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

Monday, July 31, 2017

Robert Anton Wilson on Usenet

 Dr. Lawrence Eng

Lawrence Eng, a " a social scientist specializing in online communities, user research, and otaku studies," has used information posted in this blog to carefully compile a list of links to Usenet postings by "Mark Chan," the pseudonym used by Robert Anton Wilson for such postings.

Eng writes, "I hope you enjoy reading RAW's unfiltered and unedited Usenet posts as much I did. He must have had a certain amount of trickster-ish fun posting under an assumed name, especially in discussion threads about his own work."

Good work, Dr. Eng!

He mentions, "Someone on Twitter pointed out Mark Chan = Mark(off) Chan(ey), aka "the MGT". It's a fitting pseudonym =)"

 If you are into Otaku, it looks like you should check out the rest of his blog.

(The Email to the Universe reading group will resume soon.) 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

James Joyce links

PQ goes to the the Diasporic Joyce Conference in Toronto and does a two part writeup on his Finnegans Wake! blog, here is part one, and then here is part two. Mostly material on Finnegans Wake, but also some Ulysses information. Congratulations of PQ's engagement, by the way.

New book on "James Joyce and the Law." I wonder if Chad Nelson saw this.

The struggle to translate Ulysses into French.

James Joyce reads from Ulysses.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Eris of the Month from ManicTheDoodler

The latest 'Eris of the Month" at Adam Gorightly's Historia Discordia blog is entitled "Body Positive Eris & the Apple Pie of Discord" and it's by our friend and RAW fan Steve Bellitt, who does the Manic Doodling blog.You can follow Steve on Twitter.

Here is an example of his comic strips, which I can reproduce here because he releases his work under the Creative Commons 4.0 license.  Click on it and it should be bigger. It's a recent strip I particularly liked:

Check him out.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Was 'The Sex Magicians' published as a form of sex magic?

At The Duke de Richileau's Noctural Revelries, a blog devoted to "to the darker and stranger books that I have been reading" by a reader who also likes "drinking tea and listening to heavy metal music," the latest entry is devoted to The Sex Magicians by Robert Anton Wilson.

The post argues that RAW published the book (which I actually haven't read) as a form of sex magic to get Illuminatus! into print. "Now, I don’t know if RAW ever admitted as much; he wrote quite a lot, and I haven’t read all of his books (yet), but I am quite sure that he would at least enjoy my theory. That being said, there are some pretty flagrant clues within the book itself that support my hypothesis. I mean, for the love of god, the book is called The Sex Magicians. Perhaps the most important character in the book, the mischievous Markoff Chaney, is also the most direct link to the Illuminatus! trilogy. Not only that, but the events described in the Sex Magicians end up having been set into action by Markoff committing an act of sex magic."

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Report on RAWDay

Colorful Doctor Jabir (e.g., "hippie physicist" Nick Herbert)  talking about what Bob "stole" from him. The answer is in Schroedinger's Cat.

[Shortly after Sunday's RAWDay, Branka Tesla sent me some photos and a short report. I missed her initial email, so this is a little late. Sorry about that, Branka! Still a few bugs in the system! Here is her report and photos — The Management.]

Just a short report/update from Santa Cruz (at least from me). Good news: the entire event will be on YouTube thanks to Andrew. Bad news: it will take Andrew about a month to edit and upload it on YouTube.

The recording of the event. The fellow sitting in the foreground is Bobby Campbell! The tall guy with the glasses is John Thompson, the original artist for Cosmic Trigger. 

I must say the entire event was very substantive.

Daisy Campbell
Daisy Campbell opened the event. It was beautiful to watch her talk with so much passion about her weird synchronicities with Illuminatus Trilogy and how she was actually born into the play of Cosmic Trigger. (To be seen on YouTube.)

                                                                      Erik Davis

Erik Davis's speech was impressive.  His speech felt comfortably fluid and he emphasized multiple realities. His description of Barrington Hall in Berkeley was very funny. (To be seen on YouTube)

                                                             Ferdinando Buscema

Ferdinando Buscema - magic experience designer  performed a magic called Creating Chaos. Apparently he read Cosmic Trigger so many times that he decided to photocopy the book and reshuffle the pages and read them randomly and memorize the lines. Ferdinando (from Italy) performs all over the world. Here is the link for one of his magic performances where he mentions Wilson, Erik Davis and Nikola Tesla.

Bobby Campbell was so graciously giving his graphic art away. What a creative, intelligent, sweet and generous person Bobby Campbell is.
Richard Rasa  making announcements for Hilaritas Press. Rasa also mentioned Tom Jackson and Mike Johnson and their good work in making Wilson's books better.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

'The daughters finally meet'

I haven't seen any writeups or videos yet from RAWDay in Santa Cruz, but how do you like this great photo? Left, Christina Pearson, eldest daughter of Robert Anton Wilson,  with Daisy Eris Campbell, the daughter of Ken Campbell. Daisy Tweeted, "The daughters finally meet! Christina (Bob's daughter) and me at A joyful day from start to finish. – at Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center."

R.U. Sirius at RAWDay. Via Ted Hand.  


Monday, July 24, 2017

Email to the Universe Discussion Group, Week 11

By Gregory Arnott, guest blogger

“Law isn’t supposed to make sense. It’s just supposed to make us frightened of the government.” Robert Anton Wilson, Cosmic Trigger II

The Horror on Howth Hill

Howth Castle and environs is famously mentioned in the first line of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, it is mentioned at numerous points throughout the timeless day of Ulysses, I believe it first comes up in “Proteus,” and is also the location of a small fishing village where Bob and Arlene lived for part of their residence in Ireland. Considering the time frame I think we can assume this piece was written during the mid-to-late Eighties.

