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. :)"

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Latest John Higgs news

Dunno who this bloke is, but I'm pleased to picture a John Higgs fan. 

"There's a lot of interesting stuff around for fans of Bill Drummond, Jimmy Cauty and the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu at the moment," John Higgs reports in his latest newsletter.

Also, if you follow the link: Ontological Marie Kondo, and update on the new book and a disclaimer that he does not encourage the cult of personality evinced by the new t-shirt, pictured above. Newsletter signup here.

Friday, February 1, 2019

New article by (probably) RAW

Martin Wagner has Tweeted out an article from the 1969 Chicago Seed which is by "Mad Mordecai," most probably Robert Anton Wilson. It does sound like RAW.