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

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The media rediscover psychedelics, Part Two

At the New Yorker, Emily Witt reviews three books: The Timothy Leary Project: Inside the Great Counterculture Experiment, documents put together byJennifer Ulrich;   How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, by Michael Pollan and Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Change, by Tao Lin.

The latter two books were mentioned in yesterday's blog post; I've also mentioned the Leary book elsewhere. 

The Leary has material from the Leary archives at the New York Public Library. Witt writes, "Ulrich’s selections, many of them previously unpublished, round out the trajectory of Leary’s life from professor to guru to fugitive to a nostalgic caricature of himself. The documents span Leary’s days at Harvard to his days as an Internet evangelist, when his aphorism became 'the PC is the LSD of the nineteen-nineties'."

I really want to read the new Leary book.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The media rediscover psychedelics

At Harper's magazine, Nick Richardson reviews two books: How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, by Michael Pollan and Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Change, by Tao Lin.

There's a mention of Robert Anton Wilson: "Keen psychedelic hobbyists have adopted a phrase borrowed from the fifteenth-century writer Thomas Malory by the cult novelist Robert Anton Wilson, 'Chapel Perilous,' to refer to the period immediately after a strong trip in which your mind, having been confronted by a quantity of sensory data that directly contradicts normal lived reality, tries to make sense of what has happened. Trips are high-intensity presentations of the eighteenth-century philosopher Bishop Berkeley’s argument for not trusting your senses: If changing your brain chemistry can replace the usual world with a different one, then how can you trust what you usually see? Am I real? ...  For months after my trip I worried that an alien was fabricating my thoughts and projecting them into my mind. My ego was dissolved, but for an uncomfortably long period and not helpfully. Wilson said you come out of Chapel Perilous 'paranoid' or 'agnostic' about most things, which is what happened to me; the other possibility is that you don’t come out at all, which is what happened to my friend Tom."

I found about the Tweet from R.U. Sirius' Mondo 2000 Twitter account, which cautioned "warning... the author of this article is somewhat full of shit." I am guessing this warning refers to sentences in Richardson's review such as this: "Many people, including William S. Burroughs and Ken Kesey, reportedly believed that Timothy Leary was involved in a CIA plot to defang the radical left. Even ­McKenna may have been connected: in one of his talks he seems to say he was approached by the FBI after getting busted for hash smuggling, and that he has been performing 'public relations”'services for them ever since." This seems speculative, to say the least. I don't know much about McKenna, but I've read two Leary biographies without coming away with the impression he was part of a CIA plot

The Pollan sounds quite interesting and I will try to find time to read it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Battling issues with comments

For some reason, Google has made changes in how it handles comments. I discovered the other day that something was wrong with its system for emailing me comments that were awaiting my approval, and I found that a couple of comments from regular readers had been sitting in the system for a couple of days, awaiting approval. I approved them and I'm now trying to check Blogger every few hours for comments.

More recently, I discovered that Google was only allowing comments on my blog from people with a Google account. I've changed the setting to attempt to fix that and allow everyone to comment.

I am reluctant to moderate comments on this blog, but if I did not do so, the posts would be flooded with "join the Illuminati," "here's where to get your escorts when you are in India" and other unwelcome spam. Google has severe spam issues for its blogs it is apparently unable to fix.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Monday links

Flyer for Steve Pratt's James Joyce event in Amsterdam. 

May Eris of the Month at Historia Discordia.

Gardner Dozois has died.

Two new James Joyce books. (Via Roman Tsivkin on Twitter). 

Adrian Reynolds: "You're Not on a Hero's Journey. Deal With It." Reading the essay made me think Illuminatus! is a hero's journey for Joseph Malik.

James Joyce celebration in Amsterdam, June 19-23, featuring Steve "Fly Agaric" Pratt and others. For more information, please go here. 

NOTE: Google's system for notifying me when someone posts a comments appears to be working poorly. Apologies if you posted a comment and it took a couple of days to be approved. I will check Blogger directly every few hours.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Richard Rasa, 70s rock star!

The blonde guy in the middle of this live album by the rock band Sweet Smoke is Rasa. 

