Friday, June 24, 2022

'Sex, Drugs and Magick' online discussion continues


Some of Apuleius Charlton's other obligations have eased, and so the online discussion of RAW's Sex, Drugs and Magick: A Journey Beyond Limits has speeded up; a new entry appeared Tuesday.  

Apuleius tells me to expect entries more often. "It might not always be the same day but I'lI have an early week post up each week," he told me. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

New podcast on Chapel Perilous with Jesse Walker


Jesse Walker, a bit younger than today but still young, in pundit mode. Photo posted on Facebook when he turned 51 last year. He's chatting at this wedding dinner when he got married. 

Today is the 23rd, so it should see the release of the latest Hilaritas Press podcast, available here.   I am particularly looking forward to today's episode, because it's expected to feature an interview with Jesse Walker, the author, pundit and Reason books editor (also a part time movie reviewer, expert on the history of radio and a collector of the writings of Robert Anton Wilson.) His Twitter account features a daily "morning image." 

The folks who will be tuning in today to hear what's on the the podcast will include Mr. Walker! When I asked for a sneak preview of host Mike Gathers' interview topics, Jesse explained, "It's been so long since we recorded it that I've forgotten most of the conversation, so I'm looking forward to finding out myself. (They originally were going to do a Chapel Perilous mega-episode with me, Antero, and others, but eventually they realized that they needed to split it up.)

"I do remember that we discussed the idea of an entire society entering Chapel Perilous. I think we may have discussed social media. And I may have brought up some of the ideas in my cults article from last year."

I'll update this blog post later today, but I do want to mention that the Hilaritas podcast site is not the only place to access the new episode and the eight previous ones (Antero Alli, James Joyce, R. Buckminster Fuller, John Lilly, Kerry Thornley, Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley, Wilhelm Reich, Alfred Korzybski). It's officially supported at Podbean, Apple, Google, Spotify and TuneIn, but I've noticed that it's finally on Podkicker, my favorite Android app, so it might be on your favorite app, too. 

UPDATE: Podcast is now available on YouTube. 

A bit more on the podcast here. 



Wednesday, June 22, 2022

John Higgs 'Lost Doctor' episode out this week

Kermit Leveridge (Twitter account photo)

An announcement from John Higgs in his latest newsletter:

"Brace yourselves - I have written an unofficial Doctor Who audio called The Twenty-Third Doctor and the Fifth Beatle. It stars Kermit Leveridge of Black Grape and the Ruthless Rap Assassins as the Doctor. It will be online free on Thursday 23rd June in time for the 55th anniversary of Our World, the first live globally broadcast television show, during which the Beatles performed All You Need Is Love to the world."

"But what’s it like, and how is Kermit as the Doctor? I have no idea - I’ve not heard it yet. But there are plans for a listening party when it drops on Thursday evening which I’m very much looking forward to. For details of this, keep an eye on the Lost Doctor twitter. The episode will appear on their Soundcloud at some point on Thursday."

Much more information at the link, plus a good essay on how everyone has shifted from being a "consumer" to an "audience member," and various other news, including a new Andrew O'Neill sitcom on BBC radio. 


 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Antero Alli, the Hilaritas podcast

Antero Alli

I finally got around to listening to episode nine of the Hilaritas Press podcasts, the interview with Antero Alli. Rather to my surprise, there wasn't that much about the Eight Circuit model -- there was much more about paratheater ritual, the concept of Chapel Perilous and noform. As with other podcasts, there are useful links at the link. As with other Hilaritas podcasts, Mike Gathers is a well-informed and sympathetic interviewer. 

More about Alli at the official website, The website is the gateway for the courses Alli teaches; a class in Experiential Astrology is next.  He's on Twitter. 

The next podcast, released on the 23rd, features Jesse Walker, although I don't know what Mike asked Jesse about. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, episode 86, Chapter 16


Photo by Stephen Frank on Unsplash

If I were a better-organized person -- somebody more like Eric Wagner, say -- I would have read ahead after I did my last blog post on Prometheus Rising and gotten started on the exercises. Instead, I'm afraid I waited until Sunday to re-read Chapter 16 and look at the exercises at the end of the chapter. 

I have one more crack at the chapter in three weeks, so instead I'll talk about which exercises I'm now taking on, and report back in my next post.

I am most intrigued by two. The first exercise says, "Start collecting evidence that you phone is bugged." 

Since phones have become a more important part of everyone's lives since that sentence was written, thanks to the rise of smart phones, I will modify that slightly to collect evidence people can get all sorts of information from my cell phone.

Exercise 4 states, "Try living a whole week with the program, 'Everybody likes me and tries to help me achieve all of my goals'."

Depending on how I do with the exercises, I may try to tackle one or two others before I post again.

Chapter 16 of course deals largely with the SNAFU principle (i.e., communication is only possible between equals). I recently read a book about a key World War II battle, Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege by Anthony Beevor, and one of the elements I noticed was that the battle was a particularly decisive victory for the Russians because Stalin did a little bit better job of overcoming the SNAFU principle than Hitler did.

Perhaps because the first year of the German invasion was such a disaster for the Soviet Union, Stalin was forced to listen to his generals when he finally realize Zhukov could actually win battles for him, so when the Russia counterattack and encirclement of the German army was proposed, he listened and approved the plans.

Conversely, the German army did so well in the early years of the war that Hitler became convinced he was a military genius. When the German army was trapped in Stalingrad and needed to break out to save itself, Hitler would not listen to the advice of his generals and would not allow it, dooming the army to be wiped out.

I plan to re-read the chapter again. One thing I noticed was that parts of it could be interpreted as shedding light on how social media mobs operate. "True conspiracy does exist when a group conceals evidence, spreads deliberate misinformation and coerces or terrorizes witnesses. Any affinity group approaches such behavior to the extent members reinforce each other's participation in the group's reality-tunnel, especially concerning such crucial epistemological matters as what is important enough to notice and discuss as against what is trivial and better ignored." It seems to be coercing and terrorizing people with dissenting views is a part of the social media landscape. 

