Keep the Lasagna Flying
The spiral pictured to the left is a photograph of a ring that Bob Wilson wore for years, even while lying in bed in the last days of his life. Symbolic of Goddess worship, seasonal change, evolution, the Fibonacci sequence - indeed, a profusion of ancient and modern wonders and enigmas - the spiral seems a fitting emblem for an author whose encyclopedic knowledge and gift for synthesis and speculation gave so much to so many of us. In his introduction to Cosmic Trigger, Bob claimed that he believed in nothing, saying that belief is the death of intelligence, and yet he kept close to his heart the Amida Buddhist mantra signifying Infinite Light and the blessings of a Buddhist saint whose life exemplified noble acts of insight and kindness. Bob could summon devilishly humorous and clever invectives against intolerance and ignorant behavior, and yet in the daily words and actions of his life he practiced compassion and forgiveness. Bob's wife Arlen Riley Wilson passed in 1999, and I'm certain Bob thought of her every day thereafter. I remember Arlen's infectious passion for life, whether reciting poetry or yes, even preparing lasagna, and always Bob would be watching her as if gazing at the beauty of the stars. He mastered the intricacies of Joycean literature as well as the recondite details of quantum physics, and yet I wonder if he thought it all miniscule in comparison to the love he had for Arlen. Near the end of his life his struggle with post polio syndrome, on some days, made any muscle movement, even talking, painful, and yet on one particularly difficult day he asked me for forgiveness for the inconvenience of straining to understand his laboured speech. I told him that I had heard him give lectures in large halls to hundreds of people and relate humorous anecdotes in his living room with a handful of friends, and after all those years of generously sharing his heart and wisdom, he had no need to ever ask for forgiveness.
Bob may not have believed in the superstitions of the human herd, but he did embrace Tim Leary's mantra "SMI2LE" - Space Migration, Intelligence Increase, and Life Extension. Bob would have loved to have traveled above the planet, and in many unconventional ways he actually did. He demonstrated an intelligence increased well beyond any average expectation. As far as life extension, even with a robust seven plus decades, I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that his time on the planet was not nearly long enough.
In January of 2006 I was trying out the video on my new digital camera. I said to Bob, "Say something memorable." As was typical of Bob's conversation, in one lucid stream he began with his ever present memory of Arlen, and then made the free flowing connections to one of his favorite writers and then to one of his favorite fictional characters.
"Nothing matters save the quality of the affection.
Dove Sta Memora.
That's from Pound's Pisan Cantos,
by way of Cavalcanti,
on whom Dr. Hannibal Lecter
happens to be an expert, by the way.
A weird coincidence, isn't it."
The genesis of the Guns and Dope Party
After the announcement of the special mid-term election for governor of California to be held in October 2003, several of Bob's friends liked the idea of him running for governor. At first he declined, but as the e-mail conversations grew, Bob eventually changed his mind . . .
Gary started it all off:
I HEREBY NOMINATE ROBERT ANTON WILSON!!!!
-- preferable to run on a platform of Secession, Medical Marijauna,
decriminalization of marijuana, and Amnesty for all current CA prisoners
being held on nonviolent drug charges.
Nuff said. Somebody get the Petition for the signatures and let's start
passing the hat for that $3,500.
(I'll bet even Candidate Gary Coleman will switch his vote
-- from Schotzy to RAW.)
Thinking not only of his writing schedule, but of his declining health, I was at first skeptical:
I was surprised to see Conservative-turned-Liberal Ariana Huffington
running. She wouldn't be as radical or as sexy as Bob, but she's
already in the race, and I'm just guessing here, but doesn't Bob have
better things to do other than wrestle with the hognads who control
California state politics?
You betta you ass I do
Can I just say I find Arianna sexier than Bob?
At least in one sense of the word, perhaps not the one you meant.
I defended my comments on Bob's sexiness:
I meant "sexy" in the same way that spaceships are made from pasta,
as in Las die Lasagne weiter fliegen! (Keep the lasagna flying! - one of Bob's mantras)
Bob was still resistant:
I will not run and if elected will not serve.
In the years left to me I wanna do SERIOUS work,
not muck about in political bullshit
Gary didn't want to give up:
Since modesty may have had you reluctant to send this on, even in jest,
I opted to send it to a few members of the GM (Group Mind - our e-mail group).
