Saturday, March 23, 2019

More on the Rev. Raymond Broshears

Raymond Broshears

Adam Gorightly goes deeper into JFK assassination lore with the final installment of his series on Raymond Broshears, "The Raymond Broshears Files Part 00006: A FOIA Treasure Trove." This one explores the connection between Broshears and would-be Gerald Ford assassin Sara Jane Moore, among other topics.

One odd bit: Steve Jaffe, an unofficial investigator for Jim Garrison, was involved in the conspiracy movie Executive Action. Adam says he was a producer; Wikipedia lists Jaffe as a "technical consultant." Oddly, Wikipedia links to a Steve Jaffe is a composer, and apparently not the same person.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Physics experiment echoes RAW's thought

Eugene Wigner

Headline on an article from the MIT Technology Review: "A quantum experiment suggests there’s no such thing as objective reality."

It could also have said the experiment suggested that observation can create a reality.

"Back in 1961, the Nobel Prize–winning physicist Eugene Wigner outlined a thought experiment that demonstrated one of the lesser-known paradoxes of quantum mechanics. The experiment shows how the strange nature of the universe allows two observers—say, Wigner and Wigner’s friend—to experience different realities."

The article goes on to explain how recent advances in quantum technology have allowed experiments to test Wigner's thought experiment, and that Massimiliano Proietti at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and some colleagues recently carried out an experiment in observing the polarization of a proton.

"The experiment produces an unambiguous result. It turns out that both realities can coexist even though they produce irreconcilable outcomes, just as Wigner predicted."

Wigner is mentioned in Robert Anton Wilson's Schroedinger's Cat trilogy.

Thank you to Roman Tsivkin for spotting this and posting on Twitter. 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Andrew Yang talks about the UBI

Andrew Yang, left, and Kmele Foster. 

Many people are running for president as a Democrat these days. Perhaps the most interesting candidate is Andrew Yang, who is making the UBI a central plank of his platform. 

As I drove to work today, I listened to an interview of Yang by Kmele Foster on the "The Fifth Column" libertarian podcast. Foster is a libertarian skeptic, but he gives Yang plenty of time to talk. 

You can learn more about Yang from his website and his Twitter account. You can follow Kmele on Twitter, too; that's where I found the above photograph. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Wednesday links

Young Orson Welles. 

New documentary on Orson Welles.

Butterfly Language launches Patreon. 

Andrew Yang, the UBI candidate. 

"Some moderate, common-sense proposals I don't expect any major candidate to endorse." From Bryan Caplan.

W.H. Auden on no-platforming Ezra Pound. "This incident is only one sign—there are other and far graver ones—that there was more truth than one would like to believe in Huey Long’s cynical observation that if fascism came to the United States it would be called Anti-fascism."

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Ralph Metzner has died

Ralph Metzner has died. He carried out psychedelic research at Harvard with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (Ram Dass.) Wikipedia bio here.

R.U. Sirius says, "I'm sorry to learn of the death of Ralph Metzner intrepid explorer of consciousness, author, environmentalist & part of the original Harvard psychedelic project w. Timothy Leary & Richard Alpert/Ram Dass. He used to drop by the Mondo house occasionally. A lovely gentle presence."

Here is a podcast that features Metzner.

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Earth Will Shake reading group, Week Four

The Tempio Malatestiano in Rimini. "Out of the most Catholic of all countries, in the most Catholic of all centuries, Sigismundo Malatesta had created this symphony in marble and gold to hail his own private gods: against all the laws of probability and history, the first pagan temple in a thousand years." Page 79. 

This week, please read from page 68, "There was a piece by Scarlatti, a Sonata in D Major, that was like the human soul trying to free itself from the vegetative and animal souls" to Page 89, "Nobody knows what they are really plotting, they are as enigmatic as cat's eyes."

"...chiefly, it was Venus he saw ... There was only flesh and light and joy: golden flesh and clear light and pagan joy." Page 77.

Gemistus Pletho, whose remains were interred at the Tempio Malatestiano. "He was a chief pioneer of the revival of Greek scholarship in Western Europe.[5] As revealed in his last literary work, the Nomoi or Book of Laws, which he only circulated among close friends, he rejected Christianity in favour of a return to the worship of ancient Hellenic Gods as well as ancient wisdom based on Zoroaster and the Magi." See Wikipedia article. 

The phrase "time out of joint" is from Shakespeare's Hamlet, but also evokes the Philip K. Dick novel. " ... time has been stretched out of joint, not by horror this time, but by ecstasy." Page 81

Sunday, March 17, 2019

RAW's 'Introduction to a Malign Fiesta'

The news of the latest atrocity makes Martin Wagner's latest discovery more relevant: Robert Anton Wilson's introduction to Dark Destiny, Proprietors of Fate, edited by Edward E. Kramer, an old horror anthology.

This is a really good piece.


A phalanx of intelligences and powers, all differentiated, some cooperating and some competing—the view of the ordinary person about ordinary day-to-day reality—ultimately describes the cosmos better than any monotheistic or atheistic oversimplification. We can call these intelligences and powers “gods” or “goods” or “demons” or “evils,” if we will, but those remain merely our own prejudices. Each entity has its own view of the situation—just as an old rat, in Burroughs memorable phrase, has decided opinions about wise guys who stuff steel wool into rat holes.

In other words, one and zero do not differ by very much—one god or no god, who really cares?—but infinity and zero differ very greatly. And we seem to live in a world of infinite complexity, infinitely many intelligences, infinitely competing and cooperating entities, very few of whom give a fried fart about human hopes and prayers.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Finnegans Wake roundup

From artist Carol Wade: "I am delighted to announce, the premier exhibition of "riverrun", a visual response to #FinnegansWake by James Joyce. The exhibition will be held in the Waterways Visitors Center, Grand Canal Dock in conjunction with @5lampsarts" (It's in Dublin, part of the Five Lamps Arts Festival. More information here.)

