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? — http://languageremoval.com/.
IT FEELS GOOD to write again. It has been just over six years since I last added to this blog (which once boasted a...
NOTE THE SPECIFICITY OF THE title — I didn’t say I don’t like ghosts, or that I shun their company or “disbelieve” in their “existence.” But they’re no big thing to me, any more so than the other amazing things about which I can do nothing but appreciate.
Like most people, I stand at the rim and center of diverse circles of friends: the local Jewish community, the local media community, my pirate buddies, college fiends, pagans, ol’ hippies and any number of peace officers, firefighters and clergyfolk, each of exceptional intelligence and veracity, all of whom trust their eyes and ears despite preconceptions, and whose only motivation in retelling some awfully weird goings-on was to understand their UFO sighting, religious vision, haunting, reincarnation evidence, Ouija session, telekinesis, missing time, seance, monster encounter or near-death experience. (Like I would know.)
Most of those friends who’ve experienced anomalous whoopdedoofery (including the author) seem to develop an essential reality-agnosticism and open-face-value acceptance of things beyond one’s personal ken. (To be honest, I also know a few people whose pre-existing dogmas were reinforced by experiential weirdness, so you never can tell …) Perhaps, as researcher Jacques Vallee suggests, these misty goings-on have been kicking us in the collective head for millenia to expand our notions and horizons. (Even vampires, the most pretentious of the undead, may have merit when seen in this light.) If so, then challenge your next Weird Encounter with the old wizards’ adage: “Come on in and set a spell*.”
* Labored pun explicable on request, or, better yet, not.
Well… when the phone rings at 3 a.m. and the familiar metallic voice offers an occasional work-from-home project featuring fabulous prizes, free virtual travel and a steady below-poverty income, all I could say was http://metaphorager.net/orl: ORL’s new Facebook page. And I’m told that if enough people “like” it, They might even throw in some food chips. True, it’s a long way to the surface from this new office, but They assure me the packaging will prevent most breakage…
THAT’S THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE currently inhabiting the Earth’s surface (according to http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html at 19:11 UTC, July 13, 2010), less the nine currently orbiting it (according to http://www.howmanypeopleareinspacerightnow.com/).
(Data maketh strange bedfellows. But at least we know how many.)
(AS A FOLO TO THE previous post, and at the urging of sinister forces who would prefer I remain nameless, I now present a reprint from the bygone Bulletin of Obscure Research, Far Corner (v1n5, c. 1991): an interview with the late Robert Anton Wilson, who wrote about everything Dan Brown does (and much, MUCH more) but did it first and funnier. He was and is a great influence on both my writing and my thought, and I hope his fans will be amused rather than disappointed by this previously Lost Interview (which is transcribed with errors intact rather than scanned, at least for now). And if you’re listening, Bob — thanks for the cartography lessons.)
THE FAR CORNER INTERVIEW: ROBERT ANTON WILSON
[picture taken from the inside back cover of The Illuminati Papers (1980 ed.)]
Every publication worth its salt must, from time to time, feature interviews with the Heavyweights of the Field. Unfortunately, most of the heavyweights of the fortean/weirdological field do not share the philosophy of the staff here at Obscure Research Labs; and hence, either do not return our polite inquiries or (more often) write us rude letters requesting money. Fortunately, there are exceptions to these stuffed shirts of pseudo-inllectua; and one of the most delightful is the dsitinguished Dr. Robert Anton Wilson.
Poet, scientist, author, guru, wise guy and internationally-known weirdo, Dr. Wilson scarcely needs an introduction to the readers of this publication. He is the author of several books on psychology, conspiracy theory, literary criticism, magick, history, epistemology, sexuality, ontology, fortean study…but is probably best known as either a) The co-author (with Robert Shea) of the Illuminatus! trilogy, b) a frequent contributor to such magazines as Magical Blend and Gnosis, or c) the Inner Head of the Ancient Illuminated Seers of Bavaria, Inc. When we interviewed him, the Good Doctor had been under pressure due to book deadlines and lecture dates; but despite a severe case of eyestrain he graciously allowed us to pester him.
