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

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Prop Anon on Tale of the Tribe


George Antheil

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 30, 2022

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


Photo by Daniel Klaffke on Unsplash

What are your favorite exercises? 

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

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

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

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

RAW goes on in this vein, discussing possible answers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have favorite exercises that seemed particularly effective? 

Saturday, May 28, 2022

New 'Map Is Not the Territory' video series

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 27, 2022

Eglantyne Books launches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 26, 2022



RAW Semantics comments on Twitter, "WARNING: Directing your anger at *group* categories (includes 'lefties', 'Tories', 'liberals', 'Dems', 'Republicans' etc.) may result in permanent brain damage & likely doesn't improve your IQ."

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Hakim Bey has died

Peter Lamborn Wilson (photo from

Peter Lamborn Wilson, who wrote under the pen name of Hakim Bey, has died, according to this report and also reports that I have seen on Twitter the last couple of days. As the Wikipedia bio notes, he was "primarily known for his concept of Temporary Autonomous Zones, short-lived spaces which elude formal structures of control."

Robert Anton Wilson reviewed his book TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism for his Trajectories newsletter, and the review is reprinted in RAW's Chaos and Beyond: The Best of Trajectories. 

RAW was particularly impressed with the long essay "The Temporary Autonomous Zone," which makes up the last third of the book, writing, "I regard this long essay, frankly, as the most important contribution to anarchist and/or libertarian thinking since the heyday of Emma Goldman and Benjamin R. Tucker." 

On Twitter, Prop Anon wrote, "Just learned that Peter Lamborn Wilson died a couple of days ago. I was really into his work until I saw all his essays supporting pedophilia. I interviewed him (which I have yet to release) and went off the record to ask him about his NAMBLA support. He didn't wanna talk about it."

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

New Hilaritas podcast on Eight Circuit Model

The Hilaritas Press podcast series continued Monday with a release might be  relevant to our long-running Prometheus Rising discussion group: For the ninth episode, Mike Gathers interviews Antero Alli, who has written and taught about the Eight Circuit Model.

Here's the show description: "In this episode, we chat with underground film maker, professional astrologer, paratheater ritualist, teacher, writer, forest walker, dreamer and no form engineer Antero Alli on Chapel Perilous, paratheater, and the Eight Circuit model."

As usual, the episode website has useful links for more information. 

The June episode of the podcast -- look for it June 23 -- will feature Jesse Walker. 

Monday, May 23, 2022

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, episode 82, Chapter 15

By Apuleius Charlton
Special guest blogger 

When I was younger and thus different than I am now (and thus beknighted and ignorant according to my current self) I vowed and swore and declared that I would not purposefully manipulate my daughter’s religious viewpoints. I take religion/spirituality/the lack thereof rather seriously and at the time compared raising a child in a religious ideology as a spiritual violation of autonomy. It wasn’t until recently I realized how gravely I had forsook my noble vow and broke my promise time and again. My daughter was playing with a wand. 

Indeed, as I looked over it I had manipulated, corralled and exposed my daughter to everything that I love, my gods, my universe and magic from the youngest age. When she was an infant I surrounded her with fairies and read her The 1001 Nights. I conducted Enochian investigations in the room across from her where she’d come and visit as a toddler. When she was older I took her for long walks telling her stories about The Great God Pan and grey-eyed Athene. I filled her head with ideas about magic and hinted at possibilities outside the realm of the everyday. We made a game/exercise of her grabbing statues or items off my various altars and her asking what they were, as if learning a catechism. I immersed her in my beliefs and she is well on the way to making them her own and eventually something new. 

I can’t say that I regret reworking the terms of my vow- after all, I never blatantly told her what to believe and now she is old enough to debate and consider ideas I bring up on her own. I’m pleased by what she is and might be. Did he smile his work to see?

Yesterday, at a rare family gathering one of my relatives remarked that my daughter acted “exactly” like me and was my “mini-Me.” I could only respond “that’s why I am so fond of her, I like things that resemble myself.” Did he who made the Lamb make thee? 

I have lived most of my adult life in spaces that were consciously designed to suffuse me in my own bullshit. Consequently, I am nigh-neurotic in my preference for meeting with others in my own spaces. It is the same at school; I will always choose to stay in my room and insist that I teach in my room during classes outside the regular day. 

