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

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sue Grafton (1940-2017)

Sue Grafton in 2009. (Creative Commons photo)

I know there are people who get really upset when pop stars die, but although I miss David Bowie, too, and Tom Petty, and all of the other musicians we've lost, I am particularly sad when a favorite writer dies.

Mystery writer Sue Grafton died Thursday, and my wife is taking it the same way I took the 2013 death of Iain M. Banks and the 2007 death of Robert Anton Wilson — not very well.

It seems to me that a favorite author speaks to you more directly than any other kind of artist.

My wife met Grafton at a mystery convention. I actually never met Wilson or Banks. I got to know them through their books.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

New online reading groups for 2018

Bobby Campbell's illustration for the Illuminatus! online reading group

Since its inception several years ago, this blog has sponsored several online reading groups that went through and commented on works by Robert Anton Wilson. All of these are archived on this website, and you can read (or re-read) any of the works we've covered, read the comments, and perhaps add new ones of your own. There were groups for Illuminatus!, Email to the Universe, Cosmic Trigger, Coincidance, Quantum Psychology and Masks of the Illuminati.

For 2018, let's try something different -- discussions of books not written by Robert Anton Wilson. As previously announced, we'll have an online discussion group, led by me, for Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov, that will begin in about two weeks.

And then later in the year, RAW scholar and serious Beethoven buff Eric Wagner has volunteered to lead an online discussion group of Joseph Kerman's The Beethoven Quartets. This will allow a deeper exploration of a composer who was important to RAW and is important to many of us.

With the caveat that Eric will lead his discussion any way he sees fit, the format should be the same as in the past. A reasonable number of pages will be assigned each week, the person leading the discussion will post a blog post, and then anyone else who would like can contribute in the comments. I plan to try to cover the Nabokov in 12 weeks of posts, with an additional "reminder" post the week before and perhaps an additional post at the end. Eric would like 18 weeks for his reading group.

There is a RAW connection to Pale Fire -- according to Eric, the book helped inspire RAW's use of footnotes in The Widow's Son. I don't know how many other Nabokov novels RAW read.

How about if we begin the Pale Fire discussion group on Jan. 15? That gives everyone a chance to hunt up a copy. It is still in print, available as an ebook and is widely considered one of the major novels of the last century, so it should be pretty easy to simply find a library copy.

I've been reading Nabokov for years, but I don't pretend to be an "expert." I am currently reading The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov by Andrea Pitzer, a biography which has a chapter on Pale Fire (which I haven't gotten to yet.). It's a delightful book. I also plan to get a copy of Nabokov biographer Brian Boyd's book on the work. 

This does not mean an end to discussion groups about RAW's works. Hilaritas Press will reprint many more classics soon, giving us a good excuse to tackle them.

Friday, December 29, 2017

An article on Illuminatus!

Tin House, a literary magazine, has placed an essay from its latest issue online. "On Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson’s The Illuminatus! Trilogy" is by John Fischer, a writer in Brooklyn who has published articles in various literary magazines.

Despite the fact that Illuminatus! plainly comes out of the Sixties, the work also applies to current times, Fischer argues:

If the lunatics are now truly running the asylum, then Shea and Wilson have been warning us for a great many years not just of their potential rise, but of how effective their fantasies of persecution would prove to the ruling class. When every conspiracy is true, anyone is entitled to be a victim. There is little practical difference between cries of “fake news” and the possibility of a lost Nazi battalion hibernating beneath the fictitious Lake Totenkopf. Paranoia claims no political allegiance, only emotional expediency; if Obama is a secret Muslim, then so much the better to distract from the calamity of a lost job or a shuttered factory or a staggering medical bill. In the meantime, our leaders continue to bomb the Middle East with automated flying robots and monitor citizens through glossy thousand-dollar mobile phones, and The Illuminatus! Trilogy seems to understand this, even some forty years after its publication. As it turns out, the conspiracy that runs deepest is the one that we can all plainly see.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Two new books about Timothy Leary