I'd also nominate Paul Krassner as a great candidate, since the Guv doesn't really need a
running mate -- although maybe you could appoint him as Lt. Guv. We
could have some great debates with you, Paul, Larry Flynt, Evanglyne and
Gary Coleman. God -- would I love to have the film rights to *that*!!
OR: Maybe we could press George Carlin into service.
The wheels are always turnin', Ralphie-Boy!
-- your pal, Norton
NO,NO, A THOUSAND TIMES NO!!!!!!!
The synergetic trajectories of Universe cannot
move in an omnibenevolent vector, but only in
an omnilethal one, from within the political
EVERY MAN AND EVERY WOMAN IS A TSAR
Gary wrote to the whole Group Mind:
TO: Paul K. and everyone:
[As I wrote Rasa and DOC ("Damned Old Crank," Bob's description of himself)]:
-- Oh, hell, of course. Now he's even said so. I was being TIC and
just sitting down with coffee when I fired that off. Guess I thought it
would be at least fun as a discussion topic and maybe give Bob a shot in
the arm -- as humor or as a vote of confidence and loving support of his
[presumed] platform . . . Further: I'd suggest that on a Wilson or Krassner ticket,
we could discuss a marijuana tax -- maybe $.05 an ounce -- maybe $1? That would
solve the CA budget deficit -- along with the decrim . . .
Leary had great prison reform ideas when he ran for CA Guv. It's a
grand old tradition. Even "jesting" about his candidacy brought forth
some smart ideas for reform, some great discussion, great jokes, and
great music -- like Come Together. I couldn't really see Bob -- or Carlin or
Bill Maher, e.g. -- as seriously giving a nod to a "nomination" or run for office
(they've all previously refused, I think) -- but I thought we could have some fun
with the idea. --gv
I'm beginning to soften on the idea:
I think the sentiment was right on, and I'd also love to see Bob's
politics have wider influence, but I was thinking a debate between
Ariana, Larry and Arnold would be sponge-worthy. Half the country
wouldn't understand any of their accents!
LOL to your comment. As far as accents: I'd rather hear the
street-savvy smart of Brooklyn than macho with fascist potential of
Austrian in the daily sound bytes.
Paul Krassner declines:
Thanks anyway, but hermits don't make good politicians.
Howard offers his thoughts:
Well Bob, to quote an old friend who said this many many years ago,
and to adapt it to this situation:
"If you're so goddamn great (and I think you are) then why
would you want to settle for so little (as being governor)?"
Besides, we already had one Wilson in the office and he ruined it for the rest.
It is the political strategy of Mark Emery of the BC
Pot Party to ALWAYS run for everything he can. Not
because he thinks he has a chance but because it lets
him make speeches for the public record. Its the same
reason he and his cohorts always contrive to get
arrested and tried - they get to make speeches to the
Plus He gets to challenge opponents( who never dare to
debate him), say shit in press conferences....legally
protected as his listed platform - u should see what
the BCPP platform is, heheheh. Lambast politicians,
expose records etc.
Imagine Bob ...Cummon... this is an incredible
opportunity at a propitious time in the right place
for some major Chaos. Run the whole thing on the Web
Bob protests yet again:
I'm old, I'm sick, I'm overworked--
find another Leader.
Besides, Huff has the same policy as me
on the issue that matters the most to me,
medical freedom (no Tsarism)
Admittedly, I just thought this was funny, but after
my mother sent me this joke, I e-mailed it off to Bob:
Little Tony was sitting on a park bench munching on one candy bar after another.
After the 6th candy bar, a man on the bench across from him said,
"Son, you know eating all that candy isn't good for you. It will give
you acne, rot your teeth, and make you fat.
"Little Tony replied, "My grandfather lived to be 107 years old."
The man asked, "Did your grandfather eat 6 candy bars at a time?"
Little Tony answered, "No, he minded his own fucking business."
Perhaps thanks to Little Tony, the next e-mail from Bob started off with this:
After refusing many pleas to run for governor,
I have reconsidered and now enter the race
as an unofficial write-in candidate. After
all, why shd I remain the ONLY nut in California
who ain't running?
Mixed Nuts in California: The Guns and Dope Party
- by Richard Rasa
"The Guns and Dope Party invites extremists of both right and left to unite."
Some Americans stockpile weapons like emergency rations in the paranoid delusion they have a chance of defending themselves against an attack from their own government. Millions of Americans support the National Rifle Association, an organization that draws heavily from its war chest to influence a political system many gun owners vehemently distrust.
