Thursday, January 11, 2007

Rest in Peace Mr. Robert Anton Wilson.

While following the Grateful Dead in the summer of '95 I spent quite a bit of time in the backseat of a Honda Accord. Yes, they do have one sort of. It would be hours and sometimes days of travel time between shows and I brought with me one book: The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. It was the hardest read of my life and had the greatest impact on me of any other book I ever read before or since. It is not for the content of the book, but for the way the book makes you see the world after you finished. When the tour was over I could never back out of the rabbit hole again.

The Illuminatus! Trilogy is the mother of all historical conspiracy theories. The film National Treasure as well as both the book and movie The Da Vinci Code owe quite a bit to this masterpiece. It is a book that links the city of Atlantis to the Free Masons and the Founding Fathers and the end of the world. It bases most of its tale on a cleaver linking of vague historical inconsistencies and known secret organizations then links the two as a catalyst for most of America's history.

The story is hard to explain and even harder to read. It took 500 pages just to get all the main characters introduced and the situations set in motion. The book has about 50 main character, takes place in multiple eras, expands to at least two dimensions, and let's you know it is 90% truth with 10% bullshit mixed in: it is up to you to tell which is which. It even supplies an appendix in the back of historical documents so you can confirm certain things that had to be bullshit but are true. Things like George Washington smoked pot; that one turns out to be true.

Reading this book in the back of that Honda is where your host Lemming was born. The tin foil cap was placed upon my head and Kanrei sat up to say "hello" to the world. From that point on my mind was connecting dots that were never there for my own entertainment. Sometimes I would believe them, but most times it was just fun coming up with them. I think a few would even have made Mr. Wilson happy.

Being no expert on Robert Anton Wilson I am not going to pretend to be one to write a tribute to the man. Instead I am going to simply re-post his last update to his blog so you can see the type of guy he was.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night

Various medical authorities swarm in and out of here predicting I have between two days and two months to live. I think they are guessing. I remain cheerful and unimpressed. I look forward without dogmatic optimism but without dread. I love you all and I deeply implore you to keep the lasagna flying.

Please pardon my levity, I don't see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd.


Rest in Peace Mr. Wilson.


Serena Joy said...

I've seen the back seat of a Honda. I'm not supposed to talk about that.:)

I haven't read that book, but now I can see that I must get it.

Please pardon my levity, I don't see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd.

What a wonderful take on one's imminent death. I laugh now at the inevitability of death's eventuality. I just hope I can keep up the attitude when my date with destiny does come.

RexZeitgiest said...

500 pages to get to the main charcters?

Cheat sheet anyone?

Only one thing is certain, death.....

Kanrei said...

The man was a one of a kind. I am learning more and more about him; one of the few bright spots of a person's death. It seems his life was rather horrible. He died broke.
The man also wrote the best titled book ever written: Reality is What You Can Get Away With. Never read that one though.

You should check it out. It is a hard read. I almost quit so many times in the first 400 pages, but then I could not put it down. Once the tale actually starts it is amazing. Really funny as well. It is a sick joke, but the Kennedy assasination is a classic scene for me. According to the book there were five hitmen in Dallas that day all there to kill him and all there for different reasons. It takes the grassy knoll guy's perspective as he looks through his sight and sees guys with guns everywhere he looks and wonders just how many people wanted this guy dead. It basically plays that every conspiracy theory about Kennedy is right and the reason no one can explain the "magic bullet" is that four hitmen were there for Kennedy and one poor slob was there for the governor and missed.