The New York Times runs a review of The Most Dangerous Man in America: Timothy Leary, Richard Nixon, and the Hunt for the Fugitive King of LSD by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis. The reviewer, John Williams, apparently not a Leary fan, writes, "It’s fine for many of the more well-known historical events here to serve as understated commentary on today’s world, but the present-tense immersion in the proceedings means that complex social and political issues mostly pass by as background blur. What’s left is a chase in which we end up half-rooting for the escapee to get caught. Much like Leary himself, the book is plenty of zany fun right until it’s not." The book comes out on Jan. 9.

Meanwhile, The Timothy Leary Project: Inside the Great Counterculture Experiment, edited by Jennifer Ulrich, will be out on April 17 next year and has material from the Leary archive at the New York Public Library.

Here is the publisher's description: "The first collection of Timothy Leary’s (1920–1996) selected papers and correspondence opens a window on the ideas that inspired the counterculture of the 1960s and the fascination with LSD that continues to the present. The man who coined the phrase “turn on, tune in, drop out,” Leary cultivated interests that ranged across experimentation with hallucinogens, social change and legal reform, and mysticism and spirituality, with a passion to determine what lies beyond our consciousness. Through Leary’s papers, the reader meets such key figures as Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Ken Kesey, Marshall McLuhan, Aldous Huxley, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and Carl Sagan. Author Jennifer Ulrich organizes this rich material into an annotated narrative of Leary’s adventurous life, an epic quest that had a lasting impact on American culture."

I'm thinking I might be more interested in the Ulrich book.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Jesse Walker triple feature

Clifford Irving. Source: Official website.

(1) Jesse Walker notes the death on Dec. 19 of Clifford Irving, the author of Fake: the story of Elmyr de Hory: the greatest art forger of our time and also of a fake autobiography of Howard Hughes, and also posts the complete video of Orson Welles "F is for Fake" for Reason magazine's Friday A/V Club. As Jesse notes, Robert Anton Wilson wrote about the movie in Cosmic Trigger 3. Jesse writes, " As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the best movies anyone has ever made, and I can't think of a better way to bid Irving farewell than to watch it." He also notes, "People keep saying we live in a "Post-Truth Era," but I have yet to find any evidence of this Truth Era we've supposedly left behind."

(2) If you have a gift certificate you got for Christmas burning a hole in your pocket, you can read the Reason Magazine 2017 gift guide edited by Jesse for ideas on how to spend it. The contributors are in alphabetical order by last name, so Jesse's contribution runs last, and his last sentence may make you smile.

(3) Scott Santens lists the top 10 basic income articles of 2017, and a piece by Jesse makes the list.

Jesse also is doing his annual "best movies" lists. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

A Discordian Christmas

Adam Gorightly has assembled several Christmas items from the Discordian Archives, including a Cinema Rio Christmas card (pictured.)

Merry Christmas and/or Season's Greetings to everyone.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Season's Greetings from RAW

From Martin Wagner, who says this is Robert Anton Wilson's Season's Greetings to Timothy Leary.

"No date given, but the text on the backside is the summarized message of Leary's Starseed Transmissions from CT, which was written and published 1977," Martin says.

Thanks and Fröhliche Weihnachten to Martin. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Winter Solstice to all of the readers who take time to read this blog.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The FINAL secret of the Illuminati: They like tacos!

My favorite television commercials these days are the Taco Bell spots featuring the Illuminati, the powerful secret society that enjoys American style Mexican food. Lots of jokes, including George Washington making a pyramid with his hands. No idea whether the folks at the ad agency are RAW fans or just have a sense of humor.

There's a couple of different spots. I've posted my favorite, but the other one is pretty good, too, available by searching "Belluminati" on YouTube. Seems like a lot of Illuminatus! lore is referenced in a couple of brief spots for cheap fast food.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Discordian double feature

His royal highness, Emperor Norton. 