In one sense this is a primer on the conspiracies that Wilson was most fond of at the time of the writing, including: the Illuminati, Priory of Sion, Knights of Malta, and Discordians, along with the leitmotif of his dissection of the Catholic Church’s Kong-sized phallic obsession in the form of short fiction. Like many of the essays in this book we are re-treading familiar territory but the exploration is being carried out in a different manner. In the same manner we witness the shifting views of Monterey Bay in the haiku sequence, or witness the many versions of Cezanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire, we are looking at the “same” set of ideas throughout the collection with RAW in a slightly different space-time and/or stylistic position each time.

Timothy X. Finnegan seems to be a character RAW devised mostly to support the Committee for the Scientific Investigation for the Normal and is heavily based upon the de Selby of Flann O’Brien’s creation. de Selby originates from the novels The Third Policeman and The Dalkey Archive...perhaps his most famous theory is that night does not exist and is instead caused by an expulsion of dark air from inside the Earth. To give those readers who haven’t made the acquaintance of Mr. O’Brien I’d like to provide an excerpt of one of the footnotes in The Third Policeman:

“Le Fournier, the conservative French commentator (in his De Selby- Lieu ou Homme?) has written exhaustively on the non-scientific aspects of de Selby’s personality and has noticed several failings and weaknesses difficult to reconcile with his dignity and eminence as a physicist, ballistician, philosopher, and psychologist. Though he did not recognise sleep as such, preferring to regard the phenomenon as a series of ‘fits’ and heart-attacks, his habit of falling asleep in public earned for him the enmity of several scientific brains of the inferior calibre. These leeps took place when walking in crowded thoroughfares, at meals and on at least on one occasion in a public lavatory….Another of de Selby’s weaknesses was his inability to distinguish between men and women. After the famous occasion when the Countess Schnapper had been presented to him (her Glauben ueber Ueberalls is still read) he made flattering references to ‘that man,’ ‘that cultured old gentleman,’ ‘craft old boy’ and so on….Du Garbandier (in his extraordinary Historie de Notre Temps) has seized on this pathetic shortcoming to outstep, not the prudent limits of scientific commentary but all known horizons of human decency...It is now commonly accepted that Hatchjaw was convinced that the name ‘du Garbandier’ was merely a pseudonym adopted for his own ends by the shadowy Klaus…”

And so on for seven pages. Le Fournier, du Garbandier, Hatchjaw, and Klaus are just a fragment of the scholars who have made their largely ridiculous careers off of de Selby studies discussed in the inner dialogue of the protagonist of the novel. All this is happening after the protagonist has murdered an old gentleman, is now trapped in a hellishly ridiculous and repetitive dimension, and is mixed up in a case of a missing bicycle. Great fun. (The titles of the books roughly translate as “de Selby- Location or Man?,” “Belief About Everywhere,”  and “History of Our Time.” )

To those of us interested in Crowley it is notable that the murdered subject of The Third Policeman is named Mathers.

De Selby is namechecked on the first page of the essay as the author of Wilson’s Teratological Ontologicum. Although the obvious influences upon this work are Joyce, O’Brien, and Lovecraft I also am able to find another connection of RAW to the gnomic Argentinian fabulist, much beloved of Sixties mystics, Jorge Luis Borges.

The only place I could locate the words teratological and ontologicum together was a book entitled Other Inquisitions 1937-1952 which is a collection of literary essays by Borges. I’ll reproduce the paragraph wherein we find the word teratological which is itself from an essay on Chesterton (When the British science fiction author Michael Moorcock was asked about his meetings with William S. Burroughs and Borges, his primary living literary influences, he replied that Burroughs was what you would expect and Borges was “an old man who liked Chesterton.”)

“Poe and Baudelaire proposed the creation of a world of terror, as did Blake’s tormented Urizen; it is natural for their work to teem with the forms of horror. In my opinion, Chesterton would not have tolerated the imputation of being a contriver of nightmares, a monstrorum artifex (Pliny, XXVIII, 2), but he tends inevitably to revert to atrocious observations. He asks if perchance a man has three eyes, or a bird three wings; in opposition to the pantheists, he speaks of a man who dies and discovers in paradise that the spirits of the angelic choirs have, every one of them, the same face he has;1 he speaks of a jail of mirrors; of a labyrinth without a center; of a man devoured by metal automatons; of a tree that devours birds and then grows feathers instead of leaves; he imagines (The Man Who Was Thursday, VI) “that if a man went westward to the end of the world he would find something—say a tree—that was more or less than a tree, a tree possessed by a spirit; and that if he went east to the end of the world he would find something else that was not wholly itself—a tower, perhaps, of which the very shape was wicked.” He defines the near by the far, and even by the atrocious; if he speaks of eyes*, he uses the words of Ezekiel (1:22) “the terrible crystal”; if of the night, he perfects an ancient horror (Apocalypse 4:6) and calls it a “monster made of eyes.” Equally illustrative is the tale “How I Found the Superman.” Chesterton speaks to the Superman’s parents; when he asks them what the child, who never leaves a dark room, looks like, they remind him that the Superman creates his own law and must be measured by it. On that plane he is more handsome than Apollo; but viewed from the lower plane of the average man, of course—Then they admit that it is not easy to shake hands with him, because of the difference in structure. Indeed, they are not able to state with precision whether he has hair or feathers. After a current of air kills him, several men carry away a coffin that is not of human shape. Chesterton relates this teratological fantasy as a joke.