Finally, there is interesting discussion of UFO theories in the chapter, and if that interests anybody, I would again recommend Adam Gorightly's Saucers, Spooks and Kooks book. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Review: 'Inventor of the Future,' the Bucky Fuller biography




Alec Nevala-Lee's new book about Buckminster Fuller, Inventor of the Future: The Visionary Life of Buckminster Fuller, is a big, carefully researched account that seems likely to become the definitive biography of Fuller. 

Nevala-Lee's previously best-known nonfiction work was Astounding, a book about John Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard and the golden age of science fiction, at least in the eyes of contemporary fans. It's a great book which every science fiction fan should read, but perhaps it was not a topic that would provide a best seller. Given Fuller's fame, this excellent new biography, out August 2, seems likely to win Nevala-Lee many new fans. 

While this book was a labor of love for Nevala-Lee -- he discovered Fuller as a teenager and became a lifelong fan, he explains in the book's acknowledgements section -- it is hardly an uncritical hagiography. Nevala-Lee writes in the Prologue that while there have been many books about Fuller, many have been "riddled with errors." It is Nevala-Lee's intention to write "a comprehensive biography that covered  his full career using the best available sources" and to give Fuller "exhaustive, respectful but unsentimental treatment."

As I waded into the book (more than 600 pages), it quickly became clear why many previous books about Fuller have many errors; it's because they relied largely on Fuller, and Fuller, to put it charitably, was an unreliable narrator. In fact, he often made false statements, about himself and his inventions and ideas, and even allowing for the fact that many people tend to misremember elements of their own lives, it seems that Fuller was not a particularly honest person. So it's not true, for example, that Fuller stopped speaking for months after having his transformative experience in 1927 on the shore of Lake Michigan.

In fact, a big surprise for me as I got into the book was discovering that I just did not like Fuller very much. He had a bad habit, for example, of appropriating the ideas of other people and claiming them as his own. (Nevala-Lee writes that Fuller made good use of groups of college students, and "he carried the discoveries of each group of students to the next school on his list, burnishing his image as a genius by assimilating the work of many others. When credited to him alone, it made him seem staggeringly versatile ... ") Great men who make things happen are often not very pleasant people -- Steve Jobs and Elon Musk are two familiar recent examples -- and Fuller seems to fit into that mold. 

But Nevala-Lee also shows how influential Fuller was. The book's Prologue, which is particularly good, gets the biography off to a fast start by describing Fuller's visit to the campus of Apple and showing how Fuller was a particular inspiration to many important Silicon Valley figures, including Jobs.

There is comprehensive coverage of Fuller's geodesic domes and ventures into architecture, his Dymaxion car and other inventions, and his often amusing and interesting interactions with other famous people. He collaborated with the artist Isamu Noguchi, was rather good friends with John Cage, and had encounters with figures including L. Ron Hubbard, Ezra Pound, Arthur C. Clarke and William Burroughs.

Fuller's interactions with Robert Anton Wilson are not described, although Wilson's interview with Fuller for High Times magazine is used as a source and mentioned in the notes. Fuller's influence on Wilson would be hard to overstate -- Fuller is cited in Wilson's writings many times. Fuller pops up in cameo appearances in Illuminatus! and is frequently cited by name in that work. Many Wilson fans will want to read Nevala-Lee's book to learn more about a key influence on RAW.  

Nevala-Lee's book ends strongly with an epilogue on how Fuller's ideas inspired important breakthroughs in chemistry. And the "Acknowledgements" at the back of the book should not be skipped, as it includes Nevala-Lee's recommendations on which of Fuller's books to read to find out more about Fuller's ideas. 

Saturday, June 18, 2022

RAW on Marilyn Monroe, and Raymond Chandler

 

Marilyn Monroe in 1953 (public domain photo). 

A good RAW piece, "The Goddess & Marilyn Monroe—The Golden Graveyard," published in 1989 and reprinted by the hard working Martin Wagner.

The beginning: 

"In the 1950s, LIFE Magazine took a poll of artistic preferences among groups designated by them as high-brows, middle-brows and low-brows. Only two artists then alive were equally popular with both high-brows and low-brows. One, of course, was Raymond Chandler. The other, to the surprise of many, was Marilyn Monroe."

Another bit:

"If 'Marilyn' was a true Sex Goddess, in the Jungian sense, the Mask had, magically, devoured the woman behind it. Norma Jean learned to act, to dance, to sing—to switch from comedy to drama to musicals with apparent ease—but still feared that the Mask would fall off in public and her naked terrors would be revealed. Long before her death, she was 'the late Marilyn Monroe' in Hollywood lore because of the crippling anxieties that often kept her off the set for hours while she fought to conquer her doubts and uncertainties."

There are other good sentences. 


Friday, June 17, 2022

The importance of 'Prometheus Rising' to RAW

 


In light of the fact we've been spending quite a bit of time in an online Prometheus Rising reading group, I wanted to note something Eric Wagner pointed out in the recently-published new Hilaritas Press edition of Wilhelm Reich In Hell

There's a lot of other stuff in the new second forward Eric wrote for Wilhelm Reich In Hell, so perhaps I can quote a couple of sentences: "I find it interesting that in the introduction to this book, Wilson directs the reader to Prometheus Rising for anyone interested in transforming themselves or lessening character armoring. He similarly points the reader to Prometheus Rising in his 1987 introduction to Sex and Drugs and in his introduction to Christopher Hyatt's Undoing Yourself with Energizing Meditation and in a number of other places. Wilson clearly privileges Prometheus Rising among his writings as a place where he clearly sets forth a number of exercises for self-transformation." 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

'Sex, Drugs & Magick' discussion returns


I am having a busy day, but I wanted to note that over at Jechidah, the Sex, Drugs & Magick online discussion group has resumed, looking at Chapter One of the book, and don't miss the comments, either. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Ayn Rand on the Tonight Show

Here is an interesting curiousity -- a 26-minute appearance by Ayn Rand on the "Tonight" show, back in 1967. Alex Tabarrok comments, "An excellent interview with Ayn Rand on the Tonight show. Newly discovered. Good questions from Johnny and Ed. Even aside from the content, much to learn, a quiet audience, respectful 26 minute discussion, genuine intelligence all round."

