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

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.)


Eric Wagner said...

I liked "Jacob's Ladder." A friend who spent time in a mental hospital told me that film captured his mental health experiences very accurately.

Oz Fritz said...

Cliff Walker seems a great name for someone interviewing a person on the leading edge like Wilson. He even brings Joyce into the conversation.

I worked in Portland for 9 days recently. I didn't have a chance to sample the local grass but I did notice that it seemed to have a cannabis dispensary on nearly every corner. If you have time and money one could go dispensary hopping. I love Portland.

I'd describe Jacob's Ladder as a bardo movie. It seems worth viewing at least once. Parts of it can get gnarly and give a queasy feeling; overall the production and acting seems well done. Definitely not a light, happy or humorous offering. Kind of a psycho-twister that resolves at the end in a possibly surprising way.

RAW's comment at the end of the interview comparing the communication skills of chimpanzees with congressmen makes me wonder how many chimpanzees and congress people he's conversed with?

I thought it funny to advertise a lecture on sex, drugs and rock-n-roll to be held at the First Congregational Church. I'd love to hear what he said about the rock-n-roll part of it. Comparing these three tools or pitfalls of consciousness expansion to Greco-Roman gods derives from Crowley though he termed it Wine, Woman, and Song using the same gods.

Jesse said...

Jacob's Ladder is very good. And I say this as someone who hates every other Adrian Lyne film I've ever seen.

Spookah said...

I feel unsure if that's coming from the knowledge that this was a radio interview (and the transcript conserves 'eerr' and such verbal tics), but much more than usually I could during this whole chapter hear RAW's voice in my head while reading. Loved it!

I rewatched Jacob's Ladder, which I could barely remember, and thought it was pretty fantastic. Although I personally would agree with Oz that the film appears to be a metaphor for journeying through a Bardo/purgatory type of space, I greatly enjoyed that it lends itself to many interpretations, and no definitive answer is given. It looks like a descent into madness and paranoia, and even being unstuck in time (on that regard not unlike Slaughterhouse Five). As such, and because it's also a Vietnam war film, it could be seen as being about PTSD.
And the whole LSD-fuelled government conspiracy feels like an added bonus for any Illuminatus! fan.

From the KABOO interview, I now wonder if the protagonist of the film simply wasn't victim of some sort of Vietnamese Pookah prank. I have doubts about the availability of Guiness Stout in Saigon, but the film begins with GIs smoking a joint which they describe as being "something else". Later on, one of the Veterans says something along the lines of "forget it man, it was just bad weed!"

No, you're not about to die, you just got too high...
Better stick to the Portland variety!

Eric Wagner said...

I finally reread this chapter and read the chapter for next week as well. I consider the final story (which we have scheduled to read the week of February 20) very important, so I think I will read one page a day for the next 25 days. Oz Fritz talked about how portions of Schroedinger's Cat seem to deal with John Lennon's murder in 1980. I agree, but this story from 1972 seems like an early version of parts of Scroedinger's Cat, and it seems to prefigure Lennon's murder. It seems an interesting synchro-mesh.