Sunday, July 31, 2016

RAW's Cosmic Trigger predictions


Neal Stephenson. (Creative Commons photo by Bob Lee.)

There's been a lot of discussion in this week's Cosmic Trigger online discussion about Robert Anton Wilson's predictions for technology breakthroughs in the near future, including life extension and space colonization.

I wrote in the comments that "RAW's predictions on longevity have turned out badly so far, and his predictions on space travel/space colonization haven't worked out, either, but a lot of people have been wrong about the pace of space travel, including Arthur C. Clarke, who has generally done well with predictions. I've seen discussion about the unexpectedly slow pace of space travel and technology in general from Neal Stephenson, Tyler Cowen and Peter Thiel, among others." Allow me to clarify and expand on that.

Eric Wagner wrote in reply, "I don't think Bob's prediction on longevity and space migration have turned out badly. I think the changes have happened more slowly than he anticipated, but the he correctly saw the trends."

About whether life extension is likely to happen anytime soon, I am agnostic; I have not studied it the way that Charles Faris or Rasa have, so I don't feel qualified to offer an opinion. As for space migration, I tend to agree with Eric that it seems likely.

The establishment of space colonies in orbit and on the Moon hasn't happened as quickly as RAW thought it would, but a lot of other people were wrong about that, too. In fact, many people have written in the past few years about how space travel and technology in general have not advanced as quickly as expected.

Tyler Cowen wrote an entire book, The Great Stagnation, to argue that with the exception of information technology, there have been few advances in technology in the last few decades and that for the most part the way we live is very similar to how our grandparents lived.

Peter Thiel has been thinking along much the same lines, and in fact referenced stagnation in his speech about a week ago at the Republican convention, saying that during the time of the Apollo space program, "The future felt limitless."

"But today our government is broken. Our nuclear bases still use floppy disks. Our newest fighter jets can’t even fly in the rain. And it would be kind to say the government’s software works poorly, because much of the time it doesn’t even work at all.

"That is a staggering decline for the country that completed the Manhattan Project. We don’t accept such incompetence in Silicon Valley, and we must not accept it from our government.

"Instead of going to Mars, we have invaded the Middle East."

Neal Stephenson, in his 2011 essay "Innovation Starvation" (reprinted in the book Some Remarks) wrote, "I have followed the dwindling of the space program with sadness, even bitterness. Where's my donut-shaped space station? Where's my ticket to Mars? ... I worry that our inability to match the achievements of the 1960s space program may be symptomatic of a general failure of our society to get big things done. My parents and grandparents witnessed the creation of the airplane, the automobile, nuclear energy, and the computer, to name only a few."

What steps should be taken to revive a sense of optimism about technology and "get things done"?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Forty years later, the album is released


Delayed works of art have a certain mystique to them. Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes album was a bootlegged record for years before it was finally released. Illuminatus! sat in the offices of the Dell publishing company for awhile before it came out, although I've never been able to determine exactly how long (or which editor bought the original manuscript.

I have a story up at my newspaper about the above album, French Pictures in London, by Robert Bensick. The album was recorded in 1975 in Cleveland; Bensick now is 66 and runs a bed and breakfast in Tampa, Fla. The album comes out of the 1970s rock music "underground" in Cleveland; two musicians in the album became part of Pere Ubu, and two other Ubu members had played with Bensick.

A couple of connections to the interests of people on this blog: Bensick was a person who was interested in psychedelics (see the peyote anecdote in my article) and an artist who eventually became very interested in using computers. He now owns three computers, and his "paint brush" in recent years has been his mouse, he told me. When I mentioned that the psychedelics to computers path was taken by many people, including Timothy Leary, Bensick replied, "“I was blessed to share three days with his partner, Dr. Richard Alpert, who became Ram Dass.”

As I worked on my story, I corresponded with Nick Blakey, a researcher, writer, and coordinator for Smog Veil Records, Bensick's record label. He wrote the very detailed liner notes for French Pictures in London.

I was surprised to see that Nick's email address had a "23" in it and told him about my blog. He explained that when he set up the account, he was a big fan of Throbbing Gristle/Coil/Psychic TV, which got the number from William Burroughs, RAW, Brion Gysin, etc.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Auction planned of RAW personal items [UPDATED]


Christina Pearson in Moab, Utah 


UPDATE:  Above is the poster for the ill-fated UFO conference. Please see the comments. 

A bit of additional news from yesterday's RAW Trust email newsletter: Christina Pearson is planning a new auction of RAW items. Here's  Christina:

Recently, I have been going through boxes of my dad’s possessions that I put aside to be sorted after we moved here, and as a result have decided to auction off some interesting RAW memorabilia, shirts, and various odd and not-so-odd items. Why? Because People periodically ask me if they can have something of Bob’s, and because the income from the auction will help us move forward! And in opening the boxes, I realized, why should it all stay in boxes in my garage? Although I will admit I had a “moment,” a moment in which I suddenly missed my parents terribly – which was not expected, and overwhelmed me for a few minutes with the desire to not let anything go.

But doing this may bring others moments of joy, and perhaps even hilarity… For instance I have a never-worn tee-shirt that was given to Bob when he was a presenter at NUFOC 2001 (that’s National UFO Conference for those not “in the know”) where in small print under his name it introduces him as “Lord of the Illuminati!”

So keep your eyes peeled, as I have begun setting up the Ebay site. It should be up within 2 weeks or so, and Rasa and I will make sure to send out an announcement about it.

I'll let you know about the follow-up details.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

New 'Quantum Psychology' ebook released



The new Hilaritas Press ebook of Quantum Psychology has been released by the RAW estate, with a new print version to follow in a few weeks. Full announcement here.

The book features a new introduction by David J. Brown, and Charles Faris and Nick Herbert helped to correct errors to make this the most authoritative text to date.

From Rasa's announcement:

With an insightful perspective, David Jay Brown, a close friend to Bob, offers an overview of the themes in his new Introduction to Quantum Psychology.

"Robert Anton Wilson had a remarkable talent for leading readers to question assumptions that they didn’t even know that they had, and redefine their unconsciously-constructed notions of reality. He had an uncanny ability to lead his readers, unsuspectingly, into a mutable state of mind where they are playfully tricked into “aha” experiences that cause them to question their most basic assumptions about what is real and what isn’t."

Thanks once again for a great cover from Scott (amoeba) McPherson!

A special enormous amount of gratitude goes to Charles Faris, who poured over Quantum Psychology like a detective uncovering OCR errors & typos, but also a number of old misprints that went uncorrected for years. Chas found the time to do a thorough proofreading of Quantum Psychology while he was in the middle of conducting rawillumination.net's current Cosmic Trigger Reading Group. Do check in with the reading group for a fascinating exploration of Bob's journey through Chapel Perilous. Don't ask us how he did this, but in addition to the above, Chas volunteered to build an Index of Names and a Bibliography for Quantum Psychology that have been included to this new Hilaritas Press edition. 

