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

Saturday, October 1, 2022

1962 letter by Robert Anton Wilson on psychopaths and anarchism

Another Martin Wagner discovery: A 1962 letter to the editor by Robert Anton Wilson, asserting that a libertarian society would not produce psychopaths. Here is the claim: "How will anarchism handle psychopaths? The same way the Zuni handle Suicides, the Trobrianders handle homosexuals, and Summerhill handles bullies. It will not produce them."

This seems a bit naive to me and an early formulation of ideas that RAW developed later on in more depth. But see what you think. 

Published in Volume 23, issue 23 of Freedom, apparently an anarchist publication. 

Friday, September 30, 2022

Hilaritas posts 1989 RAW video


Hilaritas Press has posted a YouTube video of Robert Anton Wilson speaking at a 1989 conference on brain machines. 

"Hawk Ridge Productions" is Phil Farber's company, and Mr. Farber is the source of the video, Rasa explains.

"Phil and Djenába sponsored the Brain Machine Symposium in 1989, and recorded RAW’s presentation. The video is pretty rough, and Phil explains in the beginning about how the tech was not quite up for the event, but I cleaned up the audio as much as possible, and there was even a 3 minute segment in the middle where the audio was out of sync with the video – I fixed that," Rasa told me. 

"It’s a very cool video altogether because of the info," he said. 

The video is part of a new Special Hilaritas Press Presentations playlist Rasa has just created at YouTube. 

More information and credits for the video are here. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Rapper Open MIke Eagle on RAW


Open Mike Eagle (Creative Commons 4.0 photo by Maximilianklein)

As part of a monthly series called Book Club, rapper Open Mike Eagle talks about his literary influences for Spin, and one of the writers he mentions (along with Tom Robbins and Grant Morrison and many others) is Robert Anton Wilson:

"Robert Anton Wilson is very similar to Tom Robbins in that his writing is led by his curiosity. He lays out mystical stuff through logical approaches and tries to blur the lines between where those universes are. He explores that quantum physics space that lives between both. He creates skepticism in a healthy way. I have a song called “4NML (Korzybski’s Lament)” on my album 4NML HSPTL; Korzybski’s concepts on language were introduced to me by Robert Anton Wilson’s books [including Prometheus Rising]. So the whole song is about how words are misleading and how language is just an inaccurate way to express most of the concepts that we’re thinking and feeling."

Thanks to Nick Helweg-Larsen for the tip. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

RAW's class on conpiracies

Prop Anon, who previously posted Robert Anton Wilson's class assignments for RAW's Maybe Logic Academy classes in Non Euclidean Politics and the Tale of the Tribe, has now begun posting more RAW material at this Chapel Perilous website.

This time, it's RAW's assignments for his MLA class on conspiracy theories. In the first posting on his site, Prop explains, "Conspiracy, Coincidence, and Code was part of RAW’s first batch of classes that were launched in 2004. This class, in particular, ran in the later part of 2004, and was a 12-week course. Wilson was in full form with this class, as he utilized his book Everything is Under Control as a workbook for participants to examine, analyze, and extrapolate upon what we learned. As such Everything Is Under Control was a required text, as was his third installment in the Cosmic Trigger series, Cosmic Trigger 3: My Life After Death. The last book requirement was a curious work from James DeMeo, entitled Saharasia. Wilson liked this book, as he believed DeMeo provided strong social scientific foundation to the claims made by Wilhelm Reich concerning the 'emotional plague'.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

New John Higgs newsletter

John Higgs has released another newsletter, largely about events where you can see him talk about the new book, Love and Let Die, or at least hear him in a podcast (such as the Beatles Book podcast I recently listened to). 

John also has a reform proposal to share about the British government: "The great majority of the British population, as the last couple of weeks show and all polling companies agree, are in favour of the monarchy. There is also a sizable minority who would prefer the country to be a republic. Then there’s my position, which sadly is an incredibly niche and unloved one. In my opinion, I think we should get rid of Charles and the house of Windsor, and appoint Merlin as our head of state."

Monday, September 26, 2022

What were your favorite exercises?

The colors of these flowers are inside your head (Photo by Alex Seinet for Unsplash.)

 Our Prometheus Rising reading and exercise group has almost come to an end. The first post went up in October 2020 and the 98th post went up last Monday, so that's about two years. Those were all of the posts scheduled by Eric Wagner when he conceived the shape of the reading group. But as you can see, I am doing one more blog post, and I know Eric has one more planned. But still, we will wrap up soon. 

This has been an unusually long reading group -- the upcoming one for Natural Law will be on a more normal schedule -- but that has been by design. Eric, when he conceived the reading group, did not want participants to simply read the chapters and comment. He really wanted people to take the time to work on the exercises, as Robert Anton Wilson intended.

I didn't do all of the exercises, but I did make a real attempt this time to do some of them. And looking back over the reading group, there were two that made a particular impression on me. 

One was the second exercise in Chapter Two of Prometheus Rising. That's the one where you sit in a room where you won't be interrupted for half an hour and think "I am sitting in the room doing this exercize because" and list as many reasons that you can think of. Wilson specifies that he wants you to come up with specific facts, not metaphysical speculations. 

In my post, as you can see, I came up with many reasons. I was struck by all of the ones I was able to come up with to explain why I was in a particular time and place, writing the post.

The other one that made a particular impression on me was the first exercise for Chapter 14, "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." Trying to do that felt like I was looking from the outside at images in my brain.

I should probably go back and work on some of the other exercises. And I was curious which ones particularly worked for some of you.  

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Latest Oz Fritz video on Deleuze

 Oz Fritz has been doing a series of video lectures on the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze.  This morning I watched the above video (about 13 minutes) which references three different approaches to philosophy.

Oz mentions, "RAW was into Zen and this one has a Zen connection." Here is Oz' description of the video: "Discusses 3 orientations of philosophy or thought, the heights, the depth and the surface. These are represented by Platonism, Nietzsche & the Pre--Socratics, and the Cynics and Stoics. Symbolized by Platonic wings, Empedocles' sandal, and the philosophical staff blow. Connection with Zen. Empdeocles connection with magic and with Nietzsche. Vigorous attack on Platonism; the philosophical disease of Idealism which gets compared to manic depression."

For more, see Oz' blog.  The video series is about Deleuze's book The Logic of Sense.  The initial blog posting of the series is here. 

Oz also mentions (comment for this blog post) that the "Sangha" portion of this blog on the right side of the page, listing recent postings from other blogs, is no longer listing his recent blog posts. I have no explanation for this, other than that Blogger's features seem to routinely malfunction for no apparent reason, and Google does not make it easy to report these hiccups. For example, I can no longer post my own blog posts in advance; without explanation, the feature has stopped working. 

