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

Tuesday, February 28, 2023 back up again

The website, an archive of Robert Anton Wilson material, is  back online again after being down for a few days. 

If you aren't familiar with it, it's an archive of Wilson material, including a bibliography, interviews, essays, letters written by Wilson, material from some of his Maybe Logic Academy classes, audio and video. There's also a link on the home page to Martin Wagner's similar site, which offers additional material. If you don't know the sites, you owe it to yourself to check them out. was founded by Mike Gathers, who also has served as host for most of its existence (Joseph Matheny, another RAW fan MVP, was the host for a few years). Mike also serves as the current host. He gathered a great deal of the material himself. 

Monday, February 27, 2023

Natural Law online reading group, Week 14, more on 'I Opening'

Chad Nelson's post last week on "I Opening," the last piece in the Hilaritas Natural Law, was so good it might seem there isn't more to say. But I can't resist putting in my bit.

The publication date of 1972 (in Gallery magazine) is interesting, as it shows that Schroedinger's Cat was in the works for a number of years; as Eric Wagner notes in the comments for last week's post, the copyrights for the first Cat book is 1979, and then they are 1981 for the next two. And it's interesting to me that the story was written during or just after Illuminatus! was written, and employs the Illuminatus! prose cut up technique. Hugh Crane pops up sometimes as a pen name for Wilson in the "Playboy Forum," for example in this brief letter dating to 1970. , so it's a name that was used years before the Schroedinger's Cat trilogy. 

Knowing that the story was published in 1972, it was shocking to me to read, about Crane's death by gunshots, "in 1980, as he was coming out of his apartment for a morning walk in Central Park, and the wild-eyed young man stepped in front of him ..." (Page 227.) John Lennon was shot to death in 1980 outside of his apartment building, the Dakota; the murder took place very close to Central Park. 

I love this bit: "The great affirmation that 'All is joy,' in contrast to the Buddha's equally-true, equally-false, and now obsolete, 'All is sorrow' ... " (Page 228). "

I also liked this: "Eternity is another code word. I won't get any extension in time from these rites. What I get, and you're beginning to get, is a deepening. Not more minutes, but more fullness in each minute. That's eternity."

Chad's entry last week got more reader comments than most blog posts in the series have received. Oz Fritz wrote, "Brilliant way to end the book with this top notch essay on magick. Wilson gives away a lot here." Oz, can you spell out what some of what Wilson gives away? 

A couple of annotations: 

"many people wrote to him, telling him he was the greatest American since Robert DePugh ...." (Page 207).  I did not get the reference, so I looked it up. Robert DePugh (1923-2009), was an anti-Communist activist who founded a militant group called the Minutemen. no connection to the punk rock band

"You're gonna end up like Chaplin," (Page 212.) Despite his greatness, Charlie Chaplin's popularity in the U.S. dwindled to nothing after a series of sex and political scandals, see the Wikipedia article. 

" ... likely at any time to come to a worse cropper than Fatty Arbuckle." (Page 214). His career also was destroyed by a scandal, although apparently he was  not really guilty of anything. 

"a moderately renowned psychologist," (Page 219), Timothy Leary, I assume. 

This will likely be the last posting in the reading group, unless Chad or I (or anyone else) think of something else that ought to be said. Thank you to everyone who took part. 


Sunday, February 26, 2023

Ongoing series on Alan Moore and Grant Morrison


Elizabeth Sandifer (Twitter account photo)

I don't plan to wade through this myself, as I am busy right now with other priorities and not particularly a fan of the author, but "Last War in Albion," an ongoing series of blog posts by Elizabeth Sandifer, is about Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, apparently exploring their work and their rivalry. I assume sombunall of you will be interested:

"Last War in Albion is an ongoing feature of this site, currently running on Mondays. It is an ongoing critical history of the British comics industry focused primarily on the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. Its primary narrative runs from the publication of Grant Morrison’s earliest professional comics work in 1978 through to the present day, although its style is characterized by frequent digressions both forwards and backwards in history.

"The structure of Last War in Albion is an ongoing serial, with each entry following directly from the end of the previous one. Topics are often covered over two or more posts. Jumping around will thus produce some confusion, although hopefully a pleasant and entertaining level.

"The nature of this project means a lot of crawling around through the archives and trying to piece together timelines of decades old events. This at times requires tremendous practical help, and several people have provided various forms of material support in writing this project. To wit, I would like to extend special thanks to Meredith Collins, David Dovey, Ben Hansom, Andrew Hickey, Pádraig Ó Méalóid, Lance Parkin, Alex Reed, Matt Feltman, Roger Whitson, Anna Wiggins, and, of course, Jill Buratto. 

