Even More About Robert Anton Wilson

RU Sirius has a nice appreciation of the recently deceased author over at 10 Zen Monkeys. A snippet:

Robert Anton Wilson taught us all that “the universe contains a maybe.” So maybe there is an afterlife, and maybe Bob’s consciousness is hovering around all of us who were touched by his words and his presence all these years. And if that’s the case, I’m sure he’d like to see you do something strange and irreverent — and yet beautiful –- in his honor.

More here. Tribute show to Wilson on Sirius' web radio program here.

Reason on Wilson here and here.

Jesse Walker discussed Wilson, the subject of the documentary Maybe Logic as "the unacknowledged elephant in our cultural living room" here.

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    More than 24 hours later, not one newspaper has run an obituary (at least according to Google news). What gives?

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    select excerpts from RAW's "Schroedinger's Cat"

    The majority of Terrans were six-legged. They had territorial squabbles and politics and wars and a caste system. They also had sufficient intelligence to survive on that barren boondocks planet for several billions of years.

    We are not concerned here with the majority of Terrans. We are concerned with a tiny minority-the domesticated primates who built cities and wrote symphonies and invented things like tic-tac-toe and integral calculus. At the time of our story, these primates regarded themselves as the Terrans. The six-legged majority and other life-forms on that planet hardly entered into their thinking at all, most of the time.

    The domesticated primates of Terra referred to the six-legged majority by an insulting name. They called them "bugs."

    There was one species on Terra that lived in very close symbiosis with the domesticated primates. This was a variety of domesticated canines called dogs.

    The dogs had learned to achieve a rough simulation of "guilt" and "remorse" and "worry" and other domesticated primate characteristics.

    The domesticated primates had learned how to achieve simulations of "loyalty" and "dignity" and "cheerfulness" and other canine characteristics.

    The primates claimed that they loved the dogs as much as the dogs loved them. Still, the primates kept the best food for themselves. The dogs noticed this, you can be sure, but they loved the primates so much that they forgave them.

    One dog became famous. Actually he and she was a group of dogs, but they became renowned collectively as Pavlov's Dog.

    The thing about Pavlov's Dog is that he or she or they responded mechanically to mechanically administered stimuli. Pavlov's Dog caused some of the domesticated primates, especially the scientists, to think that all dog behavior was equally mechanical. This made them wonder about other mammals, including themselves.

    Most primates ignored this philosophical challenge. They went about their business assuming that they were not mechanical.

    ...

    The six-legged majority on Terra were never consulted when the domesticated primates set about building weapons that could destroy all life-forms on that planet. This was not unusual. The fish, the birds, the reptiles, the flowers, the trees, and even the other mammals weren't allowed to vote on this issue. Even the wild primates weren't involved in the decision to produce such weapons. In fact, the majority of domesticated primates themselves never had a say in the matter.

    A handful of alpha males among the leading predator bands among the domesticated primates had made the decision on their own. Everybody else on the planet-including the six-legged majority, who had never been involved in primate politics-just had to face the consequences.

    ...

    Most of the domesticated primates of Terra did not know they were primates. They thought they were something apart from and "superior" to the rest of the planet.

    ...

    Since a great deal of primate behavior was considered just awful, most of the domesticated primates spent most of their time trying to conceal what they were doing.

    Some of the primates got caught by other primates. All of the primates lived in dread of getting caught.

    Those who got caught were called "no-good shits".

    The term no-good shit was a deep expression of primate psychology. For instance, one wild primate (a chimpanzee) taught sign language by two domesticated primates (scientists) spontaneously put together the signs for "shit" and "scientist" to describe a scientist she didn't like. She was calling him shit-scientist. She also put together the signs for "shit" and "chimpanzee" for another chimpanzee she didn't like. She was calling him shit-chimpanzee.

    "You no-good shit," domesticate primates often said to each other.

    This metaphor was deep in primate psychology because primates mark their territories with excretions, and sometimes they threw excretions at each other when disputing over territories.

    One primate wrote a long book describing in vivid detail how his political enemies should be punished. He imagined them in an enormous hole in the ground, with flames and smoke and rivers of shit. This primate was named Dante Alighieri.

    Another primate wrote that every primate infant goes through a stage of being chiefly concerned with biosurvival, i.e. food, i.e. Mommie's Titty. He called this the Oral Stage. He said the infant next went on to a stage of learning mammalian politics, i.e. recognizing the Father (alpha male) and his Authority and territorial demands. He called this, with an insight that few primates shared, the Anal Stage.

    This primate was named Freud. He had taken his own nervous system apart and examined his component circuits by periodically altering its structure with neuro-chemicals.

    Among the anal insults exchanged by domesticated primates when fighting for their space were: "Up your ass," "Go shit in your hat," "You're full of shit," "Take it and stick it where the moon doesn't shine," and many others.

    One of the most admired alpha males in the Kingdom of the Franks was General Canbronne. General Canbronne won this adulation for the answer he once gave when asked to surrender at Waterloo.

    "Merde," was the answer General Canbronne gave.