I only watched part of it, but it's interesting seeing a serious discussion on such a popular show. And it makes me sad, thinking that Robert Anton Wilson was anxious to get on television to have a chance to popularize his ideas and never really got much of a platform. (If he was ever on National Public Radio, which also could have helped him reach an audience, I've never heard about it. I mean, as part of a nationally broadcast show, as opposed to appearances on local radio stations). 

It's a bit of a chicken and egg problem. Ayn Rand was a best selling, very well known author, hence her "Tonight Show" invitations. But if RAW had not been frozen out of the major book reviewing publications and TV and radio networks, he likely would have sold more books. I don't think coverage of Illuminatus! ever got beyond niche publications such as science fiction magazines. It didn't get a review, for example, in the New York Times.  For most of his life, RAW lived in an era of just a few powerful TV networks and newspapers, and the "gatekeepers" didn't take a chance and let him in. 

The most exposure RAW ever got on TV was an appearance (05/23/1996) in the "Politically Incorrect" TV show starring Bill Maher, as a substitute for Timothy Leary, who was too sick to show up. Many of you have likely seen it, but if you haven't, see below. (Posted on YouTube by Mike Gathers.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

First week's RAW assignment for '8 Dimensions of Mind'

This has been a good last few weeks for material becoming available from Robert Anton Wilson's old Maybe Logic Academy courses. Prop Anon has now posted Wilson's class assignments for the first three weeks of RAW's "Tale of the Tribe" course at Chapel Perilous, Prop's new website.

And now, from Vincent Murphy, I can post the first week of class assignment's for RAW's 8 Dimensions of "Mind" at Maybe Logic Academy. Here is an interesting sentence about an Aleister Crowley ritual RAW posted: "PLEASE NOTE  that I suggested that you 'contemplate' this ritual, NOT that you perform it. Unless you have at least 10 years experience in Magick ritual of the Thelemic sort, you should not try performing any invocation of Horus. Reasons exist why occultists call him the Lord of Force and Fire."

Thanks, Mr. Murphy!







Monday, June 13, 2022

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, Episode 85, Chapter 16


By Apuleius Charlton
Special guest blogger

Well, this isn’t a heartening chapter and I can see how there could be many interpretations of this chapter vis a vis the state of the nation in 2022. I think the least controversial or biased assessment I could give would be that this chapter describes the state of the world that led to the current state of the world. There are many groups that feel oppressed, spied against and as if they are the target of a vast, whichever-wing conspiracy. Aside from the rapid advancements of mass communication, can we also blame decades, if not centuries, of mismanagement to the half-to-wholly deranged state of the populace today? 

Certainly, our government’s inability to articulate the voice of the the people is one of the reasons for our current SNAFU situation; polls indicate that most Americans are for abortion access, cannabis legalization and more laws around gun ownership, but the actions of powerful interest groups and particuarly loud and belligerent parts of society have caused the current balkanization of rights that vary depending on which side of a river one lives. The overreliance on the Supreme Court to ensure our rights, instead of Congress, has guaranteed that the composition of the Court(s) is all-important; the tide had firmly turned against liberalism when Mitch McConnell blocked Merrick Garland’s nomination. Now, after watching the Court which has (mostly) defended civil liberties for the first part of my life, I must deal with the entirely predictable cognitive dissonance of watching the Court strip civil liberties from the American people. Perhaps, as other commentators have pointed out, liberalism was truly defeated after the Citizens United ruling which determined that people with vast amounts of money have every right to sway elections and politicians as they see fit. I guess we can take comfort that Antonin Scalia is looking up from hell and smiling at the work he accomplished. 

The secret police, if they exist, have an easier job today when half of the country is at the other half’s necks and watches with delight when the “other side” screams and moans in dismay. I’ll admit that I enjoyed the indignant mewling of Evangelicals when Obergefell was decided and can recognize the same smug triumph in convervative/Evangelical writers today as they look forward to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. It doesn’t seem like we need a government created atmosphere of paranoia when we loathe our neighbors to such a degree, all we have to do is look at who has what political banner/sign/bumper sticker to feel threatened. To know that there are member of our of families that voted for that asshole, to know that this friend refused to get the vaccine, to know that our coworker is happy that abortion access is being restricted…I don’t need any fancy police to feel persecuted. That seems lazy and unAmerican, I can pull myself up by my own paranoiac bootstraps. 

And if I were a person in power, I think I’d be delighted if I weren’t concerned with ruling well. When we can’t agree with what is happening when we see recorded evidence or hear recorded words, imagine what else the people in power can get away with. Better yet, if you believe certain sources, we can see what the people in power are getting away with and have to sit impotently by as those morons still support them. Oh ho! What fun! 

It’s my turn to write a second post about this chapter so I’m going to save some of my ideas for then. I’m hoping to have some more positive reports after trying some of the exercizes given at the end of the chapter. Right now, please believe that the SNAFU principle rules the day. 


Saturday, June 11, 2022

About that great new book cover

 

There are a number of reasons to applaud the new Hilaritas Press editions of Robert Anton Wilson's books, but one of them clearly are the excellent book covers produced by Scott from the amoeba design company

I would someday like to see an exhibition of the covers, either in a physical location or online, but this Hilaritas page makes it pretty easy to browse the covers, and to appreciate that Scott does not take a cookie cutter approach  but attacks each cover assignment as a fresh challenge. (When do we get to buy prints of our favorite covers?)

I thought the cover for the just-published new edition of Wilhelm Reich In Hell was particularly striking, but while the book gives sole credit to Scott, I had the impression from some of Scott's comments on Twitter that in fact he got help from Eric Drass (see the shardcore website).

Scott replied, "Aye, i had the idea of a typesetters box and type due to bis books being burned, and needed some dreamlike images for polaroids from hell, so i asked the darklord of machine learning @shardcore. 

"These were neural net / text prompt GAN created, and used in the photos in the box."

The reference to GAN soared above my computer software IQ, so I asked Scott to "explain his explanation" to borrow RAW's memorable phrase, and he kindly obliged:

"A GAN is the term for the overall use of training machine learning to do things.  Generative adversarial network.

"A GAN  generative adversarial network is a class of machine learning frameworks designed by Ian Goodfellow and his colleagues in June 2014. Two neural networks contest with each other in a game. Given a training set, this technique learns to generate new data with the same statistics as the training set."