Millions of starry-eyed recreational marijuana smokers in America stockpile tiny amounts of dried flowers with a paranoid uncertainty they won't win the conviction lottery and be locked away in the largest prison system in the world for doing something that seems to them less harmful than America's love affair with alcohol. A lot of those recreational smokers stand in solidarity with the Medical Marijuana movement and the growing number of indignant medical marijuana patients aghast at the actions of what they consider extremist bureaucrats in Washington trampling on human rights and state laws.
As Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine hit the video stores, renting like a Hollywood blockbuster, a voice in California cried out, "They'll take away my medicine when they pry my cold dead fingers from the pill bottle!"
Lawyers have appealed an August 28th US District Court rejection of a lawsuit filed by the City and County of Santa Cruz, California and a group of medical marijuana patients against Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Justice Department. The city has gone to the courts to defend a California citizen's right to use marijuana under the state's 1996 Proposition 215, known as the Compassionate Use Act. In response to a DEA raid in Santa Cruz last year on a small farm run by the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, city officials are not only taking on a conservative administration, they are also opposing an American tsar with an enforement apparatus more expansive than any in the dreams of a Romanov.
A recipient of California's Compassionate Use, writer/philosopher/guerilla ontologist and self-proclaimed damned old crank Robert Anton Wilson, labels current American drug war policies as acts of the TSOG, the Tsarist Occupation Government. You can find the details in his latest book, "TSOG, The Thing That Ate The Constitution," which Mondo 2000 editor R U Sirius calls, "funnier than a barrel of monkeys reciting the pledge of aliegiance on the capital steps."
In "TSOG" Wilson traces tsarism in America not from the appointment of a drug tsar by the first President Bush, but through the induction after WWII of General Rheinhard Gehlen, Hitler's Chief of Soviet Intelligence, into the U.S. intelligence services. Gehlen, parleying his cache of "inside information" on the Soviet Union, infected U.S. intellegence with tactics and information colored by the "mystical tsarist" influences of Gehlen's major contacts in the Soviet Union. From Soviet General Andrei Vassov to Gehlen to CIA Chief of Counter-Intelligence James Jesus Angleton, the story eventually leads back to GHW Bush, his stewardship of the CIA, and later appointment of the first American tsar. Wilson, however, carefully instructs his readers to never think one story has all the answers, and offers this history as an important thread in the tapestry of Cold War political intrique influencing the politics of today.
Wilson's books, on one level, seem to be elaborate attempts to explain the style of one of his favorite writers, James Joyce. In the lush and rambling detailed chaos of normal life Wilson applies the uncertainty principle of quantum physics to explain why we should always enjoy the benefit of doubt. When reality seems too unmanageable, Wilson offers a combination of models to help humans act more consciously. Alfred Korzybski's elimination of the verb "to be" figures prominently, along with the theory of the Eight Circuits of the Brain that Wilson developed with Timothy Leary. For Wilson, the debate about drugs has always been an issue of freedom, consciousness and the promotion of a more intelligent and presumably violence-free society. Many of Wilson's readers may be puzzled by his latest political movement, but they would be well advised to remember that Wilson considers George Carlin one of America's greatest philosophers.
Replicating Ben Fraklin's advice on hanging together, instead of hanging separately, on August 16th, 2003, Robert Anton Wilson announced on Internet:
"After refusing many pleas to run for governor,
I have reconsidered and now enter the race
as an unofficial write-in candidate. After
all, why shd I remain the ONLY nut in California
who ain't running?
"My party, the Guns and Dope Party, invites extremists
of both right and left to unite behind the shared goals of
"1 --Get those pointy-headed Washinton bureaucrats off
our backs and off our fronts too!
"2 --guns for everybody who wants them; no guns for
those who don't want them
"3 --drugs for everybody who wants them; no drugs for
those who don't want them
"4 --freedom of choice, free love, free speech,
free Internet and free beer
"5 --California secession-- Keep the anti-gun and
anti-dope fanatics on the Eastern side of the Rockies
"6 --Lotsa wild parties every night by gun-toting dopers
"7 --Animal protection -- Support your right to
keep and arm bears
"More position papers will follow; we know at
least 69 good positions"
If you want to look at politics from a wider perspective, actually ever increasing multicentric rings of wider perspectives, some of which include six foot rabbits from County Kerry, mysterious aliens from Sirius, and Wilson's spiritual advisor, an endearing and curiously fey ostrich named Olga, then read any one of Wilson's works of fiction and non-fiction. Even a mind as familiar with extremes as Philip K. Dick said, "Wilson managed to reverse every mental polarity in me, as if I had been pulled through infinity. I was astonished and delighted." Most people who read Wilson are delighted, and largely because even his most biting satire chides with optimism. Wilson dissects the stupidity common in modern life and opens discussions about a future where humans "will achieve more freedom from mechanical conditioned reflexes (both "physical" and "mental")." He has long promoted an evolutionary step away from our violent history. But now Guns? Guns and Dope together?
