BOOK REVIEW

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email to the universe
and other alterations of consciousness
by Robert Anton Wilson
 
 
New Falcon Publications
September 2005
253 pages, paperback
 
Review by Jim Walker


In the 60s, when I owned beliefs ranging from Christianity, Buddhism, UFOlogy, Astrology, Scientology, and several others silly belief systems, I naturally fell right into reading Robert Anton Wilson's books (yes I used to behave like a gullible zombie). One could find his books in virtually every newage book store in town (Wilson pronounces "newage" to rhyme with sewage). No wonder why so many renowned scientists and skeptics looked down on him (and still think of him as a quack philosopher). His writings include conspiracy theories (inventing a few of them himself), religion, pseudoscience, and lots of UFO speculations. But these critical skeptics miss the point of Wilson's writing. In spite of his liberal pseudoscientific topics, Wilson doesn't believe or disbelieve any of it at all, at all. At least he says he doesn't in several of his books, but skeptics refuse to accept his own position (I know how he must feel). I thank Robert Anton Wilson for the main reason why I began to doubt my own beliefs and eventually discarded them all. I consider RAW my teacher, my guru. He taught me how to think for myself, and NoBeliefs.com would probably not exist without his influence on me.

Email to the Universe consists of many of Wilson's early writings that cover such diverse subjects as quantum theory, sex & drugs, Black Magick, Daoism, "Reality," UFOs, and many more topics that should outrage the most ardent scientist. Yet he still insists that he has no beliefs, only probabilities. Many of his fans will find friendly familiarity with this book. As an added plus, Wilson reveals many of his personal feelings and positions on various subjects. The section on "More Questions Answered" includes several interviews from his fans. Not all of it comes from his early writings, however. Some chapters come from new and recent writings, including some from his "Thought for the Month" section on his website.

If you think about it, what better way to bring about a change of consciousness than to actually discuss the very topics that believers have an addiction to? Through humor and deep humility, Wilson draws the reader in and takes them to places they never thought possible. Through twists and turns, you will get angry, laugh, cry, or just read in wonderment. Many times Wilson makes up stuff just to throw off readers. This forces the interested reader to actually do some research just to see if Wilson got it right. Many times he gets it right, and this can bring about an epiphany of sorts (not the religious kind, however).

Wilson starts out the book by declaring his purpose:

"This book intends to change your way of perceiving/conceiving the world, without drugs or drums or Voodoo, simply by using words in certain special ways."

His last section, "On My Way Out," describes his cheerful reflections on Death and Dying. Apparently he thinks his death comes soon. I hope not because I will lose a distant friend and valuable teacher.

If you believe anything his says, then you haven't learned his lesson. If you dismiss what he says, you risk missing an education. On the other hand, you might begin to start thinking about things instead of believing about things. Now that describes a change that could revolutionize the world.

Warning: A grave danger to governments, friends, and family members could result from reading this book; you might begin to go irrecoverably and incurably sane.


A few quotes from the book:

Through their literature, speakers raised in Irish English have transformed the printed page; now their mathematicians, raised in the same neurolinguistic grid, have revolutionized our basic notions of "reality," which in the light of what we have seen, badly needs the dubious quotes I just hung on it.

The uncanny Egyptians attributed both inventions to a single deity, Thoth, god of speech and other illusions.

We never experience "thoughts," "feelings," "perceptions," "intuitions," "sensations," etc. We invent those categories after the fact.

The first Feminist pamphlet published in this country was written by a man-- Tom Paine (who also wrote the first anti-slavery pamphlet).

In a sense, we have all had our "wings" broken; it remains the major function of such "hallowed institutions" as organized religion and Free Compulsory Education to see that our "wings" do get broken, or at least clipped, before we reach adulthood. How else will society have the insectoid units it needs to fill the cubicles in its hive economy?

I've worked at it for 50+ years now, and still find parts of me acting like a robot or a zombie on occasion.

Although I dislike labels, if I had to label my attitude I would accordingly settle for existentialist-phenomenologist-operationalist, as long as no one of those three terms is given more prominence than the other two.

[B]uddhism-- the organized mystic movement I find least objectionable-- is also existentialist, phenomenologist and operationalist.

I regard Organized Ideology with the same horror that Voltaire had for Organized Religion.

The government accordingly spends more and more of our tax money financing "faith-based organizations." Without faith we might relapse into scientific or rational thinking, which leads to a "slippery slope" toward constitutional democracy.

Every ideology is a mental murder, a reduction of dynamic living processes to static classifications, and every classification is a Damnation, just as every inclusion is an exclusion.

It is easy to see that the label "Jew" was a Damnation in Nazi Germany, but actually the label "Jew" is a Damnation anywhere, even where anti-Semitism does not exist. "He is a Jew," "She is a doctor," and "He is a poet" mean, to the card indexing centre of the cortex, that my experience with him or her will be like my experience with other Jews, other doctors, and other poets. Thus, individuality is ignored when identity is asserted.

