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

Friday, March 31, 2023

Oklahoma's occult governor


I am from Oklahoma, as I believe I have mentioned, but I don't remember being taught in Oklahoma history class about Henry S. Johnston, the 7th governor of Oklahoma, who was impeached.

"Johnston was a Rosicrucian, a Grand Master Mason, & a member of the KKK & Knights Templar. He was open about his mystical beliefs & interests in Theosophy, New Thought, Christian Science, yoga & astrology. He was a vegetarian & reportedly spent much time in his office meditating."

Johnson was kicked out of office, but was elected to the state Senate.

Twitter thread here.  Via Jesse Walker. 

The Wikipedia bio is markedly less interesting. 

I have remarked on Oklahoma's odd relationship with marijuana and casino gambling. 

Oklahoma was also the home of a state representative, John Monks, who warned that the first thing Communists do when they take over a country is outlaw cockfighting.  I guess some of those socialist RAW fans in Britain don't realize that banning cockfighting is an important element in class struggle. 


Thursday, March 30, 2023

An interview with Jonathan GPT Swift


Midjourney image below of Jonathan Swift in podcasting studio, via Carlos Orchoa

Tyler Cowen, in his "Conversations With Tyler" podcast series, has interviewed an AI version of Jonathan Swift, one of Robert Anton Wilson's favorite writers, using GPT4.

Here is the blurb for the episode: "GPT Swift discusses his support for the Church of Ireland, his shift from the Whigs to the Tories, and his opposition to William Wood’s copper coinage in Ireland. He also talks about his works, including Gulliver’s Travels and A Modest Proposal, and his skepticism of moral and intellectual progress. Swift addresses rumors about his relationship with Esther Johnson and his fascination with scatological themes in his works. He also discusses his early life in England, his intellectual mentor Sir William Temple, and his jovial attitude towards death."

One feature of the interview is that Cowen asks many of the same sorts of questions that he uses in other podcasts, including an "Overrated or underrated" segment:

COWEN: OK, we’re going to play a little game here. I will name a thinker or other item from your time, and you will tell me whether you think it is overrated or underrated.

How about John Donne, overrated or underrated?

SWIFT: I have great respect for John Donne, the metaphysical poet and cleric. Donne’s work is known for its complexity, wit, and innovative use of metaphors. His unique style and approach to poetry have had a lasting influence on English literature. In my opinion, John Donne is not overrated, but rather appropriately rated or even underrated, considering the depth and quality of his work.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Arrests in Ireland in Kerry Babies case

A news story from Ireland:

A woman who was arrested on suspicion of murder as part of the investigation into the death of a baby boy in Ireland almost 40 years ago has been released without charge.

A man in his 60s who was also arrested remains under detention at a Garda station in the south of the country.

The body of the five-day-old infant, known as Baby John, was found with multiple stab wounds in a bag on a beach in Co Kerry in April 1984.

The man and woman were arrested in the Munster region on Thursday “in relation to the discovery of the body of a male infant at White Strand, Caherciveen, County Kerry”, according to a garda statement.

The high-profile discovery became known as the “Kerry Babies” case, and would lead to a state apology over the treatment of a local woman.

Joanne Hayes was arrested and charged after Baby John’s body was found in 1984, but the charge was later dropped and a tribunal of inquiry was set up to probe the handling of her case by Gardai.

Advances in DNA profiling then confirmed that Ms Hayes, as she always maintained, was not Baby John’s mother.

In 2018, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, justice minister Charlie Flanagan and An Garda Siochana apologised to Ms Hayes.

More here.  And here is the Irish Times account. 

Kudos to Prop Anon for spotting this on Twitter and calling it to my attention. On Twitter, Prop Anon explains, "Robert Anton Wilson wrote about the mysterious "Kerry Babies" murders in his book Coincidance about his time living in Ireland." 

Prop has the connection correct, but the actual book is Cosmic Trigger 2. And RAW is quite scathing in the book about the unfair treatment of Joanne Hayes. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Scholars conspire to hold Miami academic conference

Jesse Walker, presenting his paper at a conspiracy theory conference. (Facebook photo). 

Jesse Walker has a report on Reason magazine's website, "This Just In: Conspiracy Theorists Not Quite as Kooky as Previously Reported," which debunks many of the "facts" that people believe about conspiracy theories.  For example, there's little basis for thinking that right wingers traffic in conspiracy theories more than anyone else does.

Jesse's piece is a report on the second International Conspiracy Theory Symposium, held a few days ago at the University of Miami. Here is one highlight:

"My favorite paper of the weekend was 'Presencing, Immersion, & Community,' in which T. Kenny Fountain and Chandler Jennings of the University of Virginia examined conspiracy theories through the lens of religious studies. Conspiracy beliefs, they argued, can resemble 'religious and aesthetic experiences often valued as meaningful and even pleasurable,' making conspiracism 'more contiguous with ordinary experience than the literature often suggests.'

"Much of their paper draws on the thinking of Tanya Luhrmann, an anthropologist whose work explores, in Fountain and Jennings's words, 'the processes by which invisible spirits or gods become tangibly real to religious believers.' This is not just an individual process, they note, but a social one: Believers develop a paracosm—a 'private-but-shared imaginative world.' And while a conspiracy belief is not the same thing as a spiritual belief, a similar process can be seen in conspiracist communities. Indeed, it can be seen among all sorts of groups built around immersive experiences, from literary storyworlds to video games."

