January 23, 2007 at 2:01 am (news, nonfiction)

i just found out
Robert Anton Wilson died at 4:50 in the morning on January 11th.
he will be sorely missed
this is a perfect example of how out of touch i am. i have long considered RAW to be one of my favorite writers, and i had to find out about this through amazon. how strange is that? i guess because i had bought books of his through amazon before, they realized i might want to know about his death. kind of creepy.but none of this is really the point

the first of Wilson’s works that i read was The Illuminatus! Trilogy which he co-authored with Robert Shea. the phrase “it changed my life” is frequently tossed about when people refer to books that they find particularly good or powerful. i’m not sure that anything i have read has ever actually “changed my life” but if anything has it was The Illuminatus! Trilogy. if nothing else, it certainly changed the way i think – about books and fiction specifically, but also just in general. after reading it, i don’t think i have ever really looked at the world in quite the same way. and that is a very good thing.

after reading The Illuminatus! Trilogy i went on to read some of Wilson’s other works, and many of his non-fiction had equally large influence on the way my mind functions. in particular his book The New Inquisition helped show me the value of keeping an open mind – about everything. what we today believe to be inalterable fact may be shown to be utterly wrong tomorrow. it isn’t a matter of deciding whether light is a particle or a wave, it’s merely a matter of deciding whether it is more useful to view it as a particle or a wave at this particular moment. similarly, in an article in his book The Cosmic Trigger vol. 3 he discussed in madness inherent in the word “is,” something i wholeheartedly agree with, despite my own complete failure in removing the word from my vocabulary. it’s a concept that would take a bit too long to explain with any justice here but as Wilson said himself:
“”Is,” “is.” “is” — the idiocy of the word haunts me. If it were abolished, human thought might begin to make sense. I don’t know what anything “is”; I only know how it seems to me at this moment.”

anyway. i could go on and i suppose, but i won’t. in the end, i don’t know as much about the man as i’d like to. all i really know is that he was brilliant and creative and fantastic writer. it makes me sad that he will never again bring us any new ideas or books.


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