If you pay attention to the Robert Anton Wilson scene, you are probably familiar with Richard Rasa, usually known just as Rasa. Rasa puts a lot of energy into running the Robert Anton Wilson 
Trust and Hilaritas Press for Christina Pearson, Robert Anton Wilson's oldest daughter and literary executor. If you know Rasa personally, you know how generous and kind he is. You might perhaps know he plays sitar in the band Starseed.

But although I vaguely knew that Rasa probably had an interesting past, I only recently became aware of his career as a 1970s rock musician, in a band called Sweet Smoke. Sweet Smoke has three albums available on Spotify. Rasa isn't on all of them, but he plays on the live album pictured above.

Rasa explains, "I first played with Sweet Smoke in 1970 when they first moved from Brooklyn to Germany. I wasn’t in the band, but they liked people to sit in at their gigs. At that time I was playing sitar, and mostly getting into long jams, playing off of Marvin's improvisations. Marvin was an amazing guitar player. I joined the band officially as a guitar player, playing sitar during only one piece in concerts. I was asked to join when a dispute in the band left them without a rhythm guitarist. They were famous in the 'Krautrock' scene (even though not German) from 1970 through 1974, when the band broke up. They recorded three LPs for EMI. I was on the last one." [Rasa is referring to Marvin Kaminovitz. Despite Marvin's obvious talent, I could not find much information about him on the Internet about what he did after Sweet Smoke, until I found this article.  -- The Mgt.]

Official photo of Rasa issued by his record company, EMI.

More information from Rasa:

"Our CDs are copied all over YouTube – not sure why EMI doesn’t get on that, but it probably has given us more publicity than any other venue since there are no concerts anymore.

"The band had a number of strong non-musical influences, like psychedelics, tantra yoga, and the chaos of quantum physics. In most every concert we would purposely slide one piece into chaos, just to see what would happen. At the Berlin concert, because EMI was recording, and LPs were pretty short, we held the chaos to a minimum amount of time. Sometimes those sessions went on for a while and got quite bizarre, but this is a good taste:

"A bootlegged recording made at a concert in Heidelberg is, I think, a better concert than what EMI recorded in Berlin. It's not a great recording (although our guess is that some German audiophile using a portable Uher with a good mic was in the middle of the hall), but the sound is surprisingly good despite all the audience noise:

"I made a couple of videos from my favorite moments of the Heidelberg bootleg:"

I listened/watched both videos. To my ears. Sweet Smoke sounds like a band that might well be enjoyed by fans of bands such as the Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers and Santana. I felt sad that I never heard of these guys before (I used to know a lot about rock music.)  The Wikipedia article says, "Noted for their buoyant rhythms, inventive improvisations and complex musical structures, in interviews, the group says their music was influenced by Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, John Coltrane and The Beatles."

Sweet Smoke in concert. 

My interview with Rasa, which I see does touch briefly on his "Cosmic Hippie in Europe" period. It's a very interesting interview, mostly because of Rasa. Note that the former member of Sweet Smoke lives in Weed, California! (The town "gets its name from the founder of the local lumber mill and pioneer Abner Weed.")

Rasa in West Germany was part of an interesting scene which relates more directly to this blog; more about that soon. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The apple of discord in Richard Powers' 'The Overstory'

I just finished reading The Overstory, the new novel about trees by Richard Powers. I'm a big fan of Powers' novels; ever since I read The Gold Bug Variations I've been following him. His new one is one of his best.

I was surprised, on page 162 to see a reference to the apple of discord:

Here's the thing about an apple: It sticks in the throat. It's a package deal: Lust and understanding. Immortality and death. Sweet pulp with cyanide seeds. It's a bang on the head which births up whole sciences. A golden delicious discord, the kind of gift chucked into a wedding feast that leads to endless war. It's the fruit that keeps the gods alive. The first, worst crime, but fortunate windfall. Blessed be the time that apple taken was. 

That's Powers for you: Isaac Newton, the goddess Eris and more, all in one short paragraph.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Lost Atlantis found — In Oui magazine!

