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

Monday, September 25, 2023

Latest John Higgs news


John Higgs has released the latest edition of his newletter. 

Lots of news and you should read the whole newsletter for  yourself, but here is some of the news relevant to this blog: The new edition of the KLF book remains available for mail order -- you can have an autographed copy shipped to the states, for example. Higgs has recorded an audiobook of his Timothy Leary biography, and that will be out very soon. 

And there's this news, too: "Both The KLF and I Have America Surrounded will be getting proper US releases next year, including audiobooks - more news on that soon."

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Robert Anton Wilson mentioned in Harper's magazine



The current issue of Harper's Magazine has a long, interesting article, "The Golden Fleece," by Joe Kloc, about pulp collector Gary Lovisi and his wife, and Kloc's search for an old pulp magazine with a romantic story behind it. It's worth reading.

Kurt Smith tipped me off about the piece because of this passage:

"Gary and his wife, Lucille Cali, live in Gerritsen Beach, a working-class neighborhood in the southeast corner of Brooklyn, just three miles from the open waters of the Atlantic. Their brick row house sits at sea level, not far from the local Knights of Columbus lodge and the childhood home of the neighborhood’s only canonized son: Robert Anton Wilson, a science-fiction author elevated to sainthood by Discordians, or worshippers of Eris, the Greek goddess who sparked the Trojan War."

Kloc's first book is coming out next year, it sounds like it will be a good read. 

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Hilaritas podcast with Lon Milo DuQuette

The Hilaritas Press podcast is out today, and it's an interview of magician and author Lon Milo DuQuette, who contributed a piece to  the new Robert Anton Wilson book, Lion of Light. 

"In this episode, Mike Gathers chats with Lon Milo DuQuette. As Mike says, 'it’s my great pleasure to chat with man who wrote the introduction to the new Hilaritas publication of Lion of Light;  musician, teacher, and author of over 20 books on Aleister Crowley, Magick, Kabbala, Thoth Tarot, and things that bump in the night, Lon Milo DuQuette'.”

Mike has said on social media that this may be his favorite podcast so far. It's number 25, so there's been a bunch. 

Friday, September 22, 2023

Discordian doings in Brighton, England

 


Announcement via X from Ben Graham: "Discordian hi-jinx in a Brighton pub on Sept 29! Featuring Richard Norris (DJ set and Q&A), Kermit (DJ set from Black Grape / Ruthless Rap Assassins legend), Daisy Eris Campbell, God's Teeth & The Interstellar Tropics and loads more! Tix at tiny.cc/herosandwich23 "

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Russian cover of 'Prometheus Rising'

 


This was posted on Facebook by Eddy Nix. I don't have a cover artist or any other information, but the caption said, "Prometheus Rising. Russia 2008."

At the post, Mike Gathers commented, "Excellent. Once upon a time, I collected these. The foreign covers were so much more interesting than New Falcon."

I asked Mike if he posts those foreign covers, and he sent this link to his covers collection at the Robert Anton Wilson Fans site that Mike founded. (Note the links to "cover art galleries" at the top of the page.) Unfortunately, the link to the international gallery is not currently working, but other galleries may be viewed. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Scott Apel to write new 'Chaos and Beyond' intro


Scott Apel will write a new  introduction of Chaos and Beyond, Rasa has announced. Hilaritas Press is putting out a new edition soon of the book Chaos and Beyond,  an anthology, originally issued in 1994, of material from the Trajectories newsletter put out by RAW and Apel. It's mostly pieces written by RAW, but there are also contributions from folks such as Arlen Wilson and Timothy Leary.

I asked Scott about this and he said he doesn't know yet what he's going to write about.

"All I have so far is an epigram, an introductory quote, from Blazing Saddles:

Mayor Johnson: “Goddamn it, I said ‘Order”!”

Howard Johnson: “Y’know, Nietzche says, out of chaos comes order.”

Olson Johnson: “Ah, blow it out your ass, Howard.”

