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

Monday, August 15, 2022

Bad news

My father has died, and I am on my way back to Oklahoma. I have published every day for many years, but I am going to pause for a few days to be with my family. Normal blogging will resume, but in the meantime I suggest looking in on Jechidah, which has a new post up on Sex, Drugs & Magick, and checking out all of the good stuff at the Maybe Day site.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

'New' Bobby Campbell comic

Bobby Campbell has posted a comic, "Osiris Jones Gets an Ice Cream." I put "new" in quotes because it is actually the latest version of an older comic. See this piece for more information.  Bobby, I meant to write a longer blog post, but I have to rush off and visit a federal prison! Will explain later. 

Bobby has been busy of late; see this comic, "FAHRVERGNÜGEN!," if you missed it. 

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Saturday notes

I don't usually talk about current events, but if you stand for free expression, it is hard not to be shocked by the attack on Salman Rushdie. I have not read Rushdie. I am visiting Apuleius Charlton this weekend; his wife, Adie, who is very well read, has read many of Rushdie's books. She recommended The Satanic Verses to me, and so did Apuleius. There's a lot of hate out there, and we are pretty far away from maybe logic. 

We had a nice conversation last night and when I asked Apuleius about his magick influences, and he cited his "four fathers": William Blake, Aleister Crowley, Robert Anton Wilson and Alan Moore.

Above is the "Bobby Campbell gallery" at Apuleius' comfortable apartment, which has all sorts of interesting art on the walls. 

Friday, August 12, 2022

Mike Gathers and Eric Wagner on 'Tale of the Tribe'


Eric Wagner was not able to participate in the recording of the Maybe Day panel discussion on Robert Anton Wilson's Tale of the Tribe project (except for a brief cameo appearance), so instead Mike Gathers recorded a separate video of a one on one discussion with Eric. I finally watched it last night and it was quite interesting. Discussion of East Coast vs. West Coast culture, Jimi Hendrix playing the national anthem at Woodstock, Bitcoin, jazz and quantum physics, John Cage and many other topics. 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

A good podcast with Phil Farber

Philip Farber (Facebook photo)

Towards the end of last month's Hilaritas Press podcast with Philip Farber, which I finally listened to this week, Mike Gathers describes Farber as an author, saying he's found "an enormous amount of clarity in your books that I don't normally find or get when I study magick or the occult." 

That's also a good description of Gathers' podcast interview with Farber, an author, magician and consultant. There's discussion of magick, NLP, Aleister Crowley and some good anecdotes about Robert Anton Wilson, whom Farber apparently knew well. I've listened to all 11 Hilaritas podcasts so far, and I think the Farber episode is one of the better ones. Gathers is in good form, asking useful questions such as how to get started in magick.

The first recording Gathers made with Farber was lost when Gathers' computer crashed (learn to do backups, Mike!) so kudos to Farber for sitting down for a second interview. 

This month's podcast, out August 23, will be Eric Wagner on Beethoven. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Happy birthday, R.U. Sirius!

Cover art by Jay Cornell (please see this art project)

R.U. Sirius -- Mondo 2000 co-founder and editor, writer, musician, presidential candidate, etc. --  will turn 70 on Friday, August 12.

To celebrate, he is releasing his new song, "I'm Against NFTs,"  as a free download. It is available free from today to Sunday morning, August 14. "This song will disappear from this site prior to becoming... yes... an NFT!" the Bandcamp page says. 

The song, credited to Mondo Vanilli and Blag Dahlia, is part of an ongoing music recording project, Infinite Gesture, based on Sirius' lyrics and featuring collaborations with various musicians, including Steve Fly Agaric 23, Phr!endz with R.U. Sirius and Party Dogs.

See my 2015 interview and search this website for other items about R.U. Sirius. Follow him on Twitter. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

John Quinn, the modernist hero you (probably) don't know

John Quinn (portrait in oil by John Butler Yeats, file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

What do James Joyce and Ezra Pound have in common, besides being big influences on Robert Anton Wilson? A guy named John Quinn. In a recent "What I've Been Reading" blog posting, Tyler Cowen explains:

"3. Hugh Eakin, Picasso’s War: How Modern Art Came to America.  John Quinn is the hero of this story.  Who’s he?  He was a wealthy Irish-American lawyer on Wall Street in the early part of the twentieth century.  He supported James Joyce, the various Yeatses, the later-famous Irish playwrights, Irish painters, and Pound and Eliot, all before they became accepted and then famous.  What a talent spotter.  He simply sent them money.  He was also very early on the Picasso and Henri Rousseau bandwagons, most of all in America, where Quinn was a central figure in popularizing, collecting, and displaying modern art.  His is a career to study, and this book is the place to start."

I confess I never heard of John Quinn, but here is a paragraph from the Wikipedia biography: "He was part of the group who staged the Armory Show in 1913, the first great exhibition of European and American modern art in the United States, at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York. Quinn gave practical advice and financial assistance to Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot. In gratitude, Eliot sent Quinn the original manuscript of his 1922 poem The Waste Land, including Pound's editorial suggestions."

The Wikipedia bio has all sorts of nuggets; Quinn once worked with Aleister Crowley. 

Quinn was only 54 when he died of cancer in 1924, a huge loss to literature and art. 

Here is John Quinn's May 1917 article for Vanity Fair, "James Joyce, a New Irish Novelist."  It begins, "James Joyce has come to town, and he has come to stay. A new star has appeared in the firmament of Irish letters, a star of the first magnitude."

