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Robert Anton Wilson

At the National Theatre, London, for the 10-hour stage version of Illuminatus! in 1977
Born Robert Anton Wilson
January 18, 1932(1932-01-18)
Brooklyn, New York
Died January 11, 2007 (aged 74)
Capitola, California
Spouse(s) Arlen Riley Wilson

Robert Anton Wilson (born Robert Edward Wilson, January 18, 1932 – January 11, 2007), the American author of 33 influential books, became, at various times, a novelist, philosopher, essayist, editor, playwright, futurist, libertarian[1] and self-described agnostic mystic. Recognized as an Episkopos, Pope, and a Saint of Discordianism by Discordians who care to label him as such, Wilson helped publicize the group/religion/melee through his writings, interviews, and strolls.

Wilson described his work as an "attempt to break down conditioned associations, to look at the world in a new way, with many models recognized as models or maps, and no one model elevated to the truth." [2]

"My goal is to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone but agnosticism about everything."[3]

Contents

Early life

"Is", "is." "is" — the idiocy of the word haunts me. If it were abolished, human thought might begin to make sense. I don't know what anything "is"; I only know how it seems to me at this moment.---Robert Anton Wilson

Wilson, born Robert Edward Wilson in Methodist Hospital, in Brooklyn, New York, spent his first years in Flatbush, and moved with his family to Gerritsen Beach around the age of 4 or 5, where they stayed until he turned 13. He suffered from polio as a child, and found generally effective treatment with the Kenny Method (created by Elizabeth Kenny) which the American Medical Association repudiated at that time. Polio's effects remained with Wilson throughout his life, usually manifesting as minor muscle spasms causing him to use a cane occasionally until 2000, when he experienced a major bout with post-polio syndrome that would continue until his death.

Wilson attended Catholic grammar school, most likely the school associated with Gerritsen Beach's Resurrection Church. He attended Brooklyn Technical High School to remove himself from the Catholic influence. While working as an ambulance driver Wilson attended New York University, studying engineering and mathematics.

He worked as an engineering aide, salesman, a copywriter, and as associate editor of Playboy magazine from 1965 to 1971. Wilson adopted his maternal grandfather's name, Anton, for his writings, at first telling himself that he would save the "Edward" for when he wrote the Great American Novel and later finding that "Robert Anton Wilson" had become an established identity.

In 1979 he received a Ph.D. in psychology from Paideia University in California,[4] an unaccredited institution that has since closed.[5] Wilson reworked his dissertation, and it found publication in 1983 as Prometheus Rising.

Wilson married freelance writer and poet Arlen Riley in 1958; they had four children. Their youngest daughter Luna—beaten to death in an apparent robbery in the store where she worked in 1976 at the age of 15—became the first person to have her brain preserved by the Bay Area Cryonics Society.[6] Arlen Riley Wilson died in 1999 following a series of strokes.[7][8]

The Illuminatus! Trilogy

The Eye in the Pyramid, first volume of the first edition of Illuminatus!, 1975

Among Wilson's 35 books,[9] and many other works, perhaps his best-known volumes remain the cult classic series[10] The Illuminatus! Trilogy (1975), co-authored with Robert Shea. Advertised as "a fairy tale for paranoids," the three books--The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, and Leviathan, soon offered as a single volume—philosophically and humorously examined, among many other themes, occult and magical symbolism and history, the counterculture of the 1960s, secret societies, data concerning author H.P. Lovecraft and author and occultist Aleister Crowley, and American paranoia about conspiracies.

Wilson and Shea derived much of the odder material from letters sent to Playboy magazine while they worked as the editors of the Playboy Forum.[11] The books mixed true information with imaginative fiction to engage the reader in what Wilson called "guerilla ontology" which he apparently referred to as "Operation Mindfuck" in Illuminatus! The trilogy also outlined a set of libertarian and anarchist axioms known as Celine's Laws (named after Hagbard Celine, a character in Illuminatus!),concepts Wilson revisited several times in other writings.

Among the many subplots of Illuminatus! one addresses biological warfare and the overriding of the United States Bill of Rights, another gives a detailed account of the John F. Kennedy assassination, in which no fewer than five snipers, all working for different causes, prepared to shoot Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, and the book's climax occurs at a rock concert where the audience collectively face the danger of becoming a mass human sacrifice.

Illuminatus popularized Discordianism and the use of the term "fnord." It incorporated experimental prose styles influenced by writers such as William S. Burroughs, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound.[12] Although Shea and Wilson never partnered on such a scale again, Wilson continued to expand upon the themes of the Illuminatus! books throughout his writing career. Most of his later fiction contains cross-over characters from "The Sex Magicians" (Wilson's first novel, written before the release of Illuminatus!, which includes many of his same characters) and The Illuminatus! Trilogy.

Illuminatus! won the Prometheus Hall of Fame award for science fiction in 1986, has many international editions, and found adaptation for the stage when Ken Campbell produced it as a ten-hour epic drama. It also appeared as a Steve Jackson role-playing card game called Illuminati and a trading-card game called Illuminati: New World Order. Eye N Apple Productions and Rip Off Press produced a comic book version of the trilogy.