Scott pointed me to this website and said, "This is a GAN thats doing the rounds on twitter, its a more advanced version of what we used....

"Search twitter or google images for Dall-E  u will get the jist of that particular GAN, but its just one of millions of uses, not just imagery, writing, scripts, editing and creation in ausio/video/imagery/3D objects/3D meshes for models/game mechanics."

I mentioned to Scott that I've experimented with making art using software (see this blog post) and he replied, "That's a GAN."

Only a few of the images generated by this process were used for the final cover; Scott gave me access to dozens of images and said I could use what I liked, so here are a few:

"A pen and ink drawing of Robert Anton Wilson," used on the cover. 


                                                      "RAW" also used for the cover

"A woodcut of Wilhelm Reich in hell" (cover may use part of it, I was not sure)


                                            "A Daguerrotype photograph of Wilhelm Reich"


                                                             "Wilhelm Reich tripping" 

Friday, June 10, 2022

Eric Wagner on 'Wilhelm Reich in Hell'


Eric Wagner with jazz great Anthony Braxton in a Facebook photo posted last year. 

[Eric Wagner is the author of An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson. He is a California schoolteacher and writer and often posts on Facebook. He is a serious jazz and classical music listener and apparently likes all other kinds of music, too. He has led Finnegans Wake study groups. For the new Hilaritas Press edition of Wilhelm Reich In Hell, he wrote a new introduction to supplement his previous introduction, and also wrote a piece when Rasa sent out the official announcement about the new edition. 

Fortunately for this blog, Eric has not run out of things to say about Wilhelm Reich In Hell or about Robert Anton Wilson. He agreed to take my questions and here is my interview with him. Thanks to Mr. Wagner for his generous allocation of time and attention to my questions. The Management.]

RAWILLUMINATION.NET: There are still a few RAW books I have not read -- I read Wilhelm Reich in Hell for the first time last week -- but I'm guessing you've read all of his works. How do you think this newly-republished title fits into the RAW canon?

ERW: This play represents Bob’s look at how our society responds to scientists outside the norms of our scientific community. Dr. Leary and Dr. Reich seem prime examples of this. Also the questions of censorship seem important to Bob. The US government burned Dr. Reich’s books. In the 1980’s some feminists burned works they considered pornographic. When I visited the concentration camp at Dachau, I saw this Heinrich Heine quote on display, “First they burn books, then they burn people.”

RAWILLUMINATION.NET: The book is essentially in two parts -- an essay and a play. I thought the essay was RAW on the top of his game; I liked the play, but my feelings were a bit more mixed. How do you think the play works as a play? Have you seen it performed?

ERW: I love the play. I enjoyed the DVD of the play directed by Lance Bauscher. As I commented in one of my introductions, Bob ends his two screenplays with Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”. This play doesn’t end that way. Bob had strong utopian notions, but he realized the darker possibilities. I find this play very funny, very disturbing, and very worthwhile. 

 RAWILLUMINATION.NET: You wrote a new introduction for the new edition. Did Rasa give you any direction on what he wanted? What were you trying to do with the new introduction?

ERW: No, Rasa just kindly asked me if I would like to do a new introduction. I find myself fascinated by Bob’s interest in the Decembrists in the last three years of his life. I had this in my mind as I reread the book in December of 2021. As I commented in my intro, the character of Dr. Reich seemed fundamentally sane to me as I read the play. Ironically, I had forgotten that at the end of the play Reich admits to his insanity.

Bob Wilson seems like one of the sanist people I have ever met. Reich in this play differs from Bob Wilson, particularly in his attitudes towards drugs. John Keats suggested that Shakespeare had the ability to negate his own personality in creating new characters, and Keats called this ability “negative capability”. Wilson’s portrayal of Reich in this play seems like a wonderful example of negative capability to me.

 RAWILLUMINATION.NET: Do you think the book will work for RAW fans who aren't particularly interested in Wilhelm Reich?

ERW: Absolutely. This book seems like a meditation on the outsider, and Wilson shows how Reich’s case parallels those of Timothy Leary, Giordano Bruno, Ezra Pound, and others. It also deals with the theme of how we become what we pretend. Kurt Vonnegut did a terrific job with this theme in his novel Mother Night where an American pretended to support Naziism during World War II while acting as secret agent. However, he did such a good job pretending to support Naziism that he encouraged others to become Nazis. He wonders whether did more harm or good by his actions. 

In the play the actor playing Reich enters an odd altered state of consciousness by entering into Reich’s headspace. The reader and/or viewer may enter odd altered states of consciousness while encountering and enduring the play.

 RAWILLUMINATION.NET: Hilaritas Press is republishing 19 RAW titles and also brought out The Starseed Signals from an unpublished manuscript, with 16 books published so far. Do you have a favorite among the remaining titles? Do you have a favorite "unsung" RAW title?

ERW: Well, I love TSOG: The Thing That Ate the Constitution, especially the final section on The Tale of the Tribe. For years I felt disappointed that Bob never wrote The Tale of the Tribe, but now I simply treasure the fragment in TSOG. In The Romantic Generation Charles Rosen discussed the fragment as a Romantic form. I now see The Tale of the Tribe as an evanescent fragment, a pointer to other universes where it sits beside an unedited version of Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons, Joyce’s novels after Finnegans Wake and Proust’s final version of Time Regained. Plus I have become fascinated by Bob’s interest in the Decembrists, and this book provides a number of clues to Bob’s resistance to Tsarism in the United States.

I love the two screenplays, The Walls Came Tumbling Down and Reality Is What You Can Get Away With. I used to have a “Reality Is What You Can Get Away With” bumper sticker which I got from Bob’s newsletter Trajectories. These days so many streaming services search for content, so it would not surprise me if someone produces these two films sometime soon, perhaps in a language other than English.

Speaking of Trajectories, I love both of the Trajectories anthologies, Chaos and Beyond and Beyond Chaos and Beyond. I remember getting Chaos and Beyond in the mail just before I left for Egypt in 1994. In the introduction Bob talked about reading Korzybski’s Science and Sanity over and over again, so I went to the Arizona State University Library and checked out a copy and decided to finally read it cover to cover. I took that bulky book along with me to Egypt. I didn’t read much of it that as I visited the Stele of Revealing, King Tut’s tomb and the Abu Simbel Temples, etc., but I did eventually finish it.

