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Robert Anton Wilson, RIP
January 11, 2007 11:50 AM   Subscribe

Robert Anton Wilson has died. "Please pardon my levity, I don't see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd."
posted by Sticherbeast (191 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by Pastabagel at 11:52 AM on January 11, 2007


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posted by prostyle at 11:52 AM on January 11, 2007


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posted by gurple at 11:53 AM on January 11, 2007


Aw. Man.


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posted by tkchrist at 11:53 AM on January 11, 2007


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posted by Hlewagast at 11:53 AM on January 11, 2007


Long live RAW. Fnord!
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posted by rider at 11:54 AM on January 11, 2007


Bummer, but he's been sick for a long time now ...

I'll bring the hot dogs tomorrow.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:54 AM on January 11, 2007


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posted by msali at 11:55 AM on January 11, 2007


What am I saying? "." is clearly not the way to celebrate this man's fnord life.

ALL HAIL ERIS!
posted by gurple at 11:55 AM on January 11, 2007


fnord
posted by cortex at 11:56 AM on January 11, 2007


?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:56 AM on January 11, 2007


Thanks Bob!
posted by Mister_A at 11:56 AM on January 11, 2007


FNORD

I'm glad his suffering is over.
posted by 2sheets at 11:57 AM on January 11, 2007


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posted by MythMaker at 11:58 AM on January 11, 2007


What am I saying? "." is clearly not the way to celebrate this man's fnord life.

Damn straight. Moment of silence?! Moment of Chaos!

Subgenius beach party! You bring the girls, I'll bring the plutonium!
posted by fleetmouse at 11:58 AM on January 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


Immanetize the eschaton!

then

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posted by pax digita at 11:59 AM on January 11, 2007


Remember: reality is what you can get away with.

Thanks, Bob. Rest in Peace.
posted by muckster at 11:59 AM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I really enjoyed the first Illuminati book and some of his other newagey conspiracy stuff.
posted by drezdn at 12:00 PM on January 11, 2007


Uncool, dude. Live on anyway, man, don't let the naysayers say nay.

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posted by and hosted from Uranus at 12:00 PM on January 11, 2007


IF YOU DON'T SEE THE FNORD IT CAN'T EAT YOU
posted by gurple at 12:02 PM on January 11, 2007


23

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posted by daniel9223 at 12:02 PM on January 11, 2007


Cosmic Trigger was the book that started it all for me. Couldn't be more grateful than I am.

Nothing but Love for you, RAW.
posted by n9 at 12:03 PM on January 11, 2007


He filled a much needed hole in the litereature. Seriously, The Cosmic Trigger books will probably be on the top shelf of my bookshelf for as long as I am still breathing. Great great stuff.
posted by bukvich at 12:04 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by bshort at 12:05 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by zeraus at 12:07 PM on January 11, 2007


Fnord
posted by beaucoupkevin at 12:08 PM on January 11, 2007


Bob is with Bob™ today.

The Earth has lost a gem.
posted by dbiedny at 12:09 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by effwerd at 12:09 PM on January 11, 2007


Fnord
posted by Bookhouse at 12:09 PM on January 11, 2007


Cripes -- this man was a profound influence on me.
23 skidoo!
posted by undule at 12:10 PM on January 11, 2007


Shit.
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posted by Dormant Gorilla at 12:11 PM on January 11, 2007


Cosmic Trigger was surely just that for me. Bye Bob. First fan letter I ever wrote (even though I never mailed it.)
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:14 PM on January 11, 2007


Never whistle while you're pissing.
posted by sourwookie at 12:14 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by winjer at 12:16 PM on January 11, 2007


      .
     .  .
    . *  .
  .  .  .  .
.  .  .  .  .

posted by freebird at 12:16 PM on January 11, 2007


Um. That's an ASCII All Seeing Eye! Not a sick christmas tree - stop snickering or be devoured!
posted by freebird at 12:17 PM on January 11, 2007


Nothing is true; Everything is permissible.



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posted by exlotuseater at 12:20 PM on January 11, 2007


I don't know if the world is crazier with or without him in it.