Oui magazine, a men's magazine in the U.S. published for awhile by Playboy, featured several Robert Anton Wilson articles, including "Atlantis: 20,000 Theories Under the Sea" by RAW, which ran in the January 1977 issue.

Martin Wagner has now made this article available for everyone to read, and note that it's yet another article that is not available at

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Daisy Campbell adds tour dates

Daisy Eris Campbell has added some new London dates (July 11-14) to her "Pigspurt's Daughter" solo tour. According to her new email, the performances feature "*daemonic goading* *Cathars* *JAMs* *gastromantical invasion* and *ripped off Ken Campbell routines*"

Current tour dates (more to be added)

June 15th, 7.30pm - Ebenezer Presents, Aller, Somerset
June 23rd, 7.30pm - Kunst Gallery, Belper, Derbyshire
July 11th - 14th, 7.30pm - Hampstead Theatre, London
August 31st, 7pm - The British Library, London
September 9th, 5pm - The Hub, Leeds

More information here on tickets, etc.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Full Catch 23 lineup listed

The flyer I've posted here is the full lineup for the 14-hour Catch 23 festival on July 7 in Sheffield in the United Kingdom.  Ticket information here. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

More RAW on the Internet

Another interesting discovery from Martin Wagner: You can search for "Robert Anton Wilson" at Independent Voices ("An Open Access Collection of an Alternative Press) and come up with a lot of RAW material. It will be useful, sometime, to see what doesn't overlap with, and to add to the links there. Includes stuff from Berkeley Barb, The Realist, City Miner and more. Thanks, Martin!

Monday, May 21, 2018

'Simon Moon" writes in!

Martin Wagner, still hard at work in Austria, has put up a new page which has the text for many letters to the Playboy magazine forum that were apparently written by Robert Anton Wilson, under various pseudonyms. Martin notes that in Cosmic Trigger 3, RAW wrote, "Mostly, in the Playboy Forum, we followed the ACLU’s positions, but often we pushed a bit further and sneaked in some anarcho-pacifist propaganda – never in Playboy’s voice, of course, but as the voice of a reader."

The "Playboy" cover, above, is from the issue that features a letter to the editor from "Simon Moon" of Chicago, Ill., explaining the difference between (1) Legitimate laws that protect people, (2) Laws from the "one half of one percent" meant to rig the system and (3) Laws punishing victimless crimes. The image is for the magazine in which Mr. Moon's letter appeared.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A meeting of two authors RAW admired

Arthur C. Clarke in 1965 (Creative Commons photo)

An anecdote from Michael Moorcock about his friend Arthur C. Clarke:

Many years after our first meeting I gave a party where I introduced Arthur to William Burroughs, the Beat author of Naked Lunch. No one expected them to have a lot in common, but they spent the next few hours together, sipping orange juice, occasionally asking for the music to be turned down because it was spoiling their conversation.

Lots of other good stories in the piece, available here. 

Hat tip. Supergee.

Bonus: Michael Moorcock on Ray Bradbury. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Scott Alexander on basic income vs.a guaranteed job

Recently, a number of Democratic politicians have been talking about a government program to guarantee that everyone will have a job.

At the Slate Star Codex blog, Scott Alexander discusses a basic income guarantee vs. a jobs guarantee, and argues that basic income seems to be a much better idea.  It's a long post, and you should read all of it, but here is just a little bit:

I have a friend who was stuck on a dead-end career path. His job paid a decent amount, he just didn’t really like where it was going. So he saved up enough money to live on for a year, spent a year teaching himself coding, applied to a programming job, got it, and felt a lot more comfortable with his financial situation.

And I had a patient in a similar situation. Hated her job, really wanted to leave it, didn’t have enough skills to get anything else. So she went to night school, and – she found she couldn’t do it. After working 8 to 6 every day, her ability to go straight from a long day’s work to a long night’s studying just wasn’t in the cards. And her income didn’t give her the same opportunity to save up some money and take a year off. So she gave up and she still works at the job she hates. The end.

Basic income would give everyone who wants to work the same opportunity as my friend – the ability to take a year off, cultivate yourself, learn stuff, go to school, build your resume – without it being a financial disaster.

