Disinformation: The Interviews by Richard Metzger - Read Online
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The best and most revealing interviews from the prococative TV series/DVD of the same name.

Richard Metzger presents the most compelling interviews from the hit TV series Disinformation, revealing mind-blowing thoughts from modern culture’s most radical thinkers: Paul Laffoley on how to build a working time machine and a house made of vegetables Douglas Rushkoff explains "media viruses" Lucifer Principle author Howard Bloom on the coming biological apocalypse Genesis P-Orridge on what it’s like to be the leader of your own cult Joe Coleman’s collection of weird stuff Robert Anton Wilson on The Illuminati and Aleister Crowley Kembra Pfahler on The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black Duncan Laurie on the forbidden science of radionics Comic book  author Grant Morrison (The Invisibles, JLA, X-Men) on sex magick Hollywood’s interest in underground culture and the best alien abduction story you’ll ever hear! Plus, many more modern revolutionaries (including philosopher Peter Russell, futurist Mark Pesce, and Apocalypse Culture’s Adam Parfrey) expressing their thoughts, fears, enthusiasms, and predictions.
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ISBN: 9781609259365
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Disinformation - Richard Metzger

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ROBERT ANTON WILSON

THE UNIVERSE CONTAINS A MAYBE

Douglas Rushkoff once told me that of all of his heroes that he'd had the chance to meet, the only one who didn't disappoint him was Robert Anton Wilson. I thought it was such a wonderful thing to say about Bob that I wanted to see it in print.

Robert Anton Wilson is one of our greatest living social philosophers, but most people think of him as a Science Fiction author because of his classic trilogies Illuminatus! (co-written with Robert Shea) and Schrodinger's Cat. A better-informed readership also knows him as the author of Cosmic Trigger, a classic of occult speculation (which also became a trilogy, inspiring two sequels) and numerous books of science fact, trenchant social commentary, and optimistic Futurism such as Quantum Psychology and Prometheus Rising.

Illuminatus! brought together elements of Swift, Thomas Pynchon, William Burroughs, Mad magazine, The Warren Report, the John Birchers, The Firesign Theatre, Orson Welles, James Joyce, the enigmatic joke religion of Discordianism and every far out conspiracy theory that you'd ever heard of, to expose—or so you are led to believe, dear reader—the really big conspiracy that rules the world. Somewhere within its three volumes were hidden occult secrets. Maybe they were right out in the open; the authors seemed to be hinting as much to the reader, winking, in fact, that right out in the open might be the best place to hide these secrets from them, so look carefully. As a result, many readers thought Illuminatus! was real, theorizing that it was a message from an underground resistance group written in code. Others saw it as a deliberate attempt to confuse the population and accused its authors of being agents of the Illuminati themselves (something neither one confirmed or denied).

To outsider teenagers in the 1970's, Illuminatus! became an intellectual touchstone, a way of figuring out a world they'd been born into that seemed increasingly surreal. Once you read it, you were changed forever. There was no way you could look at the world around you in the same way once you'd digested its subversive message. The Illuminatus! trilogy was a nifty way of imprinting a skeptical worldview on an impressionable mind. A magical initiation in book form, you might say, on sale in shopping malls across America. And our parents were never the wiser!

Cosmic Trigger was different. This time the mask came off. In this book, Wilson came clean, in the most intellectually honest way that anyone ever has, on the subject of What happens when you start fooling around with occult things? What happens when you do psychedelic drugs and try to contact higher dimensional entities through ritual magick? Cosmic Trigger is a serious mind fuck of a journey into realms of thought and behavior most people would never go near in their lives, but if you were so inclined to take a walk on the darker side of things, you'd find no better guide than the always agnostic Wilson, ever ready to shed his best explanation or his current belief system lest it impair his critical abilities to accurately report on what was really happening. And he wasn't afraid of embarrassing himself either, which was a great gift to his readers. (There was a hyper weird period in my life when Cosmic Trigger kept me from thinking that I'd gone insane. I won't go into it now, but my day-to-day reality turned into a psychedelic funhouse much like Wilson describes in the book. I'm glad I had RAW's help in navigating this particular hall of mirrors! It was fucked up!)