*Looks around at Mefites*

I call it a draw.
posted by hermitosis at 12:20 PM on January 11, 2007


Dang it. DAAAAAAAANNGG IIIITTTT!!!
posted by Drexen at 12:20 PM on January 11, 2007


fnord
posted by EarBucket at 12:21 PM on January 11, 2007


If it makes you feel any better, bukvich, you were the 23rd person to comment.
posted by hermitosis at 12:22 PM on January 11, 2007



posted by Smart Dalek at 12:24 PM on January 11, 2007


I'll miss him, and now we are likely to never see The World Turned Upside Down or any other volume of the Historical Illuminatus pentalogy.
posted by fings at 12:25 PM on January 11, 2007


2007-01-11
= 2 + 7 + 1 + 11
= 21

Dammit!
posted by Artw at 12:25 PM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


All Hail Eris.
posted by boo_radley at 12:29 PM on January 11, 2007


Nice that he got a manifestation of how much folks cared about him with that rent donation thing before he took off.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:31 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by motty at 12:33 PM on January 11, 2007


*sigh* Now is that any way to start 2007?

Godspeed good sir. You did exactly what you intended with more minds than you realize.
posted by smallerdemon at 12:33 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by omnidrew at 12:33 PM on January 11, 2007


Ewige Blumenkraft RAW
posted by quartzcity at 12:35 PM on January 11, 2007


I just preach that we'd all think and act more sanely if we had to use "maybe" a lot more often. Can you imagine a world with Jerry Falwell hollering "Maybe Jesus 'was' the son of God and maybe he hates Gay people as much as I do" -- or every tower in Islam resounding with "There 'is' no God except maybe Allah and maybe Mohammed is his prophet"?

Bye Bob :'(

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posted by stumcg at 12:36 PM on January 11, 2007


Ok, I admit it - I have absolutely no idea who he is. But if you guys say he's worth a " . ", then I'll do my best to go research him a bit.
posted by matty at 12:37 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by 0of1 at 12:40 PM on January 11, 2007


The man had a profound impact on me that has made, and continues to make, my life all the more crazier, zanier, with a lot more awe and somehow sense. Great lives have endings. See you there Bob.
posted by sarcasman at 12:40 PM on January 11, 2007


well, crap.
posted by Grod at 12:42 PM on January 11, 2007


Praise Bob!

I'll raise a glass to you, and be glad.

Thanks, old man. Give 'em hell wherever you go.

I'm glad that he's out of his pain, but I'm even more glad that before he died he had a chance to see in such a huge way how beloved he was by so many people, and that he was well cared for by everyone whose life he touched.

And just 'cause I respect the man:

.

Fnord!
posted by perilous at 12:43 PM on January 11, 2007


matty: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Anton_Wilson is a good start. His writing had way more of an impact on the growth of the Internet than most folks will probably ever realize.

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posted by jdfalk at 12:43 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by mwhybark at 12:44 PM on January 11, 2007


.

If not for RAW's work on the Illuminatus! Trilogy, I might have never discovered Discordianism, which has given me great peace and chaos (both within and without).

Happy trails. Let us all have a moment of immanentizing the eschaton.

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posted by Xoder at 12:44 PM on January 11, 2007


Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for it makes them soggy and hard to light.

Bye, Bob.
posted by maudlin at 12:44 PM on January 11, 2007


Igni Natura Renovatur Integra

or

I Never Risk Inquiry

Thanks, RAW.
posted by everichon at 12:44 PM on January 11, 2007


NO!!

this sucks.


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posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:46 PM on January 11, 2007


Fnord.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:47 PM on January 11, 2007


RIP RAW.

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posted by dead_ at 12:49 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by Skygazer at 12:50 PM on January 11, 2007


.....

.......................
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:51 PM on January 11, 2007


Someone just this morning asked me what the Greek was on my golden apple bumper sticker. (It's Kallisti.)
posted by kimota at 12:51 PM on January 11, 2007


I don't believe it.

No, really. I literally don't believe it. He's totally faking.
posted by brundlefly at 12:51 PM on January 11, 2007


.

Of course, we've been wrong about his death before.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:53 PM on January 11, 2007


Dammit. That was supposed to link here. Then again, fnord it did fnord.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:56 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by cows of industry at 12:57 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by jrb223 at 12:57 PM on January 11, 2007


INWO
posted by cortex at 12:58 PM on January 11, 2007


The Trilogy was passed from hand to hand among my friends
in high school. It was a good time to be reading it.
posted by the Real Dan at 12:58 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by simonemarie at 12:59 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by huskerdont at 12:59 PM on January 11, 2007


fnord
posted by cerebus19 at 1:00 PM on January 11, 2007


[0+1] + [1+1] + [0+7] = 10
10 = a dyad of 5s, a yin 5 and a yang 5.

You just weren't looking closely enough. ; . )
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:01 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by blastrid at 1:01 PM on January 11, 2007


.

The writer who made very difference in the world to me, regardless of what I still believe, was RAW. This is utterly depressing, but as I had been expecting it for some time, not shocking. But still.