 In terms of “unsung” Wilson titles, I would like to see everything back in print. I particularly love the original three volume edition of Schrödinger’s Cat. They seem like great books to me. I love the condensed one volume edition, but I prefer the original version. I would like both versions to remain in print. I first bought volume one in May 1982, and I really liked it. I bought volume two the following month, and my life changed forever.

I love that you can read The Sex Magicians online, but I would love for it to come back in print. Numerous studies have shown that comprehension and recall improve when reading a book made of paper rather than one on a screen. Plus, I used to teach at a high school which forbade the use of books made of paper, allowing only electronic texts. That has made me love books made of paper even more.

I would also love to see Playboy’s Book of Forbidden Words come back into print. When I lived in Arizona, I read the copy the Scottsdale Public Library had in their reference section. One couldn’t check it out, so I read it during my lunch hour each day for a few weeks when I worked at a bookstore nearby. I know the editors changed Bob’s original text, but I would still like to see it in print.

I would like to see Right Where You Are Sitting Now come back into print. (From an E-Prime perspective I find it interesting that this book, Reality Is What You Can Get Away With, and Everything Is Under Control all have forms of the verb “to be” in their titles.) I think Michael Johnson read this book before he read any other Wilson book. I would love to see a new edition with an introduction by Michael Johnson. I remember novelist Paul Chuey and I went to see the Who in 1982, and we each brought a Robert Anton Wilson book to read. I think I brought Right Where You Are Sitting Now. If not, Paul brought it. We sat with our backs to the stage and read during the opening acts Loverboy and John Cougar Mellencamp. Ah youth. Someone through a bottle that hit John Cougar in the head during his set. I don’t remember if we saw the throw or not.

I used to love the Viking Portable Library paperbacks. Most bookstores used to have a number of them. I remember reading The Portable Nietzsche the week before I turned thirty. I owned two very different editions of The Portable Dante, and I used the newer edition for my high school Dante Society for more than a decade. I think a lot of Joyce scholars still use The Portable James Joyce, which contains the complete texts of Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Chamber Music, Poems Penyeach, and Exiles, as a well as excerpts from Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.

In the 1980’s I used to fantasize that Viking would publish The Portable Robert Anton Wilson. I would wonder what such a volume should include. I had to keep the length under a thousand pages. I wanted to include a complete stand alone novel, so I thought Masks of the Illuminati would work well. I loved Natural Law, Or Don’t Put a Rubber on Your Willy, and its short length made it a good selection. Of course now Hilaritas Press has given us a longer book which includes the original essay with some other terrific selections. I also thought The Illuminati Papers would make a nice addition. (I liked that many of the Viking Portable books contained so many complete works.) I would also include one the essay “Brain Books”, and a few other essays. You can find “Brain Books” in Beyond Chaos and Beyond.

 And, oh yes, I love The Illuminati Papers. I consider “Ten Reasons to Get Up in the Morning” one of my very favorite Wilson essays, and The Illuminati Papers also includes great essays on Finnegans Wake, Ezra Pound and Beethoven. Man, I pored over that book and all my Wilson books so much in the 1980’s. I treasured each bit of Bob’s writing back in those pre-internet days, following up leads. Of course, as with Science and Sanity, it took me a lot of tries to get into many of Bob’s favorite books. I would get books Bob had recommended from out of the library or as gifts, and I would give them a shot. If I couldn’t get into them, I would go back and reread a bit of Wilson, and then I would try another one of his recommendations.

I remember haunting the bookstores, checking various sections. I first found Bob’s books in the science fiction section: Schroedinger’s Cat, Illuminatus!, and Masks of the Illuminati. Then I found some in the New Age sections: The Illuminati Papers and Right Where You Are Sitting Now. In 1983 I found the new hardcover edition of The Earth Will Shake in the general fiction section. I don’t think I’ve seen a Wilson book in the general fiction section since then. Then I started visiting occult book stores, especially The Alpha Book Center in Phoenix. After I checked for a new Wilson book like Prometheus Rising, I would scour the shelves for the Falcon Press logo, buying most of their early titles. Later in the eighties Bob started having articles in magazines like Magical Blend and Gnosis. Books, Etc. in Tempe carried both of those magazines, so I would check the magazine racks each time I visited the store.

Occasionally I would order Wilson books like Natural Law, Or Never Put a Rubber on Your Willy by mail. Back then delivery would take weeks, if not months. Once my friends Steve and Vicky Snow got a copy of Cosmic Trigger II (I think – maybe Cosmic Trigger III, my memory fades) from Bob himself. I didn’t even know it had come out yet, so I ordered a copy. I remember feeling so jealous they got to read it first.








Thursday, June 9, 2022

'Straight Outta Dublin' nears completion


 The Temple Bar street in Dublin. Photo by Marco ten Donkelaar on Unsplash.

Periodically I ask Eric Wagner, author of An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson, how he's coming along with his new book, Straight Outta Dublin, about James Joyce's influence on RAW. I usually get an answer that makes it sound like it's years away. So I'm pleased to report that Eric sounds like he is getting close to finishing the book. He tells me, "I have reached page 187 in Straight Outta Dublin. I want the book to have at least 210 pages. 23 pages to go."

Eric, a schoolteacher, plans to work "at least two jobs" this summer (he makes me feel tired just hearing about his life) and of course we are going to keep making him submit Prometheus Rising pieces, but it does sound like he is getting pretty close to having a completed manuscript. There is no announcement yet on details such as a publisher, so if you are with a publisher and you are reading this, you can begin the bidding war now for Eric's new title.

"I plan to finish the book by my mom's birthday, September 27, 2022," Eric reports. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Cosmic Trigger 3 audiobook released


Oliver Senton, playing RAW in 2014. (Photo from official website). 

Rasa at Hilaritas Press announces that an audiobook of Cosmic Trigger 3: My Life After Death has been released and is now available on Audible and at iTunes.  