Basic jobs would leave everyone in the same position as my patient – forced to work 40+ hours a week, commute however many hours a week, good luck finding time to earn yourself a ticket out of that lifestyle while still staying sane.

I think Scott makes a pretty good case.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Jesse Walker discusses basic income

Jesse Walker (Facebook photo)

An article on the basic income guarantee, an idea that intrigued Robert Anton Wilson:

"The Indestructible Idea of the Basic Income," was published in July 2017 in "Reason" magazine by Jesse Walker; Jesse has just learned that his piece is up for a Southern California Journalism Award, in the National Political/Government Reporting category.

This part of the article sounds like a description of Robert Anton Wilson: "There is a current of thought that's deeply skeptical of both the statist forms of socialism and the monopolistic forms of capitalism, and which often fixates on quirky policy ideas—George's land tax, Douglas' monetary scheme—that aim to tame concentrated economic power without concentrating power in the government instead. The basic income fits snugly in that tradition, especially when the payments are presented not as a form of relief but as dividends to the owners of society's resources." (He's referring to Henry George, the land tax advocate, and C.H. Douglas, advocate of a "national dividend.")

Jesse also talks about Milton Friedman's negative income tax. For RAW's interest in all of these ideas, see his essay "Left and Right: A Non-Euclidean Perspective," reprinted in Email to the Universe.

There's also this reference in Jesse's article about a guy who influenced RAW's own thinking: "When the LSD evangelist Timothy Leary ran for governor of California in 1969, he declared that the state 'should be run like a successful business enterprise. Instead of extorting taxes from the citizens a well-run state should return a profit. Anyone smart enough to live in California should be paid a dividend'." Leary's idea may sound far out, but Alaska has a form of it, as Walker explains.

The Philip Jose Farmer story Jesse references briefly in his piece is "Rider of the Purple Wage," which also references James Joyce and won a Hugo Award. It's one of my favorite stories; Farmer and RAW were on good terms and liked each other's work. Jesse often writes about basic income for "Reason," but this may be the definitive piece. 

(I blogged briefly about the article in an earlier post; re-reading Jesse's piece convinced me it deserved a longer take.)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Thursday links [UPDATED]

Latest Daisy Eris Campbell show going well.  See also the reviews from others that Daisy retweeted.

Here are current official tour dates for her shows (now renamed "Pigspurt's Daughter"):

June 15th, 7.30pm - Ebenezer Presents, Aller, Somerset.
June 23rd, 7.30pm - Kunst Gallery, Belper, Derbyshire.
August 31st, 7.30pm - The British Library, London.
September 9th, 5pm - The Hub, Leeds.

Liverpool dates and further London dates to be announced soon.

Sale on Steve "Fly Agaric" Pratt's discography. 

More "war on some drugs" news. Jacob Sullum does great work, please pay attention to him.

New wiki for Ada Palmer's "Terra Ignota" series. 

Free book on Buddhism. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A work of art I like

I've seen other eye-in-pyramid images before, of course, but I thought this work of art, Tweeted out by Chris Kalis, was particularly beautiful, so I asked about it.

"Its a book cover for ALCHEMY: THE GREAT WORK by Cherry Gilchrist (Weiser Books)," Kalis explained. The artist is Graham Lester.

Kalis, by the way , is an interesting musician, filmmaker and graphic designer whom I follow in Twitter. I like his synth music band, Chandliers. More on the Chandeliers and the band's interest in RAW and Discordianism.  Chandeliers are available on Spotify and Freegal Music, among other places.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

More on RAW social media

Since my posting the other day about "Robert Anton Wilson fans who try to be open and thoughtful as a rule" it has been called to my attention that there are other RAW groups on Facebook which also try to offer a quality experience.

@skelethon23 on Twitter wrote to me, "FYI there's another RAW group on Facebook we (I) created called Robert Anton Wilson Legacy, got fed up with all the extreme political posting, it's a good group, if you're interested, or haven't heard of it already, then there's :Keep The Ravioli in Orbit" and another one called "Robert Anton Wilson Fan Club" and Robert Anton Wilson Group" obviously.  here's the link to the legacy group if you're interested ..." I was and I joined. Link here. 

