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

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Rasa interviews Allen Ginsberg

YouTube video for Allen Ginsberg at the Iron Horse Cafe – 1986 Northampton, Massachusetts March 21, 1986 

Rasa once interviewed famed poet Allen Ginsberg for National Public Radio, although in those days Rasa wasn't "Rasa."

Rasa explains, "I worked for the National Public Radio affiliate for Western New England, WFCR, as a program producer. In 1986, Allen Ginsberg came to the popular Iron Horse Cafe, and I recorded his performance and interviewed him in the green room afterwards. 

"After the interview, he asked that I send him a copy of the interview once it was edited and aired. I did, and soon after I got a very nice letter from him – some nice words about the feature, and a general bit of well-wishing.


"– My name in 1986 was Rick Casreen – currently it's Richard Rasa. 

"– This video is not monetized, the graphics are all borrowed from the good Lord Google. 

"– I digitized the audio from a deteriorated old cassette, and tried to fix up the sound as well as possible. I'm guessing the feature is owned by WFCR, but I suspect my old cassette was the only existing copy. We produced a LOT of short features to accompany our news programs, and everything was recorded on expensive 1/2 inch audio tape. Because WFCR was a non-commercial station, with a public radio budget, we would routinely erase tapes once programs aired. Us producers saved our features on cassettes... not the best medium for long term storage."

The RAW connection is explained in Eric Wagner's An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson (still available as a cheap Kindle you can keep as a reference on your phone): "Wilson wrote an article about Ginsberg in Coincidance and Ginsberg makes a cameo at the 1968 C.E. Democratic convention in Illuminatus!"

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Read a poem referenced in Illuminatus!

From Appendix Nun at the end of the Illuminatus! trilogy: "LORD OMAR KHAYAM RAVENHURST. An imaginary Chaoist philosopher invented by Mr. Kerry Thornley of Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Thornley was a friend of Lee Harvey Oswald's, was accused of complicity in the John Kennedy assassination by District Attorney Jim Garrison, and is the author of llluminati Lady, an endless epic poem which you really ought to read."

Illuminati Lady has not been available except in an obscure 1960s zine -- until now! Adam Gorightly has unearthed it from the Discordian Archives, so you can read it now. 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, episode 75, Chapter 13

Photo by Klemen Vrankar on Unsplash

After I re-read Chapter 13 for this blog posts, I looked at the exercises as the end, and decided to do the fifth exercise, which is "Did you ever really give a good trial to our exercise, 'I can now exceed all my previous hopes and ambitions?' Try it; and at the same time, try, 'I can be healthier than I have ever been before'."  (That refers to an exercise listed for Chapter One: "Believe that you can exceed all your previous ambitions and hopes in all areas of your life.")

So last night and today, I have been trying to do the exercise, thinking of ways I might exceed my ambitions and hopes, and be healthier than ever before.

I recently turned 65, so it seems to be there are some practical limitations as to how far I can go to meet all of my possible ambitions and health goals. On the other hand, I still have some of the same ambitions are hobbies that I always have had, and as I have semiretired, downsizing my work hours, I now have more time for other things. And although I doubt I can be the healthiest I have ever been in my life, I do have control over whether I am making a better effort to be healthy, by exercising regularly and watching what I eat. 

This seems like something that will take more than a day or two, but I will continue to think on this exercise in the next couple of days, and on what I can do to implement it. 

 A couple of footnotes to the chapter:

Pagans and Christians: In a footnote, RAW writes about the "breakdown of Roman paganism and the rise of Christianity." And he remarks that the Rationalists of the time, "the Stoics, Epicureans and other heirs of the Greek philosophical-skeptical tradition" ignored Christianity "until their society was overcome by the paradigm shift to the new reality-tunnel."

Probably they did ignore Christianity up to a certain point, although seems to me that late in the Roman Empire Christianity became impossible to ignore, and the culture war between the two sides became very heated, as in the fight over whether to remove the Altar of Victory from the Senate House.  (The pagans lost the fight over that and felt vindicated by the various disasters that overtook the Roman Empire, such as the sack of Rome by the Goths in 410).