"The blog versions of Books One and Two were written prior to Morrison’s use of they/them pronouns."

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Hilaritas to publish Leary's out of print 'Terra II'

Original cover for Terra II

Hilaritas Press, the publishing imprint of the Robert Anton Wilson Trust, will reprint Timothy Leary's book, Terra II: A Way Out. The book dates from 1973 or 1974 and concerns efforts to get into outer space and contact higher intelligence. It was originally published as 1,000 copies and never reprinted, so the Hilaritas edition will make it available again.

I reported in October 2021 that Hilaritas was trying to obtain the rights. That has been done, and Rasa is now working on the book. It's impossible to say when the book will be out; Rasa always simply releases the book when it is ready, and it's difficult to know in advance what snags might come up. It does seem like a good sign that production has begun.

It does look like a number of Hilaritas Press publications currently are in the works. Among the titles that have been publicly disclosed, besides the new Leary, are the next three scheduled Robert Anton Wilson new editions: The Walls Came Tumbling Down, Reality is What You Can Get Away With and Chaos and Beyond. I am hoping for an announcement on Walls soon. Work also is being carried out on the new RAW book that is focused on Aleister Crowley, fueled by the discovery of a 72 page manuscript. There is also a "secret" book project that has not been announced yet. 

Friday, February 24, 2023

Pete Carroll's business tips

Prop Anon, continuing his efforts to make Maybe Logic Academy class materials available, has posted information on all five weeks of Pete Carroll's "Chaos Magic in Business" class at Prop's Chapel Perilous website. 

"In the Spring of 2006, Peter Carroll taught a five-week course called 'Chaos Magic in Business' at the Maybe Logic Academy. When I saw the advertisement for the course then I was curious as I’d never thought about applying magic to your business. However, after reading Carroll’s explanation of how Chaos Magic can help you create and then maintain your own business, I became interested in taking the course," Prop explains.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Hilaritas podcast features Sascha Engel

The latest Hilaritas Press podcast, released today, is an interview with Sascha Engel. The blurb says simply, "In this episode, Mike Gathers chats with Sascha Engel about the themes of his book, Breaking the Alphabet and the tyranny of the written word." Engel has an official website, which offers this: "Sascha's an author of anti-civilizational prose and poetry and founder of the now-defunct Ireland-based journal Strukturriss. After pursuing an M.A. in Political Theory and a PhD in Political Economy, Sascha's interest in things other than economics was awakened by the chance find of an 'ancient technology' section in a bookstore in Corvallis, Oregon, and he's never looked back since. Find him experimenting with ancient lettering systems pre-dating the Latin alphabet, or just wandering about in County Cork, Ireland."

The official website for the episode has useful links and suggestions on where to find the podcast 

As I noted earlier, the podcast for Feb. 23 was supposed to be an interview with John Zerzan, but the episode was canceled and replaced. 

The podcast host, Mike Gathers, recently issued "Men's Work," another episode of his Intelligence Increase newsletter on Substack. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

A RAW fan announces a new grant program

Jim O'Shaughnessy

What would happen if a wealthy Robert Anton Wilson fan used his money to try to make the world a better place? It seems as if we are getting at least one answer to the question.

Jim O'Shaughnessy, the Wall Street investor and investment guru, often mentions RAW on his Twitter account. He was last mentioned at this blog when he interviewed a putative "new RAW" on his podcast, has announced the first two O'Shaughnessy Fellowships awarded by  O'Shaughnessy Ventures, LLC.

"Dr. William Zeng will use the O'Shaughnessy Fellowship $100,000 grant to pursue open-source quantum computing," a press release says. "Nat & Martha Sharpe will use the $100,000 O'Shaughnessy Fellowship grant to study and make documentary films of alternative childhood education schools."

Zeng's research sounds as if it might be of interest to RAW fans.

"Dr. Zeng will use his fellowship period to study how emerging quantum technologies can explore foundational questions in quantum mechanics. For example, this next generation of experimental tests will probe fundamental aspects of nature by considering what it means for something to be an observation / some-being to be an observer."

The grant to the Sharpes also sounds interesting.

"Nat and Martha will use their Fellowship grant to investigate and document how we can prepare kids for a future where no career is safe. Is self-directed learning the answer? What happens when we let kids learn whatever they want? Nat and Martha Sharpe will use their fellowship to film and share the stories of the people who embody these questions."