Thanks, Bob, for all the mindfucking.
posted by grubi at 1:02 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by Curry at 1:04 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by svenvog at 1:08 PM on January 11, 2007


god damn floating whore-house death is the navigator.
posted by 6am at 1:09 PM on January 11, 2007


A true genius- if there is any sort of afterlife, I'm sure he's come up with at least 5 models to explain it already.
posted by InfidelZombie at 1:10 PM on January 11, 2007


Well, at least he got to see the fnords before he passed.

French Canadian Bean Soup.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:16 PM on January 11, 2007


I think RAW was one of the great, under-appreciated geniuses of the 20th century.
posted by empath at 1:17 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by premortem at 1:18 PM on January 11, 2007


fliegende kinderscheisse!!
posted by infidelpants at 1:18 PM on January 11, 2007


2007-01-11 = 2 + 7 + 1 + 11 = 21

20 - 07 + 11 - 1 == 23.
posted by sfenders at 1:20 PM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


No lie - my religious life, to the extent that I have one, is almost entirely derived from Robert Anton Wilson. To say that he's had an impact in my life is comically insufficient.

And yeah, I was really really hoping we'd get another Historical Illuminatus book. Those things were mindf*ckingly good.
posted by soyjoy at 1:23 PM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well poop!

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posted by lekvar at 1:25 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by OmieWise at 1:33 PM on January 11, 2007


No lie - my religious life, to the extent that I have one, is almost entirely derived from Robert Anton Wilson.

I feel the same way. He and Robert Heinlein (Stranger in a Strange Land) blew my mind apart as a teenager and I never quite fit the pieces back together.
posted by empath at 1:34 PM on January 11, 2007


Might be time to find out if my dog-eared copy of the Trilogy can stand one more reading.

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posted by JaredSeth at 1:37 PM on January 11, 2007


Bob is not dead, he has only removed himself from your reality tunnel.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:38 PM on January 11, 2007


Let's not forget he even wrote for Playboy, also!

I don't feel sadness here. The sadness was in hearing how physically and financially difficult his last few months (initially) were. I'm very happy, actually, that he was able to see the Internet happen - and also get a sense for how much this culture cared about him with the fundraising effort a few months ago. It seems this is a peaceful and loving passing for him.

To echo others, and very sincerely - Thank you Bob. And I bet you're having fun right now too!
posted by Peter H at 1:38 PM on January 11, 2007


Man, and I had just idly started rereading Prometheus Rising last night. Coincidence?

Have fun in Asgard!
posted by solistrato at 1:43 PM on January 11, 2007


There's nothing I can say that other's here haven't said better.

See ya, you crazy bastard. You taught me that reality just isn't all it's cracked up to be and even got me to push past the edges a little bit.

Hail Eris. All hail Discordia.
posted by quite unimportant at 1:58 PM on January 11, 2007


As everyone above said. This guy was quite the influence on the color of my brain mass.

Somewhere he's just started an eternal game of hide the golden apple with the goddess Eris. Right on.

For those who don't know much about the man, here are some links to get you fired up:

Robert Anton Wilson Homepage
Robert Anton Wilson Online Library
Robert Anton Wilson Fansite + Archives
A Recent Robert Anton Wilson Interview
Maybe Logic - A DVD Documentary on RAW
Principia Discordia
posted by General Zubon at 1:59 PM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


JOURNEY FAST, HARD AND WEIRD YOU MINDFUCKER.


FNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORDFNORD

posted by loquacious at 2:01 PM on January 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


The Illuminati Trilogy was a fantastic read -- one of the best reads I've ever had as an adult.

fnord.
posted by mosk at 2:03 PM on January 11, 2007


<fnord>.</fnord>
posted by juv3nal at 2:05 PM on January 11, 2007


RAW, my life was literally changed because of you. What you wrote affected me in ways no other author has ever done. Thank you for everything. I sit here in tears. I miss you already.

.
posted by Dantien at 2:09 PM on January 11, 2007


rock on where you are, bob.


hail eris. all hail discordia.
blessed be.
posted by stackmonster at 2:11 PM on January 11, 2007


Bob is dead...
Or maybe he isn't.


