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

Monday, October 31, 2022

RAW reviews John Lilly


A really interesting discovery by Martin Wagner: Robert Anton Wilson reviews a book by John Lilly, Simulations of God: The Science of Belief.  The book review is published in 1976 in Gnostica magazine. 

I suspect many of you will want to read the whole thing, but here is a bit:

Dr. Lilly is no dingbat and Simulations of God shows the some keen scientific intelligence as his earlier books. Eventually, if we are not irrevocably wed to our old ideas of space and time, we must ask—as Tom Wolfe asked of McLuhan—but what if he’s right? Is it possible that disciplined work on rewiring the nervous system with LSD, sensory deprivation, and traditions derived from Sufism can actually make one a receptor for higher intelligences elsewhere in space-time?

All of the articles Martin has found ought to be integrated into the links at the Robert Anton Wilson Fans website.  Links also ought to be put up for Prop Anon's posts at Chapel Perilous. 

Sunday, October 30, 2022

More cheery 'War on Some Drugs' news

Radley Balko. (Creative Commons photo by Gage Skidmore). 

Radley Balko, recently laid off at the Washington Post, a move that does that newspaper little credit, has recently launched a Substack newsletter. If you want plenty of evidence that the War on Some Drugs is corrupt and terrible, you'll find it in his writings. 

He recently reviewed warrants for no-knock drug raids in Little Rock, Arkansas. Obviously, no-knock drug raids are very dangerous, even when police carry them out at the right house. Here are some interesting sentences about the judicial review that supposedly takes place before such raids are authorized. (The police are supposed to list specific reasons for carrying out raids in such a dangerous manner, as Radley explains when you read the whole thing). 

"Of the 105 warrants I reviewed from Little Rock, LRPD officers requested a no-knock raid in 103. Of those 103, their request was granted in at least 101 (two were missing the page with the judge’s instructions). Of those 101, the police provided particularized information about why that suspect met the exigent circumstance exception in just eight. This means that at least 93 of the 103 no-knock warrants I reviewed were illegal."

So far, Radley isn't putting much of anything behind a paywall, so check him out. 

Saturday, October 29, 2022

NY Times critic on Philip K. Dick

The New York Times has a book critic named Molly Young who writes a column/newsletter called "Read Like the Wind," which offers book recommendations for both old and new titles. (Apparently there are people who need book recommendations. I have recommended hundreds of books to myself, but only manage to read a few dozen every year.)

The latest column is called "The Essential Philip K. Dick," and Young discusses Dick and recommends ten of his books, with recommendations aimed at different reader interests, e.g. what to read if you are totally new to Dick, what to read if you want his best novel (Young says it is Ubik, which I still haven't read) and so on. I've read something like 5-10 Dick books, but Young is obviously is more well-read on Dick than I am, and apparently a bigger fan. The above photo from Twitter shows the license plate on her car. 

My favorite Dick novel is The Man In the High Castle. I haven't felt a huge urge to read him since reading Now Wait For Last Year a few years ago, although I suppose I ought to try Valis and Ubik. 

Here is Molly Young's website.  And you can follow her on Twitter. 

Hat tip, Nick Helseg-Larsen, although also I also take the Times and subscribe to Ms. Young's newsletter. 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

RAW cartoon


Via Prop Anon on Twitter: "Thee Semiotic Alchemyst transformed herself in computer software to provide this quick rundown of Robert Anton Wilson."

I can't figure out how to embed the short cartoon (one minute, sixteen seconds) into the blog post, but you can follow the link to watch. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Natural Law: Celebrity endorsements!

"Absolutely essential and fun!" -- RAW Semantics

"The gateway drug!" -- @amoebadesign

"My new favorite in the Wilson essay collection genre!" -- Chad Nelson

I am hoping that some of you will be persuaded to join the reading group for Natural Law Or Don't Put A Rubber on Your Willy And Other Writings From A Natural Outlaw from Hilaritas Press that I announced a schedule for on Monday.  (Starts Nov. 28).

Although the title essay was published in a journal called New Libertarian and consists of an argument Wilson made with several prominent libertarians, I would argue that it's not a "libertarian book" or a "libertarian RAW book." As Chad Nelson explains in this interview, the book's theme is really about model agnosticism. (To be clear, a "RAW libertarian book" would be fine with me, some other time. But that doesn't really describe Natural Law, in my opinion, or Chad's). 

Still not convinced? Here are a couple of "celebrity endorsements" from the world of RAW fandom.

Brian Dean, who writes the RAW Semantics blog, is decidedly not a libertarian, as far as I can tell from reading his Twitter account. 

Here is his review of Natural Law on Twitter: " I grok RAW best thru his *BOOKS*, & I found NL absolutely essential (& fun). Take a weekend & read it properly."

