Wednesday, 4 October 2006

The Illuminatus Primus Falls On Hard Times

by Charles Pooter

Robert Anton Wilson, photo courtesy of Robert Altman

One of my favourite books is a brick-thick tome of nonsense known as The Illuminatus! Trilogy. As lengthy, late 20th century, libertarian-esque fiction goes, it is the Yang to Atlas Shrugged's Yin. The book follows the adventures of the Discordians, led by the pirate Hagbard Celine (complete with Yellow Submarine), who battle against the Illuminati's plans to immanentize the eschaton (bring about the end of the world). The book ties together just about every counter-cultural idea, occult imagining and conspiracy theory into a 805 page romp of sex, drugs and rock & roll. It's great fun, but it also messes with your head.

The author of the book is Robert Anton Wilson. Mr. Wilson has also written many other influential books about psychology, the nature of reality and other deep and interesting topics, which I intend to read when I get around to it (and want my conciousness expanding some more).

Unfortunately Mr Wilson has recently fallen on hard times. He has had health problems and is having trouble paying his rent. As I bought my copy of Illuminatus! second-hand, I felt I owed him a quid or two and so donated according to the instructions on this site. If you've also had your mind altered by his writings, you can too.


Edwin Hesselthwite said...

Oi! Pooter... The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and Starship Troopers are the yang to Atlas Shrugged's Yin!

Don't you go forgetting our old pal Bob!

If you need some sort of spiritual context, then how about "If Starship Troopers is the Father, The Illuminatus Trilogy is the Son, and Atlas Shrugged is the Holy Ghost"

Platform9 said...

I would love to donate but RAW's arguements for dropping out were so convincing that I am on the verge of bankrupsy.

One has to wonder how the guy can be skint... LSD isn't that expensive in the states is it?

Charles Pooter said...


You have it all wrong. Shrugged is a serious, unforgiving novel where A = A and where the sheepish people are abandoned by the heroic elite. Illuminatus! is a jolly, hedonistic romp where reality is supple and the discordian underdogs fight the elite. Yin/Yang.

There are also other connections between the two novels. Both feature a heroic pirate character and Illuminatus has a parody of Shrugged called (I think) Prometheus Sneezed

Heinlein's stuff is science fiction, which the other two are not really.