Thanks for all the mindfucking, see you out there.
posted by Divine_Wino at 2:15 PM on January 11, 2007


For those not familiar with the Japanese lunar calendar, as I'm sure RAW probably was, perhaps it is worth pointing out that the day is also known as 11-23, the 23rd day of the frost moon Shimotsuki.
posted by sfenders at 2:17 PM on January 11, 2007


-><-

fnord
posted by krinklyfig at 2:18 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by ijoshua at 2:37 PM on January 11, 2007


There's a good feeling in, depending on what you believe, that he's reunited with his wife now.
posted by Peter H at 2:38 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by Jimbob at 2:44 PM on January 11, 2007


... and his daughter Luna. Reading about her death in Cosmic Trigger was heartbreaking.
posted by maudlin at 2:48 PM on January 11, 2007


I interviewed RAW for a magazine piece in the early 90s. He was an utter gentleman, charming, funny and (yes, too) illuminating, and paid for the drinks when I discovered I'd left my wallet at home. He lived up to his own hype, and we need more like him.
posted by Hogshead at 2:59 PM on January 11, 2007


fnord.
posted by Foosnark at 3:10 PM on January 11, 2007


It's sad to lose such a vibrant, creative mind. I loved his fiction, I only wish he had done a little more fact-checking for his non-fiction. But he was always fun to read, and my heart goes out to those that knew him.
posted by malocchio at 3:17 PM on January 11, 2007


His writing had a profound impact on my life. He'll be sorely missed.

Hail Eris, full of grace, holy Queen of Outer Space.
posted by rifflesby at 3:26 PM on January 11, 2007


/.\
posted by Paragon at 3:29 PM on January 11, 2007


Do not throw cigarette butts into urinal, for they are subtle and quick to anger. Hail Eris!
posted by dragstroke at 3:29 PM on January 11, 2007


ƒℵØℜD.
posted by eriko at 3:36 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by zardoz at 3:38 PM on January 11, 2007


Heh, I remember reading one of his books in rural Maryland in the early 90s. After I finished the last paper I had the feeling that reality was so thin that with the barest of efforts I could tear off the veneer and peak underneath. They are the closest thing to drugs you can get without being drugs.


. indeed
posted by edgeways at 3:52 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by cip at 3:56 PM on January 11, 2007


I read the Illuminatus! trilogy immediately after The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I remain convinced that, thereby, my soul was saved from the great roaring abyss it was staring into.

In the parlance of our times: .
posted by Drastic at 4:01 PM on January 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


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posted by brassafrax at 4:12 PM on January 11, 2007


The Illuminatus! Trilogy literally saved me from making some safe choices in college and life.... It changed everything, and I love it.

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posted by Benway at 4:26 PM on January 11, 2007


Oh yeah, Drastic, I forgot that he took a good piss on Ayn Rand in the form of Telemachus Sneezed. Good times.
posted by fleetmouse at 4:29 PM on January 11, 2007


Aw, man. I started reading RAW with Schrödinger's Cat when I was about 12, and it made me the freak I am today.

They are the closest thing to drugs you can get without being drugs.

Exactly. So long, and thanks for all the braincandy, Bob.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:31 PM on January 11, 2007


You fucked my mind up and it never recovered.
Thanks.


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posted by Ndwright at 5:15 PM on January 11, 2007


fnord.
posted by wendell at 5:17 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by reality at 5:20 PM on January 11, 2007


.

The Illuminatus Trilogy was a severely enjoyable mindfuck in my first semester of college.
posted by mrbill at 5:22 PM on January 11, 2007


he made me a better primate
posted by pilgrim at 5:29 PM on January 11, 2007


A smart, stacked girl gave me The New Inquisition while I was in college. Read it and haven't been the same since. Funny thing is, never got around to the Illuminati stuff, except for Cosmic Trigger.

Good bye wonderful thinker, now I must bite my thumb a couple times...
posted by tritisan at 5:31 PM on January 11, 2007


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posted by Mister Bijou at 5:43 PM on January 11, 2007


.
Here's to better reality tunnels. Fnord.
posted by entropy at 5:58 PM on January 11, 2007


...
posted by neckro23 at 6:05 PM on January 11, 2007


Oh no. Oh no. What a crappy day.

Prometheus Rising, the Cosmic Trigger series, basically all of RAW's "nonfiction" stuff--it changed my life for the better.

I'm really glad I went to see him lecture at the Masonic Lodge in Dallas a few years back. That was a great experience too.

.
posted by First Post at 6:15 PM on January 11, 2007


.

A life without "is."

All hail Discord!
posted by LanTao at 6:18 PM on January 11, 2007


Hey, Bob: Say hey to Tim for me.
posted by jimfl at 6:40 PM on January 11, 2007


Whereas Norman Mailer still lives. Yes, I do prefer Tough Guys Don't Dance.
posted by davy at 6:57 PM on January 11, 2007


(How can y'all mourn somebody you never met?)
posted by davy at 6:58 PM on January 11, 2007


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(dots're hard to count, so that's 23 for the man)
posted by item at 7:04 PM on January 11, 2007


"Let me differentiate between scientific method and the neurology of the individual scientist. Scientific method has always depended on feedback [or flip-flopping as the Tsarists call it]; I therefore consider it the highest form of group intelligence thus far evolved on this backward planet. The individual scientist seems a different animal entirely. The ones I've met seem as passionate, and hence as egotistic and prejudiced, as painters, ballerinas or even, God save the mark, novelists. My hope lies in the feedback system itself, not in any alleged saintliness of the individuals in the system."
posted by Twang at 7:06 PM on January 11, 2007


(How can y'all mourn somebody you never met?)