The cover artist, Scott McPherson, also is not a libertarian. Brian Dean and I both liked the cover, which as Rasa points out, references a RAW quote,  "Every perception is a gamble, in which we see part, not all, (to see all requires omniscience) and 'fill in' or project a convincing hologram out of minimal clues. We all intuitively know the obvious and correct answer to the Zen koan, 'Who is the Master who makes the grass green?' "

When we discussed the quote on Twitter, Scott said that he liked the book so much he made a departure from his previous covers: "Aye, this one is aimed at the general public and wellness mob ;)  it's meant to look like an appealing  book you would see in the Sunday papers.... it's a trojan horse design ;)  meant to suck you in.....

"Going for the non RAW fans with this one  .... the gateway drug I call it."

Chad endorses the book, too, of course, but some people might question whether he is totally objective, as he edited the book. Rasa likes the book, too!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

New Hilaritas podcast: Marshall McLuhan

The latest Hilaritas Press podcast is about another RAW influence, Marshall McLuhan, and features McLuhan's grandson, Andrew McLuhan. As per usual, there are links at the official site for those who want to go more in depth. 

The next episode, to be released on Nov. 23, will focus on Claude Shannon. This is another episode I am particularly looking forward to. Mike Gathers will interview the co-authors of A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Proposed 'Natural Law' reading group schedule

When I read Natural Law Or Don't Put A Rubber on Your Willy And Other Writings From A Natural Outlaw from Hilaritas Press before it came out early this year (I was a volunteer proofreader), I thought it was really a good book. I hope that the new online reading group I announced a few weeks ago will serve to bring the book to the attention of more readers. I really do feel the book deserves a good reception, and the reading group is one of my efforts to aid the title. 

My proposal is to start the Natural Law reading group on Nov. 28, more than a month from now, and to cover the book in 18 weekly installments each Monday. 

The book consists of the original long Natural Law essay, once published separately as a long essay but a short book from Loompanics, and 12 additional pieces selected by Chad Nelson, the editor of the book. Although the 12 comprise most of the book, none are as long as the title essay. At the front of the book is a reprint of John Higgs' piece on Maybe Day, originally published in the Guardian newspaper in Britain on July 23, 2009, and Chad's introduction. 

Chad has agreed to write something  to kick off the reading group, and then I will take over, although I'm certainly open to guest bloggers.

So my proposal is to start Nov. 28 with something from Chad, then on Dec. 5 do a weekly post on the Higgs and Nelson pieces in the front. I think the long essay ought to be covered over three weeks,  with weekly blog posts from then on for each additional piece in the book. The last item in the book, "I OPENING," seems pretty significant to me, so I want to cover it with two blog posts, one from me and one from Chad, who has told me he also wants to write about it. 

If I am counting right, that comes out to  18 blog entries for a book that's 230 pages long in print -- a reasonable schedule, I think. I may not follow the schedule rigidly -- I reserve the right to make changes as we go along if the need arises -- but that's the plan. I'm certainly willing to listen to feedback.

A note on the availability of the text: For previous reading groups, readers have often been able to track down a library book, or to find a cheap used book of an older edition from New Falcon.

For Natural Law, I'm thinking these do not seem like options;  I doubt many public libraries carry the book. I can't find any evidence that it's in a library in Ohio, where I live, and Ohio is a big state that funds its public libraries more generously than any of the other 49 states. 

So you'll likely have to buy the book. It's $23 on Amazon and there is still no Kindle yet. 

As for the usual ebooks offered by Hilaritas, well it's complicated. There's no Kindle and Hilaritas has been working for months to straighten out a problem with Amazon on the matter.

There is an ebook for about $9 from Barnes and Noble, but that's a problem, too. I don't know how the file looks  on a Nook tablet, but on the Nook app on a smartphone, it's terrible, with lots of spaces that mess up the ability to read it normally. I have verified, however, that buying the ebook means you can read it on the Barnes and Noble website. Rasa has been trying to fix this, too. 

So unless you are OK with reading the book on  your computer, you may have to buy the actual paper book. If the Kindle or Nook situation gets fixed, I'll let you know. 

For more on the book, please see my interview with Chad Nelson and my shorter interview with Rasa. And thank you to Rasa for the book group graphic. 

Sunday, October 23, 2022

R.U. Sirius channels Timothy Leary

Timothy Leary (Creative Commons photo by Philip H. Bailey.)

Timothy Leary, born on Oct. 22, 1920, was 75 when he died in Los Angeles in 1996.

He would have been 102 on Saturday, and to mark the occasion, author, publisher, musician etc. R.U. Sirius penned a tribute, "I Channeled Timothy Leary for his 102 Birthday (Happy birthday Tim)." Sirius knew Leary well, completed Leary's book Design for Dying and penned a biography of Leary, Timothy Leary's Trip Through Time.