Reading the material in this chapter is imminently familiar as I know it by rote, it is one of the things I digested easily when first reading Wilson, and it made me feel awfully smug about being on the right track as an adolescent. (He even refers to Blake as "The Poet," which tremendously warms the cockles of my heart.) In many ways it is the satisfaction of what one must feel when they hear the letter of their version of Natural Law. I guess I’m still awfully smug, although I am aware that I have become somewhat addicted to my exteriorized world to the point where being in another’s is decently uncomfortable after a short span of time. 

I intend to do the exercises concerning mapping others on the four terrestrial circuits. I believe this is one I have done before and I hope I can find my notes as it would be interesting to see how my impressions have changed. While not listed as an exercise, I will give a brief example by notationally dissecting myself: 

1st Circuit: Strongly oral characteristics with a deep aversion to adversity or pain

2nd Circuit: Primary “I’m not okay, you’re not okay” script coupled with “I’m okay, you’re not okay” paranoiac-leaning subscript 

3rd Circuit: Deeply devoted to their own sense of logic and semantics, very dismissive of contradictory “logics”

4th Circuit: Strong currents of moralism and “ethics” obsession coupled with recalcitrant attitude toward many societal structures and norms

:( With that going for me, I should be able to write a pretty good fundamentalist Christian critique. All in good fun, one hopes!  

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Michelle Olley's big news roundup


Michelle Olley (the Bobby Campbell remix)

I expect news when I get the Mycellium Newsletter, but the May issue just issued by Michelle Olley is exceptional; it has a ton of events in Britain for Discordians to consider attending, and new products that everyone around the world can access. Much is going on in Liverpool, in London and in Brighton and many projects and new releases are available, so scroll down for all the news. Note that the Liverpool event is Monday, so you need to scramble if you didn't get the memo earlier. Probably a good idea to sign up for the newsletter. Daisy Campbell, by the way, is busy writing something, but Michelle isn't ready to reveal anything yet; "more on this when we get it," she says. 

Some of these announcements deserve a separate blog entry -- well, maybe all of them do, but I will at least cover some in the next couple of days. 

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Podcast tips from Joseph Matheny

 From Joseph Matheny on Twitter: "This podcast has quickly become my favorite "Conspiracy" related show. The hosts are amusing and engaging, they research their material and they, most importantly, keep their sense of humor front and center." Here are the episodes for The Nonsense Bazaar. 

Joseph also likes the Fear is the Mind Killer podcast, and the latest episode features the Nonsense Bazaar hosts. 

Your can also read Matheny's Substack newsletter. 

Friday, May 20, 2022

RAW on reality tunnels and the eight circuits

Martin Wagner announces yet another rediscovery, a Robert Anton Wilson piece called "How to Tell Your Friends From the Apes," published in 1985 in Magical Blend. Much of it covers material also covered in Prometheus Rising.


"It appears that the simple Aristotelian idea that we are either conscious or unconscious (asleep or awake is inadequate. We have seen a whole spectrum of consciousness; it seems clear that each level of consciousness opens many possibilities for reality-tunnels, and that consciousness has evolved, and it is still evolving; we absolutely cannot predict what we might become and what we might know after the next evolutionary leap. In particular, the seemingly net intractable problems of life on this planet—such as injustice, exploitation, crime and, above all, war—seem to be maintained by rigid reality-tunnels which prevent further learning or which “hypnotize” us so that we do not see who were or what we are doing. But such mechanical stupidity or maya, or “sleep-walking” is, in this perspective, an early evolutionary state out of which we are, as individuals and as a species, slowly growing toward higher and higher levels of awareness."

Lots of other material at Robert Anton Fans Germania, both in German and English. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022


A May 23 event in Chicago: "Illuminated Brew Works and Weird Studies join forces for the launch of the Weird Studies black IPA!" Ticket information and more info here. 

Weird Studies is a podcast ("A filmmaker and a professor talk art and philosophy at the limits of the thinkable") and there are 122 episodes so far; many of the topics seem likely to interest a RAW fan. Browse available episodes here. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The brainwaves artist

In his later life, Robert Anton Wilson often tried and wrote about brain machines. Brian Dean at RAW Semantics, who has tried brain machines and written about them, recommends following the Twitter account of Luciana Haill, @BrainAnalyser, a United Kingdom resident who says in her Twitter bio, "artist & lecturer expressing sleep, time & nostalgia in artworks made by recording brainwaves, explored in mixed realities (and sometimes with dreamachines."

