On Erik and Maja's Expanding Mind podcast, "crackpot historian" Adam Gorightly reveals the weird story of the Principia Discordia, the "religion disguised as a joke or the joke disguised as a religion," and his new book, Historia Discordia. Hail Eris!
The most extensive collection in print documenting the Discordian Society’s wild and wooly legacy, Historia Discordia features the unique worldview and wit of such illuminated iconoclasts as Robert Anton Wilson and Discordian founders Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley. Chronicling Discordianism’s halcyon days, Historia Discordia presents a fun and freewheeling romp through rare photos, holy tracts, art collages, and fnords, many of which appear for the first time in print.
“Like communication-god Thoth with his yammering ape, like the all-important noise that Count Korzybski assures us must accompany our every signal, no harmony is possible without an acknowledgement and understanding of discord. Born from the bowling-alley epiphanies of Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley, its disruptive teachings disseminated through the incendiary writings of Robert Anton Wilson and other Eristic luminaries, the Discordian Society has unexpectedly become a landmark of gleefully aggressive sanity in a chaotic and incoherent world. Through this book, we can all involve ourselves in their gloriously constructive quarrel.” —Alan Moore
"There is very little difference between wild primates in the jungle and the average domesticated primate in a large city. We are literally living on the Planet of the Apes. Once you realize that, there's no point in being angry about it anymore. We're in a zoo, and the biggest, ugliest, meanest baboons are always picked to lead the herd. If you look at the news and think that the incredible stupidities and brutalities you hear have been done by human beings (who are rational beings according to Aristotle) you can only despair or take to heroin, I guess. But if you realize these things are being done by primates -- by apes dressed up in funny costumes, like chimps who drive motorcycles in circuses -- then it all makes sense, and it's quite astounding that the apes can handle the machinery and walk upright and so on." - Robert Anton Wilson, interviewed in Notes from the Pop Underground Read the rest
A group of dedicated disciples of bOING bOING contributor Robert Anton Wilson are orchestrating a stage production of RAW's "Comsic Trigger: Final Secret of the Illuminati," a fantastic memoir of high weirdness that had a massive influence on my own life. Leading the charge is Daisy Eris Campbell, whose father adapted RAW's The Illuminatus! Trilogy for live theater in the 1970s. The Daily Grail has the scoop: "Pulling The Cosmic Trigger"
Jon Lebkowsky writes, "EFF and EFF-Austin, working with the amazing Maggie Duval, put together this celebration of the 90s Internet and cyberpunk memes. On stage: Gareth Branwyn, Bruce Sterling, Cory Doctorow, William Barker (Schwa), Chris Nakashima-Brown, Aaron Jue from EFF, and yours truly. Thomas Fang is DJ, and Jasmina Tesanovic will sing her Hacker Hymn. We'll have a cyberpunk scifi genre panel and a talk by Gareth, along with the release of his successful Kickstarter memoir book project, Borg Like Me. We'Cll also have projected visuals, memories of Mondo 2000, Boing Boing, Fringeware, 2600: The Hacker Quarterly, Schwa, etc. Event is open to SXSW badgeholders. Hang out with EFF at their event table, praise their great work, give them your money!" Read the rest
One year ago today Missing woman searches for self: Turns out, the woman had in fact returned to the tour bus and had actually helped try to find, um, herself.
Five years ago today Comcast limits customers to 250 gigs a month: If a customer exceeds more than 250 GB and is one of the heaviest data users who consume the most data on our high-speed Internet service, he or she may receive a call from Comcast's Customer Security Assurance (CSA) group to notify them of excessive use.