Excerpt from the new piece:

“So what’s hell like, Timmy?”

“It’s not so much hot as boring. I mean, Lawrence Welk is in hell and Brian Jones is in heaven. Got that? It’s like one giant Church of the Subgenius prank just to mindfuck little Timmy. And all those French philosophers are in hell. Barthes, Derrida, Foucault, Baudrillard. Droning on and on. ‘Tim can I read you my essay about the post-dialectical dialectics of the isness of not being and gendered demonologies in hell?” Fuck no! Get out of here! I’d rather listen to Eldridge go on and on about how cool Kim il Sung is.”


Saturday, October 22, 2022

Isaac Bonewits on RAW's 1976 Exopsychology class


Prop Anon has been posting a lot of documents at his Chapel Perilous website. The latest is another clipping from the Berkeley Barb, by the noted occult writer Isaac Bonewits, about a 1976 class on Exopsychology taught by Robert Anton Wilson, which had many of the same ideas and themes from Prometheus Rising and Cosmic Trigger. There is quite a bit of discussion of the Eight Circuit Model.

At one point in the class, Bonewits relates, "Wilson played a tape-recording designed to induce a "fifth circuit" experience (similar in many ways to a really good grass high). Everybody floated home after this and returned the next day, noticeably more relaxed." I wonder what the recording was? 

Friday, October 21, 2022

Will marijuana legalization continue?

The states in blue have legalized marijuana; green states have medical marijuana. Creative Commons graphic; more information here. 

Robert Anton Wilson used to write a lot about the "war on some drugs." 

With certain exceptions, political trends in the U.S. on regulation of drugs has generally gone in a direction Wilson would support, particularly the trend of legalization of marijuana. Since Wilson's death in 2007, many states have legalized the use of cannabis by all adults; the first were Colorado and Washington, in 2012.

Recreational cannabis currently is legal in 19 of the 50 states, and in the District of Columbia. As a practical matter, except for the Deep South/former Confederacy, many Americans are within driving distance of legal pot, although it remains illegal to bring pot from a state where it's legal to a state where it's not. The legal states are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.  (My former state, Oklahoma, is a weird outlier. Technically, it only has medical marijuana, but the laws are so liberal that in effect marijuana is legal there; anyone who wants a medical marijuana license can obtain one, and marijuana shops are everywhere. There are other nuances I don't have the time and space to go into; for example, Delta 8 THC is legally available in many states that still ban pot. And of course there are still many illegal and semi-illegal markets, including California, where taxes and regulations have made legal marijuana expensive.) 

This fall offers a test of whether this trend will continue. Voters in five states are considering marijuana legalization (North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Arkansas and Maryland), while Colorado may legalize some psychedelics, including magic mushrooms. The details of the proposals vary; see this roundup. 

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Prop Anon launches podcast

 Prop Anon has launched a podcast channel. "The Prop Anon Podcast explores the life and work of American novelist, Robert Anton Wilson through interviews and discussions with some of the most cutting-edge artists and thinkers around today.

"The Prop Anon Podcast presents interviews with Artists, Journalists, Comedians Comic Book Writers, Scientists, Community Activists, and Musicians as we think of ways to make existence, in the words of Bill Hicks, "a better ride" for everyone on Spaceship Planet Earth!"

The first episode is an interview with Joseph Matheny. It's the same interview I wrote about last year, "remixed for the podcast format and the message is still vital," Prop says. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Article on Timothy Leary writing to RAW


Over at his Chapel Perilous website, Prop Anon posts a clipping from the Berkeley Barb from 1975, about Timothy Leary breaking his silence by writing a letter to Robert Anton Wilson. 

One wonders what the Barb's readers made of sentences such as "In the letter to Wilson, Leary also expresses his continuing concerns with escaping from the planet and achieving immortality...Wilson, like Leary, alleges to have received telepathic communications from what Leary calls 'Higher Intelligences' located somewhere in our galaxy." 

I had to convert Prop's document into a jpg file to post it here; I also found the clipping easier to read when I converted it into a PDF. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Grant Morrison (and Bobby Campbell) on magick

Grant Morrison has a Substack newsletter, Xanaduum, which in the usual Substack fashion has a mixture of free issues and ones that only can be read by paid subscribers.

Many of the postings are about magick, including the latest piece,  "16/10 BEYOND THE WORD AND THE FOOL Pt3," which is one of the ones that everyone can read. 

There are four comments (typically with Substack, only paid subscribers may post comments), and two are from Bobby Campbell. Part of Bobby's comments:

"I fell down that most illustrious POP MAGIC rabbit hole way back in 2002, with unbelievably awesome results, and can maybe share some insight on this specific journey.

