Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Arlen and Mavericks of the Sinclairularity

John Sinclair recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of his release from Jail, for the most part due to the massive ‘John Sinclair Freedom Rally’, a fairy-tale like happening, that featured John Lennon, Stevie Wonder and Allen Ginsberg and many more, organized and communicating through music, rock and roll, Jazz, and spoken word to successfully fight injustice.

The Bentley Museum and Ann Arbor Library added rich multi-media presentations featuring digitized magazines, audio clips and posters. John Sinclair will be re-launching radio free Amsterdam on January 1st 2012 after a nine month hiatus featuring new shows of Jazz, Blues, Soul, New Orleans Music, and beatnik infused spoken word.

David Jay Brown recently published an article on MDMA as a treatment for some forms of Autism which I liked and that led me to discover the fabulous renewed MAVERICKS OF THE MIND: Thought Provoking Interviews on Consciousness by David Jay Brown. RAW seems to sit perfectly among many contemporaries and like-minded individuals. I would like to pay special attention, here, to a beautiful and thought provoking interview with Arlen Riley Wilson. RAW’s greatest supporter, influence and ‘beautiful mind’ in her own right. Praise Arlen!

I just discovered that there’s a ‘Pun Detector’ (see video below) in Watson, the A.I. (Computer) And was reminded of one of BOB’s comments somewhere, that I think he attributed to Arlen, whereby she imagined that a ‘Bull-Shit’ Detector could be wired into the cable box (a Bullshit App), especially during speech’s from Politicians and Religious leaders. WATSON seems to be navigating the data-fields to choose, with delicate ‘confidence’ to RING that BULLSHIT’ alarm!

Friday, December 23, 2011

RADIO FREE BARBELITH (Join The Invisibles Reading Group!)

"Fuck Man, I'll tell ya, when I was a kid I read Robert Anton Wilson and all this shit, and here we are, we're standing here, we're talking about this shit, and it's real." – Grant Morrison

Friend of the show, Davis, @widefidelity on Twitter is kicking off 2012 w/ an Invisibles reading group over at RADIO FREE BARBELITH. Here's his description of the project:
"I consider RADIO FREE BARBELITH a convivium, a gathering grounds, a tribal assembly, a coming-together of readers looking to breach the walls of Grant Morrison's The Invisibles and loot and pillage the contents together. This will be an exploration of fertile noise, a networked ebb and flow of dialogue and discovery centered around, but certainly not limited to, The Invisibles. We'll read through the series at a relaxed pace, aiming to wrap it all up on December 21, 2012.

The proceedings will most likely operate with the shambling in-efficiency of a working prototype - my sincerest apologies in advance for any kind of technical/social/cultural/national/personal issues that float to the surface or muddy the waters.

We'll start with the first issue in January, so until then, relax! Any questions? Comment here, or drop me a line at


Join up! Join in! Don't consider this an interrogation, an inquisition, but a friendly probing, an opportunity to set some initial experimental conditions - Cast your role! Build yourself a body an immerse yourself! Select your player! Who are you? Why do you want to engage with The Invisibles? Why now? Why here?"

Continues over at

This seems like a fun idea to me, and so I wanted to echo the clarion call thusly:

(Bootleg digital versions)

You'll need a .cbr reader for these, like:
FFView for Mac
or Comic Rack for PC
 (Official print versions)
(and the forthcoming...)
Available August 21st, 2012
$150.00 US, 1,536 p 

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Steve Yeowell, Jilll Thompson, Dennis Cramer, Chris Weston, John Ridgway, Steve Parkhouse, Kim DeMulder, Paul Johnson, Phil Jimenez, John Stokes, Tommy Lee Edwards, Dick Giordano, Mark Buckingham, Mark Pennington, Michael Lark, Keith Aiken, Marc Hempel, Ray Kryssing, Philip Bond, Glyn Dillon, Ivan Reis, Warren Pleece, Sean Phillips, Jay Stephens, Frank Quitely, Grant Morrison, and others
Collects: THE INVISIBLES #1-25, THE INVISIBLES VOL. 2 #1-22, THE INVISIBLES VOL. 3 #12-1 and a story from VERTIGO: WINTER’S EDGE #1

[It seems maybe fair enough to balance piracy w/ promotion? Free educational material in exchange for free viral marketing, win/win style?]

