Robert Anton Wilson
Robert Anton Wilson
His Homepage at rawilson.com is being updated by his daughter Christina.
Wilson was born Robert Edward Wilson in Methodist Hospital, in Brooklyn, New York, and spent his first years in Flatbush. He moved with his family to Gerritsen Beach around the age of 4 or 5, where they stayed until he turned 13. He suffered from polio as a child and was treated with the method created by Elizabeth Kenny. Polio's effects remained with him throughout his life, usually manifesting as minor muscle spasms causing him to use a cane from time to time until 2000, when he experienced a major bout with post-polio syndrome that would continue until his death.
He attended a Catholic grammar school, most likely the school associated with Gerritsen Beach's Resurrection Church. He attended Brooklyn Tech for high school to remove himself from the Catholic influence. While working as an ambulance driver he attended New York University, studying engineering and mathematics.
He worked as engineering aide, salesman, and copywriter and was associate editor for Playboy magazine from 1965 to 1971. He adopted his maternal grandfather's name, Anton, for his writings, at first telling himself that he was saving the "Edward" for when he wrote the Great American Novel. He later finding that "Robert Anton Wilson" had become an established identity, and never did write under the Edward name. He did use the pen names Mordecai Malignatus, Mordecai the Foul, Reverend Loveshade (which was adopted by his "spiritual grandson"), Pope Bob, and other names associated with the Bavarian Illuminati, which he allegedly revived in the 1960s.
In 1979 he received a Ph.D. in psychology from Paidea University in California, an unaccredited institution that has since closed. The reworked dissertation was published in 1983 as Prometheus Rising.
He married the freelance writer Arlen Riley in 1958; they had four children, Christina, Graham, Alexandra, and Patricia known as Luna. Arlen Riley Wilson died in 1999  following a series of strokes. Luna, who had been a friend of Reverend Loveshade's mother Bonnie, was beaten to death in an apparent robbery in 1976 at the age of 15. Her brain was preserved by the Bay Area Cryonics Society.
- Playboy's Book of Forbidden Words (1972) ()
- Sex and Drugs: A Journey Beyond Limits (1973) (ISBN 094140448X)
- The Sex Magicians (1973)
- The Book of the Breast (1974) (ISBN 0872233847)
- Playboy's Book of Forbidden Words (?)
- The Illuminatus! Trilogy (w/ Robert Shea) (1975) (ISBN 0440539811)
- The Eye in the Pyramid
- The Golden Apple
- Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati (ISBN 1561840033)
- Neuropolitics (w/ Leary and Koopman) (1978) (ISBN 0915238187)
- The Illuminati Papers (1980) (ISBN 1579510027)
- The Schrödinger's Cat Trilogy (1980-1) (related: Schrödingers Cat)
- The Universe Next Door
- The Trick Top Hat
- The Homing Pigeon
- Masks of the Illuminati (1981) (ISBN 044050306X)
- Right Where You Are Sitting Now (1983) (ISBN 914171453)
- The Earth Will Shake (1983) (ISBN 1561841625)
- Prometheus Rising (1983) (ISBN 1561840564)
- The Widow's Son (1985)
- The New Inquisition (1986) (ISBN 1561840025)
- Wilhelm Reich in Hell (1987) (related: Wilhelm Reich) (ISBN 1561841080)
- Natural Law, or Don't Put a Rubber on Your Willy (1987) (ISBN 091517961X)
- Coincidance: A Head Test (1988) (ISBN 1561840041)
- Neuropolitique (1988) (w/ Leary & Koopman) [Neuropolitics revised]
- Ishtar Rising (1989) [Revision of The Book if the Breast] (ISBN 1561841099)
- Quantum Psychology (1990) (ISBN 1561840718)
- Cosmic Trigger II: Down To Earth (1991) (ISBN 1561840114)
- Nature's God (1991)
- Reality Is What You Can Get Away With: An Illustrated Screenplay (1992)
- Chaos and Beyond: The Best of Trajectories (1994)
- Cosmic Trigger III: My Life After Death (1995) (ISBN 1561841102)
- The Walls Came Tumbling Down (1997) (ISBN 1561840912)
- Everything Is Under Control (1998) (ISBN 0062734172)
- TSOG, The Thing That Ate The Constitution (2002) (ISBN 1561841692)
- [The Widow's Son]] Volume 2 (The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles) (ISBN 1561841633)
- Email to the universe (and other alterations of consciousness) (2005) (ISBN 1561841943)
others: An Insider's Guide to Robert Anton Wilson by Eric Wagner (ISBN 156184165X)
A couple of records too..
