Robert Anton Wilson was my all-time favorite philosopher, probably because I don’t really read philosophy. All the other philosophers I’ve ever tried to read seemed to take themselves way too seriously, which, if you ask me, is one of the dumbest things you could do.
Various medical authorities swarm in and out of here predicting I have between two days and two months to live. I think they are guessing. I remain cheerful and unimpressed. I look forward without dogmatic optimism but without dread. I love you all and I deeply implore you to keep the lasagna flying.
Please pardon my levity, I don’t see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd.
– Robert Anton Wilson’s final blog post from January 6, 2007, 5 days before his death
Wilson’s books- particularly Prometheus Rising and Cosmic Trigger– were essential in digging my reality tunnel. His works showed me just how flexible “reality” is; how living in a hall-of-mirrors universe can be far more delightful than disturbing; how refusing to “believe” in anything doesn’t mean you have to be an amoral nihilist- you can still be passionate and optimistic and noble and fun.
From Prometheus Rising, here are some cheeky-yet-potentially-enlightening psychological “exercizes” you might enjoy:
1. Whenever you meet a young male or female, ask yourself consciously, “If it came to hand-to-hand combat, could I beat him/her’ ?” Then try to determine how much of your behavior is based on unconsciously asking and answering that question via pre-verbal “body language.”
2. Get roaring drunk and pound the table, telling everybody in a loud voice just what dumb assholes they all are.¹
3. Get a book on meditation, practice for two fifteen-minute sessions every day for a month, and then go see somebody who always manages to upset you or make you defensive. See if they can still press your territorial retreat buttons.²
4. Spend a week-end at an Encounter Group. During the first half-day, try to intuit which quadrant each participant is coming from. At the end, see if any of them have become less robotized. See if you have become less robotized.
5. Go to the Lion House at the zoo. Study the lions until you feel you really understand their tunnel-reality.
6. Rent a video of the kind of comedy that small children like—the Three Stooges, Abbott & Costello, etc. Observe carefully, and think about what function this humor serves; but don’t neglect to laugh at it yourself.
7. Spend all day Sunday looking at animal shows on TV (getting stoned on weed, if this is permissible to you). Then go into the office the next day and observe the primate pack hierarchy carefully, like a scientist.
¹ Opiates and small does of alcohol seem to trigger neuro-transmitters characteristic of Circuit I breast-fed tranquillity. Large doses of alcohol often reverse this and trigger neuro-transmitters characteristic of territorial struggle. Note the anal vocabulary of hostile drunks as their alcoholic intake increases.
² A good book on Meditation is Undoing Yourself With Energized Meditation & Other Devices, by Christopher S. Hyatt, Ph.D., (New Falcon Publications).
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