Monday, January 15, 2007

Robert Anton Wilson is Dead. Long Live Robert Anton Wilson!

Robert Anton Wilson shed this mortal coil a few days ago, and not a single MSM outlet noted the event. Had he made it to this Thursday, January 18, he would have been 75 Soltrips old. Please note that this is also my birthday, and our shared birth date is a fact that I discovered only this year, even though I've been reading RAW since I was sixteen.

The Illuminatus Trilogy blew open a whole lotta perceptual doors for me, being like nothing I'd ever read before. The premise, extremely simplified, is to not trust consensus reality or even your own individual perceptions, since reality is ultimately malleable. The trilogy covered conspiracy theories, the Order of the Rosy Cross, a race of Overlords known as the Illuminati and the Elder Gods of Lovecraft. It was a wild roller-coaster ride through yours and Robert's mind (along with Robert Shea's mind, who co-wrote). The excitement that I felt while reading it was palpable to those around me, especially since I felt the need to read and re-read passages to them to see if they were as inspired as was I. However, I didn't finish the trilogy until I moved to California.

I began to search out more of his works, my interest rekindled by a column about Bob in a local San Jose/Santa Cruz alternative weekly, and discovered that he lived just over the hill in Capitola. I purchased quite a few books at Kepler's in Menlo Park, my favorite bookstore, and fell in love with Cosmic Trigger, a work of non-fiction, through which Mr. Wilson sets forth his and Timothy Leary's 8-circuit model of consciousness. It was a groundbreaking work, and one that affected many reality tunnels, obliterating some and expanding others.

The best way to learn about RAW is through his works. For those who might be convinced through other means, bear in mind that he was an editor at Playboy magazine for years in the 60's and 70's, Playboy's best period. I'll be adding to and editing this tribute as the mood strikes.--Pete

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