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Hilaritas podcast on magick features Lionel Snell, aka Ramsey Dukes

Lionel Snell 

 "Lionel Snell on Magickal Thinking" is the latest Hilaritas Press podcast, which as usual was released on the 23rd. Follow the link to watch or to see the list of various apps/websites that have it; I know it's also on Podkicker, too, the main podcasting app I use. The link also has useful links, such as for Ramsey Dukes' website.  A useful biography is here. 

Friday, September 23, 2022

Bobby Campbell, Creative Weirdo


Podcast interviews of artist and writer Bobby Campbell are reliably interesting, and I enjoyed this two hour, 15 minute interview with Bobby on the Creative Weirdos podcast (I had to listen to it in several sittings.) Bobby talks about RAW in the interview by Todd Purse, and I was particularly interested in Bobby's discussion of magick and in his ayahuasca experience in South America. (Bobby says it happened before everyone else did it.) 

Check out Bobby's art. His new comics collection, Weird Comix #2, has just arrived on my Kindle app. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

When Michael Johnson discovered RAW

[Rasa recently added RAW scholar Michael Johnson to the roster of RAWnet, the group of "friends of the ideas of Robert Anton Wilson," and Michael wrote a short piece explaining how he ran across RAW's writings. I thought it might be of interest, so I reproduce it here. The Management.]

I was always attracted to writers who had encyclopedic minds and who seemed to know “everything” and especially those who wrote both fiction and non-fiction. I had gone on about a six-year bender with Aldous Huxley, and he was easily my favorite writer, and I still love him dearly. I was reading voraciously – including re-re-re-reading Aldous – when one night my wife and I went out to dinner, then browsed a local bookstore. I happened upon Right Where You Are Sitting Now and was immediately attracted to the form of the book and this Wilson dude’s varied interests, experiments, and tones. Then I noticed he wrote novels too, and in RWYASN there was a fiction piece, along with cut-ups – the book was dedicated to Burroughs and Philip K Dick – and I loved both of those guys too. But I confess I’d never even heard of RAW at the time. This was shortly before everyone got on Internet.

I bought the book and stayed up all night reading it. He did wild things to my nervous system and the book acted like a mild psychedelic for me. I went to work the next day on little sleep, came home and began re-reading RWYASN. Very soon after I bought and read every book I could find by him. Then I began re-re-reading and studying him closely, like I’d done with Huxley. No other writer has had such a profound effect on me as RAW has, and his writing has definitely created mental environments in which epigenetic effects have changed how my genes express themselves, which is all I could ask for in a writer.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

John Higgs: New book, new podcast

The new John Higgs book Love and Let Die (about the Beatles and James Bond)  is out (in Britain, we have to wait in the U.S.) and as past of the promotional effort, John has given an interview to the Beatles Book podcast.  Topics covered include how Paul McCartney's James Bond theme song affected Paul's post-Beatles career, how history will judge critics of Paul's career and which Beatle is the most like James Bond.

My favorite Beatle when I was a young teen was George, then I switched to John, but now Paul is my favorite. At some point, I realized that John's image as the intellectual among the Beatles was oversold -- it was Paul who was the most interested in avant-garde electronic music, for example. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, Episode 98, Chapter 19


Prometheus and the Oceanides and eagle Ethon - Scuplture by Eduard Müller (1872/79) at Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin. Photo by Christian Paul Stobbe for Unsplash. 

Prometheus Rising concludes with Chapter 19, a chapter without exercises in which Robert Anton Wilson discusses the implications for the future if people can advance along the eight circuits and increase their intelligence.

It's possible to nitpick at the inaccuracy of RAW's forecasts -- we didn't get a "Longevity Pill" and space migration by 2005 -- but I also thought the chapter was inspirational. Work is being done on space migration, intelligence increase and longevity.

A couple of chapter bits that caught my eye:

RAW writes, "Maurice Nicoll, physician, psychiatrist, student of Jung, Gurdjieff and Esoteric Christianity, wrote that 'the only purpose in work on consciousness is to decrease the amount of violence in the world.' This is Public Health Problem Number One in the nuclear age, the age of overkill." 

I wish this statement was dated, but I recently read that with Russia's military failure in Ukraine, the risk of nuclear war rises as Putin becomes more desperate. 

RAW also writes, "Most of the fifth-circuit adepts (aquarian conspirators) have learned Joyce's arts of 'silence, exile, cunning': they are invisible." I have been studying Epicureanism a lot  lately, and Epicurus advised his followers to "live unnoticed" so that they wouldn't be hassled over their unconventional views. 

The Hilaritas edition of Prometheus Rising ends with an afterward by Rasa. As I wrote in an earlier article, it largely focuses on why RAW flipped the sixth and seventh circuits when he wrote elsewhere about the Eight Circuit model. 

As a matter of housekeeping, this is the last Prometheus Rising online reading group post that Eric Wagner scheduled when he set the PR schedule back in August of 2020. Eric has told me, however, that he has one more post he wants to do, and I have one more in mind, and Apuleius can do one more posts, if he chooses. Still, we are almost done. I will announce a schedule soon for the Natural Law reading group I announced Friday. 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

RAW interviews Colin Wilson


Another good find by Martin Wagner: Robert Anton Wilson interviews Colin Wilson for the April, 1985, "New Age Journal." Certainly they find some interesting topics to discuss and seem to agree on quite a bit.

Here is a question and answer I liked:

Robert Anton Wilson: How does all this connect to your interest in parapsychology?

Colin Wilson: Only accidentally. When I was first asked to write a book on the occult, I thought, “Christ, what a bore.” I have since written half a dozen books on the subject, but only because it is connected with the things that really interest me—brain functions, peak experiences, and so on. I agree with the yogis that in learning to discipline the mind one often activates certain paranormal powers, but they are trivial and should not be a matter of obsessive interest. Their only importance is that they show again that ordinary consciousness is not the limit of what our minds can do.