Another thank you goes out to physicist and Intelligence Agent Nick Herbert who came to the rescue by helping us fix a broken paragraph in Quantum Psychology that probably left thoughtful readers perplexed for years. We suspect that words were misplaced when the original manuscript was typed out for the previous publisher's initial release. We are THRILLED to have the opportunity and generous expertise required to improve Bob's books!

After you buy the book, try the online reading group archived on the right side of this page.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday links


Robert Anton Wilson's "hippie physicist" friends from Cosmic Trigger. Source. 

Brief report on Festival 23. I'm guessing Cat Vincent will write more about it.

Robert Graves' son talks about his dad.

Phillip K. Dick's Man in the High Castle wasn't a smash hit at first. (I re-read it a couple of years ago and was struck anew at how great it is.) Via Roman Tsivkin on Twitter. I think it's his fault, too, that I saw this horrible Tweet. 

Special offer from Tyler Cowen. He'll update when the Kindle becomes available.

How William Burroughs' drug experiments fueled neurology research. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

When in Chicago, drink Illuminated beer


From Chicago, where the Illuminatus! trilogy is written, Illuminated Brew Works has arisen,  offering products such as "Fnord," "Kallisti" and "Orange Sunshine."

Before I did this blog post, I did a little research to verify that this company is real. Apparently it is. But it's also not a big company; the beer is only available in Chicago. (If you do make it to Chicago, the official web site  has a handy list of restaurants, bars and bottle stores where it is available.) 

I looked at a couple of interviews, but these guys are pretty coy about the name.

They focus on making Belgian beers, by the way, and the company offers nice-looking T-shirts.  

Hat tip, Adam Gorightly on Facebook.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Cosmic Trigger online reading group, Week 16!

British science fiction giant Arthur C. Clarke 

By Charles Faris, Cosmic Trigger reading group guest blogger 

Welcome to week 16 of the RAWIllumination Cosmic Trigger Reading Group. As I am writing this post I note that we are one day past the mid-point of Sirius’ journey “behind” our Sun, one day after Bob’s “July 23 experience with Sirius,” and that this week we pass through the exact halfway point of the book, which point is marked in the new Hilaritas edition with John Thompson’s illustration of “Space Travel is Time Travel,” which contains an image of a journey with an obvious halfway point—all of which brings to mind this bit from T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets:

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”


T.S. Eliot

This week, starting on page 121 (Hilaritas) And/Or page 120,  we are covering The prospects for immortality and Stopping the biological clock, both of which beg the question of how Bob could get so much so right while simultaneously getting so much so wrong. Only his metaprogrammer knows for sure, and I think it might have something to do with prognostication being a risky business at the best of times, and even more so when we are emotionally involved with the subject of our predictions.

The driving force for Bob’s interest in life extension and immortality appears to be Dr. Timothy Leary, at the time sitting in the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, theoretically serving a 30 year sentence which in his case would have been Life, if he hadn’t negotiated himself out of jail. (Ironically, Leary died in 1996, exactly 30 years after that sentence was first handed down.)

More irony—of all the predictions of imminent immortality that Bob pulls out for these two chapters, only that of Arthur C. Clarke has yet to be proven false, A. C. being clever enough to offer a prediction for immortality (end of the 21st century) far beyond his own expected lifespan (Clarke died in 2008).

Of course, there are still plenty of folks in the immortality game, mostly tech giants from Silicon Valley, and the conversation doesn’t seem much changed from 1977 when Cosmic Trigger was first published. Time traveling back to where we began?

That said, I must say that in the decade after I first read CT, 1979-1989, I was much convinced and enthused by Bob’s line of reasoning, at one point writing a paper for my favorite philosophy professor (in a class covering quite a few of Bob’s favorites (Nietzsche, Husserl, James, etc) taking contemporary philosophy to task for failing to deal with our eventual immortality, an idea my professor deemed “insane.” At the time I considered him hopelessly out of touch.

In the intervening years, as the predictions continued to fail, and my understanding of the statistical underpinnings of life expectancy increased, I began to notice more of Bob’s blind spots, and now hold a view that immortality “is” both unlikely and undesirable, for psychological, evolutionary, economic, and ecological reasons. Then again, in a hundred years I may be proven wrong, although like Arthur C. Clarke I won’t be around to find out.


Craig Venter, CEO of Human Longevity Inc., and one of the first to sequence the human genome

Continued irony—just a few days ago, on July 8, the oldest person in the US died at 113, and the next day the oldest person in the UK died at 113. Then on July 12 the oldest person on the planet died in Vietnam at age 123.

Timothy Leary lived to be 76. Bob died at 74.

Any thoughts on longevity, life extension, and immortality? Please chime in!

Next week, we will be reading 4 short chapters, beginning with Appearances and Disappearances (131 Hilaritas, And/Or 130) and finishing with Nikola Tesla, secular shaman. Until then, keep on making the most of the dog days.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Coming attractions: Adam Gorightly


Adam Gorightly, very slightly younger than he is now, with Robert Anton Wilson. 

Fresh from his triumph in snagging last Monday's guest post from British author John Higgs, one of my favorite writers, Cosmic Trigger guest blogger/Chapel Perilous guru Charles Faris has now landed your favorite Discordian historian, Adam Gorightly.

Adam wrote some wonderful pieces for the Illuminatus! online discussion, providing insight on the Discordian origins of that work. As the author of Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Investigation, plus a separate Kerry Thornley biography, The Prankster and the Conspiracy, he is the best qualified person on the planet to provide background for Cosmic Trigger readers on the Garrison-Thornley feud that Robert Anton Wilson references.

Look for Adam's piece when we get to Week 18, August 8, I think.

In the meantime, please continue to join us as Charles serves as our faithful guide to Chapel Perilous.

More on Adam here and here. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Kevin Williamson on belief systems


Kevin Williamson 

In the middle of a column about libertarianism that I thought was correct in parts and a bit confused in places, Kevin Williamson writes some good sentences about belief systems:

The complexity of the real world exceeds what can be adequately addressed by our ideologies, and the variety of real human beings — and real human experience — means that there are real differences in basic, fundamental values. Most people do not want their values to be tolerated — they want their values to prevail. 

There'a also an archive of his columns (he is conservative but generally interesting).

Incidentally, I noticed that Twitter yesterday was an example of belief systems swinging into action. When news broke about the latest gun massacre in Munich,  my timeline was full of Tweets from leftist sure that the killer was a fascist, and Tweets from right wingers sure that he was an Islamist. Few people seemed to be willing to wait and see what the facts revealed. They were more interested in their imagined enemies than the "complexity of the real world."

Friday, July 22, 2016

Convention notes


Peter Thiel

I've just finished helping to cover the Republican convention in Cleveland for my newspaper (I live in metropolitan Cleveland). Most of my coverage is not particularly germane to this blog, but a couple of notes:

(1) I interviewed Lucy Steigerwald about Antiwar.com; my piece is here.