I've interviewed Bob several times and he was the headliner at our Disinfo.Con⁵ event, something that thrilled me to no end. I'm happy to say that I've become friends with one of my biggest heroes and let me tell you, Doug was right! He's the greatest.

I hear from Bob, nearly everyday, as a member of his small group of Internet friends, shooting the shit and passing along interesting articles we find on the Net. If you'd told me when I was a teenager that one day I'd be getting little electronic notes and messages throughout the day from the enigmatic author of Illuminatus!, I wonder how I'd have reacted. Does this make me a member of the Illuminati? Or am I just a dupe of Wilson's emailed disinformation? Or…or what?? Most days find Bob forwarding news regarding wild scientific discoveries, medical marijuana updates, various Fortean items, Scientology stuff, dirty jokes, etc., but a lot of it seems to do with politicians and how stupid they are, so I thought that might be a great topic to get him off to a good start!

RM: Are politicians and politics irrelevant?

RAW: Well, they're irrelevant to me, that's for sure. I'm over 70-years old and I've been studying this for quite a long time. I have observed we have the same number of wars under the Democrats as we have under the Republicans, and that the United States invades as many foreign countries under the Republicans as it does under the Democrats. The people who do all the invading of foreign countries to kill people, men, women and children in their homes, they're not even called the Department of War anymore. They're called the Department of Defense! How the hell can we be defending ourselves 8,000 miles away attacking people in their jungle huts? I can't understand that and it goes on no matter which party is in control.

I began to get suspicious as far back as the 1950's when I was working as an engineering aide for a very large engineering company. One of the chief engineers told me that the company had a Vice President in Washington all the time. His job was to be their lobbyist and he gave equal amounts of money to the Democrats and Republicans so that no matter who won, the company would be represented in Congress and in the White House.

And I'm sure they all do the same thing: they give approximately equal amounts to both major parties and they make damn sure no third party ever gets strong enough to pose a challenge. Voting is choosing between Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum. Which gang of Wall Street bandits does this guy represent as opposed to which gang of Wall Street bandits does this guy represent? They both represent the same gang of Wall Street bandits so there is no real choice.

RM: What's the alternative to the two party political system in this country?

RAW: As far as I can see, the only hopeful alternative is the Internet. Like, say, now you can do all your stock brokering online, I think eventually political power will devolve back to the people by way of the Internet in a similar way. The whole theory of representative government is an innovation of the last 200 years. After they discovered that the hereditary governors—the kings and their relatives—were a bunch of bandits, they said, Well, we'll elect our own bandits and they'll represent us. But they don't represent us. They represent the people who pay for their elections.

The idea was we needed somebody to represent us because we couldn't all go to Washington to represent ourselves. On the Internet we can all represent ourselves and I would much rather represent myself through my computer than have [U.S. Senator from California] Dianne Feinstein sitting there claiming that she represents me. She represents me about as well as a hungry lion represents a running gazelle.

RM: Why is the so-called war on drugs doomed to failure?

RAW: There are two kinds of crimes. Crimes which everybody agrees are a crime, that's crimes with victims. If I get mugged or burglarized or somebody in my family gets hurt or killed I want the police to do something about it and I'm eager to cooperate with them and so is everybody else of a sound and rational mind. We don't want burglars and thieves and muggers and murderers running around loose. On the other hand, when you're trying to control victimless crime, nobody is very eager to help the police.

People who are smoking pot aren't eager to turn themselves in and their friends aren't eager to turn them in, either, in most cases. The whores don't want to turn in the Johns; the Johns don't want to turn in the whores. The gamblers don't want to turn in the bettors; the bettors don't want to turn in the bookies and so on. Nobody wants to do anything about victimless crimes, meaning things that people do consensually that they want to do and that they're enjoying doing and there's no victim to be found anywhere. So nobody wants to help the police, ergo, the only way you can wage a war against sin—which is what these victimless crime laws are all about—the only way you can wage a war like that is by spying on everybody more and more, creating the apparatus of a totalitarian state, which means higher and higher taxes. This is why so many conservatives lately are coming out in favor of ending the war on drugs: it's getting so goddamned expensive.

