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Monday, June 19, 2017

Email to the Universe discussion group, Week Six

James Joyce

 [This week covers pages 85-104 in the Hilaritas Press edition, e.g. the beginning of Part II to "Get Your New York Garbage Online." -- The Mgt.]                                                                                           
By Gregory Arnott, guest blogger                                                                                                                                                                
I'm sure we're all familiar with the quotes that begin Part II of email to the Universe: they seem to be printed on all of Wilson's books.

"Joyce & Daoism" is an excellent little essay that encapsulates a lot of the overarching themes in Wilson's work. Like "The Celtic Roots of Quantum Theory" and "Black Magick" this essay would work well as an introduction to RAW's thought. Perhaps the most interesting bit about this piece is the date it was penned; a year before his publication in The Realist (where he would similarly attack the masculine aspects of Western religion). Herein RAW lays out his patrist/matrist dialectic which he develops further in Ishtar Rising, The Illuminati Papers, and Coincidance (the book of essays in which it can easily be argued the highlight would be his even more developed exegesis of Finnegans Wake.) When I first read FW nearly seven years ago I used the Coincidance essays as my Baedeker and enjoyed the novel thoroughly. With Father's Day approaching I think it is worth pointing out the work of Carol Loeb Schloss and Alan Moore which has indicated that Anna Livia Plurabelle was based heavily upon Joyce's daughter Lucia (who is my own daughter's namesake). As Joyce worked on his map of time, space, and consciousness he seemed to believe that by finishing his impossible work he might be able to save his daughter who had already been institutionalized as a schizophrenic.

The most interesting point I think RAW raises in this particular essay is that the acceptance in Ulysses is forced and something that Joyce didn't personally feel or accurately express until Finnegans Wake. So there's still hope that I might actually understand the Dao someday. During an interview with Barry Hughart, the author of the ultra-charming Bridge of Birds he cited the Daoist tradition of hiding their teaching in novels during the Confucian hegemony; if we are to understand Finnegans Wake as RAW wishes in this essay a clear connection can be espied.

Another wonderful quote from Mr. Adams disproving the "Christian" origins of this nation.

The "Movie Haiku" section speaks pretty clearly on its own and considering I haven't watched many of the movies herein I have nothing to add. My favorite was Chimes at Midnight, one of my favorite of Welles' performances.

Giambattista Vico 

"He Who Thunders From On High" concerns Vico's theory that our belief in god derives from our primitive fear of thunder. It also contains another one of RAW's brilliant logic experiments that points out that Abrahamic religions must believe in a donut god. This is comparable to the aforementioned Realist essay where Wilson asked the pressing question: how big is God's dick?

In "Get Your New York Garbage Online" RAW seems to be anticipating the text speak that would develop rapidly over the next few years.

Our next reading goes from pg. 105-116 before "Mary, Mary Quite Contrary."


Eric Wagner said...

I have seen all of the movies about which Bob wrote haikus in this section except "Tequila Sunrise". I had read that originally they planned to have Pat Riley star in that film.

Oz Fritz said...

RAW becomes increasingly more vociferous in his opposition to the then current political Bush regime. He refers to Dubya as Bozo, making the references appear topical, not anachronistic, as we now have a narcissistic Bozo on steroids thanks to the Trump coup d'etat. The idea of rerouting garbage to Bozo at the White House recalls Wilson's friend, Hakim Bey and his ideas of civil disobedience through acts of poetic terrorism. Sheaffer's quote opening this section covers similar ground.

Branka Tesla said...

RAW moved out of the USA during Reagan administration because (according to RAW) Reagan was giving him nightmares. It seems to me that Reagan somewhat pales in comparison to the present "Bozo @ the White House". As many parallels have been drawn recently between Trump and Nixon, I thought the very first article in the first issue of "Avant Garde" magazine (January 1968) might be of some interest to some of you: "What Makes Nixon Run?" by Warren Boroson

"A little man in a big hurry", the late Robert A. Taft said of him. "An unprincipled cad" was Pandit Nehru's estimate. "He has no taste", said John F. Kennedy. "Ruthless" was Richard Rovere,s opinion. Walter Lippmann agreed, adding that he "lacks that inner conviction and self-confidence which are the mark of a natural leader..." The former President Truman. he was "a son of a bitch" who "never told the truth in his life." To the late Sam Rayburn, he was "that ugly man with the chinquapin eyes." Nikita Khruschchev suggested that he had "limited intelligence", and agreed with Truman that he was a "son of a bitch". Last and perhaps least, former President Eisenhower is quoted in Emmet John Hughes's "The Ordeal of Power" (1962) as saying that this man was "just not Presidential timber."

I read the entire 8 pages article with Trump in mind and it sounded so sadly accurate.


Oz Fritz said...

p.83 Wilson highlights the last word in the second quote - wimp - on the part II title page. The gematria of wimp indicates an advanced head trip: w = 6, i = 10, m = 40, p = 80; 6 + 10 + 40 + 80 = 136. Number interpretation allows placing a comma in a multi-digit number as thou wilt so that, for instance, 136 could be two numbers, 13 and 6, etc.

p. 86: "it was the Matriarchal, pre-Feudal China destroyed by the Chou State and official Confucian philosophy." Reminds me of the last election - the best description of Trump's philosophy seems Confucian. That's probably why he served the Chinese leader unbelievably delicious chocolate cake while launching a missile strike into Syria. Missile strikes appear very yang. On the other hand, my friend John Hammond Jr. - the musician who gave Jimi Hendrix his break into rock stardom, told me that even then Hendrix had an interest in Daoism and Chinese philosophy. That probably explains one of the songs on his debut album, "Love or Confucian."

Rarebit Fiend said...

@ Eric Wagner Regrettably unless a movie is a comedy that looks promising, in the Criterion Collection (b/c I'm a pretentious fuck), or something my daughter wants to see they don't hold a lot of interest for me. I'd much rather watch a series or read...never really caught the cinema bug. That said, I have seen a few he wrote about but nineties and eighties movies probably aren't going to become a thing in my life.

@Oz Fritz RAW's anger with the Bush Administration is nowhere more apparent than TSOG which I actually contend is his weakest book. It is the only one I would consider poorly written. And I could see Trump as a Confucian but I still think the best description of his philosophy is "what the fuck?!"

@Branka Tesla That all sounds pretty similar. One of my friends swears up and down this is just the beginning of the Seventies all over again.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

@Rarebit Fiend I was disappointed by TSOG, too. I'm pleased that it was followed by a stronger book.

I never seem to get around to watching many movies, because there's always another book I want to read!

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

I am late in posting to this week's discussion. But I re-read "Joyce and Daoism" last night, and like Gregory, I am struck by how early it was written, and how it sounds like the mature RAW. This is definitely an early example of finding his voice. And it also makes me want to read "Ulysses" again and finally get around to trying "Finnegans Wake."

chas said...

@Oz--Love or Confucian; Good One! Bob's into also posits acid as the Dao Chemical!

@Tom--I started my 5th attempt on Mount Ulysses a couple weeks before reading this, and was seriously considering a first term abortion before Bob's insights drew me back in.

I'm trying to imagine a Cosmic Trigger style complete breakdown of standard consensus reality via Joyce, Lao-Dzu, and Korzybski--and I wind up with visions of Fahrenheit 451!