Freud's remark to the effect that the delusion of one person is mental illness and the delusion of many persons is religion can be generalized: The authoritarianism of one man is crime and the authoritarianism of many is State.

We must remember that "thought" means abstraction.

[T]hose who know, know-- and those who know not will simply not believe.

So, by and large, the stupider the establishment is, the smarter the rebels become. Establishment stupidity is the greatest spur to creativity in evolutionary history.

Q: One of the recurrent themes of your writing concerns belief...

A: Not believing in anything, not disbelieving in anything-- that may be one of the most important ideas in my books, though I hardly invented it.

Q: Why do you claim you don't believe anything?

A: "The map is not the territory," as Korzybski said. Any map you make of the city you live in can't show the whole city. It would have to show you, and it would have to show you drawing the map, and it would have to show you drawing the map of the map... so every map is a simplification.

He walks, He talks. He loves the smell of beef cooking. He hates Gay people and shellfish. He's a serial killer. And in the sequel He even knocks up a teen-age chick.

As Wilson's Fourth Law sez, "With sufficient research you will find evidence to support your theory."

A neurolinguistic diet high in B.S. [Belief Systems] and low in instrumental data eventually produces Permanent Brain Damage, a lurching gait, blindness, and hairy palms like a werewolf.

I mean, guys, compare that "God" with the worst monsters you can think of-- Adolf Hitler, Joe Stalin, that sort of guy. None of them ever inflicted more than finite pain on their victims. Even de Sade, in his sado-maso fantasy novels, never devised an unlimited torture. The idea that the Mind of Creation (if such exists) wants to torture some of its critters for endless infinities of infinities seems too absurd to take seriously.


CONTENTS

Note

Part I: Brain Gym--Simple Exercizes

Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #1
The Passion Of The Antichrist
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #2
The One "Law" Of Economics
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #3
The Celtic Roots of Quantum Theory
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #4
Schrödinger's Other Cat
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #5
Paranoia
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #6
Black Magick & Curses
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #7
Shocking Hidden Facts About Male Non-Violence
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #8
Language, Logic & Lunacy
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #9
Dreams of Flying
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #10
God's Morals
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #11

Part II: Advanced Head Trips

Joyce & Daoism
Movie Haiku
He Who Thunders From On High
Becoming What We "Are"
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #12
LSD, Dogs & Me
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #13
Keep Our Troops In Iraq!
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #14
Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #15
Left And Right: A Non-Euclidean Perspective
La Belle Dame Sans Merci
The Relativity Of "Reality"
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #16
Committee For Surrealist Investigation Of Claims Of The Normal (CSICON)

Part III: In Defense of the Damned

Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #17
Guns & Dope Party
Damnation By Definition
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #18
Deforestation
Piss Wars
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #19
The Horror On Howth Hill
Sexual Alchemy
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #20

Part IV: Q & A

Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #21
Questions Answered
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #22
More Questions Answered
Old Man On A Balcony: Views of Monterey Bay #23
Still More Questions Answered

Part V: On My Way Out

Escape From CNN
Cheerful Reflections On Death And Dying
On My Way Out


To obtain this book, click below:

Email to the Universe


Other books by Robert Anton Wilson:

TSOG: The Thing That Ate The Constitution, (paperback)

Cosmic Trigger III : My Life After Death, (paperback)

Chaos and Beyond: The Best of Trajectories, (paperback)

Reality is what you can get away with (paperback)

Nature's God (Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, Vol. 3) (paperback)

The Widow's Son (The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, Vol. 2) (paperback)

The Earth Will Shake (The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, Vol. 1) (paperback)

Cosmic Trigger II : Down to Earth (paperback)

The Walls Came Tumbling Down (paperback)

Quantum Psychology: How Brain Software Programs You & Your World (paperback)

Principia Discordia: Or How I Found Goddess, and What I Did to Her When I Found Her (Wilson contributed) (paperback)

Ishtar Rising: Or, Why the Goddess Went to Hell and What to Expect Now That She's Returning (paperback)

Coincidance: A Head Test (paperback)

Wilhelm Reich in Hell (paperback)

The New Inquisition: Irrational Rationalism & The Citadel of Science (paperback)

Natural Law, or Don't Put A Rubber On Your Willy (out of print)

Prometheus Rising, Feb. (paperback)

Right Where you are Sitting Now (paperback)

Masks of the Illumaniti (paperback)

The Illuminati Papers (paperback)

Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy: the Universe Next Door/the Trick Top Hat/the Homing Pigeons (paperback)

Cosmic Trigger [I]: Final Secret of the Illuminati (paperback)

Sex, Drugs & Magick (paperback)

The Illuminatus Trilogy: The Eye in the Pyramid, the Golden Apple & Leviathan (paperback)

------------

The following books I suspect got written by R.A. Wilson under an alias name (same publisher, same writing style, similar subjects, etc.):

The Sapiens System: The Illuminati Conspiracy, by Donald Holmes, M.D. (paperback)

Undoing Yourself, by Christopher S. Hyatt, PhD. (paperback)


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