UFOS: There's a lot in this chapter about UFOs, so perhaps this is an opportune time to mention again that our friend Adam Gorightly has a recent UFO book out, Saucers, Spooks and Kooks: UFO Disinformation in the Age of Aquarius. I've had to concentrate on other reading for the last couple of months, but Adam's book is one my Kindle, and I hope to read it soon. 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Sunday notes: John Lilly podcast and 'Sex, Drugs & Magick' reading group


From the press kit at Coincidence Control Publishing.

A couple of things worth the attention of sombunall of you:

1. Yesterday I listened to the recent Hilaritas Press podcast on John Lilly, and it was one of the best of the series. Graham Talley, the person interviewed by host Mike Gathers, really knows a lot about Lilly (Talley brought Lilly's work back into print) and even read Cosmic Trigger to be better informed about LIlly's influence on Robert Anton Wilson. Talley also knows a lot about floatation tanks, so there's a lot of informed discussion about their uses.

2. A new post is up for the Sex, Drugs and Magick reading group. Apuleius Charlton is not very far into the book, so there's time to get a copy and join in. 

Saturday, March 26, 2022

RAW defends Timothy Leary

Timothy Leary, Robert Shea, Patricia Monaghan, Jeff Rosenbaum, Gillie Smythe at an Association for Consciousness Expansion gathering in Cleveland.

Yes, Robert Anton Wilson defended Timothy Leary in other places, too, but the article newly reprinted by Martin Wagner, "Must We Cage Genius?," seemed particularly impassioned and interesting to me. 

Here is RAW's one-paragraph description of Leary:

All right, Timothy is (has been, will be again) a cocksman, a social butterfly, a lothario, a boozer, a joke, a rowdy, a fun-lover, a hedonist, a sensualist, a rascal. Like Shelley and Shakespeare and Mendeleyev and Uncle Looie. He has also done scientific work which is universally regarded as important in his profession; done more controversial scientific work which may be even more important than that already recognized; written first-rate poetry; made a heroic and athletic jail break at the age of 49; given more love and compassion and understanding every week for ten years than most of us give in our life-times; made dumb political blunders; lied to some of his persecutors and some of his friends; told the truth repeatedly under great hazard to himself; made many women happy and some women sad; and looked at his species with a more remarkable dispassionate analysis than any contemporary writer, scientific or literary. The last claim is a subjective evaluation by me; the rest can be documented with case histories.

Here is RAW's one sentence description of the point of the First Amendment:

Dr. Leary’s felony is exactly that which the Constitution was intended to protect: speaking in favor of ideas that are genuinely new, genuinely offensive, genuinely unpopular.

A couple of questions about the piece: Is the "famous astronomer" referenced in it Carl Sagan? And who is the unnamed physicist who worked on the Orion Project? 

Friday, March 25, 2022

New zine from Arthur Hlavaty

Arthur Hlavaty aka Supergee is now 80 but the prominent SF fan (a multiple Hugo nominee for "best fan writer") and RAW fan continues to publish his ish, releasing his latest, Nice Distinctions 34, available as a PDF.

The zine consists largely of aphorisms and short asides first released on the Internet such as on this blog. Here were some of my favorites from the new issue: 

[On media fandom] I miss the good old days when being a geek required one to be able to read.


Someone on a blog said that Robert Heinlein is now less important in the field because good movies haven’t been made from his books. To me that says something terrible about the field.


Proposed: All members of Congress should be required to provide the public with as detailed an account of their assets as any person applying for a welfare program has to provide, and the account should be on their .gov webpage.


Cosmic Trigger; The Play_ was delightful and reminded me that I am not all that’s left of the Illuminatus! Nut Cult.

EFanzines, by the way, has a whole archive of Hlavaty zines.  Efanzines as a whole is worth a look if you like fanzines. William Breiding has an excellent zine called Portable Storage; the latest issue has my article on libertarians in science fiction fandom. also has fanzines. 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Book review: 'Street Legal' by Rafi Zabor

By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger

 I just finished Rafi Zabor’s new novel, and I recommended it unreservedly. Taking place on the West Coast during 2012 as the marijuana trade prepares to become legal, this exciting novel takes some interesting characters through some twists and turns. It has nice musical and spiritual touches as the very believable people in the book struggle to find their place in a deadly world.