(2) I never heard back on my request to interview Peter Thiel. No doubt he'll feel terrible when he hears he missed his chance to be interviewed by RAWIllumination.net. Probably because I work for a small newspaper in Sandusky, I didn't do that well with my interview requests. I did get an interview with Lucy, but my requests to talk to Thiel, Gary Johnson and the governor of Oklahoma were not answered. I thank Lucy for talking to me and helping me publicize Antiwar.com.

I did watch Thiel's speech last night, and I liked this bit:

Instead of going to Mars, we have invaded the Middle East. We don’t need to see Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails: her incompetence is in plain sight. She pushed for a war in Libya, and today it’s a training ground for ISIS. On this most important issue, Donald Trump is right. It’s time to end the era of stupid wars and rebuild our country.

Whoever wins this fall, I hope her or he will "end the era of stupid wars and rebuild our country." In fact, I liked most of his speech, except for those "vote for Trump" bits. Among other things, he said he was proud to be gay and criticized culture wars nonsense, such as arguing over who can use what bathroom.

My "campaign promise" to you is that for the rest of the election, I will try to avoid writing about partisan politics. RAW's political ideas and ideas he's interested in, such as basic income, will likely be addressed, but I'll try to avoid the current campaigns.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Nick Herbert on Saul-Paul Sirag


For an explanation of the photo, see Nick Herbert's blog post. 

If Saul-Paul Sirag is a name that should be familiar to many of the readers of this blog. He's the guy who wrote the afterword to Cosmic Trigger. He was friends with Robert Anton Wilson and fellow "hippie physicist" Nick Herbert.

Herbert and Sirag are still chums, and Herbert has just posed a nice piece about his friend on his blog, Quantum Tantra, "Saul-Paul Sirag's New Math Book."

The math is pretty much over my head (as in, 99.9 percent over my head) but there are lots of lovely anecdotes about Sirag, such as this one:

Energized by 1960s Berkeley, Saul-Paul moved to New York City where he reviewed books, wrote and acted in plays at La MaMa in the East Village, participated in an Andy Warhol Fashion show and, by his own account, inspired a Broadway hit: "Jerry Ragni, who wrote Hair, told me that he got the idea while watching me dance to the Grateful Dead in the East Village." Ah, Saul-Paul Sirag: woolly-headed icon of the Age of Aquarius.

UPDATE: I forgot to give credit. I first heard about this from Roman Tsivkin on Twitter.



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Greetings from Cleveland and the RNC


These satirical signs were the most amusing thing I saw at the Republican National Convention Tuesday. When I asked what the group was, a young woman told me it's a show for Hulu. It's probably not a surprise that fake reality is better than the "real thing." My son says this may be a Kevin Smith project.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Synchronities and the land of Oz

When I read about Horus in Cosmic Trigger, it reminded me of the exhibition on ancient Egypt that I saw a few weeks ago at the Cleveland Museum of Art. I didn't photograph many of the objects exhibited there, but there was one statue I really liked. When I read the CT passage, I thought, "Wait a minute. That sounds familiar."


The falcon god Ra-Horakhty, whose name can be translated as "Ra-Horus of the two horizons," symbolizing the union of Ra and Horus. 

Oz Fritz is interested in synchronicities, too. See his new post, "Atomic Love Bomb and Other Synchronicities." 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Cosmic Trigger online reading group, Week 15

Welcome to week 15 of the 2016 Cosmic Trigger Reading Group. I hope you have found the group stimulating and enjoyable thus far. (Not to the point of ignoring neurosomatic body rapture, of course) This week we are diving into A visit to CMF, the 24th chapter of Cosmic Trigger (that’s right, the 23rd chapter slipped by uncounted), located on page 115 of the Hilaritas edition, 114 And/Or.

One of the great and enduring enigmas of this “cryptic and ambiguous book,” to myself at least, goes by the name of Brian Barritt. Timothy Leary seems to place great importance upon his time with Brian, and insists that Bob begin corresponding with him “at once,” since Brian and Bob were both exploring that old elephant Aleister Crowley from two different sides. Upon first reading this section 37 years ago I took this insistence as being obliquely directed at me, and my inability to find much of anything regarding Mr. B frustrated me for years and years. In those pre-internet days what could be done when searching out an obscure English poet who seemingly never bothered to publish. Even as www began to unfold BB remained an enigma, a creature of the weird seemingly, until this year when I discovered that Mr. John Higgs was a personal friend of Mr. Barritt and had posted a bit about him a few years back.

And so with great joy and appreciation I present to you A visit to CMF according to John Higgs (including a special exclusive video clip of this same section from the 2014 Cosmic Trigger play). Take it away John!

                                                                                -- Charles Faris


Brian Barritt

COSMIC TRIGGER READING GROUP – A VISIT TO CMF


By John Higgs


This chapter covers a lot of ground. Bob Wilson visits Timothy Leary in prison, and listens attentively while Tim holds forth on Aleister Crowley, the eight circuit theory of consciousness, Black Panther politics, immortality and Tim’s early thoughts on mankind’s intergalactic future. Some of this is complex stuff, not least the eight circuit theory, which is never an easy thing to explain to the uninitiated.

So – how would you have gone about adapting all that for the stage, as Daisy Campbell did for her Cosmic Trigger play? It’s a dense meander through Leary’s preoccupations with no obvious narrative drive. Personally I would have been tempted to cut the lot. That’s not Daisy’s style though. This is how she tackled this scene (thanks to her and Nick Alderton for the clip) – here’s Oliver Senton as Robert Anton Wilson and Andrew MacBean as Tim Leary:

Cosmic Trigger - 8 Circuit Number - London Evening Perf from C S on Vimeo.

https://vimeo.com/134927852

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.

We’ll return to that thought in a moment.

But back to this chapter. I wanted to write about A Visit to CMF because it contains a mention of a friend of mine, the late British Beat writer Brian Barritt. It was many nights at Brian’s talking to him about his time on the run in Algiers in Switzerland with Tim Leary that led to me writing a Leary biography, which in turn led to me meeting Bob Wilson in December 2004. Much of my life now, in fact, can be traced back to the influence of Brian. Like Bob and Tim, to know him was to be changed by him.

I think at their core, Brian Barritt and Robert Anton Wilson were very similar, at least in terms of their values, insights and humour. The difference was that Bob drew the short straw in terms of health, while Brian was vivacious and indestructible — as Leary says of Brian in Confessions of a Hope Fiend, "he will not die; they will have to kill him." I suspect this may be why Bob was drawn more to Buddhism, with its deeper understanding of suffering and compassion, while Brian was more of a Pan-like lusty goatboy. Bob radiated kindness while Brian radiated trouble.