    When primates went to war or got violent in other ways, they always said they were about to "knock the shit" out of the enemy.

    ...

    Justin Case suspected that the FBI was tapping his phone. However, 9,000,000 out of 20,000,000 primates in New York also suspected the FBI of tapping their phones. Case just happened to be one of the 8,000,000 who were correct in this suspicion.

    Case was certainly not a mutineer by temperament; his visual cortex-the most energized part of him-was neurogenetically imprinted with a dry, detached, analytical, almost passive, temperament. His world was made up of forms in space, edited into amusing montages by the passing of time; if he ever read books, he might have found that Einstein's Relativity was the mathematical analog of his own mind.

    Even paintings barely won his tolerance; only film and TV, basically montage, turned him on. He was inclined to feel that anything which did not flicker, shimmer, and change rapidly was probably dead and should be decently and quickly buried.

    In short, he was an electronic Taoist.

    The Vietnam War had been punishing in various ways to all Unistaters, but Case, embroiled in the center of it, experienced it as very bad TV. It was like the film had stuck and Moe kept jabbing his finger in Curly's eye, over and over, in an infinite regress, until the myth and metaphor had both turned meaningless through redundance. If the war wasn't that, it was sloppy editing or just plain bad taste. The mutiny was the only equivalent he could find to the simple act of turning the dial to another channel.

    He had tried to explain this to the lieutenant appointed to defend him at the court-martial, a sly, cat-faced young man named Lionel Eacher. Lieutenant Eacher, before entering the service, had been an expert at Contract Law, the rules by which the primates determined and marked their territories. Remember: other mammals do this by leaving excretions which geometrically define the size and shape of the claimed turf, but domesticated primates do it by excreting ink on paper. Eacher was a lawyer, an expert at proving either that the ink excretions meant what they said (if he were being paid to prove that) or that the ink excretions didn't exactly mean what they said (if he were being paid to prove that).

    Lionel Eacher listened to Case's story with growing incredulity. At the end of the narrative he frowned very thoughtfully and said, "Would you just run that by me again?"

    So Case had explained, this time in more detail, the aesthetics of proper utilization of sadomasochist material in the total structure of Significant Form.

    "I see," Eacher said thoughtfully. "I think we've got a winner." He relaxed and lit a cigarette. "The usual defense is that you were reading the Bible and saw a white light and Jesus told you to give up war. But this, well, this is beautiful. You sound like a real fruitcake. I might even get you a medical discharge."

    Case realized that he was talking to a barbarian, but that was normal in the military. He had an intuitive sense that twenty years in the joint, which was what the Judge Adjutant General's office was asking, would be even more redundant, in the S-M dimension, than the war itself. Very well: If a man of esthetic sensibility seemed like a fruitcake to these primitives, so be it. He wanted to go home.

    ...

    The Vietnam War, like most primate squabbles, was about territory. Chinese primates, Unistat primates, the primates of the Bear Totem from the steppes and various local Southeast Asian primates were trying to expand their collective-totem egos (territories) by taking over the turf in Southeast Asia. If they had been wild primates, they would have all excreted in the disputed area and maybe thrown excretions at each other; being domesticated primates, they made ink excretions on paper and threw metal and chemicals at each other. It was one of a series of rumbles over Southeast Asia which had at one time or another involved Dutch primates, French primates, primates of the Rising Sun totem, and various other predator bands.

    Since the Unistat primates, like other domesticated hominids, did not know they were primates, all this was explained by a ferocious amount of ink excretions invoking Morality and Ideology, the twin gods of domesticated primatedom. Basically, the primates who wanted to claim Southeast Asia said it was "good" to go in shooting and grab whatever was grabable; the primates who didn't give a fuck about Southeast Asia said it was "evil."

    ...

    John Brown, motivated by Idealism, had set out to abolish slavery in Unistat in the nineteenth century. On one of his first raids he murdered a whole family of slave owners. An associate, who was less Idealistic, had suggested sparing the children, but John Brown refused.

    "Nits grow up to be lice," he said.

    Idealists were like that. You were much safer falling into the hands of the Cynics. The Cynics regarded everybody as equally corrupt.

    The Idealists regarded everybody as equally corrupt, except themselves.

    The six-legged majority on Terra had never developed Idealism or Cynicism, nor had they ever thought of sin or corruption. They had a simple, pragmatic outlook. People could be recognized because they all had six legs. Good people smelled right and were part of the same hive or colony. Bad people smelled wrong and were not part of the hive; they should be eaten at once, or driven off.

    Two-legged and four-legged critters weren't people at all and to hell with them.

    The four-legged residents of Terra were, for the most part, equally simpleminded. People had four legs. Six-legged critters were food, or else they were not worth noticing. Two-legged critters were dangerous, and should be avoided.

    Only the dogs, among all the four-legged Terrans, recognized the two-legged primates as being people.

    Some of the primates also recognized the dogs as being people.

    One-tenth of one percent of the domesticated primates recognized all the life-forms on their planet as people.

