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Tuesday, May 16, 2023

What happened to Robert Anton Wilson's lost plays?

An interesting tip from Jesse Walker: An early biography of Robert Anton Wilson,  dating to a 1971 issue of Journal of Human Relations, handy screenshot of the biography above. I would call attention to "He has written two plays, 'unpublished, unproduced, unknown, unmourned'...."

So, what are they? Are they lost because RAW didn't bother to save many of his papers, or could they be sitting in some kind of archive or library somewhere? Will the upcoming Prop Anon RAW biog shed light on this? 

Incidentally, "Anarcho Technocrat" and "Transcendental Atheist" are Wilsonian descriptions of himself I don't recall running across before. 


Bobby Campbell said...

The University of Delaware has a manuscript for a 1962 one act play called "Mother" in its special collections that is attributed to Robert A. Wilson, but was listed in their database as a Robert Anton Wilson title.

Alas, I asked him if he wrote it and he said no, and that it was probably by Robert Alfred Wilson, which is how it's now catalogued.

So just to complicate things, there's another Robert A. Wilson who was writing unpublished plays at the same time as RAW :)))

Chad N. said...

Can anyone take a stab at defining anarcho technocrat? That sounds horrible to me!

Oz Fritz said...

Anarcho technocrat = someone into both anarchy and technology, maybe. Anarchy, as RAW understood it, sounds different, more humanist, than the common conception of it as anything goes chaos. His exploration of the anarchy movement and its ideals gets very well explained in Prop's upcoming RAW bio.

Rasa said...

Yes, Chad, I had that same furrowed brow when I saw "anarcho technocrat."Spin it as I may try... it always comes out unappetizing.

Spookah said...

I might venture that the "technocrat" part had a different ring in RAW's mind fifty years ago than in does to us nowadays. From Wikipedia:

"The term technocracy was initially used to signify the application of the scientific method to solving social problems. In its most extreme form, technocracy is an entire government running as a technical or engineering problem and is mostly hypothetical. In more practical use, technocracy is any portion of a bureaucracy run by technologists. A government in which elected officials appoint experts and professionals to administer individual government functions, and recommend legislation, can be considered technocratic."

Although I get the appeal of using the scientific method for Bob Wilson, I still do not see how the Reign of the Experts could fit with his preference for generalists.

Jesse said...

I'm pretty sure I've seen him use the "Anarcho-Technocrat" monicker elsewhere. It's obviously meant to be funny and I would not take it too literally, but I suspect that whatever serious point is lurking beneath it is related to Wilson's fondness for Buckminster Fuller (and maybe a nod to the original Technocracy Inc., which predates the modern use of the word).

Eric Wagner said...

Bob said he wrote a play about Ezra Pound locked up called "The Caged Panther."