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

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

RAW featured in documentary

 From RAW Semantics on Twitter: "TechnoCalyps, a longish documentary (2006) on "transhumanism", with a good rating on IMDB, has a clip of RAW talking about the "Jumping Jesus" phenomenon (at around 52 mins in). Full docu:"

The clip is above. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, Chapter 9, episode 58

The Chapel Perilous, a 1920 illustration by Thomas Mackenzie

By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger

The discussion of Patty Hearst’s “responsibility” for her actions as Tania make think of comparing the novel The Shining by Stephen King with the film The Shining directed by Stanley Kubrick. King has complained that in the film Jack seems firmly responsible for his actions, whereas in the novel the hotel seems at least in part responsible for his actions. One might model the Overlook Hotel as a model of Chapel Perilous, especially at the end of the film. In fact, various models of Chapel Perilous appear in Kubrick’s films, from the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey to the brainwashing scenes in A Clockwork Orange to basic training in Full Metal Jacket to Tom Cruise’s New York City wasteland quest in Eyes Wide Shut. 

Apuleius Charlton pointed out that many of Jim Jones’s victims did not commit suicide; armed followers of Jones forced many of them to drink the poison. I remember seeing part of a TV movie about Jim Jones starring Powers Booth. I thought of that film when I saw Oliver Stone’s Nixon where Powers Booth played Alexander Haig and Bob Wilson’s beloved Anthony Hopkins played Nixon. I contemplated writing a book on the magic of casting called Casting Spells. The movie Nixon seemed rather sympathetic to the character Richard Nixon, but I kept thinking of Hannibal Lector in the back of my mind. 

Bob writes of immortalism in this chapter. Someone once asked the physicist R. C. W. Ettinger why, if crygenics provided the chance of immortality, more people didn’t take advantage of it.  

Ettinger said, “Many are cold, but few are frozen.” 

Exercise 6 in this chapter says to become a Nazi for 33 minutes. I did this; I began by studying a bit of German on Duolingo. I had intended to watch a bit of Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer I had DVR’d next, but my wife asked me to run an errand. I had a Sonny Rollins CD on in the car, and I found it distasteful in my Nazi head-space. I switched to the classical radio station and felt grateful that they had some German music playing (Mozart’s Thirtieth Symphony). I found it sobering how quickly this exercise affected my judgment.  

Sunday, November 28, 2021

New 'Bodge'


I have been struggling to keep up with all of the news here, but before too much time passed, I wanted to remind everyone that the penultimate Bodge was released on Nov. 23 by the Liverpool Arts Lab. Details and download link for the PDF here. 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Excellent 'Illuminatus!' themed video

 Here's a new Illuminatus! themed video from @amoebadesign. About two minutes, be sure to give it a look. (It's not on YouTube, so I can't figure out how to embed it here.) On Twitter, he explains, "Thinking of the late big jake black/Rev D.Wayne Luv today, been a lot of Hagbard Celine/Crowley/Jim jones/Illuminatus Trilogy/Robert Anton Wilson/Fake Festival Ritual/ synchromeshery going on in the amoebawurld...Cheers Jake u were the best Hagbard in VR.."

More here. 

Friday, November 26, 2021

Upcoming podcast: John Higgs on Timothy Leary

John Higgs

It's been announced that the next Hilaritas Press podcast, set for release on Dec. 23, will feature Leary biographer and everyone's favorite writer John Higgs on Timothy Leary. I am very much looking forward to it.

In the meantime, another interesting podcast has just been released, about Aldous Huxley and his book, The Doors of Perception, featuring Huxley biographer Nicholas Murray.  

I thought Mike Gathers and Ian Blumberg both did a good job of posing questions. Though I admit to being disappointed about one question that wasn't posed, about Aldous Huxley's alleged communication to his widow after his death, as described in Robert Anton Wilson's first Cosmic Trigger book. I have written to Mr. Murray about this; if I get a reply, I'll update this post.

The podcast is available at the link and also on apps:  Podbean, Spotify, Google and TuneIn. 

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Another reason to be thankful

I am thankful to live in a world where a character from the Illuminatus! trilogy can pop up in a rather funny Muppets video.  The show that it appears in  on aired in 1980, so in theory Wilson or Shea or both could have seen. it. 

Hat tip, Jesse Walker.  

