Monday, January 18, 2021

Prometheus Rising discussion and exercise group, Week 15: RAW's 'Days Between'


By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger 

Bob Wilson died on January 11, 2007. January 18, 2021, marks the 89th anniversary of Robert Anton Wilson’s birth.     Deadheads call period between August 1, Jerry Garcia’s birthday, and August 9, the anniversary of his death, “The Days Between” after one of the final songs he wrote with Robert Hunter. I’ve taken to calling the week between January 11 and January 18 “The Days Between” as well. The date 1/11 relates to the number 111 which plays an important role in Finnegans Wake as well as in the Kabbalah of Aleister Crowley. Beethoven’s final piano sonata has the opus number 111 as well.

Chapter 1, exercise 5, says, “With your own ingenuity, invent similar experiments and each time compare the two theories – ‘selective attention’ (coincidence) vs. ‘mind controls everything’ (psychokinesis).” On January 7 I decided to start with the hypothesis that James Joyce’s work has something to offer me right now. I will spend 23 days beginning using a “selective attention” model and then 23 days using a “mind controls everything” model. During the first few days of using the selective attention model I read Joyce’s short story “After the Race” with some commentary, read a chunk of Ulysses and a bit of Finnegans Wake, and finished rereading a book on Joyce by Sheldon Brivic.

My Finnegans Wake Club at the high school started its 23rd year last August, and we began again at the beginning of the book. We finished chapter three on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany and the date of Joyce’s story “The Dead”, and we started chapter four on January 13. This week I also watched a nice Anthony Burgess video on the Wake on Youtube and started listening to a Bob Wilson interview on Joyce and Joseph Campbell. I didn’t realize Bob had met Joseph Campbell.

 

8 comments:

BFHN said...

Here in Reykjavik, Is, there is also a Days Between. Since 2007, the Imagine Peace Tower is being lit up every year between October 9th and December 8th, respectively John Lennon's dates of birth and death. It was built as a memorial to John, from an idea by Yoko Ono. She used to come every year for the opening ceremony, not sure if she still does.

I will look for this RAW interview on Joseph Campbell, sounds interesting. The Power Of Myth documentary mini-series is on my watchlist, and I probably will get down to business pretty soon.

Last week I finally found my first two coins. I was on my way to grab a few take-away beers before visiting a friend, when my eyes caught something. Lo and behold! finally my first coin. Something like 50 meters further, by the entrance of the beer provider, was ANOTHER coin. Five times the value of the first one, I bended over to get it but it was stuck to the ground on a chewing-gum. Of course it was, that wasn't the type of coin I had decided was the local equivalent of a quarter, what was I even doing trying to pick it up, right? But then on my way back, no more than 10 meters away from the spot I had found the first one, was yet another coin, the right kind again this time.

I guess the universe wanted me to stop being negative about the lack of coins around, so it made sure that I would find at least one. Or my putting more efforts into visualizing brought on better results. Or perhaps someone with the shakes had opened their wallet in the streets. Regardless, never before had I been so happy to find such little amount of money. Which made me think. I brought happiness to my life simply by finding a coin after deciding to look for one. Surely then, I can come up with ideas to bring more happiness very easily...
I now have these two coins at home, as both a reminder to look for more, and a way to study them extensively in order to better visualize.

To celebrate, that evening I put on Watch The K Foundation Burn A Million Quid, with as musical background one of those YT binaural vids called "remove negative energy" (only later realizing how fitting that theme was with the images), and pondered about the concept of money and the absurd power humans give to pieces of paper and metal. I had a good laugh, and it all made for an overall soothing experience.

I also started last week to read Erik Davis' High Weirdness. Let's see if that will make some weirdness transpires into my daily life.

Eric Wagner said...

Congratulations on finding the coins.

BFHN said...

Thank you Eric.

I am curious, how are you bringing about selective attention to the reading of some of Joyce works ? Are you looking for something, patterns and whatnots ?

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Eric,

Can you give us an idea of what you are planning for the "mind controls everything" part of the exercise?

Eric Wagner said...

BFHN, for "selective attention" I just read Joyce (and his commentators) and try to understand. I focus on what will help me with my Finnegans Wake Club as well as with future exercises in Prometheus Rising. Chapter 5 will ask for a character analysis of Leopold Bloom, and chapter seven asks about the reception of Ulysses. Other chapters have Joycean aspects as well.

Tom, for "mind controls everything" I plan to look at Joyce's works as magickal texts. I plan to approach them less rationally.

Oz Fritz said...

I greatly enjoyed the Burgess book Rejoyce, a most astute Joyce commentary. Thanks Eric for the example of inventing your own exercise.

I suspect focused, concentrated attention powers the psychokinesis model. I apply this model most often with regard to my health. I have often willed myself to not get sick but that runs parallel with all sensible precautions and measures - attempts at a good diet, exercise, etc. For the "selective attention" model, I will sometimes ask "the Universe" a question then look for signs that might provide an answer. I'll also only work with music that moves me; remarkably, all the projects offered to me meets that standard. I'll try to come up with more specific things for this exercise.

Gilles Deleuze had a reputation as the philosopher of the in between because he appeared more interested in flows and processes than in static objects. The territory between death and birth (metaphorical or otherwise), known as the bardo, seems the place where effective metaprogramming may occur.

BFHN said...

I really like the point you are making Oz Fritz. Considering selective attention and mind over matter as two names for the same things, rather than two opposed explanations for an event. After all, humanity has called many things "magic", before finding for these a "scientific explanation", which usually tends to not sound any less magic. (ie: "God did not create the universe, the Big Bang did.")

I guess that takes us back to the parable of the five blind men trying to guess the elephant. No one is wrong, but no one is totally right either. All together, they still do not fully understand the essence of elephant, but they get one step closer.

Oz Fritz said...

BFHN, yes, one could say that our perceptions and explanations, the models we employ, ultimately relate back to the brain and nervous system in one way or another. Perhaps the exercise introduces and promotes the notion of multiple possible explanations for events - multiple models/multiple realities with an aim of not getting stuck in one particular dogmatic belief system.

The Sufi parable of the blind entities and the elephant emphasizes the value of group work such as this one.