Brian’s perspective was not that of an academic or an intellectual. He was an artist. The reason why he and Tim got on so well when they met in Algiers was because they were both talking about the same things, but from different perspectives and with different terminology. What Tim called the neurosomatic level, for example, Brian called The Land of Incredible Goodies. When Tim talked of the neuroelectric and neurogenetic levels, Brian called those the Land of the Giant Suns and the Lunetime. What Tim would call his reality tunnel, Brian would call his bubble. They had differing perspectives on the same internal territory. They gave each other a rush of fresh insights.

This is the reason why, in the A Visit to CMF chapter, Leary insists that Wilson needs to talk to Barritt if either of them are to fully understand the "elephant" that is Crowley. The metaphor here is from the Indian story of the blind men and the elephant, in which a number of blind men feel different parts of the same elephant – its tusks, trunk, legs, body, or tail – and disagree with each other about what this elephant-thing really is.

Brian and Bob did meet, I believe, when they both visited Tim as he was dying. But it was only a brief meeting, and the elephant of Crowley was not discussed. Bob’s understanding of Crowley was to a large extent experiential, based as it was on performing his exercises and observing the changes that occurred in his own consciousness, so I’m not convinced he needed Brian’s help as desperately as Tim suggests here. If anything, I wonder if Leary thought that Bob needed Brian’s help not to grasp Crowley, but to grasp the significance of Leary identifying so strongly with Crowley?

When he recounts this meeting in this chapter of Cosmic Trigger, Bob focuses on how Tim doesn’t literally believe in reincarnation. Which is fair enough, but it is burying the lede — the headline is surely Tim continuing Crowley’s "Great Work," that of bringing about an evolution in human consciousness? That could sound delusional and egotistical were it not the case that this is exactly what Tim Leary did, or so it appears to me. Bob Wilson understood this intellectually, of course, but perhaps Tim wanted him to see it from the perspective of a Crowleyesque English radical shitkicker, in order to fully blast home the Holy Fuck significance?

Brian was good at that.

You’d have liked him.

Tim and Bob’s talk continues through all sorts of interesting byways, but the one I want to discuss is where Tim talks about “the proper use of the new energies.”.“The pot-head who sits around blissed-out hasn’t found out yet what pot is for,” he says, and the blissed-out acid head is doing nothing more than “transcendental masturbation.” Here we find an important principle for Leary, that of purpose.

This was the reason for Tim and Brian’s falling out during the 80s. To Tim’s annoyance and frustration, Brian retreated into heroin and failed to produce the books and paintings that he should have done. Brian’s excuse was that heroin was the only logical response to the 80s, and that he was “just waiting for a less shit time to come around.”This is all well and good, and I doubt there are many who can entirely dismiss empty bliss as an option. But I know that Brian had some extraordinary works within him, that he never manifested.

I talked earlier about Bob and Brian both being people who changed those who knew them: you have to take my word for it about Brian, but read some of Bob’s 35 books and get a sense of his impact. I often think about the books that Brian Barritt didn’t write, now that he is no longer with us. If nothing else, the thought of those books helps keep me productive.

The significance of purpose to Leary is apparent again at the end of the chapter. Bob wrote that “Tim folded his hands in prayer and looked upward with exaggerated worship. ‘Intelligence’, he said, naming his God.” I think there are many, especially in the psychedelic generation, who would equate the idea of God with awareness – not so much the patriarchal, judgemental idea of God that monotheists have, but more a sense of the universe being alive, and knowing, and loving. Tim goes further here, I think, if we accept Bob’s words at face value. Valuing intelligence over awareness suggests purpose, because intelligence has no value unless it is utilised.


Brian Barrett and Timothy Leary 

The cosmos, as Tim saw it, was up to something, and we were its agents. This belief was the driving force behind his S.M.I2.L.E. philosophies, and the techno-utopian dreams that Cosmic Trigger is full of.

But at some point in the 1980s we gave up on the future. Optimistic visions of days to come vanished entirely from our mainstream culture, and were replaced with zombies, wastelands and environmental apocalypses. This is deeply worrying, because to build a future we must first dream it.

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.


______________________________________________________________________________

Okay—that’s it for this week—enjoy the words, the video, and the increasing movement toward direct alignment with Sol and Sirius! Next week—The prospects of immortality and Stopping the biological clock, page 121 Hilaritas, 120  And/or. And as always—comment frequently—your thoughts and processes make the whole experience RICH-er.

                                                                                    -- Charles Faris


Brian Barrett

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Leary (and RAW's) The Game of Life, with the RAW bits pointed out


Bobby Campbell's "Game of Life" cover 

A few days ago, I went to Amazon and bought the ebook of The Game of Life by Timothy Leary, which features contributions by Robert Anton Wilson. It only cost about $6, and it featured a cover by Bobby Campbell. It's listed as "Future History Series, Vol. V," and the credits include (among others) "Written by Timothy Leary" and "Historical and Scholarly Scripts by Robert Anton Wilson."

The price was right, so what's not to like? Well, there was one bummer. The ebook editions lists the pages written by Robert Anton Wilson, but it doesn't have page numbers so it's impossible to tell what RAW wrote. (The text of the Peace Press-Starseed print edition that I have a PDF  of has a reproduced handwritten bit, apparently scribbled on at the last minute, "Note: Robert A. Wilson wrote pages 6. 7, 8, 9, 12, 16, 17, 18, 22, 27, 29, 31, 34, 35, 43, 46, 61. Bravo, Robert! T.L."]

Just to make things more confusing, the New Falcon edition says, "Pages 12, 13, 14, 15, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 33, 40, 42, 43, 46, 47, 56, 60, 78 and 84 were written by Robert Anton Wilson."

I downloaded a  PDF of the Peace Press-Starseed edition from the Internet Archive to figure  out which bits in the ebook are the RAW bits. Here, for your reference if you buy the ebook, are the bits RAW wrote, using the Kindle equivalent to page numbers, location numbers. These locations are approximations, but should get you close enough to find the quotes that begin and end the RAW sections.

Location 183 (beginning with "Intelligence Clues Sought" to location 251 ("Who is the movie Director who makes the grass green?")

Location 278 (beginning with "A grab bag of unrelated facts") to location 285 ("Decoding the grand strategy of the Game of Life.")

Location 340 ("As Korzybski notes in Science and Sanity") to location 387 ("In all of these periodicities we see structure as a basic fact not in space but in space-time.")

Location 424 ("The synergetic combination of pain-and-dope will prove to have much explanatory value to future exo-psychological historians and biographers") to location 450 ("The DNA code is the tape-loop of the Game of Life.")  [The ending has to be inferred, unless you think it makes sense that RAW's bit ended in mid-sentence.]

Location 508, "PYNCHON JOINS DANTE JOYCE CLASS" to location 510, "The Tarot is the hieroglyphic key to stages of evolution."

Location 517, the quote beginning with, "The reader is invited to consider the specifics of research on Chromosomal Proteins ...."