How can you not?
--

What is sad for me is that I only a few years ago at 39 got around to actually reading and getting through the Illuminatus! Triology. I first tried to read it 12 years or so earlier, and my mind just wasn't ready. But when I finally did read it, and push through it, in the end I came away from it on my list of favorite books I have ever read. After Hunter S. Thompson, RAW is probably my second favorite American writer. Sadly (again), I've only read The Illuminatus! Triology and Schrodinger's Cat, and even as of late, before this sad event, I have been pondering what from RAW to read next and sort of flailing without direction. Gmail smallerdemon with suggestion where to start folks. I feel guilty for reaching 41 and only having read two of his books.
posted by smallerdemon at 7:19 PM on January 11, 2007


An Incorrigible Optimist.
fnørd , The Illuminatus! Trilogy, 23.

A comprehensive site about Robert Anton Wilson with links to audio, interviews and more.

and

"Don't believe totally and completely in anybody's B.S." and especially "Don't believe totally or completely in your own B.S."


From the last entry on his blog:

Please pardon my levity, I don't see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd.

RAW
posted by nickyskye at 7:22 PM on January 11, 2007


You know, after thinking about it over a bottle of wine or two in honor of RAW: Fuck You, Robert Anton Wilson. I passed up a chance to lose my virginity in High School because I wanted to finish reading Schroedinger's Cat.

Seriously. While it was great to have my mind blown and all, it would have been much better to get something else blown instead.

And you know what? I think RAW would have been okay with that.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:24 PM on January 11, 2007


in his honor, i will partake of no hot dog buns tomorrow
posted by pyramid termite at 8:23 PM on January 11, 2007


Dear Bob;

We're counting on you to have the afterlife disorganized and ready for the rest of us...

.
posted by nonliteral at 8:25 PM on January 11, 2007


Ah, Robocop - A good thing about books is you can pick them up when you need them - and return whenever - sex is something that occurs when it's available and can't be put on a shelf, so I'm sure RAW would agree with you - you made the good choice then, but for heaven's sake (inference intended) pick the book back up now, pal.

This is a happy passing. I'm happy for Robert. I only know him as well as anyone does, from his books, and his other contributions. I'm struck with a very happy optimistic feeling. Other great minds seem to pass with such tragedy. You can't say that here. And we have a bookshelf filled with a life lived. Selah, and Peace.

Thanks Robert. I mean that.
posted by Peter H at 8:26 PM on January 11, 2007


I saw a man die today, whom I didn't know. When I got home I heard this news and Ithought it might have been him. He lives near here. Somehow that would have been helpful for me. To have seen a man so great fall to the ground. To know why I was made sad. All hail discordia.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:27 PM on January 11, 2007


I just realized I revised Robocop's story to suggest sex over books, instead of books over sex. Ha, well, she was probably a bad path anyway! RAW might have saved you!

Anyway, read his Book of the Breast as a compromise. Breast of the web.

RIP RAW. Sincerely.
posted by Peter H at 9:02 PM on January 11, 2007


Someone needs to invent the < fnord> tag: All within are invisible.

Ironically, the tag works on itself! Try it!
posted by sourwookie at 9:25 PM on January 11, 2007


.

I am crying right now... in laughter and thanks. The man's wisdom and crazy love deeply changed the life of a listless teenager. Almost 20 years later, that profound influence remains as a filiment in all that I've chosen to embrace and disbelieve.

Prometheus has Risen. Be well Bob.
posted by moonbird at 9:34 PM on January 11, 2007


One of his later good works that doesn't get much mention: Everything Is Under Control: Conspiracies, Cults, and Cover-ups
posted by mrbill at 9:44 PM on January 11, 2007


.....

(I discovered Robert Anton Wilson through his introduction to the fifth edition of the Principia in which he stated he had not written it. I went on to read his books, have my mind blown even more, and I do directly credit this, in part, with helping me get laid during my sophomore year of college. Thank you.)

May flights of fnords sing you to your rest.
posted by Hactar at 10:49 PM on January 11, 2007


(How can y'all mourn somebody you never met?)

What a strange question.

What a really, really strange question.