Like the first two Cosmic Trigger audiobooks, the latest is narrated by Oliver Senton, the British actor who portrayed Robert Anton Wilson is Daisy Campbell's Cosmic Trigger stage play. 

"This Hilaritas Press audio book, like the previous releases, was recorded, edited and mastered by Simon Reeves at Framework Studios, Birmingham, U.K. (April 2019 – December 2021) Co-producers: Mark Sampson (Iron Man Records) & Steve “fly agaric 23” Pratt. Many thanks for a fantastic production from Oliver, Mark, Steve and Steve!" Rasa reports.

Click here to listen to a sample and get more information, including purchase links. 



Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Maybe Day 2022 plans announced


July 23 is Maybe Day, the day of international celebration of the life and thought of writer Robert Anton Wilson. During the last couple of years, Bobby Campbell has taken it upon himself to organize a celebration, with a website and a downloadable PDF zine. 

Bobby is organizing a celebration this year, but instead of a zine, he has asking for people to publish their contributions on their own website. The various RAW-oriented sites will be linked together in a webring, as in the earlier days of the internet. Here's Bobby's announcement:

MAYBE DAY 2022 is our 3rd annual virtual celebration of the lives and ideas of Robert Anton Wilson.

There will be a maybe logical explosion of memes that goes live on July 23rd 8:08 AM UTC at www.maybeday.net

We're going to switch things up a bit this year and introduce an old school webring, instead of the digital NT zine.

Everyone is invited & encouraged to share a weblink to the NEW TRAJECTORIES WEBRING!

This accomplishes a few things, including illuminating a path up, over, and beyond the walled gardens of corporate controlled social media platform monopolies, re-releasing the electronic extensions of our nervous systems back into the true wilderness of the world wide web.

I've got like maybe 5 websites I visit anymore, it's ridiculous, I'm ready to visit strange new worlds! The idea is simple: Make something cool • Share the link • Explore the webring :)))

There will be another online panel discussion, this one focusing on RAW's unfinished Tale of the Tribe project.

More here. The "approximate" deadline is July 18, but it would make Bobby's life easier if at least some of us would adhere to it, or even turn in our contribution early. 

I've come up with and discarded about three ideas so far for my own contribution; obviously, I have to get busy soon!


Monday, June 6, 2022

Prometheus Rising exercise and reading group, Episode 84, Chapter 15


Bob Denver as Gilligan, one of the seven castaways in the TV comedy series, 'Gilligan's Island.'

By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger

I find it interesting that Bob mentions only dead white male (DWM) painters on page 220, and he only names dead white male composers by name (except for John Cage who died in 1992 between the two editions of Prometheus Rising). He does mention “Rock”, “Disco”, and “African chants”, collective nouns that include people of color. Both Dr. Wilson and I had very Eurocentric educations, although we have both tried to overcome them. Also, since I write this in a community college classroom, I find it interesting that Bob generally doesn’t use the Oxford comma, the comma in a list of three or more items before “and”. Bob and I grew up in eras which considered the Oxford comma optional. All the grammar and writing books I have taught from in the past twenty-three years consider the Oxford comma mandatory.

Bob asks the reader to “guess which specific imprints created” Kurt Saxon and John White’s reality-tunnels. I find it interesting that Kurt Saxon and Robert Anton Wilson share the same birth year, 1932. (Kurt Saxon has outlived Dr. Wilson.) I wondered if John White shared that birth year as well. I found multiple authors named John White, but the author of Pole Shift about whom Bob writes in this chapter seems to have the birthdate August 16, 1939. Interestingly when I heard Bob talk in 1987 he commented on the synchronicity that the upcoming Energetic Harmonic Convergence would take place on August 16, 1987, the tenth anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. The initials E. H. C. made me think of all the H. C. E.’s in Finnegans Wake

My friend and fellow Joycean Conrad Holt and I visited the energy vortices in Sedona, Arizona, on August 16, 1987. That night I went to see the film Back to the Beach which included appearances by two of the cast members of Gilligan’s Island. That night I realized the isomorphism between the seven dancing girls in Finnegans Wake and the seven castaways on Gilligan’s Island, and Conrad and I renamed our Finnegans Wake Decoding Society to Finnegans Isle. Of course 1939 marked the first publication of Finnegans Wake as well as the birth of John White.

The Clement Atlee quote on pg. 225, “The people of the earth are island shouting at each other over oceans of misunderstanding” seems even more relevant in 2022, alas.

Exercise 4 for this chapter says, “Write a criticism of this chapter from the viewpoint of Christian Fundamentalism.”

Brothers and sisters in Christ. I think we all know in our hearts the deep flaws in this chapter. Dr. Wilson mocks the inaccurate prophecies by Saxon and White but does not include any of his own failed prophecies from before the publication of this misguided book. He does make some ridiculous prophesies about the years after 1998, the year of the publication of the second edition of Prometheus Rising. We all know that God is only source of true prophecy. Brothers and sister, the Bible provides all can know of universe and all we need to know of universe. 

Dr. Wilson liked to mock Holy Scripture. He preferred the obscene gibberish of Finnegans Wake. Have you tried to use that worthless cesspool of an impractical joke to run your life? I, alas, have. Here before you sits a reformed Joycean. Oh, I want to spare you the years of degradation that that evil book has led me down. Repent, repent and turn back to God. We sit in the hands of an angry God, whom our sins offend. Pull down thy vanity, as Ezra Pound said in one of his few moments of clarity. 

Like Patty Hearst, we have gotten kidnapped by Dr. Wilson’s brilliant rhetoric and locked in the closet with his unfortunate heroes, the Satanist Aleister Crowley, the fascist Ezra Pound, the drug-crazed Timothy Leary, the sex-mad lunatic Wilhelm Reich, and the Anti-Christ himself, Friedrich Nietzsche. We read these dangerous authors with misgivings, but, not wanting to seem uncool, we came to understand them, even to agree with them. Before long we too disrespect our parents and storm the institutions which maintain law and order and civilization, with the machine guns of E-Prime, mocking satire, and other tools of Satan. Repent, repent, before we all stand in judgement before our Maker. We know in our hearts what we need to do get right with our Lord. Do not follow the instructions in the insidious chapter which calls for neurological relativism. This evil moral relativism has destroyed modern education and modern civilization. Repent, repent, before your time runs out. Burn your Robert Anton Wilson books and read the Bible. In Mark chapter 6 the Pharisees tried to convince Jesus the disciples should wash their hands before eating. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their narrow mindedness, just as he would condemn Robert Anton Wilson. Repent, repent!