*Amplifying a thought of Attar (“Everywhere we see only Thy face”), Jalaluddin Rurrri composed some verses that have been translated by Ruckert (Werke, IV, 222), which state that in the heavens, in the sea, and in dreams there is One Alone; that Being is praised for having reduced to oneness the four spirited animals (earth, fire, air, and water) that draw the cart of the worlds. “

I think there’s enough eerie resemblance between this excerpt and “The Horror on Howth Hill” to intrigue the attentive reader: herein we have connections to the violent revolutionary prophetic works of William Blake, the dank recesses of Poe and Baudelaire, the Sufis, and the work The Man Who Was Thursday. The transformation of Professor Finnegan into Abdul Alhazred eventually into Cthulhu is echoed throughout the excerpt.

 A Copy of Chesterton's “The Eye of Apollo” selected by Borges’ “Library of Babel” book series. I’d encourage everyone to check out his other inclusions. 

RAW on Chesterton and marijuana: “ Whether one is transported out of one’s habitual Reality Tunnel to the multiple-choice labyrinth of Virtual Reality by marijuana or Charlie Parker or orgasm or meditation or by Picasso or by King Kong or by the Wicked Witch of the West the experience has a quality of timelessness and liberation about it. One feels less mechanical and seems on the edge of grasping what the mystics meant by “Awakening”; sometimes, especially with Beethoven, one almost feels that one will never forget the “absurd good news” (as Chesterton called it) of that Awakened state.” (Cosmic Trigger II pg. 193-94)

The appearance of ontologicum is found in an essay on Wells. Therein Borges recounts the quote from Oscar Wilde (who RAW was also fond of quoting) that “Wells writes like a scientific Jules Verne” is of interest in particular because of the citation of Verne’s membership in the Priory of Sion on pg 196. The work Jules Verne, initie et initiateur is in fact a real work unlike de Selby’s Teratological Ontologicum. Sense Teratology is the study of physiognomical abnormalities (thanks, Google!) and ontologicum is a form of ontology, the study of reality, we can loosely translate de Selby’s opus as “the deformities of reality.”

Elsewhere in the Borges book, which I have happily been reading, there is a reference to the arguments of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Anselm of Canterbury. On pg. 202 there is a repartee between Professor Finnegan and J.R. “Bob” Dobbs where Kong goes from being viewed as a 24 foot gorilla to a Fertility God and consequently his penis grows from a mere two feet to the appropriately divine twelve feet; anyone who is confused by this act of biological to theological feat of logic would be well advised to revisit both of those philosopher’s arguments for the existence of god. So really the patalogical approach (cribbed from absinthe-fiend Alfred Jarry, who was/is incidentally perhaps the first surrealist) suggested by de Selby humorously owes more to the Catholic fathers than it does to French silliness. (Appropriate for the discussion and concluding revelation of this story, no?)

I regret to inform you that the “There was a young lady from Sidney” limerick wasn’t actually written by T. S. Eliot who was a rather dry man.

I should also point out that Professor Sheissenhosen, member of the illustrious board of CSICOP along with James Randi and Carl Sagan, has a name that translates from the German as Professor “shit-pants.”

Thus we are back the Jarry with a humor very similar to his play Ubu Roi. (The first word of the play is “merdre” which loosely translate from the French as “shitter.”) Merde and its uses was another interest of RAW’s that has already been brought up in this collection with the words of General Canbronne. (Which is also used as the name of an “intelligence” agent in RAW’s Schrodinger’s Cat Trilogy)

I think after this book we will all be intimately re-familiarized with the dimensions of the holy phallus if nothing else.

The ending of The Horror on Howth Hill follows  a common trope from Lovecraft’s fiction where the up-till-now horrified protagonist accepts and even rejoices in their damnable state is originally derived from “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” which I like to argue is the actual archetypical Cthulhu Mythos story instead of the comparatively dull “Call of Cthulhu.” Interestingly while Lovecraft was inextricably entwined into occult consciousness by the works of Kenneth Grant, which greatly affected RAW’s initial understanding of magic, Wilson also notes that he has at times though of “HPL as ‘he poet of materialism’- the man who could really make his readers feel Melville’s ‘colorless allcolor of atheism.’”

For another narrative driven by a mysterious author and a tangle of interpreters I would recommend Roberto Bolano’s 2666 which, along with the macabre elements that invade human life*, focuses on the quest of four academics to find the mysterious German author von Archimboldi.

*reference Cosmic Trigger II pg. 160

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The KLF's 'greatest proteges'


From NPR comes the odd story of an Austrian hit inspired by the KLF, "Bring Me Edelweiss." It's kind of a terrible song (follow the video link from the article), but it sold more than five million copies worldwide. Walter Werzowa, the Austrian musician behind the hit, also wrote the  Intel jingle.

Also from the NPR piece:

... publishing house Faber & Faber announced a forthcoming trilogy of books written by The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu – one of the group's many alter-egos, you may remember — to be "presented as a utopian costume drama, set in the near-future, written in the recent past." NPR Music was delighted to receive an advance copy of the first book in the trilogy, 2023, and only slightly less delighted — truly — to discover that it contained 300 blank pages and a helpful note suggesting that we fill them ourselves.