And here's an interesting bit: Jesse is working on a history paper called ""The Great Groomer Panic of 1968–70: Birchers, Discordians, and the Sex Ed Wars," which he will "publish eventually." When it becomes publicly available I will share the link, as it is very interesting. 

Now, I have a challenge for readers of this blog: What is the obvious omission in Jesse's article? Is there a conspiracy behind it? My answer in the comments!

Monday, March 27, 2023

Notes on 'Love and Let Die'


I really meant to do quite a bit of writing this weekend, but I just could not stop reading John Higgs' Love and Let Die, his book about the Beatles and James Bond. I've read many books about the Beatles over the years, but John's is the best. 

I don't have time to write a full review, but a couple of notes for the sort of people who likely read this blog:

Robert Anton Wilson is mentioned once, late in the book, in a section where Higgs discusses Wilson's notions of neophilia and neophobic. "The Beatles were a classic example of a group of neophiliacs," Higgs writes. The book has an index, but strangely, RAW's name is omitted from it.

Most serious Beatles fans will know that the lyrics of two Beatles songs written by John Lennon were related to Timothy Leary: "Tomorrow Never Knows" has a lyric derived from  The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead by Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert and Ralph Metzner, and "Come Together" originally began as an intended campaign song for Timothy Leary's run for governor of California.

But I was surprised to find out about Leary's influence on "All Things Must Pass," the title song of George Harrison's acclaimed solo album, and a song that, like many of the songs on the album, were written while Harrison was still a Beatle. Higgs says the lyrics for "All Things Must Pass" are largely taken from Leary's translation of the Tao Te Ching. Sad to say, but Harrison really was kind of a plagiarist for some of his songs. The details about "He's So Fine/My Sweet Lord" are kind of shocking; I had just assumed Harrison vaguely remembered the song from when he was young, but Harrison's plagiarism actually apparently was intentional.  

Here is Tyler Cowen's review. 

Sunday, March 26, 2023

New Discordian zine


News from Bobby Campbell on Twitter: "Check out Disco Rd 2! A wonderful Discordian zine put together by  @Leigh_Wright_. Featuring all sorts of glorious chaos, including a bit of my own." 

Bobby's art is depicted above. Here is the download link for the 23 page zine.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Steve Pratt releases 'Deep Scratch Remix'

Steve Pratt has released Deep Scratch Remix, his book examining the effects of AI and technology on creativity, and also has released the companion music album. 

Blurb for the book:

"In the face of the ever-growing capabilities of language models, generative AI, and the ability to convert text to images, code, music, and video (and vice versa), one must ask: what is art now? Is it any good? If I experiment with these tools will my reputation be scrambled?

"In 2023, the effects of large language models on cognitive and technological processes are being felt by us all, creeping out from TV news headlines and a flurry of articles, plus the masses of output itself. Artists, musicians, and DJs have experienced the negative impacts of digital tech innovation and regulation (or deregulation) over the past 30 years, and LLMs are like jet fuel to the fire. A large portion of illustrators, painters, digital visual artists, and writers are already feeling the financial repercussions of being replaced by those who do not value the original creators so much, some of whom are my good friends and associates. Digital advertisements, populist political mudslinging, and the wasteland of un-social media are quick to adopt cheaper, automated solutions. They’ve been going down this route for over 25 years."

Steve has a website for both projects. You can listen to the album at the Bandcamp link, but I also have  embedded it, above, so you can check it out.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Nov. 7 publication date announced for RAW biography

Illustration from Prop Anon's email newsletter. The cover of the new book has not been revealed yet. 

The new biography of Robert Anton Wilson has a publication date, and it's this fall.

Chapel Perilous The Life and Thought Crimes of Robert Anton Wilson by Gabriel Kennedy (e.g. Prop Anon) will be out on Nov. 7, MIT Press announced. The 304 page book will have 12 color illustrations and 24 black and white illustrations, and will include a foreword by Grant Morrison and an introduction by Douglas Rushkoff. The cover has not been revealed yet. The book will be published by Strange Attractor/MIT Press. Prop/Gabriel writes, in his email newsletter:

"I am very proud of this book. I think that it will help forward the burgeoning “RAW Studies” scene that has developed since Wilson’s death in 2007. I scoured a litany of special collections archives, conducted a ton of interviews, and took deep dives into the trenches of research libraries, with the help of many independent scholars, while writing this book. During this time, I was also given a grand tour of my own Chapel Perilous while the world also fell into this perilous chapel from which we all have not yet risen. I hope this biography of RAW, a man who faced down the horrors of Chapel Perilous and came out the other side a better person, can help others do the same when confronted by the abyss. Mostly I think Chapel Perilous: The Life and Thought Crimes of Robert Anton Wilson will appeal to those who’ve never heard of RAW before and wanna read a great story about an exciting artist as much as it will satisfy the RAW fanatic who already knows a lot about his philosophy and wants to know more.

"Buy the ticket! Take a trip! Down the murky realms to Chapel Perilous!

"Pre-Order Here!"

Pre orders also are available at Amazon and other book outlets. 