UPDATE: On Twitter, Jesse remarks, "The Muppet Show was made in the U.K., and I think there was a little bit of overlap between its staff and the Ken Campbell crowd."

Previously on this blog. 


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Holiday shopping news

Alexandra Gardner

An announcement from the RAW Trust: Flying Lasagna Enterprises is selling pendants and rings based on the ring Robert Anton Wilson always wore. Details and order your jewelry here. 

The latest newsletter from the RAW Trust put out by Rasa also has an interesting announcement: Wilson's daughter Alexandra Gardner has volunteered to run Flying Lasagna Enterprises. (Of course, Wilson's eldest daughter, Christina Pearson, runs the RAW Trust).  Rasa writes: 

"A little bit about Alexandra: her interests and training have included hypnotherapy, advanced shamanic practices, and Vajrayana. When I asked her for some tidbit about her life in the house of RAW that she might share, she offered this reflection...

What comes up for me is how much I always miss Bob and Arlen around the holidays. And how I miss watching the old Hollywood classic movies with them. I’ve never known anyone more fun and educational than Bob to watch great movies with, and Arlen had such a deeply childlike enthusiasm for the holidays, that it rubbed off on all us kids.

They made everything perpetually interesting in their own eccentric ways. The sounds coming from their epic, convoluted, and admiring conversations, along with the clacking typewriter, became the underlying background "music," no matter where we lived or what the circumstances were. And the circumstances were unvaryingly kaleidoscopic!

Flying Lasagna also offers T-shirts, mugs and other goods. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Neal Stephenson and 'fallibilism'

As I never got close enough to Neal Stephenson Monday night to take a good photo with my cell phone, here is an official photo from his website. 

Neal Stephenson is busy doing a press tour to promote his latest book, Termination Shock, a new novel about global warming. He actually came to Cleveland this time and I saw him last night at a library in Parma. 

Also Monday, The Week magazine published his list of six books about information manipulation. And you can also read a longer version of the list, which has 11 titles. I plan to read at least one of the books; I'll also read his new novel soon. 

Via those lists, I learned a new word: fallibilism. Stephenson defines it as "the disarmingly simple idea that none of us can ever be sure that our beliefs are correct, which is why we need a process for agreeing on what's true." Wikipedia defines it as "the philosophical claim that no belief can have justification which guarantees the truth of the belief, or that no beliefs are certain."

In a sense this is a restatement of Robert Anton Wilson's claim that few things in life are certain; it's best to talk about probabilities.

Stephenson's main concern appears to be that people get locked in to false beliefs and then refuse to give them up; he expressed surprised Monday night that so many people don't seem to consider COVID-19 real and he also wants global warming to be accepted as a reality that must be dealt with. Hence his concern for "agreeing on a process for what's true."

The concern with being able to change your views and admit you are wrong would also seem to fit with RAW's "Cosmic Schmuck" exercise, i.e. you become a little less of an idiot if you admit you might be wrong and are willing to revise your views. 

I saw Stephenson, one of my favorite authors, in Pittsburgh in 2019; here is my blog post about it. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, Chapter 9, episode 57


Mug shot of Patty Hearst (public domain photo)

When I read Chapter 9, these two paragraphs seemed particularly vivid and interesting to me:

"When Patty-Tania [i.e, Patty Hearst] was captured and brought to trial, the defense claimed that she had been 'brainwashed.' The jury either did not understand or did not believe this; they sentenced Patty to prison for the crimes Tania had committed. Debate about this case continues to the present, since some people think Ms. Hearst was 'responsible' for the consciousness change she underwent while held captive by the SLA and others are just as sure she was not 'responsible.'

"Leaving metaphysical questions of 'responsibility' aside for a moment, it seems obvious that a young lady of Hearst's class and background would almost certainly not have taken up bank robbing if she had not first been kidnapped and incorporated by the SLA."

It certainly seems obvious to me that Hearst totally was a victim in this case and that a tremendous injustice occurred when she was sent to prison. Yet, as Wilson points out, that did not seem obvious to the jury, even thought it was completely clear even at the time that she had been violently kidnapped and terrorized by a depraved left-wing gang of murderers and kidnappers. I remember at the time, Patty Hearst had very little sympathy from the public; she was seen as a spoiled rich kid trying to avoid responsibility for her crimes. This now seems like an incredibly ignorant opinion. 