The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu also announced — today — a three-day event starting Aug. 23, the day that 23-year "moratorium" ends and that 2023 is released, titled "Liverpool: Welcome to the Dark Ages." Each day centers around a single event; a "hearing" on why The K Foundation burned a million pounds, a reading of the first chapter from 2023, the title of which — "WHAT THE FUUK IS GOING ON?" — is at least a double entendre, and "THE RITES OF MuMufication," a ritual.

I guess we'll find out soon what's behind all of the hype and the jokes. I mostly don't get the KLF's music, but the John Higgs  book about the Illuminatus! inspired duo, The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds, is must reading. Higg's new book, Watling Street: Travels Through Britain and Its Ever-Present Past is out in Britain but not in the U.S. yet.

Hat tip for the NPR article: Gregory Arnott.

Friday, July 21, 2017

More RAWDay news

After yesterday's post more news was released on Sunday's RAWDay in Santa Cruz.

Richard Rasa sent out an update on the speakers and guests at the event. The original artist for Cosmic Trigger, John Thompson, will be giving away signed copies of his drawings.

The updated list of speakers and guests now includes Daisy Campbell, Erik Davis, Christina Pearson, R.U. Sirius, Nick Herbert, Richard Rasa, Adam Gorightly, Bobby Campbell, Ferdinando (a "magic experience designer") and DJ Greg Wilson.

Above, I have Rasa's promotional illustration and the cover of Bobby Campbell's RAW Art. Thursday, Bobby Tweeted, "Very happy to announce I will be attending in Santa Cruz this Sunday! and bringing a stack of my brand new comic book: RAW ART :)))"

This event was only announced a few weeks ago and I wish I could attend.

I recently covered, for my newspaper, a town hall meeting held by the local Congresswoman, Marcy Kaptur. It was broadcast on Facebook, and people on Facebook could ask questions. It would be nice if technology could be used to bring Sunday's event to folks who can't attend, or if videos were recorded of some of the talks. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

RAWDay in Santa Cruz Sunday

Erik Davis

Final reminder, or a note for anyone stumbling across this blog for the first time: RAWDay is Sunday in Santa Cruz, Calif. Featuring Daisy Campbell, Christina Pearson, Erik Davis, Richard Rasa and others. Details here. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Prometheus Awards for Sinisalo, Heinlein

The Prometheus Award this year goes to The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo, with the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award going to "Coventry," a Robert Heinlein story. I'm pleased with both selections.

You can read the official press release, which has more details. Sinisalo is a Finnish writer and she'll receive her award at the Worldcon in Helsinki next month. You can read a review of Core of the Sun on the Libertarian Futurist Society blog.  Cheryl Morgan, a science fiction fan and publisher, reacts to the award. And you can read Cheryl Morgan's own review. And you can read my interview with Sinisalo!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Interview with Ada Palmer

Ada Palmer

If you pay attention to science fiction, you can't help but notice that many women have been prominent authors in the field lately. I interviewed one important writer, Ada Palmer, for my day job at the newspaper.

I likely would have linked to it here anyway, under the theory that she is a good writer and this is a blog for people who like to read. But when I was preparing the piece for publication and re-reading her answers, I was struck by a comment from her that sounded like Robert Anton Wilson's techno-utopianism when I asked her which transnational-group, or "hive," in her novels she felt closest to herself:

The Utopians. That's easy. I share their drive to work hard for the future, and to see my labors as they do, as a tiny contribution to the greater project moving humanity away from death and toward the stars. I've been delighted to see how many people have reacted similarly to reading about the Utopians as well. Right now our culture has a lot of cynicism and pessimism in its discourse, to the point that it's in effect rhetorically fashionable to be a pessimist, and cynical comments have become a way to look smart and cool, while a lot of people tend to associate idealism and hope with naivete and foolishness. But underneath that, a lot of people do feel sincerely passionate about their work, and about contributing to something greater, though too often people feel nervous about saying so, for fear of being mocked or called naive. I think it's important that we feel as safe expressing hope and sincerity as we do expressing doubt or cynicism, and the Utopians are a tool to do just that. So it's been delightful meeting readers who see mirrors themselves in the Utopians and say, "Yes! That's the kind of hope I feel!"


Monday, July 17, 2017

Email to the Universe Discussion Group, Week 10

By Gregory Arnott, guest blogger

Ambrose Bierce

Damnation by Definition

Robert Anton Wilson ever the arch-agnostic, was surprisingly consistent in his themes.  Although he notes that parts of Authority and Submission, an unpublished work written in his early-mid thirties, would be incorporated in Prometheus Rising and Illuminatus! the themes he covers can be found in nearly every other essay in this collection and throughout his oeuvre. The particular term “The Damned Thing” is derived by an Ambrose Bierce short-story that itself seems to have been partially inspired by Guy de Maupassant’s 1880s story “The Horla.” Both stories were an influence on Lovecraft who borrowed an array of themes and terms from Bierce’s stories or from other writers, such as Robert Chambers, who borrowed those terms from Bierce in their turn. The possibly trans-dimensional locations “Carcosa” and “Hali” were both derived from Bierce’s work as well as the name “Hastur” who would be morphed from a gentle shepherd deity to one of the more fearsome of the Great Old Ones. Alan Moore’s recent masterwork of Lovecraftian fiction/scholarship Providence highlights the contributions Bierce made to Lovecraft's fevered universe. Bierce and Chambers are both mentioned in the rising action of The Eye in the Pyramid with the former’s disappearance and the latter’s move to trite romance novels being used as evidence of the Illuminati’s nefarious activities over the years.