"First off, the only problem with magic is that it works!

"(At least from the practitioner's point of view.)"

"So basically, be prepared for success and be careful what you wish for."

Bobby also talks about that (and Grant Morrison) in the recent podcast I posted about earlier. 

Monday, October 17, 2022

RAW movie lists!

Scene from Intolerance, the D.W. Griffith epic. (Public domain image). 

My recent post on Bride of Frankenstein has inspired several comments which you should go back and read, but I want to highlight two RAW-related movie lists.

Spookah has begun putting together "Sombunall RAWlated Films," which he explains is "A work-in-progress list of sombunall films mentioned by Robert Anton Wilson throughout his books and elsewhere. Hopefully, the list will eventually tends towards mosbunall films." He has come up with 69 so far. It's a work in progress. 

In response, Jesse Walker has pointed to my 2014 blog post on "RAW's 100 favorite movies," which comes from a list that Jesse supplied to me. 

It looks like I have a lot of watching to do. 

JustWatch is a useful site for finding places to stream movies, including apps and websites where they can be streamed for free. 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

RAW on the attempted Ku Klux Klan revival

Martin Wagner unearths yet another Robert Anton Wilson article, "The Rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan," about attempts to revive and rebrand the violent, racist organization. The feeling that the Klan is yesterday's news hangs over the article and is made explicit toward the end:

The final word seems to come from a former insider. Bill Hendrix, an ex-Grand Dragon of the Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, was an active Kluxer for 15 years. Then, in 1960, he resigned as Grand Dragon and persuaded his members to dissolve the Southern Knights entirely. “I cannot agree to such things as bombings and burning schools,” he told newspapermen at the time. “But that is what the Klan is going to have to turn to unless it agrees to go along with the laws. I see no way to stop racial integration, and it looks to me like the best thing to do is accept it.” Interviewed in 1964, Mr. Hendrix said he still feels the same way, and emphasized that it was “criminal elements” within his own Klan that led him to dissolve it. “The same elements are taking over Shelton’s Klan right now,” he said. “There is no way of keeping them out. You can’t watch every member all the time.”

The piece was published in Fact magazine in 1964. 

Saturday, October 15, 2022

'Bride of Frankenstein'

Theatrical release poster for 'Bride of Frankenstein' (public domain image). 

For Halloween, I'm trying to watch some of the movies on Jesse Walker's top ten best  horror movies list, and last night I watched Bride of Frankenstein (it's available free on Tubi). I particularly enjoyed the sets, which in many scenes looked like a particularly well designed haunted house. I am too ignorant to have heard of any of the cast except for Boris Karloff, but I admired how one of the actresses, Elsa Lanchester, played dual roles as Mary Shelley and as the title character. I was curious about the actress who played Henry Frankenstein's wife, Valerie Hobson, so I looked her up and discovered that one of her husbands was John Profumo, famous for a 1963 British sex scandal. 

Robert Anton Wilson's abortive sequel to Illuminatus! had the working title of Bride of Illuminatus. (If you are curious, the small bit he completed -- it doesn't blow me away -- is reprinted in Beyond Chaos and Beyond, the interesting compilation of RAW writings edited and published by D. Scott Apel.) I'm assuming RAW's title is a reference to the movie Jesse recommended; please correct me if I'm wrong. 

Bonus: Jesse's review of the movie:

"A young scientist named Frankenstein feels torn between a conventional marriage and a same-sex liason with his mentor, an old queen named Pretorius. The latter persuades the protagonist to reproduce with him through unnatural means. Upon succeeding, Pretorius proclaims himself "the bride of Frankenstein." Careless viewers assume he's referring to the couple's creation." (Source). 

Friday, October 14, 2022

What to recommend to the RAW newbie?

On Twitter, RAW Semantics: "Although relatively few, I see a steady flow of people *new* to #RobertAntonWilson, curiously inquiring. Can I gently suggest you read his BOOKS first? Here's a catalog of them (from @TheRAWTrust). I predict you'll be very glad you took this suggestion!"

I asked, "Do they ask you what to try first? If so, what do you tell them?"

Brian replied, "Generally Prometheus Rising, as that was the first RAW non-fiction book I read (and it made a big impression)."

My own tentative suggestion is Masks of the Illuminati, although I wonder if The Widow's Son might be better for someone who prefers fiction. (I'm pretty sure Apuleius Charlton told me he reads it again every year, and Mike Gathers described it in a podcast as the first RAW book he finished, if I understood him correctly. The Widow's Son is a favorite of Bobby Campbell).  I also think Cosmic Trigger 2 might be a good introduction, and I think it's an underrated RAW book. 

UPDATE: Brian loves Cosmic Trigger 2, too!