Check out the Wikipedia article on Patty Hearst, which has details which seem shocking to me. Consider for example that she was sentenced to 35 years in prison for bank robbery. Contrast that to the lighter sentences given to the actual criminals in the SLA gang who victimized Hearst, such as Emily Harris, who got only eight years for murdering a woman during a bank robbery. Harris was the triggerwoman who actually committed the murder.

The exercises for the chapter seem a bit dated, as they concern such things as the John Birch Society and nudism. If you are a committed Democrat, why not use social media to enter the minds of Trump fans? And as someone who obtained a vaccination against COVID-19 as soon as I could, I've certainly had interesting conversations with anti-vaxxers. I recently talked to a health official who described how a nurse at his organization had resigned rather than agree to follow a mandate to be vaccinated. The woman had recently buried her husband after he died from COVID-19, the official told me. Now, that's a woman who lives in a reality tunnel different from the one I'm in. 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Next on Hilaritas podcast: Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley in 1954 (public domain photo)

The next Hilaritas Press podcast sounds very interesting: Scheduled to be be out Tuesday (i.e. on the 23rd of the month) it will be about Aldous Huxley and his influential The Doors of Perception book. It will feature Nicholas Murray, who wrote a biography of Huxley.

I learned this when I got caught up with the Hilaritas Press podcasts by listening to Episode 2, the Wilhelm Reich podcast.  It was quite interesting and Mike Gathers was an ideal host, although I did have to listen closely at times to understand what Dan Lowe was saying as he was interviewed. 

The first episode was on Alfred Korzybski. You can listen to the podcast at the Hilaritas Press link (which also has detailed show notes and links for each episode). The podcast also is available via Podbean, Google, Spotify and TuneIn. 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

'All Hail the Goddess Eris'

Eris on an Attic plate, ca. 575–525 BC

An explanation of Discordianism from Robert Anton Wilson, published in Gnostica in 1974 and made available to us today by Martin Wagner. 

"It will be understood by the Cabalistic reader that Discordianism is a system of transcendental Atheism, agnostic Gnosticism, skeptical Monotheism, and unified Dualism. In short, the Erisian revelation is not a complicated put-on disguised as a new religion, but a new religion disguised as a complicated put-on."

Friday, November 19, 2021

Followup on the Rune Soup post

Rasa has been posting comments at the Rune Soup post I blogged about the other day.

You can read Rasa's comments for yourself, but notably he's trying to pin down Gordon White on what Gordon is referring to specifically when he complains about "boot licking" RAW fans and the "lies" they have spread. I'm puzzled too; without specifics, I can't really tell what Gordon is talking about, or even attempt a comment. 

Rune Soup is both a blog and a podcast; Gordon White also has written books. I enjoyed reading The Chaos Protocols. I haven't read his others. 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Oz Fritz on 'Ishtar Rising'

Rebekah Hood-Sava

Inspired by the recent online discussion group for Ishtar Rising at Jechidah, Oz Fritz continues the discussion with a new blog post, "Ishtar Rising (slight return)"  focusing on how women inspired work by Aleister Crowley and James Joyce and connecting that to how each of these two inspired Robert Anton Wilson. (Of course Joyce's Ulysses, arguably the most famous novel of the 20th century, was inspired by Joyce's personal goddesss, Nora Barnacle.) Oz then mentions some of his favorite female musicians and discusses some of the women he's worked with in his career as a music producer and sound engineer. 

In my mind, at least, Oz' post loops back to some recent posts on this blog. I recently floated the idea of linking the string quartet to the first four circuits that RAW writes about in Prometheus Rising, and picking up on that, Eric Wagner wrote, "The cello seems very erotic to me, so I would associate it with the fourth circuit." 

That made sense to me because I could think of plenty of examples of  women playing the cello, and Richard Powers might have had something similar in mind in his novel that is most directly about classical music, Orfeo. (Here is a description of the novel's composer protagonist  in an important incident: "Then, on the first day of senior year, from across a packed homeroom, Els spotted Clara Reston and recognized her as coming from a planet even more remote than his. He'd watched her with pained lust across the bowl of the high school orchestra the year before, primped up behind her cello in muslin skirts and thin-ribbed pullovers that the school should have banned, drawing her bow across her instrument with an all-denying smile.") When I asked Eric why the cello seemed erotic, he explained, "The cello has a womanly shape." So Eric also associates the cello with women. In the comments to Eric's post, Oz (referring to the fact that the cello has the lowest register in the string quartet) writes, "I agree on the erotic aspect of the bass and feel that contributes to the sexual component of C4 which I correspond with the entire quartet."