I really enjoyed Rafi’s earlier two books The Bear Comes Home and I, Wabenzi, and reading this book makes me want to reread them. It also makes me want to reread Thomas Pynchon’s Vineland. In some ways Street Legal seems like a not too distant cousin of that novel also largely set in Northern California. I suspect those like myself who love Vineland will love Street Legal, but I suspect that those who have reservations about that unusual Pynchon novel will find Street Legal more to their liking. Zabor’s writing seems more spiritually grounded, and the silly stoner humor here belongs to the characters and not to the narrative voice.

In any event, I hope you will check out this terrific crime novel. I suspect you will thank me later. The novel has interesting discussions of pregnancy, parenthood, murder, guard dogs, chamber music, very large mobile homes and love, among many other topics. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

New Hilaritas podcast on Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller (Creative Commons photo)

Episode 7 of the Hilaritas Press podcast takes on Buckminster Fuller and drops today. Get it at the podcast website, which  also is likely to feature show notes and which lists the various apps where the podcast can be found, for those of you who like to get your podcasts on your smartphone.

Podcast host Mike Gathers has been posting Tweets about Fuller on his Twitter account, which you should follow if you're a RAW fan on Twitter. And don't forget about the new Fuller biography by Alec Nevala-Lee that will be out in August. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Bobby Campbell releases newsletter


Bobby Campbell has put out the first issue of his new quarterly newsletter, providing an update on his "various weirding ways and means." His news includes the fact that he's doing interior illustrations for the upcoming Hilaritas Press edition of Robert Anton Wilson's Wilhelm Reich in Hell. There's also a link to a recent podcast featuring Bobby and an update on Bobby's Weirdoverse website. (Bobby particularly recommends the "Misc Chaos" button that takes a visitor to a random place on the website.)

Monday, March 21, 2022

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, episode 74, Chapter 13

By Apuleius Charlton
Special guest blogger 

In Stranger Than We Can Imagine, John Higgs considers the curious provenance of Fountain, the urinal submitted as art, signed by “R. Mutt.” Higgs lays out the convincing case that Fountain was not in fact, created by Marcel Duchamp, as history and the artist himself remembered, but by Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Lorinhoven. Higgs, instead of attributing Duchamp’s claim to be the original “R. Mutt” to any perfidiousness, instead discusses the psychological phenomena of the Ebbinghaus Curve of Forgetting and how it can lead to a misattribution of ideas. This is illustrated quite well in the South Park episode “Fishsticks” which revolves around Cartman taking credit for his classmate Jimmy’s joke; while Cartman is obviously a despicable character who is perfidious, the episode shows how Cartman’s memory continues to overwrite the “correct” memory until, beside single handedly writing a joke that become a national hit,  his memories eventually have him simultaneously defeated a dragon and an army of robots.

Because we are on the “Modernism” chapter of Stranger Than We Can Imagine in class, I briefly asked the children if they could remember a time when they knew they had been the first to come up with an idea/say something for which another person later took credit.  Most students raised their hands and many of them had the look of satisfaction that comes whenever you have found an attribution for a very real occurrence for which you had no certain context. I then asked them if it was frustrating, if they couldn’t understand how the other person could be so wrong. Most nodded. I then asked what it means if they were the ones misremembering; that was a surprisingly sobering thought for pre-adolescents. Which is good, because it was a lesson that was hammered home to me my first time reading Prometheus Rising when Wilson brings up the anecdote about Oliver Cromwell: 

“Cromwell once addressed the Irish rebels, saying ‘I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it is possible that you might be wrong.’ History does not record that Cromwell ever addressed the same remark to himself.” 

Noting that is is highly unlikely Cromwell ever did ask himself the same question, as well as the anal-territorial invocation of Christs’ bowels, this is a clear example of how our main task as we grow neurologically is to doubt our own conclusions, not simply of others we perceive as misguided or lower on ladder of circuits. When Wilson talks about Rationalists, he does so with the bitterness of a model agnostic having to deal with dogmatic materialists; it is frustrating to deal with so-called “skeptics” that are incapable of being skeptical about their own prejudices and instead function as proselytes of their own narrow worldview. Agnosticism extends much further than the existence of a higher power and requires curiosity in being able to function as a useful and healthy philosophy.  

