Thursday, November 30, 2017

A libertarian look at RAW


David S. D'Amato.

Libertarianism.org, the Cato Institute's site devoting to education about the libertarian philosophy, has just published the article "Robert Anton Wilson: Mildly Puzzled All The Time."

I thought the piece by David S. D'Amato was really well done. As you might expect, it devotes careful attention to Wilson's political views, and discusses the individualist anarchists who influenced him. It also explains how he differed from other libertarians, such as the folks in the Austrian School. (If that interests you, see also this interview.) 

I liked this passage:

Interested in subtle manipulations of the human mind and the architecture of its reality constructs, Wilson closely studied the power of illusion and wanted his readers to wonder, “How much of this is real and how much is a put-on?” This idea was important to both his art and his politics. He once mused that “the ordinary reality of the conditioned citizen is somewhere around 99.97 percent mythology.” Citizens were conditioned, he argued, to believe and obey, their minds sufficiently numbed to accept the thin ideological justifications of ubiquitous government violence: “Hell, you don’t want the people you conquer to be too smart, and you certainly don’t want them armed.”

When I looked at D'Amato's Twitter account, I found a Tweet summarizing his political philosophy, apparently reacting to the common claim that libertarians are "right wing,"  that perhaps sheds light on how he was able to relate so well to Wilson: "I’m such a right-winger: I’m emphatically pro-choice, I’m a feminist, I’m for open borders, I’m a prison abolitionist, I’m for legalizing all drugs, I’m (more, perhaps, than anything else) anti-war, I’m anti-FBI/CIA/NSA, I’m anti-fascist, anti-racist, etc. Definitely on the right."

Interesting, many the libertarians I follow on Twitter, the ones who influence my own thinking, promoted D'Amato's piece or commented on it, including Julian Sanchez, Jesse Walker and Angela Keaton.


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

RAW Day videos coming soon


Richard Rasa has posted a video, about six minutes long, above, that contains snippets of videos from RAW Day, held last July 23 in Santa Cruz, Calif.  The video includes appearances by Daisy Campbell, Christina Pearson,  Erik Davis, Richard Rasa, R.U. Sirius, Nick Herbert, Adam Gorightly, and Ferdinando.

Rasa says full videos will be posted soon. You can sign up for the RAW Trust newsletter at the same link as the videos. 

They should be quite stimulating. Snippet from Christina Pearson: "Was he a good father? No. Was he a phenomenal human being? Absolutely."


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Appeal for help for Genesis P-Orridge


Genesis P-Orridge performing with the band Throbbing Gristle in 2009. Creative Commons photo by Seth Tisue.

Author and pundit Douglas Rushkoff has launched an effort to raise money online to help Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, who is broke and fighting cancer.

"Industrial music legend, cut-and-paste artist, and pandrogyne Genesis Breyer P-Orridge has leukemia and needs our help," the page says.

"Having canceled their upcoming tour with PTV3, they are flat broke, three months behind on rent, and undergoing chemo and constant testing. Gen is on oxygen, and unable to do much beyond getting to the hospital. Friends are visiting and contributing what we can, but the expenses keep growing.

"We want Gen to be warm and fed through the winter, and focused on hopefuly healing, not finances.  The drugs are experimental, but promising. With continued therapy *and* low stress, Gen does not have to die from this, but could be back performing again sometime next year."

If you search for "Genesis P-Orridge Robert Anton Wilson" on your favorite search engine,  you can bring up YouTube videos of the pair discussing Aleister Crowley.

"After rising to notability as the founder of the COUM Transmissions artistic collective and then fronting the industrial band Throbbing Gristle, P-Orridge was a founding member of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth occult group, and fronted the experimental band Psychic TV. P-Orridge identifies as third gender," the Wikipedia biography explains. 


Sunday, November 26, 2017

God no longer gendered, in Sweden


Carla Sinclair (photo from her Twitter account)

From Carla Sinclair's post at Boing Boing:

The Church of Sweden is changing its language so that God will no longer take on the human characteristic of "he." And while they're at it, "Lord" will be dropped as well.

After an eight-day discussion about updating a church handbook that offers guidelines on now to conduct services, the decision to make God gender-neutral was made yesterday. Church of Sweden Archbishop Antje JackelĂ©n, a woman, says that a gender-neutral God is something that the church has been talking about since a 1986 conference, and "we know that God is beyond our gender determinations, God is not human.” 

