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Monday, November 27, 2023

Timothy Leary's 'The Game of Life'

Seeking some fun reading that would be apart from the my current "homework" reading (I'm busy reading a stack of books as part of my duties as a Prometheus Award judge), I read Timothy Leary's The Game of Life. The book includes contributions from Robert Anton Wilson, although the third edition from New Falcon for Kindle makes it hard to pick out the RAW bits. 

And it was a lot of fun, with a great deal about the Eight Circuit Model, and how Leary thinks it relates to Tarot cards and to DNA. Not science, really, but visionary and interesting. 

 Here are some of the passages I highlighted in the book:

This neural stage assures that by saying the right word, by performing the rote ritual -- survival will be attained. Thus the reliance on rules and accustomed ways of doing things. Most modern human beings never progress beyond this passive stage of symbol manipulation. The True Believer, the docile repeater of religious, political or racial slogans.

The Book of Ezekial is the classical biblical description of the descent of extra-terrestrial beings to Earth. The astounding technical detail and UFO specificity of the Ezekiel vision has led many to believe in the visitation of Earth by galactic astronauts.

Religion has always been the neuro-technology of pessimistic losers -- fabricating a reality in which stupidity, docility and ugliness is rewarded. Beauty, individualism, change, originality is heresy.

Every living creature, from a bacterium to an astronaut, is a robot -- designed, constructed, and programmed by DNA to perform specific functions in the evolving web of life.

The text also a book recommendation, for a Robert Heinlein book I haven't yet read, that Leary sees as pointing to the SMI2LE formula:

Robert Heinlein in the classic book Methusaleh's Children introduces us to Lazarus Long, patriarch of an elite kinship of humans who have been bred for longevity. Since they live longer the elites become increasingly more intelligent. Because their superiority infuriates "mortal" humans they face persecution and genocide. Until they figure out the obvious solution. They high-jack an enormous Star Ship and escape from the womb planet. In this profound novel Heinlein accurately (if naively) writes the scenario for the inevitable next stages of evolution off this planet. 

One thing that puzzled me was wondering if anyone is really "minding the store" for the Timothy Leary estate. I had purchased the New Falcon ebook, which I perceived to be the authorized edition (and which has the witty Bobby Campbell cover, above.) Yet when you search on Amazon, the first title that comes up is a 99 cent version from another publisher. The New Falcon ebook is still there, but it's harder to find. I also noted that copies of the book can be downloaded for free from the Internet Archive. I wrote to two people with connections to Leary and got no reply. I also pointed out the various copies of the ebook to New Falcon, and got a one-sentence reply, "Thank you for alerting us we will send a takedown notice."


Spookah said...

I have a paper copy of this third edition by New Falcon, and at the copyright page in the beginning, it states which pages were written by RAW. Although it blends nicely with Leary's style, when you go look up those pages you notice that often it's when there's talk of Korzybski, Joyce, Gurdjieff or some other of the usual suspects from Bob Wilson regular cast.

I also think the Game of Life is a fantastic fun book, love the format and illustrations etc. A great companion to Prometheus Rising, when it comes to the 8C model.

quackenbush said...

Short answer is No. No one is home at the Leary Estate.

Rasa can give you the longer answer if you and he have an hour to kill. Rasa has been making inroads on the situation... slowly.

Anonymous said...

Thanks pal. Your tattle-tale behavior confirms some solid Circuit II stuff. What would Leary think of the Internet Archive??

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Dear Anonymous Coward, Do you favor ripping off the RAW estate, too, or just the Leary estate? I like the Internet Archive just fine, BTW.

Eric Wagner said...

Man, I love that book.

Chad N. said...

Approximately how much Wilson material is in here?

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Chad, if it gives you an idea, the front of the book says, "Pages 12, 13, 14,15,20,25, 26, 27, 28, 33, 40, 42, 43, 46, 47, 56, 60, 78 and 84 were written by Robert Anton Wilson." The kindle version does not make it easy to figure out which material is from RAW.