Thursday, March 23, 2023

New Hilaritas podcast: Eric Wagner on Ezra Pound

The new Hilaritas Press podcast, released today, features guest Eric Wagner discussing a key influence on Robert Anton Wklson: The poet Ezra Pound. Mike Gathers returns as host. As usual, the official site for the podcast has links for more information. This is a topic Eric knows a lot about, and I expect to be listening soon. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Who's your favorite Beatle? Your favorite Bond?

Yes, I know I am the only sentient creature in the Milky Way Galaxy who likes this album. 

Freed finally from having to read books nominated for the Prometheus Award (I'm one of the nominating judges), I have now begun to read other books, such as John Higgs' Love and Let Die, his book about the Beatles and James Bond. The first Bond movie and the first Beatles record ("Love Me Do") were both released on Oct. 5, 1962.

Of course, the Illuminatus! trilogy reflects the impact of Bond and the band from Liverpool. The character of Fission Chips is an obvious Bond parody, and Hagbard Celine is the captain of a golden submarine, just like the song. 

For many years (and I don't know if John talks about this, I'm not very far into the book), people have been asked to name their favorite actor portraying Bond and their favorite Beatle. There is naturally debate over the best Bond film and the best Beatles record. Here are my picks. 

My favorite Bond is Roger Moore. Perhaps this is related to his Bond movies coming out when I was a teenager, but I liked the tongue in cheek approach he took to the role. But my favorite Bond movie is You Only Live Twice. My favorite Bond villain is Christopher Walken, in A View to a Kill. My favorite Bond theme song is "Live and Let Die." 

I have changed my favorite Beatle over the years. As a teen, I liked George Harrison, perhaps because I viewed him as an underdog and because I thought All Things Must Pass was better than the other early Beatles solo albums. I then decided John Lennon was the interesting one. I finally settled on Paul McCartney, as it became more obvious to me he was the top musical force in the Beatles. I also thought he seemed more like an adult family man, and he was obviously the one former Beatle who worked the hardest as a solo artist to make music and explore his talents as widely as possible. 

My favorite Beatles album is Revolver. I mostly listen to Paul McCartney via a playlist of my favorites, but if I have to pick a favorite album, it would be a dark horse, Red Rose Speedway. Yes, I know nobody else likes it. I also like Electric Arguments

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

New edition of John Higgs' KLF book: Another sheep and more words

Cover for the new edition

 In his latest newsletter, John Higgs announces a new edition of The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds, which came out in 2013. It's the Higgs book of particular interest to Robert Anton Wilson fans. Here is something I wrote about the book in 2012:

"It's strange to say that a book about a British pop group is one of the best short introductions to the work of Robert Anton Wilson, but it's also true. JMR Higgs' KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money discusses the group but puts it in the context of the band's biggest influence, the Illuminatus! trilogy and Robert Anton Wilson.

"So it's a pop biography that has lucid explanations of reality tunnels, model agnosticism and Discordian philosophy. I also learned about the history of Ken Campbell's stage production of Illuminatus!"

You don't have to be a KLF fan to enjoy the book. 

Here is John's announcement about the new edition, only available in hardcover and coming out in July:

"The ‘new material’ mentioned on the cover is a 13,000 word author’s commentary, which takes the form of footnotes spread throughout the book. In these new footnotes I look back on the text after ten years to see what I make of it now. It’s kind of like a director’s commentary on a DVD, but in book form. Hence the second sheep on the book cover. The same big old sheep as before is still up there at the top of the page, unchanged, but there is now a new little lamb underneath, acting as a sheep represention of the footnotes.

"This new edition is a big handsome hardback. The book has gone from being a self-published ebook, to a paperback, to a hardback. It’s the life cycle of a typical book, but entirely the wrong way around. This seems somehow fitting, given the subject matter. One pleasing thing about it being a hardback is that the list price of the book is now… £23."

More at the link, including links to preorder. The new hardcover-only edition will only be published in Britain. (When I asked about this on Twitter, John replied, "Sorry Tom, US publishers still seem to think that the American public have no interest in a book about the KLF.") And note that "hardcover only" means just that: No cheaper ebook. 

Of course, books published in Britain can easily be ordered and shipped to the U.S. I've had good results with the Book Depository, an online British bookstore that has free shipping. 

My 2012 interview with John about the book is still interesting. 

Monday, March 20, 2023

New audio release from Antero Alli [UPDATED]


Filmmaker, author and (it turns out) musician Antero Alli, currently dealing with advanced cancer, is busy releasing new works.

The Discordian Salon, just released, is available as a CD or a digital download.  It includes stories about meeting Robert Anton Wilson, but that's not the only feature of the recording. Here is a description:

"The Discordian Salon opens with ‘Companions of the Flame’, a siren call from The Haunting Songs (featuring Antero on guitar, and Sylvi Alli on vocals, piano, accordion and lyrics). You’ll hear Antero’s rare Experimental Piano Solos (performed in the dark as blind improvisations), and his Spoken Word Performance Poetry. Join him at the mysterious Illuminati gathering in The Cosmic Trigger Effect hosted by Robert Anton Wilson. Here Antero sees a UFO, meets Greg Hill (author of Principia Discordia), and learns how to play Five-Card Katma with his unpublished Discordian Tarot deck.

