Friday, January 12, 2007

RIP RAW

Robert Anton Wilson died yesterday at the age of 74. He was one of the most extraordinary characthers of the 20th century, but it may truly be in the 21st century that his genius is fully understood. I was only fortunate enough to have one brief conversation with him, on the nature of mental maps of physical geography, but I have been strongly influenced and inspired by his writings (some available online, but his finest works are only available in hardcopy: Prometheus Rising, Quantum Psychology, and the Cosmic Trigger series). So long, Bob.

3 comments:

chagapilz said...

RAW was a huge influence on me during some serious formative years - mid-teens through early twenties. I owe him for introducing me to a wide array of provocative ideas and sources for further investigation; from Hassan i Sabbah to Korzybyski to Wilhelm Reich.

His ol' boy lack of sympathy for feminism rubbed me the wrong way from the start, but I took it with a lump of salt. I eventually did tire of his (ultimately quite trend-setting) focus on trying to re-read process at the human-scale according to the patterns of action at the sub-atomic scale (i.e. Quantum Psychology). Functional organization is scale-dependent,yes? An quark is not an organism is not a social system. Would that he had encountered Maturana and Varela - they accomplish a similar destruction of the ontology/epistemology split without the methodological problems.

But then again, I never would have waded through M&V's _Tree of Knowledge_ as a teenager, and I might well have rejected it's challenges altogether if I hadn't been prepared by RAW's guerilla ontology.

So thank you, Robert Anton Wilson, but don't rest in peace. May your legacy rest as uneasily and undigestibly in the maw of Western culture as your embodied presence has.

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