The Schrödinger's Cat Trilogy, The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, and Masks of the Illuminati

Wilson wrote two more popular fiction series. The first, a trilogy later published as a single volume, was Schrödinger's Cat. The second, The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, appeared as three books. In between publishing the two trilogies Wilson released a stand-alone novel, Masks of the Illuminati (1981), which fits into, due to the main character's ancestry, The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles' timeline and, while published earlier, could qualify for the fourth volume in that series.

Schrödinger's Cat consists of three volumes, each of which could stand alone: The Universe Next Door, The Trick Top Hat, and The Homing Pigeons. Yet when taken together the reader sees, due to Wilson's use of setting the three books in differing alternative universes, that most of the characters remain almost the same but may have slightly different names and different careers and background stories. The books cover the fields of quantum mechanics and the varied philosophies and explanations that exist within the science. The single volume describes itself as a magical textbook and a type of initiation, and implies that some people have gone slightly insane just by reading it. The single-volume edition omits many entire pages and has many other omissions when compared with the original separate books.

The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, composed of The Earth Will Shake (1982), The Widow's Son (1985), and Nature's God (1991), follows the timelines of several characters through different generations, time periods, and countries. The books cover, among many other topics, the history, legacy, and rituals of the Illuminati and related groups.

Plays and Screenplays

A play by Wilson, Wilhelm Reich in Hell (published as a book in 1987 and performed at the Edmund Burke Theatre in Dublin, in San Francisco, and in Los Angeles) included many factual and fictional characters, including Marilyn Monroe, Uncle Sam, and Wilhelm Reich himself. Wilson also wrote and published as books two screenplays, not yet produced: Reality Is What You Can Get Away With: an Illustrated Screenplay (1992) and The Walls Came Tumbling Down (1997).

The Cosmic Trigger series and other books

In the nonfiction and partly autobiographical Cosmic Trigger I: The Final Secret of the Illuminati (1977) and its two sequels, as well as in many other works, Wilson examined Freemasons, Discordianism, Sufism, the Illuminati, Futurology, Zen Buddhism, Dennis and Terence McKenna, Jack Parsons, the occult practices of Aleister Crowley and G.I. Gurdjieff, Yoga, and many other esoteric or counterculture philosophies, personalities, and occurrences.

CosmicTrigger1.jpg

Wilson advocated Timothy Leary's eight circuit model of consciousness and neurosomatic/linguistic engineering, which he wrote about in many books including Prometheus Rising (1983, revised 1997) and again in 1990 with Quantum Psychology (which contain practical techniques intended to help one break free of one's "reality tunnels"). With Leary, he helped promote the futurist ideas of space migration, intelligence increase, and life extension, which they combined to form the word symbol SMI²LE.

Wilson's 1986 book, The New Inquisition, argues that whatever reality consists of it actually would seem much weirder than we commonly imagine. It cites, among other sources, Bell's theorem and Alain Aspect's experimental proof of Bell's to suggest that mainstream science has a strong materialist bias, and that in fact modern physics may have already disproved materialist metaphysics.

Wilson also supported the work and utopian theories of Buckminster Fuller and examined the theories of Charles Fort. He and Loren Coleman became friends,[13] as he did with media theorist Marshall McLuhan and Neuro Linguistic Programming co-founder Richard Bandler, with whom he taught workshops. He also admired James Joyce, and wrote extensive commentaries on the author and on two of Joyce's novels, Finnegans Wake and Ulysses, in his 1988 book Coincidance.[14]

Ironically, although Wilson often lampooned and criticized some but not all New Age beliefs, bookstores specializing in New Age material often sell his books. Wilson, a well-known author in occult and Neo-Pagan circles, used Aleister Crowley as a main character in his 1981 novel Masks of the Illuminati, included some elements of H. P. Lovecraft's work in his novels, and at times claimed to have perceived encounters with magical "entities" (when asked whether these entities seemed "real", he answered they seemed "real enough," although "not as real as the IRS" but "easier to get rid of", and later decided that his experiences may have emerged from "just my right brain hemisphere talking to my left").[15]. He warned against beginners using occult practice, since to rush into such practices and the resulting "energies" they unleash could lead people to "go totally nuts." [16]

Wilson also criticized scientific types with overly rigid belief systems, equating them with religious fundamentalists in their fanaticism. In a 1988 interview, when asked about his newly-published book The New Inquisition: Irrational Rationalism and the Citadel of Science, Wilson commented: "I coined the term irrational rationalism because those people claim to be rationalists, but they're governed by such a heavy body of taboos. They're so fearful, and so hostile, and so narrow, and frightened, and uptight and dogmatic... I wrote this book because I got tired satirizing fundamentalist Christianity... I decided to satirize fundamentalist materialism for a change, because the two are equally comical... The materialist fundamentalists are funnier than the Christian fundamentalists, because they think they're rational! ...They're never skeptical about anything except the things they have a prejudice against. None of them ever says anything skeptical about the AMA, or about anything in establishment science or any entrenched dogma. They're only skeptical about new ideas that frighten them. They're actually dogmatically committed to what they were taught when they were in college..."[17]

Probability Reliance and Maybe Logic

In a 2003 interview with High Times magazine, Wilson described himself as a "Model Agnostic" which he said "consists of never regarding any model or map of the universe with total 100% belief or total 100% denial. Following Korzybski, I put things in probabilities, not absolutes... My only originality lies in applying this zetetic attitude outside the hardest of the hard sciences, physics, to softer sciences and then to non-sciences like politics, ideology, jury verdicts and, of course, conspiracy theory."[18]

Wilson claimed in Cosmic Trigger:Volume 1 "not to believe anything", since "belief is the death of intelligence."[19] He described this approach as "Maybe Logic."