But this is mostly a political/social essay concerning the interactions between two possible models: the authoritarian and libertarian. Benjamin Tucker, the nineteenth century American anarchist quoted in the essay as saying “[a]gression is simply another name for government,” is mentioned earlier in the same class of thinkers as Lysander Spooner. I think it is typical of RAW, who is a very American author, to draw his philosophical basis for individualism from American writers instead of the more fashionable, or at least better known, Russian anarchists of the age such as Kropotkin or Bakunin. Although he does mention Tolstoy quite often.

                                                               Benjamin Tucker

I think the paragraph on pg. 184 where the young Wilson waxes into the grandiose language of liberty is beautiful:

“To say that liberty exists is to say that classlessness exists, to say that brotherhood and equality exist. Authority, by dividing people into classes, creates dichotomy, disruption, hostility, fear, disunion. Liberty, by placing us all on an equal footing, creates association, amalgamation, union, security. When the relationships between people are based on liberty and non-aggression, they are drawn together. The facts are self-evident and axiomatic. If authoritarianism did not possess the in-built, preprogrammed double-blind structure of a Game Without End we would long ago have rejected it and embraced libertarianism.”

The following two paragraphs explain much of the political thinking in the nation today as well as they did when the piece was originally written. Perhaps the reasons RAW toyed with the same ideas so often is that it takes humanity as a whole, regardless of information doubling or technology, a long time to move on from certain paradigms. No matter how idiotic or suicidal those ideas may be.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the essay for me was RAW’s correct prediction about the fate of television censorship made in the last line of the essay: “When a more efficient medium [Internet?] arrives, the taboos on television will decrease.” Many critics agree we are living in a Golden Age of scripted television and I am tempted to agree. It seems by moving television primarily onto the Internet, and with all the noise it seems most efforts to censor the Interwebs seemed doomed to failure in the West, the ideas of propriety have been cast away and shows have been allowed to experiment more often. I’d honestly rather watch one of the new seasons of Veep or It’s Always Sunny for their cleverness and character development rather than whatever schlock war film by Eastwood or Gibson or whatever technicolor CGI seizure lowest common denominator trash that dominate the movie box office today. What a run on.

The short essays between “Views of Monterey Bay #18 and #19” are devoted to RAW’s delight in the emerging techno-culture and vitriol against the escalating drug wars of the nineties.  Regrettably, RAW’s prediction that the acidheads would take over the business world seems to have been inaccurate.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A bit of art

I get a lot of ugly, mean political stuff on Twitter and Facebook, but (particularly on Twitter) sometimes I get a message that I'm happy to see. This is "Everything changes, nothing is lost" (2014) by land artist Katie Griesar. Source.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Anyone want to be a volunteer correspondent?

Daisy Campbell 

I won't be able to attend the July 23 RAW Day event in Santa Cruz, featuring Daisy Campbell, Richard Rasa, Erik Davis, Christina Pearson and other luminaries. (Bobby Campbell has just announced he'll be there, and I'll bet other names you recognize from this blog will attend, too.)
Since I can't go, would anyone be interested in snapping some pictures and doing a writeup, to be posted here on the blog? 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Holy Chao! Origin of the Sacred Chao AND the Law of Fives

 Greg Hill's adaptation of the Sacred Chao, created in 1964. Courtesy Discordian Archives and Adam Gorightly.

Illuminatus! fans should welcome the latest researches of Mr. Adam Gorightly. Digging deep into the Discordian archives, he discovers that the Sacred Chao was created by Kerry Thornley in a  handwritten letter dated Feb. 2, 1964. Greg Hill immediately dressed it up and used it for the cover for the firat edition of the Principia Discordia, so Hill should get credit for popularizing it. Adding u the numerals in 1964 adds up to 20 — five times the Fab Four!

Which leads me up to Gorightly's point that the very same Thornley letter has the first known reference to the Law of Fives.

For more, see the Historia Discordia article. The article was posted on July 8, 2017. So I'm a little late in writing about it. But it's not too late, I hope, to point out that 7+8 (July 8) add up to 15, and that 7+8+2+0+1+7 add up to 25 — five times five! Coincidence, or did Mr. Gorightly carefully time his blog post?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

New RAW biography slated for spring 2018 release

 Multimedia artist, musician, activist and now author PropAnon.

The new biography of Robert Anton Wilson by Gabriel Kennedy (also known as the musician, writer and activist Propaganda Anonymous) is slated for release in Spring 2018. The book was turned in to the publisher a few weeks ago, so "God willing and the creek don't rise," as they say down South, that should be a pretty firm date.

As we get closer, PropAnon will be doing a lot of promotion for the book, which of course you will hear about here, and Prop also tells me there will be other RAW news soon, so don't touch that dial, which is pretty mixed metaphor for a blog, but old people reading this will remember "listening to the radio" and will understand the expression.

In the meantime, here is my interview with PropAnon after the book was announced (Oz Fritz was a producer for one of his recordings!), and here is PropAnon's more recent Grant Morrison interview.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Christina Pearson to speak at RAW Day in Santa Cruz July 23

 A windy day at Monterey Bay in 2016. From left, Richard Rasa, Christina Pearson, German radio journalist Maximilian Netter, Marlin Jermutus (from Rasa's band, Starseed.)

The Robert Anton Wilson Trust has issued its own official announcement on RAW Day in Santa Cruz July 23, following up on the news from our British friends.

The main additional news appears to be Christina Pearson, Robert Anton Wilson's daughter and literary executor, confirmed as an additional speaker, hence the headline for this post. From the official announcement:

Confirmed speakers include:

Daisy Campbell – the writer and director who recently staged the Cosmic Trigger Play in London, to great critical acclaim. She is a central figure in the UK’s Discordian counterculture revival.