Monday, August 8, 2022

Prometheus Rising exercise and discussion group, Episode 93, Chapter 17

By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger

Exercise three says,

Accept the longevity hypothesis. Imagine you are going to live at least 300 years. How much of that time do you want to spend loafing? How many different jobs would you like to work at? How many sports, arts or sciences you never had time for, would you then find the time to enjoy? (pg. 255)

Well, I just turned sixty. Thinking of Tim McGraw’s song “My Next Thirty Years”, I think about “My Next 240 Years”. I would like to spend a fair amount of time loafing which will also involve watching the world change. I have grown tired of most of my jobs, although I still love teaching my college classes, especially when I returned to the classroom after a over a year on Zoom due to the pandemic. I suspect I will have to work for a good part of the next 240 years. I do enjoy working a lot of the time. Perhaps I will work 42 jobs; perhaps retirement, writing and teaching will take up a good share of my time.

I suspect I will continue to practice tai chi, and I suspect I will explore other martial arts and complimentary practices like kettlebells in the future. My wife suggested I buy a basketball for when the grandkids come over, so their taste in sports will likely affect my taste and practice of sports. I suspect I will keep writing and trying to improve my writing. Ezra Pound emphasized how language study can help one’s writing, and I suspect I will keep learning languages for the rest of my life. I find it interesting how some skills erode over time if one doesn’t nurture them. I look forward to experimenting with various learning processes over the coming centuries. These days I study Arabic a little bit every day. Perhaps I will eventually become fluent and will nurture my Arabic skills as well as my skills in other languages, and I will see how that affects my writing.

I also suspect I will play music, and perhaps I will practice more regularly at various times in the coming years. Perhaps I will go back to ballet, or I might work on drawing. Who knows? It would not surprise me if I die before I turn ninety. If I keep on living, various passions and curiosities will likely emerge. Of course, I may spend my time foraging for water and food in a climate change nightmare with little time for poetry or architecture. 

I haven’t taken a science class since 1980. I started school as a math major, but I have neglected math and sciences over the past forty years. Bob Wilson got me to read about quantum mechanics, but I have not done much of that this century. I remember reading that in the fifties Isaac Asimov found himself on a panel with Philip Jose Farmer. Someone asked how they stayed current with science. Asimov thought to himself, well, I have a Ph.D. in chemistry, this question doesn’t apply to me, but he liked Farmer’s response. Phil said that he read Scientific American every month. Asimov realized that a lot had happened in science since he got his degree, and more and more would continue to happen, so he decided to follow Phil’s example and he subscribed to Scientific American. Perhaps in a few years I will subscribe to Scientific American (if they even continue to publish a paper magazine). Of course, passions have tended to drive my education. Sometime in the coming centuries I may develop a passion for some science that will get me to study a lot.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Is SMI2LE advancing?

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

Many of Robert Anton Wilson's writings are full of predictions based on Timothy Leary's SMI2LE formula for humanity's advance in the near future, i.e, space migration, intelligence increase and life extension. 

Obviously, the space colonies have not arrived on schedule and the other predictions have not come true as quickly as RAW thought. But the space launches of Elon Musk and other entrepreneurs seem to make the space colonies at least possible, and advances in artificial intelligence seem to make the intelligence increase part of the formula possible.

But what about "life extension"? That does not seem likely to arrive right away, but it's interesting to read this New York Times story (I've included a link) , "A ‘Reversible’ Form of Death? Scientists Revive Cells in Dead Pigs’ Organs." It's full of quotes such as, "There is a whole population of people who in a different era might have been called dead."

Friday, August 5, 2022

RAW in a Marvel comic


From Marvel Two-in-One #39

Full page 

Source from Twitter.  (E.g., hat tip, Bobby Campbell and @WormDrive Pro on Twitter). 

Thursday, August 4, 2022

New York Times reviews new Bucky Fuller biography

Alec Nevala-Lee's new biography of Buckminster Fuller will be of interest to many RAW fans because (1) Fuller was a big influence on RAW and (2) Lee does a great job with the new book, Inventor of the Future: The Visionary Life of Buckminster Fuller, which came out this week. 

The New York Times has just reviewed the book, and I notice that the reviewer, Witold Rybczynski, reaches exactly he same conclusions as I did when I reviewed the book: "The strength of this carefully researched and fair-minded biography is that the reader comes away with a greater understanding of a deeply complicated individual who overcame obstacles — many of his own making — to achieve a kind of imperfect greatness."

Here is my review, where I wrote: "Alec Nevala-Lee's new book about Buckminster Fuller, Inventor of the Future: The Visionary Life of Buckminster Fuller, is a big, carefully researched account that seems likely to become the definitive biography of Fuller. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

'Maybe Zine' released as PDF

A 2008 zine produced by various Maybe Logic Academy folks has now been released as a PDF, making it available to everyone. 

The posting by Bobby Campbell at the Maybe Logic blog explains,

"Behold a blast from the past!

"Way back in 2008, a group of Maybe Logic Academy alumni endeavored to produce a print publication, spinning off from the web based Maybe Logic Quarterly, which ran for 14 issues from Winter 2004 to Spring 2008. 

"Presented here in digital form for the first time:

"MAYBE ZINE (2008) [PDF]

"Featuring work by Toby Philpott, Prop Anon, Steve Fly, Eric Wagner, Mike Gathers, Bobby Campbell, Eva David, Borsky, Sean Rovaldi, Minja, Frater KDB, and published by Chris Veleniki.

"Most of whom can still be seen collaborating on various Maybe Logical pursuits :)))"

I have downloaded my copy, and so far I have read Prop Anon's interview with RAW, and the five haiku for RAW by Sean Rovaldi, aka The Purple Gooroo. Here is one that I liked:

                                                    So Much More Than Just A Story 
                                                    A Brain-Change Device

Sean is on Twitter. 

Sean Rovaldi (Twitter account photo)