The official website says, "Fine artist Luciana Haill has persevered with interaction from brainwave mapping into her Art since the early 1990s. Her work intersects mixed realities, neuroscience, telematics and the unconscious to make mental processes visible (in particular – lucid dreams, meditation and nostalgia)."

Monday, May 16, 2022

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, episode 81, Chapter 15

 A ticket for a RAW event. 

By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger 

This chapter opens with a quote from Finnegans Wake: “It* is not just a riot of blots and blurs and dislocated jottings linked by spurts of speed…it only looks as like it as damn it.” Bob adds this note: “* Presumably the input (software) or the brain (hardware). Or both (pg. 215).” Part of me says, no, Joyce would likely not use this vocabulary. On the other hand, Joyce might like the way Bob uses the material from Finnegans Wake.  Part of me enters the orthodox Joycean headspace and pooh-pooh Bob’s creative use of Joyce material. Another part of me recalls that a lot of contemporary Joyce criticism echoes ideas that Bob published before anyone else. Of course, orthodox Joyceans rarely give Bob any credit.

Someone said of Alexander Pope’s Homer translations, “It’s a very pretty poem, Mr. Pope, but you must not call it Homer.” (Ezra Pound shorted this to “Very pretty, not Homer.”) Rereading Masks of the Illuminati over the past forty years, I have sometimes thought of this when considering Wilson’s treatment of figures like Joyce and Pound and their works. The first time I read Masks in 1982 I knew very little about Joyce and Pound and had never read either of them. Then my Wilson obsession led me to read Pound and Joyce (and develop Joyce and Pound obsessions as well), and rereading Masks I sometimes found myself thinking, “Very pretty, not Joyce” and/or “Very pretty, not Pound.” Then I lived a bit more as a Cosmic Schmuck, and I read a lot more, and then rereading Masks I found myself thinking, “Well, maybe. These seem like valid insights into these two mysterious men and their works.”

 (It looks like the fellow in the picture on page 216 found a quarter or two.)

On pages 219-220 Bob says, “Assuming you are reading this in your own home, look around the room. Note that everything in your field of vision – furniture, paintings or posters on the walls, stereo set or absence of same, rugs, TV or not TV[1], etc. – is, in a sense, your creation or co-creation.” I find myself reading this in a community college classroom surrounded my computer, books, papers, and the James Joyce tote I got at the 2011 North American James Joyce Conference. I also have a 1988 ticket designed by Steve and Vicky Snow to a Robert Anton Wilson talk which I use as a bookmark.

[1] That “is” the question.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

RAW, classical music and my other blog

Russian composer Alexander Mosolov in 1927. Unless you are probably a pretty serious Russian classical music fan, you probably don't know the name. He was never a "dissident" but spent time in the Gulag, anyway. 

One of the interests I share in common with Robert Anton Wilson is a love and strong interest in classical music; he often talked about Beethoven or Mozart or Bach, or classical music in general.

In "Credo" in the book Right Where You Are Sitting Now, RAW wrote about some of his favorite composers, "I believe in Bach, the creator of heaven and Earth, and in Mozart, his only begotten son, and in Beethoven the mediator and comforter; and inasmuch as their gods have manifested also in Vivaldi and Ravel and Stravinsky and many another, I believe in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of error, and Mind everlasting."

Elsewhere, RAW summarizes his favorite music as "Beethoven's Ninth and his late quartets, Bach, Bizet, Carl Orff, Vivaldi, the less popular and more experimental stuff by Stravinsky."

This obviously is not the whole story; I got interested in the Baroque composer Jan Dismas Zelenka via the Schroedinger's Cat trilogy. There has been a revival of interest in Zelenka's music, and RAW contributed to that. 

A couple of observations about RAWs musical taste: I like the composers he likes and I spend many hours listening to Bach, Beethoven and Mozart.

