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RAW's Intro to Undoing Yourself by Hyatt

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Nov 2nd, 2014
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  2. by
  3. Robert Anton Wilson, Ph.D.
  4. The one sure way to make yourself unpopular in the United States
  5. these days is to mention the fact that Christianity and Democracy
  6. have been among the worst disasters to ever befall the human race.
  7. Nonetheless, as all students of history know, Christianity has been
  8. the bloodiest and most destructive religion in the long career of
  9. fanaticism on this planet; although Liberals and Rationalists keep
  10. reminding us of that tragic record of the Religion of Love, few of
  11. them have cared to observe or remember the data on warfare
  12. collected by Harvard sociologist, Prof. Pitrim Sorokin. In Social and
  13. Cultural Dynamics, and other works, Sorokin documents beyond all
  14. doubt that democratic nations have been involved in more imperialistic
  15. wars, and have fought them with greater ferocity, than any other
  16. kinds of governments, from the dawn of civilization to the present.
  17. Oriental despotisms, absolute monarchies, even modern fascist and
  18. communist nations have all had heinous records of tyranny and
  19. general human oppression, but collectively they have been much
  20. less aggressive and war-like than the democracies, from ancient
  21. Athens to modern America.
  22. The blood-thirsty nature of Christianity and Democracy — which
  23. is obvious, psychologically, if one listens even for a few minutes to a
  24. typical speech by Rev. Jerry Falwell or his good friend Ronald
  25. Reagan — is, of course, based on arrogance, megalomania and a deep-
  26. rooted sense of total moral superiority to all non-Christian and
  27. non-Democratic peoples. But beyond that, the violent nature of
  28. Christian/Democratic countries is rooted in the singular delusion
  29. shared by both the Religion of Love and the Politics of Liberty. This
  30. iii
  31. iv
  32. Robert Anton Wilson
  33. delusion is the belief that human beings are born with some sort of
  34. metaphysical "free will" which makes them unique in the animal
  35. kingdom and only slightly less exalted than the gods themselves.
  36. The "free will" fantasy is not a minor error, like thinking it is
  37. Tuesday when actually it is Wednesday. It is not even to be compared
  38. to a major intellectual blunder of the ordinary sort, like Marx's
  39. notion that once a totalitarian "worker's state" was created, it would
  40. then quickly and magically "wither away." It is even more nefarious
  41. and pernicious than the medieval lunacy that imagined witches
  42. everywhere and burned over 10,000,000 women at the stake on the
  43. basis of hysteria, superstition and the kind of hearsay and rumor
  44. that no modern court would permit to be entered as evidence. The
  45. "free will" delusion is much more serious than any of that. It is the
  46. kind of radical 180-degree reversal of reality that, once it enters a
  47. person's mind, guarantees that they will be incapable of understanding
  48. anything happening around them; they might as well be deaf, dumb,
  49. blind and wearing signs warning the world, "ULTIMATE DESTINA-
  51. I do not speak flippantly, nor do I mean to be understood as
  52. writing satire or polemic. The facts of modern biology and psychology
  53. have demonstrated clearly and conclusively that 99 percent of the
  54. human race is in a robotic or zombi-like state 99.99999 percent of the
  55. time. This does not refer to "other people." It refers to YOU AND
  56. ME. As the Firesign Theatre used to say, We're all Bozos on this bus. The
  57. best that can be said of any of us, usually, is that we have occasional
  58. moments of lucidity, but that can be said of any schizophrenic
  59. patient.
  61. In the Orient, which has its own idiocies and superstitions,
  62. there has always been a singular sanity about the "free will" myth:
  63. virtually without exception, all the great Oriental philosophers have
  64. recognized that donkeys, grass-hoppers, dolphins, toads, humming-
  65. birds, dogs, chickens, tigers, sharks, gophers, spiders, chimpanzees,
  66. cobras, cows, lice, squid, deer, and humans are equally important,
  67. equally unimportant, equally empty, equally expressive of the
  68. "World Soul" or "Life Force." Buddhism, Vedanta and Taoism also
  69. recognize that each of these clever animals just mentioned, including
  70. Robert Anton Wilson
  71. v
  72. the humans, have about equally as much "free will" as flowers,
  73. shrubs, rocks and viruses, and that the human delusion of being
  74. separate from and superior to the rest of the natural order is a kind of
  75. narcissistic self-hypnosis. Awakening from that egotistic trance is
  76. the major goal of every Oriental system of psychology.