Location 527, "HINDU-VICO CULT GETS NOWHERE" to "The cycle is Finnegans Wake is actually an upwards DNA spiral rising to the stars." (Note: The ebook version moves Wilson's next sentence, " 'Many ... Tickle ... Forsin' puns (among other things) on "Mene Mene Teeckle Upharsen," the Cabalistic cryptogram announcing the Fall of one civilization, the Rise of another," to the wrong location.)

Location 574, "YOGIS  PLAY ON NEUROLOGICAL OCTAVE," to the "LIFE STACKS CARDS TO WIN" section.

Location 656, "SEMMELWEIS SCANDAL!" to the "SEMMELWEIS REFLEX" footnote.

Location 717, "THE NEUROGENETIC THEORY OF EVOLUTION DEFINES TWELVE LARVAL AND TWELVE POST TERRESTRIAL STAGES OF HUMAN EVOLUTION" to the paragraph that begins, "These three functions are based on the structure of the synapse itself."

Location 864, "DIRECTED PANSPERMIA ..." to "Tom and I hate ALL this stuff." [A nice synchronicity, as that is how I felt trying to wrestle this blog post into submission.]

Note that the RAW material ends on page 61 of a book that has 294 or so pages (the appendix of the PDF does not have page numbers). So after you get past 22 percent of the ebook, it's all Leary. It looks as if Wilson got ahold of the manuscript and inserted bits of material as the spirit moved him, then stopped at a certain point. I would welcome any information available as to how the book was put together.  And what exactly was publisher "Peace Press-Starseed"? Who set it up, and what else did the publisher put out?

I did notice some typographical errors and bits of text moved to the wrong location in the ebook, although in fairness to New Falcon, the original text is a hodgepodge of various text sizes and illustrations and could not have been easy to scan.

I am also curious if there are any significant differences between the Peace Press-Starseed edition and the New Falcon edition that has been in print for years.

I'm going to use this blog post as a reference when I read my ebook, which I expect will be soon. My thanks to Charles Faris for his help with this, although any mistakes are on me.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Guest post by John Higgs Monday


John Higgs 

John Higgs, author of Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century, I Have America Surrounded: The Life of Timothy Leary, The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned A Million Pounds, The Brandy of the Damned, etc. etc., will furnish a guest post for us Monday for our Cosmic Trigger online reading group.

Adam Gorightly has promised a guest post, too. As they say on the radio, don't touch that dial!

Stop the presses! Michael Johnson explains the term "Chapel Perilous" in an especially interesting post. Don't miss.


Friday, July 15, 2016

A Peter Thiel interview?


Peter Thiel. (Creative Commons photo by Dan Taylor). 

I've remarked in the past that offbeat billionaire Peter Thiel has been funding causes that were dear to Robert Anton Wilson's heart, including intelligence increase, life extension and space travel. But I've had no opportunity to interview Thiel — until now. Maybe.

Thiel surprised me by becoming a Trump delegate in the Republican convention, and a further surprise was the announcement this week that he will be one of the speakers at the convention.

I'm helping to cover the convention (for my newspaper in Sandusky) although I don't have press credentials to actually get inside the convention — I'll be attending events and meetings and protests outside of the hall. The Republican Party has sent out a form allowing journalists to request interviews with the speakers. I've asked for Thiel.

I have no idea whether I'll snag an interview. If I do, I'll mostly have to ask about his support for Trump, how that squares with his previously-expressed disdain for politics, etc. But I also will ask about Robert Anton Wilson and his ideas.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Leary archives at library getting new Robert Anton Wilson material


Michael Horowitz

Michael Horowitz, longtime archivist of the work of Timothy Leary, has announced that the Leary Archives at the New York Public Library is getting new Robert Anton Wilson-Timothy Leary material.

"The NY Public Library Archives & Manuscripts Division now owns my Leary archives.   The Robert Anton Wilson portion includes several manuscripts, clippings of numerous pieces he wrote for the underground press, event flyers and some personal letters, all by and about RAW's relations with Leary,  mostly from the 1970s, and a few letters from Arlen," reports Horowitz.

The folks who curate and maintain the archives at the NYPL will need time to process and catalog the new materials, so please wait until later in the year before attempting to access them, Horowitz advises.

The NYPL acquired Leary's archives in 2011, but the new Wilson-Leary materials appear to be a nice addition to what the library already had.

I contacted the NYPL's archives section for comment, and Thomas Lannon, an archivist from the library, passed on a one-sentence description from Horowitz that the Wilson materials include "two unpublished manuscripts and 43 articles and letters."

The new Wilson materials at the archives are not the materials in the Bruce Damer DigiBarn in California that I posted about last month. 

"Bruce Damer is a good friend, and some years ago he gave me a tour of the wonderful DigiBarn.  It must have been before he acquired the RAW material. However, these are my own archives," Horowitz wrote.

Incidentally, Michael Horowitz' work to preserve the Leary archives when the feds were after Leary was a heroic task and he deserves a lot of credit; see this article and interview. 

Horowitz, by the way, is mentioned in the section of Cosmic Trigger that we are considering this week in the online reading group. Kind of a nice synchronicity that he pops up in the text just as I've been emailing back and forth with him.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Prometheus Awards announced



This year's Prometheus Awards have been announced, and as a member of the Libertarian Futurist Society I'm particularly pleased with this year's announcement, as I think both books are very good. The award goes to Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, while the Hall of Fame Award has gone to Donald Kingsbury for the novel Courtship Rite.

Seveneves is on the Hugo ballot this year and was favorably reviewed by Bill Gates. Courtship Rite is a rather radical and interesting book (I can't believe it was first published in Analog magazine!) and I'm pleased to be involved in calling attention to it. When I read it several years ago, I walked around for days wondering what it would be like to be married to several people at the same time.

(The Prometheus Hall of Fame award was, as far as I know, the only literary award Robert Anton Wilson or Robert Shea ever received; they got it for Illuminatus!. See Robert Shea's acceptance speech. )

Here's the official LFS press release:

The Libertarian Futurist Society has announced the Best Novel and Hall of Fame winners of the 36th annual Prometheus Awards, which will be presented during the 74th annual World Science Fiction Convention Aug. 17-21, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.

A Special Award will also be presented, as announced earlier, to Alex + Ada, a graphic novel by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn (Image Comics) that dramatizes conflict over the rights of artificial intelligences and explores the nature of personhood.

PROMETHEUS AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL

Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow), has been chosen by LFS members as the 2016 Best Novel winner for works published in 2015. This epic hard science fiction novel, about a cataclysmic event that threatens human civilization and the planet Earth, avoids ideology while dramatizing how a lust for power almost wipes out humanity but also how the courage to face reality and tackle overwhelming problems through reason, individual initiative and the voluntary cooperation of private enterprise help tip the balance towards survival, as a small group — including some of Earth's bravest and richest entrepreneurs — risk their lives to save humanity. (Stephenson also won the Prometheus Award for Best Novel in 2005 for The System of the World.)