And here is Colin Wilson about his discovery that people can be healthy and happy:

My first real clue came from Abraham Maslow, after I published The Age of Defeat. He read it and wrote me a letter agreeing with me that writers should learn to stop being defeated, and he called my attention to his own research. When I read his works I was fascinated, because he was a psychologist who had gotten sick of studying sick people who talked about nothing but their sickness, and had started studying the healthy—something that had never been done before. He discovered that healthy people had with a fair degree of frequency what he called peak experiences, feelings of sheer happiness. They were not necessarily “mystical” experiences. One was described by a young wife watching her husband and children eating breakfast. Suddenly a beam of sunlight came through the window, and she thought, “My God, aren’t I lucky!” and went into the peak experience. Another was a young jazz drummer working his way through college who discovered one night he couldn’t do a thing wrong and went into the peak experience as he drummed. A hostess after a highly successful party, looking around the room at the cigarette butts trodden into the rug and the spilt wine, nonetheless suddenly had a peak experience. Reading these sorts of cases, I began to surmise that when you’ve had an intense peak experience it gives you an optimistic view of the universe, which is the opposite of the view of the criminal, who generally thinks the universe is a bloody awful place and the only thing to do to show your objection is to react violently.

Could this relate to Beethoven's statement, cited by RAW in "Beethoven As Information" in The Illuminati Papers? Beethoven allegedly said, "Anyone who understands my music will never be unhappy again."

The discussion of Colin Wilson aborting his suicide attempt reminded me of RAW on the Brooklyn Bridge, as discussed in Cosmic Trigger 2. 

Saturday, September 17, 2022

A 'Non-Euclidean' quote

Statue of Adam Smith in front of St. Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile in Old Town Edinburgh, Scotland. Unsplash photo by K. Smith Hodge. 

When I was working on Thursday's post, about Prop Anon posting all of the assignments for Robert Anton Wilson's "Non-Euclidean Politics" class, I looked again at the essay "Beyond Left and Right: A Non-Euclidian Perspective," and ran across this bit that I share with you. It also might relate a bit to the new online reading group announced yesterday. This is on page 139 of the Hilaritas Press edition of Email to the Universe. -- The Management.

I am committed to the maximization of the freedom of the individual and the minimization of coercion. I do not claim this goal is demanded by some ghostly or metaphysical "Natural Law," but merely that it is the goal that I, personally, have chosen, in the Existentialist sense of choice. (In more occult language, such a goal is my True Will.) Everything I write, in one way or another, is intended to undermine the metaphysical and linguistic systems which seem to justify some Authorities in limiting the freedom of the  human mind or in initiating coercion against the non-coercive. 

-- Robert Anton Wilson 

Friday, September 16, 2022

Announcing a new reading group: Natural Law

The long Prometheus Rising online reading group is winding down -- there will be only a couple more posts or so -- and I would like to announce plans for a new reading group. 

Natural Law Or Don’t Put A Rubber On Your Willy And Other Writings From A Natural Outlaw, edited by Chad Nelson, was released in January by Hilaritas Press. Although it reprints a long essay which had long been out of print, it is essentially a new book, as more than half of it is new material that Chad assembled.

It is also, in my opinion, a really good book, and one that has not received the attention that it should, even from Robert Anton Wilson fans. I can't control the reception to the book by other people, but I would like to use this blog to invite everyone to read it. Hence, the new reading group. I am confident that RAW fans who choose to take part will find the exercise worthwhile. 

As usual, the format for the reading group will be a main blog post, with everyone else invited to provide comments. I haven't set a schedule yet but I expect to launch in about two months, in November, to give everyone a chance to get a copy of the book. At this point, the book is available as a trade paperback and a Nook ebook. There is no Kindle yet, but Hilaritas is working on it. 

For more information on the book, see my interview with Chad Nelson.  Thanks to Rasa for the promotional meme. 

I have an idea for another reading group next year but I want to think about it before announcing it. 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

The assignments for RAW's final MLA class

"Left and Right: A Non-Euclidean Perspective," reprinted in Email to the Universe, is one of Robert Anton Wilson's most memorable essays.

Prop Anon has now posted all eight of the assignments in the Non-Euclidean Politics Class that RAW taught at Maybe Logic Academy. 

In the posting for the first class, Prop explains, "Robert Anton Wilson’s final class at the Maybe Logic Academy was called ‘Non-Euclidean Politics’ and it covered some of the political and economic theories that most influenced him. The class ran from January 23rd to March 13th, 2006 and was an amazing recap of Wilson’s political philosophy."

More at the link, and at the postings for the other seven assignments. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

RAW biography update

Prop Anon

News from Prop Anon: "The current update on Chapel Perilous: The Life and Thought Crimes of Robert Anton Wilson is that it will be released by Strange Attractor/MIT Press in the Fall of 2023. I will have more updates on the book and its release date in the coming days." 

Prop has been posting more material on his website, Chapel Perilous. I'll have another blog post up soon about that. 

Follow Prop on Twitter. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

An ad for RAW and Leary


The above ad for books by Robert Anton Wilson (Cosmic Trigger) and Timothy Leary (Neuropoliticswas posed by Mike Gathers on Twitter. 

From an underground newspaper in LA, I think. I can't find the Tweet where Mike said he found it. 

Monday, September 12, 2022

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, Episode 97

By Apuleius Charlton
Special guest blogger

Over the course of this reading group, I have used Prometheus Rising as a series of lenses with which to examine the world, Wilson and myself. I have drawn upon the immediacy of the world as it has changed over the course of the past year and a half, as well as my experiences and thoughts when I have read Prometheus Rising in the past. The world does change rapidly, seemingly more rapidly as the future arrives anew every day; no one can fault Wilson for inaccuracy as far as that prediction is concerned. I have spent many of my posts concerning Prometheus Rising detailing my qualms with other predictions. I don’t feel the need to continue journaling my anxieties and quibbles. 

I am in full agreement with Wilson that stupidity is the main danger in the world and that intelligence increase is our best (only?) hope for a truly new dawn. I still maintain that stupidity continues having quite the moment amongst members of the human race but I’d like to consider RAWillumination. Here is something that could be considered social media that I think works to make the readers a little better and smarter over the years. Through his persistence, friendliness and discerning taste, Tom has built a place for people to gather and judging from the people I see commenting regularly, his work has attracted others who are earnest in their desire to share and learn with each other. I am not alone in having noted that this website is one part of our day that we know will be a bright spot. When Tom had to take a hiatus last month, sincere condolences were offered, showing that there is a true sense of community amongst the regulars. I’m sure many of you missed checking the blog for the week it was offline. 

This ramble is to say that I believe Tom is doing his part to increase intelligence, step by step- and look how others have built upon his work: Tom, in this reading group alone, has provided Eric a platform to display his years of knowledge of Wilson, Beethoven, Joyce and more. (I have hopefully occasionally added something of value.) Through their work and the responses of our dedicated commentariat, we are able to continue a dialogue with the dead as we continue to explore and debate their words. The good news is that Robert Anton Wilson is alive and well and living within all of us. 