So, going back to Oz' post, he lists various female musicians he has worked with recently, including "A wonderful solo cello album, Emerge, by classical musician and music educator Rebekah Hood-Sava." I didn't know Oz was involved with contemporary classical, an obsession of mine.

Check out the album here.  "Emerge is an exploration of the private emotional world that exists in one’s own mind and spirit with the music representing the stepping out of this inner world and blossoming it into being, as if coming out of a cocoon to harvest the musical ideas and creativity ready to bloom," Hood-Sava explains. I've been listening to the album on Bandcamp and enjoying it. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Ted Hand to present paper on Frances Yates

Ted Hand 

Ted Hand reports that his paper on Frances Yates' influence on Philip K. Dick, Robert Anton Wilson and Terence McKenna has been acccepted for a conference, Esotericism, Occultism, and Magic at Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Feb 23-26, 2022, Albuquerque, New Mexico. (No word yet on whether Ted presents on Feb. 23.)

Here is the title: "The Reception of Frances Yates's Hermeticism in Three 1970s Counterculture Writers: Philip K. Dick, Robert Anton Wilson and Terence McKenna."

Here is the abstract, courtesy of Ted: 

Frances Yates had a meteoric impact on the study of magic in the 1960s and 70s with her books on hermeticism such as Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition and The Rosicrucian Enlightenment. These books were important to three countercultural writers of the era who have been receiving attention in esoteric studies recently, Philip K. Dick, Robert Anton Wilson, and Terence McKenna. I noticed that Dick's novel Valis, which popularized gnosticism in countercultural circles, presents a science-fictionalized version of Hermeticism that was apparently influenced by his reading of Frances Yates (confirmed by a reference to Rosicrucian Enlightenment in his unpublished Exegesis). Robert Anton Wilson narrates a conversation with Timothy Leary in jail in which Frances Yates's name came up during a conversation about Giordano Bruno. And Terence McKenna took The Rosicrucian Enlightenment as a model for psychedelic counterculture and gave workshops (available online as his Lectures on Alchemy) where the attendees had been given Yates's Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition to read as homework. Each of these writers had a different understanding of hermeticism, but I will argue that their readings of Yates and Hermeticism can be analyzed as significant moments in the reception of esotericism, shedding light on the development of new religious movements in the counterculture.

Tom again: Frances Yates of course also is mentioned in Wilson's books; for example, she is mentioned twice is Cosmic Trigger 1 (as "Francis Yates," RAW could be weak on proper names sometimes.) 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Rune Soup on RAW

Gordon White (Twitter photo)

Rune Soup, Gordon White's website, has a new post up on RAW, "Robert Anton Wilson: Right Wing Anarchist."  I had trouble following his points; maybe you can do better. And is Thelema formerly a "radical Libertine philosophy" that is now " a homemade version of Twitter’s code of conduct"?

White is the author of The Chaos Protocols and other books. 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, Chapter 9, Episode 56

 Photo by Fakurian Design on Unsplash

By Apuleius Charlton
Special guest blogger

Prometheus Rising remains relevant; brain change does seem to be one of the pressing issues of the moment. While we can’t look towards the “aughts” as any sort of golden age of stability and societal harmony, I do think it can be argued that there was much more in common between the last couple decades of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first than our nascent twenties have in common with said beginning. While not everyone, large parts of society have seemingly gone off into another dimension beyond any possibility of objectivity-through-consensus. 

Regrettably a lot of the sinister elements of this brainwarping day-and-age aren’t like 1984 or Brave New World, just tedious and incredibly stupid. Dismaying -- somehow a man who was bragging about being able to perform autofellatio this weekend is still considered a relevant source for medical advice by too large of a segment of the populace. In a way, I wonder if this mass abandonment of any discernment or forbearance has something to do with the “breaking down” process that occurs during a “typical” brainwashing. We are repeatedly reminded of “the loneliness epidemic,” societal disenfranchisement, extremist political posturing and general pessimism about the future that is sweeping across much of our world. I believe that these factors might be serving as their own strip-search, with everyone having their own “bend over and cough” moment when the promises of yesteryear are finally revealed to have been mostly hollow. 