The only way the government has any chance at all of winning is to establish a totalitarianism wackier and more total than Orwell's 1984. We've already got the Piss Police which is something that Orwell didn't even dream of. Even Franz Kafka couldn't imagine a society so crazy that you have to give urine samples before you can hold a job! There's no way of winning without totalitarianism far beyond anything ever practiced by Hitler or Stalin or imagined by the wildest satirist. That's the only way they can win. And that costs too damned much money. The people who are running it, they're not trying to win. They know they can't win; they just want to keep the war going because it makes money for everybody.

It's a wonderful excuse to increase police power and surveillance so that they know everything that we're doing so that nobody can be plotting subversion of any sort without them knowing about it. Like the old joke goes, When four men sit down to plot against the government, three of them are government agents and the fourth is a damned fool. Well that's getting more and more true all the time. The war on drugs is an excuse for more and more surveillance. They're scared stiff of us. They're more afraid of us than we are of them.

RM: You have studied the Illuminati for years. Have you come to any conclusions about their aims?

RAW: Usually when people ask me that question, I give them some kind of a put-on, but I can't think of a good and original put-on that I haven't done several times before. So I'll tell you the truth, for once. After investigating the Illuminati and their critics for the last 30 years, I think the Illuminati was a short lived society of free thinkers and democratic reformers that formed a secret society within Freemasonry, using Freemasonry as a cover so they could plot to overthrow all the kings in Europe and the Pope. I'm very happy that they succeeded in overthrowing all the kings, I just wish that they had completed the job and gotten rid of the Royal family in England too, but they did pretty well on the continent. I'm sorry they haven't finished off the Pope yet, either, but I think they're still working on the project and I wish them luck.

RM: Why do you think the central secrets of Freemasonry have, after hundreds of years, still remained secret to the public at large?

RAW: Because the public at large doesn't spend as much time browsing around second hand bookstores as I do. You could find all the secrets of Freemasonry in print. Well not always in print, but you could find them in second hand bookstores. The Encyclopedia Britannica will tell you most of it. They'll tell you who the Widow's Son was and what the Mason word is. The secrets are pretty well known actually.

RM: Was Beethoven a member of the Illuminati?

RAW: I can't say for sure. He was certainly very closely associated with them. His first music teacher, Neefe, was a member of the Illuminati. Then when Beethoven arrived in Vienna, that teacher gave him letters of introduction to all the noblemen who were members of Freemasonry, most of them also members of the Illuminati. The Illuminati commissioned Beethoven's first major work, the Cantata on the death of Emperor Joseph II which praised Franz Josef as a bringer of light, an Illuminati symbol there. A bringer of light, a foe of darkness. And I read over the life of Franz Josef trying to figure out what he did to deserve that.

The huge thing he did was to legalize Freemasonry in Austria and the second thing he did was he closed all the Catholic schools and replaced them with public schools. So yeah, I think he was a bringer of light and a foe of darkness and I can see why the Illuminati liked him. And I can see why Beethoven liked him too.

RM: When you wrote Illuminatus! with Robert Shea in the 60's, did you think you were writing a prophetic novel? So much stuff in it that seemed so far out when I was a kid, now seems to predict exactly what would happen 25 years down the road!

RAW: No, I thought we were writing a classic, but I didn't know it was going to be prophetic too. When I made Beethoven a member of the Illuminati—that was my idea, not Shea's—that was a parody of the Christian right claiming the Beatles were agents of Communism. Imagine my shock when I read a biography of Beethoven and found all the evidence that he may have been a member of the Illuminati. I started to wonder, do I have unconscious ESP or am I just a lucky guesser?

RM: In the Schrodinger's Cat trilogy, you predicted homeless people all over America and that was written at a time when the homeless problem was scarcely on the national radar.

RAW: Well, that was based on watching the rate at which rents were increasing in this country and I figured, eventually, it'll take $900 to rent a broom closet in downtown Berkeley and eventually there would be more and more people living on the streets

And of course, this still seems to me to be the major cause of homelessness in this country; this is the increase in rent. But you can't talk about that in the public media. My wife Arlen used to say There's never a story about the homeless on the major networks or in the major newspapers or magazines in which the word landlord appears. It seems everybody working in the news business, whether it's radio, television, newspapers, news magazines, they all have a sign over their desk, Do not use the word ‘landlord’ when writing about the homeless.

