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.
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.
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.