Wilson wrote about this and other topics in articles for the cyberpunk magazine Mondo 2000.[20]

Other activities

Robert Anton Wilson and his wife Arlen Riley Wilson founded the Institute for the Study of the Human Future in 1975.

In 1976 Robert Anton Wilson founded the Starflight Network[citation needed], a society to propagate the philosophy of Dr. Timothy Leary. The group met at Wilson's home in Berkeley, California[citation needed]. Discussions at the group centered on how to practically implement the futurist ideas of space migration, intelligence increase, and life extension (SMI²LE)--the three central concepts of Leary's philosophy[citation needed]. Activities of the group included setting up and manning tables to sell Leary's and Wilson's books at Star Trek conventions[citation needed] and distributing a chart called The Periodic Table of Evolution (by Leary) and a diagram by Wilson called "The Octave of Energy", both summaries of the eight circuit model of consciousness[citation needed].[21]

From 1982 until his death, Wilson had a business relationship with the Association for Consciousness Exploration, which hosted his first on-stage dialogue with his long-time friend Timothy Leary.[22] entitled The Inner Frontier.[23][24][25] Wilson dedicated his book The New Inquisition to A.C.E.'s co-directors, Jeff Rosenbaum and Joseph Rothenberg.

Wilson also joined the Church of the SubGenius, who referred to him as Pope Bob.[26] He contributed to their literature, including the book Three-Fisted Tales of "Bob", and shared a stage with their founder, Rev. Ivan Stang, on several occasions. Wilson also founded the Guns and Dope Party and its corresponding Burning Man theme camp.

As a member of the Board of Advisors of the Fully Informed Jury Association, Wilson worked to inform the public about jury nullification, the right of jurors to nullify a law they deem unjust.[27] He supported and wrote about E-Prime, a form of English lacking all "be" verbs (words such as "is", "are", "was", "were" etc.), and preferred the term "maybe logic".[28]

Wilson coined a new word, sombunall (some but not all),[29] which caught on quite well to sumbunevry1. In response, he coined another word, mosbunall (as in "mosbunall humans wouldn't know an awesome new word if it bit them in the ass.").[citation needed] This word caught on even less.

A decades-long researcher into drugs and a strong opponent of what he called "the war on some drugs", Wilson participated as a Special Guest in the weeklong 1999 Annual Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam,[30] and used and often promoted the use of medical marijuana.[31]

Wilson co-founded and became the primary instructor of the Maybe Logic Academy, named for his agnostic approach to all knowledge. Fellow instructors include Patricia Monaghan, Rev. Ivan Stang, Philip H. Farber, Antero Alli, Peter J. Carroll, Starhawk, R. U. Sirius, Douglas Rushkoff, Lon Milo Duquette, and David Jay Brown.

Death

On June 22, 2006, Huffington Post blogger Paul Krassner reported that Robert Anton Wilson was under hospice care at home with friends and family.[32] On October 2, 2006 Douglas Rushkoff reported that Wilson was in severe financial trouble.[33] Slashdot, Boing Boing, and the Church of the SubGenius also picked up on the story, linking to Rushkoff's appeal.[34][35] As his webpage reported on October 10, these efforts succeeded beyond expectation and raised a sum which would have supported him for at least six months. Obviously touched by the great outpouring of support, on October 5, 2006, Wilson left the following comment on his personal website, expressing his gratitude:

Dear Friends, my God, what can I say. I am dumbfounded, flabbergasted, and totally stunned by the charity and compassion that has poured in here the last three days.
To steal from Jack Benny, "I do not deserve this, but I also have severe leg problems and I don't deserve them either."
Because he was a kind man as well as a funny one, Benny was beloved. I find it hard to believe that I am equally beloved and especially that I deserve such love. Whoever you are, wherever you are, know that my love is with you. You have all reminded me that despite George W. Bush and all his cohorts, there is still a lot of beautiful kindness in the world. Blessings, Robert Anton Wilson[36]

On January 6, Wilson wrote on his blog that according to several medical authorities, he would likely only have between two days and two months left to live[37]. He closed this message with "I look forward without dogmatic optimism but without dread. I love you all and I deeply implore you to keep the lasagna flying. Please pardon my levity, I don't see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd." He passed on peacefully five days later, on January 11 at 4:50 a.m. Pacific time.[38] After his cremation on January 18, and his family-held memorial service on February 18, 2007, his family scattered most of his ashes at the same spot as his wife's - off the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California. [39][40]

A tribute show to Wilson, organized by Coldcut and Mixmaster Morris and performed in London as a part of the "Ether 07 Festival" held at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on March 18, 2007, also included Ken Campbell, Bill Drummond and Alan Moore.[41]

Works by Robert Anton Wilson

Bibliography

Fiction

  • The Sex Magicians (1973)

Autobiographical and Philosophical trilogy

  • Cosmic Trigger
    • The Final Secret of the Illuminati (1977)
    • Down To Earth (1992)
    • My Life After Death (1995)