Questioning everything, and developing an understanding of the malleability of those organs of our that we believe make up reality, namely memory, perspective and our very self-awareness, seem to be one of the primary purposes of Prometheus Rising. Of course, the corollary to this is using this uncertainty to feed our curiosity so that we may endeavor to do that beyond our realms of experience; to question death and the limits of consciousness. A noble game, and one I hope I play well with others in honor of my wise teachers. Happily, Higgs begins his study of the twentieth century with Relativity and Einstein, so students are first familiarized with the lack of an objective fixed point and the perceptual murkiness of space-time, before we begin chipping away at such fleeting notions as memory. The "Fishsticks" episode also revolves around Kanye West being unable to understand the nuance of a very simple joke and becoming murderous. Considering Kanye today, I think we can find a worldview that is truly baffling. 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

John Higgs on context

John Higgs

 In his latest newsletter, John Higgs quotes Robert Anton Wilson, then argues that if you are outraged by a quote on Twitter taken from a famous person, perhaps you should check the context:

"We have probably all had the experience of being mortified by the news that a person we admire has said an appalling thing, only to read the actual article and realise that they were not talking about that appalling thing at all. Instead, they were using that sentence in the context of a wider argument about something else that was, annoyingly, fairly reasonable. And conversely, there are many single statements that seem admirable and empowering, but which in context are being used to seduce you into terrible worldviews. Everyone from crypto grifters to white supremacists know how this works.

"So - it’s worth being aware of this, because it is something that politicians, tech giants and media companies will use against you. When you see a lost statement, try and return it home to its original context. Even the most appalling headline you encounter will be true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true, false and meaningless in some sense. It may also, if you’re lucky, be part of something more."

More here.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Mike Myers in secret society TV series

 Comedian  Mike Myers, playing off of the Law of Fives, has announced a six episode TV series on Netflix, The Pentaverate, Deadline reports. On Instagram, Myers "posted the teaser at 5:55 a.m. PT, announcing that The Pentaverate will debut 5/5."

"Created by Myers and directed by Tim Kirkby, the series asks, 'What if a secret society of five men — aka The Pentaverate — has been working to influence world events for the greater good since the Black Plague of 1347?' As the series begins, one unlikely Canadian journalist (Myers) finds himself embroiled in a mission to uncover the truth and just possibly save the world himself."

In Illuminatus!, the Illuminati are run by five people. 

Myers plays eight different roles. Look for an eye in a pyramid in the trailer. 

Hat tip, Jesse Walker, who writes on Twitter, "Austin Powers' The Da Vinci Code."

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Website update

If Masks of the Illuminati is one of  your favorite RAW books, you can read a series of blog posts about it. 

If you look at the right side of this website, you'll see a link for "Prometheus Rising Discussion Group," which has an archive of links to all 73 blog posts so far in the ongoing discussion group; I had gotten behind, but now I'm caught up.

We've had quite a few online discussion groups on this blog, and I've put up links to all of them, as a convenient archive for anyone who might be interested.  There have been discussion groups for Illuminatus!, Nature's God, The Widow's Son, The Earth Will Shake, Email to the Universe, Cosmic Trigger, Coincidance, Masks of the Illuminati and Quantum Psychology, which I guess speaks to my persistence, if not my insight. Some of these were led by me, others by guest contributors. There also were discussion groups for Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov and The Beethoven Quartets by Joseph Kerman. So if you are re-reading a favorite RAW book, or trying one for the first time, you can read the old blog posts and compare you impressions with somebody else's. Unfortunately, some of those old blog posts have spam comments; I don't have the time to go back and remove all of them. The more recent online discussions groups should be clean, as I now moderate comments to eliminate the prostitution ads, "join the Illuminati" pitches and other horrible stuff. 