I notice little interest in modern composers. I can't remember any mention in RAW's writings of modernists such as Webern or Elliott Carter, or minimalists such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass, or offbeat Americans such as Morton Feldman or Lou Harrison. (Harrison lived much of his life in Santa Cruz County, not far from RAW. Maybe they somehow crossed paths in an unrecorded way?) RAW did know about John Cage, an exception to the general rule. Nevertheless, Stravinsky and Ravel are about as "far out" as RAW ever got in classical music, although he did listen to jazz.

The other thing I notice is that RAW doesn't mention many Russians ... no mention of Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, or any other Russians except for Stravinsky.

The argument of my music blog, Russian Futurism, is twofold. One is that Russian composers dominated classical music in the 20th century in a way that's analogous to the way German-speaking composers dominated in the 18th and 19th centuries. When you get past the few composers everyone knows, such as Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Stravinsky, there are endless riches: Myaskovsky, Medtner, Edison Denisov, Khachaturian, Popov, Mosolov and many others. 

More specifically, I argue that the Russian avante-garde classical music movement of  1915-1935 or so, essentially destroyed by Stalin, is a "lost" musical wave that deserves more attention. 

By "musical wave," I mean any important musical movement that left its mark on the world .... the British Invasion of 1960s rock bands, bebop jazz after World War II, the punk explosion of the late 1970s, the Seattle "grunge" movement of the 1980s and 1990s. 

It is my contention that the Russian classical music avant-garde of the period I reference, the composers who were members of the Association of Contemporary Music (1923-1931) and their emigre, Russian-speaking counterparts such as Leo Ornstein, are essentially a lost wave, in the sense that most serious music listeners are not aware of what I am talking about. While they are likely to be familiar with a few composers associated with the movement, most likely Shostakovich and fellow-traveler Prokofiev (still living abroad at the time), they won't know many other talented composers whose careers were suppressed by Stalin's regime, such as Gavriil Popov and Alexander Mosolov. (Shostakovich and Prokofiev obviously survived Stalinist persecution, but some of their works were banned. The most obvious example is my favorite Shostakovich symphony, the Fourth, completed in 1936 but not performed until 1961).

It's the intent of Russian Futurism to help a relatively few number of other writers and musicians who are trying to bring these composers back into the spotlight, much as RAW did his bit to give Zelenka a signal boost. RAW always liked classical music and stood for individual freedom and freedom of artistic expression, so my music blog aligns with my RAW blog, even if I'm writing about music that RAW did not focus a lot of attention upon. 

See also my Russian Futurism FAQ, a work in progress. 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Randy Weaver has died

Randy Weaver

Randy Weaver has died. He was known for a confrontation with the government (arguable instigated by the government) at Ruby Ridge in 1992 that resulted in three deaths. 

Robert Anton Wilson wrote about Weaver in the "Preface to the 2000 Edition" of Sex, Drugs & Magick: "In the 1980s, a Fundamentalist couple named Randy and Vicki Weaver fled to a mountain top in Idaho, to get as far as possible from the U.S. government, which they considered a Zionist conspiracy. However goofy that idea was, it was the only 'offense' of which the Weavers were guilty ... The Weavers sure had a lot of nutty ideas; nobody but another Fundamentalist would deny that. But maybe their idea of the nature of the current U.S. government, and its attitude toward its serfs and subjects, was a hell of a lot more accurate than the ideas you read in liberal journals."

Apuleius Charlton wrote about the case in a blog post that's part of the ongoing series about Sex,Drugs & Magick. His post argues that ultimately Weaver put his family in danger. 

Jesse Walker on the Weaver case: "It isn't hard to find examples of marginal groups whose paranoia about the government drove them to violence. The tale of the Weavers shows how the government's paranoia about marginal groups can drive *it* to violence, too."


Thursday, May 12, 2022

Another example of the SNAFU principle?

Alex Tabarrok (Twitter photo)

In March, I posted a blog item about the SNAFU Principle ("communication is possible only between equals") and how Julian Sanchez had pointed out that Vladimir Putin seemed to be an example of it. 

In a recent post at Marginal Revolution, "China’s Bizarre Authoritarian-Libertarian COVID Strategy," economics professor Alex Tabarrok also seems to invoke the SNAFU Principle, although not mentioning it by name. 