"It features Antero’s first ever public recording of his solo piano experiments, something he’s kept private for over fifty years. Asked why he plays in the dark: ‘I only want to play what I’m feeling, and seeing the keys gets in the way.' Asked why he’s kept them private (until now): ‘I’ve had so much of my work exposed and consumed by the public, I needed a sanctuary from the world, a dimension outside of time and space, and my music gives me that.’ "

In more news, it turns out that Last Words, issued in January, will not be Alli's final book after all. Sacred Rites: Journal Entries of a Gnostic Heretic is listed as "coming soon" by Original Falcon Press. Announcement on Twitter: "COMING SOON! "Sacred Rites: Journal Entries of a Gnostic Heretic" -- my next and final book. Documenting  eighteen years of ParaTheatrical ReSearch through my private ritual journals and twelve of those who have trained with me."

You can get the latest news at Antero Alli's Twitter account, and see the official web page for more news, including a March 26 film screening in Portland. 

UPDATE: I would not ordinarily ask for this, but if you are on Twitter, would you please RT Antero Alli's announcement on Twitter, and maybe also the @RAWilson23 posting on Twitter? For obvious reasons, I want Mr. Alli to benefit from the attention to the new release and the upcoming book while he can. (I don't actually know him, he's kind of a friend of friends, but it seems the right thing to do). I will try to spread the word on Facebook. 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

An upcoming interview (or 'interview') with Jonathan Swift

While there is work being done on the "longevity" and "space migration" parts of SMI2LE, the Timothy Leary formula for a future that features longer human lifespans, intelligence increase and space migration, it seems to be the intelligence increase part that seems to be advancing rapidly, in the form of artificial intelligence.

Jonathan Swift was one of Robert Anton Wilson's favorite authors. If I remember correctly, when RAW was living in Ireland, he made a point of reading all of Swift's work. 

Now blogger and economics professor Tyler Cowen has announced he plans to interview an AI version of Jonathan Swift as part of his "Conversations with Tyler" interview series. I don't know how well the interview will turn out, but certainly we live in interesting times. 

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Did Heinlein invent TANSTAAFL?

The paperback edition of The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress I read as a teenager. 

The acronym TANSTAAFL — "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" — features in Robert Heinlein's classic libertarian science fiction novel, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, which won both the Hugo Award and the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award.

Robert Anton Wilson referenced the phrase in his Schrödinger's Cat trilogy. Wikipedia explains,

" 'Tanstagi', an acronym standing for 'There Ain't No Such Thing As Government Interference', is the motto of the Invisible Hand Society, an originally fictional organization invented in the Schrödinger's Cat Trilogy. The acronym was deliberately intended as a reference to Robert A. Heinlein's TANSTAAFL principle.

"The Tanstagi principle is meant to imply that the invisible hand of the free market applies to government as well. In other words, contrary to traditional ideas of laissez-faire capitalism, government interference in the free market is impossible, since governments are inextricably a part of the market as a whole. 'Government' is not a separate institution—it is a word used to describe the actions of a large number of individuals subject to the same (at least qualitatively) pressures as everyone else. Both of these ideas are part of what is known as 'economic Taoism.'

"While it was first introduced in a novel, people claiming to be members or know of chapters of the Invisible Hand Society have occasionally appeared in editorial pages and on the Internet." 

As many of you likely known, the phrase "invisible hand" was made famous by Adam Smith

But did Heinlein come up with the phrase behind the acronym TANSTAAFL? Apparently not, according to a blog post, "Who Said TANSTAAFL First?", published by David Boaz at Cato at Liberty, the blog of the Cato Institute.

Boaz credits Heinlein with popularizing the phrase — "I’d say that Heinlein’s book generated the buttons and bumper stickers produced by the early libertarian activists" — but says research shows Heinlein did not originate it. 

Noting that the phrase also has been attributed to Milton Friedman, Boaz notes that the Quote Investigator has traced the phrase "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" back to a 1938 newspaper article titled “Economics in Eight Words.”   Evidence suggests the unsigned piece was written by Walter Morrow, editor‐​in‐​chief of The Southwestern Group of Scripps‐​Howard Newspapers, Boaz says.

"Heinlein just might have read one of the 1938 newspapers in which the 'Eight Words' article appeared," Boaz suggests. 

Friday, March 17, 2023

A really good short video on 'Illuminatus!'


I have featured  @amoebadesign videos on Illuminatus! before, but I do not remember seeing this one  recently posted on Twitter. Take a couple of minutes and watch.

More here. 

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Hilaritas releases 'The Walls Came Tumbling Down'

Hilaritas Press has released its new edition of The Walls Came Tumbling Down, Robert Anton Wilson's screenplay, and as usual there are extras to reward RAW fans for buying the new edition. Here is the announcement from Rasa: 

"This month Hilaritas Press has published the new edition of RAW's The Walls Came Tumbling Down, a mind-bending screenplay that seems fitting for our bizarre times. We have also included in this edition a foreword by Gregory Arnott, an enlightening story about "tumbling" from Bobby Campbell, and we were delighted that Alan Moore gave us permission to publish his eulogy for Robert Anton Wilson that he delivered at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, March 2007. Once again, Scott McPherson from amoeba created a dazzling new cover using a special 3D graphic technique called clayrendering.

[Gregory often has written for this blog under the name Apuleius Charlton].

"And now, a lovely excerpt from Alan Moore's eulogy...