  77. Opposing this Oriental recognition of, and submission to, the
  78. order of things as they are, and yet opposing also the Christian and
  79. Democratic delusions of "free will" and "individual responsibility,"
  80. there is the hidden tradition of Sufism in Islam and Hermeticism in
  81. Europe. This "occult" teaching recognizes that, although domesticated
  82. primates (humans) are born as mechanical as the wild primates (such
  83. as chimpanzees), there are techniques by which we can become less
  84. mechanical and approximate in daily and yearly increments toward
  85. freedom and responsibility.
  86. These "spiritual" (neurological) techniques of Un-doing and re-
  87. robotizing oneself are, of course, of no interest in the Orient, where
  88. it is accepted that we are born robots and will die robots; and they are
  89. of even less interest in the Christian-Democratic cultures which
  90. assume that we are already free and responsible and do not have to
  91. work and work HARD to achieve even a small beginning of non-
  92. mechanical consciousness and non-robotic behavior.
  93. The Orient forgives easily, because it does not expect robots to do
  94. anything else but what was programmed into them by the accidents
  95. of heredity and environment. The Christian and Democratic nations
  96. are so bloody-minded because they can forgive nothing, blaming
  97. every man and woman for whatever imprinted or conditioned
  98. behavior is locally Taboo. (This is why Nietzsche called Christianity
  99. "the Religion of Revenge" and Joyce described the Christian God as a
  100. Hanging Judge.) The Sufic and Hermetic traditions are almost
  101. Oriental in forgiving robots for being robots, but are far from
  102. sentimental about it. As one Sufi poet said:
  103. The fool neither forgives nor forgets;
  104. The half-enlightened forgive and forget;
  105. The Sufi forgives but does not forget.
  106. That is, Sufism and other Hermetic traditions recognize that
  107. robots will behave like robots, and does not "blame" them, but it also
  108. does not forget, for a moment or even a nanosecond, that we are
  109. living in a robotic world — "an armed madhouse" in the metaphor of
  110. vi
  111. Robert Anton Wilson
  112. poet Allen Ginsberg. Those of this tradition know that when a man
  113. spouts Christian and Democratic verbalisms that does not mean he
  114. will act with brotherly love at all, at all; he will go on acting like a
  115. badly-wired robot in most cases.
  116. Sufism is only the largest of several Near Eastern and European
  117. "mystic" movements which recognize the robotry of ordinary
  118. humanity but, unlike the Orient, attempt to Un-do and de-robotize
  119. those who have a dawning apprehension of their mechanical state
  120. and sincerely want to become less mechanical, as far as that is
  121. possible. I am not writing a recruiting manual for Sufism (which is
  122. doing quite well without my advertisements): I am merely using the
  123. Sufi school as one example of the tradition to which this marvelous
  124. book, UNDOING YOURSELF, belongs.
  125. Most readers, if they have encountered such ideas at all, probably
  126. identify them with Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, two of the most
  127. talented expositors of a school of neo-Sufism which they peddled
  128. under the brand name of "Esoteric Christianity." The present book
  129. also owes a great deal to Aleister Crowley, who belonged to this
  130. tradition but sold his own brand of it under the label of Gnostic
  131. Magick. There is also a strong influence here of the bio-psychology
  132. of Wilhelm Reich; but all this tracing of "sources" is ultimately
  133. trivial. The importance of Christopher Hyatt's work is what you can
  134. get out of it and that depends entirely on what you put into it.
  136. In my travels, I often encounter people who somehow have gotten
  137. the wild idea that I am the Head of the Illuminati (actually, I am at
  138. most a toe-nail) and who want me to explain the Secrets of High
  139. Magick to them. (Although it is hard to restrain my sense of humor
  140. at such times, I usually resist the temptation to tell them they can
  141. achieve Total Illumination by singing "Lucy in the Sky with
  142. Diamonds" in pig Latin while standing on their heads.) The
  143. questions I am asked most often, by those who can ask something
  144. more specific than "What is The Secret?" are almost always about
  145. Crowley's doctrine of the True Will. People tell me, most earnestly,
  146. that they have read ten or twenty or more of Crowley's books, and
  147. have read them many times, and still do not understand what "True
  148. Will" means.
  149. Robert Anton Wilson
  150. vii
  151. As Gurdjieff would say, "What does this question signify? It
  152. signifies that these people are walking in their sleep and only
  153. dreaming they are awake. That is what this question signifies."
  154. There is only one possible reason why people can read Crowley at
  155. length and not understand what True Will means. That reason seems
  156. incredible at first sight, but it is the only reason that can explain this
  157. astounding scotoma. The reason many readers of Crowley do not
  158. understand True Will is that these earnest students have never
  159. performed any of the exercizes that Crowley provides for those who
  160. sincerely want to de-robotize themselves and experience what is
  161. meant by True Will.