Christina Pearson, Bob's daughter, Trustee of the Robert Anton Wilson Trust and co-publisher of Hilaritas Press


Erik Davis – author and podcaster behind TechGnosis – a seminal writer on the intersection between magic, mysticism and technology.

Richard Rasa – co-publisher of Hilaritas Press and Meta-Programming Director of the RAW Trust, who together with Bob's daughter Christina, is re-releasing mosbunall of Bob's books via Hilaritas Press.

In addition to the talks, DJ, record label boss Greg Wilson (no relation) and creator of the Super Weird Happenings taking the UK by storm, will be playing a cosmically-infused set.

The event is now listed as being from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. July 23 at The Museum of Art and History, 705 Front Street in Santa Cruz, Calif. Link for tickets is here. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Email to the Universe discussion group, Week Nine

 By Gregory Arnott, guest blogger

Part III: In Defense of the Damned

"the Damned" is presumably the same group of ideas and phenomena that do not fit into our perceived reality "correctly" and are thus discarded, after those peculiarities that Charles Fort named his famous opus, The Book of the Damned.

I was going to comment on RAW's quotes about the bush administration, but I backspaced after deciding that I've talk way too much about republicans in the White House in these posts. Presumably everyone here has access to the news and is capable of making their own comparisons.

Guns and Dope Party

This is RAW at his most petulantly anti-order which tickles me blue. I realize that my politics are more radical than most of the older readers of this blog, but as I have mentioned before, I am currently a member of the Guns and Dope Party and fully believe in its mission. My political beliefs at this point can be boiled down to "mind your own business" which could have curbed a lot of sacrosanct patriotic bullshit in this country if that had been printed on our currency instead of the absurdly pompous "In God We Trust." RAW points out on pg. 169 that our government does indeed seem to believe that God is on their side or at least want us to believe that they do. I'm gonna trust Bob/Olga over the professional fuckers we reelect year after year so they can keep fleecing us.

The George Washington quote at the beginning of the essay reminds me of a point that Bill Hicks made: no matter how many sub-machines guns and assault rifles a survivalist has, the government has tanks and bombs (and now drones). While I have nothing against gun ownership, I come from a very West Virginian family and even own a pistol, it is a good thing to remember that the average citizen stands no chance against the might of "our" government's armory.

Remember when everyone thought Skull and Bones was an important conspiracy?

The Gadsen flag is an example of a symbol whose context has rapidly changed since the publication of email to the Universe. It is now primarily associated with the Tea Party and such grassroots rightwing sentiments.

For anyone else who was unfamiliar with the term "suidaen" it is the descriptive term for the biological family Suidae whose members include pigs, boars, and hogs. I'd take ostriches over pigs any day.

"If Olga doesn't talk to you, you need more pain medicine, and frankly I don't understand how you've survived three years of Bozo without it." I was in the middle of one of my valiant yet futile attempts to kick my nicotine habit around November 7th 2016- I gave up on the 8th figuring we won't be around long enough now to justify me worrying about it. (I speak partially in jest, knowing how addictions can find infinite reasons for the continuation. For those of you concerned about my health I am currently on another one of my "quitting kicks.")

Damn. Isn't Lysander Spooner's tax plan ingenious? Where I'm from a lot of people love to bitch about Medicare, Medicaid, WIC (damn those money grubbing women, infants, and children) and such being funded from their pockets. I'd much rather pay the minuscule amount of tax that I lose to social programs than the massive amount of my taxes that go to funding Babylon-Washington and the defense of Israel.

Now that the republicans and those damn russians have decided to let bygones by bygones and final become the dream duo of bullshit nationalistic politics, a sizable chunk of our population is revealing their natural love of tsardom.  Of course, as I listen to people's opinions (unasked for) about others drug use, I realize that many of the critters on the planet of the apes believe in regulating what drugs, herbs, compounds, etc. can go into the bodies of the private citizenry. To someone like myself who doesn't believe in victimless "crime," this makes those critters seem hostile and dangerous; far more dangerous that the poor sot injecting heroin in some vaguely imagined trap house. Tsardom, police quotas, and the piss police will all have to be utterly rejected for this to ever be anything resembling "the Land of the Free."

Every man and woman is a tsar. And everyone reading this is a pope. Make your own goddamn rules and govern the one person you actually have a right to govern in the way that seems best to you.

The John Adams quotation on pg. 175 brings up the invaluable legal tactic of jury nullification which RAW writes about extensively elsewhere. I try to educate as many people as possible about the existence and necessity of jury nullification.

RAW's explanation of why Olga is essential serious, scientific, and sincerely surrealist aspects of the Guns and Dope Party is deft and resonates with me. That is why I am always proud to endorse the idea that 33% of Congress really should be changed to ostriches. I'd like to see Congress be productive and civilized someday.

W.C. Fields closes the chapter and I'll insert a non sequitar, my favorite story relating to the old comedian/philosopher:

On his death bed, he supposedly asked his banker, "Do I have enough money to buy all the children of Philadelphia a bike each?" The banker looked at his notes and said yes. Fields stayed quiet for a moment in deep thought and replied "Well fuck 'em!"

Sunday, July 9, 2017

RAW and Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche

When I re-read "Left and Right: A Non-Euclidian Perspective," I was struck by RAW's comment that that Nietzsche made a "powerful impression" on him and that "I still re-read one or two of his books every year, and get new semantic insights from them."