As long as there are minds to meet and places to gather, we’ll continue to nurse the lives and ideas of the authors, musicians, artists and madmen that have inspired us all across space and time. We will continue to ascend, sometimes slowly and with great confusion, to something better than yesterday’s world. The bright and shining future might not arrive as soon as we wish, and I know that I still have much to learn about patience and acceptance, but as long as we are working on it, there isn’t an excuse to fall into the slough of despond. We continue to bend our shoulders to the wheel. 

Step by step, Prometheus rises. 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Robert Shea obituary in 'Green Egg'

While I was visiting Apuleius Charlton recently, we went to the local "metaphysical/Wicca" shop, where I picked up a copy of Green Egg magazine with an uncredited but useful obituary for Robert Shea in it (Vol. 27, No. 105, Summer 1994). This blog is about Robert Shea as well as Robert Anton Wilson; see the "Robert Shea Resources" at the right side of this page. The Management]

Bob Shea (February 14, 1933 -- March 10, 1994)

Bob Shea, co-author of the germinal Illuminatus! trilogy and author of many other historical and heretical writings, died of cancer in the arms of friends and his loving wife, Patricia Monaghan, after a sudden dramatic decline in his health. His last words before sinking onto a coma were, "Love is everywhere."

Robert Joseph Shea attended Manhattan Prep, Manhattan College and Rutgers University and worked as a magazine editor in New York and Los Angeles. In the 60's he edited the Playboy Forum where he met Robert Anton Wilson, with whom he collaborated on Illuminatus! After publishing Illuminatus!, Bob left Playboy to become a full time novelist. His novels include: 

Shike, set in medieval Japan.

All Things Are Lights, a story that entwines the fate of the Cathars of southern France with the occult traditions of Courtly Love and the troubadours.

The Saracen, describing the intricate politics of medieval Italy.

Shaman, tracing the fate of the survivors of the Black Hawk War in 19th century Illinois. 

Lady Yang, a tragic story of an idealistic empress of medieval China (forthcoming).

A celebratory reading of Bob's works took place on March 26 in Winnetka, Illinois. More than a hundred people attended and many, including Bob's collaborator and dear friend, Robert Anton Wilson, spoke during the meditative interlude of Bob's friendliness and curiosity, cheerfulness and courage.

Patricia thanks everyone for their support, especially those who participated in Pray for Shea Day (Feb. 14, 1994). She assures us that, "It may seem like the prayers of hundreds of well-wishers went for naught. Certainly I had hoped for a dramatic improvement in Bob's health as a result of prayer day ... Yet curiously I believe our prayers may have been answered, for Bob's death was a quiet one and he was very happy in the days before it."

In the next few years, several more of Bob Shea's works will be published, including a collection of essays. Patricia requests that anyone having copies of Bob's work from magazines or other publications, or having letters from him which might be publishable, to please send copies to her at 1625 West 101st St., Chicago IL 60643.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Cancer Wellness Center, 5150 Gulf Road, Skokie IL 60077.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Jesse Walker's horror movie Top Ten

(Public domain image, via Wikipedia)

As we head closer toward Halloween, here is something sombunall of you might find useful: Jesse Walker's top ten, all time favorite horror movies, taken from his contribution to a Twitter poll. Here's the list:

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Mulholland Drive (2001)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Videodrome (1983)
The Birds (1963)
Safe (1995)
The Black Cat (1934)
Woman in the Dunes (1964)
Vampyr (1932)
Hour of the Wolf (1968)

I've only seen Mulholland Drive and The Birds, both very good. I hope if Jesse ever publishes his top ten science fiction movies, I'll run across the list. 

Thursday, September 8, 2022

John Lilly and SETI

The Green Bank radio telescope. (Creative Commons 3.0 photo, NRAO/AUI/NSF -

The New York Times runs an obituary for Frank Drake, the astronomer noted for his efforts to detect intelligent life. 

It's worth reading for its own sake, but I also was surprised by the mentions of John Lilly. After mentioning Drake's first attempt to detect an alien transmission, the obit by Dennis Overbye goes on to say:

A year later, in November 1961, 10 scientists, including luminaries like the young Carl Sagan and John Lilly, who was trying to learn to communicate with dolphins, convened at the Green Bank observatory to ponder the extraterrestrial question. (They did so secretly, fearing professional ridicule.) After Dr. Lilly’s research, they called themselves the Order of the Dolphin. 

[Green Bank is in West Virginia.]

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

RAW manuscript on Aleister Crowley found

Martin Wagner and Jesse Walker are reporting that a 72-page essay by Robert Anton Wilson on Aleister Crowley has been located at the Harvard University library. (Martin was the first to tell me about it, but Jesse has supplied details.) UPDATE: Jesse says I give him too much credit; see the comments. 

The essay is entitled "Do What Thou Wilt," and it is unclear what relationship it has to Lion of Light, the book-length piece on Crowley that RAW planned to publish. Rasa at the RAW Trust/Hilaritas Press has been notified and is pursuing the matter.

"It is an extensive survey of the biography and philosophy of Aleister Crowley, with the last two pages giving details and opinions of two of Wilson's earlier books."

More information here. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

More images at 'RAW Experimental'

Brian Dean has continued to add new images to RAW Experimental, his new site for producing new images of Robert Anton Wilson, using filters and AI on existing images. A new post at his RAW Semantics site  provides an update on what's going on: "I’ve added more images since the Maybe Day launch (July 23rd). The bigger your screen, the better, since you can then fully appreciate the difference between the original images and the upscaled versions. The case studies show plenty of before/after comparisons. See also the galleries for upscaled RAW images and filter effects applied to those high-resolution images. I’m also going to be adding a visual ‘memes’ section (when I get around to it), so stay tuned…"

With Brian's permission, I have switched out the image on this website to a "Cyberpunk comic-book" image from his website; for information about permissions, see the bottom of the "About" section. 

Monday, September 5, 2022

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, Episode 96, chapters 18-19

Prometheus Rising,
Chapter 18

By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger

Dude, we’ve made it to the eighth circuit! Bob starts this chapter with a quote from Ulysses. Joyce provided both Leary and Wilson with many maps to the higher circuits.

About thirty years ago I repeatedly read the final novels of Philip K. Dick. While reading The Divine Invasion I had the idea of setting up a team of astral projectors who would try to restore the ancient library at Alexandria. About eleven years I got a group together, and we made the attempt without any apparent success. We also investigated the Kennedy assassination. I associated Bach’s Cello Suites with the Alexandria attempts and Beethoven’s late String Quartets with the Dallas 1963 attempts. 

