Robert Anton Wilson Lives!

The RU Sirius Show, #78: Robert Anton Wilson Lives! with Lance Bauscher and Eric Wagner.

“We talk about the great writer/ philosopher/ prankster Robert Anton Wilson with Lance Bauscher, director of the documentary “Robert Anton Wilson – Maybe Logic” and the force behind the “Maybe Logic Academy.” And we talk to Eric Wagner, author of “An Insider’s Guide to Robert Anton Wilson.” And best of all, Bauscher brought in some reading/performances from the upcoming audio book version of The Illuminatus Trilogy!, which will be released by his Deepleaf Production company.”

Russian Magazine Interview

(Wilson posted the following to the Maybe Logic Academy main forum back in April of 2005)

My first interview with a Russian magazine….

1. Tell something about yourself for Russian readers.

I have 35 books in print in my own country, and they seem to stay in print. Some also have infiltrated Germany, Greece, Japan,    Brazil, the Scandanavian countries etc.  This seems remarkable to me because I don’t believe in anything — my whole philosophy consists of non-philosophy: persistent and vehement agnosticism — but I still remain just popular enough to stay in circulation. I’m not sure I understand why. Maybe the world has more cynics and relativists than any of our diverse Establishments suspect?

2. It seems like you want to see marijuana regulations liberalized, why?

Right now, I have personal reasons — marijuana helps a good deal with my post-polio symptoms – but I have always opposed the currentUSAanti-drug laws since I first heard about them, for three reasons. [1] the drugs on the Tabu list seem selected by highly eccentric and unscientific methods; I suspect commercial motives. As Lenin said, when you see injustice, ask: cui bono? I suspect that “our” government acts to support the major drug corporations and to stifle competition. 2. Because of its very nature, a War Against Some Drugs cannot succeed without the full apparatus of a totalitarian state, and I dread that; need I explain why? 3. At 73, I don’t feel like a child and i resent being treated like one by our Drug Tsar. I supported a wife and 4 children for most of my adult life. I think me and my doctor know what’s best for my health better than a Tsarist bureaucrat 3000 miles away, who hasn’t even given me a medical examination. I mean, it’s like living in a Kafka novel.

3. Is there any correlation between Taoists sense of humor and your sense of humor?

I often quote the old Chinese proverb, “The wise become Confucian in good times, Buddhist in bad times and Daoist in old age.” Since we live in good times [technologically], bad times [politically], and I feel as old as the last dinosaur, I’ve become Confucian-Buddhist- Daoist all in one package. I try to treat all people kindly, or at least politely, in Confucian terms; my empathy with all sentient critters has increased, in  quite Buddhist manner; and I grow increasingly detached from fixed ideas and emotions, in the Daoist mood. I don’t know whether to consider this Wisdom or just senility, but it appears harmless and doesn’t seem illegal, immoral or fattening.

4. Is there any real conspiracy that affects global processes?

I suspect that not one “conspiracy” but dozens —or hundreds — of competing gangs of goons affect global and local processes. On any given day, one of these bands of Great Pirates might have more clout than  the others, bit it’s seldom the same gang for two days, much less two years. Not  to appear evasive,the gangs I would  worry about the most, if still inclined to worry, would include the Vatican/Mafia mob, the Orange gang [Dutch-English bankers,  who own American banking, too]], the CIA, fundamentalist Islam in general, and the World Bank. But they all have lots of rivals.

5. What would you say to someone claiming there is Global Government?

I think I already said it.To say  it again, I’ll  quote Juang Ju: “There is no governor anywhere.”

6. What is the most disgusting prejudice can you point out?

That seems totally relative…asked the most disgusting, to me, I’d have to say the American prejudice against intelligence in politics. I don’t know where that began– we didn’t start that way — our first three presidents included two of the best minds of their century, Adams and Jefferson, and George Washington doesn’t seem a nitwit either….but nowadays any inadvertent revelation of intelligence by anybody in politics means their career dies immediately. We have lots of intelligent people in the sciences and arts, but politiics remains closed to them. I guess that results from the success of what  George Bush calls “faith-based organizations.”

7. Tell us, what do you think of democracy?

CONSTITUTIONAL democracy, with strict limits on government powers, seems to me the best possible government, if we must have government. Without constitutional limits, democracy easily becomes another damned tyranny. I’d also accept a constitutional monarchy, like the Decembrists. But I remain, in my heart of hearts, an anarchist.  I’d prefer contractual syndicates to any government.

8.AmericaandRussia, how do you see relationship between our countries?

I don’t feel informed enough to speculate, beyond saying I feel damned glad the Cold War has ended and I don’t have to fear that either of our crazy governments will start heaving H-bombs around

9. What do you think of the works of L. R. Hubbard?

What do you think of Stalin and Hitler?

10. What is conventional logic down side?

Aristotle’s damned either/or doesn’t make any sense to me. My thinking — or my stumbling and fumbling efforts to think — derives largely from  non-Aristotelian systems. That includes von Neumann’s three-valued logic [true, false, maybe], Rappoport’s four-valued logic [true, false, indeterminate, meaningless], Korzybski’s multi-valued logic [degrees of probability.] and also Mahayana Buddhist paradoxical logic [it “is” A. it “is” not A, it “is” both A and not A, it “is” neither A nor not A]. But, as an extraordinarily stupid fellow, I can’t use such systems until I reduce them to terms a simple mind like mine can handle, so I just preach that we’d all think and act more sanely if we had to use “maybe” a lot more often. Can you imagine a world with Jerry Falwell hollering “Maybe Jesus ‘was’ the son of God and maybe he hates Gay people as much as I do” — or every tower in Islam resounding with “There ‘is’ no God except maybe Allah and maybe Mohammed is his prophet”?

Why, the world might go stark staring sane!

11. In Maybe logic when one would encounter multiple options where to forward one’s conclusions, what is a guiding light for those who implement maybe logic groundings in applied studies?

Don’t believe ANYthing.  You will, of course, still have some suspicions and prejudices, but keep them in that category. Don’t ever elevate any of them to dogmas. Be prepared to learn more, even in startling and annoying ways.

12. Do you agree with such popular inRussiadichotomy (Due to Marx heritage) – mind – matter?

I rather tend toward the view of physicist David Bohm that the words “mind” and “matter” create endless confusion and should get put on the back shelf in a box labeled “Discarded Nonsense.” At most we should speak of “mind-like and matter-like phenomena.”

13. If there were Aliens what do you think they would be up to humankind-wise?

Any aliens aware of humanity would probably find us cute but possibly dangerous — sort of like I feel about polar bears. Or maybe that represents projection on my part — I find most humans cute but dangerous, not as cute as the bears but much more dangerous

14. How would you correlate Oriental and Western cultures?

I don’t know enough to generalize beyond their religions. I have a strong affinity with Confucianism, Daosim and Buddhism, which gives me a slight pro-Oriental bias. I regard Judaism, Christianity and Islam as three of the worst cults ever invented. Monotheism seem like intellectual poison to me. I fear all faith-based systems, including secular ideologies, which all seem like hangovers from the monotheistic dark ages.

15. If someone asked you – ‘Do you believe in God’ – what would you say?

Hell, no! Oddly, I don’t consider myself an atheist, though– not in the ordinary sense. The universe seems fundamentally rational to me, but I see no signs of a central government or a Tsar. The cybernetic concept of feedback and the Chinese concept of the Dao account for the intelligence I see in the world. To me, in my ignorance, Juang Ju’s axiom “There is no Governor anywhere” implies that “government” resides non-locally, as in a cybernetic system… or an anarchist syndicate maybe….

16. What is your favorite book?

Beyond all doubt, Joyce’s FINNEGANS WAKE.

17. What would you recommend to young people?

Don’ believe anything i say: think for yourself.

18. There is a prejudice among some Russian people that Americans are stupid, how would you comment on that?

I feel staggered. I can’t and won’t deny it. I just don’t know enough to generalize about 200,000,000 people, especially since that group includes me…For all I know, our Nobel scientists  compare unfavorably with other Nobel winners, our dentists with other dentists, our carpenters with other carpenters, our grocers with other grocers , and [gulp]  even our novelists with others, and so on. I simply haven’t done enough travel to offer an informed opinion, and     I defer to those who have.

19. What future according to you mankind is facing today?

I’m an unabashed optimist. I agree with Marx that politics follows economics, but I also agree with Buckminster Fuller that economics follows technology — and technology seems to lead more and more to decentralization of control or “Green” alternatives. Also we’re doing more with less energy every decade. Once we reach the point where Internet replaces all — or most — functions of government, we’ll solve the rest of our problems easily.

20. Do you think formal education is necessary?

That would depend on your ambitions. Most questions have no one answer. What you want determines what you have to do to get it.

21. What do you consider your most important single idea?

My “Idiot of the Century” Law. This has two sides. First, if you occasionally suspect that you have acted like the Idiot of the Century, you will act a little less like the Idiot of the Century, and the more often you entertain that suspicion, the less of an Idiot you become. Conversely, if you never confront such dark suspicions, every idiocy that ever enters your head will stay there and you might actually become the certified, undisputed Idiot of the Century, despite the heavy competition.

22.  What do you think of George Bush?

Well, he never suspects he might qualify as the Idiot of the Century, so I think he has a good chance…

23. Where can people learn more about your ideas?

http://www.gunsanddope.com/
http://www.rawilson.com/
http://www.maybelogic.com/
http://www.maybelogic.org/
http://www.alphane.com/raw.htm
http://deoxy.org/raw.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Anton_Wilson
http://www.official-lamp.org
But be careful. It just might be me, not Bush, who really qualifies as the Idiot of the Century….

Introduction to Diogenes’ Lamp

Introduction to Adam Weishaupt’s  Diogenes’ Lamp

by Robert Anton Wilson

 

Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?  –George W. Bush

The only book you’ve got to read is The Godfather.  That’s the only one that tells how the world is really run.  –Roberto Calvi, President, Banco Ambrosiano; stretched, London, 18/6/1982

Adam Weishaupt founded — or revived — the secret Order of the Illuminati on May 1, 1776; that much seems like Historical Fact. All else remains disputed and heatedly controversial.

Most historians believe the Illuminati originally recruited only high degree Freemasons, and every generation since 1785 — when the Bavarian government discovered and outlawed the Illuminati — Freemasons have faced the charge that they remain “under Illuminati control.”

They all deny it, of course.

Well, not all of them; a Scotch Freemason, John Robison, in his Proofs of a Conspiracy [1801], claimed the damned Illuminati had taken over Continental European Masonry; he wrote chiefly to warn the lodges of England, Scotland and Ireland against a similar coup.

Ever since Robison, the Masonic/Illuminati debate has included those who think the Weishauptians have taken over all Freemasoic lodges, those like Robison who think they’ve only infiltrated some, and those, including the Encyclopedia Britannica, who see Illuminism as a “short-lived movement of Republican free thought” which never had a major influence on Masonry — or on anything else.

But the Illuminati debate covers a lot more ground than that.

For example: Kris Millegan in his Fleshing Out Skull & Bones presents that Yale society as a branch of the Illuminati. In case you don’t know, some prominent Bonesmen have included Bush I, Bush II, Henry Luce of Time, Justice Potter Stewart, an all-star cast of the Captains of American banking, publishing and politics, and most of the directors of the C.I.A….. oh, yes, and John Kerry.

Sure you really want to know more about this?

From another angle, Akron Daraul, in his History of Secret Societies, argues that Weishaupt did not invent but only refurbished the Illuminati, which he relates to earlier movements known as the Holy Vehm (Germany), Allumbrados (Spain),Roshinaya (Persia) etc.; while the more exuberant John Steinbacher in Novus Ordo Seclorum traces them all the way back to the Garden of Eden! They were founded, he says, by Cain, the son not of the holy marriage of Adam and Eve but of an illicit and Satanic coupling between Eve and the Serpent.

How’s that for Hot Stuff? Bestiality, Satanism and all the themes for a new X Files movie……

Meanwhile, Eliphas Levi’s History of Magic traces the Illuminati back to Zarathustra and claims its secret doctrine came down to Weishaupt via Manichaeism, the Knights Templar and Freemasonry. This places them as part of the same occult tradition as Giordano Bruno, Dr. John Dee, Aleister Crowley and the Sufis of Islam.

But on the fourth or fifth hand, a British researcher named Nesta Webster sees the Illuminati as the brains behind socialism, communism, anarchism, and the Prussian government from 1776 to 1918. [She wrote shortly after England’s first war with the latter.]

On the sixth hand, J.F.,C. Moore argues that the Illuminati, a secret source of fascist occultism, inspired such odd birds as Aaron Burr, Adolf Hitler and J. Edgar Hoover; but Philip Campbell Argyle-Smith clams they are extraterrestrial invaders from the planet Vulcan. They call themselves “Jews” on this planet, he adds.

Whether that means all Jews “are” Vulcans or only some of them seems unclear to me, but the most famous Vulcan, Mr. Spock, “is” Jewish insofar as being performed by a Jewish actor makes one at least partially “Jewish,” whatever that means.

Maybe Argyle-Smith has looked at too many Star Trek movies.

He also credits the Illuminized Vulcans with managing the Thugs of India, the Zionists in Israel, the Rothschild banks, the Communist International, the Theosophical Society, Freemasonry and the Assassins of medieval Afghanistan. I don’t know why he left out George Bush and Al Qaeda; probably he just wrote too soon.

