Friday, January 12, 2007

RIP: Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007)

Today, I was saddened to learn that one of my favorite guerrilla ontologists, Robert Anton Wilson, had passed away, this week, on January 11th.

My first exposure to Mr. Wilson's ideas came through reading the Illuminatus! Trilogy which he co-authored with Robert Shea. I managed to stumble upon his work while in college, and found it to be a great balance against all of the "serious" and "deep" philosophical and ontological works I was digesting at the time. I found it to be an astounding compendium of ideas, both revelatory and fanciful, simultaneously conspiratorial, paranoid, and yet somehow playful and optimistic. His works were a welcome relief from the heaviness of German phenomenologists, and occult cranks.

However, it was his other books that helped change the way I think, philosophically, about a lot of things, particularly his 'non-fiction' writings like Cosmic Trigger and Prometheus Rising. Specifically, I credit Mr. Wilson with helping me to allow humor into my particular Weltangshauung, as well as providing some cognitive tools that allowed me to understand socially constructed belief systems, or reality tunnels, as he called them.

Here is one little factoid about Mr. Wilson, that I only learned about upon his recent passing:

"As a member of the Board of Advisors of the Fully Informed Jury Association, he worked to inform the public about jury nullification, the right of jurors to nullify a law they deem unjust."

R. A. Wilson's Home Page

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1 comment:

With Hammer And Tong...The LetterShaper said...

I have so enjoyed my trip through this site; as a poet and an avid reader, I found it both enlightening and enriching...Thank You!