In my last post for the Prometheus Rising discussion group, I explained that after reading a couple of authors using "selective attention," I would try to read passages as "magickal texts" piggybacking on a reading exercise that actually was formulated by Eric Wagner.
I am rather handicapped in this exercise by not really knowing very much about Magick. (I am working on this, by the way. I am currently reading S.S.O.T.B.E Revised An Essay on Magic, edited and revised by Ramsey Dukes, and I plan to follow that up by reading The Magic of Psychosynthesis by Will Parfitt.)
In any case, I asked for suggestions on how to read passages and "magickal texts" and received some ideas.
I decided to try the approaches to a short passage from Robert Anton Wilson, the "Notes" at the beginning of Email to the Universe, and my apologies in advance to the people I took ideas from for my likely instances of getting things wrong, and misunderstanding what I was supposed to do.
1. Oz Fritz suggested (you can read the suggestion at longer length by going back to my post) by looking for "the ultimate expression of one's True Will i.e. what you really wish to do in life."
I see two places where this might apply. In his opening sentences, RAW writes, "This book intends to change your way of perceiving/conceiving the world, without drums or drugs or Voodoo, simply by using words in certain special ways."
While I certainly get "input" to my brain in various ways -- I listen as obsessively and carefully to music as I ever did -- for much of my life I have tried to make sense of the world by reading. I read several dozens books a year and I am also often busy reading newspapers, favorite blogs, Twitter postings, etc. So in one sense, my "True Will" is to use reading to make sense of life and figure out how to improve it.
RAW in the next section of the notes acknowledges his debt to figures such as Remy de Gourmont, Alfred Korzybski, Richard Bandler, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon, Norbert Wiener and Ezra Pound.
In his Introduction to the book, Michael Johnson remarks, "it is my own personal experience, and that of many others with whom I've come into personal contact, that each of these ideas or any one of them can be studied or implemented by the Reader/Writer/Artist for a lifetime, without exhausting them. These meta-models for thinking and acting creatively can be thought of as disciplines in the sense that yoga or learning a musical instrument is a discipline."
It seems to me also that part of my "True Will" is to study the writings of Robert Anton Wilson and to see what I can learn from them. I have done that for much of my lifetime. I have not been able to "exhaust" my study of him. (I'm pretty sure Michael Johnson told me once that he reads RAW every day; I would not make the same claim, although I certainly read RAW often.)
2. Gregory Arnott also offered a suggestion, and the key sentence was "Just imagine that the radical ideas and expositions of the mind you experience while reading them are becoming reality: THC helps."
The opening sentence in the "Notes" talks about trying to "change your way of perceiving/conceiving the world" and certainly the radical ideas I first encountered in reading Illuminatus! in college and subsequent readings of related RAW/Robert Shea works have certainly "become" my "reality" in certain ways. The most radical ideas in the notes seemed to be the bits about intelligent design with "feedback from all parts to all parts" and the ideas about where good writing comes from, so I tried to concentrate on those bits.
3. BFHN pointed me to the John Higgs interview of Alan Moore, which in turn pointed me to a concrete suggestion, that of using the cut-up technique popularized by William Burroughs.
OK, let's try to use screen captures of the first sentence of the notes with passages I've attempted to select at random from a couple of my favorite pieces in Email to the Universe, "Left and Right: A Non-Euclidean Perspective" and "Sexual Alchemy,"
A note on our progress: This post concludes the attempts by Eric Wagner, Gregory Arnott and myself to come to grips with Chapter One of Prometheus Rising. Discussion of Chapter Two begins with a posting next week. If you have found the pace a little slow, with several months spent on Chapter One, you may want to know that we now pick things up, with each chapter covered in about a month.