By Gregory Arnott, guest blogger
On My Way Out
both seem far far away
[These two quotes are extracted from John Higgs’ casual masterpiece The KLF:
"The interval between the decay of the old and the establishment of the new, constitutes a period of transition which must always necessarily be one of uncertainty, confusion, error, and wild and fierce fanaticism."- John C. Calhoun
"A naked man in a city street—the track of a horse in volcanic mud—the mystery of reindeer's ears—a huge, black form, like a whale, in the sky, and it drips red drops as if attacked by celestial swordfishes—an appalling cherub appears in the sea—Confusions."- Charles Fort/Ken Campbell]
To attempt to answer my own questions from last week and to respond to the opinions of Oz Fritz, Eric Wagner, and Tom Jackson ( the vital repositories of RAW’s spirit in the New World):
We are all increasingly grizzled veterans serving a perpetual tour on the front lines of the Culture War. The sophisticated disguises that communication has adopted during the course of human evolution have caused in increase of psycho-seismic activity. Our society is transforming rapidly and all sorts of cancers metastasize across our screens in the course of weeks, days, or hours. In 2005 there is no way anyone would have believed Donald Trump would be POTUS- I don’t think even RAW could have predicted this outcome. As comedians pointed out in January as fond reminiscences of the Bush years cropped up in op-eds; Trump is so horrifying we are looking back upon a CIA-trained cokehead who committed genocide (GeeDubs) with fondness. RAW hated Bush and his disdain is clear throughout this book- today we yearn for those years of “sanity.” As the blood in Charlottesville attests, the situation today is beyond appalling.
And that’s why we desperately need the transformative techniques that RAW cheerfully spins into our souls as humorous yarns or passionate polemics. Wilson was a monkey who couldn’t get the stars out of his eyes and died seeing things wrapped up in an infinite net of diamonds. This is what we should aim for in our holy discourse, the brilliance coded into every sentence; as Branka Tesla pointed out- RAW impregnates every line in this sainted text. This is a cyclical in the school of Perennial Wisdom, composed and preserved by one of our most incomparable philosophers; Robert Anton Wilson conquered the world in a way that is comparable to Socrates or Blake. This is his goodbye and his greeting- an invitation to travel along so many avenues of thought and a boutique of expertly developed exotic blooms that one cannot help but stop and shudder in admiration.
I remember being fifteen, before I had read RAW, and telling my classmates if my choice was heaven with them or hell with people I admired, I’d prefer the latter.
Higgs, in his more recent opus Stranger Than We Can Imagine, proposes that, after we are faced with the stark reality of improbability and astounding happenstance of the twentieth century, our best choice of mental states is model agnosticism. He never acknowledges RAW by name, which bothered me, but this is clearly the same conclusion our wild-eyed Brooklynite drew early in his life and pursued like a hound nipping at the heals of God.
These are the times that test the soul of man. I am an atheist, thank god, but I still revere the saints who, whilst living, did miraculous things and transformed the garden into which we are all born, to something more beautiful.
Next week: Paul Krassner's afterword, new to the Hilaritas Press edition.