The other Best Novel finalists were Golden Son, by Pierce Brown (Del Rey); Apex, by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot); The Just City, by Jo Walton (TOR Books); and A Borrowed Man, by Gene Wolfe (TOR Books)

PROMETHEUS HALL OF FAME

Courtship Rite, by Donald M. Kingsbury (published in 1982 by Simon & Schuster), will be inducted into the Prometheus Hall of Fame for Best Classic Fiction. Set on a planet in a remote solar system, where human colonists struggle with a harsh environment, the novel explores the mathematical concept of optimization in biological evolution, in political institutions, in culture, and in personal ethics through an absorbing story that links dramatic struggles over political ambition and the creation of a family. (Kingsbury also won the Prometheus Award for Best Novel in 2001 for Psychohistorical Crisis.) The other 2016 Hall of Fame finalists were Manna, by Lee Correy (published 1984); "As Easy as A.B.C.," by Rudyard Kipling (published 1912); The Island Worlds, by Eric Kotani and John Maddox Roberts (published 1987): and A Mirror for Observers, by Edgar Pangborn (published 1954).

The Prometheus Award, sponsored by the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), was established in 1979, making it one of the most enduring awards after the Nebula and Hugo awards, and one of the oldest fan-based awards currently in sf. Presented annually since 1982 at the World Science Fiction Convention, the Prometheus Awards include a gold coin and plaque for the winners. For more than three decades, the Prometheus Awards have recognized outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy that dramatize the perennial conflict between liberty and power, expose the abuses and excesses of coercive government, critique or satirize authoritarian ideas, or champion individual rights and freedoms as the mutually respectful foundation for civilization, cooperation, peace, prosperity, progress and justice.

For a full list of past Prometheus Award winners in all categories, visit www.lfs.org. Membership in the Libertarian Futurist Society is open to any science fiction fan interested in how fiction can promote an appreciation of the value of liberty as the prerequisite for cooperation, peace, prosperity and a just society.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Preservation of sacred Discordian bowling alley advances


The Friendly Hills bowling alley. Creative Commons photo by Andy Chase.

The former Friendly Hills bowling alley in Whittier, Calif., an important landmark in the history of Discordianism, is being preserved and rehabilitated and will reopen later this year as a commercial building.

Although it will no longer be a bowling alley, the historic integrity of the building that's the alleged birthplace of Discordianism will be preserved, along with the bowling alley's distinctive sign.

Friendly Hills shut down in June 2015. As I reported last year, that's significant, because according to Discordian history Adam Gorightly, the Friendly Hills is the "Brunswick Shrine," the most likely place, according to Adam, where Kerry Thornley and Greg Hill created Discordianism.

However, a developer stepped in to save the building from the wrecker's ball. From my story last year, for which I interviewed Don Dooley,  planning services manager for Whittier's planning department:

"The new developer, Dan Almquist, has been acquiring the building and is turning it into a three unit commercial building. The existing bowling sign outside will be adapted for reuse, said Dooley, who serves as the secretary for the Whittier Historic Resources Commission, the city body charged with preserving Whittier's historic buildings.

"Whittier's interest in the Friendly Hills building stems from the fact that it is considered an exemplar of Googie-style building design, a space-age style that originated in southern California, particularly as the style of design applied to bowling alleys, Dooley explained. The bowling alley was designed by Powers, Daly and DeRosa, at the time the big name in southern California bowling alley design."

I asked Mr. Dooley how work is coming along, and he sent me this email update on July 6:

"Building permits for the rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of the former Friendly Hills Bowl Building were issued by the City of Whittier on March 25, 2016.

"Grant Construction is the general contractor doing the rehabilitation work to the building.  Once completed, the former Friendly  Hills Bowl Building will be converted into three retail tenant spaces. At this time, two of the three tenant spaces will be occupied by Aldi (similar to Trader Joes) and BevMo (a large beer and wine outlet, similar to Total Wine and More).

"It is anticipated the rehabilitation work to the building will be completed by late summer (circa September 2016). The building has been previously identified, through survey evaluation, as an eligible historic resource in the City of Whittier.  All rehabilitation work to the building and the freestanding pole sign on the property will follow the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Rehabilitation to ensure that the historic integrity of the building and sign are preserved to retain its significance as an historic resource through survey evaluation."

My sincere thanks to Mr. Dooley for the update.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Cosmic Trigger reading group, Week 14!


By Charles Faris, Cosmic Trigger reading group guest blogger 

Welcome to week 14 of the RAWIllumination Group Reading of Cosmic Trigger. This week we will be covering pages 102-115 Hilaritas, 102-114 And/Or, A message from Cosmic Central, and Some Egyptian gods intrude on the narrative…, in which our intrepid Author finds himself in full-on “The Doggiez from Sirius are Sufis!” mode and therefor finds mucho evidencia to back up that line of reasoning, or at least enough to move him further along “some Path or other.” It’s interesting to note that the line between Metaprogramming and Pulling the Wool over Your Own Eyes can be very thin indeed. Is the Metaprogrammer the Fool? We shall see.

Our two chapters this week offer us a compelling look at two prophets, both doomed (as prophets “are”) to be born into societies that are not quite ready for them, and both fated to drag those societies kicking and screaming into the future. Part of what is going on here is Bob’s explication of “the odd links between Leary’s work and that of Crowley…” Another part of what is going on here is a tying together of Bob, Tim, Sirius, and the Sufis. As Oz Fritz points out in last week’s comments:

“Wilson's representation of "Sufis" in this section appears largely based on Idries Shah's representation of Sufis from his books. Peter Lamborn Wilson (Hakim Bey) was highly critical of Shah's portrayal of Sufis effectively saying that it wasn't genuine, that he had mixed it up with a lot of his own colorful fabrications.”

I have to agree — Shah is not above attributing everything good in the world to Sufi origin, on his own say-so. And for Wilson, I believe, the Path “is” the thing, as it were, and since the Path that can be written is not the Path, just keep sniffing and moving along. Even “lies” can get you to a place of power. And at this point Bob is sniffing out some Cosmic Tales of Extra-Terrestrial communication and entreaties to “Come home in glory.”


Timothy Leary 

A message from Cosmic Central contains some nice imagery of the power of Leary’s Metaprogrammer, transforming his cell in Folsom Prison, “the Black Hole of American Society,” to a 15th century monastic cell in which he can “write science fiction books” free of the intrusion of visitors who would exploit him or bring him down.

This is an incredibly dense chapter, with references to Emperor Norton I, Aleister Crowley, and G. I. Gurdjieff, as well as what Leary calls “the most exciting idea I’ve puzzled over for ten years”—the notion that there might be an actual physical “lodge” located somewhere in the Middle East, sending out emissaries such as Crowley and Gurdjieff. By this point, Tim had seemingly read Gurdjieff’s Meetings with Remarkable Men, which describes G’s own journey in search of just such a lodge.


Aleister Crowley in 1905

We are also introduced to Michael Horowitz, keeper of the Archives, and Brian Barritt, of whom much more next week.