For more on GM check out the documentary Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods (Available free on Hulu)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Grey Lodge Archive

According to Joseph Matheny's blog, Grey Lodge Occult Review links will redirect to TubeGnosis for the time being - although he hints that a relaunch may happen some time next year, perhaps offering access to the other documents, etc.

Having said that, the video collection certainly seems worth a browse!

The same story appeared in Boing Boing today.

Friday, December 09, 2011


A general semanticist is someone who, upon encountering a person with a beard, would say it was probably a man, but would hold open the possibility that it might be a bearded lady.  - Richard P. Marsh

The subject of General Semantics (and Count Alfred Korzybski) came up quite often when studying with RAW, even if only indirectly (as in discussions of E-Prime, for instance, or Non-Aristotelean Logic).

GS aims to improve one's ability to evaluate the world and one's place in it.

The younger generation(s) appear to know little of GS, but it had a period of great influence on people like William Burroughs (born 1914) who actually went and studied with Korzybski in 1939. 
Details of that amazing sounding set of lectures, here.

I guess RAW learned about GS later, perhaps via Burroughs, and A.E.Van Vogt, etc - or through the founders of NLP - Bandler and Grinder (say). Or maybe Bucky Fuller, Alan Watts or Gregory Bateson.

Bob himself gave a lecture at the Institute of General Semantics - here in PDF format.

More recently, Graham Rae gave this interesting presentation:


He posted the text of the talk on this forum at Reality Studio.

This OM post has appeared now in response to our hearing about  a huge biography of Korzybski written by Bruce Kodish which sounds fascinating (to me).

Kodish has a blog related to this material here.

And here, on the relationship to Burroughs.

For those who do not know anything about the subject, this brief summary by Piero Scaruffi might give you a glimpse, although whether such a brief description may confuse more than enlighten, who can say?


• Animals: hunters and gatherers = bind to territory, i.e."space-binders"
• Humans: agriculture = bind to a memory of the past and prediction of the future, i.e. "time-binders"
• Time-binding is enabled by a nervous system that is capable of constructing and manipulating symbols
• Time-binding allows to transmit knowledge to succeeding generations
• The rate of growth of human knowledge is exponential  (aka the Jumping Jesus Phenomenon)
• Language allows time-binders to categorize/generalize experiences and communicate them to others
• General Semantics to remedy the limits of language:
• We have fewer words and concepts than experiences: we "confuse" similar situations
• We must evaluate a situation less by intension (its category) and more by extension (its unique features)
• We must avoid categorization/generalization and spot the unique characteristics of a situation

This link goes to the Institute of General Semantics, relating to the new biography.

New York Society of General Semantics - about Korzybski by Susan and Bruce Kodish

Random Research

fUSION aNOMALY on Korzysbski

fUSION aNOMALY on Burroughs

Steven Lewis - brief bio of Korzybski

Steven Lewis on General Semantics

Donald Fagen mentions GS, RAW, Van Vogt and Burroughs

Language, a virus?    By Florian Cramer

The Road to Interzone: Reading William S. Burroughs Reading    by Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens - The Road to Interzone Interview        by Paul Hawkins

Friday, November 18, 2011

Great Minds

The autobiography of Kary Mullis - Dancing Naked in the Mind Field - rewards a quick reader.  He spends very little time on his childhood, or his parents, or relationships - but presents a series of thoughts, challenges, teases, and rants - in a lucid, humorous and provocative way.

He won a Nobel Prize in biochemistry, but remains quite clear that much of what we call Science still needs querying.  He searches for the original citation that HIV causes AIDS, and can't find it; he suspects climate change scientists of a greater interest in funding than in a scientific approach; he remains dismissive of most of the pseudo-science of diet that so many of us find addictive; he remains totally unashamed of his experiments with drugs, most particularly LSD - and blatantly loves women and surfing. In terms of people holding down jobs than contributing usefully to society, he also points at the Prohibition Police, who, having lost their main focus of illegal alcohol turned their attention to (then legal) marijuana, rather than disband the no-longer needed bureaucracy, funding channels and hierarchy of jobs.

As the record of an interesting life, this joins the books of Richard Feynman (who loved playing bongos, became fascinated by locks, etc - while working in Quantum Physics), and John Lilly (one of the really far out scientists), and even Bucky Fuller (although perhaps the science community might think of him as an engineer if they think about him at all.)

Be prepared for jokes and surprises, too.  He describes what he still considers might have be described as an alien abduction, and defends astrology as something he finds works, whether or not we can understand how - comparing it to other areas of folk wisdom (like herbs that work, which we don't accept or use until we can extract the active ingredient).