Plays and Screenplays

Non-Fiction

  • Playboy's Book of Forbidden Words (1972)
  • Sex and Drugs: A Journey Beyond Limits (1973)
  • The Book of the Breast (1974)
  • Neuropolitics (1978) (with Timothy Leary and George Koopman)
  • The Game of Life (1979) (with Timothy Leary)
  • The Illuminati Papers (1980) collection of essays and new material
  • Prometheus Rising (1983)
  • Right Where You Are Sitting Now (1983) collection of essays and new material
  • The New Inquisition (1986)
  • Natural Law, or Don't Put a Rubber on Your Willy (1987)
  • Coincidance (1988) essays and new material. {ISBN 1561840041}
  • Neuropolitique (1988) (with Timothy Leary & George Koopman) revision of Neuropolitics
  • Sex, Drugs and Magick: A Journey Beyond Limits (1988) revision, with new introduction, of Sex and Drugs: A Journey Beyond Limits
  • Ishtar Rising (1989) revision of The Book of the Breast
  • Quantum Psychology (1990)
  • Everything Is Under Control (1998) (with Miriam Joan Hill)
  • TSOG: The Thing That Ate the Constitution (2002)
  • email to the universe and other alterations of consciousness (2005) essays, new material, and haiku

Editor

Discography

  • A Meeting with Robert Anton Wilson (ACE) cassette
  • Religion for the Hell of It (ACE) cassette
  • H.O.M.E.s on LaGrange (ACE) cassette
  • The New Inquisition (ACE) cassette
  • The H.E.A.D. Revolution (ACE) cassette and CD
  • Prometheus Rising (ACE) cassette
  • The Inner Frontier (with Timothy Leary) (ACE) cassette
  • The Magickal Movement: Present & Future (with Margot Adler, Isaac Bonewits & Selena Fox) (ACE) Panel Discussion - cassette
  • Magick Changing the World, the World Changing Magick (ACE) Panel Discussion - cassette
  • The Self in Transformation (ACE) Panel Discussion - cassette
  • The Once & Future Legend (with Ivan Stang, Robert Shea and others) (ACE) Panel Discussion - cassette
  • What IS the Conspiracy, Anyway? (ACE) Panel Discussion - cassette
  • The Chocolate-Biscuit Conspiracy music cassette with The Golden Horde (1984)
  • Twelve Eggs in a Basket CD
  • Robert Anton Wilson On Finnegans Wake and Joseph Campbell (interview by Faustin Bray and Brian Wallace) (1988) 2 CD Set Sound Photosynthesis ASIN: B000BJSF66
  • Acceleration of Knowledge (1991) cassette
  • Secrets of Power comedy cassette
  • Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything: or Old Bob Exposes His Ignorance (July 30, 2005) Sounds True ISBN 1591793750, ISBN 978-1591793755

Filmography

Actor

  • Túneis da Realidade, Os (a.k.a. Who Is the Master Who Makes the Grass Green?) (1996) Edgar Pêra (Portugal)
  • Manual de Evasão (September 16, 1994) Edgar Pêra (Portugal)

Writer

  • Wilhelm Reich in Hell (2005) (Video) Deepleaf Productions

Appearing as himself

  • Children of the Revolution: Tune Back In (2005) Revolutionary Child Productions
  • The Gospel According to Philip K. Dick (2001) TKO Productions
  • 23 (1998) (23 - Nichts ist so wie es scheint) Claussen & Wöbke Filmproduktion GmbH (Germany)
  • Arise! The SubGenius Video (1992) (V) (a.k.a. Arise! SubGenius Recruitment Film #16) The SubGenius Foundation (USA)
  • Borders (1989) Co-Directions Inc. (TV documentary)
  • Fear In The Night: Demons, Incest and UFOs (1993) Video - Trajectories
  • Twelve Eggs in a Box: Myth, Ritual and the Jury System (1994) Video - Trajectories
  • Everything Is Under Control: Robert Anton Wilson in Interview (1998) Video - Trajectories

Documentary

  • Maybe Logic: The Lives and Ideas of Robert Anton Wilson, a documentary featuring selections from over 25 years of Wilson footage, released on DVD in North America on May 30, 2006.[42]

Inspired works

  • The Australian Psytrance artist Hedonix released an album entitled "Order out of Chaos" in 2009 which is dedicated to Robert Anton Wilson.