Tim Leary divided each of the eight circuits into three phases, making the eighth circuit stages 22, 23, and 24. Both Leary and Wilson relate the eighth circuit to quantum mechanics. Leary mentions quarks in his discussion of Stage 22 in Musings on Human Metamorphoses (pg. 109) and in his discussion of Stage 23 in The Game of Life (pg. 278-279). Physicist Murray Gell-Mann, of course, got the name quark from Finnegans Wake. In The Game of Life Leary mentions Robert Anton Wilson in his discussion of Stage 23.

For the past few days I have wondered how many times the movement Stroke the Peacock’s Tail (right) appears in the 108 Movement Yang Long Form of Tai Chi. I finally figured it out this morning: eight times. (I don’t think the tai chi peacock has anything to do with the streaming service.) This mild coincidence of eights fits in with this mild chapter. I have far less visceral experience of the eighth circuit than I do of the other seven circuits. 


Prometheus Rising, Chapter 19

I guess I would consider myself an Evolutionary Agent using the criteria on page 274 of Prometheus Rising. I don’t think I’ve mastered the metaprogramming circuit yet, although I think I’ve experienced it over the past 39 years. In 1983 my roommates and I decided to have a 123rd birthday party for Gustav Mahler on July 7. I spent the month before the party metaprogramming Mahler, reading about him, listening to his music, studying his scores. One time I woke up in the middle of the night hearing Mahler music in my head, but not music Mahler had actually composed. My mind had started creating pseudo-Mahler music for my first experience of metaprogramming.

I also don’t consider myself a “neuro-quantum” adept yet. In fact, I don’t connect with the eight circuit model as much as I used to. I find it a very useful model, but I look forward to even better models. On pg. 20 of Prometheus Rising Bob wrote:

Following Dr. Timothy Leary (with a few modifications) we shall divide this brain hardware into eight circuits for convenience. (“For convenience” means that this is the best map I know at present. I assume it will be replaced by a better map within 10 or 15 years; and in any case, the map is not the territory.)

Bob wrote Prometheus Rising in 1983, and he revised the text for the 1997 Second Revised Edition. Twenty-five years have passed since then.

Perhaps “more of Beethoven’s intelligence” (pg. 271) will help us find and/or create even better maps. Tim Leary had more interest than Bob did in contemporary music like rap and rock. I love how Tim wrote about Stevie Nicks and David Bowie, for instance. On page 275 Bob wrote:

By the time the Consciousness Revolution peaks, the Longevity Pill is widely available, cloning is normal and all the ideas in this book, including the most wild and radical ones, seem quaint and old-fashioned – i.e., about 2005 – we will probably be growing accustomed to thinking in terms of revolutions-per-year.

There is no reason to accept the tunnel-reality of this book as final. If you really understand the message, you will invent a bigger and better Future than I have suggested. As Barbara Marx Hubbard says:





I don’t think that happened by 2005, but perhaps it will happen in the next 23 years, or by next Tuesday after lunch.

In the mid-80’s I used to revel in reading Tim Leary while listening to Fleetwood Mac. I wonder how the synergy of texts and music will help us navigate the next few years. I thank you for joining us on this voyage. 

I wonder what “Meta-physiological cosmic vision” pre-capitulates in the book’s final line.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

From RAW's lost Crowley book

Robert Anton Wilson at one point was going to publish a book called Lion of Light, about Aleister Crowley. I don't know how much of it got written, or what happened to it, but Jesse Walker has spotted an article from Green Egg magazine, "Crowley, Leary and Genetics," which is an excerpt from the planned book. The digital issue of Green Egg (Volume VI, No. 60)  can be checked out for an hour apiece from the Internet Archive. "Plus a bonus bit of Discordianism on page 10, and a RAW letter on page 34," Jesse notes.   

A few comments on the Beethoven podcast

I have finished the Hilaritas Press podcast on Beethoven starring Mike Gathers and Eric Wagner, it was very good, I plan to listen to it one more time to make sure I have absorbed everything. (It mentions this blog more often that the other HP podcasts have, but that's not why I liked it.) A few comments:

1. The discussion of Beethoven by Eric is really good, he does a good job for example of discussing the works of Beethoven written in C minor and what's happening with them.

2. Eric is invited to suggest a few pieces for Beethoven newbies, and he obliges, but I want to chime in. It seems to me some of the best choices are the blindingly obvious ones: The Fifth Symphony (I like the Szell/Cleveland Orchestra recording), the "Moonlight," "Pathetique" and "Waldstein" piano sonatas, the Fourth and Fifth piano concertos, the violin concerto. Beyond that, I agree with Eric in recommending the Seventh symphony. You can't go wrong trying some of the piano sonatas and other symphonies, some of my favorite pianists are Sviatoslav Richter and Alfred Brendel. I am particularly fond also of the third and 32nd piano sonatas and the third cello sonata. If you want more recommendations, see Tyler Cowen. 

3. At the end of the podcast, Eric gives an update on his Straight Outta Dublin book project about James Joyce and Robert Anton Wilson, I am relieved it is nearing completion and rather anxious to read it.

4. As Eric and Mike discuss, RAW liked what he liked on music and did not try particularly hard to "keep up," as he did with literary fiction, science fiction, etc. I unsurprised he did not pay a lot of attention to current pop music. I am more surprised he seldom mentions contemporary classical, such as Steve Reich, Lou Harrison, etc.

5. Eric and Mike are both Deadheads, I liked some of the Grateful Dead's records and I dutifully listened to some of Complete Road Trips album after listening to the podcasts, but I confess if I  am going to listen to live recordings, I'd rather listen to Miles Davis and his various bands, Frank Zappa and his bands, Sviatoslav Richter in performance and quite a few others ... what am I missing? 

6.  Let me once again recommend RAW's piece "Beethoven As Information," in The Illuminati Papers. 

Friday, September 2, 2022

Belated review: 'The Future Starts Here' is excellent

John Higgs is a wonderful writer and I am determined to read all of his books; I have read many of them. Lately, though, I've gotten a little behind. I've just finished The Future Starts Here: Adventures in the 21st Century. I had to get caught up: I want to read the book on William Blake, William Blake Vs. the World, and I am also eager to read the new one on James Bond and the Beatles, Love and Let Die. 

The Future Starts Here explores the technologies that are shaping our current world: Gender fluidity, social media, artificial intelligence, climate change, space exploration, the difference in attitudes between the generations, and so on, all with Higgs' characteristic wit and good sense. There's a twist to Higgs' exploration of these topics which the author reveals at the end of the book. 