Kary Mullis also offers an interesting reading list on his website.

A very refreshing mind to spend time with.

If you don't feel like reading, maybe check him out on the ever-intriguing TED Talks.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

RAW Bookplate

I don't know if his library ever actually got cataloged, but I was asked to scribble this up way back when (Late '06),  in anticipation of the project. 

Follow @RAWilson23 on Twitter!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Seven Years On

I find it hard to believe that seven years have passed since I signed up to study the Illuminatus! trilogy directly with one of its authors - Robert Anton Wilson - through the Maybe Logic Academy.

Online study, remote learning, a forum - all new experiences to me, at the time.

It turned out to lead to many more study groups, and subjects, but that going deeply into one text felt like one of the most satisfying and focused of processes.

Very few books seem to warrant re-reading, but this trilogy belongs in that category, for me - like Catch-22 or Joyce's Ulysses.   I doubt I re-read them more than once a decade, as the world seems full of great new stuff - but they beckon me back at times, just as favourite movies can.

We did put up a wiki for the book (after seeing wikis for - say - Gravity's Rainbow) but it didn't really reach critical mass, and attracted a lot of spam, so turned into a high maintenance site with relatively little new input.   We also came across another and 'official' wiki for the trilogy (on Wikia), but that also seemed fairly slow moving.

With a re-read approaching, and Fuzzbuddy working on film scripts of the book(s) it seemed like a good time to review the online material, update the links, etc - so the wiki stuff has got imported into an Illuminatus! trilogy website linked to this blog for review.

It remains a work-in-progress, of course....

looking back over the forum posts, I found this exchange towards the end of the course:

9 Nov 2004    Bogus Magus:  

Little did I know, however, that I would end up treating it the way we are now - poring over the text like a Joycean scholar!

10 Nov 2004   RAW:  

 Dear Bogmag, 

Of course, I wanted at least some readers to 
pore over the text like Joyce scholars....that's
why I made it so Joycean

It has taken 29 years [plus the 5 years
lost in getting it published] but that
dream seems real at last, 
and I thank everybody

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Other Tales

The new dynamic 'looks' for Blogger do have a tantalising way of revealing old posts, so it seems worth a try. It does seem a shame to lose all the great links we accumulated down the right hand sidebar - of like-minded sites, interesting places to visit, etc. For some reason the dynamic views shed all that, in their desperation to get rid of the linear blog format.

You may find this week that the blog occasionally displays with the new dynamic templates.

Here's Uncle Bill, who I guess might encourage the cutting up and re-mixing of the site....


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Myles from Dublin

"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

This coming weekend, if you can find your way to Dublin, you would have a chance to attend a talk on Flann O'Brien and 'Pataphysics - @ Flann100.   It forms part of a celebration of that notional 100th birthday that dead people seem to celebrate these days.   [I still find it a bit strange to celebrate a day when someone 'would have been' 71 - John Lennon - or 100, say].  Perhaps a subjunctive birthday?  - [Later: Nah, I had to look it up...'would have been' looks like the 'perfect conditional' of the verb 'to be'. Ahem]

Although Flann O'Brien's work can prove an acquired taste, and varies in quality quite wildly, I guess readers of this blog might well enjoy The Third Policeman.  Whether the strange take on Atomic Theory has anything to do with Erwin Schrödinger spending his time in Dublin at the Institute for Advanced Studies - hard to know.

And his best known work At-Swim-Two-Birds still bears re-reading. It amused James Joyce.

Find all his books at The Dalkey Archive Press
Myles na gCopaleen, aka Flann O’Brien, aka Brian O’Nolan

Robert Anton Wilson references him fairly frequently, as also his creation de Selby - see, for instance,
The Celtic Roots of Quantum Theory - and footnotes throughout The Widow's Son.

And for something about De Selby and the link to 'Pataphysics, check out Borsky's piece written for the Maybe Quarterly, written in memory of Bob.