Thursday, October 13, 2022

'Hippie physicist' Nick Herbert on John Stewart Bell and the Nobel Prize

Nick Herbert attended a dinner party in 1988 in California that allowed him to meet physicist John Stewart Bell and Bell's wife, Mary Ross Bell. 

The recent Nobel Prize in physics given to three physicists who helped prove Bell's theorem, which I wrote about in a recent blog post,  has inspired a new blog post from my favorite "hippie physicist," Nick Herbert (as in How the Hippies Saved Physics, the David Kaiser book about the physicists Robert Anton Wilson wrote about in Cosmic Trigger and elsewhere.)

In his post, "The Reality Prize," Herbert provides background on the new Nobel Prize from his own perspective; one of the three winners, John Clauser, had lectured at Esalen (like Herbert) and Herbert apparently knew him quite well.

Herbert's explanation of Bell's theorem and his essay has some mind-blowing paragraphs. After describing what happens with a pair of entangled photons, one observed by "Alice" and one by "Bob," Herbert writes:

So what more does this magnificently useful but utterly mysterious wavefunction say about the Alice and Bob experiment?

First: Quantum theory says that whatever happens is entirely independent of the distance between Alice and Bob. If they are in the same room, as in most practical physics experiments, the results will be exactly the same as if they were ten thousand light years apart, separated by vast interstellar distances.

Second: While unobserved, the wavefunction does not assign any polarization attribute to either Alice's or Bob's photon, but when Alice measures her photon, using a clock direction of her choice, her photon instantly acquires a definite value, AND SO DOES BOB'S PHOTON even though Alice and Bob might be separated by galactic distance. This instantaneous connection, if it is real and not just confined to the theory, violates all the norms of modern physics.

Alice's apparently instant action on Bob's photon has gotta be faster than light (goodbye Einstein) but that's only part of the trouble. This interaction, unlike any we are familiar with in physics, is not diminished by distance. Furthermore, this Alice-Bob intimacy is not transmitted by any field we know of-- it just happens. Alice's action on Bob's photon is, in brief, unmitigated, unmediated and immediate.

Physicists label such alleged behavior, as “non-local”, a tame word that conceals their deep intellectual loathing for an unholy abomination, for a deeply unnatural act.

Reading the whole thing is a worthwhile use of your time. Herbert is the author of Quantum Reality, a popular science book that discusses quantum theory. 

Herbert corresponded with John Stewart Bell and actually met Bell in 1988 at a dinner party: "I recall very few details of that dinner in '88, except that for me it felt like sitting in an extra chair at Jesus's Last Supper. In John Bell's presence, I felt that close to holiness."

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Wednesday links

Ancient bridge in China. Photo by Kevin Kelly. Source. 

 Junot Diaz reviews Illuminations, the new story collection by Alan Moore.  That's in the New York Times. And here is Alan Moore's 2016 "By the Book" interview. 

A podcast, ACFM Trip 27: Magic. "Nadia Idle, Jeremy Gilbert and Keir Milburn gather round the cauldron for an episode that will challenge believers and rationalists alike, with music from Siouxsie, Queen and The KLF. Up for discussion: Sigmund Freud, the I Ching, Puritanism, crop circles, Psychic TV, modern macroeconomics, the Pendle Witches, the fake religion of Discordianism and much more."

New book from Steve Fly. "My latest self-published collections of scrawls, poems, and criticism...and anti Tory sentiment."

New Radley Balko Substack. 

Dumb war on drugs policy, British edition

War on drugs nonsense in the U.S. 

New John Higgs book event, sounds interesting. 

UFO mystery in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

RAW writes to a Fug


Tuli Kupferberg 

Prop Anon, who has written a biography of Robert Anton Wilson that will be published by Strange Attractor,  has been publishing quite a few RAW-related documents at Prop's Chapel Perilous website. 

Prop has now dug into his archives and published three letters that Wilson wrote in the 1980s to Tuli Kupferberg, a poet mentioned in Allen Ginsberg's Howl and also a member of the Fugs. 

I like this line by Wilson in one of the letters: "I don't write many poems, so each one should be treasured, kept in a warm, dry place and watered regularly." 

Monday, October 10, 2022

RAW Semantics on RAW and political correctness

Apparently inspired by a recent comment thread for a post at this blog, Brian Dean has written two blog posts to sort out Robert Anton Wilson's opposition to sexist and racist prejudice of all kinds and to study how RAW also spoke out against "political correctness." Brian argues, correctly I think, that RAW was opposed to hate trips and to language that denied the individuality of people and lumped them into groups targeted to be hated. Or as RAW put it, "The argument between Left and Right now consists only of debates about which groups we should hate."

