enlightened.

My favorite brief introduction to Watts's thought is The Book: On the Taboo against Knowing Who You Are. In My Own Way is a charming, if not altogether reliable, autobio. Beyond Theology: The Art of Godmanship, The Supreme Identity, and The Wisdom of Insecurity are also excellent.

Here’s a discussion of him.

Thanx to RAW Illumination.
Tags: religion

Arthur on finishing Illuminatus!

01 November 2016 @ 05:01 am

Illumination day  

41 years ago today, I finally got my hands on the last volume of the Illuminatus! trilogy and read it. Like the authors, I knew that half of it was BS, but I wasn’t sure exactly which half. One part that was true was that it programmed me in ways that weren’t obvious for months or even years, and unlike W.C. Fields and the woman who drove him to drink, I thanked the authors for it.
Tags: annual message

[from the comments]

elenbarathi on November 1st, 2016 08:14 pm (UTC)
Sheesh, it must have been 1978 when I first read it - it was brand-new out in paperback then. How Time does fly.

Tom Jackson on November 2nd, 2016 01:53 pm (UTC)
How do you happen to remember the exact day? Do you know where you bought it? I still have my three original mass market paperbacks from the 1970s, but try as I might, I cannot remember where I bought them.

El Coyote Gordo: booksupergee on November 2nd, 2016 02:20 pm (UTC)
Paperback Booksmith in the Cross County Shopping Center (long gone of course). I kept track of things like that.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Daisy Campbell asks for help

Daisy Eris Campbell 

Daisy Eris Campbell has gone live with the new web site designed to aid the "pilgrimage" to Santa Cruz, Calif., next July, pointing to a July 23 performance of the Cosmic Trigger Play.

The site has an area where people can pledge help. Explanation:

So – here’s the plan. Should you dare to press the button marked PLEDGE, you will find a list of absolutely everything we need to make the full bells-and-whistles production. Can you bring tools, or costumes, or lights, or perform, or put one of us up – or bring us love on a Tuesday afternoon?

Listen, we’re coming anyway – a few of the hard apple core. We’ll be there the 13th-23rd July. So something will happen on July 23rd 2017, but on what scale of loveliness and magic, is entirely up to you. Will it be a read-through on the beach? Or will it be the fully costumed, lit, musically inspiring, Greatest Show on Planet World?

This may be a pretty good opportunity to find the others.

We believe that the period of 13th-23rd July in Santa Cruz may develop into a larger festival of Bob across the town. So if you’re planning any Bob-related fun, do consider bringing it to Santa Cruz over those ten days.

Hat tip, Nick Helweg-Larsen.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Michael Johnson on Alan Watts

Alan Watts. From

Michael Johnson has a new piece up about Alan Watts. The whole thing of course is quite interesting, but given the focus on this blog, I wanted to call attention to Michael's rather pithy summary of how Watts influenced Robert Anton Wilson:

Watts became a sort of mentor to Wilson, telling him there were some very interesting Harvard professors investigating psychedelic drugs in the context of religious experience. (RAW and Leary became friends and intellectual collaborators from the mid-1960s to Leary's death in 1996.) At another meeting, Watts told RAW he'd just read a fantastic book by Israel Regardie, about Aleister Crowley. RAW went on to become one of the world's most erudite explainers of Crowley, and indeed an Adept himself. At another time, Watts said that the biggest error in history books is the idea that the Roman Empire "fell." It never ended. This became a riff repeated in RAW's and Philip K. Dick's books.

Michael talks about how RAW influenced Watts, too. More here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

I keep running into 23

I have been watching the World Series games as much as I can (it really has felt like Cleveland against the world, although of course I understand why everyone outside Ohio is rooting for the Cubs) and I keep running into the number 23.

The above commercial, where "the 23rd time is the charm," has run a lot during the series.

Ben Broussard

My wife and I have been wearing a lot of Cleveland Indians garb lately. The other day, she put on a T-shirt for one of her favorite former Cleveland Indians players, Ben Broussard, and I noticed it had the same number as when Broussard played for the Texas Rangers, above. The number currently is worn for the Indians by Michael Brantley, the team's injured star outfielder.

Last night, I had the night off from the series, so I read an old story by James Schmitz, "The End of the Line," as it's being considered for a Prometheus Hall of Fame award and I'm on the nomination committee. The climax of the story is about a person hidden away in room 23 of a spaceship.

Probably just a lot of confirmation bias, but still ....