Another Cosmic Illuminati theory appeared in the East Village Other June 1969; it included Skull & Bones, the Rothschilds, the Nation of Islam [“Black Muslims”], Richard Nixon, the Black Panthers, the Bank of America, the Rosicrucians, the Holy Vehm, the Federal Reserve and the Combine’s Fog Machine. That one must contain some hidden jokes [I hope].

According to the RogerSpark, a radical Chicago newspaper [July 1969] Weishaupt actually murdered George Washington and served in his place for his two terms as president.[Then who wrote Weishaupt’s books? Hegel maybe; they sounds like him at times……]

The John Birch Society, of course, has a different slant on all this. According to Gary Allen, the editor of their news magazine, American Opinion, Adam Weishaupt “was” a “monster” but the Illuminati only got really monstrous after its capture by English adventurer/billionaire Cecil Rhodes, who used it to establish British domination of the world. The Council on Foreign Relations acts as its most important “front” in the U.S. today, according to Allen.

Sandra Glass, however, thinks of the Illuminati as a group of clandestine pot-heads [cannabis abusers] which included the medieval Assassins, Weishaupt, Goethe, Washington, the first mayor Richard Daly of Chicago and Ludvig van Beethoven.

“Beethoven?” you may gasp. Well, oddly enough, a recent, scholarly and non-conspiratorial biography of the great Ludwig van, by Maynard Solmon, says Mr B wrote some of his music under commission from the Illuminati and had many friends in the Order itself. Solomon doesn’t mention the pot, though; maybe Ludvig, like a recent president with a perpetual hard-on, didn’t inhale.

Then again, Adam Gorightly in The Prankster and the Conspiracy claims that all recent Illuminati research [post-1960s] has become confused and chaotic because of a hoax conspiracy, also called the Illuminati, founded by one Kerry Thornley, a man accused of involvement in the JFK assassination by New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison. According to Gorightly, this neo-Illuminati aims only to bedevil and mock the efforts of sincere conspiracy researchers, and he even accuses the author of this essay [me, R.A.W.] of involvement in this Fiendish Plot!

I, of course, refuse to dignify this absurd charge with a denial, which nobody would believe anyway. Besides, as Rev. Ivan Stang of the Church of the Sub-Genius says in Maybe Logic, “Well, if I was a member of the Illuminati, I wouldn’t say so, would I?”

ANTICHORUS

We are not victims of the world we see, we are victims of the way we see the world.
— Dennis Kucinich

I think God is sending us a message: “If you can’t take a joke, go fuck yourselves.”
–Woody Allen

What does this book reveal about the “real” Adam Weishaupt and the “real” Illuminati?

A book works like a mirror, somebody said once: when a monkey looks in, no philosopher looks out. I can only tell you what this book seems to me; others, I feel certain, will find other things in it — including coded references to Vulcans, Skull & Bones, Zarathustra, the Holy Vehm, communism, Mary Magdalene, the Federal Reserve, the Combine’s Fog Machine et.al.

To me, this book seems to support the most cautious and conservative of my sources, the Encyclopedia Britannica, and old Adam looks much like a weary defender of “Republican free thought,” 18th Century style. In other words, he seems a distant relative, philosophically speaking, of Adam Smith, Hume, Voltaire, Jefferson, Franklin, Tom Paine — i.e. of all those libertarian ideas currently as unfashionable in this country as in the Bavaria in Weishaupt’s day. I know why he seems weary to me: trying to teach liberation to people who feel reconciled to their slavery can really grind you down, in 1804 or 2004…

I also think I see an influence of Kant, and perhaps a foreshadowing of Hegel, in the semantic structure used continually by Weishaupt — “X seems true; not-X also seems true; we’ll have to think more about that.” Aquinas did the same trick, but always comes down on the side of safe orthodoxy, Papist flavor. Weishaupt throws the ball back to the reader,although you may not always catch him doing that.

I do not see any conclusive proof that the Illuminati plotted anything nefarious or even illegal, except insofar as free thought itself remained illegal in southern Europe. But I also don’t see any conclusive proof that they wouldn’t and couldn’t and didn’t do nasty things. As a secret society hidden inside the secret society of Freemasonry, the Illuminati will always remain somewhat mysterious, and pedants and paranoids will argue about it until the last galoot’s ashore.

Perhaps Tom Jefferson got it right, when he said that secret societies seemed necessary in Europe, haunted by monarchy and Papism, but not in the United States. Certainly, when the Constitution remained the law of the land [i.e. before the Supremes (s)elected Bozo] no sane person would feel the need for secret societies here. Do I dare add “But now with the Constitution in cryonic suspension –“?

No: I better not….better safe than sorry….

On the other hand, not just secret societies but secrecy itself or even privacy seem increasingly impossible under the reign of George III.

They have hidden cameras everywhere.

They bug our phones.

If they want to, they can “read” every keystroke on my computer, including this one:

They can even pry into the contents of our bladders, in random tests explicitly forbidden by that wonderful, moribund Constitution. Sweet grieving Jesus, there’s no place we can escape or hide or feel alone, is there?

Sometimes, tossing and trying to sleep in the wee hours, I explore the ideas rejected by my skeptical waking mind. Maybe the most paranoid fantasies about the Illuminati contain some truth. .. maybe….

Maybe the All-Seeing Eye on the dollar bill does represent the totally fascist state those bastards want.

Maybe all those Internet rants about Skull and Bones serving as a recruiter for the Illuminati have some foundation in fact, after all.

Maybe we should really worry when the choice in the next election remains limited to two rich Bonesmen…What is it Weishaupt wrote?– “Whoever is rich — very rich — can do anything….”

Maybe we should regard “Illuminati” as a generic term, or a metaphor?

Maybe every Power Structure acts a lot like the most paranoid fantasies about the Illuminati, especially when it feels threatened.?

No, no — that way lies madness, schizophrenia and Usenet trolls. After some sound sleep, I wake, the shadows flee, and I remember that “all’s for the best in this best of all possible worlds.”

Voltaire didn’t intend that as sarcasm, did he?

Robert Anton Wilson
Deep Underground
Somewhere in Occupied U.S.A.
23 February 2004

Recommended Reading and viewing:

Argyle-Smith, Philip Campbell — High IQ Bulletin, Colorado Springs 1970, IV, 1

Bauscher, Lance — MaybeLogic, http://www.maybelogic.com

Daraul, Akron — History of Secret Societies, Citadel Press NY, 1961.

Ellul, Jacques — Violence, Seabury Press, NY,1969.

Glass, Sandra — “The Conspiracy,” Teenset, March 1969.

Gorightly, Adam — The Prankster and the Conspiracy, ParaView Press, NY, 2003.

Gurwin, Larry — The Calvi Affair, Pan Books, London, 1984.

Knight, Stephen — The Brotherhood, Grenada, London, 1984.

Levi, Eliphas — History of Magic, Borden Publishing, Los Angeles, 1963.

Millegan, Kris — Fleshing Out Skull & Bones,Trineday, Walterville, OR, 2003.

Moore, J.f.C. — “The Nazi Religion,” Libertarian American, August 1969.

Morals, Vamberto — Short History of Anti-Semitism, Norton, NY, 1976.

Robison, John — Proofs of a Conspiracy, Christian Book Club, Hawthorn, CA, 1961.

Solomon, Maynard — Beethoven, Schirmer Books, NY, 1977.

Vankin, Jonathan — Conspiracies, Cover-Ups and Crimes, IllumiNet Press, Lillburn,GA, 1996.

Webster, Nesta — World Revolution, Constable, London, 1921.

Wilgus, Neal — The Illuminoids, Sun Press, Albuquerque NM, 1977.

Hang the TSAR!

Robert Anton Wilson
In Conversation With R.U. Sirius

from Neofiles @ LifeExtention.com

In a smarter world, Robert Anton Wilson would be widely acknowledged as one of the most important writers and thinkers in America. Of course, there is a smarter world within this one, and Wilson has a huge following both nationally and internationally. Most of our culture, indeed, operates beneath or beyond the mainstream media’s radar.

For many of us, Wilson is a subversive sage. He didn’t coin the phrase “guerrilla ontology” but he has been the world’s most valuable practitioner (MVP). The guerrillaontologist is a kind of memetic warrior who lives to dynamite people’s static reality tunnels (belief systems or b.s.). Since The Illuminatus Trilogy, a fictional tour de force published in 1975, he has managed to combine the most extravagant surrealism with unimpeachable logic; sometimes leaving us guessing as to which of these tactics he was employing.

Favorite books include the aforementioned Illuminatus Trilogy, Cosmic Trigger, and The Illuminati Papers, Masks of the Illuminati, The Earth Will Shake, and Prometheus Rising. (Many of you have your own list of faves, no doubt). NeoFiliacswho are willing to risk having the walls fall down around their own belief systems should read (or re-read) The New Inquisition: Irrational Rationalism and the Citadel of Science, published in 1986.

Now at 71-years-old, Wilson has spent the last few years fighting off Post-Polio Syndrome with a little help from medical marijuana. At the same time, he wrote T.S.O.G.: The Thing that Ate the Constitution, a coruscating and hilarious rant against the current rulers of the USA, which he calls the “Tsarist Occupation Government.” T.S.O.G. rips into the drug war, imperial militarism, and a million or so other absurdities in a land ruled by “the Bush crime family.” And he appeared in a superb documentary about his life and philosophy called Maybe Logic.

Four of us gathered in Marin for a drive down to Santa Cruz to see the Wizard. The caste of characters that participated in this conversation includes:

Will Block: CEO of Life Enhancement Products and a long time friend and fan of Bob

Severe Tire Damage: Part of the original cast of characters around Mondo 2000 and another BobManiac

Videobrain (a.k.a. Eve): She goes all the way back to “The Network,” a group who would gather at Wilson’s Berkeley home to SMI2LE. She’s been confusing Mr. Wilson at regular intervals ever since.

RU Sirius: That’s me. I stole my pseudonym from RAW’s hallucinations. ‘Nuff said.

NEOFILES: Stem cell research, gay marriage … can panicky neophobes block the future?

ROBERT ANTON WILSON: They can’t stop scientific research. They keep on trying. Throughout all history they tried, but scientific research continued even during the inquisition. They can slow it down but they can’t stop it. Stem cell research will just continue in other countries.

NF: William Burroughs used to say that “the mark of a basic shit is that he can’t mind his own business.” I’ve been thinking about that during this gay marriage controversy. I mean, why in the world would anyone think that what those people over there are doing ruins it for me?

RAW: Yeah … what the hell is with that?! I saw Bob Barr debating Barney Frank on TV and Barr said that gay marriage will dilute the meaning of marriage. And Frank was saying, “I can’t understand. What would someone else’s marriage have to do with your marriage?” And Bob Barr said, “I don’t mean my marriage, I mean the institution of marriage.” It’s so damn stupid. Talk about “diluting” an “institution” makes as much sense as asking “Why is a duck?” Barr lives in the 13th Century. Next he’ll inquire into how many angels can dance on the head of a Pookah.

NF: I was trying to figure it out the other day and I realized it’s not even so much about bigotry, it’s just these people saying “the world is changing too fast. Make it stop.” Maybe we should take the state out of marriage entirely.

RAW: Have you looked at my Guns & Dope website?

NF: I have.

RAW: My new mantra is “Everybody for President.” Everybody can write in their own name and take responsibility forthemselves. We’re not going to pass on our responsibility to some asshole like George Bush or a Congress of assholes and corporate whores. We’re going to take our own responsibility. We don’t need a czar. Who the hell needs a fucking czar? Why should 21st century America be like 19th century Russia? My doctor and I can make our own medical decisions for me. The whole idea of the TSOG — the Tsarist Occupation Government — is that the Tsar is in communication with God just like in 19th Century Russia. He knows how to handle my health problems better than me and my doctor and my friends and family. And he does it without even seeing me! He knows because he’s in direct communication with God. And this horseshit is what the American people are supposed to believe? I don’t believe it. I think he’s a political hack. I don’t think he knows anything about my health at all. I’d like to debate him. Or I’d like to ask him about my health problems … “Do you think I can go back to eating chocolate now that I’m no longer officially borderline diabetic?” (my doctor changed my status to non-diabetic six months ago.) Does the Tsar and his God want to over-rule that medical opinion too?

NF: What do you think of the Barr McClellan scandal? One of this guy’s sons is press secretary to President Bush; another is head of the FDA. And their dad, a lawyer for LBJ, has written a book claiming that LBJ shot JFK … had him shot.

RAW: I have a copy of the TV special about that on video. They have about four or five inside figures who say he did it. It’s pretty interesting. It’s kind of a fringe theory. Most people think it was the CIA or the Mafia, and the worst most people say about LBJ is that he knew about it. But that’s the way LBJ worked. He got rid of people he didn’t like. And now the whole LBJ family is all screaming about slander and libel. I don’t know but it’s interesting.

NF: So what’s happening with the medical marijuana situation here in Santa Cruz?

RAW: Well, we’ve decentralized it. They’ll have to raid 100 gardens next time or maybe 200. It’s very decentralized. It’s working very well. I mean, what the hell are they going to do, arrest everybody in Santa Cruz County? 85%support medical marijuana. And it’s pretty much the same in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and the Counties of Mendocino, Humboldt, Marin, and Los Angeles … everybody knows that California is the marijuana capital of the country. They can’t really do anything about it. All the Tsar and his God can do is huff and puff.