  162. Shortly after my manual of de-mechanization exercizes, Prometheus
  163. Rising, was published, I was at a Cosmic Con with, among others, E.J.
  164. Gold of the Fake Sufi School. He told me that nobody would do any
  165. of the exercizes in my book, but I would still get lots of letters from
  166. people saying the book had "liberated" them. Since I sometimes
  167. think Sufis and even Fake Sufis are perhaps overly skeptical about
  168. humanity in its present evolutionary stage, I have made a point of
  169. asking people, when they praise that book in my presence, how
  170. many of the exercizes they've done.
  171. Most people look faintly abashed and admit they have only done a
  172. "few" of the exercizes (which probably means they haven't done
  173. any). However, some people claim to have done all or most of the
  174. exercizes, and these people generally look so delighted about the
  175. matter that I tend to believe them. I therefore conclude that the Sufi
  176. and Gurdjieff traditions are wrong in saying that 999 out of 1000
  177. will never work on the techniques of liberation. Actually, it appears
  178. to be only around 987 out of 1000 who prefer to talk about the work
  179. rather than doing it. At least 13 out of every 1000 will actually do the
  180. exercizes.
  181. I have decided that one of the reasons that most readers of self-
  182. liberation books never even make the effort to liberate themselves is
  183. that reading the books is actually a kind of superstitious "magick
  184. ritual," which they think will have an effect with no other effort on
  185. their parts. The same sort of superstition leads others to think that
  186. peeking at the answers in the back of the book of logical puzzles is as
  187. beneficial as solving the puzzles for themselves; and there is even a
  188. text out now with the answers to Zen koans, as if the answers, and
  189. not the process of arriving at them, were the meaning of Zen.
  190. Aside from such "symbolic magick" (as distinguished from real
  191. viii
  192. Robert Anton Wilson
  193. magick ritual, which is a type of Brain Change experiment), the
  194. main reason people prefer to read neurological exercizes rather than
  195. doing the exercizes is the dread and sheer horror which the word
  196. "work" invokes in most people. Some great teachers, especially
  197. Gurdjieff and Crowley, have literally frightened away thousands of
  198. would-be students by insisting on the necessity of HARD WORK (as
  199. I also frightened a lot of readers by using those words several times
  200. in this essay.)
  201. Of course, there is a quite legitimate reason why the word "work"
  202. has such horrible conditioned associations for most people in the
  203. modern world. That reason is that most "work" in this age is stupid,
  204. monotonous, brain-rotting, irritating, usually pointless and basically
  205. consists of the agonizing process of being slowly bored to death over
  206. a period of about 40 to 45 years of drudgery; Marx was quite right in
  207. calling it "wage slavery." Most people know this, but are afraid to
  208. admit it, because to dislike "work" is regarded as a symptom of
  209. Communism or some other dreadful mental illness.
  210. I recently heard a politician admit on BBC that the reason English
  211. workers are so notoriously "lazy" is that their jobs are so unspeakably
  212. sub-human and dull. "If I had to do that kind of work, I would call in
  213. sick as often as possible and goof off at every chance," he said flatly.
  214. Alas, I had tuned in late and never did catch this chap's name, which
  215. is a terrible misfortune for me, since I suspect he is the only Honest
  216. Politician in the world.
  217. It is this universal but repressed hatred of "work" that causes
  218. almost everybody to despise and persecute the unemployed. Almost
  219. everybody envies the folks of the dole (on Welfare, as you say in The
  220. States) because almost everybody secretly wishes they could escape
  221. their own jobs and live without working.
  222. It has taken me decades to understand this, because I am part of
  223. that very fortunate minority who work at jobs we actually enjoy. (It
  224. is hard to make me stop working, as my wife will assure you.) The
  225. minority who actually loves its work seems to be made up chiefly of
  226. the writers, dancers, actors and other artists, most scientists above
  227. the technician-troll level, computer freaks, and the righteous dope-
  228. dealers of California. Everybody else wishes they had the courage to
  229. go on the dole, but is ashamed of the stigma attached to being a
  230. non-worker, and resolves the tension by being as nasty as possible to
  231. the unemployed on every possible occasion.
  232. ix
  233. Robert Anton Wilson
  236. Here I want to let you in on a real Secret of the Illuminati, one that
  237. has never been published before.
  238. The so-called "work" involved in Brain Change is not like
  239. ordinary "work" at all. It is more like the creative ecstasy of the artist
  240. and scientist, once you really get involved in doing it. Most people
  241. are afraid of it only because they think "work" must be a curse and
  242. can't imagine that "work" can be fun.