* Secrets of Power (Comedy) * The Chocolate Biscuit Conspiracy (Punk)
(excerpt from imdb as of 01/02/2005 + slightly modified due to wiki format limitations)
- The Gospel According to Philip K. Dick (2001)
- T·neis da Realidade, Os (1996) ... aka Who Is the Master Who Makes the Grass Green?
- Children of the Revolution: Tune Back In (2005) (filming)
- Maybe Logic: The Lives and Ideas of Robert Anton Wilson] (2003) (V) (http://www.maybelogic.com)
- 23 (1998) .... Himself... aka 23 - Nichts ist so wie es scheint (Germany) (Note: English subtitles for this movie exist _online_ (added by author))
- Arise! The SubGenius Video (1992) (V) .... Himself .. aka Arise! SubGenius Recruitment Film #16 (USA)
- Borders (1989) .... Himself
if you want his books and audio ,start SoulSeek and use its search function. seems a good place to find his stuff or buy his material.
- Excerpts from a lecture (requires real audio)
- Maybe Logic Academy - RAW ran online courses for the last few years of his life - you can still find self-directed course material, etc - and lively interactions with his ex-students here
- Goodbye RAW: Robert Anton Wilson tribute
- Blog by Wilson's "spiritual grandson" Reverend Loveshade
From a 1977 interview-by-mail with Neal wilgus.
A: My trajectory is perpendicular to the left-right axis of terrestrial politics. I put some of my deepest idealism into both the Leftwing anarchism of Simon Moon and the Rightwing anarchism of Hagbard Celine in Illuminatus!, but i am detached from both on another level. ...
KBOO-FM Interview with Robert Anton Wilson by Cliff Walker 1990 (or so) on KBOO FM, Portland, Oregon
Cliff Walker: Hi, my name is Cliff Walker. Welcome to KBOO, Robert!
Robert Anton Wilson: It's great to be here.
Walker: Robert is the author of The Illuminatus! Trilogy, Schrödinger's Cat, Masks of the Illuminati, and the most recent series, The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles-- those are the novels. Some of my favorite non-fiction: Sex and Drugs, Cosmic Trigger, Prometheus Rising, and the brand new one, Quantum Psychology. What is Quantum Psychology about?
Wilson: Quantum Psychology is about the fact that we can never know reality the way we know our models of reality.
Walker: So what are some of the ideas you are trying to share in this book?
Wilson: Chiefly, that the paradoxes in quantum mechanics don't just exist in quantum mechanics. They exist in every area of knowledge. Modern art has gotten to be very relativistic, just like modern physics. We're even getting relativistic films, these days. Total Recall, with Schwarzenegger, is about a man that doesn't know which memories are real and which are implanted. And there's a new movie, Jacob's Ladder, which has a similar theme. These are very similar to the themes of my novels, curiously enough!
The world is moving into a new era in which we're beginning to realize every instrument creates a different reality-tunnel. Every brain is a different instrument. The instruments we make, to do science, turn out to have the same limitations as the instrument we started with -- which is our own brain. Every instrument reveals a partial reality: a yardstick doesn't tell you the temperature; a Geiger counter doesn't tell you the weather. Every instrument has its limitations. Every brain has its limitations -- except the brains of the Pope, and, er, the Ayatollah, and George Bush, and the members of C.S.I.C.O.P.
(This text is, to the best of our knowledge, in the public domain and is available for your pleasure and education. It is transmitted under the "Fair Use" rulings regarding the 1976 Copyright Act for non-profit academic, research, and general information purposes.)