Higgs acknowledges that the world faces important threats, but argues that they can be overcome and argues that dealing with them is better than giving in to pessimism. I agree with him. 

There are three big ideas for making a better world promoted in the book: Giving over half of the world to natural areas, allowing species extinction to be halted or at least seriously slowed; implementing a basic income, and overcoming excessive individualism to focus on collective action and networking.

My reaction to those ideas is mixed. The case for expanding natural ideas seems solid to me. About basic income, I am agnostic and still listening to arguments from both sides. As for the supposed excesses of individualism, often a theme in Higgs' works, I confess to remaining unconvinced; my reading of 20th and 21st century history does not convince me that excessive deference to individual rights and liberties is the driving force for crimes and disasters since 1900.

There's a lot in the book about climate change and I agree with Higgs that it's a big problem that requires real action. I do think that Higgs underrates the possible disaster of nuclear war, which I still see as a big threat. His contention that one European country invading another is a thing of the past seemed reasonable when it was written but unfortunately has not aged well. 

Still, this is a great book, with wonderful observations in every chapter. Most of the people I work with are much younger than me, and Higgs' discussion of today's young people is a particular delight. I'm giving this book five stars on Goodreads.

There were interesting synchronicities in the book, at least for me. For example, here are some of the sentences in the last paragraph of a book written in 2019, shortly before the pandemic: "Sometimes, a virus has to run its course before you can be cured. Some ideologies need to reach their failed, absurd ends before we can get them out of our system. This is how we will create the antibodies that will protect us from that virus in the future. That's what's happening now."

On a personal note, I wished my father, who died August 15 at age 90, could have read the book. The last book Dad read, I am pretty sure, is a copy of Higgs' Stranger Than We Can Imagine that I gave him. I kept thinking Dad would have enjoyed The Future Starts Here. In the text, John reveals that he was only 3 when his own father died. 

An interest in Robert Anton Wilson's writings permeates Higgs' writings, even in books that don't mention RAW directly, such as Stranger Than We Can Imagine. The Future Starts Here name checks RAW, deals with some of his ideas and features interviews with many prominent RAW fans, such as Daisy Campbell and Scott McPherson. 

See also Gregory Arnott's review of the book, written in 2020. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Michael Johnson on Carlos Casteneda


[After I posted Sunday on a new book, put out by Rasa's digital design and publishing company, that describes a trip to Mexico to meet with the "real Don Juan" from Carlos Castaneda's books, Michael Johnson posted a long and characteristically interesting comment, which I am reproducing here as a separate blog post, because I want people to see it. Michael posted two follow up comments, which I've merged into the original in what I hope is a logical manner; you can view the original post for context. My illustration is the book Michael particularly recommends. Meanwhile, I have loaned my Kindle of the new book, Illuminating Don Juan by Peter Marquis, to Apuleius Charlton, who was the first to offer to review it. Later I will lend it to Oz Fritz and to Michael, if he wants to read it also.

Note that Peter Marquis also posted a comment: "I am the author of Illuminating Don Juan. I think I got to the bottom of 'who' they were. You decide.

"But it is much larger that that subject. So while the readers are interested in such things, it is ultimately only a vehicle for our real message. We are 'making sense of the world' for you, today. It isn’t about Carlos Castaneda. Please keep this in mind." 

For other comments, go back and read the original post. 

-- The Management.]

By Michael Johnson
Special guest blogger

I have to chime in here and steer some of you to Amy Wallace (of the Wallechinksy writer-family) and her book Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life With Carlos Castaneda(2003). 'Nuff said.

Also worth a look would be Richard DeMille's The Don Juan Papers. (I like this source, but to sweeten the situation: DeMille was the adopted son of Cecile B. DeMille, and are you ready for your close-up? Richard DeMille was L. Ron Hubbard's assistant at the birth of $cientology. I will leave further High Weirdness to others here..)

Peter Biskind, in his un-put-down-able history of 1970s Hollywood, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, says yea, George Lucas read Joseph Campbell's The Hero's Journey like a Talmud scholar, but also: Castaneda. And "Don Juan" came out as Obi-Wan-Kenobi...

Castaneda's PhD thesis became a best-seller, basically. That, I think, should tell us a lot about the book's time and place.

Castaneda got his PhD in Anthropology at UCLA, and one of his advisors was Harold Garfinkel, one of RAW's favorite Sociologists. Garfinkel was a student of Alfred Schutz, who studied Phenomenology under Edmund Husserl himself. Schutz effectively exported Phenomenology into Sociology, and in my weirdo take on such things, it's where Phenomenology was meant to be. Garfinkel invented Ethnomethodology out of that, while Berger and Luckmann wrote the Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, one of the most psychedelic (to ME) non-fiction books I've ever read, and I am always returning to.


At present, my main model of Castaneda is that he never went to the Sonora Desert and probably wrote all the Don Juan books from sources in the library at UCLA. When he submitted his thesis, he was asked to show his field notes, and basically: the dog ate 'em, and they signed off on his degree anyway.

Joyce Carol Oates was one of the first to read Castaneda and detect that it's all fiction. I've got a letter from Douglas Hofstadter to Marcello Truzzi, in which Hofstadter has CC as "a fraud."

In the 1970s, Jacques Vallee thought Castaneda was sending "psychic images" of his allies into Vallee's dreams. (See Forbidden Science 2, p.508, note #37)

It's been fascinating to me to accumulate many years of notes on authors who bought Castaneda at his word; others who saw through him at some point, and then others who seemed to see the value in the work, even if it was a monumental put-on. I suspect RAW eventually caught on, but he never wrote about that. One of his acolytes, Adam Gorightly, has a stimulating take on CC, found in The Beast of Adam Gorightly, "The Trickster of Truths", pp.130-151.

As of 1974, RAW seemed to think Castaneda's work was authentic, at one point seeing the field of Anthropology as "BC": Before Castaneda. EX: Sir James Frazer was BC.

Now and finally: my main model may be wrong. WRONG!!! Of course! (However, for me: the Amy Wallace memoir was the coffin-nail.)

Psychiatrist Arnold Mandel suspected that "Don Juan" was based on the founder of Ethnomethodology, Harold Garfinkel, who Castaneda studied under at UCLA. And soon, after Castaneda became a "star", Garfinkel - whose students competed against each other for his favors - felt something like remorse for signing off on his PhD. Another of the advisors was Anthropologist Robert Edgerton, whose book _Sick Societies_ I found really interesting.