NF: It always wins wherever it gets on the ballot so why don’t any mainstream politicians back medical marijuana?

RAW: I have three theories on this one. In the first place, if you’re of a superstitious nature, you’re afraid of marijuana. Politicians want to appeal to people who are of a superstitious nature. That’s the largest voting bloc in the whole country. And then there are the pharmaceutical companies. If anybody can treat their own pain by growing a plant in their own house or on their own balcony … you could see a very sudden drop in the use of very expensive painkillers that are legal and addictive. And people will go with this example and look into other herbs as well. That’s a real threat to the pharmaceutical monopoly that gives a lot of money to both the parties in every election.

NF: I always thought baby boomer “liberals” like Al Gore were just being hypocritical about medical marijuana but I was thinking about it recently and realized that they’re probably actually genuinely offended by the idea of routing around the regulatory process through a populist vote.

 RAW: I read a book about ten years ago that said that seventy million Americans are pot smokers. How can you keep something that seventy million people do illegal? We’re the largest persecuted minority in the country. Eventually they’re going to have to back down.

If you look at the Dreyfus Case, then you know how governments work. They wouldn’t back down. Everybody inEurope knew he was innocent. Still they held him on Devil’s Island much longer than seems humanly possible. Governments hate to admit mistakes. People for years were lead to believe that the pope was infallible. Governments make more mistakes than anybody else because they don’t have to make a profit. Any other business that operated like the government would go bankrupt. They don’t go bankrupt; they just borrow more money and charge us the interest on it. They borrow more money from the Federal Reserve, the Federal Reserve prints the money, and then we all have to pay the interest on it forever. My children and great grandchildren and great great grandchildren will still be paying this debt that Bush has run up for his war in Iraq.

NF: One thing that makes me scratch my head are things that slip by, such as galantamine, a grandfathered nutritional supplement that’s also being sold as a drug called Reminyl for Alzheimer’s disease by Johnson and Johnson. Now, J & J is a big pharmaceutical company … yet neither they, nor the FDA, have been able to do anything about its sale as a supplement despite a huge and potentially huger multi-billion dollar market. From everything that you know, you would think that J & J is so powerful that no one could bump heads with them without getting blown out of the water, and ditto for the FDA. Yet they didn’t choose to do that despite their disgruntlement and admission, through the grapevine, that they screwed up. So here is a very powerful pharmaceutical company backed by a very powerful regulatory agency that appears to have its power very unevenly distributed on some levels ….

RAW: It’s my famous SNAFU principle — those on top don’t get accurate honest views from everybody else. Wherever I go I ask audiences if anybody there would swear that they would tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth to someone who was a government employee. Nobody ever raises their hand! Everybody lies to the government. We all want as little to do with them as possible. So that’s the first level of government corruption; theaccumulation of all the lies people tell to people just above them in the hierarchy. They make sure they don’t say anything to the one above them so they don’t have to write up reports or whatever and those above them lie a bit more to please the one above them so by the time the information gets up to George Bush, who knows what he’s getting? So they’re all running around asking, “How did we believe in the weapons of mass destruction when there aren’t any?” And the answer is that when you’re in a hierarchy of that sort, people won’t tell you what they know you don’t want to hear.

NF: Bush the other day was talking about how he met with a group of Iraqis who all told him how thankful they were that America had invaded their country and I thought … “ah hah … the burden of omniscience”

So what gives you the most hope in the midst of all this madness?

RAW: I don’t think politics is all that important. Spending too much time focused on politics leads to total despair with the state of the human race. But if you look at the whole spectrum of human behavior, I think the science and the arts are driving it. I think the sciences and the arts relate to a lot more of human behavior than politics does. They’re going to try to stop developments in science but they’re not going to stop it and it’s going to change everything. I think we’re going to have major breakthroughs in biotech in the next five-ten years and they can’t do a damned thing to stop it. It’s going to change the whole world. Meanwhile the Japanese are planning on building hotels in space.

NF: We just interviewed some people who are planning to build some space hotels.

RAW: Of course. It’s just a game these politicians play. It’s a permanent anchor on development but it never stops it.

NF: So we can just wait ‘em out?

RAW: I don’t know, but the acceleration of change is coming faster and faster all the time. There are more patents every year; more internet website opening every month … change is happening faster and faster everywhere.

Hey, I’ve got a replay TV. I didn’t even know they existed until a couple of months ago. I can set the replay TV and it will record anything I want. I can go to sleep and it will record a movie at three o’clock in the morning that I can watch the next evening. And I don’t have to ever look at a commercial if I don’t want to ever again. Now I can enjoy the TV as much as anybody in the country. I love TV.

NF: Back in the late ‘70s you wrote about the coming immortality pill …

RAW: Oh yeah … heh ….

NF: Are you optimistic about something like that?

RAW: Oh yeah, something like that. I don’t think it will be a single pill but there’s so much going on in biotech. Even now, the number of people on this planet over 100 is more than it’s ever been, and the average age of death inAmerica has gone from 73 to 77 just in the last few years. We’re getting closer to it all the time.

In that film, Maybe Logic, you said that you didn’t think I was really an optimist because you’re not an optimist … so I can’t be an optimist, I must be putting you on. Look in my condition. If I was a pessimist I wouldn’t be walking today. I have to be an optimist. Pessimism is a luxury that only the comfortable can afford.

NF: A recent article in Science by a demographer named James Vaupel has concluded that if there was a limit to the increment in average lifespan — which increases in the world’s healthiest countries by about 2.5 years every ten years — that increment would start to decline indicative of an approaching ceiling. But Vaupel says that the data indicates that there’s no ceiling … or that lifespan is going to shoot right through the presumed ceiling.

RAW: Yeah, Buckminster Fuller points out that most people in the 19th Century died after fifty years … that was the average lifespan … it was 27 in Europe during the French Revolution.

NF: That was an averaging out though wasn’t it?

RAW: Yeah, you have to account for crib deaths.

NF: … there appears to be something happening to increase the probability of longer life for every decade we live … that will tend to enable more of us who hold out to live to100 or more in better, more vibrant health..

RAW: Hell, when George Burns reached one hundred the whole country paid attention. When Bob Hope recently turned 100 hardly anybody noticed.

NF: They’re saying that the universe isn’t even entropic now. Starting with the big bang it just expands ….

Do you feel a rapport with young people?

RAW: It seems to me that every ten years I get a new audience among young people. It seems to me that some of my books are rather dated by now but they keep on selling so I guess they’re not as dated as they seem to me.

NF: I just re-read The Illuminati Trilogy. It was actually only the second time I read it all the way through. I think maybe references to stuff like SDS might be a little bit obscure but that’s about it. The names of the bands are right up to the moment.

RAW: [Laughter] Well, when I write a novel I set it somewhere definite, not in never-never land. So there will always be references specific to whatever time I’m setting it in. That’s not what I mean. I wasn’t thinking about Linda Lovelace or SDS. I was thinking of the scientific knowledge, but I can’t do anything about that.

NF: Is there anything specific that you can think of that you feel has been superceded?

RAW: I can’t think about it right now. You can’t be a generalist in this world. So many things I’ve written about have changed by now I don’t know how out-of-date I am. I just know I must be out-of-date.

NF: Do you follow the cosmological discussions about the origins of the big bang and all of that?

RAW: Nah. I don’t believe in any of it. They keep changing it every few years. It’s all guess work.

NF: I read somewhere recently someone saying that most of the versions of what Bell’s theorem could mean have been eliminated … disproved.

RAW: Yeah, that’s what I mean. I was doing an article about Bell’s Theorem about five years ago. I found out a new interpretation of Bell’s Theorem that I’d never seen before and I wanted to do some more research before writing the article. I had no idea that most of the theories had been discarded. You can’t keep up with everything. I can’t even keep up with Joyce scholarship.

NF: In the process of doing this site, dealing with biotech, brain science, nanotech … it seems like it’s increasingly difficult when you read the literature to distinguish between stuff that has actually happened and stuff that just inevitably will happen.

Do you follow the idea of the Singularity at all?

RAW: No. I know what it is … but I feel that cosmology is not of great interest to me because the models are changing so rapidly. By the time I learn about a model to the point where I can talk about it I have to replace it with a new one. It gets harder as you get older. Isaac Asimov wrote an article called “The Sound of Panting.” It’s about how it’s harder and harder to just keep up with his own field which is biochemistry.

NF: Do you think artificial intelligences … robots … will become smarter than human beings? Do you follow that discussion?

RAW: Definitely. I think they have to. In some ways some of the equipment I have around here is smarter than me. The Replay TV in some respects…

NF: One of the things that always touched me deeply in your work is the level of optimism.

RAW: Well you see I had polio at the age of four. I had to learn to be an optimist or I never would have walked for most of my life. Now I have return [Ed.: Post-] Polio Syndrome and now I’m walking again. If I wasn’t an optimist I’d still be in the goddamned wheelchair. I don’t understand how pessimists survive. If they all believed what they say, they would all sit down and starve to death. You have to have some optimism to accomplish something. When I was a child I just kept falling down. I wouldn’t believe that I couldn’t walk. Eventually I walked…

Now I’m for a war against pain. Medical marijuana laws are a great victory in the war against pain. All you’ve got to do is hang the goddamned TSAR. Let everybody and their doctor decide for themselves what to do with their pain. I don’t see why pain can’t be abolished. I think we could abolish both starvation and pain in the next ten years.

NF: We had an interview with David Pierce who wrote this online book, The Hedonistic Imperative. He talks about abolishing pain and ….

RAW: Yeah, yeah. I’ve seen it. “The Biology of Paradise.” Beautiful stuff ….

NF: Not just eliminating pain but eliminating negative mind states ….

RAW: I’m all for it. Leary was all about that.

NF: You’ve noted before that all the messages that spiritualists get when they channel seem really obvious and banal.

RAW: Yeah, I guess spirits are boring. At least I got something more interesting when I tried it. I got Harvey the rabbit, Olga the Ostrich, the talking dogs from Sirius … a Chinese alchemist, an Irish bard … now I’m channeling Olga. [Laughs]

NF: What are the great scientific paradigms of recent times?

RAW: Well, quantum physics and general relativity and the emerging one I think is neuroscience. We’re receiving billions of signals all the time all over our brain and our brain processes all that. Talk about paradigms. So in my next book, Tale of the Tribe, I deal with Leary’s eight dimensions … I don’t use brain circuits. Brain circuitry is a little bit too mechanistic.

NF: As we lose track of the changes in fields like quantum mechanics how do you keep track of what’s influencing the general culture? How is the general culture being supplied with information?

RAW: I can only talk about the United States. I’ve lived and traveled in Europe but mostly I’ve been in the United States. Most of the culture here is running on a sheer terror of how rapidly things are changing. George Bush might have won the election, it’s at least possible. People are screaming “Go back go back! Let’s have simple answers.” It’s very difficult to have useful answers to everything that’s going on. There aren’t simple answers. Things are complex. We need precise knowledge of complex systems. We don’t need simple answers. Most of the public wants simple answers like let’s stop gay marriage.

Right now the most poplar belief systems or BS in the country are, in descending order, Protestant, Catholic, Agnostic, Buddhist, Jewish, Islam, Mormon, atheist, Sikh, Hindu — I remember the descending order with the mnemonic P-CAB-JIM=ASH. This country is so damn ignorant most of them don’t even know what a Muslim looks like. Four nuns were turned off an airline flight today because they looked like Muslims. They were Hindus! I heard it on CNN.

NF: Have you been to Burning Man?

RAW: The Guns & Dope Party is going to be there. The Guns & Dope party is going to have a presentation at BurningMan. I keep on saying if the gun people and the dope people could get together they would be a majority of the country. All they have to do is get over their paranoia about each other. Really, if the gun owners and dopers could get together we could really overthrow this whole system. After all, anybody who takes your money without your consent and then will try to throw you in prison if you don’t pay up … they’re not going to use the money to do anything for you obviously. They’re going to try to use the money to enslave you. And of course the next step after stealing our money is to take away our guns so we can’t fight back.

Live From Chapel Perilous

reason dec 2003

We’re living in Robert Anton Wilson’s world

 from the December 2003 issue of Reason Magazine

In 1973 Thomas Pynchon published an enormous experimental novel called Gravity’s Rainbow. In 1975 Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson published an enormous experimental trilogy called Illuminatus! Both were written at about the same time, and both offered panoramic perspectives on history, liberty, and paranoia.

Read More

The Monster in the Labyrinth

“The Monster in the Labyrinth”
by Robert Anton Wilson

Foreword to THE PRANKSTER AND THE CONSPIRACY
by Adam Gorightly, 2003

Ye have locked yerselves up in cages of fear — and, behold, do ye now complain that ye lack FREEDOM!
Ye have cast out yer brothers for devils and now complain ye, lamenting, that ye’ve been left to fight alone. –“Epistle to the Paranoids,” The Gospel According to Fred by Kerry Thornley

Kerry Thornley wrote those words in the mid 1960s and within 10 years he had become a clinical paranoid himself, in the judgement of almost all of his friends, including Dr Robert Newport. a psychiatrist who had known Kerry since high school. The moral of this seems to me: take great care which nut cases you dare to mock, for you may become one of them.