Tabarrok notes that China's COVID-19 policies, locking up millions of people in their own homes but refusing to push vaccinations, makes little sense. " I can understand authoritarianism. I can understand libertarianism. I have difficulty understanding how jailing people, potentially without food, is ok but requiring vaccinations is not."

He writes:

"It’s difficult to understand what the Chinese leadership is thinking. It’s conceivable that the Chinese vaccines are much less effective than we have been led to believe but that seems unlikely. As far as we can tell the Chinese vaccines are not quite as good as the mRNA vaccines but good enough to prevent severe disease and pass FDA approval in the United States. My best guess is that President Xi Jinping is so powerful and insulated from reality and alternative viewpoints that he is just soldiering on either oblivious to the pain and foolishness of his policies or indifferent, much like Mao before him during the great famine."

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

My article on libertarians in science fiction

Alan White's cover for Portable Storage 6

One of the best fanzines currently published by science fiction fans is Portable Storage, published by the longtime fan William Breiding. It was named Best Genzine  as part of the 2022 Fanzine Activity Achievement awards.  All seven issues published so far are available as PDF files at

I mention the zine here because issue No. 6, originally published on paper, is now available as a PDF, which means that the article I published in it, "Heinlein's Children: Libertarians in Fandom," is now generally available.

I was commissioned to write the piece by William, who asked me to explain why there are so many libertarians in science fiction fandom. The relevance to this blog is that I put Illuminatus! in the context of the 1970s flowering of the libertarian movement, when there were many books and much political activism. I also explain how the first presentation of the Prometheus Award was made by Robert Anton Wilson. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

New interview with R.U. Sirius

R.U. Sirius

R.U. Sirius (Mondo 2000 founder, author, friend of Timothy Leary) always has interesting things to say, so I am passing along  a new interview he granted with Spike, a "a contemporary art magazine, online platform, and event space" based in Vienna, Austria. 

Here is a bit of the interview with Lydia Sviatoslavsky:

R.U. Sirius: Mondo started as High Frontiers. I was pretty much diverted by Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson and their playful, hopeful futurisms, their whole shebang about evolutionary brain circuits being opened up by drugs and technology. 

I needed something to get me out of bed at the end of the 1970s. I mean, punk was great – rock and roll was great – but it wasn’t inspiring any action. I remember my friends stole some giant lettering from a sign at a gas station and some of it hung behind the couch in our living room where we took whatever drugs were around and tossed glib nihilisms back and forth. The letters read “ROT”. Tonight’s the Night caught the vibe (some will know what I mean). I couldn’t sink any deeper into that couch, so there was nowhere to go except up into outer space.

Showing my age, but I bought Tonight's the Night, the Neil Young album R.U. references, when it came out. It's a good album, and also a pretty dark take on the drug culture, newly relevant.

My 2015 interview with R.U. Sirius might be of interest, see also this post on his book about Timothy Leary, Timothy Leary's Trip Through Time. 

Monday, May 9, 2022

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, episode 80, Chapter 14

According to my brain, this tree in my front yard Sunday had bright pink blossoms 

Have any of you had to read a chapter more than once? I struggled with Chapter 14 that last time I tried to write about it. I thought I did better when I sat down Sunday to read it again. And then I spent much of the day on the chapter's first exercise, "If all you can know is your own brain programs operating, the whole universe you experience is inside your head. Try to hold onto that model for at least an hour. Note how often you relapse into feeling the universe as outside you." 

I found this passage helpful: " 'Mind' is a tool invented by the universe to see itself; but it can never see all of itself, for much the same reason that you can't see your own back (without mirrors." 

And I liked this bit: "R. Buckminster Fuller illustrates the metaprogamming circuit, in his lectures, by pointing out that we feel puny in comparison to the size of the uinverse, but only our bodies (hardware) are puny. Our minds, he says -- by which he means our software -- contain the universe, by the act of comprehending it."  (Reading that passage again was a nice synchronicity, as I am reading an advance copy of the new Alec Nevala-Lee Fuller biography). 

Although I concentrated on the first exercise, in my mind it kind of bled over to the second one, to consider the belief system on an educated reader of 1,200 years ago. Doing the second exercise connected to the first, because I realized how much of what I "saw" or "heard" was directly related to my understanding of what I was perceiving.