Robert Anton Wilson in many writings ridiculed the idea that God would have to be male (or, as RAW put it, have a penis), so this announcement should raise a smile among his fans.

Hat tip: Michael Johnson.

Incidentally, Carla Sinclair is the wife of longtime RAW fan Mark Frauenfelder. She and Mark were the co-founders of the original bOING bOING magazine, then they founded the website.




Saturday, November 25, 2017

Butterfly Language on words and magic


Grant Morrison. (Creative Commons photo)

Val, the Butterfly Language blogger, has a new post up, "Robert Anton Wilson, Grant Morrison, And The Magick Of Words," on the connection between magick and words. It's not a terribly long post, and rather than try to summarize it, I will point you to it.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Video for the Chandeliers with RAW clip



The new album by the Chandeliers, mentioned in Sunday's blog post, has been released. Above is a video for one of the songs from Law of Fives, "Snake Bomb", featuring a clip of Robert Anton Wilson.

The band's official website is here, although aspects of the band remain mysterious to me. The band biography describes it as a trio, but the band photo shows four persons. Still no word whether the Chicago band drinks Illuminated Chicago beer. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A meme from Rasa I liked


It would be nice to have a repository somewhere of these things. Rasa says the ones he does usually have "RAWilson.com" in the corner.

Bonus: Image from Jesse Walker from his daily "Your morning image" series on Twitter. Follow him. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

'Beginner's Guide' to RAW, Part II



Samuel Morningstar has published part two of his "Beginner's Guide" to Robert Anton Wilson at Disinfo, this time tackling Prometheus Rising. 

The piece includes an outline of the Eight Circuits theory of consciousness and a recommendation that people try the exercises in the book rather than just reading it: "It is, paradoxically, one of Wilson’s least commercially successful books, but its reputation in occult circles is nearly mythic. Which is to say out of a hundred people who claim this book changed their life, maybe ten read it, and only one or two has gone the extra mile to actually try the exercises. That sounds snide, but Wilson himself lamented that most of the people who came up to him and expressed admiration for the book couldn’t name a specific exercise from it. He soon learned to stop asking questions and just accept the compliments when they came."

Incidentally, when I posted about part one of the series, I predicted that Morningstar would follow up with pieces about Prometheus Rising and Quantum Psychology, so I'm right so far.  Part One is worth reading, although the mistake Supergee spotted still hasn't been fixed — he still puts Playboy magazine's offices in New York, rather than Chicago.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Adam Gorightly gets mail!


One of Adam's books about Kerry Thornley. More information here. 

At the invaluable Historia Discordia, Adam Gorightly reproduces some of the letters he received from Kerry Thornley. 

They are an odd mixture of craziness, insight and useful information. I doubt, for example, that Robert Anton Wilson "was connected with a Nazi secret society known as MAAGI6," as Thornley claims. But I believe Thornley's statement that "Wilson introduced me to the individual anarchists–Proudhon, Warren, Tucker, Spooner, Bersodi, Labadie, etc."


Monday, November 20, 2017

RAW community 'like a vacation in Ireland'



Here's a quote from Prop Anon, author of the upcoming biography,  Chapel Perilous: The Life and Thought Crimes of Robert Anton Wilson. 

"One of the greatest things about writing this book on Robert Anton Wilson has been all the great people who have contributed.  This is rare. There is such a low 'snake' factor in the world of RAW
It's like a vacation in Ireland."

Source. 

Doing this daily blog, I've been struck also by kindness and generosity, in general, of Robert Anton Wilson fandom.

Above is the illustration Bobby Campbell did for my online Illuminatus! reading group. When I did the group, Bobby surprised me by creating the illustration and sending it to me to show his support. Many other people have sent me news tips or have otherwise done nice things to help me.




Sunday, November 19, 2017

Discordian band releases new album



The name of the band is Chandeliers, described as a "synth musik band" on Twitter, and the new album's name is Law of Fives, the new album is expected out Monday. The above video for the first track has great visuals and you should take a moment to look at it.

The band is interested in Discordianism, hence the album's name, discussion on this radio show. 
The band is from Chicago, website here.  The band is on Twitter.  Also on Instagram as Chandeliers23.