“Robert Anton Wilson limped out through the wall into the fire, into the simultaneous party of eternity, into the splendid, timeless funfair of a life that he has somehow managed to survive with thirty-five books weaving his ideas in their spectacular diversity, weaving his luminescent consciousness into the intellectual DNA of our painfully slow-developing society and dancing somewhere with his wife, back when he could still dance and she was still alive...” – Alan Moore, author, occultist, and anarchist

I've already bought my copy; it's one of the few RAW books I haven't read. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Bandcamp: A listener's guide

Following up on Tuesday's blog post, I want to provide a "listener's guide" to Bandcamp, a website where independent musicians and small record companies offer their recordings for sale, and where I have purchased a number of items, including from musicians whose names will be familiar to this blog. While the website is known to be useful to musicians, I hope to make the point that it is also a good website for listeners who love music. 

Bandcamp is a U.S. company that was founded in 2007. Here is how Wikipedia explains how it works:

"Artists and labels upload music to Bandcamp and control how they sell it, setting their own prices, offering users the option to pay more, and selling merchandise.

"Users can download their purchases or stream their music on the Bandcamp application or website only once or, by preserving the purchase voucher, unlimited times. They can also send purchased music as a gift, view lyrics, and save individual songs or albums to a wish list. Uploading music to Bandcamp is free. The company takes a 15% commission on sales made from their website, which drops to 10% after an artist's sales surpass US$5,000, plus payment processing fees."

The selling point for artists is that they get to keep a lot of the money once they make a sale. I used to purchase music from independent artists I support from Amazon's digital music platform, but I have switched to using Bandcamp when possible. From now on, when I can purchase music from Bandcamp, that will be my first choice, as I want to support the artists I like. 

Once you pay for an album or a song — I would describe the pricing as generally reasonable, while admitting that prices vary — you can stream it as often as you like in the useful Bandcamp smartphone app, or at the website, and you can download music files in a variety of formats, not just MP3 files but in other formats, including FLAC files that have high audio quality. In addition, you can create playlists, and download those playlists for playback when you aren't connected to the Internet or cellular data. Prop Anon has not yet made his Squat the Condos album available as an album on Bandcamp, but I was able to purchase the individual tracks, put together a playlist that recreates the original CD, and blast it out in my car as I ran errands Sunday. All of the music you have purchased is visible in one place on the app. 

Here are examples of artists and recordings available on Bandcamp: Prop Anon, but see also the Hail Eris hard rock band, also his project; All Around the World, the Oz Fritz the "audio document of sacred spaces with their acoustic and consciousness altering properties"; Steve "Fly" Pratt (but scroll down the page for "Steve Fly recommends," which is his stuff, too, and see also Robert Anton Wilson meets Steve “Fly Agaric” Pratt); and Rasa's Starseed band.  Rasa makes all of his stuff easy to access in one place, which is kind of how I wish other folks would do. All of this music, and much else, can be streamed at least once before you buy it, a nice "try before you buy" feature. You can also access the Noah23 catalog

Unrelated to this blog, among other folks I like Peter Gabriel is here.  So are the Smithereens, but represented only by comparatively rare releases. 

I mostly listen to classical music; one of my favorite piano players is R. Andrew Lee, who specializes in modern minimalist and post minimalist composers. I especially like his recording of William Duckworth's The Time Curve Preludes Please try it if you like classical piano. I've bought much of his music on Bandcamp, much of it available at the Bandcamp site for his main record label. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Discography: Prop Anon, Steve 'Fly' Pratt and Rasa's band (and more RAW-related music)

Starseed's "Entering the Ambient Temple" album

Prop Anon's Discography

Prop Anon, who has a biography of Robert Anton Wilson coming out this fall, also has had a musical career. Here is a discography, courtesy of Prop, with a bit more information from me:

1. Prop Anon Todo Corazon (EP). I don't have more information, sorry.

2. Prop Anon Squat the Condos, an album. Rap music, released in released in 2013. You can buy the individual tracks on Bandcamp, then put together a playlist to replicate the CD, as I have done. Here is the correct tracklist:

2. Konkrete Giants
3. Nights Like This
4. Consciousness is the Key
5. Calling Down the Earth
6. Luxury Condos
7. Ayahuasca Metropolis
8. Nammo Tasso
9. Nammo Tasso (DJ Nihilist Remix)

Note that the Nammo Tasso remix is pretty different from the original track; you are not being ripped off if you buy both.

3. Hail Eris, four song EP,  hard rock album, Prop with backing band, remixed by Oz Fritz, available on Bandcamp. 

The only information I could find on this album is from this blog: Prop says, "The music on this EP is Heavy, Strong, Groove oriented. The other musicians on the record are: Scott Yacovina on Drums, Gabe Saladino on guitar, and Jeff To on Bass. Other absolutely vital musicians involved were Mason Lucas, as well as Joe Mulvanerty and Ham from Black47. These guys helped get the ball rolling, and now the present line up is myself and Laura Kang, aka Thee Semiotic Alchemyst."

Also from Prop:

"False Flag." Rap song released in 2014, available on Bandcamp. 

Prop also performs the lead vocal on the song "DDK (Bowing to the Buddha remix) by the artist Goyopod, also on Bandcamp. 

                                            Steve "Fly Agaric" Pratt's Discography

Steve pointed me to Discogs, explaining, "Best place is Discogs, however, this list includes my work as DJ with live bands (garaj Mahal, Gregory james Band), collabs with John Sinclair (on drums) and compilation albums and some Live CD's that are not really proper album releases."