So an auspicious start, anyway.  ­čśü"

Beyond Chaos and Beyond, the 2019 book Apel edited, is kind of a companion book to Chaos and Beyond. Here is the review I wrote when it came out.


Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Jesse Walker to write foreword for new RAW book


Author and pundit Jesse Walker (at the Laurie Anderson exhibition at the Hirshhorn museum in Washington, D.C. )(Facebook photo). 

After Monday's post, in which I reproduced a Facebook post by Rasa on the upcoming Hilaritas Press book on Robert Anton Wilson's politics, Jesse Walker revealed some news on X: 

"I guess the cat's out of the bag that this book is in the works and that I'm writing a foreword to it. My comments quoted in the linked post are the short version of what I'll be saying, or of part of what I'll be saying."


Monday, September 18, 2023

Rasa, and Jesse Walker, on RAW's politics



[This is a post by Rasa, on Facebook on August 8 in the "Robert Anton Wilson Group," on RAW's politics, that I thought would be worth sharing. The Management.]

Hilaritas Press is working on compiling a book of essays RAW wrote on politics. The working title is, "RAW Politics." We've been having a lot of discussions about the topic, and I'm making this post because today someone again tried to say RAW was a "Right-Winger."

That person posted a link to the 1969 article RAW wrote (or at least we think he wrote it. He used the pseudonym "Ronald Weston"), and the person asked, "Are you sure you are in the right group?" – implying that RAW was an anti-socialist (the guy's words) right winger. Not only did RAW change his opinions on a lot of things over time, but that article in particular was interesting for a number of reasons having to do largely with changing definitions and changing political realities.

https://www.unionofegoists.com/.../why-i-am-a-right-wing.../

It is useful to note that when interviewed years later, RAW had this to say...

• • •

DARE

Are there any existing political systems you admire?

WILSON

Scandinavian socialism. I found the Scandinavians to be about the most admirable people in Europe. clean streets, a low crime rate, a general air of high civilization - luxuries for all and a total absence of slums, poverty, and ugliness. They seem very happy and productive, with one of the most way out futurist movements in the world. They're the California of Europe.

I hate to sound like a Marxist, which I'm not, but the reason you haven't heard about Scandinavian Socialism is because the media of this country is controlled by rich people who are scared shitless of socialism. They want Americans to think there's only one type of socialism, Soviet Communism, which is the kind of place where dissident scientists get thrown in lunatic asylums, all of which is true. Americans are paranoid about Russians but Scandinavians regard them with amusement; they're those backwards people who think that you can only have socialism by putting all the poets and painters in jail. The Scandinavian

http://www.rawillumination.net/.../raw-on-scandinavian...

• • •

In a discussion I had with RAW fan and Libertarian book editor for Reason Magazine, Jesse Walker, I asked him specifically about that "I am a Right-Wing Anarchist" article. Here's what he said:

• • •

So: Before Bob had a writing career, he went through Trotskyist and Randian phases. In the early '60s he mixed Tucker/Proudhon-style individualist/mutualist anarchism with ideas from Wilhelm Reich and other sources; he was a pretty doctrinaire anarchist at first, in ways that I suspect made him wince when he looked back later, and then he moved toward the more agnostic approach that became a big part of his general worldview. He mixed in other influences as well, from Fuller to Pound to Brooks Adams.

He stopped calling himself an anarchist for a while, then embraced the word again. He went through a period of supporting gun control, but eventually formed the Guns and Dope Party. In the '90s he presented anarcho-mutualism as his social ideal while suggesting that Scandinavian social democracy was the best real-world system available. (Around the same time, of course, the Scandinavian countries started adopting a bunch of market reforms. They're arguably more deregulatory than the U.S. now, but they also have a more generous safety net, which is a combination he'd probably appreciate.)

In one of his early Realist articles he called himself a "socialist." (A libertarian socialist, but he used the s-word.) In Prometheus Rising, he commented that "as indust-reality has spread, socialism has followed in its wake" and then noted in parentheses that "the author, being up-front about his prejudices, admits that he does not like it." By the end of the '80s, on the other hand, he was writing like a labor militant. (I can't help suspecting that the excesses of the New Left provoked a bit of an anti-left backlash from him, and then the excesses of the Reagan era pushed him in the opposite direction -- if not in his underlying philosophy than at least in who was annoying him the most at the moment.)