  243. So it is best not to think of Energized Meditation as "work" at all,
  244. at least as you have experienced "work" in most of the world today. It
  245. might be better and more accurate to consider the EM exercizes as
  246. "play" than as "work." Of course, play has its own rigours, and you
  247. do have to put energy into it to become a winner rather than a
  248. perpetual loser, but it is still entirely unlike the wage slavery that
  249. most people call "work." In fact, to be blunt about it, it is more like
  250. sex-play than any other kind of play because it definitely unleashes
  251. energies that have erotic as well as therapeutic side-effects. You are a
  252. dunce if you avoid it just because you think anything that needs
  253. effort must be "work" in the sense that people in factories and offices
  254. are suffering from the curse of "work" in our society.
  255. Think of it more in terms of your favorite sport or recreation—
  256. fishing or bird-watching or softball or whatever you do with passion
  257. and just for the excitement of it. If that kind of thing should not be
  258. called "play," then I do not know what "play" means.
  259. So when I wrote "Hard Work," I was just trying to jar you into
  260. actually paying attention for once. I really should have said, for
  261. accuracy, Hard Play.
  262. The second part of this Secret of the Illuminati is what I have
  263. called elsewhere Wilson's 23rd Law. (Wilson's First Law, of course, is
  264. "Certitude belongs exclusively to those who only own one encyclo-
  265. pedia." Wilson's Second Law is the Snafu Principle described in
  266. ILLUMINATUS: "Communication is only possible between equals."
  267. All of Wilson's Laws will be published when the world is ready for
  268. the staggering revelations contained therein.)
  269. Wilson's 23rd Law is
  270. Do it every day
  271. Robert Anton Wilson
  272. x
  273. This is the most profound of all the Secrets of the Illuminati and I
  274. have often been warned that Terrible Consequences will ensue if I
  275. reveal it prematurely, but—what the hell, these are parlous times,
  276. friend, and this primitive planet needs all the Light that can be
  277. unleashed on its dark, superstitious mind. Let me repeat, since I am
  278. sure you didn't get it the first time:
  279. Do it every day!
  280. Have you ever wondered why Einstein became such a great
  281. physicist? It was because he loved the equations and concepts of
  282. mathematical physics so much that he "worked" on them—or played
  283. and tinkered with them—every day. That's why Otto von Klemper
  284. became such a great conductor: he loved Beethoven and Mozart and
  285. that crowd so much that he practised his music every day. It's why
  286. Babe Ruth became such a great ball-player: he loved the game so
  287. deeply that he was playing or rehearsing every day.
  288. This rule also explains, incidentally, how people destroy themselves.
  289. Do you want to become a suicide (it's the fashionable thing in some
  290. circles, after all)? Practise being depressed, worried and resentful
  291. every day, and don't let anybody distract you with Energized
  292. Meditation or any other mind-change system. Do you want to land
  293. in jail on an assault and battery charge? Practise getting damned
  294. bloody angry every day. If you want to become paranoid, look
  295. carefully every day for evidence of treachery and duplicity around
  296. you. If your ambition is to die young, do the depression-worry-
  297. resentment system every day but center in especially on visualizing
  298. and worrying about every imaginable illness that might possibly
  299. inflict itself upon you.
  300. (On the other hand, if you want to live as long as George Burns,
  301. "work hard" every day at being as cheerful and optimistic as he is.)
  302. Almost anything is possible if you
  304. Of course, this rule does not guarantee 100 percent results.
  305. Playing Chopin on the piano every day for 4 or 5 decades does not
  306. mean you will become as good as Van Cliburn; it merely means that
  307. you eventually will be a better piano player than anybody in your
  308. home state. Worrying every day does not absolutely guarantee a
  309. clinical depression or an early death, but after only a few years it does
  310. Robert Anton Wilson
  311. xi
  312. ensure you will be one of the three or four most miserable people in
  313. your neighborhood. Writing a sonnet every day for twenty years
  314. may not necessarily make you Shakespeare or Mrs. Browning, but it
  315. will make you the best poet for an area of about forty to fifty miles,
  316. probably. Doing Energized Meditation or similar exercizes does not
  317. mean you will be a Perfectly Enlightened Being or a Guru in a few
  318. years, just that you will be a great deal happier and a hell of a lot
  319. more perceptive, creative and "intuitive" than most people you'll
  320. meet in an average city.
  321. There is a story that Bobbie Fisher, the chess champion, was once
  322. in a room with other chess masters when the conversation turned to
  323. the latest nuclear accident and the effects of the resultant fall-out.
  324. Fisher listened impatiently for a few minutes and then exclaimed
  325. irritably, "What the hell does that have to do with chess?" While I am
  326. not urging that you imitate that degree of monomania or obsession,
  327. there is a significant lesson in this tale. The reason Fisher became a
  328. champion is that he cared so much about chess that he did not even
  329. have to nag himself or remind himself to
  330. do it every bloody day.