So, as we are all continuously broken down by our forty plus hours every week and whatever new insipidness life has to throw at us, our minds are ripened for something completely different. For some people it might be a heightened sense of absurdity, for others life becomes an arena where we are pitted against mighty forces that seek to take something away that we have convinced ourselves mustn't be given up. But, in my observations, the contest isn’t against any shadowy group or Other but rather against the increasing waves of information and quickening change; many humans are essentially drawing lines in the sand as the tide is coming in. 

One thing that Wilson doesn’t mention, and I am convinced this is an intentional omission, is that while Crowley discusses our “great teachers” and their mysterious changes he also proposes that his system of experimentation is designed to replicate those events and create “prophets” out of its practitioners. I believe Wilson might not have felt it was necessary to mention that in this chapter because that is what he is also trying to do throughout our book with his challenges to our robotic script and his exercizes. Perhaps Wilson the magician didn’t want to reveal the trick to first time readers just yet. 

While both can have the opposite effect, I do see some training in “real” magic or conspiracy theory as a possible inoculation to having one’s brain changed without consent. Of course, we will still possess our foibles but these systems, if used judiciously, tend to create an overpowering sense of curiosity and agnosticism. Of course, both areas can become the hunting grounds where our minds break from their leash and go wild. Hopefully, under the guidance of such a worthy teacher as Wilson, one is able to avoid such hazards for the large part and change one’s own brain before someone else does it for you. 

It is worth noting that while attempting the final exercize this weekend, it occurred to me that many of Jones’ congregation only drank the cyanide-laced Flavor-Aid under duress. While that makes the Jonestown occurrence all the more disturbing, it does allow us to see that he wasn’t the Svengali that history remembers. He pulled a lot of crap to get his followers to that point, and even then many tried to resist. Is this hopeful? I don’t know. 


Sunday, November 14, 2021

John Higgs' advice on three religions

Before he embarked on his current hot streak of writing acclaimed nonfiction books, John Higgs wrote two not terribly long novels which I liked very much,  The Brandy of the Damned and The First  Church on the Moon. 

The latter book has a charming "agnostic bishop" named Jennifer Hammerpot, and there's one particularly wonderful bit in which the bishop pulls out her bible, and reads a passage of scripture suggesting that people are best off if they have three religions -- zero or just one religion isn't enough but anyone having a dozen religions is "confused or bamboozled." Maybe I can get away with a brief quotation without committing a copyright violation, although a brief quotation leaves out some pretty good lines you'll have to get yourself a copy. 

"4. The most practical and useful approach is to have three religions.

"5.  I mean, roughly three. It's not an exact science. But between two and five, something like that.

"6. Three is good though. You can position yourself in the centre of three religions and in doing so drink of their wisdom without falling for their bullshit.

"8. Consider the man who is a Daoist, a Pagan and a Christian. Consider the woman who is a Buddhist, a Sikh and an atheist. These people won't easily fall for your nonsense. These people will have a wide perspective. These people will be able to get on in life."

In one sense, this passage seems like a restatement of what Robert Anton Wilson had to stay about reality tunnels, although it offers a unique perspective and perhaps some useful life advice.

And I recently wondered if perhaps I've taken John's advice, at least in a way and maybe not on purpose. What would my three religions seem to consist of? 

I was brought up at a Unitarian. I got confirmed in the denomination as a teenager. I haven't really kept up and my church attendance consists of very occasionally attending my parents' or my sister's Unitarian church as their guest.

I got really interested in Buddhism while still a teenager and I've read quite a few books on the subject. I once attended an Insight Meditation Buddhist retreat that lasted for several days. I have not maintained a consistent meditation practice but I still know a fair amount about Buddhism.

And more lately I have become really interested in Epicureanism. I have recently finished reading three books on the subject and have put a fourth on hold at the library.

(I would not consider myself a Discordian, although I am obviously very interested in the ideas of Robert Anton Wilson.) 

So, how many do you have? 

Update: The passage also is in John's novel The Brandy of the Damned. See the comments. 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Illuminatus! play poster


On Twitter, Reactions to 2023 asks, "How have I never seen this poster before?" I don't remember seeing it either and thought I would share. 

Friday, November 12, 2021

'Blame Blake' on the F23 podcast

Episode 30 of the F23 Podcast is a "Blame Blake" special, starring John Higgs, David Bramwell, Ben Graham and Myra Stewart. More information here. 