Garfinkel died in 2011, and here's a "memory" of him by one of his students, and it mentions DeMille's book, _The Don Juan Papers_, which is a compendium of many authors weighing in on the veracity of CC's work:

I was happy to see that Chad Nelson's wonderful work in fortifying RAW's Natural Law, Nelson saw fit to included RAW's essay, "A New Writer: F.W. Nietzsche," which originally appeared in New Libertarian in 1984. In writing about Nietzsche, RAW's really writing about himself, as most of you know.

Anyway, in that piece, RAW suspects Garfinkel, "who was Castaneda's sociology teacher and the possible original of Don Juan." (p.132 in the Hilaritas Press edition)

BTW: RAW thought Garfinkel's treatment of the intersex female, "Agnes," in _Studies In Ethnomethodology_, was hilarious, because Garfinkel had to add an appendix to that chapter at the end of the book. During the 8 or so years of studying "Agnes" - who Garfinkel was interested in as a case of "passing", he and his colleague found out she wasn't passing at all: she'd started taking her mother's estrogen at age 12, and really wanted the surgery to become a full woman. She got it. Garfinkel and his colleague Stoller were taken for a ride. There's an audio talk of RAW out there somewhere where he talks about this case and has a hearty laugh about it. The "Agnes" case is seen by many as the first "study" of a transsexual's transition, and clearly, from 1959-1967, Garfinkel and Stoller were in over their heads with this stuff. A short film about this came out in 2018, "Framing Agnes" and anyone innarested can watch it here: (The film starts at around 7:50)

I'd like to add that, IF I'm correct about Castaneda, or some variation on that take of mine - look at what he did: a true trickster! A massively successful work of guerrilla ontology!

And it's way too easy from me to imply his mentors were Garfinkel and stacks of books on Taoism, hallucinogenic use of peyote and psilocybin, Heidegger, Zen, anthropological reports on shamans, Native American mythology, etc. (I do picture him holed up in a carrel in the library at UCLA, taking notes from books and inventing all that fiction), but who ELSE were his teachers?

Further complicating matters is Amy Wallace's testimony, which paints Carlos as a sort of Manson-lite (no random killing sprees).

I'm interested in reading Illuminating Don Juan, too, not only to challenge my current main model of WTF was going on with CC, but simply 'cuz I like narratives to get ever-weirder and more complex. Challenging.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Meet Bobby Campbell at the Small Press Expo

You can meet Bobby Campbell if you attend the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland on September 17th and 18th.

"In addition to my usual bag of tricks I will be bringing the freshly printed Weird Comix #2, featuring my latest and greatest candy colored funny pages, with stories like: A Quantum of Discord, And Bob's Your Uncle, The Magnificent Mullah Nasreddin Hooja, Good Old Earth, Ms. Tri Begins, The Dragon's Gift, and On The Road to Somewhere :)))

"Weird Comix #2 will also be available everywhere in print and digital formats starting on September 17th.

I've preordered my copy. More Bobby Campbell news here. 

Monday, August 29, 2022

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, Episode 95, Chapter 18

Photo by John Fowler on Unsplash

Chapter 18 is a chapter without any exercises. I like the bit about the "virtually superhuman music" of the fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. There's also some stuff about the brain being turned on by a "non-local information system."

Wilson's account of faster-than-light communication between particles seemed speculative to me, and for what it's worth, when Charles Faris interviewed Jack Sarfatti about this via email in 2016 (for the Cosmic Trigger 1 reading group), Sarfatti backed off from such claims. (Full interview here.)

CF: ERP “proves” that if Quantum Mechanics is “true” this requires instantaneous contact between some particles, even if at opposite ends of Universe.

JS: Not accurate. Back when it was written it was plausible, but no longer.

Quantum entanglement is very fragile, and for particles out in space, the initial entanglement will almost certainly be destroyed by collisions with other particles.

Even if it was not, it is of very little consequence since actual message using entanglement alone is not possible in quantum mechanics.

CF: BELL’s theorizes 3 possible interpretations of the ERP effect—QM fails, OBJECTIVITY fails, LOCALITY fails.

JS: Not accurate. Back when it was written it was plausible, but no longer.

We now know through the work of Yakir Aharonov, Huw Price, Ken Wharton, and Rod Sutherland, that the only way to correctly understand quantum theory is through OBJECTIVE LOCALLY REAL RETROCAUSALITY in which future "destiny" causes post-determine what happens in the present in addition to the common sense past "history" causes. OBJECTIVE LOCAL RETROCAUSALITY is the only way to understand quantum entanglement without violating Einstein's special and general theories of relativity.

FASTER-THAN-LIGHT NONLOCALITY never happens directly. It is a mirage, the effect of OBJECTIVE LOCAL RETROCAUSALITY as probably first explained in the 1950s by O. Costa de Beauregard as the "zig-zag" also used by John Cramer in his "transactional interpretation." Indeed, so long as the entanglement is not destroyed by environmental decoherence, the statistical correlations do not depend on the space-time separation between the localized strong measurements on each particle in the entangled network.

Quantum uncertainty (e.g. Heisenberg) in the present is only because we must integrate over all possible future destiny causes. Therefore, our quantum theory using only past causes is incomplete as Einstein correctly thought. When one includes future destiny causes "God does not play dice with the universe." However, because quantum theory does not allow stand-alone quantum entanglement messaging, the usual Heisenberg uncertainties apply as a pragmatically useful effective description for simple scattering experiments on dead matter. This situation changes for those degrees of freedom responsible for life and consciousness in open complex systems with long-range quantum coherence (as first discussed by Herbert Frohlich). The situation changes for living matter, which is a POST-QUANTUM THEORY effect.

More here. 

This is Tom again. My favorite "hippie physicist," Nick Herbert, still seems to hold out hope for faster than light communication, see for example this blog post from 2021. 

All this reminds me of the debate many years ago between Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke about whether faster-than-light travel might be possible with Asimov answering "no" and Clarke "yes." 

Sunday, August 28, 2022

New book about Carlos Casteneda's (alleged) teacher


Well, here is something different for sombunall of you: A new book, Illuminating Don Juan, by Peter Marquis, an old hippie/shaman from northern California, about an old guy in Mexico who (it is claimed) was the real Don Juan, the shaman who taught writer  Carlos Casteneda in Casteneda's famous series of books. 

Also, in an interesting twist, this controversial book is put out by Pelorian Digital, i.e. the publishing and design company founded and run by Rasa, of Hilaritas Press fame.

