Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Wicked Wiki in the future

Robert Anton Wilson in later life

The Maybe Logic Academy ran for three years with Robert Anton Wilson (the founder) at the helm (what’s with all these shipping metaphors that keep slipping into this blog?) I guess I like the Great Pirates model, with a cybernaut steering the vessel. (and who the hell 'is' Flemming Funch?)

Since RAW left the planet, oh the best part of a year ago, the Academy continues to function OK. The current incarnation of the forum seems a bit clunky, to me, compared with some of the previous ones we had (sorry, Admin!) but it is also more complicated (which could explain that). Rather than a separate forum for each course, the campus now includes meeting rooms, blogs, general and course forums, etc. Oh, and guests and visitors also have access, rather than just an elite of paying students, which has led to spam attacks and other such nonsense. Still, generally, it’s great to have new minds joining us.

Work & Play together

The long-term students (lifers) still work together, occasionally meet up, encourage each other, work collaboratively and so on. You might see this blog as the kind of thing that emerges from such teamwork with friends who have never met in the body.

Anyway. We have been learning Wiki by doing some collaborative fiction writing using the Wiki set up – and now I have a rough idea how it works, I would like to start working on a Wiki based around Illuminatus!
Bill Hicks - Love, Laughter and Truth
Although that book dates back to the early 1970s, it doesn’t seem to date. A bit like Bill Hicks’ routines.

Working in the early 90s he was talking about the folly of a President called George Bush, and the stupidity of a war in Iraq. He dies, finds some posthumous fame, and people play the routines back 15 years later and, guess what, the references to George Bush and Iraq sound topical. Quite eerie, really.

I find The Illuminatus Trilogy doesn’t seem to date, either.

  • Firstly, it has a plot that sprawls all over spacetime, so it doesn’t appear stuck in the 70s.

  • Secondly, things didn’t change much, although people have become far more aware and knowing about conspiracies, Government corruption, magick, alternative history, drugs, and many of the other themes it contains (ecology, sexism, sizeism, etc.)

  • Thirdly, it has some real premonition hits (like blowing a hole in the Pentagon which lets out the demon – something that might have seemed improbable/impossible before 9:11)

  • Fourthly, it is far more readable than (say) Foucault’s Pendulum, which covers much of the same material, and yet far less trivial than (say) The Da Vinci Code.

  • Fifthly, the authors deliberately layered up references and teasers so that it deserves (and rewards) re-reading.

Volume One - original cover - I preferred three smaller paperbacks, for carrying around
My model for a Wiki arises from similar spaces I have found online like the one for Gravity’s Rainbow, or concordances for Finnegans Wake and Ulysses. Illuminatus seems far more accessible (if at times confusing to straight minds) than any of those.

We had a lot of fun teasing out some of the material when we did a twelve week course with RAW about just that one book. I really enjoyed the chance to talk with an author about a one of my favourite books, and with people who felt the same enthusiasm as I did. We can't have the input of either him or Bob Shea any more, sadly, but the book remains to work with.
Bob Wilson and Bob Shea
Anyway – no doubt, as busy people you can’t spend all day reading a blog. If you like the idea, have any knowledge of the legal implications for copyright, etc, any experience in setting up or contributing to a literary Wiki, or any other comments, please do use the Comments function below.

Thank-you for your attention.


Unknown said...

The recent audio book editions of Illuminatus! have been wonderful for me. I can submerge within my favorite prose adventure without taking my eyes off the drawing board.

My opinion on the copyright aspect of a literary wiki is "fuck it!" Though I am a bit freewheeling w/ information, but I can't imagine anyone suing over what is basically a grassroots word of mouth publicity campaign. In fact, apparently, this has become a marketing strategy for some major properties, its called "crowd sourcing." They see it as free viral marketing labor, basically.

"Reality is what you can get away with!"

The Purple Gooroo said...

I'm definitely up for helping with an "Illuminatus!" Wiki--though I don't blame anyone if they think that's an empty I sometimes tend to be all over the place. I do want to help, though--if Bogus or someone else gets it rolling..

I like that pic of "The Two Bobs"--never seen it before--very cool!

Anonymous said...

Splendid stuff, I'd like to handle this slow and easy to begin with..
Me, I'm unfamiliar with the Wiki, like a fly hooked to a spider-web. I 'll
contribute anyway I really like to deliver, based on my wizz-googling of mere key-words and topics linked to
any Rawfest..who knows, some day we
just create few new cyber-Jesi, for believers only of course..any time I'm in, with a little help from u friends..

Bogus Magus said...

I don't really intend anything too esoteric or complex here - just initiate another joint reading of Illuminatus!

I just noticed that I haven't read much of the Bob(s) recently - RAW directed us to Joyce and Pound in the last year or so.

I certainly don't want to kill the fun, because the books tell the story themselves, and seem quite self-sufficient (not needing 'dead letter' criticism), but we got some fun out of teasing out some details and in-jokes (did you notice that Chapter One ends in 'point', Chapter Two in 'line', Chapter Three in 'plane', and The Fourth Trip in 'solid'?

Many of them may just prove jokes that the Bobs did to amuse each other - others may have some 'significance'. Who knows?

Unknown said...

I can offer another wiki for the cause, no domain switching this time either! Let me know if the space is needed, and I'll open it up.

Steve Fly said...

Sounds Great fun,
Lets do it!

Anonymous said...

I searched google for wiki and illuminatus, because my girlfriend and I had this idea to start a wiki around Illuminatus! a few nights ago, and we both thought it was really important. We have a lot of ideas on how it would be set up to best further understanding of this book: its concepts, its plot, its characters, its references...

When the search results came up, I decided to throw caution to the wind, and click on the 23rd result, no matter what.

That was this blog entry.

I'd like to start a dialogue about this, please email me at

CirikloDilo said...


Hopefully can mooch some of the knowledge y'awl acquired in the course.

Can't wait.

(the word verification for this comment was "douyfai".. I Fad You?
Dafy Iou?

Bogus Magus said...

Hi Crazy Bird!

the Wiki doesn't seem to have taken off yet, or reached critical mass, and I had put in most of what I know...I'll probably carry on with one more re-read and post of theories, but that seems opposite to the spirit of Wiki.

It becomes 'my thesis' which ain't the same thing at all, at all.


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