From Derek of Waywords and Meansigns: "In case you haven't heard, Finnegans Wake turns eighty this year -- published 80 years ago, May 4, 1939 -- & we're celebrating with a big weekend event in Dublin, May 3rd through 5th at the Joyce Centre. I hope some of you can join us for this "Finnegans Wake-End". And I'm curating an installation at Trinity College, April 11-13, as part of the Wake Symposium there."

From PQ: "Carvings in the Claybook: A Reading of Finnegans Wake pgs. 18-19."

Friday, March 15, 2019

Erik Davis followup

As a followup to the posting the other day on Erik Davis' new book, High Weirdness, Erik knows the old dissertation his book is based upon is out there, but hopes you'll wait for the book. In a comment to my post the other day, he wrote:

"Having labored on the revision of High Weirdness for at least as long as the dissertation took, I'd of course like to believe that my effort was worth it in a better book that is worth the wait.

"In terms of RAW I added material more than I removed it, and more importantly, smoothed the ideas and improved the lingo that carries them forward. The dissertation was like a sloppily wordy first draft with lots of secondary material crammed in, and without the cherry on the top of yummy prose.

"Caveat Downloador."

I plan to wait.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

War on some drugs news

The above video shows police in Bolivar, Missouri, searching the hospital room of a stage four pancreatic cancer patient. No marijuana was found. The hospital did apologize later. You can read Reason magazine's account,  although I should warn everyone that Reason is a libertarian magazine, and I was recently told on Twitter that libertarians have an "obnoxious emphasis on personal liberty."

The police chief is unhappy about the "negative feedback" the department received on Facebook.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Burgess prize for 'Pigspurt' review

Jason Watkins (Twitter image). Congratulations to Mr. Watkins. 

Didn't get a chance to see Daisy Campbell's production of Pigspurt's Daughter because, for example, you couldn't afford to travel from the U.S. to Great Britain?

You can at least read an award-winning review of our Daisy's one-woman show. Jason Watkins, "a special needs teacher and tutor for pupils out of education based in Otley, West Yorkshire," has just won this year's Observer/Anthony Burgess prize for arts journalism. Read his article, published in the Guardian. 

The opening paragraph:

In naming his daughter after the Greek goddess of discord and misrule, maverick director/actor/playwright Ken Campbell gave her a lot to live up to. Pigspurt’s Daughter, a solo show by Daisy Eris Campbell to mark the 10th anniversary of her father’s death, is a window on a remarkable parent-child relationship bound by a love of logic-defying overstimulation and an aversion to anything routine or everyday.

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Earth Will Shake reading group, Week Three

The tomb of Virgil in Naples, mentioned in this section of the novel. Creative Commons photo by Miguel Hermoso Cuesta.

This week, please read from page 43, "It was only a day later that 'Mr. Drake' contacted Sigismundo" to page 68. "Uncle Pietro guessed his thoughts. 'It is always that way in conquered nations,' he said sadly." As I am giving passages as well as page numbers, readers can purchase the Hilaritas ebook and use that, if they wish.

In a comment for Week One, Eric Wagner wrote, "This novel has seven sections, each with the name of a tarot trump. One could model these chapters as corresponding with the seven chakras, the seven days of the week, the first seven circuits, etc."

This section is named "The Fool," and it is in this section that Sigismundo realizes he is a fool and learns the Cosmic Schmuck principle.

After Sigismundo learns that he is a fool, Uncle Pietro lectures Sigismundo on the first three circuits in the Eight Circuit Model of Consciousness: "Actually, there are potentially at least eight souls" (page 66).

Many of the characters in this novel are the ancestors of characters in the Illuminatus! trilogy -- Sigismundo Celine and Hagbard Celine, Mr. Drake and Francis Drake, and so on. Neal Stephenson did something very similar later with Cryptonomicon and the Baroque Cycle. Probably just coincidence, although there is no way to know as Mr. Stephenson makes himself essentially unavailable to questions from fans, journalists and other such nuisances.

Eric also remarked in the first week, "Everything in these first couple of pages seems in-between. The book starts with the protagonist,Sigismundo Celine, half asleep, in-between a dream and awake to his environment. The priest appears in-between changing the material of a wafer of bread into the spiritual body of Christ. When the Uncle gets assassinated, for those few moments until it finishes, he goes between life and death. In-betweenness seems an important concept, to me."

Sigismundo is a teenager, in between being a child and an adult, and is therefore working particularly hard to emerge from Dante's dark wood and figure things out, with Uncle Pietro serving as Sigismundo's Virgil.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

I'm putting up links for the reading group

Sigismondo Malatesta. See Wikipedia biography. 

I've created a list of links for the episodes of our The Earth Will Shake reading group at the top right of this page. My blog entries haven't been any great shakes, but I'm in awe of the quality of the comments posted so far. Please let me know if there's anything else I should be doing to support the group.

We're only going about 20-25 pages at a time, so if anyone wants to jump in and catch up with us, that shouldn't be hard. 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Scary 'Masks'

On Twitter, writer Lincoln Mitchell poses a question:

"Twitter: What's the most terrifying fiction book you've ever read?

"Not just a horror novel you enjoyed reading, but one that actually freaked you out and haunted your dreams?"

Answer from Ron Hogan:

"Robert Anton Wilson's Masks of the Illuminati, which came out back when the Illuminati was still actually goddamn mysterious and creepy."

