Sunday, March 18, 2007

His Serene Absence

I have continued to discover how low-profile Bob seems in the UK – and I feel amazed but not surprised (if you see what I mean).

I never know where to start, when people assume he ‘is’ my guru, and I tend to say “my favourite writer, humorist and philosopher” but that just doesn’t get it.

with thanks and apologies to R.Crumb So, as I always thought of him as a serene presence (even though I never met him), and have recently got back into ‘pataphysics, and have stopped teasing the Thelemites about ritual titles, etc I have decided to call him His Serene Absence for a bit. Why not? After all, maybe what we called his ‘death’ doesn’t mean quite what we think it does (I hate to reify death with Winnie-the-Pooh's Very Important Thought capital letters – as in Death) like the word points to a ‘thing’ or even ‘one unique event’. He started out as one fertilized egg cell the size of a full stop, just like you and me. He got exceedingly complex (and thousands of times larger), and I have no idea if the complexity vanishes, or simply spreads out. I told him once, in the forums, that I thought of Leary's body in the jail as a particle, but I thought of his mind as a wave, spreading through space and time. You can't lock up the mind in a confined space. He seemed to like that vaguely quantum reference. For me, it parallels the wave/particle model for the mind/body. Anyway - I like Bobby's idea that Bob and Arlen have met up again, somewhere out there in the Pacific.

So, for researchers who just found us, you could read Antero Alli’s memories of meeting Bob or read any of Bob's 35 books (list on Wiki). Or check out RAW's own website - lots of links on the right.

Or if you don’t like reading, you could try about an hour of Bob talking (on Google Video) from a few years back – The Universe Contains A Maybe. I do understand that you can’t recommend humour to people – so his jokes may not get to you, of course. I liked his line about why he no longer considers himself an atheist, or a believer. He tried living as an atheist for a while, but it left him nothing to shout when… Oh, go listen if you want the punchline…

If you prefer, you may like the hour of Bob talking in a bookshop, called The I in The Triangle, in short (part 1) or long versions (about 2 hours)

The number of people who have made money out of Bob’s stuff astounds me – but he remains serene and quotes “plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery”. Without even thinking hard I would point to Umbero Eco’s “Foucault’s Pendulum” which echoes almost everything in Illuminatus! The Da Vinci Code stole quite a lot from him – and from The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail as well. No need to talk about the recent film - The Number 23, as Burroughs started that and Bob ran with it.

You can see him on Politically Incorrect on the subject of LSD with Bill Maher, standing in for Tim Leary. Tim’s excuse for not showing up? Dying. I love Bob’s line:
“I haven’t used acid in over two days, and really, it’s great to be clean”.

You don’t really need me to point this stuff out, now do you? You may need intelligence and a sense of humour. Recently I heard DJ Bob Dylan (his new persona) saying that he realised that his show no longer went out only on XM Radio in the USA, but had got a release in the UK, on the BBC – so when he said the word ‘humor’ he had put in the ‘u’ especially for the British audience.

Just do yer own Google on Robert Anton Wilson (or use whatever search engine seems ethical/acceptable to you. I realise some people now see Google as the new Microsoft monopoly megalith).

For a dense cluster of material, I can’t praise highly enough the wonderful Robert Anton Wilson fan site and forum (so you can chat, too, if you get confused), that you can find in the semi-permanent links on the right). And in the new incarnation of the Maybe Logic Academy - MLA 4.0- we don't hide behind closed doors (although we still have a few secret rooms) so you could drop in and read some of our exchanges before deciding if you dare join us. We don't have any secret ordeals to become a member.

heh, heh, heh. Trust me!


The Purple Gooroo said...

Nice one, Bogus! I miss Bob not being on this planet in corporeal form.

I like to think that his protons and electrons and quarks have still remained in some Bob-like form as he swirls 'round universe. Of course, I try not to "believe" that - lest it gets dogmatized in my neurons.

I never met the man either - something I regret and I've tried not to "guru-ize" him, tho' it's probably happened inadvertently once or twice. It's touch not to do when just about everything one reads by him, one agrees with (in my case, anyway). I think he's quoted as saying "The worst thing about having white hair and a long beard is then people think you're a sage." Humble to the end.

Oh yeah - for anyone reading this, I've finally joined the MLA and honestly - the initiation 'rituals' are quite fnord pleasant. That's just a joke...maybe...

The Purple Gooroo said...

*oop..that's "it's tough not to do.."

Bogus Magus said...

[eldritch organ music with rising chords]
heh heh heh

Now you got in, Purple Gooroo, try to get OUT!


The Purple Gooroo said...

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! "Hello Chapel Perilous my old friend/I've come to hang out with you again..."

Bogus Magus said...

heh heh

Now, where was I?

Oh, no - trapped in my own device, hoist by my own petard!



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