[Editor's note: Gregory Arnott has contributed a number of pieces to this blog and also blogs at Jechidah. His afterword, "Enduring Magickal Biography," appears in the new Robert Anton Wilson book, Lion of Light.
This might be a good time to mention the Maybe Day 2023 contributions of the editors Gregory mentions. "The Hermetic Transmission of Francois Rabelais," is by Oz Fritz. Mike Gathers interviewed Ivan Stang for the latest Hilaritas Press podcast, and also wrote "Unplugging from the Matrix." Iain Spence wrote "The Mystery of the Two New Tarot Trumps." Rasa did much of the work for the cover, above, and wrote the Maybe Day newsletter issued by Hilaritas Press. For more Maybe Day goodies, please see Bobby Campbell's Maybe Day page. -- The Management.]
By Gregory Arnott
Special guest blogger
Earlier this week, the most beautiful woman in the world asked me if I thought there'd be backlash to the obvious environmental and ethical good of so-called laboratory meat. "Of course," I replied. "There's far too much money at stake for there to be no manufactured controversy. One mustn't only think of the individual factory farmers who will spew whatever lies necessary to keep their business going, but of the lobbyists who work on the behalf of the antibiotics and pen manufacturers. The people who make the bolts and troughs. The business is so complex and threatens enough wealth that there will naturally be all sorts of heinous lies to impede progress." In a world where people believe that 5G causes COVID-19 and vaccinations cause autism, one should expect pushback, collected and concerted backlash, to any new idea. Especially one that threatens pocket books.
I have a penchant for using negative definition whilst I preamble. I find that, while I have no interest in the gross and pathetic philosophical idea of the metaphysical/epistemological necessity of opposites, it does help to make sense of purely human matters. So, now that we have seen the inverse, allow me to open, for a moment, a window into the obverse. Many of the readers of this blog will soon hold in their hands the posthumous work Lion of Light by Robert Anton Wilson, concerning Aleister Crowley. Tom and Rasa have already dutifully recounted the gestalt process of securing the core manuscript for the book and the group effort that went into it. I wish to give a privy glance at the level of cooperation and labor that went into the book you shall soon enjoy reading. I wish to show a conspiracy of beneficence and zeal, pursued without financial incentive.
I wrote a small piece for this volume, with the editorial advice and guidance of Mike Gathers and Richard Rasa. That isn't my concern here, although I thank the gentlemen, and especially Tom and Oz Fritz, for their thoughts and feedback. My concern is an email thread, wherein I was able to see the everyday workings that led to the publication (soon-to-be) in your hands. Tom has told you of the discovery, I can attest to the the brushstrokes and small strikes that led to the exhumation/excavation of this document from the grasp of tyrant-time.
Because of some typos in my essay, I was added onto the editorial email thread of the book. I don't know if I was meant to be there after the initial matter, but I can only express my gratitude that I was. After Mike Gathers' careful stewardship of the formation of the volume, a band of copyeditors carefully parsed the works therein, informing and receiving feedback from Rasa concerning every little matter they discovered. Reader, know that every line before you when you crack the cover was considered, debated and discussed in a manner that I imaginarily ascribe to the scholars and priests that assembled the King James Bible. Such delicate care and dedication was displayed by Oz Fritz, Iain Spence and Michael Johnson that I couldn't help but feel I was seeing the excellence in humanity during its assemblage. Oz utilized his ambulatory knowledge of magical theory and Michael his unique philosophy to examine each line, Iain is evidently a master of the English language and combed over each passage with the fervor of a man possessed. All incorporated their passion for Robert Anton Wilson, shared by Rasa and Gathers and many others reading this in a earnest drive to preserve and pass on a piece of our collective history.
Too often, we can be dismissed as mere "fans," but there is so much to that title. Caesar didn't conquer Gaul alone, and our Grand Old Man didn't see this work published during his lifetime. Now, thanks to his daughter, Christina, his friends who both knew and never met him...all fans, we have a missing piece of his corpus. I envy the future young students who will have this work alive as a possibility of study, but I also envy no one, for I was "there," in a sense to see its making. These efforts should be known and lauded. Thank you to everyone involved. As Robert DeNiro's anarchist-plumber in Brazil would say: "We're all in it together." It's good to see the truth of that statement outside of fiction.