  331. WARNING!
  333. ARE COMING!
  334. Unfortunately—while the Energized Meditation system is fun,
  335. and erotic, and makes you "smarter" (in the sense of more aware of
  336. detail and complexity), and even jolts you out of total mammalian
  337. reflex behavior into something approximating in slow but definite
  338. increments toward that mystic "free will" Christians claim you were
  339. given at birth, and I recommend it heartily—I must admit that there
  340. are pages coming up shortly in this book that will probably make
  341. you extremely uncomfortable.
  342. Dr. Hyatt is a rude, insulting and deliberately annoying writer. He
  343. does not soothe or pacify the reader with the Christian and
  344. Democratic mythology of our society by pretending that we are all
  345. free and rational people here. He insists on reminding us, every few
  346. pages, in the most blunt language possible, that most of us most of
  347. the time are conditioned chimpanzees in a cage.
  348. xii
  349. Robert Anton Wilson
  350. Don't let it worry you too much.
  351. The situation is this: there are mechanical systems operating
  352. throughout the domesticated primate (human) organism, each on
  353. different levels. For instance, as Bucky Fuller liked to say, you never
  354. sit down and ask how many hairs you should sprout on your head
  355. and body in the next week: that is one of the thousands of biological
  356. programs that operate entirely on mechanical circuitry. Except in
  357. various systems of yoga, you do not have much control over your
  358. breathing, either: that is also an auto-pilot. The digestive-excretive
  359. circuits also operate with a minimum of conscious attention or
  360. strategy, except when you need to find a public toilet and the bars are
  361. all closed. (Make a list of ten more programs that keep you alive and
  362. functioning, over which you have never had any conscious control.
  363. Be one of the 13 readers out of a thousand who actually do it before
  364. reading on.)
  365. The reason that mystics and certain other psychologists are always
  366. "attacking" the ego is that the ego is the one mechanical circuit that
  367. suffers chronically from the illusion that it is non-mechanical and
  368. "free."
  369. The ego and its delusions must be undermined—either attacked
  370. openly and bluntly, as in the Gurdjieff system and this book, or
  371. subverted more subtly and slowly, as in certain other systems—
  372. before any real progress can be made toward "liberation," "enlighten-
  373. ment," "finding IT," discovering the "True Will" in Crowley's sense,
  374. or whatever is your favorite term for becoming less robotic and more
  375. aware—less the computer and more the programmer of the computer—
  376. less the conditioned rat in the Behaviorist's maze and more the
  377. Beyond-Human that the Sufic-Hermetic traditions and Neitzsche
  378. have predicted.
  379. The main reason you shouldn't be afraid of this attack on your
  380. precious little ego is that the ego is infinitely resourceful and finds
  381. ways to sneak back into its habitual mechanical trance no matter
  382. how many times you think you have Awakened once and for all.
  383. This is another Secret of the Illuminati and explains the great
  384. humility and the keen sense of humor of all the genuine Mages. In
  385. other words, if you think it is scary to lose your precious primate
  386. ego abruptly and forever, don't worry about that; it is no more likely
  387. than becoming the world's greatest Rock star tomorrow morning.
  388. The only real way to get loose from mechanical ego trips is to learn
  389. Robert Anton Wilson
  390. xiii
  391. several ego-transcending games and then for twenty or forty years
  392. or longer DO THEM EVERY DAY
  393. Before you put that much effort and time into it, you need
  394. not worry that your wonderful, precious and totally marvelous Ego
  395. will go away suddenly, it will merely get transformed a bit,
  396. "enlarged" in perspective and "reduced" in conceit (a little), freed
  397. from some of its more idiotic habits, and it will even pretend to go
  398. away at times, but it will always come back and usually at the most
  399. embarrassing times. It's easier to assassinate the President of the
  400. United States than to kill your own ego.
  401. 500 micrograms of pure Sandoz LSD will "destroy" the ego more
  402. totally than any of the EM exercizes in this book—atom bomb it out
  403. of existence, as it were. The results even in that case, as all old
  404. acid-heads will assure you, are, however spectacular, always temporary.
  405. As Dr. John Lilly wrote in Programming and Metaprogramming in the
  406. Human Biocomputer, after a heavy trip on genuine laboratory Acid,
  407. For a time, the self then feels free, cleaned
  408. out. The strength gained can be immense; the
  409. energy freed is double . . . Humor appears in
  410. abundance, good humor... Beauty is enhanced,
  411. the bodily appearance becomes youthful . . .
