Tag: robert anton wilson

Review: The Widow’s Son, by Robert Anton Wilson

By Psyche | September 29, 2004 | Leave a comment

The Widow’s Son Volume: The History of the Early Illuminati (The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, Volume II), by Robert Anton Wilson
New Falcon Publications, 1561841633, 343 pp., 1985, 2004

The second volume in Wilson’s Historical Illuminatus Chronicles begins in Paris, 1772 and, once again, our hero, Sigismundo Celine, is under siege by unseen conspirators. As he says, ‘Some want me dead, and some are satisfied if I am just buried alive, and you represent the nice, friendly crowd that merely wants to overthrow every government on the planet and make me the Universal Emperor.’ And it’s does appear that ‘being Sigismundo was a dangerous business…People were always trying to kill Sigismundo, or drive him mad, or generally vex him’.

This volume introduces a few new characters, the Irish fisherman Seamus Muadhen, who moves to England in the spirit of revenge and becomes John Moon, only to discover he cannot fulfill his purpose, and instead immigrates elsewhere; as well as a loose band of politically-minded assassins and thieves, among others.

With enough footnotes to rival Weisbecker’s Cosmic Banditos, Wilson annotates with his usual clever tongue in cheek wit, though they tend to leave me somewhat bewildered at times. For example, while I understand that Brian O`Nolan is Myles na gCopaleen, who is also Flann O`Brien; I’m having difficultly with the fact that de Selby may be La Fournier, but is most certainly not La Tournier – or even that he may not have existed at all in the first place, and in fact may bet a part of a conspiracy invented by Brian O`Nolan and Robert Anton Wilson. Then again, for all I know Wilson could be O`Nolan (who is Myles na gCopaleen, Flann O`Brien and possibly de Selby and La Fournier). It can seem a little confusing at times, and much more so at others.

Wilson has a special talent for depicting things exactly as they are shown in a manner which serves only to complicate matters further; it is one of his greatest gifts, and has produced yet another brilliantly fascinating and engaging volume in this chronicle. Highly recommended.


What is Philosophy?

By Spiral Nature | May 2, 2004 | Leave a comment

The men sat sipping their tea in silence. After a while the klutz said, “Life is like a bowl of sour cream.”

“Like a bowl of sour cream?” asked the other. “Why?”

“How should I know? What am I, a philosopher?”

- Author Unknown

“We are all walled cities shouting at each other over the armament of our perceptions.”

- Robert Anton Wilson, The Earth Will Shake

“Philosophy studies the fundamental nature of existence, of man, and of man’s relationship to existence. As against special sciences, which deal only with particular aspects, philosophy deals with those aspects of the universe which pertain to everything that exist. In the realm of cognition, the special sciences are the trees, but philosophy is the soil which makes the forest possible.”

- Ayn Rand, Philosophy: Who Needs It

“Many of the problems of philosophy are of such broad relevance to human concerns, and so complex in their ramifications, that these are, in one form or another, perennially present. Though in the course of time they yield in part to philosophical inquiry, they may need to be rethought by each age in the light of its broader scientific knowledge and deepened ethical and religious experience. Better solutions are found by more refined and rigorous methods. Thus, one who approaches the study of philosophy in the hope of understanding the best of what it affords will look for both fundamental issues and contemporary achievements.”

- Jerome A. Shaffer, Philosophy of Mind


Review: The Earth Will Shake, by Robert Anton Wilson

By Psyche | April 30, 2004 | Leave a comment

The Earth Will Shake: The History of the Early Illuminati (The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, Volume I), by Robert Anton Wilson
New Falcon Publications, 1561841625, 369 pp., 1982, 1984, 2003

In Naples, Italy, 1764, fourteen year old Sigismundo Celine witnesses the murder of his Uncle Leonardo on Easter as he’s about to perform mass. Thus begins the coming of age story of young Sigismund, who, through his efforts to prove his manhood, discovers the world is far more sinister than he was lead to believe.

Sigismundo adventures into the world of music from unknown Johann Sebastian Bach, befriends the Monster, the wunderkid Wolfgang Mozart, he even meets the hermetically inclined Dr. Frankenstein – or one of them. All the while, everyone from the Freemasons, the Rossi, Alumbrados, the Carboni, and even the MAFIA want seem to want him to ‘learn their secret handgrips and join their very own special conspiracy’.

The characters are brilliantly entertaining, from Sigismundo himself who is ‘the most brilliant young musician in all Italy since Antonio Vivaldi, in the estimation of only the two people whose opinions mattered, himself and Uncle Pietro’, to clever Uncle Pietro who spares him time and time again, naive Maria whom Sigismundo is hopelessly in love with – and terrified of, to Sir John: ‘“Yes,” Sir John said wearily, with a strange, crooked grin. “I do not know what to believe. I have read too much and travelled too far. Certitude belongs to those who have only lived in a place where everybody believes the same thing”’.

The chapter headings loosely follow cards of the Tarot (the Fool, the Empress, the Magician, the Priestess, the World, the Hanged Man, the Devil), but out of order. Obviously influenced by Aleister Crowley, Masonic ritual and occult thought with Wilson’s characteristic ‘maybe logic’ philosophy evident even in this earlier work.