A couple of different Discordian items:

(1) An "Emperor Norton's 200th Birthday Bash" has been scheduled for Feb. 7 in San Francisco.

"Tonight we’re going to party like its 1859! Join us for cake and a glass of bubbly to celebrate the 200th birthday of Joshua Abraham Norton, the San Francisco businessman who one day in 1859 proclaimed himself Emperor of the United States and (in 1862) Protector of Mexico ... This event is part of Emperor Norton at 200, a series of exhibits, talks, toasts and other special events organized by The Emperor's Bridge Campaign, in partnership with Bay Area institutions, to mark the bicentennial of Emperor Norton's birth. To learn about other events in the series, please visit"

More here.

(2)  Digging deep into the Discordian archives, Adam Gorightly tells us about a hitherto obscure Discordian figure in his latest Historia Discordia posting, "Love is Alive and Well: The Stan Jamison Files."

You'll just have to read the article, which is a bit difficult to summarize; somehow, we get to nude models who were supposed to wear body paint dedicated to a language provided by a "little green spaceman."

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Another 'new' look

A few days ago, I unveiled a new look for the blog. After some tweaking, I was pleased with the new, more contemporary appearance.

Unfortunately, I discovered via emails that (1) People using Adblocker could not see the site and (2) A lot of you use Adblocker. I don't understand why Google would use a template that drives away so many people. But then, there's a lot of things about Google I don't get. At this point, I feel locked in to Blogger — moving the blog would require a lot of work — but while there are aspects of Blogger I like, there are downsides, too.

If hardcore readers of the blog who knew me well were emailing me to complain, I had to assume that people who did not know me and might not have my email address handy also might be having problems. That could be a lot of people. So I felt I had to make a change, again.

I want everyone to have access to the blog, so I've gone to yet another layout, one that's rather similar to what I had before. It will require some further tweaking, but from what I can tell so far, everyone can access it.

I apologize both to the folks who enjoyed my new look and will miss it, and to those who were inadvertently locked out by the new design. Regular blogging will resume soon.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Wilson and Shea in Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal, one of the largest circulation national newspapers in the U.S., had a reference to Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson in the Wall Street Journal Monday.

Here is the first paragraph of "The Google-Facebook Duopoly Threatens Diversity of Thought" by Mark Epstein, published on the editorial page Monday:

"A monopoly on the means of communication," Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson wrote in "Leviathan," their 1975 novel, "may define a ruling elite more precisely than the celebrated Marxian formula of 'monopoly in the means of production'." Bear that in mind when you hear this next statistic: In 2017 Google and Facebook have accounted for 84 percent of all digital advertising outside China, including 96 percent of its growth, according to an industry forecast this month, from Zenith, Magna and GroupM.

The rest of the piece develops Epstein's argument that the duopoly threatens freedom of communications. Michael Johnson's 2011 censorship hassles from Google suggest there is something to Epstein's complaint.

Here is a book review which explains more of Epstein's views.

Hat tip, @advantardeodus on Twitter.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Flying Lasagna Enterprises launches

The RAW Trust has launched Flying Lasagna Enterprises, an emporium to sell Robert Anton Wilson related merchandise. Check it out. 

There are T-shirts, coffee mugs, candles and so on, but the signature product highlighted in the announcement about the site are pendants that replicate Robert Anton Wilson's spiral ring. (See illustration above.)  From Rasa's announcement:

"The sterling silver pendants are beautifully crafted and include all of Bob's original 'karmic impressions.' Each unique pendant is hand-stamped on the back with the word "maybe" and the number of the pendant – 1 through 100. The price is $123 – including Free USPS Priority Flat Rate domestic and international shipping. The pendants will be sold in sequential order. In the future, after we sell these pendants, we look forward to making more pendants and replicas of Bob's ring itself. We'll keep you posted on our progress!"