  412. These positive effects can last as long as two to
  413. four weeks before reassertion of the old programs
  414. takes place.
  415. We are the products of mechanical genetic programs, mechanical
  416. imprints and mechanical conditioning, just like the other animals.
  417. The progress to post-animal, non-mechanical and trans-ego freedom
  418. is often rapidly accelerated for a period, or several periods, of sudden
  419. flash-like Awakenings and post-human perspectives, and I personally
  420. suspect that is happening increasingly under the stress of our age of
  421. terrorism and accelerated evolutionary change, but the ultimate
  422. result of a true transcendence of robot consciousness is approached
  423. in slow increments over years and decades. (Total "freedom" from
  424. mechanism on all circuits seems impossible to me, in my current
  425. level of ignorance. I don't think the organism would survive if most
  426. of it did not remain a smooth-running and unconscious machine.)
  427. E.J. Gold of the Fake Sufi School, mentioned earlier, has a saying
  428. to the effect that the attempt to achieve total Transcendence of
  429. xiv
  430. Robert Anton Wilson
  431. mechanical ego programs is as absurd as "sticking toothpicks
  432. between your eyelids to be sure you never go to sleep for a moment."
  433. There seem to be genuine biological reasons why we need to spend
  434. about one third of our lives asleep and a large part of the other
  435. two-thirds half-entranced by mechanical conditioned processes. The
  436. purpose of all schools of liberation is to wake up fully often enough
  437. to have some perspective outside the sleeping and conditioned ego
  438. states.
  439. WHAT "IS" ALL THIS?
  440. The great Dublin scientist and philosopher, de Selby, once took an
  441. empty jam jar and filled it with all the small cruddy items he could
  442. find around the house. The fuzz that accumulates on carpets, the
  443. dust on book shelves, bent paperclips, broken staples, the grunge
  444. from bathtub rings, grotty kitchen encrustations, nameless shards of
  445. forgotten plaster statues long broken, archaeological excavations
  446. from the cellar, miscellaneous delvings in the rubbish bin, torn
  447. covers of match books scrawled with inscrutable phone numbers,
  448. even belly-button lint, all went in. This was a labour of some weeks,
  449. and when it was finished even de Selby himself could not remember
  450. or classify the total contents of the jar. He then selected a statistical
  451. universe of 123 Dubliners and 246 visitors form England or the
  452. Continent just off the Dun Laoghaire ferry and asked each to guess
  453. what the jar contained.
  454. 77.6 percent of the sample answered at once, "Oh, I know, it
  455. is
  456. " and then made some wild guess. (The most common guess,
  457. given by 54.3 percent, was that it "was" the stuff mixed into the curry
  458. sauce in Pakistani restaurants. Others commonly said it "was"
  459. uranium ore, wood cement and tree bark.)
  460. Of the 22.4 percent who did not guess what it "was," 83.5 percent
  461. immediately asked the directions to Clontarf Castle and presumably
  462. did not want to guess because they were in hurry to catch the
  463. evening Musical show.
  464. De Selby concluded that most Europeans, at this stage of
  465. evolution, believe that everything and anything can meaningfully be
  466. described in a simple proposition in the form, "This is a thingamajig."
  467. I believe, on the basis of experience, that similar results would be
  468. found in an American sample of the same size. We are still haunted
  469. Robert Anton Wilson
  470. xv
  471. by the ghost of Aristotle, the bloke who first tried to describe and
  472. explain the whole universe in permutations of sentences having the
  473. form, This is a Y, All Z are Y, Some Y are X, therefore some Z are X.
  474. Most people, and especially most politicians and clergymen, remain
  475. firmly convinced that anything and everything can be meaningfully
  476. discussed in that Aristotelian manner—or as Ernest Fenollosa once
  477. said, Western culture thinks that "A ring-tailed baboon is not a
  478. Constitutional Assembly" is one of the two types of meaningful
  479. statements (the other being "The U.S. Congress and U.K. Parliament
  480. are Constitutional Assemblies.")
  481. From the point of view of current science, c. 1980-87, there appear
  482. to be two things wrong with this Aristotelian mind-set. In the first
  483. place, scientific models are not expressed in this metaphor of
  484. identity (A is a B) but in the functional language of relationships
  485. (When A moves an increment of x in any dimension, B will move an
  486. increment of y in some other dimension.) The latter type of
  487. functional statement allows for scientific predictions, which can be
  488. partially verified or totally refuted by experience and experiment;
  489. the former, Aristotelian type of is-ness statement leads only to
  490. verbal argument.