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Emperor Norton Bridge -- sign the petition

"The Emperor Norton Bridge turns 85 on Friday. Say happy birthday + Help signal our collective determination to see "Emperor Norton Bridge" added as an honorary name for the SF–Oakland Bay Bridge in 2022! Sign at Already signed? Please share! Cheers!"


I signed. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Slim Brooks, the Human (Discordian) Fly

Adam Gorightly continues his exploration of odd corners of Discordian history at his Historia Discordia blog with an entry on "Slim Brooks, the Human (Discordian) Fly," an odd character who may have been an intelligence agent who was Kerry Thornley's "handler" before the JFK assassination (or so Thornley thought). 

Adam also posted a nice "Eris of the Month" for October. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

RAW reviews a movie

The tireless Martin Wagner announces another find:  A movie review by Robert Anton Wilson of Chappaqua. (Although technically the review from May 1967 of the East Village Other is listed as by “Kevin O’Flaherty McCool" and it is subtitled as a "A Non-Review of a Non-Movie.")

William Burroughs appears in the movie, and Wilson asserts, "CHAPPAQUA, the first film to use Burroughs‘ cut-up technique, proves that technique is even better adapted to cinema than it is to the printed page."

Wilson also writes, "William S. Burroughs is not only a great writer but also a great actor — His performance as Opium Jones, the spirit of addiction, is the creepiest characterization since the late great Bela appeared as the Transylvanian Count."

There are big chunks of cut-up prose in the piece. Martin includes a YouTube video of the movie, so that you can see it for yourself. 

Monday, November 8, 2021

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, episode 55, Chapter Eight

The Fitzwilliam Quartet rehearsing in 2008 in Switzerland. (Creative Commons photo by Surreybirder).

By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger 

On page 125 Wilson writes, “A mass made of people who have intense curiosity about why Beethoven went in for string quartets after the Ninth Symphony . . . is not a mass that will be easily led into dull, dehumanizing labor at traditional jobs.” I asked on Facebook, “Why do you think Beethoven focused on string quartets after the Ninth Symphony?” Novelist Rafi Zabor answered, “Turn it down! It's so loud can't hear a fuchen thing! Okay, a bit more seriously: at least since the Razumovskys and probably before, he had brought his most uncompromising summings-up and steps-ahead before the demanding bar of the quartet form, its inherent possibilities and limitations. And there he was, either at an end or a new beginning, or both. So he wrote quartets. Sounds like a good answer, and though it likely won't last it's good enough for now.” He added, “Compare/contrast, say, with the primary inwardness of the last three piano sonatas, which must have been a relief to compose during the monstrous work of getting the Missa and the Ninth done.” 

Composer Robert Rabinowitz responded, “Rafi Zabor I was thinking that as well. For my own compositions I find it particularly daunting to tackle more than about 8 instruments. Sometimes it’s just the massive amount of notes on a single page that can just become stressful to look at. Even though the reality is there is a lot of section playing going on so, of course, it isn't as if there are 70 or more instruments playing different lines. Hmmm - wonder if that's been done, I may have to do it.” 

At, Tom Jackson asked, “Is it just a coincidence that the Beethoven-obsessed Wilson brings up string quartets in a chapter about the four circuits? And if not, what instruments relate to which circuit? I would say the cello is Circuit One, viola Circuit Two and the two violins circuits Three and Four.” The cello seems very erotic to me, so I would associate it with the fourth circuit. At first I thought to assign the two violins to the first two circuits. The top dog – bottom dog dynamic works well for the second circuit, but I don’t think the viola fits in well with the third circuit. The viola seems the least egotistical part of the string quartet. It rarely gets the solo voice or the strong bass line of the cello. (“It’s all about the bass.”) When following a score for a string quartet, I find it easiest to follow the first violin part or the cello part. I have to strain to follow the viola part which tends to play a largely supportive role in Beethoven’s quartets. I would associate the viola with the first circuit and the violins with circuits two and three. The verbal chatter of the third circuit fits in well with the first violin, and the second violin fits in well with the second circuit. I find it interesting that a string quartet has four members, and most of Beethoven's quartets had four movements. Four times four equals sixteen, the Tower in the Tarot, and Beethoven wrote 16 string quartets. The Tarot has sixteen court cards as well. Sixteen flowerpots play a pivotal role in P. G. Wodehouse’s Leave It to Psmith, one of my favorite books.  