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Wilson and Shea on Illuminatus! in 1976 article


Martin Wagner's latest discovery is a gem: A short but insightful article/interview on Illuminatus! published in 1976 in Bookletter and written by Bill Henkin. 

Even the usual description of the authors one would expect for such a piece is well done:

"Neither of them looks dangerous. At forty-two, they’re both a bit portly. Robert Shea, about six feet, is modishly attired like a successful magazine editor—which he is, at Playboy. Robert Anton Wilson, some inches shorter and with a slight Vandyke, resembles nothing so much as an arcane medieval scholar without his robes. He is the author of Sex and Drugs: A Journey Beyond Limits, Playboy’s Book of Forbidden Words, The Book of the Breast (all Playboy Press), The Sex Magicians (Jaundice Press), and the forth-coming Prometheus Rising: A Magick Manual for the Space Age. He’s an initiated witch in the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn, and a voodoo priest in the Socicdad Magico de Chango. They look fine to invite home to dinner, but they’ve just unleashed a holy terror on the world, intended to rend the fabric of reality as it is generally perceived."

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Saturday news and notes

 


1. In the Hilaritas Press newsletter announcing the publication of Wilhelm Reich In Hell, Rasa wrote, "we think the timing could not be more appropriate. We live in strange and challenging days."

This could refer to any number of things, of course, but one of the main concerns of RAW's play is the amount of violence humans do to each other, and there has certainly been a raft of mass shootings lately in the U.S. 

There was another one on June 1, the day the book came out, and it had a kind of grim synchronicity for me. 

Five people were killed during the Tulsa shooting, including the gunman and two doctors. The shooting took place at the medical campus for St. Francis Hospital, only a short distance, an easy walk, from where both my parents and my sister live. Survivors and their families were reunited at Tulsa Memorial High School, my alma mater.

So certainly I have violence on my mind as we discuss the book.

2. I recently posted about "Infinite Gesture," R.U. Sirius' new collection of song lyrics without music. Steve Fly Agaric 23 has now set one of them, "Not A Bug But A Feature," to music. Listen to the track here. 

3. Over at the Jechidah blog, Apuleius Charlton has been leading an online discussion of Sex, Drugs & Magick. He's been busy with his day job, but that's easing up, and he wants everyone to know blogging will resume next week. 

Friday, June 3, 2022

Prop Anon interviews Matt Black

 Prop Anon, who recently launched his new Chapel Perilous website, has just posted a new interview with British musician Matt Black, possibly best known for his music duo Coldcut. Black is a big fan of Robert Anton Wilson and that's the focus of the interview. 

The interview includes discussion and a video of the song "Everything is Under Control," inspired by you-know-who's book, which also featured Jon Spencer (of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) and Mike Ladd; Black told Prop that RAW liked the track. (Watch the video for the song)

The interview also has a clip from the "psychedelic obituary" concert performance held after Robert Anton Wilson's death, which Black also discusses; it featured Bill Drummond, Alan Moore and Ken Campbell and it was a collaboration with Mixmaster Morris. I could not find a video of the whole thing, but a search for Morris and RAW on YouTube turns up bits like this one. (And in the comments for the link, I noticed RAW-influenced rapper Noah23.)*

There's also discussion about the 23 questions Black posed to RAW in a video interview. 

I watched the interview after reading about it in the first email newsletter Prop released after launching his website; sign up for it here. 

*"Take his Noah23 moniker, for example. "I got it from The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson, which I read 23 years after the publishing date wearing a shirt with a 23 on it at the time I read the passage about 23,” he explains, nonchalantly adding, 'That was a pretty big deal'.”" (Source).

Prop Anon, a rapper himself, tells me, "NOAH23 is VERY Good.

"He emerged from the early 2000s underground hip-hop scene that I was part of. I have much respect for that dude. This is an amazing song he made with another great artist names Ceshi Ramos. (they sampled Daniel Johnston on this track)."


Thursday, June 2, 2022

Hilaritas releases 'Wilhelm Reich in Hell'

 


The new Hilaritas Press edition of Robert Anton Wilson's Wilhelm Reich in Hell has been released. 

The main text of the book is essentially in two parts. (As per usual, the new Hilaritas edition was quietly released before the official announcement, and I bought it and was able to finish reading it last night). There is a long essay by RAW on Reich and on suppression of free thought, full of sharp observations, and then the text of a play, "Wilhelm Reich in Hell," which has been staged in a number of cities.

The new edition has the original introduction by Christopher S. Hyatt, Eric Wagner's 2008 introduction and a new second introduction Eric wrote for the new edition. I have to say, Eric really did a nice job and the Hyatt piece is interesting. The new edition has new art from Bobby Campbell. 

Read Rasa's official announcement for an additional piece by Eric Wagner and for more information about the book and more news from Hilaritas Press, including a soon-to-be-released new audiobook of Cosmic Trigger 3. 

Hilaritas has now released 16 of 20 planned RAW reprints/new editions; see the home page for details.  New editions of The Walls Came Tumbling Down, TSOG: The Thing That Ate the Constitution and Reality is What You Can Get Away With are likely in the not-too-distant future, and Chaos and Beyond also is over the horizon. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

'Against Scientific Gatekeeping'


Robert Anton Wilson used to write a lot about the EXPERTS and excessive deference to authority, and Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer (who is doing great work in what RAW called the "war on some drugs") makes much the same point in his recent Reason magazine article, "Against Scientific Gatekeeping.", which argues that during the Covid-19 pandemic, a "priesthood" should not be allowed to decide which ideas should be entertained.

Singer makes it clear that this is not the same thing as embracing every crazy idea that comes along; he notes that after initial interest in hydroxychloroquine, "numerous randomized controlled trials failed to demonstrate the drug's effectiveness." And about vaccines, he writes, "To be clear: As a physician, I have no doubt that the mRNA vaccines are both safe and highly effective, especially for the age group most at risk."