Steve also says, "I've a new album/book for release this year, (Deep Scratch Remix) although no publisher or label interest yet, but I suppose I have to tell them about it." Information here. And note that this link also connects you to Steve's music on Bandcamp. Please note also that the same link provides information about Mr. Pratt's books, as well as his music projects. 

See also this blog post on the Robert Anton Wilson meets Steve 'Fly Agaric' Pratt album. 

Rasa's Starseed Discography

I won't attempt to cover the entire music history of Rasa. See this Wikipedia article on Sweet Smoke for his rock music days. 

His current band is Starseed, and the official web site lists all of his albums. 

Note that Rasa recommends two of the albums, Live on Mount Shasta and Entering the Ambient Temple. Rasa wrote (in a December 2021 email), "In some ways, I think Live in Mt. Shasta is “classic” but I think that because all the music was recorded after we had invested heavily in some spectacular sound equipment. We have a couple of good friends who think our best music is on Entering the Ambient Temple.

"Maybe I agree with that. It’s an older recording, and the sound seems a bit raw to me, but not bad. Tim Leary’s old friend Brummbaer thought this was our best album, and he used a bit on his video tribute to Leary."

Note that all of the Starseed albums are on Bandcamp, and when you buy there, Rasa gets to keep 90% of the money. I wish I had bought my copy of Ambient Temple there; I bought it at Amazon. I did buy the Starseed Ambient Blue album on Bandcamp. Note that you can stream Starseed's music on Bandcamp before you decide to buy it. 

Other RAW affiliated music

This of course does not totally cover musicians who have some kind of affiliation or affinity with Robert Anton Wilson, don't miss my blog post on the connection between David Lowery (of Cracker and Camper van Beethoven) with RAW. 

See also my blog post back in 2012 on "Musical Tributes to RAW." 

The Canadian rapper Noah23 is a RAW fan. Prop says Noah23 is "very good." He has many releases, I don't know what to recommend, but on Reddit, Occult Trill and Jupiter Sajitarius are said to be good. His releases are on Bandcamp.  Prop recommends "Faded." and another Reddit posting recommends the Fry Cook on Venus album. "Faded" is a track on the Rock Paper Scissors album. Noah23's new album is called Ikosia Tria, which means "23" in Greek, review from Scatched Vinyl with 8/10 rating. 

Monday, March 13, 2023

Jacob Sullum revives 'Guns and Dope Party' discussion

When Robert Anton Wilson founded the Guns and Dope Party, he apparently sought to use libertarian arguments to reach out to both conservatives (guns) and liberals (marijuana). 

Jacob Sullum at Reason magazine is my favorite writer on the "war on some drugs." He also writes often about gun control laws. Sullum believes that repression of drug rights and of gun rights is related. He makes his case in a new Reason article, "The Drug Exception to the Second Amendment." When I read the article, I learned that even legal medical marijuana users are banned by federal law from owning a firearm. 

His article focuses on the NRA's outrageous refusal to criticize the killing of Philandro Castile. The police officer who killed Castile for no reason was acquitted of manslaughter. 

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Jim O'Shaughnessy's psychedelic investments

                                          Image from the website for Mindstate Design Labs

When I last wrote about Jim O'Shaughnessy, the Wall Street investor and investment guru, I wrote, "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."

The last blog post covered grants, 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."

Here is something else interesting. O'Shaughnessy Ventures, LLC also is investing in various companies. 

One of the companies that is getting investments is Empath Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests in early stage psychedelics startups. In turn, if you scroll down here, you can find information on the various companies Empath is investing in. Thirteen different companies are listed, including Mindstate Design Labs, "A psychedelic drug development company designing altered states of consciousness for mental health therapeutics," and Wavepaths, which seeks to use music for psychedelic therapy. 

Just today, O'Shaughnessy posted two of his favorite RAW quotes on Twitter. 

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Prop Anon looks back on Maybe Logic Academy

Lately I have often been mentioning Prop Anon in this space, and of course with good reason: Since completing the final draft of his biography Chapel Perilous: The Life and Thought Crimes of Robert Anton Wilson, expected to be out this fall, Prop has shown amazing energy in posting one article after another, much of it material that can be described as a spinoff from the biography.

One of his new pieces, "The Maybe Logic Academy- 10 years of Magic, Maybe, and RAW Mayhem," is an informal chronicle of the online school originally created as a way for Wilson to make money by teaching online classes. Prop took many of the courses and has posted many of the original class assignments.

Some highlights from the article, at least in my opinion: Prop names his favorite MLA class taught by Wilson, and links to his online collection of the class materials; Prop, a rap musician as well as a writer, gives a bit of background for his album Squat the Condos. (I've linked to Amazon to show the correct track list; you can listen to and buy the individual tracks, such as the opener "Agit-Prop," from Bandcamp.) I also didn't know Prop used to live in Hawaii, near the beach.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Update on Prop Anon's Robert Anton Wilson biography

If you missed Erik Davis' "High Weirdness," read it while you wait for the new RAW biography. See also Scott Apel's biographical essay on RAW in "Beyond Chaos and Beyond."

From Prop's email newsletter:

"Finally, Chapel Perilous: The Life and Thought Crimes of Robert Anton Wilson is undergoing its final edit with an editor that I’m very glad to have met. I have written so many drafts and redrafts of the book up until now, it feels amazing to type the words “this the final draft.” I don’t want to jinx it. However, when the scones are done the scones are done! The book’s release date is still nebulous at the moment, but I am being told by my publishers that the aim is this Fall!"