Hat tip: @advantardeodotus on Twitter. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Good Mondo 2000 video on RAW



The Mondo 2000 website has posted a video of R.U.Sirius interviewing Lance Bauscher and Eric Wagner. It's a little under 40 minutes, and I enjoyed it when I watched it Friday night.

R.U.  explains, "This lovely video by Satori D adds some great visuals to an interview I conducted with Lance Bauscher, director of the great film Maybe Logic and Eric Wagner, author of An insider’s guide to Robert Anton Wilson shortly before his passing. Enjoy!"

My favorite bit is when R.U. asks his guests for their favorite RAW books (and also answers the question himself). R.U.'s picks come closest to what I would have said; Eric's pick surprised me. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

New 'Coincidance' to feature Alan Moore introduction


Alan Moore

As work continues on the new edition of Coincidance: A Head Test that will be put out soon by Hilaritas Press, Richard Rasa has given me permission to share a bit of news: The new edition will feature a new introduction by Alan Moore. This continues the Hilaritas Press tradition of adding new material as it puts out definitive new editions of Robert Anton Wilson's work.

The people involved with the production of Coincidance have mostly kept quiet about this, although Moore himself let the feline slip out the bag in a recent interview.

Rasa said I could quote this bit from Moore's introduction:

This, for my money, is the most spectacular non-fiction work that Wilson ever penned, breathtakingly adventurous in both its content and its strikingly experimental form. Uncertain and demonstrably uncaring whether it’s a piece of literary criticism, metaphysical discussion or anthology of diverse esoteric writings, this remarkable compendium is best seen, in the spirit of its title, as a glorious accidental dance of meaning, modernism and mythology. 

No publication date has been announced for the new edition. I do know that work has advanced pretty far with copyediting and formatting and that Scott McPherson again will do the cover.






Thursday, November 16, 2017

Get well wishes for Justin Raimondo


Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo -- co-founder and editorial director of the important Antiwar.com site -- has posted a column, "I Will Survive," in which he explains that he has cancer, and appeals for support for the website.

Get well soon, Justin!

He is still Tweeting away, which I hope is a good sign.

Antiwar.com remains an important source of news and commentary. Here is a dispatch on the terrible crisis in Yemen.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New book on the 'eight circuits' of Leary and Wilson


New Falcon Publications has just put out a new book, The Eight Circuits of Consciousness, by James A. Hefferman.

The eight circuit model was created by Timothy Leary and is discussed by Robert Anton Wilson in the latter's book, Prometheus Rising. The dedication for the book reads, "DEDICATED to the memory of Robert Anton Wilson Vivat spiritus."

Hefferman explains the book in a YouTube video that's just under five minutes long:



I have not had time to read the book -- I really just heard about it. The paperback is a hefty $29.95, but the Kindle is $8.99. As with other Kindle ebooks, you don't have to own a Kindle to read it; you can use a Kindle app for your smartphone or whatever other device you use. I'll buy the Kindle soon and read it when I can.

Heffernan is on Facebook and lives in Sandy, Utah. He's a member of the Robert Anton Wilson Fans group.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The new biography of Wilson seems very promising


RAW biographer Prop Anon

No, I haven't been offered an advance look at the book. But R.U. Sirius has just done a new interview with Prop Anon (aka Gabriel Kennedy), author of the forthcoming Chapel Perilous: The Life and Thought Crimes of Robert Anton Wilson,  and it's very good, full of new information about Robert Anton Wilson's life and suggesting that the new book will be accurate and fair, and won't shy away from touchy subjects such as Wilson's attitudes toward feminism.

I also could not find any mistakes in Prop's statements, a good sign. Prop doesn't strike me as a libertarian, but his discussion of Wilson's libertarian beliefs, and how Wilson differed from more conventional libertarians, is quite good.

Here's a bit, about Wilson and Robert Shea: "Wilson and Shea became fast friends at Playboy. They would hang out together at the bar on payday. They, and their wives, would all hang out, smoke weed, watch TV or listen to records and think of funny sketches that made each other laugh. They had a lot in common: Both raised Irish Catholic, both left the Church young, both seeking to become full time free-lance writers. They both really dug into the Anarchist perspective."

Read the whole thing.

Also,  here is a Mondo article about a punk rock documentary Prop appears in.




