Here's an essay about RAW (followed by interview with him) by our friend Mark Dery, which ran in 21C magazine.
Mark Dery: You’re best known as the co-author of the Illuminatus! trilogy, which seemingly interweaves every known conspiracy theory. What do you think makes this moment in history such a breeding ground for paranoid visions of government cover-ups of alien autopsies, black helicopters over America and so forth. Is millennial culture out of control?
RAW: Yes. Most people don’t know why the world is changing so fast and in so many weird directions, so they look for somebody to blame; it just depends on their belief systems, whether they’re going to blame the Elders of Zion, the Bavarian Illuminati, the Freemasons, Swiss bankers, or whoever. People just can’t understand that some things are dynamic structural factors of the whole sociology, the whole technological environment in which we live; they want to find a bloc-like entity to explain everything. It’s primitive, but very prevalent. I’m currently working on a book called The Encyclopedia of Conspiracies; it’s an attempt to keep the irony subdued and do a scholarly treatment of conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories fascinate me because they’re a good testing ground for non-Aristotelian logic. Most people either accept them in whole or reject them in whole; I try to apply fuzzy logic, asking “How much of this can really be proven and how much of it is just blind assertion?” It’s interesting to look at them without an either/or but simply in terms of how probable various parts of the theory are. Either/or seems so crude and primitive to me, and yet most people are still hung up on it. Korzybski had a major influence on my thinking in this regard.
John Higgs, author of the terrific Timothy Leary biography I Have America Surrounded, wrote a side-by-side comparison of The Illuminatus Trilogy and Atlas Shrugged. Here are the first few items: Illuminatus! vs Atlas Shrugged
I never met Robert Anton Wilson, but after reading him closely for years, I like to think I know him pretty well. When I went to college in the 1970s, I encountered Illuminatus!, and it had a greater effect upon me than anything I learned in class. It’s impossible to minimize the impact the book […]
It was raining hard and I came into work soaking wet. My Dr. Martens had that darker sheen around the toes where the water had sunk into the petrol-resistant exterior. The smell of damp and of dusty books filled my nose as I prepared for another day of work at the library. It was 1995 […]
This holiday season, give the delivery man a break. Who needs the extra cost and uncertainty of shipping anyway? Here are 10-holiday gifts that cut out the middleman and go straight to the nicest ones on your Christmas list. Winc Wine Delivery Okay, we might be cheating a little with this first one, but a […]
For some folks, writing notes by hand is just plain easier, but having to re-type them later can be a huge bore, not to mention time-sink. The guys from Rocketbook successfully merged the best parts of analog and digital note-taking with their Everlast notebook awhile back. And now, that tech just got a lot more […]
There are fast-paced card games, and some of them even require enough dexterity for a mini-workout (like Skip-Bo or Snap). But there’s nothing quite like the Mokuru® Card Game, which uses an already addictive fidget toy as the centerpiece for a cutthroat game of tabletop challenges. The game is named for the toy that gets […]