Robert Anton Wilson (18 January 1932 – 11 January 2007) was an American author, novelist, essayist, editor, playwright, poet, futurist, psychologist, and self- described agnostic mystic. He was recognized as an Episkopos, Pope, and saint of Discordianism.
Wilson described his work as
an “attempt to break down conditioned associations, to look at the world in a new way, with many models recognized as models or maps, and no one model elevated to the truth”.
His goal being
“to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone but agnosticism about everything.”
Wilson described himself as “model-agnostic” which
“consists of never regarding any model or map of the universe with total 100% belief or total 100% denial. Following Korzybski, I put things in probabilities, not absolutes…
My only originality lies in applying this zetetic attitude outside the hardest of the hard sciences, physics, to softer sciences and then to non-sciences like politics, ideology, jury verdicts and, of course, conspiracy theory”.
Wilson claimed “not to believe anything”, since “belief is the death of intelligence”. He described this approach as “Maybe Logic.”
Among Wilson’s 35 books, and many other works, his best-known remains the cult classic The Illuminatus! Trilogy (1975) co-authored with Robert Shea. Advertised as “a fairy tale for paranoids”, the book was intended to poke fun at the conspiratorial frame of mind.
In his nonfiction and partly autobiographical Cosmic Trigger I (1977) and its two sequels, Wilson examined Freemasons, Discordianism, Sufism, the Illuminati, Futurology, Zen Buddhism, Dennis and Terence McKenna, Jack Parsons, Aleister Crowley and G.I. Gurdjieff, Yoga, and many other esoteric or counterculture philosophies, personalities, and occurrences.
Resources Pertaining to Bob…
Robert Anton Wilson – his full Wikipedia entry.
The Robert Anton Wilson Website – his own fnordsite.
Firing the Cosmic Trigger – an interview with Robert Anton Wilson.
RAWIllumination – a window into the writings of Robert Anton Wilson. Good & active.
RAW360.net – a tribute site with groovy 3D interface by Steven Pratt, Wayne Edwards, and Matt Black. Additional design information here.
RAWarchive – a large collection of videos, many featuring Wilson himself… including:
Maybe Logic: The Lives & Ideas Of Robert Anton Wilson – a 80min documentary by Lance Bauscher (buy the high quality DVD from here).
Maybe Logic Academy – an innovative online learning institution and community, with more than a little inspiration from Wilson’s philosophy.
Only Maybe Blog – a Wilson related blog by members of the Maybe Logic Academy.
Boingboing raw-week – another Wilson related blog.
RA Wilson Fans – many writings and interviews of Bob.
Deep leaf Audio – featuring Bob’s audiobooks, including the unabridged Illuminatus! Trilogy performed by Ken Campbell.
Wilhelm Reich in Hell – Bob’s twisted musical about Wilhelm Reich.
Bob’s books are being republished by Hilaritas Press. A large selection in both physical and Kindle formats are available on Amazon, including Cosmic Trigger.
An Insider’s Guide to Robert Anton Wilson – a book by Eric Wagner.
The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds – a book by John Higgs
I Have America Surrounded: The Life of Timothy Leary – a book by John Higgs.
Masters of Darkness : The Wickedest Man in The World – Channel 4 UK TV documentary on Aleister Crowley).