Downtown of Berea, Ohio, where I live and write this blog. (Creative Commons photo by science fiction writer and NASA scientist Geoffrey Landis, who also lives in Berea.)
I spent Sunday morning doing the second exercise in Chapter Two of Prometheus Rising. (I had already done the first, which is "buy a computer if you don't already have one and re-read Chapter Two" -- I already own two laptops and a smartphone which obviously is a third computer, so I didn't feel a need to buy another one, but I did re-read the chapter.)
The second exercise is the one where you sit in a room where you won't be interrupted for half an hour and think "I am sitting in the room doing this exercize because" and list as many reasons that you can think of. RAW specifies that he wants you to come up with specific facts, not metaphysical speculations.
One of the things I realized as I did the exercise is that I was sitting in a particular place at a particular time, e.g. in my living room in Berea, Ohio, late Sunday morning. Obviously I did the exercise in my home because I live. But I did it at a particular time I had to find a time when I would not be interrupted. So the particular time relates to the fact that my wife is a night owl and likes to sleep in late, and I know that I will usually have some time in the morning to myself (it's usually when I write my blog posts.)
One of the other things I figured out was that the reasons I was sitting in a particular room of a particular house in a particular American city was a mix of reasons that I have in common probably with everyone reading this blog entry (e.g., the factors that led to the writing and publication of Prometheus Rising, such as Robert Anton Wilson becoming friends with Timothy Leary and Robert Shea) and reasons that are particular to me (I used to live in Oklahoma but I married a Cleveland girl).
And the list of reasons why I was sitting in my living room late Sunday morning, April 25, 2021, in fact goes on and on. I completed the exercise and as I have been sitting here writing this, I have thought of more reasons!
Anyway, here are some of the reasons for sitting why I was sitting in the room in Berea, Ohio,were:
• On a whim, more than 10 years ago, I decided to create a blog when I could write down thoughts about Robert Anton Wilson.
• I read a sentence written by Tyler Cowen which said most blogs fail if they don't have regular entries, at least once a day. I decided to do a blog entry each day and discovered it was something I could do.
• I discovered there were other very dedicated Robert Anton Wilson fans, and I began getting comments and emails from some of them. This led me to continue the blog, which led me to launch online discussion groups of various Robert Anton Wilson books, and after some of the obvious titles had been covered such as Illuminatus!, we got to Prometheus Rising.
• One of the reasons we did Prometheus Rising was to promote the Hilaritas Press republication of the title.
• Hilaritas Press exists because RAW's daughter and literary executor, Christina Pearson, was able to launch a successful small press because she found a reliable and talented person to do much of the actual work, Richard Rasa, who was such a RAW fan he also would be willing to work for almost no money.
• Richard Rasa became a RAW fan because he was a guitarist for a rock band, Sweet Smoke, that was based in Europe. While in Europe, he met an attractive young German artist Marlis Jermutus, who was smart and interesting and the two became close. He also met the members of the band and jammed with them.
• The rock band actually did not have a need for a sitar player, Rasa's main instrument when he first met them. However, when Rasa returned for awhile to the U.S., he decided to learn guitar. By coincidence, members of the band had a big fight with their rhythm guitarist and fired him, and they suddenly needed a guitarist and asked Rasa if he was interested. So, ultimately, Hilaritas Press published Prometheus Rising because a rock band most of you have never heard of had a fight many decades ago. (See this podcast for details.)
• Ultimately, Prometheus Rising was published because an eccentric from Brooklyn, N.Y., named Robert Wilson, who had held a succession of different jobs but wanted to be a professional writer, found success in the 1970s with the Illuminatus! trilogy, which allowed him to launch his writing career and publish many other books.
• Because a man named Hugh Hefner came up with the idea for a men's magazine in the 1950s, "Playboy" magazine was born and became a success. Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson met because both became editors of "Playboy" magazine and became friends, as they had similar interests. One day, in a Chicago bar, Shea joked about writing a book that would treat all of the crazy conspiracy theories held by Playboy's readers as if they were real.
• Illuminatus! was actually published because Shea had a friend at the Dell book publishing company, coincidentally also named Bob, Bob Apel. Shea wrote Apel a letter pitching some book ideas, and Apel liked the idea of a book about the Illuminati, so Wilson and Shea were able to sell Illuminatus! as a book to be published by Dell. (See my blog post, "Three Bobs and the origin of the Illuminatus! trilogy.")
• I read Illuminatus! while in college in Oklahoma in the 1970s and became a RAW fan, buying his books for many years afterward and eventually launching a blog. I cannot remember why I decided to read the first book in the trilogy; I may have run across it and decided it looked interesting. But I also realized I was a "libertarian" in political orientation when I was in college, and one of the libertarians I met on campus may have recommended it.
• I could in theory have found myself sitting in a room in Oklahoma in 2021, doing the exercise, as I lived for most of my life in Oklahoma. I wound up in Berea, in the Cleveland area, because I married a woman from the Cleveland area and moved up here.
• I was sitting in a room in Berea, a suburb on the west side of Cleveland, because my wife has lived for most of her life on the west side of Cleveland, and she wanted us to buy a house in that area. My wife has lived on the west side of Cleveland for most of her life because when she completed her master's degree in library science at Kent State University, she was hired to do cataloging for a library on the west side of Cleveland. She could have been hired instead by a library on the east side, or in the Akron area, for instance.
• My wife is not an Ohio native but is from Pennsylvania. She came to Kent State because the school offered her a graduate assistant opportunity. So I was in Berea because of a decision made in the 1970s by somebody at Kent State University's library school.
• Ann and I met through Single Booklovers, a club created so that people seeking a partner could meet other people by writing letters to them (it was created before the internet and email, although when I met Ann we quickly switched to email). So I was sitting in Berea because a couple in Pennsylvania decided to start the organization in 1970. (I can't find any evidence Single Booklovers still exists.)
• We are living in this particular house because a woman I never met had serious illness more than 15 years ago and died at a relatively young age in 2003, leaving her sister and her husband as the guardian of two children. The couple already had two children and had to sell the house I live in now and move to a location that could accommodate six people comfortably.
This is really only a partial list, as I was able to think of other reasons, too.