There is also a mascot of sorts for the RAW Trust — Lumi, based on a drawing by Robert Anton Wilson. Rasa asked his panel of advisors for a name for the drawing, and the winner was a suggestion from Michael Johnson, who wrote, "Hey look everyone! It’s Lumi, the Friendly All-Seeing Eye of the Illuminati! Hi Lumi! Don’t tell Lumi what you think: he already knows!"

Sunday, December 17, 2017

New look

I've tried to freshen up the blog with a new look to make it more contemporary. I've also taken the opportunity to update the "Feature Articles and Interviews" section and rearrange some of the elements on the sidebar. (If you are new to the blog, note that there's a lot of articles to explore, such as my interviews with Robert Anton Wilson's book editors). Credit for image used on the new design: Photo by Sorasak on Unsplash.

I've also used an image from Unsplash  to illustrate this blog post: A cropped version of "Love in the Stars " by Matt McK. Visit for beautiful photographs that can be used without copyright restrictions.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

More on Bobby Campbell's new book

Bobby Campbell's RAW gif illustrating his new article. 

To celebrate and explain the publication of his new Hilaritas Press book, RAW ART: The Illustrated Lives and Ideas of Robert Anton Wilson, Bobby Campbell has penned a brief memoir for the Hilaritas Press website, explaining how Robert Anton Wilson's writing (and later, contact with RAW himself) helped turned Bobby's life around. A key moment:

That same entirely excellent Indian Philosophy Professor recommended a book to one of my roommates, who in turn passed it on to me. On a particularly lovely Friday afternoon, I found the block-like tome of Illuminatus! beckoning imperiously from my nightstand, by Sunday evening I’d read all 800 pages.

The U of D library has a surprisingly robust collection of RAW books and I devoured them all. It felt like coming home. RAW was the last of the modern psychonauts that I discovered. I’d already found Leary, Crowley, Lilly, Watts, and McKenna, but it wasn’t until I found RAW that everything began to cohere.

You can also read my 2014 interview with Bobby, although no doubt it is out of date in some respects.

A word on the new book: There are two editions, a paperback that is $11.23 and a Kindle that is $6.66. (Obviously, the publisher is having some fun with the pricing). I actually bought the Kindle. Of course, it's nonsense trying to look at Bobby's artwork on the grey-white screen of a Kindle reading tablet, but with a Kindle reading app, Bobby's color artwork and comics displays nicely on a smartphone or a tablet. On my phone, Bobby's new tome is an art book I can carry with me everywhere I go.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Moody Blues enter Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The Moody Blues in 1970. Creative Commons photo from national archives of The Netherlands. 

Most of the bands inducted Wednesday into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland have no connection to this blog (although one, The Cars, is a personal favorite of mine), but one of the inductees, The Moody Blues, deserves a mention.

The British band, after all, did a rather good song, "Legend of a Mind," about Timothy Leary. Some of the lyrics:

Timothy Leary's dead
No, no, he's outside looking in
Timothy Leary's dead
No, no, he's outside looking in
He'll fly his astral plane
Takes you trips around the bay
Brings you back the same day
Timothy Leary, Timothy Leary

I always kind of wondered what Timothy Leary thought of the song, so I queried two Leary biographers on Twitter. No word from John Higgs, but R.U. Sirius wrote back:

"So I think Tim was pleased to hear the song as I recall. There's this story that was told in Rolling Stone by some Moody Blues members that people thought it was some heavy message and they were actually 'taking the piss out of him'  Tim was the only one who recognized that and they had a good laugh together over it..."

("Taking the piss" is not a common American expression, so here's Wikipedia: "Taking the piss is a Commonwealth term meaning to take liberties at the expense of others, or to be joking, or to be unreasonable. It is a shortening of the idiom taking the piss out of, which is an expression meaning to mock, tease, joke, ridicule, or scoff.")

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

'Lost' RAW interview uncovered

I want to follow up on Monday's blog post about the new German language RAW site by the doughty Austrian RAW fan, Martin Wagner, with something that may interest many of you.