Hard to take it seriously, really.
posted by lodurr at 6:28 AM on January 12, 2007


Some of the more annoying people I've known have been arrogant, preenning, self-satisfied devotees of RAW. But of course, it's never a really good idea to pass final judgement on a teacher based on the ill manners of his most vocal disciples.

And still, at that, even they definitely live in a much better circle of the underworld than Scientologists and Objectivists. At least the Discordians are having a good time.

Mind-blowing philosophy is a double-edged sword. The world is a tricksy place and reality such a tricksy thing, that you can't properly function within it without some more or less random arbitrariness. If you strip all that away, you get assholes. (Because that's one of the few things left that we all have in common?) So while I, personally, think stuff like Illuminatus! and the Principia Discordia are great tools, they're a little bit like hallucinogens in that they shouldn't be taken lightly or in isolation, and can be dangerous when consumed by an immature mind.

I used to know a guy who, when pressed, would give his religious affiliation as "heterodox discordian."
posted by lodurr at 6:36 AM on January 12, 2007


Dude, RAW didn't write mind-blowing philosophy, he wrote mind-blowing comedy. With tits.

Or so I reckon.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:46 AM on January 12, 2007


It seems that RAW's daughter Luna was cryonically preserved after her murder back in the 70's.

I am curious as to whether he himself had this done.

Does anyone know?
posted by nickp at 6:47 AM on January 12, 2007


I didn't realize I shared a birthday with him. That's cool.
posted by etoile at 7:23 AM on January 12, 2007


.
fnord!
.
posted by space2k at 7:24 AM on January 12, 2007


stavros: the snappy comeback would be that the guys (and they were all guys) I'm thinking of didn't think of it as comedy.

Except they mostly did.

Or at least, they thought they did. Most of these guys weren't very funny.

Though of course, they thought they were...
posted by lodurr at 7:27 AM on January 12, 2007


That's OK, 'cause RAW wasn't as funny as he thought he was, either. YAHWEH!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:36 AM on January 12, 2007


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posted by Fuzzy Monster at 7:40 AM on January 12, 2007


Wilson's Law: Communication is only possible between equals.

I love that. This, too, from "Thirteen Choruses for the Divine Marquis: "the fear of death is the beginning of slavery."

Immortal.
posted by Paddle to Sea at 7:46 AM on January 12, 2007


Paddle to Sea writes "This, too, from 'Thirteen Choruses for the Divine Marquis: 'the fear of death is the beginning of slavery.'"

That's a paraphrase of Montaigne: He who has learned to die has unlearned how to be a slave.

I like RAW, but I find Montaigne's original rendering quite a bit more subtle.
posted by OmieWise at 7:51 AM on January 12, 2007


Communication is only possible between equals.*
--
*Assuming a highly specific and non-standard defintion of the term 'communication'.
posted by lodurr at 7:57 AM on January 12, 2007


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posted by Orb2069 at 8:05 AM on January 12, 2007


OmieWise, that reminds me of a sig I used to see over on Plastic: "The only thing a free man can be forced to do is die."

So many of these aphorisms make superficial sense, but fall apart on closer reading. And then, through the miracle of human interpretation, they once again "make sense" after further re-interpretation.

For example, using the version I quoted, I could argue against it that I could bodily tie up the 'free man' -- thus forcing him to become un-free. The 'free man' has been forced to do something other than die, ergo the aphorism is incorrect.

On further cogitation, I can allow that there are senses of the verb 'to do' which require volition -- free will -- ergo, it is literally and trivially impossible to force a 'free man' to do anything. Ergo the aphorism is correct, for those definitions of 'to do'.

So we're then faced with the choice: Do we redefine the verb 'to do', or do we find a new verb to express our non-volitional actions?

Lots of 'mind-bending' philosophy really operates at this level. It's really mostly about the nature of a specific human language, not of reality, experience, or even human will and action. The nature of language is such that we can be tricked into thinking it's got much more to do with reality than it really does. What it has to do with reality is facilitating the common understanding of what's real; thousands of years of gurus notwithstanding, it remains a very very open question how much it actually shapes that understanding. (Though I'm quite willing to believe that it does, given a really convincing case. I just haven't heard one, yet.)
posted by lodurr at 8:08 AM on January 12, 2007


someone a friend of mine worked with who i'm pretty sure never heard of raw or montaigne came up with his own pithy version after a boss told him he "had" to do something -

"i don't have to do shit but die"
posted by pyramid termite at 8:12 AM on January 12, 2007


.
posted by rougy at 9:09 AM on January 12, 2007


Apropos of freedom and/or death, what I heard a few times was "The only thing I got to do is stay [color] and die!" Of course Michael Jackson belied that one...