I should mention that Bob Wilson has been accused of being an outer head of the Illuminati, an agent for the CIA, and the "Bob" behind the legendary J.R. "Bob" Dobbs of The Church of the SubGenius (or is that a joke?). The Denver Post called him the Lenny Bruce of Philosophers, and New Scientist asked, "What great physicist hides behind the mask of Wilson?" Bob's friends and readers sense that underneath his many masks lies a scientist, an artist, an advocate of compassionate activism, a promoter of space exploration, intelligent behavior, and healthy longevity. Tom Robbins called him "a dazzling barker hawking tickets to the most thrilling tilt-a-whirls and daring loop-o-planes on the midway of higher consciousness."
How could he suddenly be hanging with the gun nuts?
For about eight years Bob has been moderating an e-mail discussion group I've been lucky enough to be a part of known informally as the Group Mind, which is simply Bob passing around articles and comments sent to and from about 25 of his friends. All of us have one thing in common, and that is an earnest desire to try to keep pace with the mind of a guy who cracks you up laughing as he uses quantum physics to explain how difficult it is to find his apartment on a map. After reading his recent political announcement I thought about the idea of Guns and Dope for a while, trying to juggle sense and satire, then I wrote an e-mail to the new candidate. It turned out to be similar to the thinking of several others in the GroupMind.
Bob, I'm totally behind the party, I love a good party,
but I need some clarification. I've never had a hankering
to fire a gun. I think from time to time that guns are
lethal penises. I know I'm overly optimistic, but I
always imagined a world without the need for guns. Guns
seem too dangerous for most of the barbaric primates
on this planet, with ample evidence to demonstrate that.
I'm even a vegetarian, and so my diet is pretty easy to
capture without internal combustion weaponry. Am I just
being naive, having not been confronted with a gun toting
lunatic? Please give me some reasoning behind the Guns
part of Guns and Dope. I understand the libertarian model,
but I'm not sure how to get behind actually supporting
Bob wrote back,
>We don't wanna force guns on anybody. See point 2 above
>and cf point 3.
>Both the pro-gun people and the dopers [medical,
>religious and/or recreational] feel like
>minorties, and the TSOG agrees with this estimate
>of their weakness. Our contention holds that in California
>both groups woikin' together make a MAJORITY. Ergo, they have much
>to gain and nowt to lose in combining forces.
>Each side only has to realize this and agree
>"We'll tolerate their hobbies if they'll tolerate
>ours" and we can even beat Schwarzenegger.
On an Internet Blog someone recently wrote, "I'm having some difficulty distinguishing the Guns and Dope Party from the Libertarian Party." Bob labeled that comment the "Koan of the week."
In September 2002 the press snapped photographs of a grey-haired Wilson in a wheel chair accepting pot given out to medical marijuana patients on the steps of the Santa Cruz City Hall. The event was held in response to the DEA raid. Bob uses marijuana to alleviate the pain of post-polio syndrome, and he and others received it that day with the blessings of city council members, former mayors, and over a thousand supporters.
Wilson told the crowd, "The 10th Amendment says all powers not relegated to the federal government are reserved to the states or to the people. Nowhere does it say that a goddamn tsar will be in charge of my medical care and interfere between me and my doctor. If anybody in Philadelphia in the 18th Century had suggested putting something like that in the Constitution, they would have been considered a raving lunatic. This Constitution was not created to establish a tsarist tyranny, it was established to create a free society!"
I predict that Bob Wilson will not physically go on the campaign trail, preferring instead to broadcast from his computer keyboard, and if you squint your brain in just the right way you may think you are reading H. L. Mencken on ecstasy describing the marriage of Lao Tsu and Marcel du Champ.
In the Guns and Dope Party's second position paper Bob wrote:
"Like what you like, enjoy what you enjoy, and don't take crap from anybody."