Any fan of the any branch of Illuminati or secret society lore will immediately find this book appealing. Brilliantly written, clever, funny, and with more than a hint of intrigue, what more could one possible look for in a great novel.


Review: TSOG, by Robert Anton Wilson

By Psyche | April 30, 2004 | Leave a comment

TSOG: The Thing That Ate the Constitution, by Robert Anton Wilson
New Falcon Publications, 1561841692, 216 (+8) pp., 2002

Tsarist Occupational Government, or TSOG, is Wilson’s term for the take-over Bush Co. has assumed over the United States of America with a Tsarist-style dictatorship, however he does note the basically interchangeable nature of ‘Bore and Gush’.

Wilson opens with a touching and maddening description of the state of his body thanks to post-polio syndrome and the current TSOG in America, though his mind remains as sharp as ever. He comments on the inhumane intervention of the federal government regarding the only thing that relives his otherwise constant pain: marijuana; the state of California having already declared it legal for medicinal use, and the direct effects on the condition of his health as a result of their illegal ruling.

Wilson covers his usual range of fascinating, slightly off-beat topics , ranging from conspiracy theories, the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, religion, marijuana and the war on some drugs, and furthers his philosophy of ‘Maybe Logic’ (a brilliant DVD of the same name was (finally!) released in the summer of 2003 – see Robert Anton Wilson – Maybe Logic).

Interspersed are also clever line drawings by the author, poignant, satirical, and yet another reminder that Wilson is talented in so many respects. The bits of visual art that pepper his work are rarely mentioned, but in my opinion they should to be: he’s pretty damn good.

However, TSOG doesn’t seem to contain the usual amount of personal stories and accounts usually found in many of the previous RAW books that made them so cleverly inspiring and entertaining. Or perhaps it is that TSOG is mostly comprised of quotations, news articles, statistics and other bits gathered from websites and outside sources rather than purely written (or typed as the case may be) in his own hand.

Yet, as always, Wilson continues to provide the reader with intelligent thought and inspire delineations off toward the beaten path. Though TSOG doesn’t compare as favourably with his previous works, die hard fans will likely enjoy it anyway.


Review: Rebels and Devils, edited by Christopher S. Hyatt

By Psyche | August 13, 2003 | Leave a comment

Rebels & Devils: The Psychology of Liberation, edited by Christopher S. Hyatt
New Falcon, 1561841536, 428 pp., 1996, 2000

Rebels and Devils is a collection of works from some of the most rebellious and accomplished minds of our time; including such notorious authors as William Burroughs, Phil Hine, Peter Carroll, Austin Osman Spare, Aleister Crowley, Israel Regardie, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, Osho, and naturally Christopher S. Hyatt, as well as various others. Not only a collection of essays, it also consists of various photographs, poetry, biographies, interviews and even a comic drawn by S. Jason Black and co-written by Hyatt. Comprised of more than works psychology and magick; anything that could be deemed rebellious or individualistic; also covered are such topics as yoga, meditation, sex, drugs, guns, death, and the difference between rebellion and revolution.

I’ve never read anything by Israel Regardie before, as his most famous works seem centred around the Golden Dawn, and I’ve never had much use for formal magickal orders, so I was somewhat surprised to discover while reading an interview between him and Hyatt (‘The Final Words of a Western Master’) that he was so funny, as I tend to see that sort of thing as being dry work. Both humourous and insightful, he made an excellent point regarding the misconceptions readers have about the authors they read, very one dimensionally, and this certainly helps expand that.

In ‘The Calling of the Holy Whore’, Diana Rose Hartman, the only female author in the entire compendium, offers an intelligently refreshing re-interpretation of the Judeo-Christian myths surrounding Satan/Lucifer in the rebel guise, noting how ‘devil’ and ‘divine’ grew out of the same Indo-European root word devi, and ‘demon’ came from the Greek for genius, daemon. Hart contributes an interesting feminist perspective to rebellion, in embracing the holy whore within ourselves.

Christopher Hyatt reflects on the methods of modern slavery in ‘Who Owns the Planet Earth':

“While most humans agree that slavery is evil – that the ownership of one human by another is immoral – few humans equate slavery with enforced education, welfare, health, and the idea of a perfect orderly universe. Slavery is usually associated with power over others and with the ability to enforce one’s will on another without the fear of retaliation. Within the “right” of ownership and debt there is a hidden mystery – a metaphysics – a knowledge only available to those with the power to create and enforce their metaphysics. Whenever a new group achieves power, they also inherit the metaphysics and magickally, the ability to use it.”

While Osho notes in ‘Rebellion is the Biggest “YES” Yet':

“Rebellion is an individual action; it has nothing to do with the crowd. Rebellion has nothing to do with politics, power, violence. Rebellion has something to do with changing your consciousness, your silence, your being. It is a spiritual metamorphosis.”

The myriad of discussions on rebellion and liberation in its various forms make this a book to be treasured for years to come. While not every essay is a shining jewel to be discovered, there is a sufficient number that makes Rebels and Devils defiantly worth reading. I recommend that they be read as they appear, even though one may not be interested in every subject discussed, they do follow a loose sequence.


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