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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Ask Eric Wagner

Eric Wagner

"Ask Eric Wagner" is a new occasional feature of this blog, in which readers pose questions to Eric Wagner, RAW confidant and the author of An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson. If you have a question, post a comment, and Eric will answer it when he has time. The Management. 

Do you know if there are extant copies of the MLA courses RAW guided - Illuminatus, Crowley, there was one on politics, Tales of the Tribe or any others? -- Oz Fritz

Eric Wagner:  I do not know about copies of the MLA courses. Other readers of Tom’s blog likely know more than I do. I have seen some of the material on various websites over the years.

My second question: how do you think RAW would have responded to the current pandemic and the resulting social isolation and economic slowdown? -- Oz Fritz

Eric Wagner:  I do not know how Bob would have responded to the current world crisis. I feel less in tune with his nervous system than I used to. Twelve years ago i wondered what he would have made of Obama’s campaign and presidency. I don’t know how he would have responded to Trump’s presidency or our current crisis. (Rasa has commented that Bob did not want anyone to channel him.)

Man, I don’t seem like much help.

Beside the wonderful and colorful list of rock bands in the final chapter of illuminatus, there‘s hardly any mentioning of neither popular nor underground music in his texts.
Taken the important role, that different styles and scenes have had in the development of counter culture, expression of freedom and conscious altering techniques (e.g. Underground Rock in the 60/70s, Rap and HipHop in the 90s and Techno in the 90/00s) it seems interesting that it never really appeared on his screen. But maybe i am just not aware of certain thoughts and output on this issue?

Could you talk a little bit about that from your point of view?  -- DMS

Eric Wagner: Rhoda Chief, a rock singer who reminds me of Grace Slick, appears in Schroedinger’s Cat. Bob recorded with a punk rock band. He wrote approvingly of Madonna. In general, he tended to focus on the music that worked for his nervous system, mostly classical, and especially Beethoven.

Eric, I know this has been discussed elsewhere but I'm wondering if you have any specific memories: how did RAW feel about the less-than-impressive trajectories for life extension and space migration? I can't imagine he was a big fan of the space shuttle program...aside from the ISS I've always been bitter about the switch to the shuttle. -- Rarebit Fiend

Eric Wagner:  It seems to me he would see space migration as slowly happening, just as he would see life extension as slowly happening. Robert Heinlein commented that it "never pays a prophet to be too specific”. (I think Heinlein quoted someone else here). I think the trajectories of S.M. and L.E. continue as Bob predicted they would, but they continue more slowly. Intelligence increase seems a different kind of challenge. The declining popularity of science and democracy might have given him pause. He did discuss this somewhere. He commented about the declines in America’s educational systems. On the other hand, world literacy continues to advance, and I’ve read that the current pandemic might improve science’s popularity.

Thank you for the questions.


Alias Bogus said...

I don't think anyone systematically scraped the MLA site for its content.

I'd like to think we could maybe compile some of the material that Bob set (I certainly have quite a lot printed out on paper, for ease of working at the time) but probably not the complete discussions, and almost certainly not the general forum, where lots of other interesting exchanges appeared.

I did put up the syllabus material for the Illuminatus! trilogy course, on the site that grew out of working on that material for 12 weeks. You can find that here

Not sure if there are any lingering copyright issues, but I put it up there years ago,,,

Eric Wagner said...

Thank you, Bogus.

Alias Bogus said...

I also participated in the Tale of The Tribe, self-directed course, so I may have that material somewhere (hard drive, papers, etc).

At some point I tried to make a list of the courses, which might help in tracking down content (from tutors, etc) and you can find that Incomplete History of the MLA on the Only Maybe blog.

Oz Fritz said...

Thank-you Eric and Alias Bogus.

Alias Bogus said...

My apologies if the link in my first comment gives you a 404 Error. Google suggested I upgrade from Classic Sites to the New Sites, and in the process seems to have made a mess of the formatting, etc.

If you want to see the Syllabus and Notes for The MLA Illuminatus! course, try this link to the old website