It's obvious to anybody who is not brainwashed by the media that the reason people are living on the streets is because they can't afford to pay rent. And the reason for that is it costs as much to have a one room apartment now as it did to have a penthouse in the 1940's. When I was a little kid, my parents were paying $48 a month rent for a house for both of them and my brother and me. $48 a month. Now as the rents go up and up and up and up to over $1000, over $2000 and so on, there are going to be more and more people living on the streets and the cause is very, very simple: it's the greed of landlords. But you can't say that in the major media. They've got to come up with complicated sociological problems, impersonal market forces. As if there was no first name, last name or address of the person who made that decision to raise your rent!

RM: When they changed the design of American money, a friend of mine remarked that they looked like coupons and it made me think how abstract money really is. It's no longer a certificate that you could redeem for its value in silver or in gold, it's just some kind of arbitrary credit that you have in your bank account. Obviously there is a sort of a belief in the monetary system that keeps it afloat. What would happen if everyone just stopped believing in money?

RAW: If everybody went to the bank and took out their money, the whole damned system would collapse, because the banks are allowed by law to loan eight times as much as they have on deposit. That's considered safe because it's unlikely that everybody will go in and take their money out all at once.

Actually, according to Penny Lernoux, in a very good book on modern banking called In Banks We Trust, they habitually loan more than eight times than what they've got on deposit, or a hell of a lot more than eight times. When the SEC catches them they get fined and the case is not publicized, not just because the bankers own the government but because if they did publicize it then it might start a run on the banks and the whole system would fall down like it did in the 1930's.

It's very strange, but these pieces of paper that people have so much faith in, as you point out, if you read them very carefully, they're not promising to give you anything in return. They used to when I was young: every dollar bill said on it you could redeem it in silver on demand. Now it just says that it's legal tender for all debts. Which means you can't exchange it for anything but more paper. If people lost faith in this paper the whole system would fall apart. Money in the modern world is just pure information. It's as abstract as information in cybernetic theory. Which brings up the question: how come people get to charge interest on distributing information? (Laughs)

Ezra Pound said we're living in a "Usuracracy," that is a system dominated by usury, and it sure does look that way especially when you realize that we're paying interest on money that doesn't even exist except by some kind of social convention. At my workshops, I ask, What's the difference between a counterfeit dollar bill and a real dollar bill? Eventually it comes down to we've got to have faith that the Federal Reserve has a magic wand and when they print paper they pass the magic wand over it and it becomes money. When the Mafia prints paper in their cellar, they don't have the magic wand so it's not real money. But supposing Andy Warhol found a Mafia dollar and put a frame around it? It'd be worth more than the Federal Reserve money. How does the Federal Reserve get away with this swindle and no one ever suspects it?

RM: With something like The X Files or Art Bell's radio show becoming so popular in the American culture, conspiracy theories are being talked about everywhere and people are, you know, not trusting the government or not trusting the media or this and that…On the other hand, they seem to believe anything.

RAW: (Laughs) I blame that on the churches and the ignorance of the public at large. The major thing you should learn in any decent education is to how to judge and evaluate new sources of information. If I say to you The people in the next apartment are all Zebra-striped and they fly around three feet above the ground, how are you going to judge and evaluate that? One way: does it sound plausible to you? Another way is: how honest do you think I am? And there are lots of other ways. But most people have no standards of evaluation at all to judge between something that's plausible, something that's totally impossible, something that's possible but not probable, something that's probable but not yet proven.

They don't have those distinctions because any teacher in the United States who's caught trying to teach children how to judge statements logically…immediately, the whole school board, all the parents and especially the local clergy come down on his or her case and he or she gets fired, thrown out on their ass, and has to find work in another field. You can't teach children to think. It's against the law. So of course nobody has any standards how to judge whether Martians are in the White House or if General Motors owns the President or whether there are fetuses of extraterrestrials at Fort Bragg; they have no standard by which to judge. So they judge by whomever they heard speak most recently! Oh that must be the truth, I just heard it five minutes ago. They don't have an attention span that goes more than ten minutes and that's because they've never been taught how to use their brains. I used to advertise my seminars as How to Use Your Brain for Fun and Profit. These days most people don't even know how to use it for fun, much less know how to use it for