Major goal of first term: California secession. [Oregon, Washington State and B.C. invited to join Freetopia....]
First order of business on assuming office: Fire 33% of the legislature [names selected at random] and replace them with full-grown adult ostritches, whose mysterious and awesome dignity will elevate the suidean barbarity long established there.
As a counterpart to the surrealistic rhetoric, a lot of ideas discussed in Bob's books would add significantly to the level of debate in American politics. I can imagine a Governor Bob applying Buckminster Fuller's World Game scenario to state spending policies, or imposing the use of the Korzybski derived linguistic rules of E-prime for all debate in the state legislature, at least for that 67% who speak a human language. Bob has already announced that he would be in favor of a Internet responsive voluntary tax program based on a model by 19th century activist and Jury Nullification proponent Lysander Spooner. Californian's would be given a lot to think about, and every Governor Bob press conference would be covered nationwide, although probably only on the comedy channel.
Earlier this past summer the Mayor of the City of Santa Cruz proclamed July 23, 2003 "Robert Anton Wilson Day." One part of the proclamation reads,
"Robert Anton Wilson employs wit and humor spanning five decades to resist the imperial schemes of national politicos, through such actions as daily emails to Attorney General John Ashcroft detailing his personal activities, thereby sparing government the expense and trouble of keeping him under surveillance . . ."
So far his daily e-mails to several members of the administration have garnered only robotic form-letter replies always similar to, "Thank you for e-mailing President Bush. Your ideas and comments are very important to him." which Bob labeled as furtive evasions. I'm sure that Bob would sincerely reply if the government ever listened. He savors intelligent dialogue, and will even quickly challenge members of his own camp. One friend wrote to him,
>I ask: why would you promote gun-toting people who marginalize somebody like
>you as a silly doped up eccentric? The Charlton Heston fans are not very
>likely to join your party -- so what's the point?
[Are you sure they have the same kind of negative stereotype
about us that you have about them? I'm not.....
and willing to find out by appealing to both.....
In the eighteenth century, the constitutional promise that individuals have the right to defend themselves with their own weapons, presented the radical notion that the "common" people have the right to defend themselves, even against their own government if necessary.
It wasn't that suddenly everyone would get a gun, it was more that everyone could keep the guns they had. Starting with the guns our European predecessors all used in their American adventure, whether you choose to call it "taming a new country" or less euphemistically "a brutal European invasion," the American style of power has led us to become the world's largest producer, retailer and user of weapons, and now we have a cowboy-styled president who taunts the enemy, "Bring it on!"
I keep reminding myself that almost half of the country's voters like that cowboy style. The other half would probably favor an end to the drug war and Tsarism in American, if the debate could be turned in that direction.
In The Guns and Dope Party, Robert Anton Wilson offers a gesture of reconciliation wrapped in a Dadaist political strategy. Wilson has long railed against the Aristotelian either/or, and especially in these times when the President claims "either you are with us or against us." Wilson fans still troubled by the Guns in "Guns and Dope" may wish to recall this 1980 quote from The Illuminati Papers,
"Illth, a term coined by John Ruskin, can be conceived as all the changes in the environment that are detrimental to humanity and/or to life itself. Weaponry, then, should be classed as illth, not wealth."
I'm 60% certain that if you asked Bob whether he still believed this, he would reply with an unequivocal "Maybe." "Maybe Logic," the title of a new documentary on Robert Anton Wilson just released from Deepleaf Productions, succinctly describes a philosophy that asks us to keep the door open and accept that one person, or one nation, seldom has the only valid viewpoint. In a climate of paranoia and self-rightousness, Wilson offers inclusiveness, humor, and recipes for intelligent optimism.
Santa Cruz Mayor Emily Reilly proclaimed,
"Robert Anton Wilson employs genius, which hurdles from soaring mathematical theory to the scholarly intricacies of Joyce and Pound . . . he continues to produce works of luminous brilliance and political courage, weighing the gravest of issues in the darkest of times . . ."
Robert Anton Wilson's website: www.rawilson.com
The Guns and Dope Party can be found at: www.gunsanddopeparty.net
But debate is largely muted. Robert Anton Wilson's spiritual advisor, that ostrich named Olga, offers this warning, "A government which takes your money by force like a common thief will use this stolen money to further enslave you and to prevent any rebellion on your part."
On January 6th, 2007 Bob sent the following e-mail to his friends:
Hi there, 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. RAW
Bob passed on January 11th, 2007.