Robert Anton Wilson
Date: Friday, September 29 @ 21:16:03 UTC
Topic: Great Sages
Robert Anton WilsonRobert Anton Wilson or RAW was born January 18, 1932, in Methodist hospital, downtown Brooklyn, New York, and spent his first years in Flatbush, moving with his family to Gerrison Beach around the age of 4 or 5, where they stayed until he turned 13. His work as a novelist, essayist, philosopher, psychologist, futurist, anarchist, and conspiracy theory researcher has earned him a large and diverse group of fans and opponents.
His best-known work—The Illuminatus! Trilogy (1975), co-authored with Robert Shea and advertised as "a fairy tale for paranoids"—humorously examined American paranoia about conspiracies. Much of the odder material derived from letters sent to Playboy magazine while Shea and Wilson worked as editors of the Playboy Forum. The books mixed true information with imaginative fiction to engage the reader in what Wilson called "Operation Mindfuck"; the trilogy also outlined a set of libertarian and anarchist axioms known as Celine's Laws, concepts Wilson has revisited several times in other writings. Although Shea and Wilson never partnered on such a scale again, Wilson has continued to expand upon the themes of the Illuminatus! books throughout his writing career.
In Cosmic Trigger I: Final Secret of the Illuminati (1977) and other works, he examined Discordianism, Sufism, Futurology, Zen Buddhism, Dennis and Terence McKenna, the occult practices of Aleister Crowley and G.I. Gurdjieff, the Illuminati and Freemasons, Yoga, and other esoteric or counterculture philosophies, and made them more accessible to larger audiences. He advocates Timothy Leary's eight circuit model of consciousness and neurosomatic/linguistic engineering, which he writes about in Prometheus Rising (1983, revised 1997) and Quantum Psychology (1990), books containing practical techniques for breaking free of one's "reality tunnels". With Leary, he helped promote the futurist ideas of Space Migration, Intelligence Increase, and Life Extension (SMI2LE). Wilson also supports many of the utopian theories of Buckminster Fuller, as well as those of media theorist Marshall McLuhan and Neuro Linguistic Programming co-founder Richard Bandler, with whom he has taught workshops. He also admires James Joyce, and has written commentary on Finnegans Wake and Ulysses.
Ironically, considering Wilson has long lampooned and criticized new age beliefs, his books can often be found in bookstores specializing in new age material. He has claimed to have perceived encounters with magical 'entities,' and when asked whether these entities were 'real,' he answered they were 'real enough,' although 'not as real as the IRS' since they were 'easier to get rid of.' He warned against beginners using occult practice, since to rush into such practices and the resulting 'energies' they unleash can lead people to go 'quite nuts.' Instead, he recommends beginners start with NLP, Zen Buddhism, basic meditation, etc., before progressing to more potentially disturbing activities.
In a 2003 interview with High Times magazine, RAW described himself as a "Model Agnostic" which he says "consists of never regarding any model or map of the universe with total 100% belief or total 100% denial. Following Korzybski, I put things in probabilities, not absolutes... My only originality lies in applying this zetetic attitude outside the hardest of the hard sciences, physics, to softer sciences and then to non-sciences like politics, ideology, jury verdicts and, of course, conspiracy theory." More simply, he claims 'not to believe anything,' since 'belief is the death of thought.' He has described his approach as 'Maybe Logic.' Wilson wrote articles for seminal cyberpunk magazine Mondo 2000.
While he has primarily published material under the name Robert Anton Wilson, he has also used the pen names Mordecai Malignatus, Mordecai the Foul, Reverend Loveshade, and other names associated with the Bavarian Illuminati, which he allegedly revived in the 1960s.
RAW holds the post of American director of the Committee for Surrealist Investigation of Claims of the Normal (CSICON) and has appeared at Disinformation events. He has summed up his attitude towards life as one of optimism, cheerfulness, love, and good humor.
Maybe Logic: The Lives and Loves of Robert Anton Wilson, a documentary featuring selections from over twenty-five years of Wilson footage, was released on DVD in North America on May 30, 2006.
On June 22, 2006, Huffington Post blogger Paul Krassner reported that Robert A. Wilson is currently under hospice care at home with friends and family.