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.facebook.com/pages/Robert-Anton-Wilson/13440913289 http://www.reason.com/blog/printer/117840.html http://books.google.com/books?id=v040Hpa7xnoC&pg=PA150&lpg=PA150&dq=%22Robert+Anton+Wilson%22+libertarian+-wiki+-wikipedia&source=bl&ots=z3SsMulGXi&sig=fbXrce7l1ft5C4cf3sFHwbnH5Lk&hl=en&ei=De-0Sqa-NIrj8Qats7STDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=24#v=onepage&q=%22Robert%20Anton%20Wilson%22%20libertarian%20-wiki%20-wikipedia&f=false http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2007/01/death_of_a_libertarian.cfm
  2. ^ Patricia Monaghan: "Robert Anton Wilson". Booklist, May 15, 1999 v95 i18 p1680
  3. ^ "Robert Anton Wilson". Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2007. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. 2007
  4. ^ "Robert Anton Wilson." St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers, 4th ed. St. James Press, 1996. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Michigan.: Thomson Gale. 2007.
  5. ^ Martin van der Werf: "Lawsuit U." The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 4, 2006
  6. ^ Patricia Luna Wilson at cryonics.org
  7. ^ Robert Anton Wilson obituary mentioning Arlen's death
  8. ^ The Beltane Celebration
  9. ^ "The author of 35 books on subjects like extrasensory perception, mental telepathy, metaphysics, paranormal experiences, conspiracy theory, sex, drugs and what he called quantum psychology..." New York Times obituary.
  10. ^ "...an author of The Illuminatus! Trilogy -- a mind-twisting science-fiction series about a secret global society that has been a cult classic for more than 30 years..." from "Robert Anton Wilson, 74; Wrote Mind-Twisting Novels"; [Obituary (Obit)] Dennis Hevesi. New York Times. (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y.: Jan 13, 2007. pg. A.16
  11. ^ "The Illuminatus saga stumbles along" by Robert Anton Wilson
  12. ^ Conspiracy Digest Interviews printed in Illuminatus Papers, 1980
  13. ^ 23 Skidoo Cryptomundo
  14. ^ Bray, Faustin / Wallace, Brian (interviewers)/ Wilson, Robert Anton (speaker). (1988). Robert Anton Wilson On Finnegans Wake and Joseph Campbell. [Audio CD]. Mill Valley: Sound Photosynthesis.  ISBN 1-56964-801-8
  15. ^ Maybe Logic: The Lives and Ideas of Robert Anton Wilson
  16. ^ "Robert Anton Wilson". Robert Anton Wilson Explains Eveything. 2000
  17. ^ 1988 interview
  18. ^ Krassner, Paul. A Paul Krassner Interview With R. A. W - High Times, March 2003 issue.
  19. ^ Wilson, Robert Anton. Cosmic Trigger: Volume I. Tempe, Arizona. New Falcon Publications. 1977. pg ii.
  20. ^ "CybeRevolution Montage", Mondo 2000 no. 7, 1989
  21. ^ A copy of the chart The Periodic Table of Evolution, published in Leary's book Info-Psychology, New Falcon Publications. ISBN 1-56184-105-6
  22. ^ Lesie, Michele (1989) "High Priest of LSD To Drop In", The Plain Dealer
  23. ^ Local Group Hosts Dr. Timothy Leary by Will Allison (The Observer Fri. Sept. 29th, 1989)
  24. ^ Two 60s Cult Heroes, on the Eve of the 80s by James Neff (Cleveland Plain Dealer October 30, 1979)
  25. ^ Timothy Leary: An LSD Cowboy Turns Cosmic Comic by Frank Kuznik (Cleveland Magazine November 1979)
  26. ^ Winterstar 2001
  27. ^ Interview of Robert Anton Wilson, (conducted August 1997) Paradigm Shift, Vol. 1 No. 1 (July 1998), accessed January 11, 2007
  28. ^ Andrea Shapiro: "Taking the High Road". Santa Fe New Mexican, December 5, 2003
  29. ^ [www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=sombunall]
  30. ^ Paul Krassner: "The High Life", LA Weekly, December 17, 1999
  31. ^ "In Santa Cruz, an Official Handout of Medicinal Pot." Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2002.
  32. ^ Robert Anton Wilson The Huffington Post
  33. ^ Robert Anton Wilson Needs Our Help
  34. ^ Illumninatus! Author Needs Our Help Slashdot
  35. ^ Robert Anton Wilson needs our Help BoingBoing
  36. ^ Robert Anton Wilson Home Page
  37. ^ Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night
  38. ^ RAW Essence
  39. ^ RAW Data: Robert Anton Wilson Cosmic Meme-Orial
  40. ^ YouTube - Robert Anton Wilson Meme-orial Procession
  41. ^ Coldcut, Mixmaster Morris, Ken Campbell, Bill Drummond and Alan Moore. (March 18, 2007). Robert Anton Wilson tribute show. Queen Elizabeth Hall, London: Mixmaster Morris. http://www.dailymotion.com/tag/illuminatus/video/x366w1_robert-anton-wilson-1-ken-campbell_fun. Retrieved August 28, 2009. 
  42. ^ Maybe Logic

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

ONLY THE MADMAN IS ABSOLUTELY SURE.
My goal is to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone, but agnosticism about everything.

Robert Anton Wilson (January 18, 1932January 11, 2007) was an American novelist, essayist, philosopher, futurist, and guerilla ontologist, most famous for his satirical work (with Robert Shea), The Illuminatus! Trilogy.