Monday, November 13, 2017

Book note: 'The Genius Plague'



One of the best science fiction novels I have read recently is The Genius Plague by David Walton, in which a plague created by a fungus threatens to take over the world, to the advantage of the fungus and to the detriment of the human race. The people infected by the fungus become a collective ready to kill and control everyone else. In Robert Anton Wilson terms, the fungus threatens to put everyone into the same reality tunnel. I've nominated it for the Prometheus Award.




Sunday, November 12, 2017

'Grab the nearest book'


"He walked to the next patch, this one on the ground, and found the same thing -- an area full of fungi, but only this one small patch glowing."

(The Genius Plague, David Walton).

From Bob Stierle in Robert Anton Wilson Fans on Facebook.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Why I hate politics


                                                          Mug shot of Emma Goldman

Supergee did a post not too long ago on why he hates politics. I have to pay attention to politics because of my day job, so I am reasonably well informed, although if I ever get to retire I hope to be able to not "keep up."

Robert Anton Wilson said somewhere that if voting made a difference, it would be made illegal; a similar statement is attributed sometimes to Emma Goldman.

My chief complaints are these:

(1) Much of politics is a waste of time, in the sense of being political theater. While we engage on loud noisy debates over, say, the exact circumstances in which Christian bakers can refuse service, or whether women working for Catholic employers should have to pay for their own birth control (issues that will ultimately be decided by the courts rather than elected officials), we apparently can't have a serious debate on whether the U.S. should be endlessly at war, or have a gigantic defense budget far beyond what we need to actually defend our shores.

While I think Bryan Caplan exaggerates a little bit, I agree with him that the differences between Republicans and Democrats are not as great as people like to pretend.

(2) I agree with Gene Healy that politics makes people worse. If my Twitter feed is any indication, it certainly seems to make people seem mean and dumb.   Of course, I can't stand Trump, but are Democrats any better? They produce people like Amanda Marcotte, who actually makes a living misrepresenting others' views and trying to foment hatred.  I can't believe even Democrats like her, or that even Republicans like Trump or Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh, although obviously tastes differ.

I realize that for many, misrepresenting the views of others and inciting hatred is the point, but that's not what my favorite commentators do. The sorts of folks I cite here, such as Tyler Cowen and Bryan Caplan, express plenty of opinions, but they don't resort to smearing to get their points across.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thursday links


"Advert for the 1985 Dublin World Premiere of Robert Anton Wilson's 'Wilhelm Reich in Hell' from Hot Press magazine." Source. 

Nick Herbert poem on the universe next door.

Gurdjieff action figure

Bobby Campbell mourns Halladay. (British friends and others outside U.S., an American baseball player killed in a plane crash.)

"How the Denver airport became an icon of the Illuminati."

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Church of the SubGenius documentary Kickstarter succeeds


Projects that use Kickstarter to raise money for projects have to live on the edge: It's all or nothing on the site, and if you don't meet the goal the project fails. I'm pleased to report that the Kickstarter for "Slacking Towards Bethlehem," the planned new documentary about the Church of the SubGenius,  met its $199,999 goal. The deadline was Wednesday, and as of Tuesday night, it had reached $202,697. More information here.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

'Beginner's Guide' to RAW


Samuel Morningstar

Disinfo.com has launched a new "Beginner's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson" series with a Part I article written by Samuel Morningstar.

"In this three-part series, I will present the books I (and other RAW fans) consider the foundation of his work, the bare minimum you need to read to gain an understanding of the man and what he was trying to accomplish. For sanity’s sake, I’m limiting this to just his non-fiction works," Morningstar writes. 

Part One is about Cosmic Trigger. It's a nice piece that covers model agnosticism and other matters.

"The other important point that Wilson makes over and over (and people tend to miss) is how vital it is to maintain a compassionate, forgiving, and loving attitude. Compassion is important not only for surviving in a human world where selfish, predatory behavior is rewarded more often than not, but also for navigating the often rocky waters of divine revelation. There’s a reason every spiritual path on the planet places its primary focus on love and forgiveness.  This was one of the hardest lessons for me to learn, being a natural curmudgeon. I can attest from personal experience that trying to perform magick or run the energy orbits while angry or upset is a great way to screw up your life, including, but not limited to, giving yourself some really spectacular migraines," Morningstar writes.