Also: I blogged recently about a jazz "Concert for Ukraine." You can now watch the concert, and there's a button to donate at the link. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Eight Circuits music lessons offered

Zach West (Facebook photo)

The Musical Circuits Curriculum website, offered by Colorado musician Zach West,  offers instruction in what West calls I2C2 Music, with lessons in four circuits for kids and lessons in eight circuits for adults. (The I2 stands for "Intelligence Increase" while the C2 stands for "Creativity Cultivation.") Lessons cost $35 for a half hour sessions, $60 for an hour and $400 for a Musical Circuits package for adults. More here. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Putin is bringing attention to the SNAFU principle

Vladimir Putin. A war criminal, and probably not an Illuminatus! fan 

Robert Anton Wilson's SNAFU principle, that communication is possible only between equals because subordinates feel pressure to tell the boss what he wants to hear, is one of the best insights in the Illuminatus! trilogy. And thanks to Vladimir Putin, the SNAFU principle is becoming better known.

I wrote about this the other day, and now Julian Sanchez of the Cato Institute, 60,000 followers on Twitter, has weighed in:

Sanchez, by the way, has read Illuminatus! more than once (see the post, but also in the comments.)

Monday, March 14, 2022

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, episode 73, Chapter 13

By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger.

In response to my last post, Tom Jackson commented on February 23, 2022,  

"As I've written earlier, I have been concentrating on Bach this year, as I don't know Bach's music as well as I know Beethoven's and Mozart's. 

"Still, as you note, Beethoven looms large in this chapter and the previous chapter. If I take time to listen to Beethoven again, should I concentrate on the later sonatas and string quartets, do you think?"  

(Comment at 2/20/2022 post

Great question, Tom. From a Wilsonian perspective, the Ninth Symphony seems the cornerstone. After that, the Hammerklavier Sonata, Op. 106 shows up repeatedly in Bob’s writing. He also occasionally refers to the Third, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Symphonies, as well as the late string quartets. 

From my perspective those all seem like important works. Rafi Zabor has really helped me gain more insight into Beethoven’s music over the past 17 years. I love Solomon’s recording of the Piano Sonatas Op. 106, Op. 109, and Op. 111 and Artur Schnabel’s recordings of the Piano Sonatas Op. 109, 110, and 111. I love Furtwangler’s 1942 recording of the Ninth Symphony. I love Horenstein’s recording of the Missa Solemnis and the recordings of the late quartets by the Budapest Quartet and by the Takacs Quartet. 


 Some people have suggested updating the exercises in Prometheus Rising. I generally prefer to do the exercises the way Bob suggested, but on June 6, 2021, I wrote the following to Robert Anton Wilson scholar Michael Johnson of 

"Exercise 3 in chapter 13 of Prometheus Rising asks the reader to “Read Brain/Mind Bulletin for any recent year, and observe that similar healings are reported regularly and attributed to endorphins in the brain.” Since this publication ceased publication years ago, I would really appreciate it if you would create a new exercise for our Prometheus Rising study group at We plan to start chapter 13 in March 2022. You combine the unique combination of a deep knowledge of Wilson’s work and a strong background in brain science. I suspect you could come up with a great substitution. (I think of Coltrane playing chord substitutions in 1959.)"

 Michael kindly wrote back: 

"I suspect you assume more knowledge about neuroscience on my part than I possess. Having said that (<---I feel a jerk typing that phrase), and not having read that chapter of PR in a long time, I suspect my response would be too demanding and long. The mystery  of healing and endorphins has gone supernova since RAW wrote that (his PhD diss).  

 "Among many other things, I'd include readings from articles and books on: 

"-How the dopamine system was linked to positive placebo effects, but dopamine is NOT as simple as most people think. There are many other neurochemicals that make us feel good. Levodopa for Parkinson's increases dopamine in brain, but doesn't bring on pleasure or happiness; it makes us feel lousy. Dopamine=pleasure/happiness is too widely believed and too simple. Other                                neurotransmitters that contribute for feeling good: e endorphins, oxytocin, serotonin, glutamate, and GABA:And it's just really, really, RILLY complex. 

 "-Current neurobiological explanations for placebo has to do with action in the dorso- lateral and medial-ventral areas of the PFC (pre-frontal cortex) overriding signals from the amygdala: I'd call on the readers to read a basic article on what the amygdala does, and then, maybe, read pp.60-62 of Robert Sapolsky's Behave, but preferably, pp.20- 80 of that book, which will go on to be one of the great            non-fiction books of the 21st century, I predict.  