Amazon informed me that they cannot fulfill my order for The Skeptical Inquirer and refunded my money. I do find myself enjoying reading The New York Review of Books. The October 7, 2021, issue includes a review of a biography of Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa. The review says Aleister Crowley “had plans to tap Pessoa to lead a Lisbon brand of his Ordo Templi Orientis” (pg. 19). Bob Wilson wrote that some intrepid soul sent out cards making over 1000 people outer heads of the O.T.O. As an Outer Head of the O.T.O. myself, I declare all of you reading this outer heads of the O.T.O. as well.  

Sunday, November 7, 2021

'Overweening Generalist' (kind of) returns

Michael Johnson has not (yet) revived his Overweening Generalist blog, although there's plenty of material there for people to go back and read. For example, if you listened to the recent Hilaritas Press podcast on General Semantics, you can read this blog post on General Semantics, which (among many other points) recommends S.I. Hayakawa's popularization, Language in Thought in Action.

Recently, however, Overweening Generalist comments are being posted at the RAW Semantics blog, and there's a particularly long one, full of ideas, posted for the new RAW Semantics blog post on "Agnostic Grace" I referenced the other day. Michael also comments on the "RAW solipsism #3 – Dynamite Dave’s" recent post. 

Brian also recently paid Wordpress to turn off ads at RAW Semantics. 

Saturday, November 6, 2021

New album: 'Ambient Blue' by Starseed

Ambient Blue is the new album by Starseed, the California based band featuring Rasa on sitar and guitar, Bastian on synthesizer and Marlis Jermutus on tambouris. This new release has Rasa on guitar and Bastian on synthesizer, with the cover painting a detail of Marlis' painting Gravity #27.  Available at Bandcamp; I bought it and sat up late last night listening to it on my new Bluetooth speaker, which really brought out the sounds. (You can do downloads in various formats, including FLAC which are high fidelity but will take up a bit of space.) 

A couple of questions for Rasa:

How long has it been since your last release? 

Our last release was in 2014… Prana, I’ve been busy since then. [Running Hilaritas Press and the Robert Anton Wilson Trust, etc. -- The Mgt.]

I see you added guitar and synthesizer, tell me about your "new artistic direction." Is it more like a German synthesizer band?

Right after Prana was released, I moved to California, and a year later Christina and I started Hilaritas Press. We’ve been playing music, but I’ve been putting most of my time and energy into publishing. I have been picking up the guitar often during the day to try to teach myself to play the blues in the last years. I think it’s that blues infusion that permeates the first four tracks of the new album, and gives the album its name.. The last two tracks are about as abstract as we are likely to get, and they may suggest something that might come out of Germany, as you suggested. That makes sense as Bastian is from Berlin and began programming and playing synthesizers back when groups like Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream and King Crimson were major influences for him. Bastian branched off into esoteric studies of the musical arts, and even got a certificate years ago in Sound Healing from the Globe Institute in San Francisco. I’m not really sure what to call his style of playing, except for maybe “soundscapes.” He has a great sensitivity for creating lush audio environments. I really love playing around in those spaces he creates. 

Our recent deer videos mostly feature music that came to be the new album. It was largely the warm response the music got on Youtube that pushed us to assemble this album. Hope you enjoy it. 

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Hilaritas wants to publish Leary book

Timothy Leary (Creative Commons photo)

Rasa reports that Hilaritas Press is trying to obtain the rights to republish Timothy Leary's book, Terra II: A Way Out. The 1973-74 book, about efforts to leave Earth and go into space to contact higher intelligence, would aside from its intrinsic interest also serve as a companion to Robert Anton Wilson's The Starseed Signals: A RAW Perspective on Timothy Leary, the "lost" RAW book Hilaritas published in October 2020. 

Rasa mentioned Terra II in a comment on Facebook and confirmed the interest of Hilaritas, publishing imprint of the RAW Trust, in an email to me. 

"In fact, we are talking with both the Leary and Harcourt Smith estates about republishing Terra II," he wrote. (The book is listed as having four authors: Leary, Joanna Harcourt Smith, Lynn Wayne Benner and "Guanine.")

I asked Rasa about whether Hilaritas is interested in the two Leary titles which list Robert Anton Wilson as a co-author, Neuropolitics and The Game of Life. Maybe, Rasa replied.