What is interesting is that Brian took two bites at the (golden) apple. First he penned "Provoc #2 -- Bride of Provoking."   Then after getting a bit of feedback, he reworked it, including with a new title and art, as "Wilson on PC and Feminism."  As a bonus, if you read Brian's posts, you get to see some of his experiments in reworking photos of RAW (I've posted one above). 

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Jesse Walker reviews Antero Alli's movies [UPDATED]

Antero Alli (image from Alli's Twitter account)

Antero Alli is well known to hardcore RAW fans as someone who has studied Timothy Leary's eight circuit model of consciousness and written books about the topic.

But he's also a filmmaker, and Jesse Walker (of Reason magazine, also an author and pundit) has reviewed quite a few of them.

Jesse's latest review appears in the latest issue of Reason magazine, i.e., the November issue, which arrived at my house a few days ago, but it's also now available online. It's a review of the movie Tracer. "At their best, his movies achieve a psychedelic naturalism: stories where ordinary human struggles confront intrusions from a more occult dimension," Jesse says.

Jesse also has a recent posting on his blog, "The Mindjack Files," which link to video reviews Jesse wrote from 2004 to 2006 for the Mindjack website; included are reviews of two Alli flicks, Hysteria and The Greater Circulation. 

Also, this 1996 Jesse Walker article for Reason, "Independents' Day," about how technology was allowing independent movies to be made very cheaply, discusses Alli's film The Drivetime. And this 2001 feature by Jesse, also about independent filmmaking, discusses Alli's movie Tragos

Update: One more, review of The Invisible Forest.

Friday, October 7, 2022

Lionel Snell (aka Ramsey Dukes) on Hilaritas podcast

Thursday I listened to the Hilaritas podcast featuring Lionel Snell on magickal thinking and I thought it was quite good, one of the better podcasts. Snell was a big fan of Illuminatus! back in the day, and his discussions of how to approach magickal thinking was quite interesting. Pressed for time today and can't do a long blog post, but I suggest giving it a listen. 

Apuleius gave me a copy of SSOTBME Revised – an essay on magic, so that's a book that can be recommended. The link above will hook you up with Snell's website, etc. 

Thursday, October 6, 2022

About "23," the German movie that features RAW

Scene from the movie; RAW has just finished autographing books for fans. 

Thanks to the kind efforts of Martin Wagner, I now know quite a bit about the German movie 23 Nichts ist so wie es scheint (in English, ""23 - Nothing is what it seems,") a 1998 German film about hacker Karl Koch. The film is available at the Internet Archive. 

Martin points out that RAW appears in the movie, playing himself.

At RAW's Wikipedia entry you'll find an actor section, which says

Robert Anton Wilson appeared in the 1998 German film 23 Nichts ist so wie es scheint. He has approximately two minutes featured as himself, with the main actor, portraying hacker Karl Koch, meeting Wilson at the annual German Computer Hackers Convention in 1985. The film is a biographical piece about Germany's infamous computer hackers, and the 1985 meeting in Germany between Wilson and Koch is authentic. Wilson spoke at the 1985 German Computer Hackers Convention, warning of a future in which governments would have total digital control over the citizen. He signed one of his books for Koch. These events are depicted in the film.

RAW can be seen about 13 minutes into the film. There are scenes of the protagonist reading Illuminatus!

A clip which shows RAW speaking has been circulating on Twitter.  Brian Dean (of RAW Semantics) noted it and wrote, "The embedded video here looks well-produced, but since I don't speak German, I don't know what they're saying (it's about RAW/Illuminatus, etc):"

I called Martin's attention to it on Twitter, and he has kindly supplied a translation:

00:08:59,500 --> 00:09:01,980

Something I want to show you...


00:09:03,300 --> 00:09:06,500

His associates found it in his desk.


00:09:10,500 --> 00:09:12,900

- 'National Research Award'...

 Great haircut!


00:09:13,100 --> 00:09:14,900

- I won it when I turned 14.


00:09:15,100 --> 00:09:16,500

That's the author...


00:09:16,700 --> 00:09:17,900

Robert Anton Wilson


00:09:18,100 --> 00:09:19,500

- He looks strange.


00:09:19,700 --> 00:09:20,700

- Dad made a mistake...


00:09:20,900 --> 00:09:22,100

thought it was a kid's book.


00:09:22,300 --> 00:09:25,700

When he knew the truth, he confiscated it.


00:09:27,700 --> 00:09:29,700

Now it's all mine again.


00:09:30,300 --> 00:09:33,100

- "Nothing is true. Everything's permitted.


00:09:33,300 --> 00:09:36,300

World history is war between secret societies."


00:09:36,500 --> 00:09:39,100

- Wilson says the world isn't what it seems.


00:09:39,300 --> 00:09:41,100

A secret society controls all


00:09:41,300 --> 00:09:43,100

the Illuminati.