"-There's a lot of stuff now on oxytocin and touch and activation of the immune system, as you may know. Oxytocin is not dopamine, and carries its own social problems, mostly the down-sides of its ability to foster the in-group "us" feeling. Strong "us" feelings tend to amplify strong "them" feelings, and you can see where that goes. Just watch a goddamned Dump rally. 

"-Since RAW wrote, a lot (A LOT) of words have been written on the Nocebo effect: how negative emotions can effect health. This would have to dovetail with at least a soupcon of info on the dizzying complexity of the immune system. T-Cells "talk" to neurons. .. Bacteria in the gut probably has something to do with the emerging "Psychobiome." Etc, etc, etc, etc. 

" -RAWphiles really should know basic stuff about RAW's favorite drug: cannabis. I'd recommend reading chapters 6 and 7 from Julie Holland's The Pot Book, "The Endocannabinoid System" and "Anandamide and More", pp.52-72. The endocannabinoid system predates vertebrate life and is implicated in a host of healing pathways. Anandamide is the analogue to THC, but it's endogenous. 

"Dinner time. I could write another 8000 words on this but I hope you get the picture. Like I said, since PR: supernova."

 Thank you, Michael! I bought the two books Michael recommended, and I have started reading Behave. I did not know about Konrad Lorentz’s Nazi past which I learned about from Sapolsky’s book. 

Sunday, March 13, 2022

The composer associated with George Gurdjieff

Thomas de Hartmann

I probably know more about Russian classical music composers than many serious classical music fans. But I confess that until the other day, I did not know the name Thomas de Hartmann. de Hartmann (1885-1956) was a collaborator and student of George Gurdjieff, who of course in mentioned in Robert Anton Wilson's writings. de Hartmann was born in what is now the Ukraine; he studied music in Russia and Germany and later worked in France and the United States.

I wrote an article that appeared this weekend in the Sandusky Register, about conductor Theodore Kuchar.  The bulk of my piece is about how Kuchar is the main conductor for an orchestra in Lviv, Ukraine, and fled the country during the recent invasion; he was in Helsinki, Finland, when I tracked him down via Facebook.

In the course of my piece I had to explain who Kuchar is. He is of Ukrainian American descent and studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has made more than 100 recordings, and is known, for example, for recording all of the symphonies of Prokofiev. He is currently involved in a big project to record de Hartmann's music; he described de Hartmann to me as a "genius composer" with a background similar to Prokofiev's. Kuchar is recording de Hartmann's complete orchestral works and is collaborating with prominent soloists such as violinist Joshua Bell and cellist Matt Haimovitz. 

I am a huge fan of Prokofiev and of Kuchar's recordings of the composer, so I asked Kuchar if there's a case that can be made that Prokofiev was the greatest composer of the 20th century. "The fans of Bartok, Shostakovich, Copland, Martinu and many others may have their own opinions. Does Cleveland have the greatest orchestra in the world? Listeners in Berlin, Vienna, Chicago and Lviv may also have their own opinions. This is a very subjective question and most important is that we remain aware, respectful and appreciative of each of these of these," he told me.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

A poem from RAW

Photo by UX Gun on Unsplash

Man Becomes What He Hates

It seems now Goya foresaw it
when he painted the wolf instructing the monks,
"Misera humaninad, la culpa es tuya."
And we, shivering in the sudden cold
of revelation, look on the work
of our hands. Hiroshima,
"a city," my old almanac says
"of 340,000." We sent the plane,
You and me and our President. We
did it because we were Liberals and
Anti-fascists; we did it
to make Peace and preserve Democracy.
Bitter, now, to note
now in conversations about our time
the name of that city always seems
to fall snugly into place alongside
the names of Buchenwald and Belsen.

-- Robert E. Wilson

(From the Realist, Issue 6, February 1959. The source is Martin Wagner. Note that "Robert Edward Wilson" was RAW's birth name; he adopted the "Robert Anton Wilson" byline early in his writing career.)

Friday, March 11, 2022

Robert Anton Wilson, 'The Prism Lecture'

"The Prism Lecture" is a talk given by Robert Anton Wilson in Santa Cruz, California, in 1982. It was publicized on Twitter recently, and I didn't see it among the audio offers at Robert Anton Wilson Fans, so I thought I would share it here.