There's also a "Robert Anton Wilson Discussion Group" on Facebook.

I had followed @skelethon23 for awhile on Twitter. "My other accounts here include  @GathererOfData, @Lokimap, @GaianNavigator, @EldritchCleaver, and @ChoiceOfParadoxthis is a kind of fluff-oriented one, most of them are (i have more) anyway cheers!" @skelethon23 reports.

I've long been a member of "Robert Anton Wilson Fans" and "Discordian Libertarians" on Facebook. (The former was founded by Dan Clore, while the latter was established by Jake Shannon.) I've now joined "Robert Anton Wilson fans who try to be open and thoughtful as a rule" and "Robert Anton Wilson Legacy." To join the latter two, you'll have to answer a couple of questions.

If you are on Twitter, follow @RAWilson23, maintained by Bobby Campbell, and go from there. I hesitate to list more accounts, for fear of the folks I'd leave out. I am @jacksontom.

I actually spend more time on Twitter than on Facebook, and I follow many RAW-related Twitter accounts. But please understand that the time I spend on social media is limited. If you put up a really brilliant posting and I missed it, please do not take it personally.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Bobby Campbell announces new art show

Artist, writer and comic book publisher Bobby Campbell has announced a new art show for 2018, available exclusively in only two events, one in the U.S. and one in the United Kingdom.

Bobby has done new illustrations for the new editions of Robert Anton Wilson's three "Historical Iluminatus" books, The Earth Will Shake, The Widow's Son and Nature's God. That art will be displayed in an art show, "Towards the One," to be exhibited July 7-8 at Catch 23, and July 27-29 at the Confluence science fiction convention in Pittsburgh. The books should be out soon from Hilaritas Press, the publishing imprint of the Robert Anton Wilson Trust. 

The second wave of talent for Catch 23 has just been announced; it includes Greg Wilson and Daisy Eris Campbell. Meanwhile, other RAW programming is planned at Confluence; see the latest update. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Caitlyn Kiernan's 'Black Helicopters'

A recommendation on Twitter by Ian "Cat" Vincent for a short novel by Caitlyn Kiernan:

"Caitlin R Kiernan's novella BLACK HELICOPTERS is a Lovecraftian classic, and explicitly Discordian, with nods to #RAW & Bucky Fuller, even calling on Eris Herself."

Looks like I have something else for my "to read" list.

Here's a link to the expanded edition. 

Kiernan actually lives in Providence, R.I. You can read the Wikipedia bio and visit the official page. 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

New RAW group on Facebook

I recently ran across a new (or new to me, anyway) RAW group on Facebook: "Robert Anton Wilson fans who try to be open and thoughtful as a rule." It's a closed group, and I had to answer three questions about RAW in order to join. As the name of the group implies, it's an effort to elevate the quality of the discussions. 240 members so far (you can look at the members list before you join) and you'll see some familiar names.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Come to Pittsburgh, meet with RAW fans!

As I've written before, I am asking RAW fans to who want to meet other RAW fans to consider coming to Confluence in Pittsburgh, July 27-29. Greg Arnott, who led our online reading group for Email to the Universe, and artist and writer Bobby Campbell have committed to coming. In fact, Bobby did the above graphic to help the cause!

Confluence is listing my proposal for a "Robert Anton Wilson in 2018" panel as "likely to occur," meaning that convention program participants may sign up for it. Bobby, Greg and I all have presentations we would like to give, although we don't have a venue yet; we'll figure something out. Confluence has been around for awhile and seems to be well run. Writer Catherynne M. Valente will be one of the guests of honor.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

John Dillinger (and RAW) write in to Playboy

The above images were sent to me though the kindness of Martin Wagner, who doesn't know if RAW wrote the reply to the first letter, but notes "Kevin O'Flaherty" (August '68 issue) was one of RAW's pen-names. At the end John Dillinger himself, who apparently lived in Dallas at the time, steps in to the discussion ..." Note the relevance to Illuminatus! If the image with the letters doesn't get bigger when you click on it, try downloading it and blowing it up to make it legible.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Jack Parsons miniseries starts soon

Strange Angel, a CBS miniseries based upon the life of Jack Parsons, premieres June 14 as "A CBS All Access original series."