FC: Many publications have interviewed you, and yet it seems that none have asked you what we feel to be some Burning Personal Questions. I realize that you are a busy man, but we’d like to ask you: what did you want to be when you grew up?
RAW: The emir of Kuwait.
FC: Okay. what makes you happy?
RAW: Lotsa bucks.
FC: Is there any truth to the persistent rumour that Illuminatus! will be made into a movie?
RAW: There have been stage productions of Illuminatus! both here and abroad but although it has been optioned for films several times nothing has come of that as yet.
FC: When the Schrodinger’s Cat trilogy was issued in one volume (New York; Dell, 1988) we could not help but notice certain shall we say alterations or differences from the 1979 edition. Could you comment on this?
RAW: Three men in black visited me with editorial suggestions. Glimpsing their tentacles I felt it wise to obey.
FC: Turning back to the personal stuff: What is your favorite food? And do you have any recipes to share with our readers?
RAW: Anything full of cholesterol and sugar which is expensive and accompanied by raw oysters and vodka martinis. Recipes I leave to experts.
FC: Before we leave, are there any Words of wisdom for the aspiring fortean?
RAW: Smash those paradigms and keep the lasagna flying!
We’d like to thank Dr. Wilson for his patience; we’d also like to thank his wife, Arlen, for her help. Incidentally, among other things the Good Doctor is currently publishing Trajectories, an ongoing journal of ideas and opinions. It’s $6 from the Permanent Press, PO Box 700305, San Jose, CA 95170.
More metaphoragings RAW and ORL: http://metaphorager.net/tag/robert-anton-wilson/ and http://metaphorager.net/tag/obscure-research-labs/.
LONGTIME READERS WILL PRICK THEIR pointed ears at the mention of “Obscure Research Labs.” If you’re not one of them, but especially if you are, please read on:
Back around 1989 or so, I became involved with a group billing itself as “the world’s only TRUE research organization … devoted to finding out Just What’s Going On” (see FAQ). Headed by BT Elder, whose tenure as Professor of Applied Memetics at Miskatonic University came to an abrupt and scandal-hushed end during the 1970s, Obscure Research Labs played a key role in the development of 1990s-era underground popular culture. Without ORL’s influence, Roswell would still be a noncommittal speck on the Nevada map; the Men in Black (the real ones, not their sequel-laden counterparts) would still be frightening witnesses with anonymous abandon; and the Wachowski brothers would still be stuck for an Idea.
The scope of ORL’s work and accomplishments would require several volumes to explain in disambiguating detail. Suffice to say, despite the hours and working conditions I accepted the position of newsletter editor and produced seven issues of the ORL bulletin, “Far Corner.” Filled mostly with recent ORL doings, specifically in the areas of time travel and experimental mass psychology, the newsletter also featured interviews with such secretly famous celebrities as Robert Anton Wilson and Ivan Stang.
Of course, that was all before ORL’s still-unexplained disappearance c. 2002. Although I haven’t worked for them in years, I still Google them on occasion to see what they’re up to, if at all (also, they still owe me money). Thus, imagine my surprise when I discovered someone selling ORL merchandise at inflated prices! It is flattering to have produced a collectors’ item, but annoying to be cut out of the profits. At this writing, I have been unsuccessful in contacting the seller — for all I know, he or she or it may be a disgruntled ex-employee (of which ORL seemed to produce dozens, all altered in some fashion) trying to recoup his, her or its losses.
But perhaps it’s better not to know; to let, as it were, tricephalic dogs lie. After all, according to ORL’s credo and operating principle, “You never can tell…”
 Few are aware that “the Matrix” is the name given by Elder and his mentor, Neal Higgins, to the “glue” which binds consensual reality like the dough in raisin bread: “Among other things, The Matrix is the theoretical basis for just about everything we do here at ORL. Put simply, it’s that vast area between what you know and what you don’t; paradoxically, it’s both universal and personal. (If you could make a circle around yourself to illustrate the limits of your perception, the area inside would represent your knowledge. Outside lies your ignorance. The circle itself is the Matrix — the indeterminate state you use to account for the existence of things you can’t see but ‘know’ are there, like the person typing these words.)” — from the ORL FAQ
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