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Robert Anton Wilson

Illuminati and other groups learned to speak in codes.

DJB: So you think it was the fear of persecution, rather than a feeling that most people weren’t “ready” for the information quite yet?

ROBERT: Well, I think that’s a rationalization, You can’t find out who’s ready, except by distributing the information. Then you find out who’s ready.

RMN: The wars in the Middle East and the rising fundamentalism in the West have been seen by some as the death screams of organized religion. Both Islam and Christianity, however, have survived many “Holy Wars.” What do you think the fate of organized religion will be?

ROBERT: I would like to think that organized religion is on it’s way out, but I’ve been doing a lot of research on the eighteenth century for my historical novels. Voltaire thought that the Catholic church would be gone in twenty years, and it’s hung around for two hundred years since then. When the Pope disbanded the Jesuits, Voltaire said that’s the end, the Catholic church is falling apart. Well, a few years later they reorganized the Jesuits. The Knights of Malta are running the CIA apparently, and the Catholic church just refuses to die. Fundamentalism has staged a comeback. It’s fantastic.

I’m a big fan of H.L. Menken. He was a very funny social critic of the 1920’s. His books went out of print for a while, because the things he was making fun of didn’t exist anymore. Now his books are coming back into print because all those things exist again. He was making fun of the same type of thing that Jerry Falwell, Jim Bakker, and that whole crowd stand for. It’s astonishing the way that this seemingly dead historical institution came back, like the Frankenstein monster. Every time you think it’s dead, it rises up again to afflict us. The Ayatollah. The Grey Wolves. The Grey Wolves are the biggest heroin dealers in the Mid-East because they believe Allah wants them to kill Jews and they can’t get enough money to buy guns without selling heroin. That makes about as much sense as most of the Christian theology I’ve heard.

I’m a mystical agnostic, or an agnostic mystic. That phrase was coined by Olaf Stapledon, my favorite science fiction writer. When I first read it, it didn’t mean anything to me, but over the years I’ve gradually realized that “agnostic mystic” describes me better than any words I have found any where else.

DJB: How about “transcendental agnostic”?

ROBERT: Yeah. The word agnostic has gained the association of somebody who’s just denying, but what I mean is something more like the ancient Greek concept of the zetetic. I find the universe so staggering that I just don’t have any faith in my ability to grasp it. I don’t think the human stomach can eat everything, and I’m not quite sure my mind can understand everything, so I don’t pretend that it can.

RMN: In Riane Eisler’s The Chalice and the Blade, she proposes that there has been a cultural transformation from a cooperation between the sexes to the dominion of male over female. She says that we’re now at a stage when men should be learning from women. What do you think about this?

ROBERT: Curiously, 1 was an early advocate of the theory of the primordial matriarchy. I got turned onto that by Robert Graves when I was in high school. I read The White Goddess, and then I happened to read a little-known book by a Scottish psychiatrist named Ian Suttie called The Origin of Love and Hate, in which he used the model of history evolving from matriarchy to patriarchy and back to matriarchy. Some of these ideas have been around my head for about forty years.

Currently I tend to agree with Eisler. There’s no evidence of a matriarchy at all. There’s evidence of a partnership society. It’s been coming back for the last two hundred years. Arlen calls it “stone-age feedback.” As European civilization conquered and exploited the Third World, ideas from these places came drifting back to Europe. Diderot, Voltaire, Rousseau, the whole enlightenment was influenced by the ideas of these “primitives” having a more natural and happier way of life than we do. Democracy, socialism, anarchism, and all the radical ideas of the last two hundred years were inspired by studying stone-age cultures from the first proto-anthropologica1 reports.

I’ve been an advocate for a partnership society for years, before Eisler used that term. The term I used was “voluntary association” which comes out of the American Anarchist tradition. This was a school of philosophical anarchists in New England in the nineteenth century who are very little known. I got fascinated by them in the sixties and read most of their books. The idea of voluntary association migrated to Europe and became syndicalism, only the syndicalists added to it the idea of overthrowing the existing system by violence, so the whole idea developed a bad reputation. I think the basic idea of voluntary association, or partnership, is the one towards which we should aspire. It’s the most

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