Here is the CBS blurb:

Strange Angel, a drama series created by Mark Heyman (Black Swan, The Wrestler) and based on George Pendle's book of the same name, explores the dramatic intersection between genius and madness, science and science fiction.

The story follows the life of Jack Parsons, a mysterious and brilliant man in 1940s Los Angeles, who by day helps birth the entirely unknown discipline of American rocketry, and by night is a performer of sex magick rituals and a disciple to occultist Aleister Crowley.

Strange Angel will be produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Scott Free Productions. Mark Heyman, David DiGilio, Ridley Scott, and David W. Zucker will serve as executive producers; Clayton Krueger will be co-executive producer, and David Lowery (A Ghost Story, Pete's Dragon) will direct and executive produce.

But does Robert Heinlein turn up as a character?

The Parsons book the series is based upon is not the one with an introduction by Robert Anton Wilson.  

Hat tip, Charles Faris.

Monday, May 7, 2018

New 'Chasing Eris' book released

Brenton Clutterbuck has released his new book, Chasing Eris, about the Australian author's worldwide journey to find out about modern practitioners of Discordianism. The book is available for purchase here.  An ebook edition should be available soon.

The book's blurb says, "It's the most influential religion you've never heard of: Discordianism took the world by storm when it was revealed to two young hippies in 1958 or 1959.

"Who would have thought this goofy nuttiness would eventually turn into a worldwide caper involving the assassination of a US President, Timothy Leary, a rubber gorilla, a ten hour play, a million pounds of burnt cash, the German secret service, a pumpkin launching trebuchet, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Charles Manson, twelve arrested New Orleans Mardi Gras participants, a series of murders, Kermit the frog, and an extremely confused Australian who wrote this very silly book?

"Not me, that's for sure."

More from Adam Gorightly at Historia Discordia. 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Catch 23 lineup announced

The lineup for Catch 23 (July 7-9, Sheffield, United Kingdom) has been announced: It includes John Higgs and Michelle Olley. Also HENGE, Kermit & the Super Weird Sound, Forest Sounds, Cuckoo Clocks and Super Weird Missionaries.

Tickets here. John Higgs says, "The early bird tickets sold out almost immediately so dithering not advised." (Advice from his newsletter.)

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Two RAW letters published

Robert Anton Wilson Fans Germania, Martin Wagner's project which recently launched the Cosmic Trigger Companion, has now published two letters concerning the imprisonment of Timothy Leary.

"A letter from the DNA Society" protests that "Leary has been incommunicado for seven months." The DNA Society is described as a nonprofit interested in Leary's ideas. The people who signed the letter are Michael Horowitz, John S. James, Robert Newport, M.D., Carl Spann, Carol Tickner and Robert Anton Wilson. (Mr. Newport rescued and preserved the Discordian Archives; Michael Horowitz was Leary's archivist. The other names don't ring an immediate bell.)

"Why is Dr. Timothy Leary in Prison?" is a letter written by RAW.

Friday, May 4, 2018

'Ronald Weston' writes to Playboy

Playboy, March 1972, where the letter below appeared

A note from Jesse Walker, who discovered Robert Anton Wilson's use of "Ronald Weston" as a pseudonym, or at least helped confirm it: "The *Jaguar* exchange gave me a little brainstorm, and I did a search at the Internet Archive for 'Ronald Weston.' I found that 'Weston' periodically wrote letters to the Playboy Forum."

An example:

When I read that the U.S. Postal Service and the Bureau of Customs are inspecting first class mail from overseas without warrants or prior consent of the addressee (Forum Newsfront, October 1971) I heard a loud whirring sound. I finally recognized it as Thomas Jefferson spinning in his grave. I also heard the ghoulish laughter of Lysander Spooner, anarchist and constitutional lawyer, who predicted in 1848 that a government mail monopoly would eventually lead to this type of thing.
                                                                                                                             Ronald Weston
                                                                                                                             Cuernavaca Mexico

Jesse used Google for the search, e.g. "ronald weston"

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Music, arts festival to feature John Higgs, Michelle Olley

Michelle Olley (and friend). Twitter account photo

Lunar, a music and arts festival scheduled for July 27-29 in north Warwickshire, will feature bands such as the Stranglers and some speakers who include names familiar to the RAW community, such as John Higgs and Michelle Olley.