Sourced

I'm a libertarian because I don't trust the people as much as anarchists do. I want to see government limited as much as possible; I would like to see it reduced back to where it was in Jefferson's time, or even smaller. But I would not like to see it abolished...
Every war results from the struggle for markets and spheres of influence, and every war is sold to the public by professional liars and totally sincere religious maniacs, as a Holy Crusade to save God and Goodness from Satan and Evil.
Most animals, including most domesticated primates (humans) show a truly staggering ability to "ignore" certain kinds of information — that which does not "fit" their imprinted/conditioned reality-tunnel.
The worst that can happen under monarchy is rule by a single imbecile, but democracy often means the rule by an assembly of three or four hundred imbeciles.
There is no restraint that cannot be escaped. We are all absolutely free. If everybody could go into dhyana at will, nobody could be controlled — by fear of prison, by fear of whips or electroshock, by fear of death, even. All existing society is based on keeping those fears alive, to control the masses. Ten people who know would be more dangerous than a million armed anarchists.
  • I first heard of the 23 Enigma from William S. Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch, Nova Express, etc. According to Burroughs, he had known a certain Captain Clark, around 1960 in Tangier, who once bragged that he had been sailing 23 years without an accident. That very day, Clark’s ship had an accident that killed him and everybody else aboard. Furthermore, while Burroughs was thinking about this crude example of the irony of the gods that evening, a bulletin on the radio announced the crash of an airliner in Florida, USA. The pilot was another Captain Clark and the flight was Flight 23.
  • Guerrilla ontology
    The basic technique of all my books.
    Ontology is the study of being; the guerrilla approach is to so mix the elements of each book that the reader must decide on each page 'How much of this is real and how much is a put-on?'"

Most of our ancestors were not perfect ladies and gentlemen. The majority of them weren't even mammals. Cosmic Trigger volume 1 p. 84