    The one-tenth of one percent of the primates who recognized non-primates as people were in violent disagreement with each other about everything else. About one-third of them were Mystics and suffered from Permanent Brain Damage brought on by fasting, yoga, or other masochistic practices. They had attained understanding of the Intelligence of all living beings through an ecstatic-agonizing experience of ego loss brought on by their masochistic excesses. They went around talking about this genetic Intelligence and calling it "God" and telling everybody it was too smart to make mistakes and incidentally talking a lot of nonsense, also brought on by their excesses.

    Another third of the primates who recognized consciousness wherever it existed were specially trained scientists, in fields like ethology, ecology, biophysics, and Neurologic. They all talked in specialized jargons and hardly anybody could understand them. Most of them couldn't even understand one another.

    The last third of the primates who had a sense of the genetic program behind evolution were folk who had eaten some strange chemicals or vegetables. They were like the blind Denebian shell cats who suddenly encounter water for the first time by falling into an ocean. They knew something was happening to them, but they weren't sure what it was.

    ...

    POE theoretically had no leader. It was an anarcho-Marxist collective.

    The real leader was, of course, an alpha male. His name was Franklin Delano Roosevelt Stuart, and he was one of the smartest men in Unistat at that time. Unfortunately, his reptile biosurvival circuit was imprinted with chronic anxiety, his mammalian emotional-territorial circuit was imprinted with defensive aggression, his hominid semantic circuit was imprinted with an explosive blend of Black street cynicism and New Left ideology, and his domesticated sociosexual circuit was from Kinksville.

    F.D.R. Stuart claimed that the purpose of POE was to accelerate the dialectical process of evolution toward the classless society where all would live in peace, prosperity, and socialist solidarity, and there would be no cops.

    The real purpose of Stuart's activities was to get even. The other primates in Unistat had raped his mother and jailed his father and driven his brothers and sisters into street crime and junk and generally maltreated him all his life. In addition they called him by an insulting name, which was nigger.

    Second in command in POE was Sylvia Goldfarb, a refugee from God s Lightning, NOW, the Radical Lesbians, and Weather Underground. She was even smarter than F. D.R. Stuart, but she deferred to him, despite her feminist orientation, because he was a true alpha male who was a Mean Motherfucker When Crossed and had even more rage in him than she did.

    To Sylvia, the purpose of POE, she said, was to create a world where all men and women, all races and all classes, all humanity, lived in loving harmony and ate uncooked fruits and vegetables.

    Her real motive was also to get even. The other primates discriminated against her for being female, for being Jewish, for being highly verbal and a Teacher's Pet, for wearing glasses, for being an atheist, and for several dozen other reasons at least. They also called her by an insulting name, which was dyke.

    The third founding member was Mountbatten Babbit, who was a cyclical schizophrenic. He wigged out once a year, on the average, and had learned how to medicate himself with phenothyazines to keep those periods of Bizarresville down to a few weeks each, but during those dilations of ego he was likely to be anybody from Napoleon to a Vietnamese Buddhist. The rest of the year he was a brilliant research chemist and computer expert, but it was hard for him to get a good job because of his several incarcerations in mental hospitals.

    Babbit said he was in POE to create a rational world guided by sound scientific and libertarian-socialist principles. Yeah, he wanted to get even too. The other primates called him a nut or a fruitcake.

    The other members of POE were equally brilliant and equally desperate.

    ...

    The Revolution of Lowered Expectations had not been invented by Furbish Lousewart. The whole neurosociology of the twentieth century could be understood as a function of two variables-the upward-rising curve of the Revolution of Rising Expectations and the downward-plunging trajectory of the Revolution of Lowered Expectations.

    The Revolution of Rising Expectations, which had drawn more and more people into its Up-thrust during the first half of the century, had led many to believe that poverty and starvation and disease were all gradually being phased out by advances in pure and applied science, growing stockpiles of surplus food in the advanced nations, accelerated medical progress, the spread of literacy and electronics, and the mounting sense that people had a right to demand a decent life for themselves and their children.

    The Revolution of Lowered Expectations was based on the idea that there wasn't enough energy to provide for the rising expectations of the masses. Year after year the message was broadcast: There Isn't Enough. The masses were taught that Terra was a closed system, that entropy was increasing, that life was a losing proposition all around, and that the majority were doomed to poverty, starvation, disease, misery, and stupidity.

    Most of the people who still had rising expectations were scientists. When Furbish Lousewart realized the political capital to be made from the Revolution of Lowered Expectations, he also realized-thus demonstrating his political savvy-that having an opposition meant having a scapegoat group.

    The scientists were an ideal scapegoat group because they all spoke in specialized languages and hardly anybody could understand them.

    The Jews had served this function in earlier ages because they spoke Yiddish.

    The scientists spoke Mathematics.

    ---------------------------------------------

    sorry for the word dump

    you can read it all here (at least until the copyright nazis catch wind of it):
    http://www.rawilsonfans.com/downloads/sct.htm

    All Hail Eris!

  • ||

    Thanks a lot Mr. O'Connor. RAW was truly a genius and he will be missed.

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