The dubious ascend of Mount Wilson

Robert Anton Wilson made the gesture of dying [2] on the 14 décervelage 134 E.P. Phlegmatic as ever, the last comment on his Blog five days previously was: "Please excuse my levity...but I just can't take dying seriously".
2. 'Pataphysicians only lose their earthly shelf when dying; as such a physical death is considered an illusion, a pure formal matter; and it is said they 'make the gesture of dying' as if saluting when leaving the stage.
IFOBS celebration - July 2011

The Atomic Theory of Bicycles

“The gross and net result of it is that people who spent most of their natural lives riding iron bicycles over the rocky roadsteads of this parish get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their bicycle as a result of the interchanging of the atoms of each of them and you would be surprised at the number of people in these parts who are nearly half people and half bicycles...when a man lets things go so far that he is more than half a bicycle, you will not see him so much because he spends a lot of his time leaning with one elbow on walls or standing propped by one foot at kerbstones.”
                                                                                                     - Flann O'Brien, The Third Policeman

And all that, long before Albert Hofmann's fateful bicycle ride...                           Jarry on a bicycle   

Friday, October 07, 2011

Asynchronous links

Could be well off the pace here, but just noticed that DeOxy seem to have re-arranged their RAW page.
Full of interesting links to pursue.                                                                                               FNORD

Friday, September 23, 2011

Another Equinox!

Happy Autumn Equinox to all in the Northern Hemisphere!

And for those in the Southern Hemisphere - enjoy the first day of Spring!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Follow your Bliss

It seems a shame that Joseph Campbell's lovely thought has lost its power, possibly thanks to the invention of the phrase "bliss-ninny" as an insulting term for New Age, empty-headed optimism.

Judging from various references he made to his own life, he intended it as a guideline about working on things that you love. If you succeed, fine, you also get rewards from society, but if not, at least you have enjoyed your time.

He contrasts that to setting out to 'succeed' - to make money, or achieve celebrity - which, if those rewards do not come to you, leave you with miserable memories of wasting your time on irrelevant things.

Quote from An Open Life

"But if a person has had the sense of the Call -- the feeling that there's an adventure for him -- and if he doesn't follow that, but remains in the society because it's safe and secure, then life dries up. And then he comes to that condition in late middle age: he's gotten to the top of the ladder, and found that it's against the wrong wall.

If you have the guts to follow the risk, however, life opens, opens, opens up all along the line. I'm not superstitious, but I do believe in spiritual magic, you might say. I feel that if one follows what I call one's "bliss" -- the thing that really gets you deep in your gut and that you feel is your life -- doors will open up. They do! They have in my life and they have in many lives that I know of."
"...if you follow your bliss, you'll have your bliss, whether you have money or not. If you follow money, you may lose money, and then you don't have even that. The secure way is really the insecure way and the way in which the richness of the quest accumulates is the right way."

In addition to this strategy for life, he also refers to the curious sense of a story that one finds in what had seemed a chaotic life, when looking back. Here, in converation with Bill Moyers:Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell

CAMPBELL: Schopenhauer, in his splendid essay called "On an Apparent Intention in the Fate of the Individual,"
points out that when you reach an advanced age and look back over your lifetime, it can seem to have had a consistent order and plan, as though composed by some novelist. Events that when they occurred had seemed accidental and of little moment turn out to have been indispensable factors in the composition of a consistent plot. So who composed that plot? Schopenhauer suggests that just as your dreams are composed by an aspect of yourself of which your consciousness is unaware, so, too, your whole life is composed by the will within you. And just as people whom you will have met apparently by mere chance became leading agents in the structuring of your life, so, too, will you have served unknowingly as an agent, giving meaning to the lives of others, The whole thing gears together like one big symphony, with everything unconsciously structuring everything else. And Schopenhauer concludes that it is as though our lives were the features of the one great dream of a single dreamer in which all the dream characters dream, too; so that everything links to everything else, moved by the one will to life which is the universal will in nature.
Indra's net

It’s a magnificent idea – an idea that appears in India in the mythic image of the Net of Indra, which is a net of gems, where at every crossing of one thread over another there is a gem reflecting all the other reflective gems. Everything arises in mutual relation to everything else, so you can’t blame anybody for anything. It is even as though there were a single intention behind it all, which always makes some kind of sense, though none of us knows what the sense might be, or has lived the life that he quite intended.
All this came back to me, when reading some material of Campbell's on Joyce -

Mythic Worlds, Modern Words: On the Art of James Joyce

- and how his reading the first lines of Chapter 3 of Ulysses - Proteus (see previous post) - set him off on a different life path.