The English language section of the site has an interview with Robert Anton Wilson that is NOT available at, a 1977 interview with RAW by Michael Helm published in City Miner.

Special attention is paid to the possibility of space migration and space colonies; the colonies RAW talks about  remind me of the orbital cities in Neal Stephenson's recent novel, Seveneves.

But there's also discussion about agnostic mysticism and RAW's contention that free speech rights are for everyone, even Nazis. RAW's discussion of TV also seems prescient. And there's a good discussion of RAW's understanding of Karma:

Robert Anton Wilson: I would say that there is a circular causal chain of karma. Leary once stated the part that seems most paradoxical to straight people, "You can’t do good until you feel good." Which I think every mystic knows. This is why they’re so tolerant. They know that most people feel bad most of the time; they understand why people behave badly and they forgive them. When you start feeling better, you act better. The corollary to what Leary said is that you can’t really feel good until you start doing good. You can feel better than most people do in our society, but you won’t feel really deep down good until you start doing good. I think one of the bravest statement of the 1970’s was made by Norman Lear in a Playboy interview when he said, "I’m an old-fashioned, bleeding heart liberal." That is so corny and so kitsch and so camp and everybody sneers at that kind of thing. But if you’re not a do-gooder you don’t really appreciate life. That’s the secret of secrets. You don’t really know what it’s all about, As Obi Wan Kenobe said to Darth Vader in the novel, not in the film, of Star Wars, "You only know the Force as the glass knows the wine. You haven’t tasted it." Once you’ve tasted … the fountainhead of OK, I’ll go ahead and be pretentious, Infinite Love, there’s nothing that compares to it. You’ve got to see both sides of it you can’t do good until you feel good and you can’t feel good until you do good.

Good find, Martin!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hilaritas releases 'RAW Art'

Breaking news from Hilaritas Press: The publishing imprint of the Robert Anton Wilson trust has just released RAW Art: The Illustrated Lives and Ideas of Robert Anton Wilson by artist Bobby Campbell. It's available as a Kindle and in paperback. I'll buy my copy as soon as I finish this blog post.

The word from Richard Rasa, co-publisher at Hilaritas Press:

"Dear friends,

"Bobby Campbell not only flew across the country to attend RAW DAY, he brought with him a box of newly printed full color copies of his RAW ART: The Illustrated Lives and Ideas of Robert Anton Wilson. An amazing spirit of amor, hilaritas and beneficentia (generosity) filled the day, and Bobby certainly had all three, giving away copies of RAW ART while joyfully trading RAW stories with fellow psychonauts.

"Bobby had printed up the box of RAW ART himself, just to give away at RAW DAY. After spending less than a minute looking through the book, it was not a hard decision to ask Bobby to become the first non-Bob author to be published by Hilaritas Press. We did have an informal policy that we would not publish any new authors until we had republished all 19 of our planned RAW reissues, but Bobby having a finished book that would fit so nicely on a shelf with our RAW publications just seemed like too sweet of a coincidance."

More here.

Monday, December 11, 2017

New German language RAW site

Martin Wagner, the prominent Austrian Robert Anton Wilson fan and scholar, has just launched his new German language site devoted to RAW, Robert Anton Wilson Fans Germania.

There's also a section with new material in English Martin has found. 

Martin's site is another piece of evidence that RAW has an international fan base.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Michael Johnson on the Eight Circuit Model

The new book on the Eight Circuit Model, which I noted in this blog post. 

(I liked Michael Johnson's comment on my Eight Circuit post the other day and thought it deserved a post of its own. I cut out a couple of sentences referring to me to make it more of a stand-alone piece. See my original post, including the comments, for more. The Management.) 

ALL models/maps seem meant to be used, and we are never to believe the map/model IS THE TERRITORY.

The 8 Circuit Model is obviously metaphorical: no neuroimaging machine will detect neural circuits that correlate with, say, a "metaprogramming" circuit in the grey matter.