  • The Western World has been brainwashed by Aristotle for the last 2,500 years. The unconscious, not quite articulate, belief of most Occidentals is that there is one map which adequately represents reality. By sheer good luck, every Occidental thinks he or she has the map that fits. Guerrilla ontology, to me, involves shaking up that certainty. I use what in modern physics is called the "multi-model" approach, which is the idea that there is more than one model to cover a given set of facts. As I've said, novel writing involves learning to think like other people. My novels are written so as to force the reader to see things through different reality grids rather than through a single grid. It's important to abolish the unconscious dogmatism that makes people think their way of looking at reality is the only sane way of viewing the world. My goal is to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone, but agnosticism about everything. If one can only see things according to one's own belief system, one is destined to become virtually deaf, dumb, and blind. It's only possible to see people when one is able to see the world as others see it. That's what guerrilla ontology is — breaking down this one-model view and giving people a multi-model perspective.
  • My early work is politically anarchist fiction, in that I was an anarchist for a long period of time. I'm not an anarchist any longer, because I've concluded that anarchism is an impractical ideal. Nowadays, I regard myself as a libertarian. I suppose an anarchist would say, paraphrasing what Marx said about agnostics being "frightened atheists," that libertarians are simply frightened anarchists. Having just stated the case for the opposition, I will go along and agree with them: yes, I am frightened. I'm a libertarian because I don't trust the people as much as anarchists do. I want to see government limited as much as possible; I would like to see it reduced back to where it was in Jefferson's time, or even smaller. But I would not like to see it abolished. I think the average American, if left totally free, would act exactly like Idi Amin. I don't trust the people any more than I trust the government.
    • "Robert Anton Wilson: Searching For Cosmic Intelligence" - interview by Jeffrey Elliot in 1980
  • Well I sometimes call myself a libertarian but that's only because most people don't know what anarchist means. Most people hear you're an anarchist and they think you're getting ready to throw a bomb at a building. They don't understand the concept of voluntary association, the whole concept of replacing force with voluntary cooperation or contractual arrangements and so on. So libertarian is a clearer word that doesn't arouse any immediate anxiety upon the listener. And then again, libertarians, if they were totally consistent with their principles would be anarchists. They take the position which they call minarchy, which is the smallest possible government... The reason I don't believe in the smallest possible government is because we started out with that and it only took us 200 years to arrive at the sorriest occupation of government that we have now. I think any government is dangerous no matter how small you make it. Instead of governments we should have contractual associations that you can opt out of if you don't like the way the association is going. Religions fought for hundreds of years over which one should dominate Europe an then they finally gave up and made a truce, and they all agreed to tolerate each other — at least in this part of the world... But I think government should be treated like religion, everyone should be able to pick the kind they like. Only it should be contractual not obligatory. I wouldn't mind paying tax money to a local association to maintain a police force, as long as we need one. But I hate like hell paying taxes to help the US government build more nuclear missiles to blow up more people I don't even know and don't think I'd hate them if I did know them. A lot of anarchist had a major roll in influencing my political thinking, especially the individualist anarchists. Benjamin Tucker and Lysander Spooner especially. But I've also been influenced by Leo Tolstoy's anarcho-pacifism. And I find a lot of Kropotkin compatible even though he was a communist anarchist. Nothing wrong with communist anarchism as long as it remains voluntary. Any one that wants to go make a commune, go ahead, do it. I got nothing against it. As long as there's room to the individualist to do his or her own thing.
  • Every war results from the struggle for markets and spheres of influence, and every war is sold to the public by professional liars and totally sincere religious maniacs, as a Holy Crusade to save God and Goodness from Satan and Evil.
    • Cosmic Trigger II
  • Every morning I have been looking at CNN to see if there is any reason for hope. I see a few large and impressive peace protests here and there around the world, but mostly I see empty robot faces monotonously reciting the magic incantations, "We must support the President" and "We must support our troops". both of which mean the killing must continue.
    • Cosmic Trigger II
  • Obviously, the faster we process information, the more rich and complex our models or glosses — our reality-tunnels — will become. Resistance to new information, however, has a strong neurological foundation in all animals, as indicated by studies of imprinting and conditioning. Most animals, including most domesticated primates (humans) show a truly staggering ability to "ignore" certain kinds of information — that which does not "fit" their imprinted/conditioned reality-tunnel. We generally call this "conservatism" or "stupidity", but it appears in all parts of the political spectrum, and in learned societies as well as in the Ku Klux Klan.
    • Quantum Psychology
  • Animals outline their territories with their excretions, humans outline their territories by ink excretions on paper.
    • Prometheus Rising
  • Whatever the Thinker thinks, the Prover will prove. And if the Thinker thinks passionately enough, the Prover will prove the thought so conclusively that you will never talk a person out of such a belief, even if it is something as remarkable as the notion that there is a gaseous vertebrate of astronomical heft ("GOD") who will spend all eternity torturing people who do not believe in his religion.
    • Prometheus Rising
  • "Mind" is a tool invented by the universe to see itself; but it can never see all of itself, for much the same reason that you can’t see your own back (without mirrors).
    • Prometheus Rising
  • It only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea.
    • The Illuminatus Trilogy
  • There is no governor anywhere; you are all absolutely free. There is no restraint that cannot be escaped. We are all absolutely free. If everybody could go into dhyana at will, nobody could be controlled — by fear of prison, by fear of whips or electroshock, by fear of death, even. All existing society is based on keeping those fears alive, to control the masses. Ten people who know would be more dangerous than a million armed anarchists.
    • Hugh Crane a.k.a. Cagliostro the Great, in Schrödinger's Cat trilogy (The Trick Top Hat)
  • I used to be an atheist, until I realized I had nothing to shout during blowjobs. "Oh Random Chance! Oh Random Chance!" just doesn't cut it….
    • DragonCon, 2000
    • This quote is knowingly or otherwise lifted from Bill Hicks' comedy routine, or vice versa.
  • Following Korzybski, I put things in probabilities, not absolutes... My only originality lies in applying this zetetic attitude outside the hardest of the hard sciences, physics, to softer sciences and then to non-sciences like politics, ideology, jury verdicts and, of course, conspiracy theory.
    • Interview in High Times (2003)
I don't believe anything, but I have many suspicions.
Beyond a certain point, the whole universe becomes a continuous process of initiation.
  • I regard the two major male archetypes in 20th Century literature as Leopold Bloom and Hannibal Lecter. M.D. Bloom, the perpetual victim, the kind and gentle fellow who finishes last, represented an astonishing breakthrough to new levels of realism in the novel, and also symbolized the view of humanity that hardly anybody could deny c. 1900-1950. History, sociology, economics, psychology et al. confirmed Joyce’s view of Everyman as victim. Bloom, exploited and downtrodden by the Brits for being Irish and rejected by many of the Irish for being Jewish, does indeed epiphanize humanity in the first half of the 20th Century. And he remains a nice guy despite everything that happens...
    Dr Lecter, my candidate for the male archetype of 1951-2000, will never win any Nice Guy awards, I fear, but he symbolizes our age as totally as Bloom symbolized his. Hannibal's wit, erudition, insight into others, artistic sensitivity, scientific knowledge etc. make him almost a walking one man encyclopedia of Western civilization. As for his "hobbies" as he calls them — well, according to the World Game Institute, since the end of World War II, in which 60,000,000 human beings were murdered by other human beings, 193, 000,000 more humans have been murdered by other humans in brush wars, revolutions, insurrections etc. What better symbol of our age than a serial killer? Hell, can you think of any recent U.S. President who doesn't belong in the Serial Killer Hall of Fame? And their motives make no more sense, and no less sense, than Dr Lecter's Darwinian one-man effort to rid the planet of those he finds outstandingly loutish and uncouth.
    • "Previous Thoughts" at rawilson.com
Horror is the natural reaction to the last 5,000 years of history.
  • Horror is the natural reaction to the last 5,000 years of history.
    • Cosmic Trigger II : Down to Earth
  • No, they were not exactly automatons, but they did not know what they were doing. They take down a boy’s britches. They stare at his buttocks. They cane him until the buttocks bleed. And they believe this is virtue, because it is done in a school, and it becomes vice only if it is done in a place with a red lantern over the door.
    • The Widow's Son
  • Beyond a certain point, the whole universe becomes a continuous process of initiation.
    • The Widow's Son
  • All phenomena are real in some sense, unreal in some sense, meaningless in some sense, real and meaningless in some sense, unreal and meaningless in some sense, and real and unreal and meaningless in some sense.
  • Existence is larger than any model that is not itself the exact size of existence (which has no size...)
    • Nature's God
There is absolutely nothing that can be taken for granted in this world.
  • There is absolutely nothing that can be taken for granted in this world.
    • The Historical Illuminatus as spoken by Sigismundo Celine
  • Conspiracy is just another name for coalition.
    • The Historical Illuminatus as spoken by Luigi Duccio
The fallacy is that one can judge the part in isolation from the whole is "the Lie that all men believe."
  • The creative faculty, the god-power, is not used here with anything less than literalness. When beauty was created by a godly mind, beauty existed, as surely as the paintings of Botticelli or the concerti of Vivaldi exist. When mercy was created, mercy existed. When guilt was created, guilt existed. Out of a meaningless and pointless existence, we have made meaning and purpose; but since this creative act happens only when we relax after great strain, we feel it as 'pouring into us' from elsewhere. Thus, we do not know our own godhood and we are perpetually swindled by those who assure us that it is indeed elsewhere, but they can give us access to it, for a reasonable fee. And when we as a species were ignorant enough to be duped in that way, the swindlers went one step further, invented original sin and other horrors of that sort, and made us even more 'dependent' upon them.
    • The Historical Illuminatus as spoken by Sigismundo Celine
I don't know what anything "is"; I only know how it seems to me at this moment.
  • The illusion of Sin and Guilt, the madness of our species, is the act of cursing the world under the misapprehension that one is cursing only one part of it. To curse the fig tree, as in the funniest and most misunderstood parable of Jesus, is to curse the soil in which it grew, the seed, the rains, the sun; the whole world, eventually — because no part is truly separate from the whole. The fallacy is that one can judge the part in isolation from the whole is "the Lie that all men believe."
    • The Historical Illuminatus as spoken by Sigismundo Celine
  • The longer one is alone, the easier it is to hear the song of the earth.
    • The Historical Illuminatus as spoken by Sigismundo Celine
  • "Is," "is." "is" — the idiocy of the word haunts me. If it were abolished, human thought might begin to make sense. I don't know what anything "is"; I only know how it seems to me at this moment.
    • The Historical Illuminatus as spoken by Sigismundo Celine
  • Why does the sexual appetite cause so much unspeakable joy and irrational misery, so much suicidal and homicidal madness, and so much absurd theological ranting? Because every sexual choice is going to play a role in determining the temperament and talents of the next generation, and of all future generations who will inherit the earth from us. To be simple about it for once, a single friendly fuck can fill a continent with morons or geniuses in only a few thousand years.
    • The Historical Illuminatus as spoken by Sigismundo Celine
Please pardon my levity, I don't see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd.
  • The worst that can happen under monarchy is rule by a single imbecile, but democracy often means the rule by an assembly of three or four hundred imbeciles.
    • The Historical Illuminatus as spoken by M. Gabriel Sartines
  • Each mans spills the drink he loves.
    • Cosmic Trigger II
  • Everybody who has ever worked for a corporation knows that corporations conspire all the time. Politicians conspire all the time, pot-dealers conspire not to get caught by the narcs, the world is full of conspiracies. Conspiracy is natural primate behavior.
    • The I in the Triangle, speech held at a bookstore in Santa Cruz, California (1990)
  • The Constitution admittedly has a few defects and blemishes, but it still seems a hell of a lot better than the system we have now.
    • rawilson.com website/blog entry (mid 1990s)
  • Various medical authorities swarm in and out of here predicting I have between two days and two months to live. I think they are guessing. I remain cheerful and unimpressed. I look forward without dogmatic optimism but without dread. I love you all and I deeply implore you to keep the lasagna flying.
    Please pardon my levity, I don't see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd.