"INELUCTABLE MODALITY OF THE VISIBLE: AT LEAST THAT IF NO MORE, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read..."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Walking Into Eternity

"Am I walking into eternity along Sandymount strand?"
James Joyce, ULYSSES, Episode 3, Proteus

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Falling on Deaf Ears

Written by Bogus Magus w/ Artwork by Bobby Campbell

"...riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs."

We learned many wonderful things on RAW's Tale of the Tribe course, but Giambattista Vico's holistic view of human evolution and development as a cyclic progression, a spiral, really appealed to many of us and deserves further exploration. In spite of living in dangerous times for such thinking Vico perceived, and attempted to describe, history as a whole system, and humans as self-made, just as Darwin would later attempt to sum up how plants and animals formed themselves without a "creator".

Moderns might describe Joyce's fantastic novel Finnegans Wake (which implied this cyclic structure) as a hologram, but Vico might well have described it in the Hermetic or alchemical terms of a Microcosm/Macrocosm, "as above, so below."


This 100 letter magical word appears on page one and some say it represents a clap of thunder, the Big Bang of Creation. To me it would work equally well as the sound of a slapstick fall (Finnegan falling off his ladder like a ton of bricks) - and, as the main character has fallen asleep, perhaps it could also remind us of a very loud snore.

The Gnostics seemed to think of The Fall (and the Original Sin) not as a human flaw - Adam eating the Forbidden Fruit - so much as something that "god" did. A demiurge fell for the temptation to slow Light down into Matter, to manifest Himself in the blissful void of the Great Mother, to create a world to rule over, and condemn people to a life and death struggle, etc. Confused echoes of this remain in the stories of Fallen Angels bringing humans fire and teaching the arts of civilisation, leading to the loss of an innocent life.

Vico worked with the Inquisition breathing down his neck, so he could not talk of an eternal cycle with no beginning, and had to start from the Creation in Genesis. He implied that after the Flood Noah's descendants wandered for some time, losing their god-given culture and language and degenerating to a bestial life. (Without that pressure to fit the story to The Bible story, we just start with "cave-men" these days, and already know about ancient civilisations rising, flourishing and then falling).

Vico chose to start his description of the cycle with primitive humans immersed in nature, using only a symbolic language of gesture, monosyllables, signs, hieroglyphs and ideograms to describe their experience of the world. Deeply embedded, they viewed the world in a mythic sense, and felt themselves as part of the whole rather than as separate individuals. He thought that they would hold the elements in awe. Storms and the voice of the thunder would impress them greatly, and lightning snaking down might bring them fire with which they could keep warm while huddled in their caves. In the face of such "gods" those brute humans covered themselves with fur, and guiltily retreating to the privacy of caves (a recap of Adam and Eve cowering from God's thunderous anger at their disobedience) so beginning the forming of human culture. The strong alpha males offered protection from predators, outlaws and other threats to the older or weaker, and to their families of women and children. Even if they seemed like giants, ritual may have proved necessary against these greater forces of nature, placating the "gods" and protecting the clan. Primitive religion thrives in the Age of the Fall...

As humans began to build shelters, cities, palaces and churches - develop communities and take up farming - they moved into what he called the Age of Heroes.

They gained more control over the elements, and the powerful either fought or joined in alliances, employing and ruling the poorer and weaker. Pharaohs, Kings and Queens appeared as demi-gods - a manifestation of an unseen deity. Laws, institutions, and rigid beliefs developed to control society. Their language became polysyllabic, and poetic - with the use of metaphor and simile - but few would understand this complex language - much of it remained a mysterious tool in the hands of the Priests and rulers. Rich families would have heraldic crests, flags, and other signs of power. Rules of chivalry and Romance (falling in love) might hold sway, but the social structure kept sharp divisions between rich and poor, as in feudal economies.

When the laws get applied fairly to all they inevitably restrict the abuse of power, and even the rich have to acknowledge and obey them, so gradually the use of logic and articulate common language leads to abstraction, generalization, free discussion, legal argument and rationality. Rigid, traditional values get challenged by a meritocracy and eventually this leads the way to "democracy".

In the Age of the People all have similar rights, although freedom can feel frightening...

This stage, too cannot last, and Vico thought of the next stage (which he called the Ricorso) as a period of confusion and anarchy and self-indulgence. This could pave the way for a return to barbarism, a new upsurge of superstition, a neo-primitive phase, the resurgence of religion in all its forms, and a yearning once more for certainty, and the worship of a strong male authority figure, aka God.