  491. The second objection to Aristotelian A is a B statements is that
  492. they appear totally contradicted by neurology and experiments with
  493. instruments. Neurologically, we never know what A "is," but what
  494. it appears to our senses and brain. The senses pick up some (not all)
  495. the signals of the space-time event and the brain edits and
  496. orchestrates these signals into some familiar Gestalt. (This seems to
  497. be how de Selby's subjects edited and orchestrated a jar full of junk
  498. into Pakistani sauce or uranium ore.) Instrumentally, the same
  499. editing goes on. An instrument does not tell us what A "is" but what
  500. class of signals from A that particular instrument can measure. A
  501. voltmeter tells us nothing about the temperature of A, a thermometer
  502. tells us nothing about the height of A, a ruler or scale tells us nothing
  503. about the molecular structure of A, etc.—each instrument creates its
  504. own gloss or reality-tunnel, just as our inner instruments (brain and
  505. perceptors) create a gloss or reality-tunnel. To speak accurately, we
  506. should never say "This 'is' an A," but, rather, "This seems to fit the
  507. category of A in my system of glossing or in this instrument's
  508. reality-tunnel."
  509. Does this sound like pedantry or unnecessary hair-splitting?
  510. Consider for a moment the human suffering and social catastrophes
  511. xvi
  512. Robert Anton Wilson
  513. that have been unleashed in various times and places by such
  514. statements as "Miss Jones is a witch," "Mr. Smith is a homosexual,"
  515. "Mr. Goldberg is a Jew," "This book is heretical," "This painting or
  516. photo is pornography." If you think about this deeply enough, it
  517. might almost appear that the Catholic witch-hunts, most idiotic
  518. censorship, Hitler's annihilation camps and quite a few other
  519. historical horrors never would have happened if we had no words
  520. for "is" in our languages, or if we remembered that "is" always
  521. functions as a metaphor.
  522. Most of the guilt and "chronic low-grade emergency" (as Fritz
  523. Perls called it) which keeps you from realizing your full potential can
  524. usually be traced to some sentence having the form "I am a B" in
  525. which B equals roughly "no-good shit." That sentence got conditioned
  526. into you when you were very young and you may not think it
  527. consciously any more, or you may well think it and even say it aloud
  528. frequently, but if you feel basically unhappy with your life some
  529. such sentence exists somewhere in your brain.
  530. Even is-ness sentences that seem factual contain dangers due to
  531. the mechanical-conditioned level of most human consciousness on
  532. this planet at this time. "He is a homosexual" may appear a safe
  533. remark when heard in a Group Encounter session, or at a San
  534. Francisco cocktail party, but in the Bible Belt, "homosexual" contains
  535. the conditioned association of "sinner" and particularly nefarious
  536. "sinner" at that, and it is not unknown for violence or even murder
  537. to result from this is-ness sentence, just as "Jew" seems to be a
  538. neutral label for one of three major religions of the West but in Nazi
  539. Germany signified somebody subject to arrest, slave labor and
  540. eventual execution.
  541. I read recently in a science-fiction fan magazine, "The Irish really
  542. are disgusting." Leaving aside my own mechanical prejudices (as a
  543. person of partially Irish genetic structure who lives by preference in
  544. Ireland) the most fascinating thing about this is-ness statement
  545. seems to me that it occurred in a publication where one would never
  546. see such semantically isomorphic statements as "The Jews really are
  547. sub-human" or "Women really are inferior to men."
  548. To quote Mr. G. again, "What does this signify? It signifies that
  549. most people are walking in their sleep and dreaming they are
  550. awake." That is, certain historically infamous types of racial or
  551. sexual stereotypes have become unfashionable and virtually Taboo
  552. in "educated" circles, but the mechanical conditioned reactions
  553. Robert Anton Wilson
  554. xvii
  555. underlying such stereotypes still exist, the machine is still asleep, in
  556. Gurdjieff's terms, so people who would not stereotype Jews see
  557. nothing inconsistent in stereotyping the Irish or the Poles or some
  558. other group. In a mechanical or primitive stage of evolution, this
  559. cannot be considered surprising.
  560. What does still surprise me (occasionally) is that people who can
  561. see this mechanical level of functioning in others can remain
  562. blissfully oblivious of the same mechanisms in themselves.