About the grant program: "OSV launched the Fellowship Program on 1 January 2023. It is a one-year program for ambitious people who want to build something great. Fellows will receive a $100,000 equity-free grant and access to OSV's network of founders, investors, and experts to support them in bringing their projects to life. OSV will award Twelve Fellowships in total."

More here. 

The fellowships are only part of what O'Shaughnessy Ventures, LLC does, see the website. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Robert Anton Wilson on AI and automation

As we discuss "I Opening" in the Natural Law reading group, a precursor to the Schrödinger's Cat trilogy, a blog posting by Bunnyworks Studio notes that many of the current issues raised by AI are anticipated in the trilogy:

"Having your human workforce replaced by machine labor should be a reason to rejoice. You don't have to work anymore and can dedicate your valuable time to more fulfilling activities like games, literature and art. Of course, this is not the actual case in the world today, nor was it during most of humanity. The flaw is the fact the people whose workforce is replaced don't receive any form of compensation or share of the profit, which is either as high as it was before or even increases due to the introduction of new technology.

"One of the most interesting ideas/visions of a non-dystopian future adressing this very issue I once found in a trilogy of books by American author and Discordian Robert Anton Wilson (1932 - 2007), called the "Schrödinger's Cat" trilogy."

Hat tip, Nick Helweg-Larsen. 

Monday, February 20, 2023

Natural Law online reading group, Week 13, 'I Opening'

Photo by Sander Sammy at

  [I really like the entire Hilaritas Natural Law book, hence this reading group, but I think Chad's discovery and reprinting of "I Opening" is a particularly amazing gift for RAW fans. When I decided to do the reading group, Chad Nelson, the book's editor, offered to do a guest post on "I Opening," and of course I agreed. Here it is. The Management.] 

By Chad Nelson
Special guest blogger

It seemed appropriate to conclude the new edition of Natural Law with something unexpected. After all, that’s the general flavor of the book’s main essay and its companion pieces: weird, contrarian, surprisingly information-dense. 

RAW once described his work as an attempt to put LSD into the intellectual water supply. Patrons of RAWIllumination and other longtime Wilson fans have probably built up a tolerance though, so the ideas presented in this book, although profound, may no longer shock our consciences like they did when we originally encountered Wilson. I hope ending the new Natural Law volume with Wilson’s lesser-known 1972 essay "I Opening", represents a flashback of sorts. There were other reality-shattering essays that could have gone in its spot, but I liked ending it with this one for a lot of reasons.

I often wonder what the ultimate practitioner of Maybe Logic, guerrilla ontology, neurological relativism, anarchism, and “that jolly flavor of nihilism — Discordianism,” might look like, and how they’d navigate life. Surely there are countless varieties of such a person, and Hugh Crane is unmistakably one of them. RAW’s “Reichian Rebel” (as Crane is described in Gallery magazine's synopsis of the piece) seems to be a blend of a half dozen or more of the different esoteric traditions and intellectual outcasts that influenced Wilson. Some elements of "I Opening" even seem autobiographical.

Like all of us, Crane was the opposite of a static individual. He is multiple and malleable (he “seemed to be a verb,” as Wilson liked to quote Fuller). The story take us through Crane’s evolution as he experiments with deliberately induced brain change. Throughout, we witness Crane move through various phases: from atheist to “religious nut”, de Sadian “sex maniac” to devoted husband, heir apparent to Houdini to disgraced nightclub act, to name a few of them. Along the way, Wilson inserts Crane into all sorts of historical events, like a subversive Forest Gump. In Crane, Wilson gives us a character willing to evaluate almost every form of cultural conditioning and decide for himself whether to regard them or not. In doing so publicly, Hugh Crane is simultaneously the freest man and the most despised. 

Is this the destiny that awaits anyone as bold as Crane in real life? If so, is it a life worth living?

I really appreciated Bobby Campbell’s analysis of the Guns and Dope Party in his recent interview with Mike Gathers. In short, Bobby suggests the Guns and Dope Party is yet another of RAW’s efforts to get us to think for ourselves. It’s sort of the ultimate trickster maneuver: to present an idea so incisive, yet taboo, that Wilson followers are almost guaranteed to parrot it before giving it a second thought. Perhaps there’s an element of that teaching in "I Opening." One must figure out a proper balance between individuality and truth-seeking on the one hand, and coexistence on the other. As heroic as Hugh Crane is, pushing back against every societal norm is fraught with social peril. Contrary though it may be to the romantic brand of free-thinking we’ve learned from Wilson, there may actually be a time and place for falling in line and self-censorship. So what is the right balance between rebellion and conformity? It beats me. It is an interesting paradox many of us grapple with — you really can’t have one mode of being without the other.