Just as Joyce had written Ulysses to contain all the stories and struggles of humans manifest in one brief day in Dublin, portrayed by ordinary folk, so he structured Finnegans Wake as one long night, with several cycles of sleep and dreaming.

A falling asleep, a dreaming of all the tales of the tribe in all the languages of the world, an endless repetition of human relationships - marriage and a family ruled by the male in the age of gods, the fighting of brothers and the wiles of daughters in the age of heroes, the burial of the father in the age of the people - finally returning to consciousness at the break of day, to start the whole thing over.

We can see the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire in Vico's model, and we can see the Roman Catholic Church giving way to Feudal England, followed by the rational Enlightenment, etc. Many people adopted the cyclic theory of history. Marx liked the inevitability he saw implied in the class struggle of the weak to demand and win their rights. He overlooked the fact that we cannot stop at any one phase of the cycle, so the reversion to autocratic Stalinism from the initially "rational" Communism might have disappointed him if he had lived to witness it. Of course, many of us may relish this anarchic period of confusion - but this model stands as a warning of the risks as time rolls on...and a Fundamentalist religious mentality kicks in.

Perhaps we can learn to control how long each part of the cycle lasts? Perhaps McLuhan's prediction of an oral/aural, post-literate, mythopoetic tribe shows one way that we could pass through the current age of change and movement and turbulence and opportunity to enter a mythical and wondrous 'golden age of the gods' , with every man and woman a star, without this time Falling for a Father Figure?

"As his title indicates (FINNEGANS WAKE), he saw that the wake of human progress can disappear again into the night of sacral or auditory man. The Finn cycle of tribal institutions can return in the electric age, but if again, then let's make it a wake or awake or both. Joyce could see no advantage in our remaining locked up in each cultural cycle as in a trance or dream. He discovered the means of living simultaneously in all cultural modes while quite conscious. The means he cites for such self-awareness and correction of cultural bias is his "collideorscope". This term indicates the interplay in colloidal mixture of all components of human technology as they extend our senses and shift their ratios in the social kaleidoscope of cultural clash: "deor", savage, the oral or sacral; "scope" the visual or profane and civilized."

-Marshall McLuhan

And Joyce felt tempted, god-like, to finally write his own sacred text, his last creation.

Here endeth the first lesson.

"The keys to. Given! A way a lone a last a loved a long the..."

(originally published online in Maybe Quarterly #5, and in print in "Maybe... #1")

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Testify feat. John Sinclair

MC5 magus, white panther founder; the myth that is Jon Sinclair delivers his testimonial to the bohenium ideal.
credits from The Politics Of Envy, released 25 July 2011

Words by Jon Sinclair
Music by Youth
Produced by Youth
Mixed by Youth & Michael Rendall
Chorus Vox- Angie Brown
Bass - Youth
Gtr- Andrew Robertson
Gtr- Alan Clayton
Gtr- James Sedwards
Drums- Stever
Piano- Alex Ward
Sax- Alex Ward
Hammond/Harmonium- Michael Rendall

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

What is the question to which life is the answer?

Cover to the next edition, which may be awhile yet, so why not enjoy here & now!?

Monday, August 01, 2011

Rushkoff's New Book

You can find Douglas Rushkoff's new book "Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commandments for a Digital Age" at O/R Books (as well as Amazon, kindle, etc). If you email a completely empty message (no title or content) to you will get a generous 24 page PDF chapter-by-chapter breakdown, with additional study suggestions.


Coming Round Again

Written by Bogus Magus W/ Illustrations by Bobby Campbell

Don't talk to me about journeys to the Underworld. I think of myself as one of those people who doesn't dream.

Oh, sure, 'Everybody dreams!' they say, with a knowing smile, 'it's just that some of us remember them'.

But I forget, I forget.

They tell me this stuff, these people who remember all their serial incarnations. Seriously, they emerge into our daily world from some curious realm that reacts directly to their thought, and calmly step into this entirely different reality - finding me haggard, hung-over, habitual - and they seem neither excited nor scared. Why? Because they not only remember their dream interludes but they also remember their continuity from the day before. Despite all the picaresque adventures of their nights, they seriously rejoin this apparently stable place I call ‘reality’ with quiet resignation. Maybe their consciousness is virtually continuous.