Hogan is a writer and editor.

Friday, March 8, 2019

More on the new Erik Davis book

A little more information has come out on High Weirdness, the new Erik Davis book that is "An exploration of the emergence of a new psychedelic spirituality in the work of Philip K. Dick, Terence McKenna, and Robert Anton Wilson."

Above, you can see the cover. Also, the release date, at least in the U.S., is July 23. That's Robert Anton Wilson Day.

Here again is the book description:

A study of the spiritual provocations to be found in the work of Philip K. Dick, Terence McKenna, and Robert Anton Wilson, High Weirdness charts the emergence of a new psychedelic spirituality that arose from the American counterculture of the 1970s. These three authors changed the way millions of readers thought, dreamed, and experienced reality―but how did their writings reflect, as well as shape, the seismic cultural shifts taking place in America?

In High Weirdness, Erik Davis―America's leading scholar of high strangeness―examines the published and unpublished writings of these vital, iconoclastic thinkers, as well as their own life-changing mystical experiences. Davis explores the complex lattice of the strange that flowed through America's West Coast at a time of radical technological, political, and social upheaval to present a new theory of the weird as a viable mode for a renewed engagement with reality.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Listening to Scarlatti

Vladimir Horowitz

Eric Wagner mentioned in the comments that he's been listening to a lot of Vivaldi, Telemann and Scarlatti as we read The Earth Will Shake.

I've been listening especially to Scarlatti. I've always enjoyed him when I ran across his music, but this seems like a good time to concentrate on him for a few days.

When I looked up the Wikipedia entry, I discovered that Scarlatti actually was from Naples.

Robert Anton Wilson wrote about his love of Scarlatti in Cosmic Trigger 2: (in the "The Call of the Wild" chapter):

1. I like peace, quiet afternoons, the prose of James Joyce, chess, and listening to the sonatas of Scarlatti with my eyes closed while stoned on marijuana.

2. Most people like booze, football, violent noisy movies full of gore, and increasingly frequent wars.

3. I have finally admitted that I can't change most people, so I want to get away from them and live with the minority who share my own eccentric tastes.

There are many recordings of Scarlatti's sonatas, both "old school" with harpsichord and also with piano, including plenty of recordings available instantly through the public library digital music services. Freegal, one of those services, has Vladimir Horowitz' excellent recordings. Hoopla, the other one, has a nice recording from András Schiff.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Medical news: Genesis P-Orridge and Diana Trimble

From Jason Louv: "Genesis P-Orridge Needs Your Help"

As you likely know, Genesis P-Orridge has been battling leukemia for the last year. A few days ago, she was admitted to the hospital, as she was unable to breathe without oxygen. Gen's lungs have become blocked with fluid, which her doctors had previously attempted to remove with a suction needle. This failed, as the fluid has become too viscous and thick. Gen now needs to undergo full surgery to clean out her lungs—a serious and potentially life-threatening procedure.

Without Genesis, Magick.Me would not exist. She is my primary teacher—Genesis trained me in magick from the ages of 21 to 27, in the same manner and method that William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin trained her in magick in the 1970s. That is my primary lineage. Other important lineages were added later, as I trained in more systems, but this is where it all began. Because of Gen's investment of time and love in training me, Magick.Me now exists in the world.

More broadly, it is very likely that without Genesis, occulture and the widespread interest in magick simply wouldn't exist. Gen's decades-spanning work in liberating consciousness is why occulture exists as a social movement, rather than the activity of a few isolated individuals. That includes everything from creating industrial music in the early 1970s and championing acid house in the 1980s, to popularizing Austin Spare's sigil method, advancing Burroughs and Gysin's occult methods for breaking social control, and forming Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth to liberate magick from the British establishment and bring it to working class people around the world. These are all activities for which Gen already paid a high price, culminating with being forced into exile from Britain in 1991.

More here.

Meanwhile, R.U. Sirius has emailed out an appeal, "Please Help the Medical Fundraiser for MONDO 2k Cover girl, featured artist and contributor Diana Trimble"

Diana Trimble (some of you know her) was a contributor to several issues of MONDO 2000 magazine and appeared on the cover of issue #2 where she was also a featured subject. She is a brilliant vocalist and songwriter, an accomplished performer with international credits, an investigative journalist and prolific recording artist.

You can learn more about her  — and her recent hospitalization — on the GoFundMe page.

Monday, March 4, 2019

The Earth Will Shake reading group, Week Two

Francesca da Polenta, enjoying her ill-fated love affair with Paolo Malatesta. (Francesca da Rimini (1837), by William Dyce.)

This week, please read from page 20, "Sigismundo said good morning to everybody without looking at anybody," to page 43, "where were found the avatars of Satan himself, the violent against God and man."

I looked up some of the references in this section:

Naples has a long entry on Wikipedia; as Wilson says, it was a Greek, like many cities in southern Italy.

Uncle Pietro mentions that the ancestors of the Malatestas are "the princes of Rimini" who "once had interests that went beyond money grubbing and commerce," page 24. There is a Wikipedia entry for the House of Malatesta that ruled over Rimini.   Some of the Malatestas are famous in literature, the entry says: "Giovanni Malatesta is chiefly famous because he murdered his wife Francesca da Polenta and his younger brother Paolo in 1285, having discovered them in adultery, and the murder is recorded in Dante's Inferno as well as in a story by Giovanni Boccaccio." Rimini is a city in northern Italy on the Adriatic coast. Lines from Inferno referring to the murder are alluded to in James Joyce's Ulysses. 