Wilson may not have intended for "I Opening" to be as profound as I’m making it (although Crane’s story is later expanded in the Schrödinger’s Cat trilogy, which Wilson hints may be a “ shamanistic manual in the form of a novel”). Regardless, I think RAW’s fiction gives us a depth that’s not always available through his non-fiction. At the end of "I Opening," we come to learn that after Crane’s murder, his disciples (a “cult”) exhibit odd behavior: visiting Crane's murderer in prison, petitioning for his clemency, expressing tolerance for his ideas, and “answering questions with maybe” and he [Crane] was seeking / we are seeking”. Perhaps this is a metaphor for the middle ground we ought to seek as we go about our lives equipped with Wilson’s teachings. 

I first read the Hugh Crane material in Schrödinger’s Cat, which came early on in my RAW journey. At the time I read it, most of the references to other historical renegades and occult philosophies were lost on me. But as I continued to read Wilson’s other work, and those he was influenced by, I began to pick up on the meaning of those obscure references. For instance, it only recently occurred to me that much of Crane’s story parallels the real life adventures of Aleister Crowley. I was also initially unfamiliar with the concept of ego dissolution (described in Crane’s prison notes), a concept I now understand is an experience that binds so many ancient spiritual traditions — helping me understand the meaning behind the title "I Opening." I’m sure I’ll continue to find others, which is another reason I’m always fond of revisiting this story.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Is is OK to edit classic texts?

Roald Dahl in 1954 (public domain photo).

I've spent much of the weekend, as part of my duties as a Prometheus Award judge, reading Widowland by C.J. Carey, an alternate world dystopia, set in 1953, which depicts a Britain which has lost World War II and is occupied by the Nazis. (In Carey's version, the 1939 nonaggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union has continued, and the U.S. apparently never enters the war.) 

The novel's heroine lives in London and her job is to rewrite the texts of books to make them fit better with Nazi ideology. Much of her work involves toning down the outspoken thoughts and behavior of female characters in classic novels such as Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre.

Also this weekend, news broke that the publisher of classic children's author Roald Dahl has made hundreds of changes in the original text of his books to bring them in line with modern sensitivities, including eliminating the word "fat." (Dahl died in 1990). 

I will note that the Robert Anton Wilson Trust's publishing arm, Hilaritas Press, has taken a much more conservative approach. Obvious mistakes such as misspelled proper names are corrected, but for instances where the text might seem outdated, the approach taken has been to publish supplementary material, not to rewrite Robert Anton Wilson's words. 

Saturday, February 18, 2023

News and notes

1. I've put up a collection of links on the right side of this page for the online reading group for Natural Law: Or Don't Put a Rubber On Your Willy at the right side of this page, for the convenience of anyone who wants to easily find an entry, or maybe read the book at a later date. It's never too late to post a comment. 

2. I felt the advertising was becoming too obtrusive for this blog, so I've reduced it. Specifically, I didn't like the way Google was putting an ad in the middle of the latest post. I don't mind having a bit of advertising here, as I have various costs associated with the blog, but I don't want it to get in the way of readers.

3. The planned Feb. 23 originally planned Hilaritas podcast interview, with John Zerzan, apparently has been canceled. 

Friday, February 17, 2023

Brian Dean explains his new book for RAW fans


As planned, Brian Dean at RAW Semantics has put up a post, explaining why his new book, Lazy Person's Guide to Framing: Decoding the News Media, would be of interest to Robert Anton Wilson fans. The first couple of paragraphs lay out the thesis:

" 'Models and muddles', 'semantic maps', belief systems, etc (RAW’s favoured lexicon) – I regard as synonymous with cognitive frames. Both approaches (RAW’s and framing) refer to experiential symbolic constructs (what else is there to talk of?) – language and metaphor as brain 'software', grounded in notions of embodied cognition (as opposed to disembodied reason).

"Both have a (post-)modern worldviews perspectivism that sometimes seems mistaken for anything-goes subjective relativism, and which presents 'challenges' to an ancient 'objectivist' view/habit that still seems prevalent nearly everywhere. Both can facilitate insight, tolerance and irony on tricky matters of politics, media, culture and ontology."