I can go no further. At this point I feel blind. When I finally shut my eyes I drift awhile then I vanish into the black - not for an eternity because as soon as I open my eyes again the world continues. It often seems as if no time had passed. When I felt frightened of the following day I used to stay up - waking hours last longer - if I fell asleep then OPENED my eyes I would face the feared morning (oh, I don't know, dentist, exam, interview, opening night). And yes of course, sometimes the anticipation felt great - how do you think I ever let go into sleep then OPENED my eyes to another day?

But here I just refer to the good days. After all, I often seem to only get sixteen hours daily life to many other people’s twenty-four. So I get a bit behind having to do my dreaming in the daytime - pressure on - but then again, I don’t have nightmares, I guess (how would I know?)

They've done tests. It appears that sleep deprivation alone doesn’t make a human hallucinate in the waking state, but the deprivation of dreams does. So, imagine - me with no dreams, no surrealism, no lucidity, no monsters or jump-cuts, zooms or eternities, always stuck with gravity, and hunger and life-threatening situations that are REAL goddamit, how do you think I feel when I open my eyes to the same old world, still, without a break.

At the breakfast table the jet-setters come in with their travellers' tales of mythic adventure in lucid dreams. Me, I feel like I haven't slept (I often feel like I haven't slept - sleeping often seems about as refreshing as blinking). Anyway, my ‘real, one and only’ world has to incorporate any fun I might get, and for sure it contains some problems I'll have to confront - dead subtle, too, some of them.

Dream rememberers often appear refreshed by their dimensional vacation (though sometimes they report getting stuck at some psychic airport), and they also remember what they were doing in real time yesterday, and why – so they may well have a script and plan for the day ahead, as they move smoothly back to take up where they left off.

What I call sleep is like the black bar between the frames of a movie. Normally (awake) we don't see it, but when someone like me slows down into sleep it takes an age (a split second) to cross that line. Many mornings it goes as smooth as a flicker book - next image, next day. Just some days I cross the line and it's a CUT to another scene entirely - sure, there's probably a connection, some editing gets real suggestive, but there are shock cuts, like coming round and finding someone tied you to a chair and a light shines in your eyes.

Oh, sure. Call me hero. 'Talk! ' they said. I can't talk after I wake up until I have had at least three cups of coffee, some days. At 150 milligrammes per cup I must use a gramme a day. A gramme of caffeine.

It keeps me in the awake world - better the frame you know than the one coming up. Funny that, most people think coffee speeds things up, and I take it to stay awake and get more time in the same frame.


- somebody slugged me

- They put something in my drink

- what happened?

- It all happened so quickly

I find myself back again - seeing if I can figure out a sequence to this movie or find out if the cuts have a logic or merely a careless randomness to them?

Each morning I struggle to piece together what I remember of the time before the last blackout. With a continuous memory of previous frames I might have a chance to pick up a theme, at least - some kind of order apart from mere habitual days, another page of the book, semi-coherent action flickering by (or at least the image of it.) No abruptness interrupts my days.

I find belongings, sometimes, and notes to myself, when I wake up alone and I'm not tied to a chair or whatever. I have no idea what they mean, beyond what they say.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Robert McLuhan’s book strikes me as an unusual one in an overcrowded field. He neither sides with the debunkers who call themselves sceptics, nor with the ‘believers in the paranormal’, but has returned to the source material, avoiding the trivial thinking and specious arguments that arise from a vague knowledge of secondary and tertiary material (vulnerable to the simplifications, accretions and amplifications that create urban myths, etc).

He clearly states his approach to both sides of the argument as similar to what RAW called “What the Thinker Thinks, the Prover Proves”. He suggests that just as we find an “irrational gravity” among the enthusiasts (drawn to prefer the more far-out explanations) we also find a “rational gravity” that forces people to dismiss, or play-down, unexplained experiences (even of their own), which threaten their world-view.

He seems to want a closer and more respectful look at the evidence for Psi – when we use that to mean telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and psychokinesis. As these four models can often prove sufficient to explain most of the evidence presented, he steers clear of the issues of reincarnation, afterlives, ghosts, NDEs, etc. He doesn’t avoid those subjects, at all, at all, but does set aside the need to address those kind of explanations in detail, because of the added complications of discussing cultural and religious interpretations.

As an ex-magician, without a God, most of my friends think of me as quite a hard-line sceptic. Perhaps my attitude to ritual Magick, for instance, also betrays a resistance to areas that I might find disturbing (the pull of rational gravity) and have chosen not to investigate.