"I’ve been thinking about the RAW/Leary books, but we’ve been kinda busy with other stuff, so not a lot of hard thinking about it, however, I did have a really nice conversation the other day with Donna Scott, the new trustee for the Leary estate," he told me. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Hilaritas podcast on Korzybski is well done

I finally caught up with the Hilaritas Press podcast on Alfred Korzybski and it's worth a listen. The show (about one hour, forty minutes) consists of an interview with Dom Heffer, a trustee with the Institute of General Semantics and art editor of the group's publication, Etc. 

Heffer turned out to be an excellent choice. He actually got interested in Korzybski by reading Prometheus Rising, so he's well informed about Robert Anton Wilson's writings about Korzybski, and with his position at the Institute of General Semantics he knows how Korzybski's ideas are faring. (The Institute has an Alfred Korzbyski Memorial Lecture each year, often featuring a big name guest, and RAW gave the memorial lecture in 1997. The podcast opens with a a clip of RAW from that lecture.)

Mike Gathers serves as the host for the podcast, which also features Gregory Arnott and Eric Wagner. All of these guys do well, with Gregory getting in many good, pointed questions. 

The second podcast is about Wilhelm Reich. The podcast is available at Podbean, Spotify, Google and TuneIn; I still think it ought to be searchable from any podcasting app. That's the standard for podcasts that aspire to a large audience. I just checked, and it's still not available at the Podkicker app; I had to download Podbean to listen to it in my car. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

News from Joseph Matheny

Joseph Matheny's latest email newsletter has an announcement that will be of interest to Robert Anton Wilson fans:

"I submitted an introduction to the Hilaritas Press re-issue of Robert Anton Wilson's Reality is What You Can Get Away With. 

"I won't ruin it by telling you too much, but I think you'll enjoy the very personal connection that I have with that work and my stories about hanging out with RAW during the period of that book's first release. 

"Because that work references significant media properties, I expect it may take the folks at Hilaritas a while to secure all the necessary clearance. I have faith that they will, in the end, ensure all the rights and re-release this classic work soon."

Rasa confirms, "He wrote a really good intro. We are still working on the tricky rights to the images, so that book keeps getting put behind others on our list. We’re working on it, however."

Matheny also is offering free ebooks through Thursday:

"I have decided to make the following ebooks downloadable free of charge for five days. 

"Liminal by Cameron (Kindle)

"Xen: The Zen of the Other (Kindle)

"Also, the always free, newly updated, final, authorized version of Ong's Hat: The Beginning is available as a PDF and an EPUB.

 "The Kindle books will be free to download starting Sunday, October 31, 2021, until  Thursday, November 4, 2021."

The actual main item in his email is the release of the audio drama version of Xen: The Zen of the Other. For more information and still more Joseph Matheny news, please read the whole thing. You can also sign up for the newsletter 

Monday, November 1, 2021

Prometheus Rising Exercise and Discussion Group, Episode 54

Unsplash photo by Ben White 

Notes on Chapter 8

A stimulating and interesting chapter. 

 I'm not sure about Wilson's thesis that being gay or having particular sexual fetishes are all imprinted at adolescence. Don't most gay people realize their orientation much earlier? And don't many sexual fetishes develop over time? But his theory that rite of passage ceremonies are meant to help impose a particular mortality does make sense to me. 

 After publishing charts where Wilson relates the first four circuits of the eight circuit system to various other systems, including Freud, Jung, tarot, the classical four elements, etc., Wilson writes, "A mass made of people who have intense curiosity about why Beethoven went in for string quartets after the Ninth Symphony ... " Is is just a coincidence that the Beethoven-obsessed Wilson  brings up string quartets in a chapter about the four circuits? And if not, what instruments relate to which circuit? I would say the cello is Circuit One, viola Circuit Two and the two violins circuits Three and Four. Maybe Eric will weigh in on whether this is nuts or whether it makes any sense. 

 I like the idea of politics being analyzed in terms of the Wrong Address problem. ("Why did Adlai Stevenson lost to Ike Eisenhower, George McGovern to Tricky Dicky Nixon, etc.") It seems to me that particularly now, liberals, conservatives and liberals don't understand each other because their ideologies don't address the same needs.

 "Are traditional schools very much like mini-prisons? Do they stifle imagination, cramp the child physically and mentally, and run on various forms of overt or covert terrorism?" I have noted that many libertarians particularly dislike public schools, or had particularly bad experiences with K-12 school. In fact, I suspect that's how many of them encountered "authority" and developed their political orientation.