Strange Attractor Press was announced as the publisher of the book in late 2020.  RAW fans will remember that it's the publisher of High Weirdness, a notable book about RAW, Philip K. Dick and Terence McKenna written by Erik Davis. If you missed it, here is my review from 2019.  The publisher would seem to be a good fit for a RAW bio. 

I'll try to stay up to date here with announcements on the RAW bio about a publication date, a cover, etc. Prop continues to post a great deal of material about RAW at his Chapel Perilous website

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Encounter with a Pooka

The webtoon Trailer Park Warlock has an episode, "The First Law of All Magick." On Twitter, the writer and the artist for the cartoon, Matthew J. Rainwater, says, "This is a dedication (dare I say evocation) of the  works of Robert Anton Wilson.  It almost works as a standalone and gives you something of an idea of his general philosophy.  

"One of my favorites I've ever written."

You'll see discussion of topics such as "Who is the master who makes the grass green?"

The home page for Trailer Park Warlock shows 141 episodes so far. "Jake Baker, the working class warlock, struggles to make ends meet. But with the help of his friends and some down-home DIY magick, he might just keep chaos at bay, and pay his lot fees too..."

More information on Rainwater.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

War on some drugs news: Oklahoma rejects fully legal pot

Marijuana growing in California. Photo by Ryan Lange on Unsplash  
My home state, Oklahoma, rejected fully legal marijuana in an election Tuesday. (I live in Ohio, but lived in Oklahoma for most of my life.)

Oklahoma is kind of  peculiar case, so the election is a bit hard to read. Medical marijuana in Oklahoma is so wide open, it amounts to de facto legalization. No one is denied a medical marijuana card (as opposed to Ohio for example, where only a short list of dire ailments such as cancer qualify for one). If you have never been to Oklahoma, you would not believe the number of medical marijuana businesses in the state. When I go home, I see many more marijuana shops than I see in states where it's legal.  I can see where some voters might wonder why even more shops were needed. 

Oklahoma is a weird state where codified hypocrisy is apparently the favored stance. When I was young, many alcoholic drinks were banned in bars and restaurants, although alcohol has never been hard to obtain. The laws finally changed, although there was an element of truth to the saying of Will Rogers, an Oklahoma native, that Oklahomans would vote dry so long as they could stagger to the polls. Las Vegas style gambling is banned in Oklahoma, yet the state is filled with Native American gambling casinos.

Still, as the New York Times story on the election points out, the vote in Oklahoma is part of a disturbing recent trend: "With the vote, Oklahoma joined a number of conservative states whose voters have recently decided against recreational marijuana legalization. Though Missouri approved a state constitutional amendment to allow for recreational marijuana in November, voters in other conservative states, including Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota, rejected similar proposals." 

I liked it better when proposals to legalize marijuana always seemed to win. 

Marijuana is fully legal in 21 states, which means it remains illegal for full adult use in 29, although some of those have some form of medical marijuana. The holdouts are mostly concentrated in the deep South and the Great Plains. It's really only in the former Confederacy where many people can't drive a reasonable distance to a state with legal weed. Virginia is the only Confederate state where it is legal. 

So, in other words, while there have been victories, the war on drugs still largely has a hold in the U.S., where there are more deaths from drug overdoses than ever. At Reason magazine, Jacob Sullum has once again attempted to carefully explain why the war on drugs is largely responsible for the huge number of deaths. It appears that not many people are listening. 

UPDATE: I got an email from NORML today, which said that legalization is advancing in Hawaii, Delaware and Minnesota. So legalization is still advancing in the U.S, the group claims. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

R.U. Sirius at MozFest

The Mozilla Festival, a virtual festival, has been announced March 20 through 24. "MozFest is a unique hybrid: part art, tech and society convening, part maker festival, and the premiere gathering for activists in diverse global movements fighting for a better internet – and you’re invited!" the website says. 

I bring it up here because R.U. Sirius will be the leader for two sessions. One will be The R.U. Cyber? :// Mondo 2000 History Project Salon.  It will explore the origins of the Mondo 2000 magazine and cultural movement, with Sirius (aka Ken Goffman), Eleanor Dare, James Edward Marks and Marius Mateson.

More information here. 

Monday, March 6, 2023

Nutopia event March 26 features Daisy Campbell and Robert Temple

 A March 26 event for British Discordians and RAW fans, announced on Twitter: "Our next Nutopia @cockpittheatre on Mar 26 is gonna be cosmic! We're talking sentient plasma + reimagining the cosmos & our place in it w/Sirius Mystery author Prof. Robert Temple, plus @DaisyEris & Tom Baker reading cosmic origin stories. Join us!" Ticket information here. 

Robert Temple is the author of The Sirius Mystery. Temple will be in conversation with Michelle Olley. More information here. 

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Wanted: Pieces by Robert Shea

Charles Henri Ford, on the cover of one of his books. 

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that I plan to do a "Robert Shea Week" at this blog, sometime in May. In connection with that, I am looking for interviews with Shea, letters by Shea and essays by Shea that haven't already been posted at this blog or the official Shea website maintained by his son, Mike Shea. Mike Shea and I both have tried to preserve Shea's work, but it would be useful to have some help. You can search this website and look at the "Robert Shea Resources" links at the right side of this page, and check to see what's posted at the Shea site.