Brian has closely studied cognitive scientist George Lakoff, and tries to popularize it for the average reader — "it’s written especially for idlers." Perhaps  the analogy here may be with Alfred Korzybski's work; Science and Sanity, a weighty tome that RAW said he read in a weekend, seems too much for many, and other writers tried to make it easier for people to understand him, including RAW. See the popularizers Michael Johnson writes about.  Michael mentions at least six books that sought to popularize Korzybski, including Language in Thought and Action by Samuel Hayakawa, about which he writes, "Language In Thought and Action is a delightful read, and will make you "smarter" right away. However, if you decide then to look at his source - Science and Sanity - you will probably be STUNNED by all the math and science."

Brian's book is available at the UK Amazon, and also at the American one. I also gave a bit of background on the book when Brian announced it. 

Thursday, February 16, 2023

The Hilaritas podcast on Kropotkin


I finally got around to listening to last month's Hilaritas podcast, in which Mike Gathers interviews anarchist writer and activist Wayne Price about Peter Kropotkin, the prominent Russian anarchist. I've posted the YouTube version above for your convenience, but the official website has useful links and offers suggestions on where to get the podcast. 

The podcast, about an hour long, features Price explaining Kropotkin's ideas and discussing anarchism in general. As Mike explains, Kropotkin's article about anarchism for Encyclopedia Brittanica is credited with sparking RAW's interest in anarchism. 

There's no discussion in the podcast about RAW's views on anarchism or about Illuminatus! coauthor Robert Shea, who published an anarchist zine, No Governor. 

This month's podcast, scheduled for release on Feb. 23, will continue the discussion of anarchist ideas by featuring an interview with John Zerzan. 

I've listened to all of the Hilaritas podcasts, but if you are new to them,  you can look at the podcast page and get started by finding one that has a topic of interest to you. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

The 'bonus' podcast with Bobby Campbell is worth a listen [UPDATED]


Please see updates below. 

Now that I have listened to it, I want to join the other folks who have recommended the new Hilaritas podcast featuring Bobby Campbell and a discussion of the new Hilaritas TSOG; You Tube video in my post a few days ago, while the Hilaritas Press post with links to podcasts is here.

I always enjoy listening to Bobby;  I think my favorite bit this time was his recommendation to use E Prime when arguing a point on the Internet; do that, and the argument never escalates, Bobby said. I also liked Bobby's suggestion that Timothy Leary seemed to be overtaken by the Timothy Leary character he created and the suggestion that mystical experiences get discussed in terms of a simulation because software often can be how we currently see the world. I also agree with Bobby that taking RAW seriously means being willing to read him critically, and disagree with RAW when necessary. 

Bobby says that RAW's political ideas can be described as "malleable" and don't follow a consistent ideology, and I agree. Mike made the point that right wingers "cherry pick" from RAW's views, but I think left wingers and libertarians do that, too, both because it is human to try to claim someone you admire for your tribe, and because RAW was all over the map and lends himself to cherry picking. 

For example, Bobby says he does not agree with the "guns" part of the Guns and Dope Party, but on at least one occasion, RAW seems to suggest that wide gun ownership guarantees "that the murder rate in Unistat would always be the highest in the world. This kept the citizens in perpetual anxiety about their safety both on the streets and in their homes. The citizens then tolerated the rapid growth of the Police State, which controlled almost everything, except the sale of guns, the chief cause of crime." Similarly, at various times RAW condemns taxation and praises social democratic welfare states, which cannot exist without high taxation. 

Bobby also says he has not read Email to the Universe; I like it better than TSOG and wonder if Bobby will agree if he ever reads Email, one of my favorite RAW books. 

Mike, doing a good job as usual as host, takes some credit for Email. He deserves to do so as the founder of the RAWilsonfans website, but as Michael Johnson notes in a comment to my original post on the podcast, several people deserve credit for the  RAWilsonfans archives used in putting Email together. Michael Johnson's piece is a nice addition to the Hilaritas Press edition.  [UPDATE: Mike Gathers takes exception to some of this and believes I am minimizing his role, which was not my intent; please see his comments below]. 

Mike  confuses The New Inquisition with the Hilaritas Press Natural Law; the latter draws extensively from Samuel Konkin's New Libertarian publications. [UPDATE: See also Mike's comments about this, too]. 

Finally, is there something wrong with my hearing, or are there birds chirping when Bobby is talking? 

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Tuesday links

I follow a Roman Britain Twitter account, and some of the photos seem so magical to me. "Back to Portchester Castle this weekend, The Norman keep always gets everyones attention - but the real story here is the best preserved circuit of Roman walls in the country: the fort of Portus Adurni." Source. 

A toast to Antero Alli from Prop Anon. 

Interview with R.U. Sirius. 

 What a coincidence. 