I do not write in any spirit of smugness or superiority. I became somewhat paranoid myself, for a while there, or at least experienced acute anxiety attacks. For several months I literally could not leave my house without looking around to see if Kerry crouched behind a bush waiting to shoot me.

You see, he had become convinced that I worked for the C.I.A. and served as one of his “manangers” or “brainwashers,” but I thought I worked as a freelance writer and considered myself his friend. As his letters to me grew increasingly hostile and denuciatory, I began to fear that he might have graduated from “weirded out” to “dangerous.”

This now seems sillly to me — certainly, an over- reaction — but the violence and paranoia of the Nixon years made everbody in this country feel a bit jumpy. A Black Panther leader in my part of Chicago seems to have gotten shot by the local police while sedated; the extreme Right and extreme Left both had wild conspiracy theories about everybody else; anti-war meetings, anti-segregation meetings, even pot-legalization meetings all had people making nervous jokes about who the government had infiltrated among us to report on our Thoughtcrimes. The government not only appeared irrational and out of control, but so did a large part of the population.

I finally moved to Ireland to start a new life as an expatriate, and my worries about Kerry executing me for “brainwashing” him made up only a microscopic part of my motive. The whole country seemed “a bit funny in the head” and I had to hide out and lie low for a while. Silence, exile and cunning, as Joyce had advised.

Looking back, I feel amused and humbled. Like Kerry, I had satirized the paranoids before the sheer number of them frightened me into acting just like one of them.

I remember my last phone conversation with Kerry, during which he announced that just a week earlier I had come to Atlanta, argued with him about my alleged CIA connections, spiked his drink with LSD and brainwashed him again. I told him that I had not left San Francisco in months, and that if he had a Bad Trip last week somebody else gave him the acid, not me. I insisted on this, as persuasively as I could.

Finally, Kerry relented — a bit. “Well, maybe you believe that,” he said. “But that means your bosses have been fucking with your head and implanting false memories in you too!”

How do you argue that you haven’t had your head altered? “Look,” I said, “I’ll put my wife Arlen on. She’ll tell you I haven’t left here in months. ”

“That won’t prove anything,” he said with the calm certitude of a Grand Master announcing checkmate. “They probably fixed her head too.”

I don’t remember the rest of the conversation. I felt lost in an Escher painting.

A few weeks, or a few months, before or after that conversation, the police found a young woman raped and murdered two doors from the house where Arlen and I lived. A few days before or after that atrocity I attended a meeting of the Physics/Consciousness Research Group in which the assembled Ph.D.sserously discusssed a quantum model in which the universe contains only one electron, and everything else, including this seemingly solid Earth, our own bodies and our “minds” [if we still think we have “minds”] results from the virtual interactions of virtual particles, or of probability waves.

So Arlen and I packed up and moved to a land where the wierdest critter, a six-foot-tall white rabbit, seldom roams far from the fens and farmlands.

I’m only kidding — not. – Madonna, Truth or Dare

But let us,as the Chinese say, draw our chairs closer to the fire and examine this soberly.

All the above happened because Kerry and I, with a few others, invented a new religion; and because Kerry and I and a hell of a lot of others dared to doubt the official “lone nut” theory of the JFK assassination.

Perhaps I should say something about the religion before getting into the even murkier waters of the politics.

We called the religion Discordianism and its central catma* declares “All affirmations are true in some sense,

——————–
*Other, and hence lesser, religions have dogmas or absolute beliefs. Discordianism only has catmas or relative meta-beliefs. You’ll learn more about that in the book which follows
——————–

false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense.” We owe this Divine Revelation to Gregory Hill [Malaclypse the Younger], the chief architect of Discordianatheology.

In my ministry I have added a rider promising that if you repeat this catma 666 times you will achieve Supreme Enlightenment, in some sense.

Many people consider Discordianism a complicated joke disguised as a new religion. I prefer to consider it a new religion disguised as a complicated joke.

Others consider Discordianism an American form of Zen Buddhism. I think Kerry held that view most of the time.

Whether one considers Discordianism a joke, a new religion or Yankee Zen, it emphatically does not belong in the same arena as Aristotelian logic or criminal law, yet the life of Kerry Thornley dragged it into those precincts and I can find no way to disentangle them in disccussing him. Everybody who ever looked into “the Thornley case” feels a strong need for basic either/or answers to such questions as: Guilty or Innocent? Sane or Insane? Victim of the C.I.A. or victim of his own delusions?

All I can say consists of a devout wish that logic could stretch to include a maybe,or a phalanx of probabilities, between the Aristotelian yes and no, and that our law could include the Scotch “not proven” between guilty and innocent.

I think it entirely posssible that Kerry went bananas on his own, due to genetics and/or traumatic early imprints and/or Too Damned Much LSD and/or other causes unknown, with no help from the C.I.A. at all. I also think it entirely possible that the C.I.A. did subject Kerry — and his Marine Corps buddy Lee Harvey Oswald — to some form of “Manchurian Candidate” mind control and that his seemingly “psychotic” words and actions represented an intelligent man’s attempts to break the strings of his puppet masters and find his way back to a world that made sense again.

In short, I regard all his brilliant satires and all his “psychotic” rants as true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense.

For instance, you will read in this book about Kerry’s “delusions” concerning fascist manipulations of the C.I.A. and/or Naval Intelligence. Pure nonsense, right?

Wrong. Let me illuminize you a bit.
Nazi worms began to infest the U.S. way back in 1945, when Gen. Rheinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s Chief of Soviet Intelligence, surrendered to the U.S. Army, after first prudently burying several truckloads of “inside information” about the Soviet Union at a secret location.

Gehlen seems not only a master spy but a wizard negotiator. Within a week, he got out of his Nazi uniform and into a U.S. Army General’s uniform; the U.S.intelligence services, in return, got the info about the Soviets, including access to Gehlen’s agents in the Soviet government, – a group of Mystical Tsarists who had infiltrated both the Red Army and the KGB.

You see, their leader and Gehlen’s major “asset,” General Andrei Vlassov, had a fervent belief, not just in common or garden Tsarism but especially in the “mystical Tsarism” espoused in the later half of the 19th Century by the anti-Semitic novelist Dostoyevsky and even more by Konstantin Pobedonostsev, an advisor to two Tsars [Alexander III and Nicholas II].

Pobedonostsev, popularly called “The Grand Inquisitor” because of the vast platoons of spies, snoops, agents provocateur and informers he unleashed upon the Russian people , combined theological obsessions with reactionary politics, always an explosive and nefarious mixture.

“Mystical Tsarism” deserves a whole book in itself. especially since it now rules our own country; but we must remain brief here. This holy religion, or superstition — as you will –has two major tenets: (1) The Tsar is guided by God and can do no wrong (2) Science “is” cold and inhuman, faith “is” warm and human; therefore we should ignore reason and guide ourselves by faith in the Tsar, our “Little Father,” who receives his orders directly from a gaseous vertebrate of astronomical heft called “God.”

I don’t think any of Pobedonostsev’s crew actually believed in the Tooth Fairy, though.

Gen. Gehlen and Gen. Vlassov formed what became the Gehlenapparat, the CIA’s main source of info on Soviet affairs; Gehlen became the fulcrum of the CIA’s “Soviet penetration” sector, working under James Jesus Angleton, Chief of Counter-Intelligence, breeder of prize orchids, lover of the arts, and a devout Catholic.

Since the U.S. government based its foreign policies on CIA reports, and the CIA based its Soviet reports on Gehlen and some other former Nazis, plus a crew of Mystical Tsarists, as filtered and interpreted by a Papist intellectual, the U.S. government’s ideas and actions became increasingly “wierd, ” bizarre and frightening, in the view of the rest of the world. The results seem very sad and very funny. In a nutshell, most of the planet thinks we’ve gone batshit crazy.”Tsarists and Nazis and spooks, oh my!”

As Harry Browne, Libertarian Party candidate for president in 2000, wrote in July 2003, “The whole world is now afraid of America, and America is afraid of the whole world.”

Although James Jesus Angleton served as Gehlen’s alleged supervisor, data indicates that the Gehlenapparat engaged in many activities, including kidnapping, extortion, murder etc. about which Angleton either did not know or devoutly did not want to know.

But James J. Angleton seems to me a pathological case of some sort himself; he often hid his middle name because it revealed his half-Hispanic genes. An exceptionally intelligent and sensitive student of modern literature while at Yale, Angleton adored Ezra Pound, T.S Eliot, I.A. Richards, e e cummings and otherSuperStars of Modernism; he met most of them personally. They collectively influenced Angleton’s fascination with multiple perspectives, Byzantine ambiguity and the eternal uncertainty of all inferences and “interpretations.”

These modernist tendencies, which also appeared in science and philosophy at the same time, blossomed into obsessions and, perhaps, raging madness when Angleton systematically applied them to the spy-game. After all, modernism really begins with Wilde’s “The Reality of Masks” and Yeats’s hermetic theory that the world we know emerges from interactions of Mask, Anti-Mask, Self, and Anti-Self: which may or may not fit all of us or all the world but certainly fits the world of spooks and snoops that Angleton created.

Records indicate that the Oswald who enlisted in the Marines was 5’11”. Comrade Oswald, who went to Russia, was 5’6″. while the dead version measured in at 5’9″.  – Richard Belzer, UFOs, JFK and Elvis

Another CIA officer, Edward Petty, described Angleton as “a lone wolf” and “a strange bird”; every other source I have found bluntly calls him “paranoid.” He suspected everybody else in the CIA, and in “our” government generally, of being KGB moles, and he operated with so much modernist ambiguity and hidden trapdoors that, in Petty’s words, “nobody really knows” what he was doing most of the time. In short, he became as esoteric as the poets he admired, and remade the C.I.A. and, increasingly, our whole nation into a theatre of impenetrable mystery.

A.J. Weberman, a leading Kennedy assassination buff, thinks Angleton personally organized the JFK hit, an idea also strongly hinted at by Norman Mailer’s documentary novel, Harlot’s Ghost, in which Angleton appears as “Hugh Montague.” If James Jesus really arranged the JFK assassination, he had probably identified Kennedy as the top Soviet mole of all,at least to his own satisfaction.

Why not? Angleton had Tsarist agents in all sorts of nooks and crannies of the Soviet system, and he knew the KGB was smart enough and tireless enough to reciprocate by planting their own Masks and Anti-Masks in his own backyard, or maybe under his bed at night. According to Edward Jay Epstein, J.J.A.sendless search for Soviet moles nearly destroyed the C.I.A. itself. Certainly, everybody in “the Company” learned to distrust everybody else.

Imagine a U.S. Caine with not one Queeg as captain, but a whole crew of Queegs, each worrying about what the others might be plotting. Angleton created that ship of shape-shifters in the C.I.A. and then by osmosis it spread through the government, evolving into the Tsarist Occupation we now endure.

In short, the government cannot trust us, because it can never know with absolute certainty what mischief we may hatch; and every sentence we speak into a bugged phone may have as many possible meanings as Eliot’s “The rose and the fire are one.”

“Trust No One,” the motto of X Files, seems the only safe rule in the world Angleton created.

We even have a Tsar of our own now, who supervises American medicine. Allegedly, this official knows what drugs, herbs etc. you should use for your medical problems better than your doctor knows, and our Tsar knows this without doing any physical examination, blood pressure readings, other scientific tests etc. that your doctor does, and often from a distance of 3000 miles — without even looking at you.

This makes sense if and only if we have a devout faith that our Tsar, like the Russian Tsars, recives guidance directly from “God;” the government accordingly spends more and more of our tax money financing “faith-based organizations.” Without faith we might relapse into scientific or rational thinking.

Tsarism represents an intermediate form between European monarchism and Asian despotism, being, possibly, closer to the latter of these two.  — Leon Trotsky, Russia’s Social Development and Tsarism

How much of this did I dream up the way Kerry Thornley [I still insist] imagined my own C.I.A. activities? For objective info on the Gehlenapparat, and Nazi /CIA links, see The Yankee and Cowboy War by Boston University historian Carl Oglesby [Berkeley Medallion, NY, 1977] On fascist/CIA/Mafia links, excellent books include The Strange Death of God’s Banker by Foot and della Torre[ Orbis, London, 1984] and The Calvi Affair, by Larry Gurwin, of the Financial Times [Pan, London, 1984]

CIA/Mafia “ghost banks” and their strange links with real banks, including Chase Manhattan, are discussed amply in In Banks We Trust, Doubleday, NY, 1984, by Penny Lernoux.

For CIA involvement in general — and Angleton’s personal involvement — in the JFK hit see http://webermancom, probably the largest site on the World Wide Web.

Our most recent Tsar’s responsibility for barbaric war crimes — as bad as any of Thornley’s “fantasies” — appears well documented in “Overwhelming Force,” by Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, 22 May 2000.

Or — you can find most of the data on Tsarist/fascist infiltrations of “our” government, in one form or another by simply surfing the web. Set your search engine for “Rheinhold Gehlen,” “Cisalpine Bank,””Licio Gelli,” and “Gladio” to start with and follow the links where they lead you. I promise you will find the journey as startling as anything in this book.

I have no certitude about how “crazy” to consider Kerry Thornley on any given day of any year, but I don’t believe he ever became a simple damned fool. Heunnderstood the government of this country better than 99% of its citizens.

