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

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Is 'Illuminatus!" a 'real' book?

Nassim Nicholas Taleb (photo from X).

A quote from Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan, etc.) on X/Twitter: "To see if a book is real, ask 10 people of different backgrounds & professions to summarize it. If the summaries are similar, the book will not survive as it can be shortened to a journal article.

"The more the summaries diverge, the higher the dimensionality of the book."

It seems to me that under that definition, Illuminatus!, which is about many things, would be a "real" book. 


Eric Wagner said...

Finnegans Wake, the Realest Book? I used to have "The Real Book", a book of chord changes to jazz songs. I asked a Chinese friend to write "The Book of Changes" in Chinese on the cover.

Rasa said...

Hey Eric, this is a complete aside, but I studied at Berklee College of Music, and one summer I had 100 copies of The Real Book made up, and I went to Ocean City, Md, near where we both grew up, and at night I went to clubs, restaurants... wherever they had a live band, and I sold my copies of The Real Book to the musicians. People were astounded. It was a pretty thick volume and had pretty much every Jazz standard you could think of. I felt a bit like a drug dealer. "Hey, check this out..."

Rasa said...

BTW, I should note that The Real Book was not a real book. It was photocopied sheets of home-made sheet music that was usually crudely assembled in photocopy shops. Berklee is a jazz school, so it was a popular item there. There was always a student selling copies to other students. That's how I got into the "business" – getting a copy from a fellow student.

Eric Wagner said...

Thank you for sharing that.