Posts Tagged ‘ RAW ’

Pithyism #144

2010.10.18
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EVERY TYRANNY IS DESIGNED TO separate us from who we really are — and thus from each other.

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Of Monkey Brains and Infinity

2010.10.11
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ALTHOUGH WE’RE NOT GENERALLY A “quotes ‘n’ links” blog, today Metaphorager.Net feels compelled to pass along two related items:

1) From Robert Anton Wilson‘s Prometheus Rising, p. 201:

“[...] Simply accept that the universe is so structured that it can see itself, and that this self-reflexive arc is built into our frontal lobes, so that consciousness contains an infinite regress, and all we can do is make models of ourselves making models …
“Well, at that point, the only thing to do is relax and enjoy the ride.”

2) Charles & Ray Eames’ 1968 film Powers of 10. (I assign this completely scientific piece as homework for my religious-school students to flex their awe-muscles. It’s a brief magnification journey within and without the hand of a man sleeping next to Lake Michigan. See it. See it now.)

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Pithyism #23

2010.09.26
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ALL GREAT TRUTHS WERE ONCE heresies, but not all heresies become Great Truths.

N.B. I might have inadvertently nicked this from someone else, but ISTR specifically coining it after some New Age sweetness-and-lightster tried to convince Sputnik and I to junk our cars and levitate instead

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Cosmic Shmuck Reveals All

2010.09.12
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JUST HAPPENED ACROSS THE FOLLOWING in Robert Anton Wilson‘s Cosmic Trigger III, and as it’s appropriate for Yom Kippur (beginning Friday night) here ’tis:

The Cosmic Shmuck Law, as stated in several of my books, holds that if you occasionally notice that you have said something or done something that qualifies as Cosmic Shmuckery, you might become, in time, less of a Cosmic Shmuck; but if you never notice any Cosmic Shmuckery in your own thinking/doing, you will become more and more of a Cosmic Shmuck every year.

This makes sense to me, and I especially like that RAW measures in years, likely because of the whole Yom Kippur thing which, just between you and me, I’m having some difficulty with this year. In short: We are supposed to seek forgiveness for the wrongs we have done each other. But from this perspective, they seem a bit bigger and scarier than I am.

Dealing with quasidisability and its related and interwoven consequents does not make me easy to live with — it makes me impatient, short-tempered, cranky, sad and occasionally sullen, none of which are easy either for Ann or me (or for every union’s invisible third partner, The Marriage), especially as I’m someone who takes up a lot of psychic space in any given room). I sincerely don’t know how to write about this pain in a way that doesn’t sound self-pitying to me; in any case, I’m saying this so I can tell you the next thing.

Because of all this, this sluggish grey heavy tentacled ick, I find myself sincerely seeking forgiveness from … pretty much everyone I know for the unreturned phone calls, emails, visits, invitations and general good will y’all have been beaming at me. (You know who you are.) There’s a weird despair-into-shame spiral: I mean to do something, then feel bad about not having done it, then paralyzed by embarrassment, et al, ad nausea, ad insanitum. And then it’s too hard to do anything but sigh.

It may be a long way back to the man I want to be; I have not been a good friend this past year, and in some cases have even been a bad one. It is not something I intended, but it happened and I want to fix it. And so I nakedly ask, and hope to thank you for, your forgiveness.

You know who you are.

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First (Two) Graf(s): The Universe Next Door

2010.07.30
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THE TITLED BOOK IS PART of a trilogy, and it’s hard to say it’s the “first” part since Robert Anton Wilson wrote Schrodinger’s Cat such that the reader can open any of its constituents (The Universe Next Door, The Trick Top Hat and The Homing Pigeons) at any point and begin reading (as Charles Fort said, “One measures a circle beginning anywhere”). The text, in chapters of two- to four-page pastiches, follows (in part) a couple dozen compassionately well-drawn “everymen,” and the cumulative effect is three or four unique and intertwined storylines that play hob with the reader’s perceptions of reality and deliver a crash course in James Joyce, Wilhelm Reich, black-market economics, quantum physics, Jungian psychology, little-L libertarianism, Western mysticism, some fairly hot weird-science and a lot of sharply empathetic humor: “The story herein is set in a variety of parallel universes in which most of the politicians are thieves and most of the theologians are maniacs. These universes have nothing in common with our own world, of course. Of course.”

from The Universe Next Door

The majority of Terrans were six-legged. They had territorial squabbles and politics and wars and a caste system. They also had sufficient intelligence to survive on that barren boondocks planet for several billions of years.