Stage magician and "magic experience designer" Ferdinando Buscema, who I've previously posted about, was a guest on the always-provocative Expanding Mind podcast with Erik Davis and Maja D'Aoust. The conversation was fantastic and highly illuminating. It resonated with my own interests in magic (and art and science) as a tool to shift our perception/understanding of reality, cultivate a sense of wonder, and induce transformative experiences. Indeed, Ferdinando mentioned that he's been greatly inspired by Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson, both of whom were old friends and patron saints of bOING bOING. Also on the program, Ferdinando spoke highly of a book titled Magic and Meaning by magic philosophers Eugene Burger and Robert E. Neale about the psychological, symbolic, and spiritual roots of theatrical magic. I look forward to soaking that one in. The photo above is from Ferdinando's recent gig at the famed Magic Castle in Los Angeles. Right now, he's organizing a TEDxNavigli in Italy for early March, themed around "the power of love." Listen below or here to Expanding Mind: Magic Experience Design.
This week, Boing Boing is presenting a series of essays about movies that have had a profound effect on our invited essayists. See all the essays in the Mind Blowing Movies series here. -- Mark
Pig (2010), by Rev. Ivan Stang
I don't take mind-blowing lightly, and there are several very different ways in which movies have blown my particular mind, such as it is.
Movies seen by a very young child and therefore making an inappropriately huge impression are one type of blowage. In that respect, more than 50 years later I still vividly remember seeing Mighty Joe Young (1949) on my grandfather's TV when I was about four years old, in 1957. Cowboys in Africa (?!?) capture a giant gorilla who ends up performing on stage -- like Kong, but much more professionally. While, in front of an agog nightclub audience, his beautiful human keeper sings "Beautiful Dreamer" while Mighty Joe effortlessly holds her aloft, along with her grand piano and a solid platform. That sequence stuck with me, and to this day I often feel like a trained giant ape helping a pretty girl (or sometimes just an enlarged and life-imbued piece of clip art) make an impression on a bunch of drunks in a bar just to earn a few bananas. *
Probably the second monster movie I remember seeing was The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), fourth in the Universal classic series. It opens with torch-wielding redneck villagers harassing a poor handicapped man, Igor, who fends off their attacks by hurling huge chunks of the decaying Frankenstein castle wall down on them. Read the rest
A brief look behind Ritual America: Secret Brotherhoods and Their Influence on American Society, a Visual Guide. by Adam Parfrey
One of the most exciting secondhand store moments ever: discovering a beautifully preserved 19th century Masonic uniform with dozens of buttons, embroidered crosses, a skull and bones apron, official belt, and pointy "Chapeau" hat topped with white ostrich feathers.
The store owner told me the costume was from "Knights of Pythias," a 19th century fraternal order that loved its uniforms, and marching around in them. Like a couple other faux-Masonic Orders that referred to themselves as "Knights," the Pythians confused its historical inspiration. Damon and Pythias came from ancient Greek mythology, and the added "Knights" referred to medieval anti-Islam crusaders battling for the crown and Christianity.
Later I came to discover the uniform was in fact from the Knights Templar, a Masonic subset that also loved its uniforms, and marching around in them.
More recently Knights (or Knight) Templar uniforms were worn by the similarly anti-Islamic mass murderer Anders Brevik and a particularly murderous Mexican drug gang.
Anders Brevik in Templar costume:
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 had on inspiring a new generation of libertarians, although Wilson was hardly an orthodox libertarian. (He wasn't an orthodox anything). Once, summing up why he didn't vote for the 1980 Libertarian Party candidate, he explained, "I am not that kind of Libertarian, really; I don't hate poor people." The attitude of wonder and skepticism toward what we can know about the world in llluminatus! is at least as important as the politics.
Partly because of regret that I never got around to interviewing him or even meeting him when he was alive, I started my RAWIllumination.net a couple of years ago. Decades of heavy reading in all forms of fiction and nonfiction have convinced me that Wilson is a major American writer who has not received the attention he deserves. This crops up on all sorts of ways. Years before Dan Brown wrote his best seller, The Da Vinci Code, Wilson covered much the same ground in a much better book, The Widow's Son. With help from other Wilson fans, I have used RAWIllumination.net to make available articles by Wilson and interviews with him that were not reprinted in his books.
I did get to meet Illuminatus! Read the rest