Through many of those shifts, from the '70s through the '90s (and maybe later), he spoke at libertarian gatherings. I ran into him at a Libertarian Party convention in 1993, where he was giving a talk and I was present on behalf of a now-defunct magazine. I asked him how close he felt to the party these days, and he replied that it depended on which segment of the party we were talking about. This particular convention, he added, was basically being run by the local chapter of NORML, so he was cool with them.

All in all, he wasn't that far from what people would call a left-libertarian these days. But that's an easy phrase to misunderstand, and it papers over the different ways he used "left" and "right" over a long career. If you want a single word to describe his politics, I think "mutualist" would be incomplete but accurate.

• • •

Here's a link to the full Dare interview:

https://emulsionalproblems.blogspot.com/.../man-bites...• • •

When I asked Jesse specifically about that article, "Why I am a Right-Wing Anarchist," he said,

As far as "Why I Am a Right-Wing Anarchist" goes, I agree that the title can mislead people -- the fact that it upholds pre-Columbian Native American societies as an ideal should indicate that this wasn't some sort of Randian argument. But I don't think he was making a joke when he used the word "right-wing"; this was, after all, just a few years before he wrote in SEX AND DRUGS that he was "a spokesman for an extreme right-wing libertarianism that prides itself on being more radical than left-wing anarchism.”… Better to figure that he had a quirky definition of "right-wing" in mind at the time and that he later discarded it.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Jesse Walker on pirate preservationists



I was a Kinks fan in the sense that I bought this album, Misfits, when it came out in the late 1970s, and a few others, but Jesse Walker is a much more serious fan that I; see his article. 

Jesse Walker has a really interesting article in the October issue of Reason magazine, "The Pirate Preservationists," now available online, about collectors who go beyond what is commercially available when collect TV shows, music from a favorite artists, etc. Jesse argues that while "piracy" has a bad name, such collectors often preserve work that otherwise might be lost.

I'm guessing that Robert Anton Wilson fans can relate. Even in RAW's lifetime, Email to the Universe drew on articles posted on the Robert Anton Wilson Fans website founded by Mike Gathers, and recent posthumous RAW books have used materials gathered by the likes of Mike and Martin Wagner. 

People who follow classical history, i.e. ancient Greece and Rome, know that only a tiny percentage of work written by classical authors has survived to modern times. But those kinds of losses have happened much more recently; here is an interesting bit from Jesse's piece:

"Preservation is a constant war against decay, a war where the losses outnumber the victories and the victories are only temporary. According to the Library of Congress, roughly 70 percent of silent-era movies are now gone completely and another 5 percent survive only in part. The library's list of lost sound recordings includes commercial releases by musicians as popular as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Ethel Waters. The vast majority of NBC's pre-TV newscasts have disappeared; they're rumored to be rotting in a landfill in New Jersey."

It seems to me that "pirate" is a term that takes in widely differing activities; collecting an article that otherwise might be lost seems wildly different, to me, than distributing a bootleg copy of a book available from Hilaritas Press. 

Jesse's article is illustrated with a photo of Jesse's music collection. I can figure out a lot of it, but what is the "Illuminatus Hi-Fi Companion" from DJ Sun Woo Kong? 

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Brian Dean's book on framing


I have just finished Brian Dean's book, Lazy Person's Guide to Framing: Decoding the News Media, issued this year in a newly-revised edition. 

I enjoyed the book and it's an easy, quick read. I am of course somewhat familiar with Brian's thought via the RAW Semantics blog and his X account, but it's nice to have much of it in one place. The book seeks to popularize George Lakoff's work on framing, i.e. the metaphors and points of view that people  use to understand the world, and to attempt to impose their ideology on others. The book also can be read as being about reality tunnels, and Robert Anton Wilson is quoted in several places. (Here is Brian's own explanation of the book).  Much of the discussion comes from the point of view of Brian's left politics (which I understood better after reading the book) but you can use the techniques Brian talks about to analyze anyone's opinions, including Brian's. 