We are not concerned here with the majority of Terrans. We are concerned with a tiny minority — the domesticated primates who built cities and wrote symphonies and invented things like tic-tac-toe and integral calculus. At the time of our story, these primates regarded themselves as the Terrans. The six-legged majority and other life-forms on that planet hardly entered into their thinking at all, most of the time.

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5 Thoughts: Why (and How) We Write

2010.07.15
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HANGING BY OUR COMPUTER IS a sheet of paper I look to for inspiration. Sometimes it inspires me, sometimes it depresses me, but always it gets me back on the horse. It’s called “Why (and How) We Write.” If you too find it useful, please hang it by your computer.

1. Do it for the buzz.
– Stephen King

2. Finish what you start. Keep submitting until it sells.
— Robert Heinlein

3. a) Fanaticize yourself
b) Fanaticize something greater than yourself
c) “Sheer delight in what you are doing.”
– Robert Anton Wilson

4. a) Arrange events in linear order
b) Now arrange them in narrative order.
c) Write the story.
d) Revise the story.
e) FINALISE.
– H. P. Lovecraft

5. “Most of the characteristics which make for success in writing are precisely those which we are all taught to repress … the firm belief that you are an important person, that you are a lot smarter than most people, and that your ideas are so damned important that everybody should listen to you.”
– Robert Anton Wilson, reprise

A Great Line I’ll Have To Work In Somewhere

“IT WAS AT THIS POINT in the narrative when those skilled in the nuances of the oral tradition began chuckling with anticipation.”

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< |||| > 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

(See Also: Robert Anton Wilson / HP Lovecraft / Writing / 5 Thoughts / Text As Life)

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6,855,687,281 Minus 9

2010.07.13
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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.)

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5thoughts: James Joyce

2010.06.16
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James Joyce

Fig. 1: James Joyce

IN HONOR OF BLOOMSDAY 2010, five thoughts on the man who made it possible:

1. James Joyce is yet another proof that one man’s mind can be bigger than his skull. (If not, generational banks of Joyce scholars would have quit writing about him long ago.)

2.) Until Finnegan’s Wake, no Irishman had ever beat the Jews for mind-stretching eloquence. (Since the Talmud, the best we’ve done is Groucho Marx and Yehuda Amichai.)

3.) Come to think of it, FW and the Talmud do make two nice bookends for the Western literary tradition: what the Talmud does to Aristotle, Joyce does to Webster. (Said comeuppances piercingly beautiful to see.)

4.) If a man can spend a quarter of his life writing his Perfect Book, there’s hope for the rest of us.

5.) But only if we can manage not to be humbled by such wit-wraps as “Nations have their ego, just like individuals,” “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to wake,” or “Men are governed by lines of intellect – women: by curves of emotion.” Or: “Agenbite of inwit.” Or even:

O

tell me all about

Anna Livia! I want to hear all

about Anna Livia. Well, you know Anna Livia? Yes, of course, we all know Anna Livia. Tell me all. Tell me now.

(O, now, what’s the use? Another Guinness pour my muse, poor favor, purring kittenkilkenny of katzenjammers … [tape ends])

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ORL Redux: Interview with Robert Anton Wilson

2010.02.02
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(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/.

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ORL History, or Where’s Mine?