Giuliano de' Medici, whose murder at age 25 in a Florence cathedral apparently inspired the murder that opens The Earth Will Shake

Guilliame de Medici, mentioned in the text on page 42, is rendered on Wikipedia as Giuliano de' Medici.  He was murdered in Florence Cathedral in 1478, the beginning incident of the Pazzi Conspiracy.  The conspiracy failed, although it apparently had the support of the Pope.

The Carbonari are discussed on Wikipedia as a secret society in Naples and elsewhere, with members who included Lafayette and Lord Byron. The Alumbrados also merit an entry.

"Marta Alla Francia, Italia Anela," page 28. This is another copyediting mistake; it should be "Morte." When you have the correct phrase, you can look it up and read about the two theories about the origin of the word "mafia." 

"Leave murder to the professionals." Page 33. Fortunately, the study of literature can be carried out by amateurs.

I looked up the cathedral where Leonardo Malatesta is murdered, the Cathedral of San Francesco di Paola in Naples. It was built in the early 19th century, according to Wikipedia, so using it as the site of the murder may be a mistake.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Bobby Campbell releases new 'Agnosis'

Bobby Campbell has done an early release of Agnosis! - Book Two: Open System Self to his Patreon supporters (such as me). Here is the link to Bobby's Patreon site.

Bobby's announcement also has a handy reading order for his comic book series and he shares some news:

Beginning in March I'm going to start a monthly newsletter/status updates that will simulcast across all my various digital outlets, on the first Sunday night of the month. Paid accounts/Patreons will get extra preview/work-in-progress material, for whatever it's worth!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

About those Illuminatus! memos ....

Martin Wagner with his daughter. Fraulein Wagner is wearing the Robert Anton Wilson pendant offered by the Robert Anton Wilson Trust. 

That Martin Wagner guy has another interesting post!

You should read all of it, but my favorite bit is where Robert Anton Wilson, responding to a positive review of the Illuminatus! trilogy by one Xavier Hammerberg, discusses the quotations in the memorandums on the first volume of Illuminatus!

However, I must take exception to the paragraph in which Hammerberg says “The authors Akron Daraul and Nesta Webster also existed and did write about secret societies. I have read them both and the quotes are perfectly authentic; but some of the other quotes mentioned are not.”

Unless Hammerberg has spotted some typographical error that somehow got past both authors and the proof-readers at Dell, he is simply suffering from an inaccurate memory. All the quotes in Illuminatus! are accurate and painstakingly fair; nothing has been taken out of context or otherwise twisted. The books and periodicals referenced actually exist and say what we quote them as saying.

Of course, this only refers to the quotes found in memorandums and set off by indented type. In the experiences (or hallucinations) of the characters of our novel, we have bamboozled, confused, misdirected and deceived the reader in every way possible — in the manner of the classic “puzzle”-style detective story. But we have played fair, with the reader, within detective story standards.

In reply, Xavier Hammerberg says he may have been guilty of imprecision but was attempting to make a point about Wilson and Shea's techniques:

"The intended point was to bring out your use of the Lovecraftian device of combining authentic (though obscure) references with products of the imagination, a technique that I admire, but apparently I did  not make that clear. For instance, the Necronomicon citations are perfectly authentic Lovecraft. But unless you and Mr. Shea have made the literary discovery of the century, and are keeping it to yourselves, the Necronomicon would seem to remain unauthenticated."

Friday, March 1, 2019

The dolphins are dopers

This sounds like something that would have been included in Illuminatus! if only Shea and Wilson had known about it at the time: "Dolphins Seem to Use Toxic Pufferfish to Get High." 

Not only that, but it sounds like passing a joint: "The dolphins were filmed gently playing with the puffer, passing it between each other for 20 to 30 minutes at a time ... "

From Smithsonian magazine, hat tip John  Merritt, and it gives me an excuse to reprint, after awhile, the artwork Bobby Campbell created for the Illuminatus! reading group.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Ted Hand on 'The Earth Will Shake'

Cover art for Tarcher first edition of The Earth Will Shake, courtesy John Merritt. The cover artist is Terry Lamb.

I think if I had to pick a favorite in the "Historical Illuminatus" books I might have to choose The Widow's Son, although I also really like The Earth Will Shake. I discovered via Twitter that RAW fan and Philip K. Dick expert Ted Hand says The Earth Will Shake is his favorite RAW novel.  The Twitter discussion began when Ted sent out a Tweet promoting the new The Earth Will Shake discussion group:

Ted Hand: Online reading group from my favorite Robert Anton Wilson novel. Thanks @jacksontom

Tom Jackson: Any chance you can give me a few words on why it's your favorite?

Ted Hand: I think it's his best realized novel in the classic sense, a bildungsroman that creates a believable character and development process but brilliantly and economically uses this to present a theory of freemasonic initiation. More readable than Eco, more real than Dan Brown.

Tom Jackson: Thanks, Ted.

Ted Hand: Always! I think it's significant that he was able to pull off such a successful "straight" novel, his other trilogies being so experimental and Widow's Son getting back into that territory.

Tom Jackson: "Masks of the Illuminati" also plays it relatively straight, and I like that one, too.

Ted Hand: Good point, Masks is pretty close to straight, just some stream of consciousness, and also a very successful modernist novel that presents a theory of magic without neglecting the business of unraveling a ripping yarn.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

All new editions of Cosmic Trigger II out now

Excerpt from Rasa's announcement:

The RAW Trust's Hilaritas Press has released a new edition of Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger II: Down to Earth. We've once again run the text through several proof readers (we found some old typos) and totally reformatted the book's interior. Many thanks to Gary Acord and Chas Faris for their excellent help in editing and proofing! Scott McPherson, from amoeba, has created another great cover, and this Hilaritas Press edition of Cosmic Trigger II contains a new Foreword and a new Afterword!