00:09:43,300 --> 00:09:45,300

But Hagbard Celine is a rebel,


00:09:45,500 --> 00:09:47,700

an anarchist on a submarine.


00:09:47,900 --> 00:09:50,500

From there he fights Illuminati.


00:09:55,100 --> 00:09:57,500

He has a computer on the a sub


00:09:57,700 --> 00:10:00,500

computing risk of World War III with simulations.


00:10:00,700 --> 00:10:01,700

- Mmmhm


00:10:01,900 --> 00:10:03,700

- Computer's named, "Fuck Up".


00:10:03,900 --> 00:10:04,900

- What?


00:10:05,100 --> 00:10:09,300

- Fuckup: First Universal Cybernetic Kinetic Ultra-micro Programmable


00:10:09,500 --> 00:10:11,500

If you want, I'll lend it to you.


00:10:11,700 --> 00:10:12,900

- I guess.


00:10:13,900 --> 00:10:22,100

"Reality at last, Ten bottles of wine, all empty too fast!"


00:10:22,500 --> 00:10:26,900

Pizza anyone?


00:10:33,820 --> 00:10:36,100

- End this now or I'll call the cops


00:10:36,420 --> 00:10:37,700



00:10:37,900 --> 00:10:41,500

- Who pissed on the mailboxes? What a mess!


00:10:41,900 --> 00:10:43,300

- Who's that whiner?


00:10:43,500 --> 00:10:46,500

- My landlord.


00:10:50,500 --> 00:10:54,300

My landlord says he'll call the cops. It's over. Go home.


00:11:02,100 --> 00:11:05,300

"Beate didn't take 'Illuminatus,'


00:11:05,700 --> 00:11:07,700

Alex only read parts on sex and drugs.


00:11:08,300 --> 00:11:10,300

He plain, 'didn't get it.'


00:11:11,300 --> 00:11:13,620

What Wilson's wrote about assassinations was riveting.


00:11:13,820 --> 00:11:18,100

I repeatedly read it, and sought other believers.


00:11:18,380 --> 00:11:21,660

BBS were populated by people like me.


00:11:22,220 --> 00:11:24,500

I got a computer and joined my peers.


00:11:24,900 --> 00:11:26,500

Just a simple computer.


00:11:27,100 --> 00:11:30,100

Only a Commodore, but it served my needs.


00:11:46,300 --> 00:11:49,180

I felt I discovered a new continent.


00:11:49,380 --> 00:11:54,100

I visited my global neighbors.


00:11:55,900 --> 00:11:58,900

It didn't take long to choose a name


00:12:21,860 --> 00:12:25,500

On a BBS where 'Illuminatus' was argued,


00:12:25,700 --> 00:12:29,900

I read Wilson would visit a Hamburg Chaos Computer Club meeting.


00:12:38,500 --> 00:12:40,900

Many computer freaks attended from all over Germany.


00:12:41,300 --> 00:12:45,300

Many were inert but some had skills.


00:12:45,700 --> 00:12:50,100

It's like converting a harmless child's toy into a bomb.


00:12:50,300 --> 00:12:54,500

'Scarabeus' hacked Frankfurt airport's flight arrival board


00:12:54,700 --> 00:12:57,700

'Conan' took-over Luxemburg's power grid.


00:12:57,500 --> 00:13:01,500

'Fishball' had an illegal mail server at GAC.


00:13:02,420 --> 00:13:04,100

Then there was 'David' from Hannover.


00:13:04,300 --> 00:13:06,100

His net-name was 'Goliath'.


00:13:08,820 --> 00:13:11,100

- We're now discovering that the true source of wealth


00:13:11,300 --> 00:13:14,500

is information, and it increases as it's shared.


00:13:14,900 --> 00:13:19,700

"Wilson said computers will revolutionize society.


00:13:20,300 --> 00:13:23,700

Information will be more important than money.


00:13:24,100 --> 00:13:28,500

Knowledge is power and will be controlled by few.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Nobel Prize for Bell's Theorem science RAW wrote about

John Stewart Bell

Faithful readers of Robert Anton Wilson will be familiar with Bell's theorem, the idea that under quantum mechanics, two particles can influence each other, no matter how far apart they are. 

On Tuesday, a Nobel Prize in physics was announced for three scientists who ran experiments that found hard evidence for the theorem. You can read the New York Times story, which even quotes David Kaiser, author of How the Hippies Saved Physics, the book about scientists such as Nick Herbert whom RAW wrote about. Michael Johnson, who emailed me about the news, sent me a link to an also really good Washington Post article. 

Here is the lead for the Times' article:

"Three physicists whose works each showed that nature is even weirder than Einstein had dared to imagine have been named winners of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics.

