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Monday, June 17, 2019

The Earth Will Shake reading group, Week Seventeen

Naples Cathedral

This week, please read from page 334 ("The afternoon was interminable.") to page 359 ("In vast labyrinthine silence.")

This is the next to the last section we are reading; next week, we will finish the book. Gregory Arnott has volunteered to lead the reading group for The Widow's Son. A start date likely will be announced soon, but we have talked about August.

This section seems to be the one that covers love and death, sex and violence.

And also the dangers of alcohol. This section seems to illustrate the dangers of excess pretty vividly.  Isn't Sigismundo exactly the sort of person who should simply give up drinking?

"Everybody has the right to be a damned fool for one day, I told myself. But I forgot that the consequences can last for more than one day -- can last for the rest of your life." Page 354.

"Outside the 'damnable books of Romance,' sober men do not get themselves into this kind of mess," Page 354.

Robert Anton Wilson certainly enjoyed drinking, but I also get the impression he wasn't a fan of drunkenness. Perhaps some of the folks who actually knew him can weigh in. Beyond Chaos and Beyond has an anecdote, in D. Scott Apel's "Bob and Me" biographical essay, about Wilson not wanting to have anything to do anymore with Apel's friend Kevin Briggs: "After years of weekly social evenings, Bob was afraid Kevin had become an alcoholic and informed me 'it would be better if you didn't bring him around anymore.' Fortunately Briggs had relocated ... he remained blissfully ignorant of his ostracism."

In any event, here is a nice passage: "Sigismundo was aware of himself breathing slowly and easily, in his bedroom, in the Celine villa, high on a hill in Napoli, on the continent of Europe, on the planet earth, in the system of nine planets circling the Inner Sun, in a vast turning spiral, in the womb, in the pink erotic waters, midway between existence and nonexistence." Page 359.


Eric Wagner said...

The passage you quote from pg. 359 echoes a passage from Portrait of the Artist.

Oz Fritz said...

In this week's reading RAW contrasts the extreme highs and lows of C2 - the emotional/territorial circuit. Babcock and Maria are on a high following their wedding while depressed Sigismundo indulges with too much alcohol, the classic C2 drug. Maria in Babcock's territory while excluded from Stephen's territory seems the underlying cause.

Dustin said...

When Sigismundo thinks about the vegetable, animal, and human souls my mind translates it into the first three systems within the eight system model. However, the descriptions of the fourth soul do not seem to align with the social-sexual system to me. Sigismindo describes the fourth soul as I AM. Maybe the fourth soul lumps the higher circuits, oops systems, together? I enjoyed reading this rendition of the Middle Pillar ritual.

supergee said...

Here we learn that Babcock is that strange and fantastic creature the bisexual. He loves Maria in a very sexual fashion but also desires boys. Although such beings do exist in consensus reality (Maynard Keynes, for instance), many people still thing that they are mythical, and that doubt was even more prevalent in 1982. RAW was often ahead of the curve in considering nonstandard sexual approaches. In Schrodinger’s Cat Jo Malik is a TERF and Marvin Gardens is a Sad Puppy.