The attacks on trans people.  

I've read all of them. 

Monday, February 13, 2023

Natural Law reading group, Week 12, 'In Doubt We Trust'

A marble bust of Pyrrho, the skeptical philosopher (Creative Commons photo, source.)

In this essay, essentially another discussion of maybe logic, RAW explains why uncertainty and doubt should often be considered the default position.

I was interested in his discussion about the real difference between cults and religions, i.e., his contention that there aren't any: "There are two clear-cut and empirical lines between a 'cult' and a 'religion' [a] membership (voters) and [b] bank account, [b] being a function of [a]. If a group has enough members to influence elections, it will also have a large bank account, and these two factors will guarantee that the politicians, the cops and the corporate media will treat it with respect, as a 'religion'."

While I think Wilson is on to something, it seems to me that the passage of time also seems to be a factor; if a cult lasts for generations, it acquires respectability and becomes a religion. But I'm having trouble thinking of any other criticisms of Wilson's suggestion. I was going to argue that cults don't take it well when someone tries to leave, but Islam is a religion that is famously hard on apostates. 

Elsewhere in the piece, Wilson states that a batting average below .333 means that the hitter "missed more than two out of three times they swung." Did RAW really know so little about baseball? (A batting average is the number of hits divided by the number of at-bats; a batter with three hits in ten at bats has a .300 average. The number of times he or she swung and missed is irrelevant). 

"... if  our perceptions are somewhat uncertain, then all of our ideas, which are deductions or inferences from perception, must also remain somewhat uncertain." 

Given RAW's interest in skepticism, I am surprised that I cannot remember any of his writings mention Pyrrho, the Greek philosopher who founded a school of skeptical philosophy, Pyrrhonism.  According to the Wikipedia article, one of the sayings of Pyrrhonism is "Perhaps, it is possible, maybe." Can anyone contradict me and point to a passage where RAW mentions Pyrrho?'

The RAW Semantics blog has a piece about Pyrrhonism which says, "I don’t recall RAW referencing Pyrrho in his writings or talks (although he may well have done). But when searching for such references, I found this nice description (by Erik Davis) of RAW’s philosophical vision as 'a kind of psychedelicized Pyrrhonian skepticism'."

Pyrrho by the way traveled with Alexander the Great's army, which reached India, and supposedly was influenced by Indian philosophers. 

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Bonus 'TSOG' episode of Hilaritas podcast features Bobby Campbell

In advance of the regularly scheduled podcast that will likely be released on Feb. 23, Hilaritas Press has released a bonus episode of the Hilaritas podcast to promote the release of the new Hilaritas Press edition of TSOG:  The Thing that Ate the Constitution and other everyday monsters. Mike Gathers interviews Bobby Campbell, who wrote one of the supplemental pieces included in the new edition. The website for the podcast includes the usual show notes, including a link to my blog post about criticism of the title (and see the comments), so the podcast should be interesting.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

New Brian Dean book, 'Lazy Person's Guide to Framing'

Brian Dean, who writes the excellent RAW Semantics blog, has a new book out, Lazy Person's Guide to Framing: Decoding the News Media. 

Technically, this is the second edition of an earlier book. However, as Brian explains in this Tweet, the first edition was 68 pages, and this edition is 210 pages, so it's a largely new and heavily updated and expanded book.

Here is the Official Blurb: "From Futura Pocketbooks, a 'Lazy Person’s Guide' to media framing. This updated and extended 2023 edition explains how headlines and news stories can be decoded with the latest know-how from the cognitive sciences. Discover how media narratives and political spin are unravelled and deciphered by frame semantics – an essential part of what has been labelled, 'Cognitive Revolution'." 

The book looks like fun and apparently is written for people like me who don't have time to take a deep dive into the topic. 

I did a "search inside the book" before I bought it, and there were six references to Robert Anton Wilson in the text. Brian is planning to put up a blog post soon to explain why the book would be of interest to RAW fans, and I will point to that when it becomes available.

I bought the Kindle edition, which is $6.18, here is the Amazon page for readers in the U.S.  If you are a British reader, the UK Amazon page is here

Friday, February 10, 2023

'Prometheus Rising' audiobook released

Hilaritas Press has announce the release of an audiobook of Prometheus Rising. It is narrated by British actor Oliver Senton, who portrayed RAW in Daisy Campbell's Cosmic Trigger play and who has recorded previous audiobook versions of RAW's books. 

More here, including an audio sample. 

Other Hilaritas audiobooks (e.g., the new one,and the three Cosmic Trigger books.)