Here are a couple of my favorite passages from the book:

"It seems obvious, but needs repeating: We don't all think the same -- only a part of our conceptual systems can be considered universal. So-called 'conservatives' and 'progressives' don't see the world in the same way; they have different forms of reason on moral issues. But they both see themselves as right, in a moral sense (with perhaps a few 'amoral' exceptions.)" [Emphases in original.]

[On how a small element of truth can lead to distortion:]

"With repetition and reinforcement, the irrefutable small 'truth' becomes the main focus -- the primary frame through which we perceive the larger issue. But it's not an accurate or honest representation of the issue. It's like a small stain on the corner of a large carpet -- you don't even notice the stain unless somebody points it out. But if you repeatedly focus on the stain, it may become an obsession -- your primary mental category for the overall appearance of the room is 'stained carpet.' The stain becomes the overriding frame, the tiny truth that's out of proportion." 



Friday, September 15, 2023

Thursday, September 14, 2023

What is your favorite RAW interview?


I've long thought that an interview of Robert Anton Wilson by Scott Apel and one of Apel's friends, Kevin Briggs, was one of the best interviews of RAW. It's not posted on the Internet, but it available in two of Apel's books: Beyond Chaos and Beyond, and Science Fiction: An Oral History

So when I loaned a copy of Beyond Chaos and Beyond to a friend of mine, Tracy Harms, I was curious what Tracy would think of the interview. On X, Tracy posted, "Yesterday I read an interview with Robert Anton Wilson and it reminded me how delightful he was.  So many fun, optimistic, enlivening ideas.  We miss him." And to me, Tracy wrote, "The opening interview was a lovely reminder of his contributions."

Both books remain available; Beyond Chaos and Beyond has a lot of RAW material and biography of RAW that Apel wrote; for Kindle, it's about $5. Science Fiction: An Oral History is only 99 cents for Kindle, and you also get interviews with C.L. Moore, Leigh Brackett, Theodore Sturgeon, Philip K. Dick, Fritz Leiber, Roger Zelazny and Norman Spinrad. 


Wednesday, September 13, 2023

The new Scott Adams book on framing


Rob Pugh writes to tell me he is reading the new Scott Adams book, Reframe Your Brain: The User Interface for Happiness and Success and reports that much of it reminds him of what Robert Anton Wilson wrote about reality tunnels. (I am often not a fan of Scott Adams' politics, but Rob knows I liked a previous book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.)

Rob writes, "I'm in the middle of the new Scott Adams' book 'Reframe Your Brain' and (sadly) it took me about half of the book to realize 'Oh, he's changing reality tunnels using language.' I'd long categorized 'framing' in the political/spin category and didn't give it much thought. But he's basically using Sapir-Whorf linguistic to change channels on reality tunnels. IMO/YMMV at least. The next chapter that I'm about to start is literally called 'Reality Reframes.' It's an interesting and possibly useful book, I think, so far.

"I've never run across any direct Adams/RAW links, but given he goes on about his hypnotist bonafides, there's probably at least some NLP/Bandler'esque overlaps."

I got a followup email from Rob the next day. In a passage of the book, Adams writes, "I can see a valid argument for either optimist or pessimism about the current state of the world. I don't know which filter is more accurate, but I do know one makes me feel better than the other. So I choose the happy-making one."

Rob posits, "This is a just another way RAW said 'I prefer to create for each hour the happiest, funniest, and most romantic reality-tunnel...' "

Rob does not mention it, but it sounds like the Adams book could be a companion for Lazy Person's Guide to Framing: Decoding the News Media by Brian Dean, which is sitting in my Kindle reader, waiting for me to get to it. Here is Brian's pinned post on the book at the RAW Semantics blog. I am not suggesting that Brian is interested in Scott Adams' book, only that they (apparently) tackle a common subject.