As my wife and I drove Sunday to a garden center to buy flowering plants for the garden, I turned on the radio and listened to a Cleveland Guardians baseball game. My person of 822 AD (let's assume somebody in the western part of Europe, where my ancestors apparently came from) would have heard the voices and realized they were people talking, but would  not have understood the concept of "radio" or "baseball." And as I listened, I could "see" the baseball stadium in my mind from having been there.

As we walked through the garden center, my Ninth Century companion likely would have understood the concept of purchasing plants for the garden. But there were things in the shop I instantly recognized through education and acculturation. For example, where were sculpture busts of Buddha to display in the garden; sculpture would obviously be a recognizable concept, but a European from the Ninth Century would not have known who was being depicted.  I didn't have to think about the busts being the Buddha; I just immediately registered it. As we drove home, I could see a contrail in the sky from a jet flying far overhead; that's what I "saw," but what would the AD 822 person have seen?

RAW concludes Chapter 14 by saying, "The only sensible goal, then, is to try to build a reality-tunnel for next week that is bigger, funnier, sexier, more optimistic and generally less boring than any previous reality tunnel." Perhaps he is about to explain, in later chapters, how to do that? 

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Sunday links

Liverpool Arts Lab event on May 23. 

Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec Nevala-Lee is just $2 for the Kindle this month. Excellent book, he also wrote the forthcoming Buckminster Fuller biography. 

 Kirsty Hall, Ian "Cat" Vincent's wife, is doing better. See update, many RAW fans donated to help with her cancer treatment. 

More Discordian history from Adam Gorightly: Rare audio of the Rev. Raymond Broshears. 

Orson Welles talking shit

May at Radio Free Amsterdam. 

Saturday, May 7, 2022

German electronic musician Klaus Schulze has died

Portrait of Klaus Schulze by Ann-Sophie Qvarnström. Creative Commons artwork. 

German electronic musician Klaus Schulze died on April 26. He was an early member of Tangerine Dream and a member of Ash Ra Tempel and also had a long and notable solo career; see the Wikipedia bio, and the official website and I also have a link to the New York Times obituary. 

I don't know that Robert Anton Wilson or Robert Shea had any particular interest in electronic music, but for a couple of reasons I assume Mr. Schulze's career might be of interest to sombunall of you; Ash Ra Tempel once recorded an album with Timothy Leary, Seven Up (although Schulze does not appear on that recording) and I have noticed many RAW fans are interested in electronic music. 

The New York Times obit is by veteran pop music writer Jon Pareles; it notes that Timewind is widely regarded as a Schulze classic. It's available on the public library digital service Hoopla Digital, so I checked it out and listened to it. 

Friday, May 6, 2022

RAW on the evils of taxation

Despite the title, "Economics in One Lesson," the latest discovery brought back to light by Martin Wagner, is not a discussion of economics by Robert Anton Wilson so much as it is a discussion of the alleged terrible effects of heavy taxation on his attempts to make money from a new book. Although in hindsight, Wilson's real problem was that Playboy Press was incompetent in marketing and selling Sex, Drugs and Magick, a really good book that is currently the subject of Apuleius Charlton's ongoing online discussion (latest entry here) and which recently was reprinted by Hilaritas Press. 

RAW's essay is a rather libertarian argument, even though it was published in Gnostica in 1975, and the title plays off of Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt, a book that's very popular with libertarians and free market types. 

See also this short Martin reprint.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

RAW Semantics returns with post on social media

The RAW Semantics blog, quiet since early February, returned Wednesday with a long new post, "RAW political #3 – media."   

Here is Brian's summary of the post: "Basic idea: while politics, following Leary-Wilson circuits 1-4, tend to repeat, media forms rapidly transform (‘Jumping Jesus’ phenomenon). But political media critics still tend to rely on anachronistic models from pre-internet commentaries (Orwell, Chomsky, etc) or pre-decentralised/social media 'lessons' (eg of misleading 2003 Iraq War coverage).

"As an example, take the now-prominent issues of 'free speech' and 'censorship', framed in ways still suggestive of legacy media gatekeeping 'centres' (eg of publishing and broadcasting) – even though the debates concern mostly 'decentralised' online media with algorithm gatekeeping – often featuring 'censored' celebrities with access to multiple alternative platforms. Perhaps we have less of a 'free speech problem', and more of a 'swamped by noise and disinformation problem'? (The latter predicted by RAW, incidentally)."