The culmination of the chapter is the Starseed transmissions, the fruit of Leary’s own adventures in interstellar Telepathic Communication from the Dog Days of 1973, a full pdf of which is of course currently available in cyber-space.

At which point Some Egyptian gods intrude on the narrative and we get the story of Aleister Crowley’s Interstellar Telepathic Communication from 1904, which resulted in The Book of the Law. Just as Starseed is an alien communication through the Leary lens, this is an alien communication through the Crowley lens. Ultimately that means we shift from science fiction to occult-cabala, and the density increases dramatically. Hopefully we can get some shout outs in comments from the more cabalistically adept (you know who you are!).

We also get a bit of testimony from our old friend John Lilly, who offers this little nugget concerning “advanced Illuminati Adepts”—

“Such a network exists and functions…throughout this planet. I suspect it extends farther than our earth, but this is yet to be publicly demonstrated unequivocally beyond the private experience of myself and others.”



So at this point we have Wilson, Leary, Crowley, and Lilly; Turned On, Tuned In Avatars of a New Age of Interstellar communication and the Journey Home? Or four Holy Fools pulling the wool over their own eyes? Only Time (and our own private experience) will tell.

Next week—special guest post by John Higgs, author of the Leary bio I Have America Surrounded and Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century. John will be writing about A visit to CMF, pp 115-121 Hilaritas, 114-120 And/or, offering us a deeper look at the enigmatic Brian Barritt as well as an exclusive clip from the Cosmic Trigger play performed in Liverpool and London in 2014 (and London and Santa Cruz 2017?).

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Timothy Leary's legal troubles


FBI mugshot for Bernardine Dohrn

As Cosmic Trigger narrates much of Timothy Leary's legal troubles, I thought it would be timely to offer R.S. Sirius' observation, in the biography Timothy Leary's Trip Through Time, about the contrasting fates of Leary and the members of the Weather Underground:

A brief observation. For thirty bombings, the leaders of the legendary guerrilla warriors of the revolution basically got probation. Timothy Leary spent four and a half years in prison for a little bit of marijuana, and likely would have spent the rest of his life there if he hadn’t played ball, or chess, with the Feds. I’m happy for the Weatherfolk, but I think the scales of justice are smiling on Timothy.

As Sirius points out, this is somewhat an accident of history; the FBI uses illegal surveillance against the Weather people, this hampered prosecution. However, while it is true that (as Sirius mentions) nobody was killed in the Weather bombings of their targets, that's also an accident of history. Setting off bombs is a risky activity. Moreover, the Weather Underground originally had planned to kill people with their bombings; they changed their strategy after an explosion in a Greenwich Village hideout killed three of their own members. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Friday, July 8, 2016

Robison's 'Proof of a Conspiracy'


Mike Jay

Over at Only Maybe, Bogus Magus points to an article in the Public Domain Review by Mike Jay on John Robison's classic book about the Illuminati conspiracy, Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe. The book is cited in Illuminatus!, of course, and the posting has useful Illuminatus! study links.

Here's my take from 2014 on the same article.

Check out Mike Jay's official site. He's written books that I want to read, and that many of y'all would likely find interesting.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Illuminatus onstage — the Brian Aldiss connection


Brian Aldiss

Jeff Merrifield has published a doctoral paper on the British stage production of Illuminatus! and how it all came together. Here is one bit:

Ken Campbell is taken by Brian Aldiss to the World Science Fiction Convention and finds out what the ‘bifurcation of literature' really means. He finds that he likes the Science Fiction people.

Other interesting facts, too. His home page has other interesting stuff.

Brian Aldiss is a famous old science fiction writer. He has not enjoyed a huge following in the United States, but I've been reading him for years and like him very much.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Indiegogo campaign for book 'Discordian Problems'


An Indiegogo campaign has launched to publish the book Discordian Problems N. Nash Cage.

The screenshot, above, is from the promotional video for the book, posted at the Indiegogo page for the new title, which says,

Fnord University proudly presents the 'comic book-within-a-novel' #DiscordianProblems, a trippy tale about an intrepid, falsely-accused whistle-blower named Noam D. Bloom.  This post-911 meta-fiction lures reader into a bizarre matrix of superheroes, psychedelics, quantum physics, paranoia, surveillance, and the Occult.  

Presented as Bloom's military dossier detailing the surveillance of a mysterious group of occultists known only as 'The Discord Magi', #DiscordianProblems documents Bloom's slow decent into madness (or his ascension into Illumination. I mean, who the hell are we to tell you how to interpret what happens to the poor guy...)

#DiscordianProblems is broken down into 5 discrete sections; ESPionage, the MindFrick comic book, Discord Magick, No One Expects the American Inquisition, and The Celebrity Discordian Menace. 



Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Supergee's latest zine


Arthur Hlavaty, right (with Kevin Maroney and Bernadette Bosky. 

Arthur Hlavaty has issued his latest zine, Nice Distinctions 29, available here with a bunch of back issues. The publication is listed as "Discordian Regimentation #129."

Arthur has not lost his ability for wonderful one-liners. Here he is, leading off a rant about the Apple company:

Let me tell you how much I hate Apple: If there were a way for Apple to play against the New England Patriots, I would root for the Patriots.

From the obituaries section of the zine:

Now They want you to believe Mark Lane is dead.

Arthur posts here (in the comments) and at his popular blog as Supergee,  but I wonder sometimes if readers of this blog also know he is a big name science fiction fan, nominated 12 times in a row for the best fan writer Hugo (from 1980 to 1992). 


Monday, July 4, 2016

Cosmic Trigger online reading group, Week 13!

Aleister Crowley in Golden Dawn garb

By Charles Faris, Cosmic Trigger online reading group guest blogger 

Welcome to week 13 of the Group Reading of Cosmic Trigger. This week we are covering pages 98-102, in both the Hilaritas edition & the And/Or—Those mysterious Sufis, as well as a little flashback to last week and beyond, in particular the chapters Starseed and Sirius Rising.

Regarding Starseed, in the past week I have unearthed a few relevant web artifacts that shed a bit of light on the events in the chapter. The first is the short (26m) film that Bob mentions seeing “Shortly after the telegraphic flashes of Leary (July-August 1973) ended.” You can view that film in full here and see that Tim does indeed flash his “Love-Peace-Bliss grin,” and then go on to introduce the world to the concept of the Starseed, Leary’s “proof” that “cellular intelligence is not exclusively earthly.”

Which brings us to this text and video documenting the recent discovery of chiral molecules in interstellar space near the center of the Milky Way. Interestingly enough, in the 43 years since Leary’s Starseed announcement, molecules essential to life on Earth have been found in meteors and comets to the point perhaps of a certain humdrum attitude regarding their existence. Apparently the discovery of a “hefty dose” of these little goodies equal in mass to 80% of our humble planet has renewed research into how life on Earth may have been “seeded” from far far away away.