The entire system grew richer over time and is getting richer in 2017. It serves many functions, but perhaps the most valuable function is the classic intellectual's gambit: invent a system of thought that allows for other thinkers to think in new spaces for further intellectual talk, experimentation, and speculation. Prof. Lakoff would say the 8CB Model was a re-framing of various previous models.*

The three main ways a Model becomes richer:

1.) Another thinker takes up the cudgel and elaborates on it. RAW did this most brilliantly in Prometheus Rising, in my opinion. Intellectuals with stellar synthesizing abilities have a field day in these novel mental spaces/models, even if only to display cleverness and erudition. I think RAW elaborated on Leary AND wowed us with his erudition. Most of Darwin's ideas were already in the air, or written down; his contributions to inchoate prior ideas were so monumental we rightly see him as genius, even though his maps had nothing about genetics in them...

2.) A thinker finds fault with the model in an INTERESTING WAY that suggest a new avenue of approach to some phenomena.

3.) A thinker basically agrees with the model, but strongly emphasizes what were "latent" or lesser ideas in the system, and they build upon the "old" system a new one. Does Jung as Freud's student qualify here? I think so, but others may disagree. Wilhelm Reich basically took Freud at his word and ran with it, and it seems like a "new thing" because Freud was maybe afraid to say it: if we're sexually repressed by social forces/Ego, maybe we need to get rid of the repression and not just accept it, etc...

And how does Crowley fit here? Sorry about the divergence...

I personally find the 8CB Model audacious, and I love to think with it, although I find many flaws. I have difficulties with a systems/process world of "reality" clashing with the implied individualistic aspects of the 8 circuits/systems/dimensions of Mind. Antero Alli's emphasis on systemic interconnectedness with different circuits - which was hinted at by RAW and Leary as far back as 1974, as Gathers has recently noted - functioned to make the Model seem more cybernetic in itself.

Maybe I need to maneuver in new ways. Hell yea I do...

It seems to me the neurogenetic and 8th/atomic are the least well-developed. The 8-ness of the model has seemed to me, at times, a product of shoehorning, and I think it was Bob Campbell who recently reminded me that RAW thought the Model would become extended to newer circuits, which just highlights the open-source-ness of the Model.

(Also: it's audacious but doesn't cover everything, although one could argue it as a sort of prolegomena to a Theory of Everything [TOE]. Just as we don't use a topographic map to find our way to a party in a city unfamiliar to us. Lately I've been wondering if the emotional component of discovery and reflection and speculation in Cosmology and subatomic quantum entanglement is best thought of as 8th circ. territory...)

For Leary more so than RAW (in my current understanding): the "post-terrestrial" circuits 5-8 were in large part a way for his perceived audience ("tribe") to further distance themselves from the "larvals."

* As I noted in this blog post, Leary was working on his model at least as far back as 1963. See "The Seven Tongues of God," delivered as a lecture in 1963, in Leary's The Politics of Ecstasy. Michael also has remarked on this. -- The Management.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Free (or nearly free) ebooks

Free science fiction anthology. Some big name authors.

Free ebooks from

Winter sale at OR books, all ebooks $1, paperbacks 20 percent. Leftist orientation, definitely not libertarian.  Sale for a "limited time," so look now. Includes Rushkoff's classic  Program or Be Programmed. 

Good site for checking ebook deals. 

If you don't have an ereader, you can download an ebook app for your smarthphone or whatever.

Friday, December 8, 2017

A naysayer on Leary and Wilson's theories

A fellow named Joshua Scott Hotchkin, who has a blog named Advanced Dank Unicorn, recently posted a piece called "Why You Should Be Skeptical of Timothy Leary’s SMI2LE Formula." This is a followup, of sorts, to Hotchkin's other recent piece, "The Eight Circuit Model of Consciousness Is An Egotistical Abstraction," which he claims is "fraught with issues, even as an analogy."