Rasa explains,

"We have an old friend who has long been on something like a shamanic journey, enough so that he considers himself a shaman. He’s nearing 70, so he’s certainly had a lot of time to have experiences. I never know what that means when Westerners call themselves a shaman (we just don’t have that tradition, for the most part, unless you start talking about people like Crowley, I suppose), but since I’ve met a few indigenous shamans (one Russian and a couple of South Americans), I know that the calling can come from a deep internal struggle that I’m sure anyone from any culture can experience. 

"Okay, so Pete’s an old hippie, you might say. He’s said that about himself. He’s long had an interest in Mexican shamans. He devoured the Castaneda books, like many of us, and so he was surprised that just as the pandemic was starting, a friend of his told him that if he drove to Mexico, he would introduce him to the actual shaman who inspired the character of Don Juan in the Castaneda books. 

"Pete's book is the story of his travels from his home in Mt. Shasta, California back and forth to Mexico during two years of a pandemic, and his desire to figure out if this was actually the real guy, Castaneda’s Don Juan. 

"Pete’s Mexican girlfriend, Gloria, helps to pave the way in macho Mexican culture. It seems Don Juan, or Kata Kachora, as he is known, at 108 years old, is interested in acquiring wife number six, and Gloria was an attractive prospect, or at least the old guy was not shy about his affections. But that’s only a slight side note in a story that involves Pete attending shamanic ceremonies, arranging to put solar panels on Kata Kachora's house, buying land overlooking a sacred ceremonial site, evading bandits on some the more remote Mexican highways, smoking weed in seedy Mexican hotels and smoking weed in pristine mountain meadows – in short, it’s a cool story, and Pete is certain that his beliefs about the identity of Castaneda’s Don Juan will outrage what he sees as the “mainstream Castaneda community.” Already, mentioning that he was writing the book in a Facebook post, the post caught the attention of a Castaneda group where they proceeded to attack him. That’s probably good for his book sales.

"As an old friend, and knowing I was a publisher, Pete told me about the book when he was mostly finished and had already sent $2500 to a vanity press outfit, that honestly, when I looked them up online, they seemed okay. However, he was frustrated with their work. He sent me their proposed cover for the book and their edited “ready-for-ebook” MS Word file. The cover was immediately suspect because their design had a spine that was so wide it would be appropriate for a book of no less than 900 pages. Pete’s book is 174. The spine needed to be about a half an inch wide, at most, and their design had a spine that was a ridiculous inch and a half wide. The Word file was no better. It was very poorly formatted and would have resulted in a terrible eBook. I immediately felt bad for Pete, and since I was waiting for a couple of folks to finish up some work for upcoming Hilaritas Press projects, and I felt I had a bit of time, I told Pete that I would fix up the Word file and redesign a book cover for him."

This being the California New Age community, marketing and promotion has been an interesting process, Rasa further explains.

"So now, Pete begins his saga as a new book writer. He lives still in Mt. Shasta, and the New Age scene here could not be more stereotypically  'far out.' Sometimes that’s quite cool. There’s some very cool electronic and acoustic music for example, but there is also a large percentage of the people that RAW was thinking about when he quipped, 'My function is to raise the possibility, hey, you know, some of this stuff might be bullshit.' Pete gave a printout of the book to a young guy he met at a drum circle who said, 'Yes! I’m really good with promotion and social networking! I can help promote your book!' A few days later Pete asked the guy if he finished the book. He said, “No, instead of reading it, I have it sitting next to me when I’m meditating. I’m absorbing the book.” 

More conventional folks are being pressed into service to design a website for the book and to promote it on social media. 

I haven't read the original Don Juan books, maybe someone could volunteer to write a review of the new book for me? I was given a Kindle of the title, I can lend it to anyone willing to read it and review it for me. 

Saturday, August 27, 2022

How did you start reading RAW?

As an experiment in retention/understanding I've been listening to the new Hilaritas Press podcast on Beethoven in small sections, rather than all the way through in one sitting. 

Early in the podcast, Mike Gathers asks Eric Wagner how Eric began on reading Robert Anton Wilson, and Eric responds that he began with the Schroedinger's Cat trilogy (as the original three mass market paperbacks), then read the Illuminatus! trilogy, then Masks of the Illuminati. Mike mentions that he found Masks an accessible way to begin with RAW, and that he worked up to Illuminatus!, which he found difficult at first. 

I began with Illuminatus!, which I found totally absorbing; I simply cannot recall how I got interested in it, whether it was recommended to me and or I ran across it; I did early on have friends in college who also read it. Then I went on to everything else I could find. I do regret that I took a long time to get around to reading Robert Shea's solo works; I didn't start on his historical novels until many years after Shea had died. 

Friday, August 26, 2022

Christian Greer's new book


Scholar and Discordian Dr. J. Christian Greer, currently in the Bay Area preparing to teach at Stanford University, has a book outKumano Kodo: Pilgrimage to Powerspots, which he co-wrote with Michelle K. Oing, chronicling a trip in Japan I thought it sounded like something sombunall of you would be interested in, so I invited him to tell me a little about it. He responds:

"Writing Kumano Kodo: Pilgrimage to Powerspots is now something of a blur, as the text & art poured out of me over the course of a few weeks. Broken into three parts, it opens with a meditation of pilgrimage in the modern era, focusing heavily on the re-enchantment of travel by Kerouac. The other Beat writers loom large in the background too, especially Snyder who made some pilgrimages through Japan as well. The second part explores the Japanese traditions of mountain shamanism along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes, and describes the business conspiracies that transformed their training grounds in the Kii peninsula into a UNESCO World Heritage site. The final section recounts the alterations of consciousness I experienced while walking the Kumano Kodo in March 2020. Also, the book contains dozens of full-color mandaras, which I made in Kyoto while waiting for the US to reopen its borders."

Here is the back cover blurb:

Kumano Kodo is a journey into the hallucinogenic power of pilgrimage. Part travelogue, part speculative fiction, part scholarly history, this book speaks to the universal human impulse to explore the sacred through travel.

By focusing on Japan's oldest pilgrimage route, the Kumano Kodo, the authors offer their readers a boldly transgressive and abundantly humorous look at the merry art of pilgrimage. Whether uncovering historical conspiracies, recounting bawdy folklore, or collecting ghost stories, this surrealist investigation establishes a new paradigm for spiritual travel inspired by an impressive breadth of scholarly research, and the authors' many years as pilgrims across the globe.

Compiled in Kyoto at the height of the pandemic in 2020, the book is a unique reflection on the unwieldy power of the sacred in times of crisis, and contains dozens of original, full-color mandalas.

My link at the top of this blog post goes to the book's Amazon page, where you can read useful reviews.