Bob's second book in his autobiographical trilogy is a bit of a departure from volume one in a number of respects. Bob probably said it best in the subtitle, Down to Earth. While The Final Secret of the Illuminati, volume one, had Chapel Perilous as a metaphor, Cosmic Trigger II: Down to Earth uses the Bridge as a similar device. RAW blogger Tom Jackson makes that observation in the new Foreword we asked him to write. We were hoping readers might have a nice short "bridge" to read after volume one and before embarking on volume two. Tom wrote a wonderful short essay.

As Cosmic Trigger II features quite a bit about Bob's home life with Arlen and the kids, Tom had the idea to ask Bob's daughter Christina if she might write an Afterword for this edition. I loved that idea, passed on the request, and Christina did not disappoint! 

Also, orders are still being taken for the spiral ring pendant.

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Earth Will Shake reading group, week one

Domenico Scarlatti 

Welcome to week one of The Earth Will Shake online reading group. As several loyal readers suggested taking a slow pace, I thought at first we might read 20 to 25 pages at a time, and see how that goes. Please begin the book and read until page 20, to the sentence that ends, "we have to comprehend why, when a priest calls for God to enter the church, Death can come in answer."

I am using the Hilaritas Press printed edition, although I assume if I give the passage and page number, most readers will be able to follow along using other editions or the Hilaritas ebook. Perhaps surprisingly, there have been six editions so far: The 1982 Tarcher, the 1984 Bluejay, the 1988 Lynn, the 1991 ROC Penguin, the 2003 New Falcon and the 2018 Hilaritas, which features the seven new Bobby Campbell illustrations.

I was struck reading the first 20 pages on how RAW is at the top of his game; I felt like he must have put a lot of effort and inspiration into the opening pages and had many vivid passages:

Because Sicily itself and every last Sicilian could be wiped off the face of the earth, extinguished, erased, and every Sicilian would agree to it, stubborn as a mule, if it were necessary to go that far just to make sure nobody anywhere ever lost respect for the Sicilians. Uncle Pietro said that a master swindler could cheat an Armenian rug merchant once in a million times, and a demon from hell might frighten a Spaniard once in a million million times, but not even God Himself with the Twelve Apostles to help him could stop a fully resolved Siciliano without first killing him and then methodically killing his brothers, and then his cousins and uncles, and next his second cousins and great-uncles, and of course his women cousins, and any toddling infant old enough to throw a rock, and so on forever, but until God himself killed the last Sicilian great-great-grandfather still able to totter weakly on his crutches and hawk to spit, they would keep coming against Him, ineluctable as He Himself, because that was the way Sicily had survived the Greeks and the Sullas and Belisarius and the Normans and the Hohenstaufens and everybody and everything thrown against them and Southern Italy in general since time itself began.

I also noticed how saturated the book is with music; the composers mentioned in the first few pages include Domenico ScarlattiAntonio Vivaldi, Niccolò JommelliGiovanni Battista Pergolesi (misspelled as Pergolese in the text) and Georg Philipp Telemann. And of course we haven't gotten to Mozart yet. Scarlatti especially is discussed, and RAW also talks about his love of Scarlatti in the just-released Hilaritas Press edition of Cosmic Trigger II. I plan to listen to Scarlatti this week.

It was the music, always the music. Because if he pursued a vision of the heroic, an eidolon of human perfectibility that was to seem insane to some and eventually farcical even to himself, it had been the music that had maddened and inflamed him -- the music that was produced by human beings, by men who were not in all cases admirable or noble people at all, produced many times by men who were as petulant and prancing as a French contessa's spoiled poodles, but still, in the music, there was that voice, that insistent cadence of something that was not human, something toward which humans only aspire and to which they only approximate, as any circle drawn with chalk approximates to a true Platonic circle, as every soul aspires toward God ....

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Watch 'The Magic Flute'

I have written several blog entries that mention Mozart's The Magic Flute, as it was an opera heavily influenced by Freemasonry.

The OperaVision website is a European project which makes operas produced in Europe available for free viewing on the Internet. For a few more weeks, a production of The Magic Flute is available from Garsington Opera at Wormsley.  I suggest taking a look at the overture at the beginning (about six minutes) to check out the opera's look. Mozart is a character in the "Historical Illuminatus" novels, so this is topical for the blog. Other Mozart operas are available, too.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

New Cosmic Trigger 2 released

The ebook of Cosmic Trigger II: Down to Earth has been released by Hilaritas Press, and the paper edition will follow within a couple of days, so details are now available. We get to finally see the lovely cover by @amoebadesign.

I wrote the foreword (well, I've mentioned I really like the book) and Christina Pearson, RAW's eldest daughter, wrote the afterword. I want to take a little bit of credit for the latter. I have noticed that Christina's pieces are a highlight of the Hilaritas Press announcements, and it seemed to me that for such an autobiographical book, her writing would be a good fit. So I suggested that she write something, and she agreed!

Here is a bit from Christina's afterword I have received permission to reprint:

Bob and Arlen’s parenting approach developed out of refusing to raise us as they had been raised. They just weren’t sure exactly what that actually meant in terms of day to day life! They certainly loved us, but as true intellectuals, they reveled more in debating linguistic origins, playing Scrabble, sitting around talking about how to save the world, etc., than worrying about what time us kids got to bed. I do have a hunch they would have been much happier together not having children; we were loved, but often not clearly understood in terms of what our developmental needs might be, thus we were mostly treated as semi-equals (little grown-ups) instead of the children we were.