2010.01.31
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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.[1]

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…”

[1] 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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… And It’s Still Unbroken

2009.06.19
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WEDNESDAY NIGHT WAS SAN FRANCISCO and the Jellyfish Gallery, a cozy industrial space where 50 or so practical idealists gathered to talk about saving the world one action at a time.

The event was a local “spore” of the international Evolver.Net launch (which seems to be the latest public project by the millennia-old and occasionally secret Happy Mutant conspiracy, whose unspoken ideals include fierce creativity, kindness, neophilia, competency with tools and a compulsion to answer every “No” with a “Why not?”).

My friends at Conscious Consignment had heard about Evolver.Net at the recent Harmony Festival and were impressed by its founder, Daniel Pinchbeck. (Disclaimer: I haven’t yet read Mr. Pinchbeck’s works in depth, but he seems in the vein of meta-agnostic and polymath Robert Anton Wilson‘s Cosmic Trigger sans Wilson’s humor and “don’t believe everything you think” attitude.) As an old-school Happy Mutant who was 15 when Cosmic Trigger and Star Wars debuted, here’s what I saw:

1. Same energy, different faces.
A dizzying feeling of bilocation: people as young now as I was then, like looking back at the starting line of an endless race — spooky and cool at the same time, with a happy undertone of “And some day, their kids …”

2. Better tools and competency.
Organizing and voice-projecting are cheap-to-free these days, as opposed to the limited resources back when websites were called zines. Evolver.Net is one such: it’s a social network (a la Facebook) specific to organizing projects that may be too big for one person alone. (Tangential thought — the scene feels more … stratified than that o’ me youth; perhaps the difference between discovering potential and implementing it.)

3. Alas, another deadline.
If you also have lived through one Harmonic Convergence, two Grand Planetary Alignments and the turn of one millennium, after each of which historical moments life was expected to be completely groovy forever, you will understand my skepticism (see sense 2a) regarding the whole 2012 thing; saving the world (i.e., restructuring the human experiment to maximize all the good parts) works better as an ongoing process than something with a sell-by date.

Bottom line: Some very good and good-hearted people are doing some amazing and important things, and they’re using Evolver.Net to do it. Come join the fun — and be the world you want to live in..

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Re-Re-RE-Reads

2009.05.27
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SOME BOOKS ARE FINISHED IN a day; others, only when we are.

If books are portable doorways, then stepping into a beloved-since-childhood instant Now every few years can sometimes tell us where we’ve been in the meanwhile. As one of my perennial obsessions is the slippery intersection of awareness and time — e.g., free will[1] as side effect of fore-ignorance[2] — many of my own favored rereads tend to be “quest” stories: people who go in search of something and discover something unimaginably else. Here are five or six:

» Lord of the Rings (trilogy), J. R. R. Tolkien
If you’ve seen the movie, you think you know the story. But if you haven’t read the books, you really really don’t. Tolkien’s words have a different flavor in the mouth than on the page; I recommend reading these aloud, one night at a time, to someone you enjoy. (Takes about a year.) If you can do voice impressions, so much the better.

» The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
Space-stranded Gully Foyle was waiting to die until a passing ship ignored his pleas for rescue. His vengeance takes him from the interplanetary gutter to the height of decadent society, but his education elevates him to the next phase of human potential.

» Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-glass, Lewis Carroll
A chief delight of my 40 years’ acquaintance with Carroll’s endless puzzle has been watching it slowly transform from fairy tale to divine satire. How does he do that?

» Schrodinger’s Cat (trilogy), Robert Anton Wilson
Extrauniversal intrigue among at least three universes next door to this one, all wrapped in a literary Moebius strip. Wilson once offered a quick intelligence test: If the universe is getting bigger and funnier, you’re getting smarter. RAW’s books are for anyone who wants to become smarter — and really, shouldn’t that be everyone?

[1] For the record, I am not smart enough to reckon the “difference” between “free will” and “predestination.” However, I’m fairly sure that it’s my hand — and not God‘s — who’s picking out my socks and entertainment, at least most of the time.

[2] Similar to, but more certain than, “foreknowledge.”

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