Jumping back another week to Sirius Rising, it occurs to me that we are now entering the Dog Days, which traditionally run from July 3—August 11, 20 days before and after the moment of direct alignment between Earth, Sol, and Sirius which occurs on July 23. (Click here for more information regarding the relationship of Earth, Sol, and Sirius.) This got me wondering if any of you all plan on tuning in to the Sirius current in the weeks ahead. Bob writes that on July 22, 1973 he listened to tapes (self-made I assume) of John Lilly’s Beliefs Unlimited and Aleister Crowley’s Invocation of the Holy Guardian Angel, “without drugs, but with prolonged and holy rituals or Tantric sex-trance.” Please note that you can find the complete text to Lilly’s Beliefs Unlimited by clicking the “show more” tab after following the link.

Am I the only one who sees a golden opportunity for some solo/group work involving telepathy and interstellar communication? Comment please!

And now let’s dive into Those mysterious Sufis. 

At this point in his life narrative, the Author appears to be wandering deeper and deeper into Chapel Perilous, that “place” where none of your previously useful maps appear to match the territory, at all, at all. Entities, interstellar telepathy, planetary consciousness, near-death experiences, the metaprogammer, thought projection, cognitive dissonance, the Holy Guardian Angel; Bob is all over the place trying to figure out just where he is.

To top it off, Illuminatus! remains unpublished, even as the daily Watergate headlines mirror the “totally evil and devious government” that Wilson and Shea had dreamed up, while two novels covering similar territory (Gravity’s Rainbow and Mumbo Jumbo) have beaten Illuminatus! to publication. Meanwhile,  Bob is sinking deeper and deeper into the morass of poverty.

Meanwhile, the Author traces the Illuminati back to the Ishmaelian sect of Islam (Hassan i Sabbah), which has ties with the Sufis. Interestingly enough, this information comes from one Arkon Daraul (which Bob misspells as Akron), which is a pen-name of Sufi historian Idries Shah, who gets a quote a paragraph later which the Author uses to bolster his “Higher Intelligence from somewhere else” thesis.


Idries Shah

At this point “the Fool entered the belief-system in which the Illuminati were Sufis living in the Western world and continuing this Millenia-old contact with Higher Intelligence,” and Bob promptly had a “weird experience with a Sufi.” This moment in the narrative seems key, taking place as it does high up in Tilden Park, overlooking the entire San Francisco Bay Area, and centering on the Shaman’s recognition that a clown who went by the name Parsifal was performing certain Sufi exercises designed to activate Higher Consciousness.

This is interesting to me because it is the Sufi heart-chakra exercises that ultimately bring the Fool “back to life,” although perhaps I am jumping ahead of myself. Another interesting aspect of this moment is that his interaction with Parsifal is aided by both of his companions—Bill Broadbent, who insists that they hang at Tilden park a bit longer even as Bob wants to leave (giving Bob time to recognize Parsifal as a Sufi), and Greg Hill (co-writer of the Principe Discordia) who initiates contact with Parsifal after Bob recognizes him as a Sufi.


Greg Hill 

There is a neat bit of pre-cognition involved here, as well as the introduction of  “The Great Work Accomplished” (the total awakening of all humanity), to which the Author seemingly dedicates the rest of his life.

Next week we will be covering pages 102-115 Hilaritas, 102-114 And/Or, A message from Cosmic Central, and Some Egyptian gods…In the meantime, please chime in with any plans you may have for making good use of the next 6 weeks of Dog Days, as well your thoughts regarding Chapel Perilous, lack of accurate maps, and Sufi (or other) exercises you have utilized to help regain a sense of “True North.”

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Festival 23 schedule released



Strangely, all of the news coverage of Brexit has not explained to us Yanks how the exit from the EU will affect Discordian festivals in Great Britain. In the meantime, Festival 23 is fast approaching, "A celebration of Discoridan counter-culture set in a South Yorkshire woodland," from Friday July 22 to Sunday July 24.

For those of you who find that "reality" is intruding and you can't make the whole festival, the folks running it have now published a schedule (which I feature, above). For up to date information, see the Facebook page.  There aren't many Saturday tickets left.

Hat tip, Ian "Cat" Vincent, who is on Friday's bill.

Saturday, July 2, 2016


Bernie Worrell

Nice tribute to Bernie Worrell by Oz Fritz. Worrell played on Speaking in Tongues, probably my favorite album by one of my all-time favorite bands, Talking Heads, was a key member of Parliament/Funkadelic, played with Keith Richards and on and one.

It's been a weird political season.

Infographic on Gary Johnson's political positions. Not as much of a dove as I'd like, but most of his positions seem pretty good to me.

Arthur Hlavaty's case for Hillary Clinton.  I admit that I liked P.J. O'Rourke's endorsement that she is "wrong within normal parameters." 

Greg Hill gets mail. Contains some of the art used in a Principia Discordia.

Friday, July 1, 2016

The SNAFU principle in World War II


Andrew Roberts. Photo from his official website. 

Did the Allies win World War II because of the SNAFU principle?

I've been listening to an audiobook of Andrew Roberts' history of World War II, The Storm of War, and while I originally assumed it had nothing to do with this blog (I read a lot of books that have nothing to do with Robert Anton Wilson or his ideas) I realized there was a possible connection.

As stated in Illuminatus!,  the SNAFU principle is "communication is possible only between equals." in Prometheus Rising, Wilson says this is an over-simplification for satirical purposes, and offers the following more precise "law":

Adequate communication flows freely between equals. Communication between non-equals is warped and distorted by second-circuit Domination and Submission rituals perpetuating communication jam and a Game Without End. 

Hitler arguably lost the war because nobody could tell him anything; he ignored good advice, for example, to build a large fleet of submarines before the war, to allow the German army to break out of Stalingrad rather than allow itself to be captured, to call off the Kursk operation when it became obvious the Russians had prepared for it for months, etc.

Nobody could tell Stalin anything, either. The dictator ignored reports that the Germans were about to invade on June 22, 1941. This led to enormous losses early in the war that were largely unnecessary. In the end, Stalin may have won because he had enormous resources that could overcome his mistakes.

Roosevelt and Churchill, by contrast, could not simply have people shot when they heard advice they wanted to disregard. For political reasons, they had to avoid making serious errors. So, Roberts writes, they set up committees to provide advice on the operation of the war, and all opinions could be debated. The Americans wanted to invade France early in the war; this could have been a disaster, and the British were allowed to persuade their allies to postpone the operation. There were mistakes made, such as the Dieppe Raid, Roberts argues, but none were big enough to affect the outcome of the war.

Neal Stephenson, in Cryptonomicon, offers similar comments about an American advantage in the war: Bad news could be delivered without serious consequence, and therefore it was possible to have a rational discussion about setbacks and figure out how to overcome them.

Roberts' book was favorably reviewed several years ago in the New York Times, calling it to my attention. It's a pretty good military summary of the war, although flawed in that he downplays atrocities committed by the allies and cannot seem to grasp why Ireland might have chosen to remain neutral.