"John Clauser, of J.F. Clauser and Associates in Walnut Creek, Calif.; Alain Aspect of the Institut d’Optique in Palaiseau, France; and Anton Zeilinger of the University of Vienna in Austria, will split a prize of 10 million Swedish kronor."

No response yet from Nick Herbert on his blog. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

RAW's evolving views on gay people

Photo by Teddy O on Unsplash

In Saturday's blog post, I mentioned Martin Wagner's publication of a 1962 letter by Robert Anton Wilson, including this 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."

It might be worth taking a few moments to go back and read the post, and the comments, which discuss the evolution of RAW's views on gay people. Several comments so far, including from Bobby Campbell, Michael Johnson and Jesse Walker.

Michael, by the way, apologizes for misspelling the name of Lewis Shiner, the excellent science fiction and literary fiction writer who did an excellent interview with RAW.

Michael also says,  "Long Live Martin Wagner!" Yes. 

Monday, October 3, 2022

Eric Wagner's letter to RAW


Sopdet, the Egyptian goddess of Sirius. (Creative Commons 3.0 photo by Colin). 

[When we finished up the Prometheus Rising reading group, Eric Wagner, author of An Inside's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson, asked if he could write a final post for the group. Here is is. -- The Management.]

By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger

In his Afterword to the Hilaritas edition of Prometheus Rising, Richard Rasa relates how Bob Wilson told him in 1994, “Don’t channel me.” I sit here in 2022, fifteen years after Bob’s death. I have not had a sense of connection with Bob’s spirit since his passing, and I have not tried to “channel” him, but I have tried to understand his books and maps of reality. 

Dear Bob,

I hope all goes well. I almost wrote, “Dear Dr. Wilson.” From 1982 to 1988 I thought of you as Dr. Wilson. We began corresponding in 1986, and I first met you in 1987. In 1988 you spent a week in in the Phoenix, Arizona, area where you gave a talk and a seminar. I got to know you better that week, and I began to think of you as “Bob”.

You told Rasa, “Don’t channel me.” I have mixed feeling about the survival of the individual after death. I have had some vague sense of connection to you since your death fifteen years ago but nothing overwhelming. I do want to thank you for your books and your friendship. One review of my first book said I wanted to “be” you. That has some truth to it. You seemed to have a deeper understanding of life than anyone else I had encountered, and your writings and your outlook made a lot of sense to me. Reading Nabokov’s Pale Fire proved educational and a little painful to me when contemplating the character of Kinbote. Wikipedia says Kinbote’s “writing reveals a comic melange of narcissism and megalomania”.My obsession with your thought and writing led me to become a bit zealous in my pursuit of understanding E-Prime, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Aleister Crowley, Beethoven, etc., etc. I fear I strove too much to become your disciple which I know you never wanted. I feel grateful for all I learned in the process, but I feel a little lost. For decades I thought, “Bob said X; that seems like a good working model.” I didn’t always agree with you, but I thought you provided a good working model.

I tried to follow the lines of research which you found most fruitful. You had your Sirius experiences at the age of 41. I hoped that I might have a profound transformational experience around that age as well after my years of work on the exercises in Prometheus Rising and other lines of research you had outlined. I haven’t really had that transformational experience yet.

I turned 48 in 2010, two years after you died. I decided I wanted to read Proust’s long seven volume novel before I turned fifty. I did, and that turned into a bit of an obsession as well. I read it two more times and started it again. I continue to love James Joyce’s writing, but I find that I prefer Proust these days. I have devoted a ton of time to studying Joyce over the past 39 years. I had Finnegans Wake study groups for 36 of those years. I still do weekly readings for an online Finnegans Wake study groups, and during the Pandemic I finished reading ten books by and about Joyce. I will continue to participate in Robert Anton Wilson study groups for the rest of my life I suspect.

Anyway, I hope all goes well on your continuing journey, and thank you for everything.

Your friend,

Eric Wagner

P.S. Two mornings this week I looked up at Sirius as I took out the trash. I remember looking up at Sirius the morning after you died. Next year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of your Sirius experience. I wonder what the future holds for us all.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Bobby Campbell's 'Weird Comix'

The Kindle version of Bobby Campbell's new comic book, Weird Comix #2, is still just 99 cents on Amazon,  less than the price of a cup of coffee, and in my opinion everyone should fork over the 99 pennies and pick up a copy, although of course you can buy the paper copy for $7.77 if you prefer. In my review for Amazon, I gave it five stars and wrote, "Moving, funny, inspirational and wise, Weird Comic #2 collects many of my favorite recent comics by Bobby Campbell. They really show his range." 

If you are reading it on the Kindle app, double click a panel to fill your screen. This works well with my Android cell phone, a bit bigger than most phones, although I suspect it would work even better on a tablet.

See also Bobby's official site. 

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.