Anyway, what I love about Cosmic Trigger II is that it is very tidal, with Bob’s insights about his own life and development ebbing and flowing over the backdrop of the times my parents lived in Ireland, and their move back to the US. It is certainly biographical, with strong opinions and political musings worked in, but its most powerful message for me was validating what a gentle being at heart RAW really was. He wanted to create; to write, to share, to dream, to play. Like the vast majority born at this time, he spent a fair amount of his younger life doing things to make money that did not necessarily “feed his soul.” At the age of forty, he left secure employment (at Playboy) and took the risk of depending on his writing abilities to feed his family. It was rough at first, and he never made much money, but he was happily self-employed until his death in 2011.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Online exhibit on the UMMO letters

Cutaway image of an UMMO "flying saucer"

We are the Mutants, an interesting website last mentioned on this blog for its exploration of intelligent dolphins and Illuminatus! has an online exhibit up on the UMMO letters, an episode in UFO lore that was mentioned by Robert Anton Wilson.

Michael Grasso (who also wrote the dolphin pieces) explains, "The UMMO letters were a series of thousands of pages of typewritten correspondence sent over nearly two decades, ostensibly written by the natives of an alien planet, explaining their reasons for visiting Earth, the scientific principles behind their technology, and their own cultural and political beliefs. The letters, written in Spanish (and eventually French), were initially sent to those involved in the contactee movement in Spain. The Ummites’ symbol, a sigil roughly resembling the Cyrillic character Zhe or the early astronomical symbol for Uranus, was stamped at the bottom of many of the letters."

Although a guy named Jordán Peña confessed to writing the UMMO letters, Grasso writes, "Even these confessions of Peña’s have been cloaked in mystery and equivocation in the years since the 1990s, given the fact that the UMMO documents occasionally reference actual science known to very few at the time, including the aforementioned Sakharov theories as well as UMMO documents that seem to predict the discovery of dark matter and quantum computing well before they emerged in the mainstream."

Thank you to Jesse Walker for pointing me to this.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Hilaritas Press news update!

There hasn't been any announcements lately from Hilaritas Press, the publishing house of the Robert Anton Wilson Trust, but the new edition of Cosmic Trigger II: Down to Earth will be out very soon, and in fact there are five books in the "sooner rather than later" pipeline, according to Rasa, who gave me an update on Hilaritas.

Eight books have been published so far: Cosmic Trigger, Prometheus Rising, Quantum Psychology, Email to the Universe, Coincidance: A Head Test, and the three "Historical Illuminatus" books: The Earth Will Shake, The Widow's Son and Nature's God. 

The next five are Cosmic Trigger II; Cosmic Trigger III: My Life After Death; Sex, Drugs and Magic:  A Journey Beyond Limits; The New Inquisition, and Ishtar Rising. Here's what I know:

• No guarantees, but Cosmic Trigger II should be out on the next one or two weeks. Rasa is waiting on the final proof, which should arrive Friday. An announcement with details about the new edition will be released when the print edition comes out. The second "Trigger" is a personal favorite of mine; look for more news soon.

Cosmic Trigger III will follow very shortly; Gary Acord is revising the index to reflect the fact that pages numbers will be different in the Hilaritas Press edition from the earlier New Falcon book.

"As soon as he finishes, the book will be ready to publish," Rasa reports. "Scott McPherson’s covers for II and III match wonderfully with the cover he did for Cosmic Trigger I. I can’t wait to see all three books next to each other!"

Rasa believes that with its prologue and epilogue by Wilson, Cosmic Trigger III likely does not need any new material from others, as many of the other volumes have had.  But that's not written in stone yet.

• While an approximate timetable isn't available, from all signs, work is pretty far advanced on Sex Drugs and Magick, The New Inquisition and Ishtar Rising.

"I was working late into the night last night on fixing up the graphics in The New  Inquisition and Ishtar Rising," Rasa told me Wednesday.

Gregory Arnott assisted with volunteer editing for Ishtar Rising. He informed me on Dec. 20 that he was finished and had sent his work in to Rasa.

"They are coming along nicely, but they are probably a couple months, at least, away from publication. Again, you never know. Cosmic Trigger III got together a lot sooner than I expected," Rasa comments.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Reminder: Earth Will Shake reading group starts Monday

The online reading group for The Earth Will Shake will start Monday. As with other reading groups, there will be a weekly posting, and everyone is invited to chip in with comments.

I had initially proposed 40 pages a week, but I've gotten some requests for a slower pace. How about 30 pages a week?

My Hilaritas Press copy arrived in the mail a couple of days ago, and it's a handsome book, with a fine cover by Scott McPherson and seven excellent interior illustrations by Bobby Campbell. It will be the official text, but if you can't afford to buy a new book right, you are welcome to hunt up a library copy or a used book and still join us. (You can read the Hilaritas Press announcement for the "Historical Illuminatus!" editions.)

Please join us!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Brenton Clutterbuck on a tangled web of Discordianism

Brenton Clutterbuck (Twitter account image)

In "Standing in the Shade of Love," a guest post at Historia Discordia, Brenton Clutterbuck writes about the (apparent) various sock puppets and alternative identities of Reverend Loveshade. Among Brenton's claims: Loveshade "Runs a massive sock-puppet army which essentially have full control over the SubGenius and Discordian wikis" and also "Actively constructs historical figures out of whole cloth and develops elaborate schemes to try to have them accepted as historical fact."

I have no independent information on any of this, but in his intro, Adam Gorightly writes, "The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, although the command staff here at Historia Discordia has no reason to doubt the central thesis presented herein, based–as it is–on evidentiary documentation referenced by Mr. Clutterbuck, not to mention his own personal journey down the sock-puppet filled Rev. Loveshade rabbit hole." See also Adam's earlier posting. 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

RAW on winner and loser scripts

"The Science of Blessing and Cursing," another Robert Anton Wilson article uncovered by Martin Wagner, discusses the placebo effect, winner and loser scripts, miracle cures and other examples of how the mind can affect the body.