Hotchkin has been using Facebook to propagate his theories, and as you might imagine, it hasn't gone down well with many Leary/Wilson fans. Richard Rasa ventured some criticisms, and found himself blocked by Hotchkin.

It seems to me that the Eight Circuit model remains alive, at least in the sense that people still find it useful, as I've documented on this blog here and here. As for SMI2LE, there are plenty of Silicon Valley libertarian types who are trying to make space migration, intelligent increase, life extension and all of the rest of it a reality, and spending real money to do so. A blog post by a fellow in Iowa doesn't change that.

Rather than address Hotchkin's points, arguably not worth my time, I want to make a general point about models: As RAW would say, you use them insofar as they are useful. To put it in Buddhist terminology (from one of the Pali sutras), a raft is for getting across a river, not constructed to serve as a burden to carry around indefinitely.

As I write this, the disease model for dealing with opioid addiction has become popular in the U.S., because it solves certain problems. It removes the stigma from getting treatment, it allows people to focus on solving the problem rather than discussing the alleged failings of the person with an addiction, etc. No doubt there are points where the disease model might fail, or at least could be debated, but it remains alive because it is useful.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Getting an autograph

Robert Heinlein signing autographs in 1976 (Creative Commons photo)

I have to approve all comments now (it's the only way to keep large volumes of rather vile spam from being attached to the blog posts) and occasionally I get a comment to an old post. Here is a comment posted on a post from 2012, in which I tracked down the exact science fiction convention in California where Robert Anton Wilson met Philip K. Dick and the two talked. The comment was posted Dec. 3 by "tinwoods":

I remember attending and getting Heinlein's autograph. It was late in the day and there were only two of us in line. The adult in front of me (I was 14) had two grocery store bags filled with hardcover editions for Heinlein to sign. And though the great author looked more than a little perturbed about it, he signed them all. When it was my turn, I sheepishly handed Heinlein's wife (who wrote all his salutations) my just-purchased paperback copy of Starship Troopers. She and her husband seemed relieved and grateful that I only had the one book, so were very nice to me, both engaging in a bit of small talk with me, but not the man before me. I sold that signed paperback on eBay in 2014 when I was desperate for money and got nearly four hundred dollars for it. It makes me wonder what that fellow's hardcover books, all first editions as I recall, are worth now.

I wanted to share the anecdote (RAW loved Heinlein) but also wanted to pose a question. I never met RAW, so I never got his autograph. (I finally met Robert Shea at a worldcon in Boston, but hadn't known he would be there, so I didn't have a book with me.) Does anyone have any stories to share about getting Robert Anton Wilson's autograph?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

More Eight Circuit news

Mike Gathers

The Eight Circuits of Consciousness model developed by Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson continues to attract attention, and not just because of the new book by James Heffernan that I blogged about earlier. 

Mike Gathers, who played an important role in the collection of material at the website (see Michael Johnson's introduction to the Hilaritas Press edition of Email to the Universe) is a Colorado coach and therapist.

He recently gave a presentation on the Eight Circuits to a group of transpersonal counseling students at Naropa University and reports that it went really well.  Mike also shared a paper he had written, "Supporting Spiritual Emergency under the Framework of Dr. Timothy Leary's Eight Circuit Brain Model: Using the Lower Circuits to Absorb Transpersonal Shocks." Mike then realized he could write a book on the subject, and other RAW fans have been urging him to go forward.

Mike gave me permission to report on all this after discussing the matter in a private email group, and also said it was OK to post his paper (see the link above.) He also gave me a statement to use for this blog:

"I wrote this paper almost 10 years ago during my first year as a master's student in Naropa's Transpersonal Counseling Psychology program.  The previous semester I wrote a much shorter paper in which I interviewed Antero Alli as part of the assignment which included interviewing a subject matter expert.  I'm proud to say that Antero ended up including that interview in his book, The Eight Circuit Brain, Navigational Strategies for the Energetic Body._  I dusted this paper off when I was recently invited to do a guest lecture at Naropa on the Eight Circuit Brain - I hadn't thought deeply about the model since I wrote that paper 10 years ago.   Based on the students' enthusiastic response to the material I presented, and my own reflections on that experience, I realized that I have a book in me on this subject.   The time is right to update the model with modern developmental psycho-biology and share my own experience of working with the model as a tool for personal growth and development.   So that's the plan for 2018."