High Times Interview, 2003

Paul Krassner Interviews
Robert Anton Wilson

from High Times #331, March 2003

I [Paul Krassner] first met Bob Wilson in 1959. The ’60s counterculture was in its embryonic stage, exploding out of the blandness, repression and piety of the Eisenhower-Nixon administration, Reverend Norman Vincent Peale’s positive thinking and Snooky Lanson singing “It’s a Marshmallow World” on TV’s Lucky Strike Hit Parade.

Wilson had written his first article, “The Semantics of God,” which I eagerly published in The Realist. “The Believer,” he wrote, “had better face himself and ask squarely: Do I literally believe ‘God’ has a penis? If the answer is no, then it seems only logical to drop the ridiculous practice of referring to ‘God’ as ‘He.'” Wilson then started writing a regular column, “Negative Thinking.”

His books include The Illuminatus! Trilogy (with Robert Shea); the Cosmic Trigger trilogy, The New Inquisition, the Schrodinger’s Cat trilogy, Prometheus Rising, The Walls Came Tumbling Down, Wilhelm Reich in Hell, Natural Law, Sex and Drugs, and Everything is Under Control: An Encyclopedia of Conspiracy Theories.

He is also the subject of a feature-length documentary movie by Lance Bauscher, Maybe Logic: The Lives and Ideas of Robert Anton Wilson, featuring 23 different Bobs, Tom Robbins, R.U. Sirius, George Carlin and myself. For more information, go to maybelogic.com.

In 1964, I published Wilson’s front-cover story, “Timothy Leary and His Psychological H-Bomb.” “The future may decide,” he began, “that the two greatest thinkers of the 20th Century were Albert Einstein, who showed how to create atomic fission in the physical world, and Timothy Leary, who showed how to create atomic fission in the psychological world. The latter discovery may be more important than the former; there are some reasons for thinking that it was made necessary by the former….”

I hereby nominate Bob Wilson as the third greatest thinker of the 20th Century, who continues to explore his consciousness and communicate his ideas and causes—with passion, wit, imagination and insight—into the 21st Century. This interview was conducted by the electronic magic of e-mail.


Q. You’ve written 34 books with the aid of pot. Could you describe that process?

A. It’s rather obsessive-compulsive, I think. I write the first draft straight, then rewrite stoned, then rewrite straight again, then rewrite stoned again, and so on, until I’m absolutely delighted with every sentence, or irate editors start reminding me about deadlines—whichever comes first. Hemingway and Raymond Chandler had similar compulsions but used the wrong drug, booze, and they both attempted suicide. Papa succeeded but poor Ray didn’t and just looked like a sloppy alcoholic. (He tried to shoot himself in the head and missed.) Faulkner also had obsessive components and died by falling off a horse, drunk. I don’t think booze is a very safe drug for us obsessive-compulsives. Almost as bad as becoming known as a Sage. By the way, Congress should impeach Dubya and impound Asa Hutchinson.

Q. The piss police read High Times. What would you like to tell them?

A. “You are all equally blessed, equally empty, equally coming Buddhas.” But some of them are such assholes it will take a long time to get from there to here.

Q. Columnist Clarence Page recently wrote about the DEA raiding “a legitimate health co-operative [WAMM, the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana] that was treating more than 200 patients, some of them terminally ill, in Santa Cruz. Snatching medicine out of the hands of seriously ill patients sounds like terrorism to me. In this case it was federally sponsored and taxpayer-financed.” Tell me about your own relationship with WAMM.

A. I thought you’d never ask. Long before I needed WAMM, Valerie Coral, the founder, came regularly to my Finnegans Wake reading/rapping group and I considered her incredibly bright. As I learned about her WAMM activities, distributing pot to terminal cancer and AIDS patients, sitting with them, giving love and support during the death process, I decided she was also a saint. I never thought I would become another WAMM patient. My post-polio syndrome had been a minor nuisance until then; suddenly two years ago it flared up into blazing pain. My doctor recommended marijuana and named WAMM as the safest and most legal source. By then, I think I was on the edge of suicide; the pain had become like a permanent abscessed tooth in the leg. Nobody can or should endure that. Thanks to Valerie and WAMM, I never have that kind of torture for more than an hour these days. I pop one of their pain pills and I’m up and back at the iMac in, well, if not an hour, then at most two hours. By the way, Congress should impeach Dubya and impound Asa Hutchinson. Or did I say that already?

Q. I think you did.

A. Well, it bears repeating.

Q. When the City Council staged a public giveaway of medical marijuana, a DEA agent asked, “What kind of message are city officials sending to the youth of Santa Cruz?” How would you answer him?

A. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” I didn’t invent that; I found it in the back of my dictionary, in a dusty old historical document called “U.S. Constitution,” which Dubya seemingly has never heard of, but it’s supposed to be the rules of our government. I wish more people would look at that document, because it has a lot of other radical ideas that seem worth thinking about. Look it up before the Bush Crime Family forces dictionary publishers to remove it. Congress should impeach Dubya and impound Asa Hutchinson. Or does this begin to sound like an echo chamber?

Q. How does all that tie in with your new book, TSOG: The Thing That Ate the Constitution? First, what does TSOG mean, and how do you pronounce it?

A. TSOG means Tsarist Occupation Government and I pronounce it TSOG, so it sounds like a monster in a Lovecraft story. The book presents the evidence that ever since the CIA-Nazi-Tsarist alliance of the 1940s, the Tsarists have taken over as the “brains” of the Control System and America has become a Tsarist nation, with the Constitution only known to those who peek in the back of their dictionaries, like I did. Hell, we even have an official Tsar and he has the alleged “right”—or at least the power—to come between my doctor and me, and decide how much excruciating pain I should suffer before dying. What next? Is he going to rule on controversial questions in physics and astronomy? In mathematical set theory? In biology? Believe me, there’s no Tsar mentioned in the Constitution. Personal doctor/patient matters are left to the individuals. You see, this was supposed to be a free country, not a Tsarist despotism.

Q. You were brought up as a Catholic and became a Marxist when you were 16. What disillusioned you about each of those belief systems?

A. Their rigidity. All rigid Belief Systems (B.S.) censor and warp the processes of perception, thought and even empathy. They literally make people behave like badly-wired robots. Philip K. Dick noticed this too, and worried a lot about the possible robots among us. Some people think he was crazy, but I’ve never met anybody with rigid beliefs who seemed fully human to me. Phil got it right: a lot of them do act like robots. Especially in government offices and churches. Gort, Dubya marada nikto, dig?

Q. What was the purpose of what you call the Christian conspiracy?

A. Well, I regard the Bill of Rights as the result of a conspiracy by the intellectual freemasons of the Enlightenment Era. It’s always had a precarious existence because of the rival Christian conspiracy to restore the dark ages—Inquisitions, witch-hunts and all. With the Tsarist take-over, the Christians appear to have won. Not a single clause in the Bill of Rights hasn’t gotten either diluted or totally reversed.

Q. Why are you so skeptical about organized skepticism?

A. Like I keep saying, rigid Belief Systems frighten me and make me think of robots, or “humanoids”—some kinda creepy mechanism like that. Organized skepticism in the U.S. today contains no true skeptics in the philosophical sense. They seem like just another gang of dogmatic fanatics at war with all the other gangs of dogmatic fanatics, and, of course, with us model agnostics also. Look at the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. They never do any Scientific Investigation at all, at all. Why? My guess is that, like the Inquisitors who refused to look through Galileo’s telescope, they have a deep fear that such research might upset their dogmas.

Q. What’s the basis of your obsession with Hannibal Lecter?

A. Hannibal Lecter, M.D., please. In the books, he seems one of the greatest creations in literature to me. I admire Thomas Harris more than any novelist since James Joyce. Everything about Dr. Lecter is likeable and even admirable except that one Nasty Habit [cannibalism], but that habit’s so intolerable, even to libertarians, we can never forget it even when we find him most likeable and most admirable. A paradox like that can inspire Ph.D. candidates for 1,000 years. I mean, how can you resist a psychiatrist who tells a Lesbian patient, as Hannibal did once, “There’s nothing wrong with being weird. You have no idea how weird I am”—and really means it? In the films, of course, Dr. Lecter also has the stupendous contribution of intelligence and eerie charm only Anthony Hopkins can project. By the way, God bless Valerie Coral and God damn Asa Hutchinson.

Q. I thought you don’t believe in God?

A. I have no “beliefs,” only probabilities; but I was not speaking literally there. A poetic flourish, as it were.

Q. I know you don’t believe in life after death, but I’m intrigued by the notion that, during 42 years of marriage, you and Arlen imprinted each other’s nervous systems. Could you elaborate on that?

A. I don’t “believe” in spiritualism, but that does not keep me from suspecting an unbreakable link between those who have loved deeply. To avoid sounding esoteric, let me put it in nitty-gritty terms. I literally cannot look at a movie on TV without knowing what she’d say about it. For instance, if a film starts out well and ends up a mess, I can virtually “hear” her saying, “Well, they had one Story Conference too many….”

Q, Would you relate the tale of Arlen and the Encyclopedias?

A. She liked to collect old encyclopedias from second-hand bookstores, and at one point we had eight of them. When I wrote my first historical novel—back in 1980, before I was online—I used them often as a research tool. For instance, I learned that the Bastille was either 90 feet high or 100 feet or 120 feet. This led me to formulate Wilson’s 22nd Law: “Certitude belongs exclusively to those who only look in one encyclopedia.”

Q. How has the Internet changed your life?

A. It has felt like a neurological quantum jump. Not only does the word-processing software make my compulsive rewriting a lot easier than if I still had to cut my words on rocks or use a typewriter or retreat to similar barbarism, but the e-mail function provides most of my social life since I became “disabled.” I do most of my research on the World Wide Web, get my answer in minutes and don’t have to hunt laboriously through my library for hours. It has improved my life a thousand ways. I also have a notion that Internet will eventually replace government.

Q. How do you discern between conspiracy and coincidence?

A. The way Mr. and Mrs. Godzilla make love: very carefully.

Q. A dinner party was scheduled for March 31, 1981, the day after an assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, which, if successful, would have elevated Vice President and former CIA chief George Bush to the presidency. The dinner was immediately cancelled. It would have been held at the home of Neil Bush, and a guest was to be Scott Hinckley, brother of the would-be killer. Hinckley’s father and Bush were friends and fellow oil industrialists. A PR firm issued a statement: “This horrible coincidence has been devastating to the Bush Family. Our condolences go out to all involved. And we hope to get the matter behind us as soon as possible.” Congressman Larry MacDonald was the only legislator who demanded an investigation, but his plane crashed. Whattaya think—coincidence or conspiracy?

A. To me, it looks at first glance like coincidence by about 75% probability. I mean, who would be dumb enough to use an assassin with such obvious links to his employers? But then again, the Bush Crime Family seem to think they can get away with anything, from S&L fraud to stealing an election in the clear light of day with the whole world watching. They must have an even lower opinion of the intelligence of the American people than I do. Maybe I should change the probability down to about 50%. I guess this does deserve further investigation, by somebody who doesn’t fly in airplanes.

Q. Ishmael Reed said, “The history of civilization is the history of warfare between secret societies.” Do you agree?

A. Yes and no. I would say there is no history, singular; only histories, plural. The warfare between secret societies is a history, one that both Ishmael and I have explored. There also exists a history of class war, a history of war (or competition) between gene pools, a history of primate/canine relations, etc., ad infinitum. None of them contradicts the others, except in the heads of aristotelian logicians, or Ideologists. They each supplement all the others.

Q. You and I have something in common. Lyndon LaRouche has revealed the truth about each of us: You’re really the secret leader of the Illuminati; and I was brainwashed at the Tavistock Institute in England. Do you think he actually believes such things, or is he consciously creating fiction, just as the FBI’s counter-intelligence program did?

A. I still don’t understand some of my computer’s innards and you expect me to explain a bizarre contraption like the brain of Lyndon LaRouche? I can only hazard that he seems more a case for a bile specialist than a psychiatrist.

Q. What was LaRouche’s factoid about the Queen of England?

A. He said Liz sent Aldous Huxley and Alan Watts over here to destroy us with Oriental religions and drugs, so England could become the top Super-Power again. If you took Liz and England out and put Fu Manchu and the Third World in her place, it would make a great matinee thriller. I think Dubya lives in that film with Mickey and Goofy and Osama bin Laden and Darth Vader.

Q. What’s the most bizarre conspiracy theory you’ve come across?

A. A group called Christians Awake claims Ronald Reagan was a Gay freemason and that he filled the government and courts with other Gay freemasons. I suppose they let Clarence Thomas in as a concession to the Gay Prince Hal lodge.

Q. And what would be the least known conspiracy theory—I mean, that you know of?

A. The Church of Positive Accord believes—and I think they make a damned good case—that the God of the Bible is corporeal, not spiritual. In udder woids, he eats and shits just like you and me. And, contrary to my 1959 heresies, he definitely has a penis. He even has boogers: they proclaimed that in an interview with [SubGenius Church reverend] Ivan Stang. They point out that all “spiritual” ideas of God derive from Greek philosophy, not the Bible, and claim that gaseous Greek god has been promoted by a conspiracy of intellectuals. Just re-read the Bible with that grid and it makes sense, in a Stone Age sort of way. He walks, He talks, He’s a serial killer, and in the sequel He even knocks up a teen-age chick.