Robert Anton Wilson Fans has a lot of RAW audio, and interviews and articles; check it out if you haven't looked at it. 

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Sex, Drugs & Magick reading group continues

The second week posting for the Sex, Drugs and Magick online discussion group has been posted by Apuleius Charlton.  

This week, Apuleius writes about the forewords written by Grant Morrison, Damien Echols, Phil Farber and Ian "Cat" Vincent. 

It's not too late to grab a copy of the book and join in. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

The SNAFU principle in action?

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Obviously, he "is" a Putin supporter, despite being long dead. 

For those of you who have read Illuminatus!, I wanted to point out something I spotted on Twitter, about the difficulty of giving bad news to the boss. Here is a Tweet from Andrei V. Kozyrev, foreign minister of Russia from 1990 to 1996, about Putin, italics mine:

"2. Russian military. The Kremlin spent the last 20 years trying to modernize its military. Much of that budget was stolen and spent on mega-yachts in Cyprus. But as a military advisor you cannot report that to the President. So they reported lies to him instead. Potemkin military"

(Part of this thread). 

Another aspect of the current crisis that reminds me of Robert Anton Wilson's work (other than the looming threat of nuclear war, which is always in the background during a confrontation with a nuclear power) are the way Russians are being discussed as if they all "are" people with common characteristics; here is a Jesse Walker Tweet about Tchaikovsky being cancelled. 

Monday, March 7, 2022

An interview for 'Illuminatus!' fans


There's a new book out called Off the Edge: Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Culture And Why People Will Believe Anything by journalist Kelly Weill. To interview Weill, who has been to conventions that had 600 people who solemnly believe the Earth is shaped like a pancake, the CPAN Book TV show picked the ideal person: Jesse Walker, author of The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory.  The result is an hour-long video, entertaining and interesting, which might be of particular interest to sombunall RAW fans. 

By the way, did you know the original reason for forming the United Nations was to reveal the truth that the Earth is flat? It's one of those things they don't want you to know! 

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, episode 72, Chapter 12

One of my favorite RAW works uses a different order for the Eight Circuits than in Prometheus Rising. 

As Hilaritas Press goes about reprinting many of Robert Anton Wilson's works in fresh editions, Rasa has attempted to add value to each new edition. And it's appropriate to bring that up as we conclude Chapter 12, dealing with the sixth circuit, what in Prometheus Rising is described as the Neurogenetic Circuit.

You can of course read any edition you like when participating in this online discussion group, but in the Hilaritas Press edition of the book, there's an "Afterword" by Rasa which wrestles with an unsolved mystery: Why did RAW change the order of Timothy Leary's 6th and 7th circuits in Prometheus Rising, only to revert to Leary's original system in Quantum Psychology?

Rasa lays out the mystery in the Afterword:

"In Timothy Leary's order of the Eight Circuits in his 1977 Exo-Psychology, he calls Circuit 6 Neuro-electric and Circuit 7 Neurogenetic. In Cosmic Trigger I (also 1977), Bob uses the same names and the same order. However, in Prometheus Rising (1983), Bob reverses the order of Circuits 6 and 7.  Circuit 6 becomes the Neurogenetic Circuit and Circuit 7, previously Neuro-electric, is renamed the Metaprogramming Circuit. To add another layer of uncertainty, in 1990 Bob published Quantum Psychology where his description of the Eight Circuits returned to Tim's original order. He renames the Neurogenetic Circuit after Rupert Sheldrake's concept of the Morphogenetic Field to the Morphogenetic System, but the descriptions of Circuits 6 and 7 in Prometheus Rising and Quantum Psychology do not change substantially -- only their sequence."

The Afterword goes into considerable detail about how Rasa queried various RAW experts, the RAW Trust Advisors,  about the mystery without ever being able to reach a definitive conclusion. At the end, Rasa says that he likes the ordering and naming in Prometheus Rising, and explains why but admits, "that's just my thing."

John Higgs is quoted in the Afterward noting that Leary continually revised his Eight Circuit model during all of the second half of his life. And RAW appears to have followed a similar process, revising the model as he thought about it and wrote about it. 