"It appears that a Loser Script guarantees a shorter life as well as a more miserable life.

The article includes a bibliography, listing books by Wilson, Timothy Leary and others. The entry for Prometheus Rising says, "A popular introduction to brain circuitry in general and the Neurosomatic Circuit in particular, with exercises designed to teach the reader how to cancel Loser Scripts and develop Winner Scripts."

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Leary LSD ranch for sale

Haven't read it yet, but there's actually a book, by Nick Schou, that tells the story of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. 

On Valentine's Day, Jesse Walker (a reliably interesting Twitter presence) spots news about the Brotherhood of Eternal Love: The ranch where the group associated with Timothy Leary manufactured LSD is now for sale. For a little under $1.5 million, you can own a piece of recent American history, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

'Escape consultant' Adrian Reynolds interviewed

Adrian chats with Sunita. 

Adrian Reynolds -- writer, RAW fan, escape consultant -- talks with Sunita Passi as part of her "Truly Inspirational People" podcast series. About 25 minutes long. Topics covered include taking other people's reality tunnels seriously, retrocausation, the benefit of walking in natural areas and concepts of RAW. "At some point I ended up at a Druid festival, like you do." You can find Adrian on the Web.  

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Good stuff at 'Butterfly Language'

Butterfly Language has written about the 23 Enigma. I followed her link to a story about the Oumuamua mystery, and of course it had 23 comments, as you can see. 

I haven't blogged about Butterfly Language lately, but Val continues to do fine work over there.

Here's a post, "I Know That Much," that discusses relationships and cats. I don't want to try to summarize it; just read it.

Val also has posted a review of Robert Anton Wilson's Email to the Universe and she's had to institute comment moderation recently. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

New Discordian document available for download

Photo of Roldo ("borrowed" from Historia Discordia). 

At Historia Discordia, Adam Gorightly reports that a pdf document is now available for download of a new edition of Goetia Discordia: Kerry Thornley’s Illustrated Book of the Demons of the Region of Thud, written by Kerry Thornley and illustrated by Roldo. Roldo published the new edition and has given Adam permission to post a pdf of it. Details here. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Reminder: 'The Earth Will Shake' reading group

The online reading group for Robert Anton Wilson's novel The Earth Will Shake begins Feb. 25. I will do weekly posts on the book, and everyone is invited to chip in using the comments section. I already had a copy of the book, but I've just ordered my Hilaritas Press edition, which I'll use as the official text.

Meanwhile, I've been slowly going through Beyond Chaos and Beyond, and I ran across this bit which illustrates how the new Wilson book can shed light on Wilson's other work. Wilson writes he is "always amazed" nobody notices how much he's been influenced by Faulkner, and adds, "I'd suggest that anyone who doesn't realize the extent that Faulkner has influenced me should read his short story, 'Barn Burning.' Then read the opening of The Earth Will Shake, and you'll see how much I learned from Faulkner. Not his obvious style, but the Faulknerian techniques of subjective impressionism -- how things impinge on the mind of the observer."

Monday, February 11, 2019

A quote from the new book

I have been slowly reading the new Robert Anton Wilson book, Beyond Chaos and Beyond. (I can't concentrate on it because I am too busy reading possible nominees for the Prometheus Award. But there's nothing wrong with reading it slowly.)

It has a lot of really interesting material; I just finished a long piece that was a tribute to Dr. Timothy Leary, written shortly after Leary's death.

An earlier piece, "GAIA: The Trajectories of Her Evolution," has this passage, which D. Scott Apel has given me permission to quote:

Circa 70 AD a nut cult, based on garbled legends about the Rabbi Yeshua ben Josef (now called Iesus Xrist in Greek) swept across the Roman Empire. It was founded on the idea that the world was coming to an end in that very generation. ("And there shall be Signs in the Sun and Moon, and in the stars ... This generation shall not pass until all be fulfilled." Luke 21:25, 34.) The Roman politicians tried to abolish this nut cult, then gave up and took it in, doing to it what politicians do to everything they get their hands on. It became the partner of the Empire and gave up all Doomsday raving to build itself great treasures on Earth. It was now called the Catholic Church. 

The same piece has a nice passage about how the death of Socrates was "the first dramatized Zen koan: Why would a man so skeptical be willing to die for an abstract principal like Freedom of Speech?"

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Alchemy book RAW endorsed

The Alchemy of Opposites by Rudy Scarfallato has an introduction by Robert Anton Wilson and a flattering blurb from Wilson on the back. The blurb reads, "Very, very rarely do I receive a book that arouses my enthusiasm so much as The Alchemy of Opposites. It brings some of the most advanced concepts of Oriental and occidental mysticism into a framework so down-to-earth that even the allegedly esoteric 'unity beyond all opposites' seems so damned obvious that you wonder how anyone could have overlooked it."

Nick Helseg-Larsen spotted the book and sent me a link. Anyone looked at it?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Heinlein

Robert Heinlein in 1944 at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, with L. Sprague de Camp, center, and Isaac Asimov, right. (Public domain photo). 

In an earlier post, I mentioned reading Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee and noticing a couple of parallels between Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Anson Heinlein.

I've finished the book (you should all read it) and I noticed a couple of other things.

Both of them lived in Santa Cruz, California, late in their lives, although if I understand the chronologies correctly, Heinlein had left by the time Wilson arrived.

(Did they ever meet? Did they ever live in Santa Cruz at the same time? Were their houses close to each other in space, if not in time?)