RAW Semantics also has been off Twitter but with a new blog post to promote it has returned; check out the Twitter account to see if find anything interesting you might have missed. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

John Higgs gets a serious review in the New York Times

Rosie Schaap, the author of Drinking With Men, a Memoir. (Twitter photo)

John Higgs seems to be making the transition nicely from "cult writer who is a favorite of RAW fans" to "well-known writer." The latest evidence is a meaty New York Times review of his new Blake book, William Blake vs. the World, which as I noted came out in the U.S. yesterday. 

The piece, "Songs of Innocence, Experience and a Galaxy Far, Far Away," by writer Rosie Schaap, argues that Higgs' Blake is "a Blake for anyone whose sensibilities harmonize with Higgs’s interests in neuroscience and quantum mechanics, 'Star Wars' analogies, and discussions of Carl Jung and Eckhart Tolle." She likes some of Higgs' thoughts, disagrees with others, and concludes that "when I came to the end of his book, I felt I’d learned more about the mind of John Higgs than that of William Blake."

But certainly Schaap seems to think Higgs has an interesting mind. 

" His own project is Blakean in at least one respect: It is the production of a busy and open mind. At times, his protracted ruminations on sciences and philosophies took me farther from Blake rather than closer to him, and his profusion of pop-culture pings (the Beatles, David Bowie, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, even Billy Joel all show up) felt superfluous. ('Enough! or Too much,' goes the end of the 'Proverbs of Hell.')

"At other times, it was fun to witness Higgs’s cogs turning, to hear his thoughts ricocheting against the walls of his internal archive of affinities, allusions and absorptions. His tone is measured, but Higgs does not cease from mental fight in his earnest quest to understand and explain a mind that, he writes, is perhaps 'too big a mind for us to ever properly grasp'.”

More here. 

I don't think Robert Anton Wilson ever got this sort of attention from the New York Times for any of his books, although the Times did run a nice obituary when Wilson died. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

John Higgs' book on Blake out today in U.S.

The new John Higgs book on William Blake, William Blake vs. the World, previously available in the U.K., becomes available today in the U.S. 

"It’s a very handsome edition, courtesy of Pegasus Books. It is available from Amazon and all your preferred book shops," John reports. "I’m especially thrilled that my reading of the audiobook will also become available over there on 3rd May as well. If this does okay, it could lead to more of my audiobooks becoming available in the USA and Canada - perhaps even my KLF one, who knows? Let’s see!"

A paperback version becomes available in Great Britain on Thursday.

More John Higgs news and opinion here. Included is discussion of the new KLF movie and John's thoughts on Elon Musk: " I had been thinking of ditching Twitter. I realised that my heart was not in it when I got a Wordle in one and felt no urge to announce this fact. But the notion that Twitter might be about to become a research lab for future Martian civilisation is quite something. Perhaps I’ll stick around on Twitter a bit longer, and see what happens."

Monday, May 2, 2022

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, episode 79, Chapter 14

By Apuleius Charlton
Special guest blogge

What the hand, dare seize the fire? - Blake

I’m happy to report that I feel as if I understood this chapter better this time around. On a cold January night over a decade ago I’m in a dark room on a dorm bed, kneeling with a face hot with seemingly endless tears. These tears don’t really come out as droplets, or I am not perceiving them as drops, but rather like some sort of effluvial web. My face has become a delta. I’ve ingested mushrooms for the first time in my life and I’m being told a story. 

Last night my wife and I were talking about LSD in the context of “The Story of Jane: Ice Maiden” from Sex, Drugs and Magick; we were discussing the phenomena of people believing that psychedelics, especially LSD, are some sort of magic switch. We then began discussing the phenomena of how profound/not-seemingly-profound psychedelic experiences can lead to drastic change in people’s lives, usually not immediately (that almost always wears off), but over long amounts of time. I began talking about how my later experiences with LSD seemed to confirm over time and reflection that, contrary to the widely-reported experiences of a larger reality or knowledge of God, this was it. Whatever “this” and “it” might mean is still being deliberated upon. But those experiences confirmed for me that I am everything I’ll ever know. I am a composite of many different moments. There is an undertow of black, gold and stained wood. 