As I have never read Nietzsche, this raises the question of where to begin.

I pulled out my trusty copy of Eric Wagner's An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson by Eric Wagner, and sure enough, Eric is on the case, noting that Wilson mentioned Nietzsche in both of his lists of books that everyone needs to read.

One list includes Nietzsche's Twilight of the Idols and The Anti-Christ. The other lists The Anti-Christ in H.L. Mencken's translation.

When I looked in the Kindle store on Amazon, I found the Mencken translation of Anti-Christ for 99 cents, so I bought it. There were cheap editions of Twilight, too, but I couldn't figure out which translations were good.

I once saw a Gahan Wilson cartoon that showed a man sitting at a bar, with a robot standing next to him. The man with the robot tells another person in the tavern, "He's programmed to take me home when I begin quoting Nietzsche."

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Watch a five minute video of RAW by Rasa

It's just been uploaded to YouTube.

The video is called "Non Simultaneously Apprehended."

On Facebook, Rasa explains,

"A year after RAW rode the great lasagna over Monterey Bay, Maybe Logic documentary maker Lance Bauscher gave me some outtakes (and a few intakes) from his project so I could make a small video, something enticing for the home page of the update I was building of the website. I put together a five minute video, and as was the custom, I made it into a cool-looking Flash animation. I used to love Flash animation, until Apple went to war with Adobe. In any case, for a number of years I've wanted to put the video into an HD format and upload it to YouTube. I finally got around to it. Many thanks to Lance for the video, Bastian for the music, Brummbaer (may he rest in hyperspace) for the fractal backgrounds I added to the HD version, and special thanks to Bob for always having something mind-expanding to say."

Friday, July 7, 2017

The lasagna flies in many languages

Richard Rasa. Check out his band. 

Rasa has been collecting the phrase "keep the lasagna flying" in different languages. In a recent comment posted to this blog, he explains, "I'm borrowing RAW's example. He used to sign his emails with a changing array of signatures, many of which were Keep the Lasagna Flying" in a few different languages. He used Irish, German and Italian versions. I've been collecting some other languages. Here's my list so far, with a couple I'm not certain about (?). Please offer corrections or new versions!!"

Las die Lasagne weiter fliegen!

Mantenere il volo di lasagna!

Coinnigh an lasagne in airde!

Blijf de Lasagne vliegen!

שמור את הלזניה עפה

שהלזניה תמשיך לעופף

Guarde el vuelo del lasagna!

लज़ान्या उड़ान रखने के

إبقاء لاساجنا الطائر!


Udržujte lasagne létání!

Konservu la Lasagna Fluganta!

E mālama i ka Lasagna e lele ana! (Save Lasagna Flying!)

Jauhkan Lasagna Terbang!

라자냐를 계속 날아라!

Держите Лазанью Летающий!

Tausi Lasagna lele!

Lazanyayı uçmaya devam et!

Kia mau ki te rere lasagna!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

More Joyce lore from znore

When I read znore's excellent Groupname for Grapejuice blog post about Joyce's Ulysses, which I wrote about in a recent blog post,  I noticed that he talked about participating in a Bloomsday podcast. So I downloaded the 42 Minutes podcast on the podcast app on my lowly Android phone and listened to it.

There are several people participating in the podcast, but znore (easy to keep track of because he's the only one without an American accent) is the standout here. I especially liked the bit where he explained all of us do a daily "journey" when we leave home to go to work and then return home in the evening, just like Bloom, and how Joyce brings out the mythic aspects of that journey, analogous to the journey of Odysseus as he struggle to return home. I listened to the podcast as I was driving to work. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Coincidance up next for Hilaritas

Cover for Coincidance, although it's likely the new edition will have a new cover

With the publication of Email to the Universe, another collection, Coincidance: A Head Test is the next scheduled authorized reprint from Hilaritas Press. It's the next one scheduled according to the publication schedule listed at the Hilaritas website, and I know that work has been done on it.

I am excited about the impending publication of Coincidance. There was a reading group for it here in 2013, still available on this page, and when the book is republished by Hilaritas, I will clear out any accumulated spam in the comments. I'm also excited about the books that come next: The three Historical Illuminatus! novels, and then Cosmic Trigger II: Down to Earth, which is think is an underrated masterpiece.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Meet Daisy Campbell in California on July 23

Daisy Campbell

Official news from Daisy Campbell that I alluded to the other day: On July 23, e.g. "Robert Anton Wilson Day," she will be in Santa Cruz, Calif.,  for a one-day RAW event. Details on the speakers:

Daisy Campbell – the writer and director who recently staged the Cosmic Trigger Play in London, to great critical acclaim. She is a central figure in the UK’s Discordian counterculture revival

Erik Davis – author and podcaster behind TechGnosis – a seminal writer on the intersection between magic, mysticism and technology

Rasa – musician, publisher and meta-programming director of the RAW Trust, who together with Bob's daughter Christina Pearson, is re-releasing many of Wilson's books via Hilaritas Press 

In addition to the talks, we are thrilled to announce that DJ Greg Wilson, creator of the Super Weird Happenings taking the UK by storm, will be playing a cosmically-infused set.

2 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 23 at the Santa Cruz Museum of History, 705 Front Street.

Full announcement here. 

General admission $20, buy here.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Email to the Universe Discussion Group, Week Eight

Ayn Rand, from her Soviet passport photo

By Gregory Arnott, guest blogger
"Left and Right"

I really wish RAW were alive right now. I really wish we could hear what he has to say about the second decade of the twenty first century when he had thought once that we would be taking immortality tabs and floating around the Legrange point 5. 