And I don't feel guilty because I "failed" to read anything by anybody. That's called religion, folks. Was Mr. Wilson sent by G_d? Does one get brownie points in the Hereafter by fulfilling that particular duty? Will reading Shroedinger's Cat spring my Dad from Purgatory?

As for Holy Veneration, in 1978 I pissed off a famous '60s-'70s radical (who might still be "underground") in person at a meeting, in 1979 John Waters pushed me off his lap in a Baltimore "leather" bar, and then in 1991 I disagreed with former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark during a "presentation." That's closer to anything Celebritorious than most of you will ever get (unless you can wave Britney's missing thong), so start bowing to me now before I croak from cirrhosis. Get ahead of the rest of the All-New In Crowd. You won't even have to miss any sex by straining to be literate!
posted by davy at 9:48 AM on January 12, 2007


That's closer to anything Celebritorious than most of you will ever get

i rode the back of one of the authors of the principia discordia, greg hill, when he was dressed as a crawling slug (vaseline and garbage bags) in 1980 at a halloween meeting of the suicide club in s f

i also checked in joey ramone, narvel felts, and jimmy "mouth of the south" hart

i've had friendly conversations with robert hunter and wavy gravy

and most important of all, i and my friends got dissed as drunken louts by a teenaged madonna in bay city state park ... beat that

(ps ... she was right)
posted by pyramid termite at 10:00 AM on January 12, 2007


And I don't feel guilty because I "failed" to read anything by anybody.

I must have missed the part where someone was trying to make you feel guilty about not reading RAW.

As for Holy Veneration.... That's closer to anything Celebritorious than most of you will ever get (unless you can wave Britney's missing thong), so start bowing to me now before I croak from cirrhosis. Get ahead of the rest of the All-New In Crowd. You won't even have to miss any sex by straining to be literate!

I bow to no man and one woman.

As for "all new in crowd", I think interest in R A Wilson pretty much eliminates one from that camp.
posted by lodurr at 10:42 AM on January 12, 2007


As for "all new in crowd", I think interest in R A Wilson pretty much eliminates one from that camp.

yeah ... in fact, i don't have the faintest idea what the in crowd is into these days

i bow only to the porcelain god
posted by pyramid termite at 10:51 AM on January 12, 2007


Ah Bob...it's just not fair that Cheney breathes and you do not. Much shall your passing be celebrated. Not with tears and sadness...although we may feel them, but with laughter and frop and Subgeni and sex. For your exit from this plane should inspire as much fun as your living in it did.

Fnord, my chaotic mentor, fnord.
posted by dejah420 at 11:49 AM on January 12, 2007


... oh, and, as long as we're trading celbritoriosities, I once sat on the floor right next to Hilmir Snaer Guðnasson during an artsy multimedia performance in the Smekkleysa Plötubúð, at Airwaves in '06. He nodded politely and said hello as he sat down next to me.

That's about all I've got.
posted by lodurr at 1:53 PM on January 12, 2007


"at Airwaves in '06" >> "at Airwaves in '05"
posted by lodurr at 1:54 PM on January 12, 2007


.
posted by donfactor at 2:09 PM on January 12, 2007


John Waters pushed me off his lap in a Baltimore "leather" bar, and then in 1991 I disagreed with former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark during a "presentation." That's closer to anything Celebritorious than most of you will ever get

Wow, that's delightfully incomprehensible.
posted by sfenders at 2:26 PM on January 12, 2007


.
posted by jwells at 2:38 PM on January 12, 2007


Clearly, the real RAW finally killed that clone that's been impersonating him these past twelve years.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 3:57 PM on January 12, 2007


I look forward to the MeFi meetup at O'Zorgnax's in the year 3000 featuring the heads of RAW, Leary, and Beck, and Bender.

J. Edgar Hoover can't come.
posted by gramschmidt at 5:24 PM on January 12, 2007


if raw, leary, beck and bender just have heads, they won't be able to come either

i'm sure spacediver has something to say about that, too
posted by pyramid termite at 9:44 PM on January 12, 2007


"if raw, leary, beck and bender just have heads, they won't be able to come either..."

Depends on which head.

Ring my friend, I said you'd call. If you're down he'll pick you up. Doctor Robert.

Bob has always been just a head... with a pipe.

Which witch is which? Bob Bob is Bob?

Praise Bob. Hail Eris. Pass the Frop. Let There Be Slack.

Don't pay money just to see yourself.

Rest In Pleasure, RAWman.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:56 PM on January 12, 2007


...

"(How can y'all mourn somebody you never met?)"