Q. Your readers can’t always discern—when you write about the Illuminati, for example—whether you’re sharing information or satirizing reality. Does it make any difference?

A. To quote Madonna, “I’m only kidding—not.” Add my Celtic sense of humor to Niels Bohr’s model agnosticism and out comes my neo-surrealist novels and “post-modern” criticism.

Q. I’ve had many occurrences of satirical prophecy, where something I invented turned out to become reality. Has that happened with you?

A. Well, in Illuminatus! (published 1975), terrorists attack the Pentagon and only succeed in blowing a hole in one of the five sides. Sound familiar? Also, in Schrodinger’s Cat (published 1981), terrorists blow up Wall Street. I don’t regard either of those “hits” as precognition or even “intuition,” just common sense. It seemed obvious to me that the TSOG could not run amok around the planet, invading and bombing damned near everybody, without somebody firing back eventually.

Q. Here’s a confession. In my article on the conspiracy convention in High Times, I did a reverse of satirical prophecy. I had once asked Mae Brussell, the queen of conspiracy researchers, why the conspirators didn’t kill her, and she explained that agents always work on a need-to-know basis, but they would read her work and show up wherever she spoke, in order to get a peek at the big picture, because it was “a safety valve for them,” she said, “on how far things are going.” I asked, “Are you saying that the intelligence community has allowed you to function precisely because you know more than any of them?” And she replied, “Exactly.” Well, in my HIGH TIMES satire, I put those words into the mouth of somewhat fraudulent conspiracy researcher David Icke. Anyway, my question is, do you think the conspirators allow you to live because you know too much?

A. I doubt it. I don’t think they’ve ever heard of me. They don’t read books.

Q. The original meaning of conspiracy was “to breathe together.” What’s your personal definition of conspiracy?

A. When me and me friends gits together to advance our common interests, that’s an affinity group. When any crowd I don’t like does it, that’s a goddam conspiracy.

Q. After my HIGH TIMES column on the Prophets Conference, in which I referred to you as “the irreverent bad boy at this oh-so-polite conference,” why were you disinvited from speaking at future Prophets Conferences?

A. A lot of my fans think I got booted for lack of respect for His Royal Fraudulency George II. I take that as an assertion beyond proof or disproof. The managers said it was for finding a Joycean epiphany in a Spike Lee movie. I take that as an assertion beyond even comprehension.

Q. I’d like to hear about your—perhaps psychotic?—experience with higher consciousness and the resulting epiphany.

A. I have had not one but many seeming encounters with seemingly nonhuman intelligences. The first was a Christmas tree that loved me—loved me more than my parents or my wife or my kids, or even my dog. I was on peyote at the time. With and without other drugs—for instance by Cabala—I have seemingly contacted a medieval Irish bard, an ancient Chinese alchemist, an extraterrestrial from the Sirius system, and a giant white rabbit called the pook or pookah from County Kerry. I finally accepted that if you already have a multi-model ontology going into the shamanic world, you’re going to come out with multi-model results. As Wilson’s Fourth Law sez, “With sufficient research you will find evidence to support your theory.” So I settled on the magick rabbit as the model nobody could take literally, not even myself. The real shocker came when I discovered that my grandmother’s people, the O’Lachlanns, came from Kerry and allegedly have a clan pookah who protects us from becoming English by adding periodic doses of weirdness to our lives.

Q. The dedication in my book, Murder At the Conspiracy Convention and Other American Absurdities, reads: “This one is for Robert Anton Wilson—guerrilla ontologist, part-time post-modernist, Damned Old Crank, my weirdest friend and favorite philosopher.” Since these are all terms you’ve used to label yourself, would you explain what each one means?

A. Well, I picked up “guerrilla ontology” from the Physics/Consciousness Research Group when I was a member back in the 1970s. Physicists more usually call it “model agnosticism,” and it consists of never regarding any model or map of Universe with total 100% belief or total 100% denial. Following Korzybski, I put things in probabilities, not absolutes. I give most of modern physics over 90% probability, the Loch Ness Monster around 50% probability and anything the State Department says under 5% probability. As Bucky Fuller used to say, “Universe is nonsimultaneously apprehended”—nobody can apprehend it all at once—so we have no guarantee that today’s best model will fit what we may discover tomorrow. 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. Also, I have a strong aversion, almost an allergy, to Belief Systems, or B.S.—a convenient abbreviation I owe to David Jay Brown. A neurolinguistic diet high in B.S. and low in instrumental data eventually produces Permanent Brain Damage, a lurching gait, blindness and hairy palms like a werewolf.

Then I started calling myself a post-modernist after that label got pinned on me in two different books, one on my sociological works and one on my science-fiction. Then I read some of the post-modernists and decided they were only agnostic about other people’s dogmas, not their own. So then I switched to Damned Old Crank, which seems to suit my case better than either of the previous labels. Besides, once my hair turned snowy white, some people wanted to promote me to a Sage, and I had to block that. It’s more dangerous to a writer than booze. By the way, Congress should impeach Dubya and impound Asa Hutchinson.

Q. Since you believe that the universe is indifferent, why are you an optimist?

A. It may have genetic origins—some of us bounce up again no matter what we get hit with—but as far as I can rationalize it, nobody knows the future, so choosing between pessimism and optimism depends on temperament as much as probabilities. Psychologist John Barefoot has studied this extensively and concludes that optimists live about 20% longer than pessimists. When the outcome remains unknown, why should I make the bet that keeps me miserable and shortens my life? I prefer the gamble that keeps me high, happy, and creative, and also increases lifespan. It’s like the advantage of pot over aspirin. Pot not only kills pain better, but the High boosts the immune system. High and happy moods prolong life, miserable and masochistic moods shorten it.

Q. Recently, when I spoke at a college campus, a student asked what I wanted my epitaph to be. I replied, “Wait, I’m not finished.” What do you want your epitaph to be?

A. I have ordained in my will that my body will get cremated and the ashes thrown in Jerry Falwell’s face. The executor of my will should then shout one word only: “Gotcha!”

Robert Anton Wilson is the coauthor (with the late Robert Shea), of the underground classic The Illuminatus! Trilogy which won the 1986 Prometheus Hall of Fame Award. His other writings include Schrodinger’s Cat Trilogy, called “the most scientific of all science fiction novels” by New Scientist, and many nonfiction works of Futurist psychology and guerilla ontology. Wilson, who sees himself as a Futurist, author, and stand-up comic, regularly gives seminars at Esalan and other New Age centers. Wilson has made both a comedy record (Secrets of Power), and a punk rock record (The Chocolate Biscuit Conspiracy), and his play, Wilhelm Reich in Hell, has been performed throughout the world. His novel Illuminatus! was adapted as a 10-hour science fiction rock epic and performed under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Great Britain’s National Theatre, where Wilson appeared in a special cameo role. He is also a former editor at Playboy magazine.

Black Magick & Curses

Black Magick & Curses

Secrets of ye Dark Arte Call’d Ducdame

Basic Axioms of Magick

by Robert Anton Wilson

from R.U. Sirius’ The Thresher, The Third One, 2003
reprinted in Email to the Universe

zounds! I was never so bethump’d with words since I first call’d my brother’s father dad. — The Bastard in John Act II, Scene 1 by Wm. Shakespeare

People sometimes ask me, “Doctor Bandler, do you have to use that kind of language?” And my answer is “Fuck, yes!” — Richard Bandler, Neuro-Linguistic Programming Workshop, Los Angeles, 1999

Dr. Harold Garfinkle, a UCLA sociologist, has written a whole book recounting experiments that demonstrate that it takes remarkably little breeching of local Game Rules before subjects begin to show disorientation, anxiety, anger, panic, delusions, “inappropriate” emotions etc. — wigging out or going ballistic in lay language.

Even standing with your nose closer to a person’s face than the social norm for conversation can provoke remarkable uneasiness with remarkable alacrity; it may even trigger “homosexual panic.” Doc Garfinkle did experiments to prove it.

To treat one’s parents with the politeness and formality usually given to landlords and landladies can produce memorable freak-outs, sometimes involving pleas for psychiatric intervention Etc. [More experiments. See Garfinkle, Studies in Ethnomethodology , Prentice-Hall, NJ, 1967.]

Garfinkle’s data demonstrates that humans at this primitive stage of terrestrial evolution have so many tabus that they cannot remember or articulate most of them; but they quickly become physiologically “disturbed” when even one of the rules seems even temporarily suspended. This disturbance may culminate in serious injury, or death.

Thus, when I first moved to Santa Cruz, the world capital of Moral & Political Correctness, I made the mistake of quoting a George Carlin routine at a party. One line of this shtick goes, more or less,

Why, why, why do all the women you see at anti-abortion protests look like nobody would want to fuck them in the first place?

A psychiatrist standing nearby said to me, sourly, “I don’t like cursing.” This caused me considerable confusion. I had obviously violated a local tabu, but I did not know which one, and worse yet, I had never considered “fuck” as a curse or malediction. I felt like a guy who wanders into the local branch of Al Qaeda under the impression that he has found the Department of Motor Vehicles, or –even more– like a ginkus who opens a door in his own house and finds The Three Stooges in a phaser-gun shoot-out with Darth Vader and Mother Teresa.

I feel grateful to that psychiatrist now, of course. Mulling over how he came to classify “fuck” in the category of curses, led me to review all that I knew about the art and science of effective Cursing and about Black Magick in general. The results of my meditations will appear as we proceed. [Thanks, Doc!]

This sort of head-banger or mind-bender happens more and more in our postmodern & multicultural world, especially if you travel as much as I do. A basic sociological and anthropological law holds that while every culture (and every sub-culture) has different Game Rules regarding speech and behavior, each tends to believe that its own tribal rules represent the only “correct” way for humans to interact with each other . Among savages, you must learn the local tabu system quickly or your life may pay for your ignorance. Of course, as Veblen pointed out long ago, among the Higher Barbarians, they will not take your life but only your liberty; yet because confinement in a cage causes much suffering in all mammals, including humans, this threat terrifies the majority as much as the threat of death.

Among the Politically Correct, milder reprisals for tabu-breakers vary from economic arse-kicking [denial of tenure] to cruel & unusual punishments [compulsory “Sensitivity” Training.]

I first experienced this sociological phenomenon when, after three years in Ireland, I had a lecture-tour in the United States. I found that tabu systems had changed rapidly in some places but not in others: no city on the trip prepared me for the Game Rules in the next city. E.g. in Dallas, they still thought it polite to hold a door for a lady and boorish not to, but in New York they thought it insulting to hold the door for a lady, thereby making it necessary for me to navigate with extreme delicacy to avoid either holding the door or allowing it to slam rudely in her face.

If you fully understand the anthropological significance of the above, you know enough to write a whole book on black magic. Otherwise, read on. I will reveal the secret inner dynamics of how to hurl a truly nefarious curse — knowledge previously reserved only to the greatest Adepts of the Art called Ducdame.

We all, to some degree, think in “magical”* categories. Books on anthropology have sold better than any others in social science because they all shed as much light on our own tribal tabus as on whatever so-called “primitives” they depict. We need to understand Magick to understand ourselves.

What do we mean by Magick? As Aleister Crowley, Epopt of the Illuminati, 97th degree Order of Memphis and Mizraim, 33rd degree Scotch Rite, 10th degree Ordo Templi Orientis, “Baphomet” to the profane and “Phoenix” within the Sanctuary of the Gnosis, the Great Beast 666, etc. wrote:

MAGICK is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in Conformity with Will. Illustration: it is my Will to inform the World of certain facts within my knowledge. I therefore take “magical weapons,” — pen, ink and paper; I write “incantations” — these sentences — in the “magical language,” i.e. that which is understood by the people I wish to instruct; I call forth “spirits,” such as printers, publishers, booksellers, and so forth, and constrain them to convey my message to those people.
–Magick, by Aleister Crowley, Weiser, New York, 1997, p 126]

In other words, the distinction between “magick” and “communication” exists only in our traditional ways of thinking. The uncanny Egyptians attributed both inventions to a single deity, Thoth, god of speech and other illusions.

In the existential world — in the sensory-sensual continuum — Thoth still reigns and language still has magick. All communication contains sorcery and/or hypnosis, because humans use howls, snarls, yaps, purrs, gargles, gurgles etc. — noises of many sorts — to create a neuro-semantic “grid” projected upon all incidents and events. We generally call these grids languages. We literally “see” incidents and events only as they register upon that grid.

If I use certain words that cause you to have certain predictable neuro-somatic reactions, I have cast a spell upon you. I have enchanted you. I may even have cursed you. [Sure you want to know more about this?]

My method of spellbinding or enchanting or cursing may not involve the traditional drums and rattles of the tribal shaman, but the laws ofneurolinguistic programming governing the transactions do not differ. I once triggered widespread scotoma, primate herd panic and psychoclonism in one nut cult called CSICOP simply by ridiculing them. They thought of themselves as Rationalists but I “magically” turned them into terrorized savages acting exactly like the ancient Irish kings who ordained death for any Bard writing satire against them. [No applause, please.]

To understand the language of magick one must first understand the magick of language. Let me define certain key terms. It may help disperse the fog of ignorance and superstition that has covered this subject for centuries.