  563. One way to understand Energized Meditation, and simultaneously
  564. grasp the significance of what I have just been saying about
  565. Aristotelian habits, is to apply mathematical subscripts to significant
  566. nouns in the manner urged by the semanticist, Alfred Korzybski. For
  567. instance, the Nazi mentality consists of something like
  568. Now this is obviously false to sensory-sensual space-time experience.
  569. In sensory-sensual space-time experience—or what we ordinarily
  570. call "reality" if we haven't been ruined by philosophy courses—every
  571. Jew we meet is a specific event in the space-time continuum. The
  572. first may be a poet, the second an actress, the third a grocer, etc. if we
  573. place this group in the gloss of category-by-occupation. Put them in
  574. the category of good looks, and the first may seem as handsome as
  575. Paul Newman, the second as unhandsome as Edward G. Robinson,
  576. the third as cute as Barbra Streisand, etc. Put them in any other grid,
  577. and differences still emerge, just as there are no two leaves on an oak
  578. tree that are exactly the same in all respects.
  579. Don't go back to sleep yet; hang in there a moment. We are not
  580. preaching a sermon on "tolerance" like a 1950s Hollywood movie.
  581. We are just using anti-semitism as an example of a mechanical
  582. mental set that illuminates many, many other mechanical mental
  583. sets that you are going to have to recognize in yourself if Energized
  584. Meditation is to do you any good.
  585. For instance, at the beginning, for the shock effect, I said some
  586. critical things about Christianity and Democracy. If you drew the
  587. conclusion that I dislike all aspects of Christian and Democratic
  588. society, you had a mechanical "is" somewhere in your evaluations. In
  589. fact, I would much rather live in Christian Democratic nations, for all
  590. their faults, than in any of the Moslem Fundamentalist nations or
  591. Buddhist nations, and I would rather be gored by a rhinoceros than try
  592. xviii
  593. Robert Anton Wilson
  594. to live in a Marxist nation. As for fascist nations, whether I tried to
  595. cope or not, I rather suspect they would shoot me in a few months, if
  596. not in the first week.
  597. If the Nazi mentality acts "as if Jewn = Jewk or any Jew is "the
  598. same" as any other Jew, people who seem a lot more sophisticated
  599. often act "as if any Rock music = any other Rock music (it "is" all
  600. equally wonderful or equally "barbarous")/ or any science fiction
  601. novel = any other science fiction novel (the book critics in Time seem
  602. to have that mechanical conditioned reflex), or "all television should
  603. be abolished" (there was a book on that subject recently, in which the
  604. author seriously seemed to have the Nazi-like hallucination that TV
  605. shown = TV showk), or any cop = any other cop, or any fast food
  606. place is as "bad" as any other fast food place, etc.
  607. Mechanical reactions are the statistical norm; full conscious
  608. attention remains very rare. (That's why one Zen Master always
  609. gave the answer "Attention!" when he was asked what Zen "is.") We
  610. started from that unChristian and unDemocratic premise and we
  611. have worked our way back to it by a circuitous route, but now
  612. perhaps we can see more clearly what this mechanical A=B hypnosis
  613. does to us.
  614. We have been using examples of difference between elements of
  615. the "same" group, but no element remains unchanged in time.
  616. Consider yourself as an element, X, in the group "humanity." It
  617. should be obvious that
  618. X1987 is not X1976
  619. You have changed quite a bit in the last ten years, have you not? If
  620. people weren't in the habit of calling you by the same name, you
  621. might not even "believe" that the You of today "really is" in some
  622. sense the You of 1976. In fact, if you can forget your name for a few
  623. moments, the entity or more precisely the space-time event called
  624. You obviously was changing, sometimes faster and sometimes more
  625. slowly all through the decade. If you are more than 20 years old, just
  626. think of how absurd it would be to claim that the You of 1986 "really
  627. is" the You of 1966 ...
  628. Think about this seriously. It would be a damned good idea, right
  629. now, to make a list of ten important changes that have occurred in
  630. "You" since 1966 and ten changes since 1976. Is it too much trouble
  631. to get a paper and pen? Well, at least make a list in your head. Can
  632. Robert Anton Wilson
  633. xix
  634. you even visualize what you looked like and dressed like in 1966?
  635. Really think hard about some of the other changes in You over 20 years.
  636. Now, to understand what this book can do for you, try to apply
  637. this awareness on a smaller time-scale. Is it possible that Youlast
  638. week "really is" in every respect Youthis week? Alas, this may almost
  639. seem possible, but it is not strictly true unless you have died and they
  640. pickled you in formaldehyde.
  641. Think, really, about the changes in "You" in one week. How many
  642. more changes could have occurred in that week, if You did not have
  643. the illusion that You are a finished product and not a Work in
  644. Progress?
  645. Keep at it. Think seriously about whether it is strictly and totally
  646. true that Youyesterday really is Youtoday.
  647. When you get to the point of understanding that Youone second
  648. ago is not strictly Youright here and now, then you are ready to begin
  649. to understand what Christopher Hyatt is offering you in this book
  650. and how you can use it.
  651. Howth, Ireland
  652. 17 November 1986
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