The Wikipedia article, "Eight-circuit model of consciousness," lists the eight circuits in Leary's original order, while noting how RAW changed the order in Prometheus Rising. The Wikipedia article also points out that Leary originally had seven circuits, not eight.

The Wikipedia piece also points out that the Eight Circuit model can be tied to RAW's "Eight Winner Scripts" and "Eight Loser Scripts" in the book The Illuminati Papers, (combined here). The scripts, and RAW's listing of "The Eight Circuits of the Nervous System" in The Illuminati Papers, follow Leary's order rather than the one in Prometheus Rising. 

Sunday, March 6, 2022

The genius of John von Neumann

John von Neumann (government photo)

John von Neumann, whose ideas are noted in the writings of Robert Anton Wilson (for example in the short story "Von Neumann's Second Catastrophe" in the Lewis Shiner anthology, When the Music's Over), is discussed in a new book, The Man From the Future by Ananyo Bhattacharya, reviewed in the Wall Street Journal. The reviewer, Stephen Budiansky, says the new bio does well in discussing von Neumann's ideas, but says readers should try another book,  John von Neumann: The Scientific Genius who Pioneered the Modern Computer, Game Theory, Nuclear Deterrence, and Much More by Norman Macrae. 

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Concert for Ukraine

Michelle Olley is helping to organize a March 13 jazz "Concert for Ukraine" at the Cockpit in London, the location for many RAW-related events.

"Jazz musicians come together to raise money for Ukraine. 

"Featuring Alina Bzhezhinska & HipHarpCollective, Tony Kofi, Vimala Rowe, Niki King, Neil Charles, Alex Webb, Jo Harrop, Cleveland Watkiss, GéNIA, Shabaka Hutchings and many more."

Details here. 

Hat tip: Nick Helweg-Larsen. 

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Artwork from Twitter



The Hilaritas podcast on Kerry Thornley

Long car drives are usually my best opportunity to get caught up on podcasts, so yesterday when I had a lengthy commute I listened to the Hilaritas Press podcast on Kerry Thornley, featuring a long interview of Adam Gorightly by Mike Gathers. 

Lots of good information about the Discordian background of the Illuminatus! trilogy, including about how Robert Anton Wilson apparently drew on the Discordian Archives when he worked on the trilogy. There are show notes at the link and a listing of the apps and services where the podcast can be found.

If you want to know more about listening to the podcast, Adam's Historia Discordia website has information on Adam's books that go into topics in more depth, such as Historia Discordia: The Origins of the Discordian Society, Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Administration and The Prankster and the Conspiracy, Adam's biography of Kerry. For more on Adam and his other books, go here. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

A brain researcher who echoes RAW

Photo by sHa shadoll on Unsplash

 Via a Tweet from Jesse Walker, I was pointed to an article at The New Statesman: "Is reality a hallucination? The neuroscientist Anil Seth thinks so." 

In his Tweet, Walker pointed to a particularly arresting sentence for RAW fans: "Rather than passively perceiving our surroundings, our brains are constantly making and refining predictions about what we expect to see; in this way, we create our world."

Another interesting bit: "There are parallels between his work on the transient, constructed nature of the self and lessons in Hinduism and Buddhism. He meditates daily."

There is discussion about brain machines; I am sure RAW would have liked to try the hallucinations machine Seth demonstrates on the reporter who wrote the article, Sophie McBain.  It also interested me that Seth spent time in California during his career; it turned him into a surfing enthusiast. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

New 'Sex, Drugs & Magick' book group

Apuleius Charlton has launched a new online book discussion group at his Jechidah blog for the Hilaritas Press edition of Sex, Drugs & Magick: A Journey Beyond Limits. It launched with a post that went up Monday night, "Guided By Memory, a Tintinnabulum to Ward Our Studies."

The format is the same as the reading groups at this blog: A blog post goes up, and everyone is invited to weigh in with a comment.

For Apuleius, Sex, Drugs & Magick is a chance to experience early Robert Anton Wilson, even before the publication of Illuminatus!

"He was brash and silly and full of It. He had the broken spectre and glory of a newborn magician. Wilson the Magician. I wouldn't argue that this is our closest contact with that persona, but I would argue it is one of the more straightforward."