Robert Anton Wilson (RAW) to me...has been nothing short of a liberating experience. I can't explain the frustration, paranoia, stress and just torture I have been somewhat liberated from by reading his work. He has taught me how to inject humor into conspiracy, perspective where there was paranoia, education instead of fear and ignorance, expansion of information, befreinding and tapping into a whole social circle that consisted of some really genuinely kickass folks, and brain change because mine was starting to smell.
Being human is quite a trip, its the same old questions at the root of our problems, we dont know why we are here, where we came from, where we are going, what to do in the meantime, we suffer, we die, and we try to make do. Slowly, we are learning more and more, constantly learning. We have ideas/interpretations/metaphors about all these questions but nothing concrete - nothing "AHA!!! Thats it!!". These metaphors/myths/interpretations also seems to shape our experiences. They are like maps that we follow and every map shows the terrain around us differently. But the maps are not the terrain itself, 'the menu is not the meal'. So what happends when we realize that by clinging to certain maps we put up massive filter to filter signals from the totality of the terrain around us that doesn't fit our map's description of the terrain. Maybe the results of this are Wars, Inquistions, Holocausts, violence etc..
The above blurb is a map in of itself and this is RAW's gift to me, a map for other maps that is aware of it being a map and leaves room for the idea of 'maybe' and 'uncertainty', and if ever need be to replace a 'better' mapping system. To quote RAW,
- Certitude is siezed by some minds, not because there is any philosophical justification for it, but because such minds have an emotional need for certitude
One of the tools that he bequeathed to me is learning about language (symbols), how powerful they are on human nervous-systems. How that nagging gut feeling I get when pigeonhold into asking/answering certain question in a certain context was quite justified. In other words, the tool of comprehending and responding accordingly to when I am 'being forced into the straight jacket of Aristotelian true/false logic", which is the underlying logic of western society today, and maybe the source of our sombunall misery.
It's like KallistiCon, only sadder: the weekend traditionally known as "President's Day Weekend" this February (16-19) will host at least three Robert Anton Wilson memorial events in the San Francisco bay area, not to mention several other Discordian events.
That weekend also hosts PantheaCon, a huge neo-Pagan convention in San Jose, CA. This convention has long celebrated Discordianism with rituals and presentations, and is where I will be spending much of my weekend.
Saturday night is Discordian.com's annual PantheaCon Discordian ritual. We'd planned a Papal Inauguration to formally install everyone as Pope, and we feel that this is now more important than ever. We will also honor RAW's memory and works in full Discordian style (uh, what that means I'm still a little unsure, but I'll have it figured out - got any ideas? email me). Here's the official description:
Discordian.com's Papal Inauguration & RAW Memorial
Every man, woman and child (and everyone else) is a Pope! And yet... how many Papal Inaugurations have you attended? Too few! Come learn what it means to commune with your pineal gland and get a shot at that Papal infallibility you so deserve. Help put the fun back in funeral, as we honor our departed mentor.
Sunday afternoon is the official Robert Anton Wilson Meme-Orial in RAW's hometown of Santa Cruz, CA. Buy your tickets *now* before they sell out - a bargain at $23 each. I've bought mine already, and if you want to go, I suggest you get yours ASAP. No tickets will be sold after Feb 1., and due to the limited number, they may be gone before then. The url below has all the details and a link to buy tickets:
Monday afternoon sometime is the PantheaCon RAW memorial run by the PantheaCon staff. Robert Anton Wilson came to speak at PantheaCon for several years in a row. This is where I gave him a Saint certificate in 1999, and also where I met a friend who has been instrumental in the PantheaCon rituals since the beginning. These are people who knew Bob, who had worked with him and talked with him many times, and I hope everyone who can make it out this weekend can make it to their memorial service too.
The weekend also promises other Discordian events including a Discordian time travel ritual done by a good friend of mine on Sunday night at PantheaCon, and a reprise of the presentation that Fox and I did recently in Berlin on Discordianism & Culture Jamming (also Monday afternoon).
You should be here for this. If you can make it, buy your tickets now and come.
If you're coming, email me. If you're broke and need a place to stay, talk to me and I'll see what I can do. I'll have more details in the next few days, but I'll be working out a Discordian weekend guide and phone list.
This is a party to wake the dead.
All hail Discordia!
-->St. Mae, Discordian.com<--