Firing the Cosmic Trigger
“…information is the source of all wealth”
with Robert Anton Wilson
RobertAnton Wilson earned his doctorate in psychology from Hawthorn University. From 1966-1971 he was Associate Editor of Playboy, and since then he has written over 26 popular books. He is perhaps best known for Illuminatus! a classic science fiction
trilogy which he co-authored with Robert Shea. His Schroedinger’s Cat trilogy was called “the most scientific of all science-fiction novels ” by New Scientist, and has been reprinted in many languages. In the area of social philosophy Bob wrote such books as Cosmic Trigger, Prometheus Rising, and The New Inquisition He also wrote the introduction to my first book Brainchild. Bob has appeared as a stand-up comic at many clubs around the world, and regularly teaches seminars at New Age centers such as the Esalen Institute. Bob ‘s poetry has been widely published and in 1 986 he was a guest of the Norwegian government at the Oslo International Poetry Festival.
Bob has also starred in collaboration with the Golden Horde on a Punk Rock record entitled The Chocolate Biscuit Conspiracy, and a comedy record called Secrets of Power. Bob’s play Wilhelm Reich in Hell was performed at the Edmund Burke Theatre in Dublin in 1986, and many other theatres. H epresently lives in Santa Cruz, where he continues to write, and co-edit the futurist journal Trajectories
with his wife Arlen. We interviewed Bob on the evening of June 18th, 1989, at his previous home in West Los Angeles. A sharp-witted imp with a Brooklyn accent and a twinkle in his eye, Bob never fails to have a joke up his sleeve. He is a jolly prankster with an alchemical talent for blending cultural mythos. Bob spoke with us about the Illuminati conspiracy, brain machines, synchronicity, mysticism and science, nanotechnology, ecology, extraterrestrials, and the mysterious mythic connection between Satan and Santa Claus.
RMN: What was it that first sparked your interest in consciousness enhancement?
ROBERT: Korzybski’s Science and Sanity. I was in engineering school and I picked up the book in the Brooklyn Public Library. He talked about different levels of organization in the brain-animal circuits, human circuits and so on. And he talked a lot about getting back to the non-verbal level and being able to perceive without talking to yourself while you’re perceiving.
It was 1957. I was very interested in jazz at that time, and I told a black friend about some of Korzybski’s exercises to get to the non-verbal level, and he said, “Oh, I do that every time I smoke pot.” I got interested. I said, “Could I buy one of these marijuana cigarettes from you?” He said, “Oh hell, I’11 give it to you free.” And so I smoked it.
I found myself looking at a quarter I found in my pocket and realizing I hadn’t looked at a quarter in twenty years or so, the way a child looks at a quarter. So I decided marijuana was doing pretty much the same thing Korzybski was trying to do with his training devices. Then shortly after that I heard a lecture by Alan Watts, and I realized that Zen, marijuana and Korzybski were all relating the same transformations of consciousness. That was the beginning.
DJB: Many of your books deal with a secret society called the Illuminati. How did your fascination with this organization begin?
ROBERT: It was Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley who founded the Discordian Society, which is based on the worship of Eris, the Goddess of Chaos, discord, confusion, bureaucracy and international relations. They have no dogmas, but one catma. The catma is that everything in the universe relates to the number 5, one way or another, given enough ingenuity on the part of the interpreter. I found the Discordian Society to be the most satisfactory religion I had ever encountered up until that point, so I became a Discordian Pope. This is done by excommunicating all the Discordian Popes you can find and setting up your own Discordian Church. This is based on Greg’s teaching that we Discordians must stick apart.
Anyway, in 1968 Jim Garrison, the D.A. of New Orleans–the jolly green Frankenstein monster, as Kerry later called him–accused Kerry at a press conference of being one of the conspirators in the Kennedy