05 September 2004

Robert Anton Wilson

Second in a well-spaced series of psychedelic musical gurus.


Robert Anton Wilson is the father of multi-dimensional conspiracy theory, using universes like popping candy, spreading the gospel of friendly paranoia across the heartlands. His Illuminatus! Trilogy along with Robert Shea (who's written out of history in a typical twist) popped minds and spun heads with a complex tale of conspiracy, counter conspiracy and talking dolphins (don't stop now; these dolphins would have found autistic children as difficult as you and I). A kind of boys own adventure for heads; the trilogy remains my favourite series becaue it manages somehow to align the eyes wide open California hip(py)ness with an iron clad spew of malevolence, private-dickisms, free-love, Norman Mailer-style macho action (sometimes by girls, there's some proto-type Buffies here) and a thick vein of ironic humour that never lets the proceedings dull over into David Icke mode.

Though, in Robert Anton Wilson's world, Icke is probably a very funny human who thinks he's a shape-shifting lizard pretending to be a human in the multi-dimensional war against shape-shifting lizards who don't even have the slightest inkling that they and all their friends have shutters for eye-lids and tongues that should be in porn films.

It's Burroughs Nova Conspiracy with easier to find jokes and a morphius-strip plot.

I'm re-reading his (mostly) non-fiction Prometheus Rising at the moment and it's chilling how well he understands people and society, throwing Freud, the Behaviourists and the Gene-splicers into the ring with hard-core Learyists (Timothy Leary's 8 circuit model is the basis for Wilson's thesis), discordianism, Buckminister Fuller's economic cycles, anarchism, humanism and the roots of my favourite pipe-smokers Church of the Subgenius.

It's funny and very serious. And reading it while watching, for example, the hyperventilating paranoid primates at the Republican Conference it seems very very true.

Benny had actually read Darwin once, in college a long time ago, and had heard of sciences like ethology and ecology, but the facts of evolution had never really registered on him. He never thought of himself as a primate. He never realized his friends and associates were primates. Above all, he never understood that the alpha males of Unistat were typical leaders of primate bands. As a result of this inability to see the obvious, Benny was constantly alarmed and terrified by the behavior of himself, his friends and associates and especially the alpha males of the pack. Since he didn't know it was ordinary primate behavior, it seemed just awful to him.

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.

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.


An online library of his works can be found here and if you're curious about how all this links to music well go here or here

And if you've only come for the MP3s then I recommend:

The KLF - Doctorin' the Tardis
(because Dr Who is coming back and so is - gulp- Gary Glitter)
John Cale - Zen
Rye Coalition - Thaksgiving Day for Cats
for no particular reason at all and
Aphex Twin - Come to Daddy

because I've seen the video so much of TV recently it's made me play it again.


Psychbloke said...

Gary Glitter? - surely not....
(Last I heard, he was living in Cambodia or somewhere?)

Psychbloke said...

Oh....and thanks for putting the link back in the righthand column.......I was a tad concerned that I was losing out to Rachel Stevens here....

20jazzfunkgreats said...

I love Gary.
Whens national Glitter beat week?
(A week when all blogs just post songs using the glitter beat - http://www.spoiltvictorianchild.blogspot.com/ is up for it...)

Spoilt Victorian Child said...

Oh Yes Indeed....:)


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