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tuesday links

N.K. Jemisin. Creative Commons photo by Laura Hanifin, copyright 2015; see here for details. 

Was Robert Anton Wilson prophetic?

Supergee's Christmas music confession. I like very traditional Christmas music, myself, "The Holly and the Ivy" and "Gabriel's Message" sung in the crumbling old English abbey, that sort of thing.

Thaddeus Russell's podcasts. The ones with Angela Keaton and Scott Horton are interesting; I haven't gotten to the others yet.

Butterfly Language on the key to changing your life. 

N.K. Jemisin's "The Fifth Season" to be made into TV series. She's won the best novel Hugo two years in a row.

People Daniel Ellsberg identifies with. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

New RAW Trust video channel on YouTube

As a follow up to yesterday's post, I wanted to note that the RAW Trust has created a new YouTube channel. The videos so far as the RAW Day videos I noted yesterday, but I'll guess that it will serve for posting other stuff. Hat tip, Ted Hand on Twitter.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

RAW Day videos posted

Ted Hand's photo of the "first daughters," Christina Pearson and Daisy Campbell. 

All of the videos made by Andrew J. O'Keefe -- thank you, Mr. O'Keefe -- have now been posted at the RAW Trust website. 

Seven full length videos: (1) "Hippie physicist" Nick Herbert and RAW Trust "metaprogramming director" Richard Rasa; (2) Adam Gorightly, Discordian historian and author; (3) Ferdinando, "magic experience designer"; (4) R.U. Sirius, author, Mondo 2000 founder, musician, Timothy Leary friend and biographer, etc. etc.; (5) Erik Davis, author and journalist and podcaster; (6) Daisy Eris Campbell, producer and director of the Cosmic Trigger play; (7) Christina Pearson, RAW's daughter, trustee of RAW Trust, also (8) "Multiple Realities," an interview Rasa made, consisting of intercut interviews with Sirius, Branka Tesla and himself. All of this documents "RAW Day" in Santa Cruz, Calif., on July 23, 2017.

Don't miss the photos and notes Rasa also posted.

Be sure to read the RAW Trust newsletter about all this, and sign up for the newsletter mailing list.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Update on 'Straight Outta Dublin'

Trinity College in Dublin. Stephen Bergin photo from

I really liked An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson by Eric Wagner, so I like to ask Eric every once in awhile how he's coming along on Straight Outta Dublin, his work in progress which explores James Joyce and Joyce's influence on RAW. Eric reports, "I continue working on Straight Outta Dublin. I finished rereading Coincidance and Quantum Psychology and I wrote a short chapter on the former. I've begun reading Ulysses cover to cover for the twelfth time, and I have begun working through Dubliners along with two books of commentary. I read Lacan's book on Joyce as well as Brivic's recent book on Irish literature. I continue my Finnegans Wake club at the high school which gives me insight into Joyce and Wilson. The club has begun its twentieth year." (Eric is an English teacher in California.) He hopes to finish a rough draft by 11/23/2018. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Visit Ingolstadt!

The Ingolstadt Rathaus. Wikimedia Commons photo. 

The home of Adam Weishaupt and the Bavarian Illuminati doesn't have a lot of attractions themed to its secret society heritage, according to this BBC travel report. There is a small plaque outside of Weishaupt's former home, and you can take an Illuminati walking tour, although for those who aren't fluent in German, the beer tour might better bridge the language barrier. Google's English translation of the walking tour page says, "Forget Dan Brown, the number 23, and other myths surrounding the organization. On a serious historical foundation we want to shed light on the historical background - understandable and popular-scientifically processed."

Via Supergee.