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Chaos Magick at Maybe Logic Academy

Prop Anon took Pete Carroll's class in Chaos Magick at Maybe Logic Academy in 2005, and he saved his class materials. Prop has been posting them at his Chapel Perilous website. Here is week one.   He also has posted week two. 

Prop writes, "You will recall the 'Crowley 101' course that RAW taught at the MLA and that I posted last week here on this website. Whereas RAW’s ‘Crowley 101’ course was a dipping of the proverbial toe in the pond of the Occult, Mr. Carroll’s class was a cannon ball into the choppy mercurial waters of the Occult. I cannot think of a better way to study Magic(K) than by comparing and contrasting the two methods found in 'Crowley 101' and this class."

The Wikipedia bio for Carroll says, "In 2005, he appeared as a chaos magic instructor at Maybe Logic Academy at the request of Robert Anton Wilson."

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Wait, I did what?

Neil Bates, in a comment posted this weekend: "I note that "" has (of course!) 23 characters!"

I like "RAW Illumination" as a name for a blog devoted to Robert Anton Wilson, but I never noticed a 23 before, so thanks for that. It certainly wasn't deliberate.

Neil by the way is on Twitter and has a blog of his own

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

RAW's Yellow Springs arrest made national news


My favorite underrated RAW book, Cosmic Trigger 2: Down to Earth,  describes how RAW got himself arrested by participating in a demonstration against a barber shop in Yellow Springs, Ohio, which refused to serve Black people.

The above clipping,which Jesse Walker shared with me, is an AP wire story which Jesse found in an Indiana newspaper. So presumably it was published in other newspapers. "Those arrested were identified as Ken Huber, Dan Beverly, Robert Anton Wilson, Otha Nixon and Roland Smith, all Yellow Springs residents." The other details in the story match what RAW says in the book, at least as far as I can remember. 

The clipping is dated Sunday, July 28, 1963, so the "Saturday" arrests described in the article apparently are the day before. 

Monday, February 6, 2023

Natural Law reading group, Week 11, 'KBOO-FM Interview'

The offices of KBOO in Portland (Creative Commons photo, source).

Once again, I would like to thank Chad Nelson for finding such an interesting interview and including it in this book. 

A few notes:

Cliff Walker was apparently a longtime Portland radio figure until his retirement, but I could not find a useful biography to link to. KBOO is a Portland community radio station.

Total Recall and Jacob's Ladder, page 186. Total Recall was based on a classic Philip K. Dick short story, "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale."  I have not seen Jacob's Ladder; do y'all recommend it? 

"The general attitude of Taoism and Buddhism is that wherever you are in space-time, that's your reality." Page 190. There is a new book The Scythian Empire: Central Eurasia and the Birth of the Classical Age From Persia to China,” by Christopher I. Beckwith which claims that both Buddha and Lao-Tzu were both Scythians, and that in fact they have the same name. From the Jan. 20 review in the Wall Street Journal written by Maxwell Carter:

"Mr. Beckwith transcribes the foreign-born Laotzu’s full name, Lao-tan—“lao” was formerly pronounced like “k’ao”—into the Sanskrit Gautama. For Mr. Beckwith, the simultaneous appearance of these revolutionary figures and ideas was no coincidence. Rejecting the belief that ancient cultures were conceived locally, he proposes that the Scythians were the common denominator that 'produced the great shared cultural flowering known as the Classical Age'.”

"a beautiful lady in Berlin," page 196, Marlis Jermutus perhaps?  Rasa says that is possible, but he thinks it is most likely that passage refers to Suzanne Seiler, a woman RAW met at the Frankfurt book fair. "That's just a guess," Rasa says.

I like RAW's translation of "sex and drugs and rock and roll" to "Venus and Dionysius and Apollo," although for the sake of consistency, he should say "Aphrodite and Dionysius and Apollo." (Page 196.)

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Is Jesse Michels the 'new RAW'?


If you are kind of old like me, you probably have run across an article speculating on who the "new Dylan" would turn out to be. Here is an article, for example, on the "Top Ten Best New Dylans." At the end, I usually wound up concluding that the old Dylan was more interesting than any of the new ones.

Jim O'Shaughnessy is a Wall Street finance guy who is a huge fan of Robert Anton Wilson and who often references RAW on his Twitter account. He is involved in various interesting ventures, including producing  movie on the benefits of psychedelics, and also has a podcast called Infinite Loops. 