By the sensory-sensual continuum I mean all that humans can experience, as distinguished from those “things” [or non-things, or nothings] that they can only make noises or chatter about.

Examples: [A] I can say “If you open that box of candy, you will find three chocolates inside.” Going to the box and opening it, in the sensory-sensual continuum, will quickly confirm or refute my statement, because you will inevitably find [1] less than three chocolates, [2] exactly three chocolates, or [3] more than three chocolates. Results [1] and [3] refute my statement; [2] confirms it.

But [B} I might also say “Opening God for similar investigation, you will find three persons inside,” as in fact Romish Magick does say. No investigation of the sensory-sensual manifold can ever confirm or refute this. Scientific philosophers generally describe such statements [about things beyond confirmation or refutation] as “meaningless”. Without speaking that harshly, I venture that we cannot fathom our situation in space-time if we habitually confuse ourselves by mixing type [A] statements with type [B] statements. We may never achieve Total Clarity [short of infinity] but we should at least have the ability to distinguish between what humans can experience and what they can only blather about.

Distinguishing between these two types of statements seems necessary for sanity and survival, because all forms of illusion, delusion, mob hysteria, hallucination etc., dogma, bigotry, “madness,” intolerance etc. “idealism,” ideology, idiocy, obsession etc. depend upon confusing them. The people who released poison gas in the Tokyo subways, the Nazis, the Marxists, nut-cults like Objectivism, Heaven’s Gate, Scientology, CSICOP, etc. represent some of the horrors and curses unleashed by mixing Class [A] statements with Class [B] statements.

All forms of Black Magick therefore depend on confusing and mingling these two classes: the nonverbal experiential and the verbal nonexperiential.

By the neuro-semantic field I mean the total vocabulary, grammar, syntax, logic etc. by which an extremely rapid system of feedbacks synergeticallylinks the verbal centers of the brain to the neuro-muscular, neuro-chemical, neuro-immunological, neuro-respiratory etc. systems of the organism-as-a-whole. In other words, I explicitly reject, not only the traditional verbal division between “magick” and “communication,” but the equally fictitious splits between “mind” and “body,” between “reason” and “emotion,” between “thought” and “reflex” etc.

All words transmitted as sonic or visual signals — sound waves or light waves — rapidly become photons, electrons, neurotransmitters, hormones, colloidal reactions, reflex arcs, conditioned or imprinted “frames.” physiological responses etc. as they impact upon the total synergetic organism.

Let’s take that a bit slower:

All words transmitted as sonic or visual signals — sound waves or light waves — rapidly become photons, electrons, neurotransmitters, hormones, colloidal reactions, reflex arcs, conditioned or imprinted “frames” physiological responses, etc., as they impact upon the total synergetic organism.

“Perception” consists of a complex series of codings and decodings as in-form-ation trans-forms itself through successive sub-systems of the organism-as-a-whole.

[Please re-read the last two sentences.]

We never experience “thoughts,” “feelings,” “perceptions,” “intuitions,” “sensations,” etc. We invent those categories after the fact. What we experience, nanosecond by nanosecond, consists of continuous synergetic reactions of the organism-as-whole to the environment-as-a-whole, including incoming verbal signals from others in the same predicament. These incoming verbal signals also produce in us reactions of the organism-as-a-whole sometimes culminating in a return signal.

That much seems simple neurobiological savvy.

But suppose I point a shamanic death-bone at you? Or utter a Magick Word that alarms and threatens you as much as a simple “fuck” threatened thatSanta Cruz psychiatrist?

We never “know” organismically all that we know theoretically. Parts of us remain simian, childish, “ignorant,” murky, inertial, mechanical etc.

Illustration: Consciously and will-fully remind yourself that you can tell the difference between a “movie” and “real life.” Then go to see the latest ketchup-splattered horror/slasher classic and pay attention to how many times the director “magically” tricks you into real gasps, internal or overt cringe-reflexes, dry mouth, clutching [seat-rails, coke can, companion’s arm etc.] or other symptoms of minor but real [polygraph-diagnosable] anxiety and short-term near-panic, sometimes verging on vomit-reflex.

Illustration #2: With the same conscious and will-full reminders about the difference between “movies” and “real life,” rent a hard-core XXX porno DVD. Observe how long it takes before physiological responses indicate that parts of you at least have lost track of that distinction.

To repeat an earlier point, in Neurolinguistic Programming [NLP], Dr Bandler makes a distinction between the “meta-model” and the “Milton model.” The meta-model, continually revised, updated and expanded, consists of the class of all scientifically meaningful statements available at this date. We should revise our meta-model every day, by keeping in contact with others in the same predicament. Since Scenario Universe always and only consists of — as Bucky Fuller said — nonsimultaneously apprehended events [coherent space-time synergies], such continuous feedback appears necessary.

If everything happened at once, we would know Absolute Truth at once: but since space-time events happen nonsimultaneoously, we need feedback.

The ” Milton model, ” on the other hand, named after Dr. Milton Erickson, “the greatest hypnotist of the 20th Century,” consists of the class of all scientifically meaningless statements that “magically” make us feel much better, or much worse — or, in occult language, the class of all blessings and all curses. [General Semanticists call it the class of all purrs and all snarls.]

This Heap Big Magick, bwana. You can fucking kill a guy with this stuff. And, of course, if you have Dr. Erickson’s compassion, you can repeatedly heal the seemingly helpless.

Four score and something years ago, Drs. Ogden and Richards, in The Meaning of Meaning, brought forth a distinction between the denotation of words and the connotation of words.

In the denotation, any word or group of words belongs in the meta-model if it conforms to the test of the model, viz. scientifically meaningful reference in the experiential-phenomenological world.

And in the connotation, any word or group of words belongs in the Milton model if it conforms to the test of that model, viz again, scientifically meaningless reference to nothing-in-particular and everything-in-general so packaged as to make us feel better, or worse.

Our major problem, in the elementary blessing and cursing game called social conversation, lies in the fact that quite often — very, very often — the same word may have “objective” denotations in the scientific meta-model but also have “emotive” neurosemantic connotations in the magical Milton model. In other words, we hypnotize ourselves, and one another, with remarkable ease. In only a few minutes, a dedicated dogmatist can have you heatedly shouting something in the form of the Primary Magick Theorem, which declares that any non-verbal incident or event encountered and endured “really” “is” some noise or grunt we choose to label it with. [One corollary holds that sticking pins in a doll will hurt the person sharing the doll’s label, and a second states that throwing darts at an image of the Enemy Leader will “help the war effort.”]

Illustration: by persistent reiteration of medieval logical forms, the anti-choice people in the abortion debate have hypnotized the pro-choice people into interminable haggling about whether one non-verbal event inside a woman “really is” [the noise or grunt preferred by my side] and “really” “is” not [the gargle or gurgle preferred by the other side]. Since the various noises, grunts, gargles, gurgles etc. have no experiential or experimental or phenomenological or existential referents in the sensory or sensual or instrumental space-time manifold, this contest transpires in the Milton model, each side trying to hypnotize the other.

But, even more nefariously, this has the structure of what Watslavick called, in Pragmatics of Human Communication, the Game Without End. This Game –which word “really” “is” the non-word –gives great entertainment and self-esteem to those who really like that kind of thing; but it causesKafla-esque and “nightmarish” sensations throughout the organism-as-a-whole among those who want to get out of the Game and go back where language made sense, but nonetheless remain spellbound . & “cursed” for the seemingly infinite length of the Game Without End.

The Game Without End begins with the attempt to decide which bark or howl “really” “is” a nonverbal existential event.

None of this represents abstract theorems. The role of magick in all language transactions has very concrete and exhilarating/terrifying implications; viz. the tris:

Well-documented case of a man literally killed by a shaman’s curse and a “death-bone” — The Psychobiology of Mind-Body Healing , by Ernest Lawrence Rossi, Norton, 1988, page 9-12.

Equally well-documented case of another man, a cancer patient, “miraculously” blessed by remission and recovery due to a placebo [with tumors shrunk to half their previous size], then cursed back into critical condition when learning of deaths of others receiving the same placebo — same book, page 3-8.

Robert Houdin, often called the greatest stage magician of the 19th Century, once said, “A magician is only an actor — only an actor pretending to be a magician.”

Similarly, what French anthropologists call participation mystique [“at-one-ness” or even “holy union”] — a state allegedly limited to “savages” — occurs every day, in every modern city, in nonpathological forms, at our theatres and movie houses, and on our TVs, VCRs and DVDs.

This mystic trance, in which [for instance] Laurence Olivier becomes “Hamlet” right before our eyes only mutates to the pathological if we cannot break the spell –if we continue to see, and relate to, Lord Olivier as Hamlet even if we chance to meet him in a pub: “I say, old bean, you seem to suffer from compulsive rumination, as the shrinks call it. Just kill the old bugger and make a run for the frontier.”

Here the Milton model has replaced the meta-model in the wrong space-time locale [territory not defined as play acting space.] Madness lies but one step further.

My mother never stopped hating Charles Laughton for the sadistic glee he projected in the punishment sequences of Mutinty on the Bounty. She’d never look at another movie with Laughton in it.

Orson Welles, with considerable experience as both actor and stage magician, said “I have been an acting-forger all my life.” He said it in his last film,* a fake documentary about a partially fake biography of a totally fake painter — F For Fake, based on a seemingly true but partly bogus biography called, even more bluntly, Fake!

Some of us have become postmodern whether we like it or not. As the Poet wrote,

I saw a man upon the stair,
A little man who wasn’t there;
He wasn’t there again today –
Gee, I wish he’d go away!

Of course, we all clearly understand that the little man who “wasn’t there” simply “wasn’t there” and hence can’t go away, but the structure of Indo-European grammar so spellbinds and enchants us that we illogically feel that the spooky little bastard should go away, just to conform to the syntax.

Whosoever speaks in any tongue gives birth to blessings and curses. & if the uncanny Egyptians made Thoth the father of both language and magick, the canny Greeks made Hermes, their version of Thoth, the god of both language and fraud.

_______________

* Not the last film he acted in, just the last film in which he had control as writer/producer/director/actor

The Celtic Roots of Quantum Theory

The Celtic Roots of Quantum Theory

by Robert Anton Wilson

excerpt from Email to the Universe

The reality of metaphysics is the reality of masks.  -Oscar Wilde

The day in 1982 when my wife, Arlen, and I arrived in Ireland we tried her battery-operated radio to listen avidly to whatever we might find: our way of dipping our toes in the new culture before plunging into its alien waters totally. By the kind of coincidence that I don’t regard as coincidental we found an RTE* interviewer discussing local legends about the pookah with a Kerry farmer. As a longtome pookaphile, I found the conversation spellbinding, but the best part came at the end:
——————-
*RTE = Radio Telefis hEirenn, the State-owned but feisty and independent radio-TV monopoly.
——————-
“But do you believe in the pookah yourself?” asked the RTE man.

“That I do not,” the farmer replied firmly, “and I doubt much that he believes in me either!”

I knew then that I had indeed found my spiritual homeland, wherever I may otherwise roam, and that Yeats and Joyce and O’Brien had not risen out of a vacuum. We had planned to say six months; we eventually stayed six years.

Anthony Burgess once argued that English English, American English and all the other varieties of Anglophonics have become rational and pragmatic [closure-oriented] but Irish English remains ludic and esthetic [open-oriented]. The rest of us speak dry prose; the Irish speak playful poetry.

While I see some truth in that formulation, I would prefer to describe all-other-English as belonging to what Neurolinguistic therapist Dr Richard Bandler calls the meta-model [statements we can logically judge as true or false] and Irish English as belonging to the Milton-model [statements not containable in true-false logic but capable of seducing us into sudden new perceptions.]

The Milton-model, named after Dr. Milton Erickson –“the greatest therapeutic hypnotist of the 20th Century,” in the opinion of his peers — contains no propositions subject to proof or disproof, uses language the way that Kerry farmer did, and can cause both intellectual and physiological transformations. Because of his many successes in curing the allegedly incurable, Dr Erickson often became proclaimed “the Miracle Worker.”

Oddly, most of Dr. Erickson’s patients did not think they had undergone hypnosis at all. They just remembered having a friendly chat with an unusually sympathetic doctor. ..

According to the Korzybsk-Whorf-Sapir hypothesis, the language a people speak habitually influences their sense perceptions, their “concepts” and even the way they feel about themselves and the world in general. “A change in language can transform our appreciation of the cosmos,” as Whorf stated the case.

The clinical record of Erickson and his school indicates that language tricks can even make us ill or make us well again.

The Irish neurolinguistic system illustrates these theorems uncommonly well.

Whether you call it ludic language, Ericksonian hypnosis or the verbal equivelant of throwing LSD in the linguistic drinking water, Irish English — even in the professional hands of all of Ireland’s greatest writers –shows the same non-aristotelian “illogic” or Zen humor as that Kerry farmer

Witness:

Death and life were not
Till man made up the whole,
Made lock, stock and barrel
Out of his bitter soul
–W.B. Yeats

Try taking all literary, scientiific, theological and philosophic connotations out of “death” and “life” — see them merely as two predicaments of grammar — and then — ?

“Men are born liars.”
— Liam O’Flaherty, in the first sentence of his autobiography.

Logcians call this an Empedoclean paradox. To an Irish stylist, it does not appear Empedoclean nor paradoxical but merely another pregnant bull. Since O’Flaherty belonged to the class of all men, he lied; but if he lied, his statement does not carry conviction, so maybe he told the truth….