Hmph.

...

How can you talk to me if I've never seen you?

How can I understand where you're coming from?

What if I choose to, whether I actually do or not?

How can you long for a place you've never been?

How can you pine for a love you've never known?

How can you run from your own legs? What if they're on fire?

Does the pope shit in the woods?

How many licks does it take?

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, how did we know it fell?

How can you read a story that never happened?

How can you feel compassion for people who never were?

They're fabrications in the mind of a storyteller.

Perhaps they were inspired by living breathing people.

Perhaps not.

Why does it matter?

Have you figured out yet that all these questions are rhetorical?

Perhaps the writer made it all up in his mind and we read it and when something bad happens to someone that is not real but is in the story and in that moment that story seems real for us, we feel it. How does that work, why does it work, and how come I haven't been published yet cuz if RAW can do it hell it can't be that tough I mean let's face it!

If the cat sits in the box and the poison timer may go off and it may die, does it meow? Might it not howl? Maybe moo?

How do we know it's a cat? Why isn't Shroedinger a cockatiel? A myna bird? Schroedinger's canine. There's more gravy than grave to this fnord, my dear Watson. It's elementary.

We make our own reality, and today in this reality, we choose to commune here in this virtuality, and we choose to mourn the loss of chemical imbalances that allowed a couple hundred pounds of flesh to trudge along the tundra of this spinning rock in space and wax eloquent on the very fabrics of tenuous reality, and our subjective perceptions of same.

So long as his words dance before the eyes of readers, and so long as his lies ring true, there will forever be a heart in our subjective realities that beats raw.

If that's not immortality, I'll eat my hat... soon as I make a hat out of hot dog buns and pork rinds.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:14 PM on January 12, 2007


I've been afraid for years to go back and re-read Illuminatus in case it doesn't match my memories .

Screw it - I'm going to get it and wallow in nostalgia for the person I was back then.

Then I'll give the books to my eighteen year old son and see what he thinks

Thanks RAW - not just for the books, but for the pointers to other books you gave me. The way the appendices to Illuminatus were a reading list for years; the way that Schrodingers Cat got me thrown out of physics class once for laughing too much; how I can believe in magic as a metaphor, as something literally present in all our lives and as a total scam.

Thank you.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 11:47 PM on January 12, 2007


I'm late to the thread, but I have to say RAW was (with Vonnegut) the most influential author of my childhood. Without him, highschool would have been that much more unbearable.
posted by jeffamaphone at 12:19 PM on January 13, 2007


See ya on the flipside Bob.

You obviously influenced me.


.
posted by fnord at 9:24 PM on January 13, 2007


Not sure why davy's bothering to post in this thread. The first thing, about mourning someone you've never met, was a moronic cliche, but was at least one-line snark. The followup boldface-names blurb seems like an earnest attempt to convince us of his total cluelessness. Maybe it succeeded, maybe not.

For example, using the version I quoted, I could argue against it that I could bodily tie up the 'free man' -- thus forcing him to become un-free.

Lodurr, I have no quarrel with your basic point but this example is a loser. If the aphorism specifies "doing" that means acting. "Becoming" belongs to the state-of-being verbs, something unrelated to action. Obviously even a free man "becomes" older by the second whether he wants to or not. If you point a finger at him and mock him, he "becomes" mocked. But those are not things he is "doing."
posted by soyjoy at 10:20 AM on January 14, 2007


John Waters pushed me off his lap in a Baltimore "leather" bar, and then in 1991 I disagreed with former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark during a "presentation." That's closer to anything Celebritorious than most of you will ever get.

What are you talking about? I am Adam Greenfield. You're lucky to be posting on the same Internet as me!
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:30 PM on January 15, 2007


How I missed this, I have no idea.

Another great man i'll never meet, another hero I'll only have chance to understand through their relics.

I love his works, outlook, and wit more than any other human I have ever encountered, and finding this out here is a real bummer. It's heartwarming to see so many comments though, both here and his original blog.

A few of my favorite quotes were an interview he did between 1976 and 1979 for Conspiracy Digest. The interview can be found reprinted in 'The Illuminati Papers', too.

The first:
"I hate to be taken seriously. Serious people are always so grim and uptight that they make me want to dance naked on the lawn playing a flute".

and at the end of the interview, a self description:
"ROBERT ANTON WILSON is an imaginary being created by God. Since he is fairly bright, Wilson has figured this out and knows he has no real existence aside from the mind of God. Nonetheless, he still relapses into taking himself seriously on occasion".

RIP, and yes... please return as something that can still speak and write.
posted by phylum sinter at 3:14 AM on January 23, 2007


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