After their deaths, both were cremated and their ashes were put into the Pacific Ocean.

Heinlein died in Carmel, Calif., on May 8, 1988.  Nevala-Lee: "As he had wished, his ashes were scattered in the Pacific with full naval honors." (The location is not given.) When Heinlein's wife Virginia died, her ashes were scattered in the Pacific, too.

Wikipedia on Wilson: "After his cremation on January 18 (also his 75th birthday), his family held a memorial service on February 18 and then scattered most of his ashes at the same spot as his wife's—off the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California."

Assuming that Heinlein's ashes were scattered near where he last lived, wouldn't the ashes of both writers have been placed in Monterey Bay?

Friday, February 8, 2019

Adam Gorightly sets the record straight

Adam Gorightly, right, with Frank Stranges at a California UFO convention in 2007. Mr. Stranges is the author of Stranger at the Pentagon, "the story of Venusian Captain 'Valiant Thor'.” This is apparently a real book, and Valiant Thor penned the epilogue! Don't miss the five star reviews on Amazon.  For context and more UFO weirdness, please go here.

In his latest Historia Discordia blog post, "Imaginary Sources Creating Imaginary History," Adam Gorightly writes, "I’ve taken seriously the task of chronicling, as accurately as possible, the early days of the Discordian Society and its influence on the 1960s counterculture and onward. So when imaginary sources create imaginary history, it certainly leads us down a slippery slope."

Other folks apparently are not as scrupulous, as you'll see if you read Adam's post.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

No more Columbus Day

Original plat for Sandusky, Ohio, showing the streets I drive on four days a week. Note the masonic compass and square design. 

This is rather interesting: The city where I work, Sandusky, Ohio, has dropped Columbus Day as a holiday and is making Election Day a holiday instead. You can read the story from The Hill,  and the article from the newspaper I work at, the Sandusky Register, although the piece is by my colleague Andy Ouriel and not by me.

As I've mentioned before, Sandusky is a city designed by a Freemason. 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Help the Swedish translator

I recently wrote about the upcoming translation into Swedish of Illuminatus! and recently got the following note from the translator, Pelle Lindhe, about a passage he's unsure about:

Page 91, Third trip "They are the Knights of Christianity United in Faith" (funny because of KCUF, and easily translated into similar vulgarity in swedish) But then there's a joke I don't get: "Mauls of Lhuv-Kerapht United for the Truth" is there a similar acronym here that I miss?

Beats me...anyone have a suggestion?

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Nick Harkaway's 'Gnomon' [UPDATED]

Nick Harkaway (Creative Commons photo by Tom Coates)

A crime has been committed in a big city, and an investigator is assigned to the case. At first it looks like a straightforward crime case, albeit one with political overtones, but soon the investigator is drawn into a weird, complex word and into the heart of a conspiracy.

I'm talking about Nick Harkaway's science fiction/mystery novel Gnomon, a rather ambitious and long literary work that many of you might well enjoy. Michael Dirda did a good job of describing the book in his review for the Washington Post. The first paragraph of Dirda's review reads, 

"Imagine, if you will, a Pynchonesque mega-novel that periodically calls to mind the films "Inception" and "The Matrix," Raymond Chandler's quest romances about detective Philip Marlowe, John le Carré's intricately recursive "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," the dizzying science fiction of Philip K. Dick, William Gibson and Neal Stephenson, Iain Pears's hypertextual "Arcadia" and Haruki Murakami's alternate world "IQ84" and even this week's Washington Post story about China's push for 'total surveillance.' "

I might have written about Harkaway's book, anyway, on the grounds that it's an ambitious SF novel that would interest sombunall of the blog's audience. But as I got farther in the book, I began to wonder if there were references to Illuminatus! and Robert Anton Wilson in it. 

(1) One of the book's main characters (on page 415 of the American hardcover) talks about "walking through walls" to get out of prison and mentions Timothy Leary and Wilhelm Reich (the latter not by name, but the reference is pretty clear). (Forgot to mention in an earlier version of this post that the words "chapel perilous" appear on the next page. 

(2) There are discussions of Freemason conspiracies in the text, and Roberto Calvi is mentioned by name.

(3) There is an obsession with the number five, conforming to the "Law of Fives."

(4) The book is haunted by a female Green goddess -- not Eris as in Illuminatus!, but Artemis/Diana, the goddess of the hunt. (One of the main characters is named "Diana Hunter" and I finally noticed the reference after getting several hundreds pages into the text).

(5) The book plays with the nature of "reality" and the characters struggle to know what is "really" going on. 

(6) The book describes a society arguably ruled by a secret conspiracy. 

(7) One character in the book is torn apart by a mysterious invisible shark, "as if by the talons of an enormous beast," as Illuminatus! put it. 

I am not even remotely suggesting that Gnomon is derived from Illuminatus! or indebted to it, only that a plausible case could be made for literary references, of the sort that might be found in any ambitious novel. What I have cited may well just be synchronicity but I think a RAW fan reading the book will smile. 

In any event, Gnomon is the sort of ambitious novel I enjoy.

UPDATE: I Tweeted this post out, and Nick Harkaway replied, "I loved Illuminatus! and yes, there are *some* nods."

He then read this post and wrote, "Fascinated - the first of these is consciously chosen, not from Illuminatus! necessarily, but from an interest in Leary and Reich which was sparked by it. The others are more nebulous to me…. the law of fives? Was that deliberate? I’m not sure."

"So I wrote a book in which, among other things, a mental template contained in a narrative might be a contagion… and I might myself have been influenced by a narrative expressing the mind of another author…

 Awesome. :)"