I particularly wish I could find some leads on the correspondence between the two Illuminatus! authors. In Cosmic Trigger 3: My Life After Death, RAW wrote that he hoped someday their correspondence might be published. That would be great, except that neither man apparently took steps to preserve it. I am still hoping for a break, but their literary executors apparently have nothing to report. 

I don't read poetry as often as I read fiction or nonfiction, but I do read some, and I have a longtime interest in the American poet Charles Henri Ford,  mostly for his surrealist poems written in the 1930s and 1940s. (Most of the Ford work I like is collected in a book, Flag of Ecstasy.) Ford was pretty obscure — I would be surprised if anyone reading this blog recognized the name — but as his Wikipedia article explains, Ford apparently took his work and legacy seriously. His papers and materials about him are collected and cataloged at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, at the University of Texas, at Yale University and at the University of Delaware. There are no comparable collections of Wilson or Shea papers. 

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Update on the new RAW book about Crowley

The planned new Hilaritas book of Robert Anton Wilson writing about Aleister Crowley, built around the discovery of a long unpublished RAW essay about Crowley, seems to be advancing.

In a post at the Hilaritas Press website, Rasa reveals the name of the planned new book, and announces an effort to find suitable cover art.

The title of the new book will be Lion of Light: Robert Anton Wilson on Aleister Crowley.

Rasa writes,

"We tried various AI attempts at making an “Aleister Crowley Lion of Light,” but none of them seemed good enough – all of them are posted here. Some were very odd. A couple were hilarious. One made RAW into Larry of the Three Stooges, and RAW really would have preferred to be modeled after Moe, if anyone. A couple of the images were not bad. One, the one featured here at the top of this page, seems closest to what we are looking for, but even that one seems lackluster to us. 

"If any one of you clever folk out there want to create your own attempt at a Crowley Lion of Light, we’d love to see what you come up with. If it’s really great, we’ll use it on the cover, giving you credit in the book’s front matter, and of course sending you a copy of the finished book."

More at the announcement, including how to submit an image. 

My earlier post gives some background on the book. 

                                                           Another rejected cover image. 

Friday, March 3, 2023

Ross Douthat on whether we are becoming a magical culture

Ross Douthat

Ross Douthat, a right tilting but often interesting columnist in the New York Times, has a piece out  suggesting that some of the magical concerns of Robert Anton Wilson and his fans are becoming a mainstream part of the culture. "The Return of the Magicians" ran Thursday, and my link should get you behind the firewall. The first graph:

"In the last few weeks, I’ve found myself writing columns that touch on the rapid advance of artificial intelligence, the mystery of unidentified flying objects haunting American skies and the enthusiasm in certain circles for taking mind-altering substances that yield a feeling, illusory or not, of contact with supernatural-seeming entities." Douthat then suggests a few sentences later, "there is a shared spirit in these stories, a common impulse to the quests: the desire to encounter or invent some sort of nonhuman consciousness that might help us toward leaps that we can’t make on our own."

On Twitter, Joseph Matheny writes, "It's like the author of this story is on my Substack chat, LOL. Probably not, but it's an example of ideas arising when it's their time." And J.F. Martel writes, "We better pick up the pace, @weirdstudies. The normies are catching up." (See Martel's bio, he has a weird studies podcast). 

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Coming up: Robert Shea Week/All Things Are Lights

Robert Shea. (Photo from official website).

Back in 2020, I did a "Robert Shea Week" to highlight information about Robert Anton Wilson's writing partner for Illuminatus! I see Robert Shea as an interesting writer and interesting figure in his own right; I don't want him to be forgotten or overlooked. Hence my posts about him and the "Robert Shea Resources" links at the right side of the page.

I want to do another Robert Shea Week. I am still working on ideas for it, but I am looking at doing it in May.

And for one of the upcoming blog posts, I want to discuss All Things Are Lights, Shea's historical novel set during the Middle Ages. It is my favorite Shea novel (so far; I want to finish reading all of his work) and it was the favorite of writer Patricia Monaghan, who was married to Shea when he died back in 1994. Here is a post where I talk about it a bit in connection to Illuminatus!

So I want to re-read All Things Are Lights, and invite everyone else who follows the blog to read it, and I'll post about it as one of my posts for Robert Shea Week, and anybody who chose to read it, or who remembers it, can comment. This won't be an online reading group in the sense of spending weeks on it, bit by bit, but I will be inviting discussion in a single blog post, in the comments.

Mike Shea, Robert Shea's son, has released the text of the book under the Creative Commons license. As I understand it, if you want to option it for a movie, you still have to pay him, but if you just want to read it, you can find a free digital edition. The official Shea website, which Mike Shea maintains, has a link to the Kindle edition ($5, I bought a copy) but also to a free version in HTML. And if you just want to read it for free, there are various other places to get a copy, such as at the Internet Archive. If you download an Epub version, you can read it on your phone with various ereaders, and Amazon now supports Epub for its Kindles. If you prefer print, you should be able to hunt up a used copy somewhere. 

And if anyone has a suggestion on what else I can do for Robert Shea Week, please offer it. I have some of my own ideas, but any suggestions would be welcome. See the link above for what I posted the last time.