Singer will participate in an upcoming debate in New York City. on whether prescriptions of pain pills have driven the opioid epidemic.  And why isn't the FDA letting doctors prescribe Fluvoxamine as a COVID-19 treatment? 




Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Prop Anon on Tale of the Tribe

 

George Antheil

RAW  biographer Prop Anon has begun posting material to his new Chapel Perilous website.  While it is obviously a work in progress, the first post, on RAW's never-completed Tale of the Tribe project, is interesting. 

"Since Wilson's death in 2007, no other documents have been uncovered regarding his unfinished book. At the moment, it appears as if Wilson never wrote anything besides that prologue. However, he did host a class at his Maybe Logic Academy in 2005 called The Tale of the Tribe that discussed the themes and characters of his unfinished symphony," Prop writes.

Prop discusses that class and he even posts the first week of assignments by RAW for the course. I particularly liked the bit about how Ezra Pound and James Joyce both liked the music of American modernist composer George Antheil; you can read about him at the Wikipedia biography. 

Steve Fly has a book on the Tale of the Tribe.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, Episode 83, Chapter 15

 

Photo by Daniel Klaffke on Unsplash


What are your favorite exercises? 

While much of our efforts have focused on discussing the text in Prometheus Rising, Robert Anton Wilson (and Eric Wagner) both emphasize the importance of doing the exercises at the end of each chapter to really grasp what RAW is talking about. I cannot claim that I've attempted each exercise, but I've done some of them. 

I would point to two exercises that are my favorites so far.

The first is one that I did last year. It is the second exercise for Chapter Two. "Sit in a room where you will not be disturbed for a half hour and begin thinking, 'I am sitting in this room doing this exercize because ....' and think of as many of the 'causes' as you can think of.

"For instance, you are doing this exercize because, obviously, you read about it in this book. Why did you buy this book? Did somebody recommend it? How did that person come into your life? If you just picked the book up in a store, why did you just happen to be in just that store on just that day?"

RAW goes on in this vein, discussing possible answers.

As you can see from my blog post from last year, I was able to come up with a long list of reasons for why I happened to be sitting in a living room in a particular house in Berea, Ohio, working on the exercise. 

RAW asks the reader working on the exercise to "Avoid all metaphysical speculations (e.g. karma, reincarnation, 'destiny' etc.) The point of the exercize will be mind-blowing enough without introducing 'occult' theories, and it will be more startling if you carefully avoid such overtly 'mystical' speculations."

And in fact, I did find the exercise mind-blowing and startling; as you can see, I was able to come up with many reasons why I happened to be in that particular time and place.

The other exercise that made a particular impression on me was the one I mentioned in my last entry in this discussion group.  It's the first exercise at the end of Chapter 14:

"1. If all you can know is your own brain programs operating, the whole universe you experience is inside your head. Try to hold onto that model for at least an hour. Note how often you relapse into feeling the universe as outside you.

I was not able to do the exercise for a whole hour, but I worked on it much of the day, coming back to it. As I looked at everything, I tried to remember that all of what I was seeing was inside my head. As I walked, I looked at the ground and realized that the feeling of touching the ground with my feet was inside my head. It felt consciousness altering. (In Insight Meditation, the Theravada school, one of the main meditations is to walk and concentrate on your walking.)

Do you have favorite exercises that seemed particularly effective? 



Saturday, May 28, 2022

New 'Map Is Not the Territory' video series

I unfortunately cannot do a separate blog post on every item covered in Michelle Olley's recent newsletter, which you should read if you missed, but here is an offering from someone I have not written about before: A new YouTube video series, "The Map Is Not the Territory," launched by Dolly Rae Star.

These are described as "adventures in awareness" on the website, here is Michelle's description: "Here's a fun thing. Our pilgrim pal Dolly Rae Star has started a RAW-inspired YouTube channel of advice and exercises for the cosmically inclined. It's a charming - and helpful - shot of positivity."

The first video in the series, above, describes how to do a five-minute face stretching exercise. 

Dolly is on Twitter.  You can also check out her book, play stance


Friday, May 27, 2022

Eglantyne Books launches

One of the items mentioned in Michelle Olley's recent Mycellium newsletter was the launch of Eglantyne Books. 

Here is what Michelle wrote: "The Sirius Mystery author Robert Temple and his wife Olivia have a new publishing company, Eglantyne Books, specialising in ‘new books and reprints of rare material, in a variety of fields’. Expect to see masterpieces of World Literature, Secret History, Early Modern and Modern History, Original Reprints of English Civil War Pamphlets, Egyptology, Classical Studies, Short Story Anthologies, Poetry in Translation - and more!"

The Sirius Mystery of course is mentioned in Cosmic Trigger. I was curious that the new publishing company would be like, so I went to the website, where I found six titles listed so far, and they do look pretty interesting.

I live in Ohio, and one particular book caught my attention, Red-Headed Woman by Katharine Brush, which has a protagonist from Ohio. Here is part of the publisher's description: 

"Red-Headed Woman was a sensational best-seller, and it is believed that during the height of the Great Depression, the author earned more than a million dollars in royalties from it. It was made into the film Red-Headed Woman (1932) with Jean Harlow playing the role of the anti-heroine Lillian Andrews, who in the book is aged 19 to 21 during the two years, 1929- 1931 when the story is set. (Harlow was aged 21.) F. Scott Fitzgerald and Anita Loos both worked on the screenplay. The resulting film was considered so shocking that it was officially banned in the United Kingdom. Lillian has no heart whatever, she wants money, she wants things, she wants social status. From Ohio to the highest levels of Manhattan society, we follow her relentless trail of ascent, spellbound and unable to avert our eyes. It is the ultimate portrait of an entirely amoral gold-digger. She has such overwhelming sex appeal that no man can resist her, and all the women hate her. Brush writes with a direct style resembling that of Hemingway, never using an unnecessary word."

As Englantyne Books is a British publisher, it might be hard for Americans to find some titles on site such as Amazon. I have had good luck ordering British books from Book Depository, which provides free delivery worldwide. 

An eglantyne, by the way, is an English rose.