Sunday, July 22, 2018
Intelligent dolphins and Illuminatus!
Part Two of "Days of the Dolphin: Cetaceans in Cold War Science and Science Fiction" by Michael Grasso has posted at the We Are the Mutants website, and there's quite a bit of discussion of Illuminatus! Sample:
Another, altogether more playful tale of conspiracy involving intelligent dolphins came in 1975 with the publication of the Illuminatus! trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. Illuminatus! could be considered a grab-bag of all the esoteric, political, and historical conspiracies that were bubbling up by the middle of the 1970s, and thus the inclusion of a super-intelligent dolphin named Howard, who’s able to communicate in English thanks to the invention of a seemingly mad, charismatic technological genius (Hagbard Celine), seems not too out of place. In fact, it’s the role that Howard the dolphin plays in the trilogy that’s really interesting. He and his dolphin allies are constantly portrayed as more advanced and evolved than the brutish apes on the surface, who are rushing to “immanentize the Eschaton.” Howard and Celine spar over their respective species’ cultural development. The authors put the provocative (and Lilly-ian) idea in the mouth of Howard that perhaps humans aren’t as advanced as they think they are ...
Part Three offers more about John Lilly and mentions Robert Anton Wilson again. Lilly had paranoid visions of being contacted by higher intelligence that were similar to those of Philip K. Dick and RAW.
Hat tip, Jesse Walker.
BTW, here's part of the blurb for the We Are the Mutants website:
"We Are the Mutants is a weekly updated magazine focusing on the history and analysis of Cold War-era popular and outsider culture, with a strong emphasis on speculative (sci-fi, fantasy, horror), genre, pulp, cult, occult, subculture, and anti-establishment media. We cover everything from underground comics and post-apocalyptic fictions to ufology tropes and space disco."