Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. Blog, Internet resources, online reading groups, articles and interviews, Illuminatus! info.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, Week 45

The online edition of National Review. 

By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger

Well, I finished my month of meditating “for two fifteen-minute sessions a day for a month.” I saw two people who “always manage to upset you or make you defensive.” They could still press my “territorial retreat buttons.” I guess one month didn’t do it, at least for me. Bob said that he intended the exercises in Prometheus Rising to loosen the imprints. I think they do that, but more profound change may call for something more. In The Illuminati Papers Bob says, “Want to contact Higher Intelligence? It’s easy, really” (pg. 3). I misremembered that as saying, “Brain change is easy.” I think about how asana means “easy pose”. Many yoga asanas do not seem easy. When brain change goes well, it often seems easy. I know that when I lose weight steadily, it seems easy. I find myself in that “zone” where I lose weight without much apparent struggle. I have trouble reentering that zone though. I think of Catullus’s poem “Odi et Amo” which Pound translates: 

I hate and love. Why? You may ask but 

It beats me. I feel it done to me, and ache. 

Bob says something similar about bravery and cowardice. The brain-body system as a whole acts without the conscious mind’s control. In Schroedinger’s Cat he talks about quantum causality, how the whole system causes changes in the whole system, and domesticated primates tend to take too much credit and too much blame. 

After decades of martial arts, Weight Watchers, ballet, yoga, therapy, etc., I still struggle with the first circuit. During the first eight months of lockdown last year I lost 78 pounds. Then during the holidays I fell off the wagon, and I have struggled to get back on. I feel like Gene Kelly in Brigadoon. I found this magic place where I lost weight in an easy fashion without much struggle. Now I don’t know how to find my way back. Hopefully it will not take me a hundred years. 

Speaking of immortality, if I do live another hundred years or more, I want to do a lot of reading. For chapter six of Prometheus Rising Bob tells the reader to subscribe to some magazines. In the 1980’s I didn’t consider myself a liberal or a conservative, so I didn’t subscribe to the first two magazines at that time. I did subscribe to Fate and The Skeptical Inquirer. In 2021 myself I find myself much more of a liberal politically. Some people might consider me conservative in some areas: I prefer books made of paper to ebooks, I prefer jazz and classical music, etc. In any event, I have subscribed to all four periodicals in the first four exercises of chapter six this year. I find it interesting that in the age of next day deliveries, magazine subscriptions still sometimes take months to process. I have one issue of The National Review, two issues of The New York Review of Books, and three issues of Fate sitting here to read right now. The Skeptical Inquirer has not started to arrive yet. I suspect these four exercises will take up a big chunk of my reading time for the next year or so. 

I have read two issues of The National Review so far. They have a variety of authors but the writing tends towards conservative, Catholic viewpoints. Most writers seem anti-Trump and anti-Democrat. I find it interesting that many people today know Robin Williams’s impression of William F. Buckley from Aladdin, but they have never heard of Buckley, the founder of The National Review. 

I have started reading an issue of The New York Review of Books. I remember in 1999 they still allowed free access to their archives online. I read all of the available articles there by Joseph Kerman and Charles Rosen that summer. 


Rarebit Fiend said...

Eric, when I first read Prometheus Rising this was one of the exercises I took to heart. I've read right-wing sources ever since. (While I don't always feel liberal, I have almost always been anti-conservative.) I can't figure out if it is a good thing or a bad thing since I end up "hate reading" more often than stimulating my mind. I do think it has led me to consider the opinions of others in many circumstances and understand why someone might be opposed to something I find commonsensical.

Rasa said...

I too took that lesson from Bob to heart. I have ever since added the National Review to my regular reading of The Nation. Mostly what I've learned is that National Review can be very sneaky in how they avoid subjects and certain details, and so I am learning about deceptive (are they self-deceptive?) practices. I also often read the WSJ opinions. I regularly read the NYT and the Washington Post, and although I consider them mainstream, I sometimes end up reading certain journalists in the MSM and see they don't reflect my viewpoints, or I am critical of their spin. Mostly, instead of having my opinions moved in one direction or the other, I have been learning about spin tactics. I did also have long discussion for some time with Jack Sarfatti's conservative writer friend, Ralph Benko (look him up). Ralph is proud of being called the most conservative pundit in DC. Ralph is a RAW fan, but I find his politics mostly reprehensible. That's an odd mixture for me to suss out. I'm still working on that.

Oz Fritz said...

Eric wrote: "but more profound change may call for something more." I've been interested in these kinds of exercises for a long time, before Prometheus Rising came out. Living and working in Western Canada in the early 80s, it seemed difficult to find them. Over time, I've found many, a multiplicity of them appear to concerned with others who push your buttons. Recall the quote from The Razor's Edge: "it's easy to be a Holy Man on a mountain," i.e. with no button-pushing others around. It seems wise to employ multiple strategies for not allowing others to get to you, some of them proactive. Gurdjieff mentions some of these in Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson. E.J. Gold gives some in Practical Work On Self; we've talked about You Are Not the Target etc. All these exercises/strategies go into the Alchemist's bag of tricks to be used as the situation may require. Different solutions/responses for different situations/problems.

Meditation, for me, doesn't result in no one pushing my buttons; sometimes they should get pushed to provoke a survival response like when the semi-truck driver ran me off the road yesterday driving back from Lake Tahoe. Meditation has given me the superpower of not automatically reacting when provoked, in many, but not all non-life threatening situations.

The exercise of reading magazines with contrary points of view to one's favorite belief systems made a strong impression on me when I first read and attempted the PR exercizes. I expanded my idea of it by exploring contrary belief systems, though usually of a religious or spiritual nature rather than political. I would question the "Moonies" who set up stations on the streets of New York with their portable chalkboards outlining their cosmology; attend Hare Krishna ceremonies which had all the fervor of a rock concert; talk to the Scientologists selling books on the street corner; hang out and party with Rajneesh (Osho) devotees, etc. New York, in the 80's seemed a free-wheeling marketplace for spiritual and metaphysical ideas. I've kept up the practice, on and off, over the years, these days mostly through the internet.

Politics seems largely, but not totally, ineffective, to me. Keeping their jobs seems the top priority among many politicians and the rhetoric they spew often sounds inauthentic, targeting what they think voters want to hear. The expression, "throwing red meat to the base," accurately captures the mammalian animal nature of such sport. I have problems with both the Right and the Left. I'll probably subscribe to both the National Review and the New York Review of Books. I have read articles from Scientific American occasionally over the years. The last one, a couple of weeks ago, a very old one I had saved for years on musical illusions, didn't appear that dogmatic to me. It called for further experimentation on the subject.

I occasionally imbibe "5 hour energy drinks" when needing more of a lift than black tea or coffee; usually when driving long hauls, sometimes in studio sessions if I've been up for days. I know and sometimes have gone on a type of speed rap under that influence. This kind of rap gets immortalized and somewhat glorified in Jack Kerouac's writings, particularly On the Road.

Eric Wagner said...

Thank you for your responses.