I don't remember just how I came to fall in love with the writings and ramblings of the late, great Robert Anton Wilson. I do know it was about 2 years ago that I first came across his name, on some random online forum I happened to be browsing, in connection with the equally great and bleedin' demised Aleister Crowley.
Of course, my present opinion of Crowley was as-yet unformed, and like most of the great unwashed I thought he was only a perverted, drug-addicted Satanist of yore.... but I digress, more on Mr. Crowley later.
Anyway, as I'm searching for info on Crowley, I come across some reference or another to this fellow Robert Anton Wilson (who always seems to be referred to by all three names like some serial killer) in connection with re-programming one's brain, and a book he had written on the subject entitled Prometheus Rising.
I took a peek at the book online, and knew I had to get it in my dirty little paws. What I read, after finally managing to get my hands on a copy, blew my mind-- literally. The book is a sophisticated mash-up of psychology, sociobiology, various "magickal" ideas, and assorted other inspired (and surprisingly effective) nonsense, all basically built around Timothy Leary's "8 Circuit" model of human consciousness.
To say the least, I was hooked. Novel approaches to life, reality, and all our perceptions thereof are something that I value very highly and find endlessly fascinating, even when I don't agree with those approaches.
So, I very quickly accumulated as much as I could of Wilson's writings, audio recordings of speeches and interviews, transcripts of lectures, and anything else I could get my hands on. Sifting randomly through this wealth of material, I soon learned that this inspired loon had had his finger in many pies, from being an editor for Playboy magazine to co-editing The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences. Wilson was also a well-known writer of science fiction, his best-known work being The Illuminatus! Trilogy, co-written with Robert Shea.
(to be continued...)