The Lunar website's summary of John's work is pretty good:

John Higgs is author of The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds; I Have America Surrounded: The Life of Timothy Leary; and Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century. He also writes fiction under the name JMR Higgs, including The Brandy of the Damned and The First Church on the Moon.

John is a writer who specialises in finding previously unsuspected narratives, hidden in obscure corners of our history and culture, which can change the way we see the world. The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds, was described as “Adam Curtis brainstorming with Thomas Pynchon” by The Guardian. Ben Goldacre (Bad Science, Bad Pharma) called it “By far the best book this year, brilliant, discursive and wise.” The leading music website The Quietus said it “Might well be the best music book of the 2010s” and it was named as one of the top ten music books of 2013 by The Guardian, The Independent and Mojo.

About Michelle Olley, the site says,

Michelle Olley is a RAW-inspired writer, editor, filmmaker, Cosmic Trigger play and event co-producer. In the 1990s, she was a director of Skin Two magazine – the world’s leading fetish lifestyle and culture magazine, and instigated their charity event, the Skin Two Rubber Ball.

She spent her twenties and thirties herding cats and scraping deadlines on various magazines, including Attitude, fashion quarterly P.U.R.E, and pioneering gay lifestyle title, Fable. She spent her forties monkey butlering in TV, principally with the European arm of late-night comedy mavericks, Adult Swim, where she championed a number of shows, not least, the criminally under-rated Venture Bros.

Much more at the Lunar site. 

Of course, if you can't make it to England that weekend, you can come to Confluence instead!

Via the latest John Higgs email newsletter, which has lots of other news.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Crowdfunding launched for Adam Gorightly's new movie

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched for "The Hill and the Hole," a horror film based on a short story by Fritz Leiber that stars our favorite Discordian historian, Adam Gorightly (pictured). Adams says he plays "a wise-cracking sociopathic freemasonic fry dough truck operator and cult leader! If everything goes as planned, you may even get to see me kill a person or two."

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Michael Johnson on liberation from the Black Iron Prison

This is a "promoted from the comments" blog post (to steal a phrase from Tyler Cowen); I liked Michael Johnson's comment from Sunday's post and wanted to make sure everyone will see it. But first, if you haven't already, please read RAW's interview with William Burroughs, so you can see the statements which (I think) provoked Michael's comments, which I don't think are "off topic" at all.

From Michael Johnson:

Off-topic, but last week I was reading in Joseph Campbell's _The Inner Reaches of Outer Space_ and happened on this bit:

"Thus a mythology is a control system, on the one hand framing its community to accord with an intuited order of nature and, on the other hand, by means of its symbolic pedagogic rites, conducting individuals through the ineluctable psychophysiological stages of transformation of a human lifetime - birth, childhood and adolescence, age, old age, and the release of death - in unbroken accord simultaneously with the requirements of this world and the rapture of participation in a manner of being beyond time."

We can read this as a "glass half full" variation of what WSB and RAW saw as word-made metaphorical human constructs that imprison our full potentials, but a fuller reading of Campbell suggests he's sympathetic to the gnostic views of RAW and WSB and words/metaphors and systems of social control so prevalent most people never even "see" them.

Also NB: Campbell's use of the term "framing" and Lakoff's work.

Finally: was WSB's master trope - that words are a virus from outer space that have found a perfect host in the nervous systems of humans - a precursor to Dawkins's "meme" thing? WSB studied directly under Korzybski and I can't help but think this "infection" idea from words was influenced by Korzybski. The theory of the cut-up/fold-in method was a further method of self-defense. RAW used cut-ups and all of Korzybski's extensional devices plus AK's student David Bourland's logical extrapolations from AK: E-Prime. 

All of this in the name of Liberation from the historical social construction of the Black Iron Prison.