Quotes about Robert Anton Wilson

Quotations listed alphabetically by author or work.
  • One of the most profound and important scientific philosophers of this century ... His vast intelligence and sharp wit are sufficient to shock and enlighten the most heavily imprinted domesticated primate nervous system.
  • (Robert Anton Wilson) never gives the straight truth, because he doesn't believe the truth is straight. It twists and turns into all sorts of strange dimensions, then eventually folds back into itself. It then looks completely ordinary, until it unexpectedly twists and turns again.
    • Reverend Loveshade
  • In a world where we are all giants in a pygmy's hut, fighting over the space, he was one of the few trying to knock down the walls and stretch his legs.
    • Revered Roshah
  • Robert Anton Wilson is the unacknowledged elephant in our cultural living room: a direct and indirect influence on popular books, movies, TV shows, music, games, comics, and commentary. ... Wilson is a primary source for the ironic style of conspiracism, a sensibility that treats alleged cabals not as intrigues to be exposed or lies to be debunked but as a bizarre mutant mythos to be mined for laughs, metaphors, and social insights.

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Up to date as of January 14, 2010

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See also


Simple English

Dr Robert Anton Wilson (January 18, 1932January 11, 2007) was a futurist thinker, libertarian, and writer. He held a Ph.D in Psychology. At one time he was a writer for Playboy magazine.

Contents

Works

Wilson was the author of the Schrödinger's Cat trilogy (1979). He also co-wrote (with Robert Shea) the Illuminatus! trilogy (1975), which took a humorous look at the American fear of conspiracies. These books mix true facts with fiction.

In The Cosmic Trigger (1976), he introduced Discordianism, Sufism, futurism, the Illuminati and other unusual subjects to the general public. He also worked with Timothy Leary to promote futurist ideas of space migration, life extension, and intelligence enhancement.

Other fiction books by Wilson include The Earth Will Shake (1982) and Reality Is What You Can Get Away With (1996). His non-fiction books include Quantum Psychology, The New Inquisition (1994), and other volumes of The Cosmic Trigger. He and Miriam Joan Hill co-wrote Everything Is Under Control: Conspiracies, Cults, and Cover-Ups (1998), an encyclopedia of conspiracy theories.

References

  • Smoley, Richard and Jay Kinney, "Doubt!: The Gnosis Interview with Robert Anton Wilson," Gnosis, No. 50 (Winter 1999).

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