I like RAW's fiction best of all, but I like the nonfiction, too. Let's see if I can guess the other two titles Morningstar will cover. I'm going to say Prometheus Rising and Quantum Psychology.  Probably not Cosmic Trigger II, my personal favorite among the nonfiction works.

More on Samuel Morningstar. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

A new Ezra Pound book


Mug shot of Ezra Pound, when he went into captivity in 1945. 


"Some critics I respect (Hugh Kenner, Robert Anton Wilson) love him; others (Christopher Hitchens, Clive James) do not; and the latest book about him—The Bughouse, by David Swift—suggests an explanation. Swift says that bad poetry is hard to write about, and there is much of that in Pound, but the good parts are good enough to keep the critics busy," Supergee observes. "As the title suggests, The Bughouse deals with Pound’s years in St. Elizabeths Hospital (which is now headquarters for Homeland Security; you can’t make these things up) after World War II."

The conclusion? "If you are interested in Pound, this is a part of the story well worth reading."



Sunday, November 5, 2017

Church of the SubGenius documentary planned


Ivan Stang 

There's a Kickstarter going on, ending Wednesday, for a Church of the SubGenius documentary. At present, it's a bit short of the the goal. Lots of goodies for those who chip in.

This purports to be a documentary that will "tell the true and unabridged story of the Church of the SubGenius."

The Rev. Ivan Stang plays is straight in an interview about the planned film with Texas Monthly, although unfortunately no one thought to ask about the influence of Discordianism or Robert Anton Wilson.

Still, it's an interesting interview. At one point, Stang (explaining why he's playing it straight this time) says, "Another thing is, look what happened to other put-ons when nobody was around to say, 'Hey look, this started as a put-on.' Scientology, the Mormons, the entire New Age basically sprang from joke pamphlets done by a couple guys with fake names four hundred years ago. A lot of people don’t know that history. I’m acutely aware of it, and I don’t want the church of the SubGenius to turn into Scientology. There’s people who would do that. Who would actually try to make it into a little army, where certain types of thinking is correct and incorrect."




Saturday, November 4, 2017

RAW haiku

Pipzi Williams on Twitter often Tweets haiku that references the work of Robert Anton Wilson. Three recent examples:

it's not one of mine
elmyr has forged a haiku
no. wait. is this mine?
#haiku @AsiaArgento xxxxxxx.

Universe contains
a yes, no, maybe, so what,
bollocks, and fuck me
#haiku #senryu

no fucking first line
no wife, no horse, no mustache
nothing else matters
#haiku




Friday, November 3, 2017

Butterfly Language's 'Mutant Days'


Butterfly Language author Val D'Orazio

It is really yourself that is the final arbiter. If you keep yourself as the final arbiter, you will yourself be less susceptible to infection by cultural illusion. Now, the problem with this is that it makes you feel bad to not be infected by cultural illusion because it’s called alienation…the reason you feel alienated is because the society is infantile, trivial and stupid. And so the cost of sanity in this society is a certain level of alienation.
—Terence McKenna


I really like the above quote. Because it reminds me that I need to get around to reading more Terence McKenna. Because I feel alienated, particularly so these days, from many of my fellow Americans. I can't forgive Republicans or the Republican Party for making Donald Trump president, but the left in the U.S. often seems just as mean and dishonest as the right.  I'm also irritated by many libertarians, at least the ones who have become Donald Trump fans. 

But I also like the quote because it beings a new autobiographical series of posts at Butterfly Language that I found particularly interesting, "Mutant Days." Part One is here. Then you can read Part Two. I am looking forward to more.   

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Ebook bargains



Transatlantic Fan Fund free ebooks. New on the site, according to Dave Langford's Ansible: "Running Amok in the Fun Factory_ is an anthology of favourite UK convention reports selected and introduced by Graham Charnock. _Temple at the Bar_ by sf author and early UK fan William F. (Bill) Temple, edited and introduced by the ever-industrious Rob Hansen, collects Temple's humorous fanzine writing from 1938 to 1960 -- with many a dig at his good friend Arthur C. 'Ego' Clarke. Further titles are on the way, including at least one December release."

Speaking of Clarke, the Collected Stories — all of his short fiction, a huge anthology — is $1.99 for Kindle in the U.S. this month.