Describing a recent episode, O'Shaughnessy writes, "I think of my guest @AlchemyAmerican as a modern-day Robert Anton Wilson. He's even more of a rabbit hole diver than me, and his  @YouTube Channel is a blast--listen in as we discuss some wild ideas and fun speculations." 

@AlchemyAmerican is Jesse Michels, you can check out his Twitter account  and his YouTube channel. (lots of episodes about UFOs and psychedelic mushrooms.) The Infinite Loops episode that features Michels is here. and a transcript is available if you don't want to sit through the podcast. 

Michels used to work for Google and now works for Peter Thiel. Apparently the "new RAW" isn't familiar with the old one -- O'Shaughnessy brings up RAW early in the podcast and Michels doesn't recognize the name, although he does know some of O'Shaughnessy's other influences.

I have a couple of suggestions for Infinite Loops: O'Shaughnessy should interview Tyler Cowen, and he should do an episode that features somebody interviewing O'Shaughnessy himself. (I could do a good job with the latter, focusing on his RAW interests, although I suspect O'Shaughnessy would have his own candidate in mind if he wanted to do it). 

Saturday, February 4, 2023

A few more words on 'RAW Memes'


I have finished RAW Memes, the collection of Robert Anton Wilson quotes selected and illustrated by Rasa. Here's part of what I wrote in a note to Rasa after I finished the book: 

"Wanted to drop you a note after finishing RAW Memes. (I have been reading a few pages at a time, which I would argue is as good a way as any to read it.) 

"The essay at the back, "Bob and Rasa," is really good and adds some genuine additional value for people who buy the book. As you point out, RAW really knew quite a bit about Buddhism. (He was more of Mahayana guy and I have been more on the Theravada side when I study it, but I know enough about all variations of Buddhism to know that RAW knew his stuff.) I'm glad I bought the book."

Wilson's books are laced with references to Buddhism; does anyone know of any place where he wrote an entire article about it? 

Friday, February 3, 2023

Interview with Antero Alli

Jason Louv, the Ultraculture guy,  interviews Antero Alli on "The Art of Dying." See my earlier post. 

Louv writes in the YouTube caption for the interview:

"Antero Alli is a paratheatrical director and professional astrologer who has authored books on experimental theatre, astrology and Timothy Leary's 8-circuit model of consciousness. He has long been a pivotal figure in the magick scene, particularly due to his influential books AngelTech: A Modern Shaman's Guide to Reality Selection and All Rites Reversed. He was also recently diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and has since declined treatment. Alli very graciously granted this longform interview with me on the podcast, and we had a truly profound and phenomenal conversation."

Joseph Matheny called my attention to the interview, posted on Monday, in a Twitter posting, writing, "Antero and I share a publisher (Original Falcon), and we've hung out in Berkeley a few times. This is a great interview and possibly his last, and it's great to see he's still as thoughtful and eloquent as ever."

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Latest John Higgs news: Bond-Beatles book out next week in the U.S.

The U.S. edition, left, and UK version of the latest John Higgs book. Can you spot the difference? Answer in John's latest newsletter. 

John Higgs' well-reviewed book on James Bond and the Beatles, Love and Let Die,  will be released in the U.S. and in Canada on Feb. 7, my mother's 90th birthday. And John is continuing to hold events in Britain to promote the book. This news and more is in John's latest newsletter. 

John also has thoughts on Britain's colonialist and racist past and in relation to this discusses the German word mahnmal, which he explains means "monument to national shame." He also has some interesting book and podcast recommendations. 

Obviously, it's a coincidence that John's book is coming out on my mother's birthday. But I will note that the last book my Dad read, before he died last year, age 90, was a John Higgs book, Stranger Than We Can Imagine, which I gave to Dad last summer. Dad said he thought the chapter on chaos was particularly interesting. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Robert Anton Wilson's class on Aleister Crowley

RAW biographer Prop Anon has a new post up. "Robert Anton Wilson's 2005 'Crowley 101' course" is a long post that covers seven weeks of assignments. (Instead of breaking up the assignments into separate blog posts, as in previous similar postings at his Chapel Perilous website, Prop puts them all in one place, making things easier on the reader. " I feel like it’s time to go hyper-drive with RAW related material," he explains.)

Perhaps in some fashion this material could be included in the upcoming Hilaritas book of RAW writing about Crowley?

Here is a bit I liked from Prop's post (from Week Four, "Do What Thou Wilt"):

"RAW opens with a thought about how Crowley basically told people to think for themselves and in return he was decried as a monster and or Satanist while other religious teachers tell people to think like them and they get remembered as saints. RAW asks, 'Do you see something remarkable in this?' "