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Posts Tagged ‘Robert Anton Wilson’

Kneeling breast feeding mother - Paula Modersohn-Becker, date unknown

Kneeling breast feeding mother – Paula Modersohn-Becker, date unknown

When the breast withers away to a vanishing point, other oral and maternal values are also drying up and atrophying; when the breast spouts forth again, these values are also returning.

By no accident, the most admired poem among American intellectuals in the 1920s was T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land; although actually dealing with his adopted country, England, his symbols spoke very eloquently to American sensibilities also. The withdrawal of the breast is suggested in Eliot’s images of wandering in the desert, of thirst, of the failed crops in the land rules by an impotent king, of sterility in general. The most famous of Eliot’s images– e.g., “lilacs out of dead land,” “The Hanged Man,” “the Unreal City,” “the corpse you planted last year in your garden,” “rock and no water and the sandy road”– all revolve around the theme of life struggling to survive without nourishment. The final section, in the mountains (breast symbols, according to Freud), brings the promise of rain and renewal. If all poets seek to summon the mother goddess in her guise as Muse, Eliot in a very real sense is calling for her to appear as wet nurse.

Robert Anton Wilson, Ishtar Rising

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Snakes - M.C. Escher, 1969

Snakes – M.C. Escher, 1969

…consider a final parable, which comes from Aleister Crowley’s Magick in Theory and Practice and is said by him to contain the whole secret of practical occultism:

Two passengers are sharing a railway carriage. One notices that the other has a box with holes in it, of the sort used to transport animals, and asks what animal his companion is carrying. “A mongoose,” says the other. The first passenger naturally asks why this eccentric chap want[s] to transport a mongoose around England.

“It’s because of my brother,” says the second man. “You see, he drinks perhaps more than is good for him, and sometimes he sees snakes. The mongoose is [to] kill the snakes.”

“But those are bleeding imaginary snakes,” says the first man.

“That’s as may be,” says the other placidly. “But this is an imaginary mongoose.”

Robert Anton Wilson, Ishtar Rising

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Fake Picasso?

Fake Picasso?

An art dealer once went to Picasso and said, “I have a bunch of ‘Picasso’ canvasses that I was thinking of buying. Would you look them over and tell me which are real and which are forgeries?” Picasso obligingly began sorting the paintings into two piles. Then, as the Great Man added one particular picture to the fake pile, the dealer cried, “Wait a minute, Pablo. That’s no forgery. I was visiting the weekend you painted it.” Picasso replied imperturbably, “No matter. I can fake a Picasso as well as any thief in Europe.”

Robert Anton Wilson, Ishtar Rising

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Prometheus Carrying Fire, Jan Cossiers

Prometheus Carrying Fire, Jan Cossiers

Thomas Jefferson developed his view that “all men are created equal” from the perception of the infinity within each of us, which he learned from the Scottish philosophers, Reid and Hutcheson. (It was also from Hutcheson that Jefferson got his idea of “unalienable rights,” which Congress in the interest of stylistic elegance altered to “inalienable rights.”) The Scottish Enlightenment, like the French and English Enlightenment, was the beginning of the materialization and manifestation of the Judeo-Christian vision of the Heavenly City.

It was also this 18th Century Illuminati circle which introduced the concept of progress— the conscious formulation of the symbolism of Prometheus. This vision has been under so much attack in recent decades that to defend it all will seem archaic and eccentric to many readers.

Nonetheless, evolution is real: quantum jumps do occur throughout the biosphere and throughout human intellectual history. We are riding a mounting tidal wave of rising consciousness and expanding intelligence which is accelerating whether we like it or not.

By and large, most people– and especially most ruling elites– have not liked this acceleration factor. The migration of capital (i.e., ideas) Westward has been largely a flight from oppression, an escapist movement– as critics today describe Space as “escapist.” Everywhere, everywhen, the rulers of society have tried to put a brake on the third circuit, to decelerate the acceleration function, to establish limits on what was printable, discussable, even thinkable.

The Greek myth of Prometheus Bound– the Titan who brought Light to humanity and is eternally punished for it– is the synecdoche, the perfect symbol, of how the third circuit [reason] has been handled in most human societies.

Robert Anton Wilson,  Prometheus Rising (1983)

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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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