“Are the commentators on Hamlet really mad or only pretending to be mad?”
— Oscar Wilde.

Thy spirit keen through radiant mein
Thy shining throat and smiling eye
Thy little palm, thy side like foam —
I cannot die!

O woman, shapely as the swan,
In a cunning house hard-reared was I:
O bosom white, O well-shaped palm,
I shall not die!
–Padraic Colum

[A Romantic poem, in style; anti-Romantic in content — whether you think of the female as a human lady or a symbol of Ireland a la Cathleen ni Houlihan, Dark Rosaline or shan van vocht, Colum still will not die for Her.]

“Durtaigh disloighal reibel aigris dogs.”
–Myles na gCopaleen

[It only makes sense if you pronounce it as Gaelic, and then it becomes ordinary English, expressing an ordinary English attitude toward their Hibernian neighbors.]

“They shall come to know good.”
— James Joyce. [Read it silently, then read it aloud.]

“There is in mankind a certain
*************************************************** Hic multa
******************************************************************
disiderantur***************************************************************

And this I take to be a clear solution of the matter.”
— Jonathan Swift [all expurgations in Swift’s original text.]

“I considered it desirable that he should know nothing about me but it was even better if he knew several things that were quite wrong.”
— Flann O’Brien

Or, to take a few examples that lend themselves better to condensation than quotation:

Consider Swift’s “pamphlet war” with the astrologer Partridge, in which Swift claimed Partridge had died and Partidge vehemently insisted on his continued viability. Swift won hands down by pointing out that just because a man claims he’s alive does not compell us to accept his uncorraborated testimony.

Or: Bishop Berkeley, proving with meticulous logic that the universe doesn’t exist, although God admittedly has a persistent delusion that it does.

Or — the scandalous matter of Molly Bloom’s adulterous affairs in Ulysses, which number between one [Hugh Boylan] and more than thirty [including a few priests and Lords Mayor and one Italian organ grinder], depending on which of Joyce’s 100+ narrators one chooses to believe. This grows more perplexing when one realizes that some of the “narrators” seem more like styles than persons: styles masquerading as persons.

Or maybe the ghosts of departed stylists, in the sense that Berkeley called Newton’s infinitesmals the ghosts of departed quantities?

Colonized and post-Colonized peoples learn much about text and sub-text; and Yeats did not develop his mystique of Mask and Anti-Mask out of Hermetic metaphysics alone. In my six years sampling Dublin pubs [1982-88] I overheard many conversations in the form:

–I saw your man last night.
–Oh? And?
–All going well there.

Who the devil is “your man”? Does this concern hashish from Amsterdam for the Punk Rock crowd, gelignite on its way to Derry, or just ingrained habits –Masks and Anti-masks– shaped by 800 years of Occupation? After all, the speakers might simply refer to tickets for a soccer game….[You will find a similarly oblique dialogue in the second section of the “Wandering Rocks” montage in Ulysses, except that “your man” has become “that certain party.” Palestinians have probably become that “Irish” by now.]

I do not claim that Sassanach conquest alone produced Ireland’s elusive wit and ludic poesy; but it sharpened tendencies already there as far back as Finn Mac Cumhal. Yeats says somewhere that Ireland was part of Asia until the Battle of the Boyne; but that dating merely represents W.B.’s reactionary Romanticism. Joyce knew thatIreland remained part of Asia; Finnegans Wake explicitly tells us it emerged from “the Haunted Inkbottle, no number, Brimstone Walk, Asia in Ireland.”

You can test one level of truth in this by simply asking directions in both Tokyo and Dublin. In either place you will encounter old-fashioned politeness and friendliness unknown in most of the industrial world, and you will get sent in the wrong direction. Hostile humor? I think not. Asiatic languages, including Irish English, simply do not accommodate themselves to Newtonian grids, either spatial or temporal.

Arlen and I used to play a game in Dublin: whenever we saw two clocks we would compare them. They never agreed.

In Cork, the four clocks on the City Hall tower always show four different times; locals call them “the Four Liars.”

The sociologist may class this as “post-Colonial syndrome”– based on the baleful suspicion that the English invented time to make a man work more than the Good Lord ever intended — but Joyce noted that the only three world-class philosophers of Celtic geneology, Erigena, Berkeley and Bergson, all denied the reality of time [and only Berkeley lived under English rule.]

A Dublin legend tells of an Englishman who, noting that the two clocks in Padraic Pearse station do not agree, commented loudly that this discordance”is so damned typically bloody Irish.” A Dubliner corrected him: “Sure now, if they agreed one of them would be superfluous.”

Even more in the Daoist tradition: Two Cork men meet on the street. “Filthy weather for this time of year,” ventures the first.

“Ah, sure,” replies the second, “it isn’t this time of year at all, man.”

Compare the Chinese proverb, “Summer never becomes winter, infants never grow old.” Einstein’s relativity and Dali’s melting clocks belong to the same universe as these Hibernio-Chinese Eccentrcities.

In County Clare and the West generally one often hears the grammatical form, “My uncle was busy feeding the pigs one night and I a girl of six years….” [One also hears this in Synge’s plays — all of them.] Elsewhere in the English speaking world one would hear, “My uncle was busy feeding the pigs one night when I was a girl of six years…” The Irish English retains the grammar of Irish Gaelic, but it thereby retains the timeless or Daoist sense of a world where every now exists but no now ever “becomes” another now.

Nor does this neurolinguistic grid, or reality-tunnel, only manifest in Irish speech and literature. William Rowan Hamilton, one of Eire’s greatest mathematicians, probably the greatest of all, made many contributions, but two have special interest for us here.

One — Hamilton invented non-commutative math, which I shall try to explain. In arithmetic, 2 x 3 = 3 x 2, or they both equal 6 [if you haven’t raised too many pints that night.] Ordinary algebra, the only kind most of us ever learned in school, follows the same rule: a x b = b x a. Everybody knows that, right? Well, in Hamilton’s algebra, a x b does NOT = b x a.

More “Asiatic” influence? More of the Celtic Twilight? Well, in Pure Mathematics, you can invent any system you want as long as it remains internally consistent; finding out if it has any resemblence to the experiential world remains the job of the physicist, or the engineer. It required about 100 years to find a “fit” for Hamiltonian algebra, and then it revolutionized physics. Hamilton’s math describes the sub-atomic [quantum] world, and ordinary math does not.

The reader may classify Hamilton’s feat as a variety of precognition or maybe just as more of the Hibernian compulsion to challenge everything the Saxon regards as unquestionable.

Two — Physicists of Hamilton’s day endlessly debated whether light travels as “waves” like water or as discrete “particles” like bullets. He supported both totally contradictory models, although in different contexts. Among Fundamentalist Materialists, they call this the Heresy of “perspectivism,” but again, after 100 years, it became part of quantum mechanics, although usually credited to Neils Bohr, who only rediscovered it.

Perspectivism also haunts postmodern literary theory, cultural anthropology — and, especially, the Joyce Industry, as more and more Joyce scholars realize that all of the 100+ narrative “voices” in Ulysses seem equally true in some sense, equally untrue in some sense and equally beyond either/or logic in any sense.

Quantum Mechanics owes a second huge debt, and a perpetual head-ache, to another Irish physicist, John Stewart Bell.

Bell’s Theorem, a mathematical demonstration by Dr. Bell published in 1965, has become more popular than Tarot cards with New Agers, who think they understand it but generally don’t. Meanwhile it remains controversial with physicists, some of whom think they understand it but many of whom frankly admit they find it as perplexing as Mick Jagger with his guitar hopping around like a chicken on LSD in the middle of a Beethoven string quartet.

In a [hazardous] attempt to translate Bell’s math into the verbal forms in which we discuss what physics “means,” Bell seems to have proved that any two “particles”oncein contact will continue to act as if connected no matter how far apart they move in “space” or “time” [or in space-time.] You can see why New Agers like this: it sounds like it supports the old magick idea that if you get ahold of a hair from your enemy, anything you do to the hair will effect him.

Most physcists think a long series of experiments, especially those of Dr Alain Aspect and others in the 1970s and Aspect in 1982 have settled the matter. Quantum “particles” [or “waves’] once in contact certainly seem “connected,” or correlated, or at least dancing in the same ballet….But not all physicists have agreed. Some, theAntiBellists, still publish criticisms of alleged defects in the experiments. These arguments seem too technical to be summarized here, and only a small minority still cling to them, but this dissent needs to be mentioned since most New Agers don’t know about it, and regard Bell’s math with the same reverence Catholics have for Papal dogma.

The most daring criticism of Bell comes from Dr N. David Berman of Columbia, who believes he has refined the possible interpretations of Bell down to two:

(1) non-locality [“total rapport”] and
(2) solipsism.

We will explain non-locality below, but Dr Berman finds it so absurd that he prefers solipsism. [“Is The Moon There When Nobody Looks?” Physics Today, April 1985. He says the moon, and everything else, does’t exist until perceived; Bishop Berkeley has won himself one more convert.]

Among those who accept Bell’s Theorem, Dr David Bohm of the University of London offers three interpretations of what it means:

“It may mean that everything in the universe is in a kind of total rapport, so that whatever happens is related to everything else ; or it may mean that there is some kind of information that can travel faster than the speed of light; or it may mean that our concepts of space and time have to be modified in some way that we don’t understand.”[London Times, 20 Feb 1983.]

Bohm’s first model, “total rapport,” also called non-locality, brings us very close– very, very close — to Oriental monism: “All is One,” as in Vedanta, Buddhism and Daoism. It also brings us in hailing distance of Jungian synchronicity, an idea that seems “occult” or worse to most scientists, even if it won the endorsement of WolfgangPauli,a quantum heavyweight and Nobel laureate. You can see why New Agers like this; you will find it argued with unction and plausibility in Capra’s The Tao of Physics. It means atomic particles remains correlated because everything always remains correlated.

I suggest that physicists often explain this in Chinese metaphors because they don’t know as much about Ireland as they do about China, and because they haven’t readFinnegans Wake.

The strongest form of this non-local model, called super-determinism, claims that everything “is” one thing, or at least one process. From the Big Bang to the last word of this sentence and beyond, nothing can become other than it “is,” since everything remains part of a correlated whole. Nobody has openly expressed this view but several (Stapp, Herbert et al) have accused others, especially Capra, of unknowingly endorsing it.

Bohm’s second alternative, information faster-than-light, brings us into realms previously explored only in science-fiction. Bell’s particles may be correlated because they act as parts of an FTL (faster than light) cosmic Internet. If I can send an FTL message to my grandpa, it might change my whole universe to the extent that I wouldn’t exist at all. [E.g., he might suffer such shock that he would drop dead on the spot and not survive to reproduce.] We must either reject this as impossible, or else it leads to the “parallel universe” model. I’m here in this universe, but in the universe next door the message removed me, so I never sent it there.

Remind you, a bit, of that Kerry farmer?

Even more radical offshoots of this notion have come forth from Dr John Archibald Wheeler. Dr Wheeler has proposed that every atomic or sub-atomic experiment we perform changes every particle in the universe everywhichway in time, back to the Big Bang. The universe becomes constant creation, as in Sufism, but atomic physicists, not Allah, serve as its creators. Yeats again wakes? [He would, of course, place Bards as the creators, not mere measurers and calculators, but still the human mind has “made up the whole.”]

Dr Bohm’s third alternative, modification of our ideas of space and time, could lead us anywhere…including back to the Berkeleyan/Kantian notion that space and time do not exist, except as human projections, like persistent optical illusions.(Some think Relativity already demonstrates that…and some will recall Mr. Yeats again, and that Kerry farmer….) All particles remain correlated because they never move in space or time, because space and time only exist “in our heads.”

Meanwhile, a Dr. Harrison suggests that we may have to abandon Aristotelian logic, i.e. give up classifying things into only the two categories of “true and real” and “untrue and unreal.” In between, in Aristotle’s excluded middle, we may have the “maybe” proposed by von Neumann in 1933, the probabilistic logics (percentages/gambles) suggested by Korzybski, the four-valued logic of Rapoport (true, false, indeterminate and meaningless) or some system the non-Hibernian world hasn’t found yet. The Kerry farmer would handle all of this better than the typical graduate of any university outside Ireland.

And so we see that two Irishman, Hamilton and Bell, have the majority of physicists arguing about issues that make them sound like a symposium among Berkeley, Swift, Yeats, O’Brien and Joyce. Through their literature, speakers raised in Irish English have transformed the printed page; now their mathematicians, raised in the sameneurolinguistic grid, have revolutionized our basic notions of “reality,” which in the light of what we have seen, badly needs the dubious quotes I just hung on it.

Afterthought 2004: Two of the giants of quantum math, Schrödinger and Dirac, both spent time at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Dublin. Schrödinger, in fact, wrote his most important nonmathemetical book there — What Is Life? [1948], in which he defined life as a function of negative entropy. This thought seemed so radical and far-out that nobody began to grasp it until Wiener and Shannon showed that information also behaves like negative entropy. Information = that part of a message you didn’t expect; the unpredictable part.

Or as Wiener once said, great poetry contains high information and political speeches contain virtually none.

And therefore Life = negative entropy = high information = surprise and initial confusion = tuning-in the previously not-tuned-in…..

Got it?