Perhaps I occasionally overstate my case, when arguing, but I have little problem with the idea of Telepathy - some kind of group or tribal mind, a jungle sense (Sheldrake’s ‘Sense of Being Looked At’), or fields of knowledge people can draw on (the Akashic Records, for instance).

I have relatively little problem with Clairvoyance – having friends who seem to pick up atmospheres in particular places, who have great insight into others, or have odd perceptions when handling objects of significance (psychometry). These still seem like mysterious but uncontentious aspects of sensitivity, creativity, imagination, the arts, etc.

I have to admit I have a slightly bigger problem with Precognition, beyond anticipation of the near future, which could fall into that ‘jungle sense’ realm, again. I haven’t shut the door on meaningful ‘glimpses of the future’. What we call "Time" still seems pretty odd, to me, though.

And I have a big problem with Psychokinesis (the movement or transformation of material objects by the mind alone), although perhaps at a trivial level it relates to people who can’t wear watches (they stop), street lights that go out when certain people pass them, The Pauli Effect, and so on. I consider the source material of Men Who Stare At Goats a comedy of bureaucracy, but that doesn’t mean I deny the possibility of hexing people to death, etc. That simply takes us into a much more complex realm of culture, belief systems, placebo effects, self-fulfilling prophecies, psychic self-defence, etc.

So I recommend this book for an intelligent overview - whether you consider yourself a believer (second-hand), or someone who has themselves experienced something inexplicable, or a sceptic or 'rationalist'. It offers material for genuine intelligent discussion, and attempts to tease out the testable from the morass of other material that clutters up occult and paranormal discussions.

Early on he mentions such stories as 'rocks that fall from the sky' reported by ordinary folk for centuries, and dismissed by sceptics and scientists because 'there are no rocks in the sky'. No-one can make such occasional and unpredictable events happen on demand, so they can easily be dismissed. Most psi events seem hard to reproduce in controlled environments, except in a statistical sense (over the interpretation of which bitter arguments still rage on) but that doesn't eliminate the possibility of something odd happening that could reward further study.

Blogs for follow-up:

Randi's Prize - the blog of the book
Paranormalia - another Robert McLuhan blog

Oh, and just to revert to my magician head for a moment.
McLuhan seems under the illusion that people couldn't use conjuring methods (say, to create poltergeist phenomena) because that needs elaborate set-ups, and has to be done far away from the audience (page 76) which only goes to show he hasn't really gone to source material for that, otherwise he would know that improvisational close-up magic has a long history - and a huge resource of techniques. Just as improvised comedy doesn't know where it may end up, but can still create good jokes, some opportunistic magicians do open-ended magic with a variety of possible outcomes (Multiple Outs, in the trade). Geller has more than one way to bend a fork!
And as to magicians having to admit they are baffled by some of the medium's performances, which somehow proves that psychic phenomena really occur, again I beg to differ. Magicians love to feel fooled (see Penn & Teller's current tv show in the UK) but that doesn't mean they have to 'admit' that some psychic event really happened, just because they can't figure it out. Bullsh*t!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Good Talking

The Major Spoilers website has this great podcast...with very interesting discussion on Illuminatus! (the Trilogy), and other RAW books, between Stephen Schleicher and Bruce Otter. If you gotta spare hour...

If you need some frameworks (plot, a draft timeline, character lists, etc) then you can find some of our accumulations on the Wiki we set up to compile our material.

Sadly, the Home Page keeps getting spammed, and we revert it when we can...fortunately you can find the other pages, as most spamming seems to hit that home page. So it goes.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

New Edition of "Email to the Universe" by Robert Anton Wilson

Another new edition, featuring my artwork, coming down the pike this week! As it stands, this is the last book released by RAW, and it was what he was working on when I first came into contact w/ him. It's an anthology of essays, which rather spectacularly runs the gamut of the Robert Anton Wilson oeuvre.

"This book intends to change your way of perceiving/conceiving the world, without drugs or drums or Voodoo, simply by using words in certain special ways."

Available from New Falcon Publications &

Friday, July 22, 2011

New Edition of "An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson" by Eric Wagner

I've scribbled upon yet another cover of Maybe Logical canon!  This time it's Eric Wagner's indispensable exegesis on the hidden symbols and other jokes & profundities in RAW's immortal works.

Available from New Falcon Publications &

I managed to worm my way into the interior pages as well, wherein you'll find things suchlike:

EDIT: Well, I just a few copies in the mail, and the interior art didn't make it in. So it goes! This is what it would have been:







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