Maybe not the most useful paradigm, but I’m surprisingly comfortable with it. The “I” on the dorm bed isn’t. Not yet. I wanted to storm the gates of Heaven and steal fire, find some sort of secret door into another, less-dull world. Soon, actually over a year from this night, I’ll be reading Prometheus Rising for the first time, much later in my consumption of Wilson than one might imagine, and I’ll grok a lot of it. I’ll be continually surprised by everything I missed over the years.

There’s a me that asks my friend of many years, when the conversation has gone on too long and come to its final, self-referential end (for me) and I’ll ask, how many times I can’t imagine; “Am I good?” I’m very concerned with “goodness,” “happiness,” and other canards. This question is never answered to anyone’s satisfaction. Some nights with my wife, when the conversation has gone on too long and come to its final, self-referential end, we’ll play the perception game, trying to imagine how others see us. It’s the same game, the terms are just a little looser, less metaphysical. But maybe that isn’t the correct perception of the conversation. 

Today, rereading this beautifully written chapter, I am struck by the Magic Room game; it seems to be one of the most promising and enticing exercizes provided in the text. I can remember that the last time I read it I found Cagliostro’s Alien Game from The Trick Top Hat to be more interesting and useful. I can’t remember why I didn’t take it as a serious tip before that. Looking back over myself, I can pinpoint two plausible reasons: (one) I am hostile towards computers in my mind if not in practice and (two) I have read this book as a “mystic” many times and have overestimated the difficulty and performance of astral projection. Astral projection was something that concerned the “I” on the dorm bed with the wet face. It sounds terribly exciting and the best way to meet the gods, demons and grey aliens I wanted to find in the jungle of magic. Alas, it will come as a bitter disappointment when I realized that astral projection and pathworking is a very-willed exercise that isn’t quite what Crowley described in Magick Without Tears and The Temple of Solomon the King. Gods aren’t great at keeping appointments. 

Reading the chapter I’m also reminded of the psychosynthetic self-identification exercise that I’ve practiced for years; that dissociation with the usual impressions of “self.” I question whether the “self,” that self that is a centre of pure consciousness, described and built by the exercise is another false self. I am okay with the idea; I’ve learned I can’t completely quit hypocrisy, but I can try to employ it strategically. I’m reminded of the years of therapy-training in psychosynthesis where my teacher would constantly admonish my pointed focus on the more fantastical elements of magic and instead asks me repeatedly to ask myself what is useful to my life. I’m arrogant and learning is hard before I begin to understand. I accumulate a lot of bruises before I learn to stop staring at the stars while stuck in the woods. 

Now, the Magic Room game and its near future computer seem like an elegant experiment, primed for this moment. I’m looking forward to whatever “I” I might be in the future might make of the damnable computer that cannot process doubt. I feel the thrill of a younger magician, hungry for experience. 

The I on the bed is listening to a story, as told by Richard Burton and collected by Jorge Luis Borges, read to me by my friend I used to ask “am I good?” It is “The Tale and the Poet:” 

Tulsi Das, the Hindu poet, created the tale of Hanuman and his army of monkeys. Years afterwards, a despot imprisoned him in a stone tower. Along in his cell, he fell to meditating, and from his meditation came Hanuman and his monkey army, who laid low the city, broke open the tower, and freed Tulsi Das. 

The story goes on Forever. 

(For the members of the Sex, Drugs & Magick group, I apologize for my hiatus and have a small explanation in the next post. I'll be finishing it tonight and posting either this evening or tomorrow.) 

Sunday, May 1, 2022

James DeMeo has died

James DeMeo

James DeMeo, director of the Orgone Biophysical Research Lab and a scientist heavily influenced by Wilhelm Reich, has died, according to this death notice posted April 5 at the Wilhelm Reich Museum website.  I could not find a conventional obituary that includes the time of death. The last posting on his Twitter account is dated Jan. 23. 

DeMeo's books included Saharasia: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse,  Sex-repression, Warfare and Social Violence,  In the Deserts of the Old World. Robert Anton Wilson liked the book, and Eric Wagner, who gave me the news tip on DeMeo, likes it, too. (See "RAW's Recommended Book List" on the still maintained official RAW site.) See also Demeo's Saharasia page and DeMeo's home page