I still have a Correct Answer Machine within me. I can't seem to get it out. The thing is, thanks to authors and people such as RAW, I've been trying to exorcise or deprogram that motherfucker for years. I do succeed sometimes, but the damn thing always manages to refine its methodology and I unwittingly begin listening to it again, by another name or lack thereof. 

After years of "disciplining" myself in RAW's "model agnosticism" (a term which I believe is used for the first time in email in this essay), psychosynthesis, magic, and yoga to free my self from myself, I find that my ego is a worthy opponent. I realize in my conscious mind that there are many "mes" playing their various games for various reasons but I unconsciously fall prey to their machinations when I am not looking. (I sound mad.)

So, while I love quoting that "science has shown that the Universe can count above two" and mocking Aristotelian/Euclidean models I have to admit I am probably still, at times, trapped in the Euclidean limbo. 

A game, for anyone who would like to play; Wilson gives us the description existentialist-phenomenologist-operationalist as his, admittedly distasteful, label as long as no term is give more importance than the other two. Off the cuff, what would you use as your, admittedly distasteful, label. 

I think mine would be: libertine-wastrel-fop

And if any of you 2017 Euclideans wants to be so bold as to judge from this essay whether in the terms of today he would be a leftist or a rightist, I'd love to read your thoughts! 

"La Belle Dame Sans Merci" 

Oz Fritz posted an excellent rumination on psychedelic experimentation and current ideas in the comment thread for last weeks post. I would recommend everyone who has looked at this essay and haven't read his thoughts to do so. 

It seems a good percentage of those foolhardy enough to play the psychedelic game has an experience that utterly turns them off of a substance. For RAW, it was solanaceous psychedelics, and he wrote about them in such a deliciously camp style in Drugs, Sex, and Magic that I've always loved reading about their usage- witch ointment and all that shit- but have never tried them. My horror stories are from black market LSD, which RAW preaches against and downplays in an episode of Real Time with Bill Maher (Euclidean question- what would RAW have thought of Maher and Yiannoupoulos or his recent scandal?), and robotussin- I was such a fucking stupid kid. Perhaps the closest substance I have ingested to belladonna was datura...the dried leaves of the desert plant that has such erotic smelling blossoms. I learned something and enjoyed myself though. 

The William S. Burroughs story is a favorite party anecdote of mine that no one ever seems to appreciate. It occurs to me I am still a fucking stupid kid. 

Also, if you haven't ever followed up the footnote in the chapter on Solanaceous drugs in Sex, Drugs, and Magic on The Crooked Hinge I would heartily recommend it. It is a brilliant specimen of mid-century detective fiction. Riveting and memorable. 

I would also recommend works such as Psychedelic Shamanism (look beyond the name) and The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide (ditto) for works I have visited in the years after my participation in such chthonic mysteries and found thought provoking. 

"The Relativity of Reality" 

I agree with everything in this essay. (There's that persistence Correct Answer Machine.)

Haldane's quote was used as the title of John Higgs' 2015 explosion of perspective on how we arrived at this point. Another recommendation!  

Here's a charming little video I've used as a remedy for depression for a few years that I think makes a good collorary to RAW's masterful take down of our collective weltanschauungs: 


Dark night: darker thoughts

Perhaps I drank too many linn dubh during my years in Ireland...If you haven't explored the works of Flann O'Brien or Alfred Jarry I would be so bold as to make another set of recommendations. 

This story charms and speaks for itself. I would feel bad about sneaking in four essays this week but considering the pleasant dialogue of this last story I hope you'll all agree it hasn't been too arduous. 

Next Week we will study the political platform of the Guns and Dope Party, of which I am a proud member, pages 159-178. In the meantime Happy Fourth everyone and do something that really flies in the face of tyranny this year.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Catching up on blog reading

The Groupname for Grapejuice blog has an interesting, relatively short post on Giordano Bruno's influence upon James Joyce, "The Bitch's Shadow." 

Referring to Joyce, Znore writes, "His later books are magical spells or counter-spells painstakingly constructed to, through the art of memory operating mostly unconsciously for readers, to smash the nightmarish lockdown of history -- "...the ruin of all space, shattered glass and toppling masonry, and time one livid final flame..." -- and to reveal the eternal in every moment ... Joyce is perhaps alone in transforming his writing into a functioning magical force."

Oz Fritz has a new post up, "Magick, Linguistics and the Plane of Immanence." It was posted on June 23, probably not a coincidence. He remarks in passing that both Robert Anton Wilson and Timothy Leary described themselves at times as stand-up philosophers. Could they have gotten that from Alan Watts calling himself a "spiritual entertainer"?

Elsewhere in the piece Oz writes that "solar invocations or references to Tiphareth occur at the start of Illuminatus!, Schrodinger's Cat, Masks of the Illuminati, and Email to the Universe by Robert Anton Wilson."

Oz has been participating in the Email to the Universe online discussion, but I couldn't immediately find a comment about a solar invocation. But see his first comment to the opening piece where he renders the title of the book into the qabalistic sentence 23, a "death/rebirth" meme.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

A libertarian basic income?

 Vernon Smith

At Marginal Revolution, Alex Tabarrok explains a new proposal by economist Vernon Smith to privatize the highway network to create a permanent income fund. The piece links to a Wall Street Journal article that's behind a paywall, but Tabarrok quotes enough of it to give you the idea.

Smith explains that auctioning off much of the federal government's private grazing lands in the west also could raise money for the fund.