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Robert Anton Wilson ~ selection of essays

Robert Anton Wilson ~ selection of essays

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Published by M. Brenner

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Published by: M. Brenner on Sep 06, 2010
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A Selection of Obscure Robert Anton WilsonEssays
From his essays in
and the Fortean Times. I was under theassumption that they would be somewhat dated. But as I reread thearticles, it became clear that admirers who are unaware of them might infact find them enjoyable. I’ve left the links in but not sure of they still work(via 10 Zen Monkeys, boing boing)
More of RAW’s work can be found here
and here
Coming AgainThe orgasmic release of the Apocalypse myth
The sky is falling! The sky is falling! -- Chicken Little
Back in the early 1980s, Vicki Weaver, a pious Christian lady, persuaded herhusband Randy that the Bible proved that the final battle between Christand Antichrist would take place in 1987, beginning with an attemptedslaughter of the Christians by ZOG -- the Zionist Occupied Government inWashington, D.C. The two of them (and their children) logically moved to ahigh hill in Idaho -- Ruby Ridge -- where they planned to stage their own lastfight for the Lord.Alas, 1987 passed, Vicki had to recalculate, and things were a bit fuzzythere for a while. But then the '90s came 'round, Randy sold a sawed-offshotgun to a government informer, and the Feds arrived to arrest him.Randy and Vicki thought they were facing the ZOG, the Feds thought theywere dealing with lunatics, and the results were so bloody all around thatRuby Ridge remains controversial to this day.Sometimes, the Apocalypse can ruin your whole week.On the other hand, I have survived Doomsday so many times that it hasbegun to bore me. In the last three months alone, I have -- we all have --lived right on through three dates that leading eschatologists haveauthoritatively named as the Day of Reckoning (11 August, 11 September,and 7 November.).
I wonder why so many people have such a lascivious longing for theApocalypse? It seems a far more popular fantasy game than Dungeons &Dragons, and, of course, it has all the thrills and chills of a slasher movie.But there may be more here, just as there is to horror and catastrophemovies if you think about them. Neo-Freudians, and especially Reichians,suggest that our form of civilization stifles and constricts us so much that attimes we all long to experience some orgasmic but catastrophic "explosion,"like King Kong breaking his chains and wrecking New York, or even more likethe masochist in bondage, according to Dr. Reich. This sudden release fromthe bondage-and-discipline of our jobs and our taxes -- actually called theRaptureby Fundamentalists -- seems ghoulishly attractive to Christians,New Agers, and others who believe in a "spirit" that will survive the generalwreckage. In that case, the end of the world seems no worse than a visit tothe dentist: You know you'll feel better afterwards. This sort of desire forTotal Escape/Total Annihilation has always had its bards and visionaries.Christianity, for instance, started out as a typical Doomsday cult:
Verily, I say unto you, there will be some of them that stand here whichshall not taste of death until they have seen the Kingdom of God come with power. -- Mark 9:1 And there shall be signs in the sun and in the moon and in the stars... This generation shall not pass until all be fulfilled. -- Luke 21: 25,32 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven ... This generation shall not pass until all these things be fulfilled. -- Matt 24:30,34
Of course, when all the marks standing there and their whole generation didpass without the Apocalypse coming, these prophecies requiredreinterpretation. The second most common talent among Doomsayers --after their unparalleled ability to predict dates on which the worldperversely does
end -- is their capacity to recalculate. But, then,theology is logic with deuces and one-eyed jacks wild.Among those not committed to the Rapture, prophecies of doom usuallyhave another loophole: Only
of humanity will perish. In thesescenarios, those with the Right Ideas will survive, although they willprobably need to stockpile food, water, and guns in advance.Those with the Right Ideas are the ones who believe in the Prophet, ofcourse. Thus there seems an element of sadism mixed in with themasochism of the Millennialist mentality:
will suffer only a little, thesefolks say, but the rest of you motherfuckers are really going to get the
works. Well, Freud himself pronounced that sadism and masochism alwayscontain a bit of one another.Here's a brief list of some of the Doomsdays that had to be postponed:
1141 CE -- Hildegard of Bingen predicted the world would end thatyear. It didn't.
October 22, 1844 -- This was Doomsday, as calculated from the Bibleby William Miller, who had previously goofed by announcing that itwould occur in 1843. When the 1844 prophecy also failed, newcalculations from the same texts gave birth to the Adventists, theSeventh-day Adventists and, later, the Jehovah's Witnesses.
The Jehovah's Witnesses originally picked 1914 as the jackpot year.Some of them rejoiced in the bloody World War that began that year,as the palpable, visible, undeniable "beginning" of the end. But otherscalculated exact years for the end of the end: 1918, 1920, 1925,1941, 1975, and 1994, for instance. I survived all of them, and I guessyou did, too, or you wouldn't be reading this.
In 1957, a pastor named Mihran Ask chose April 23, 1957 as the LastDay; I remember that vividly because Paul Krassner claimed in thenext issue of
The Realist
that the world
really ended that dayand we just weren't paying attention.
In 1986, Moses David of the Children of God predicted the battle ofArmageddon would happen that year and Christ would return in 1993.
In 1983, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh predicted the catastrophes wouldbegin in 1984 and climax in 1999.
The famous psychic Edgar Cayce predicted that Christ would return in1998. Why haven't we heard from him? Maybe he's having troublefinding a place to rent.
Another psychic, Criswell -- best remembered for his oratoricalperformances in Ed Wood's movies -- predicted August 18, 1999 as theend of time.This is only a very,
small selection of failed end-times prophecy; if youare curious, you can find longer lists of Doomsdayshereandhere
So far, the batting average of all Doomsayers has stayed firm at 0.000. That,of course, will not stop this ever-popular guessing game. We survived thealleged three meteors ofNovember 7, but we still have Y2K ahead of us;and if we survive that, well, the
Weekly World News
recently reported theFour Horsemen of the Apocalypse to be in the vicinity of Santa Fe, headingeast.As long as people enjoy scaring themselves and scaring one another, horrormovies will remain popular, and so will Doomsday. Pick a date -- any date --and you may become the leader of a new cult. You may even get as rich asRajneesh or the Pope.
Robert Anton Wilson is the author of 32 books, including
Everything Is UnderControl,
an encyclopedia of conspiracy theories, and maintains the Web's strangest

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