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robert anton wilson Quotes

Robert Anton Wilson Quotes

Birth Date: 1932-01-18 (Monday, January 18th, 1932)
Date of Death: 2007-01-11 (Thursday, January 11th, 2007)



    • The Western World has been brainwashed by Aristotle for the last 2,500 years. The unconscious, not quite articulate, belief of most Occidentals is that there is one map which adequately represents reality. By sheer good luck, every Occidental thinks he or she has the map that fits. Guerrilla ontology, to me, involves shaking up that certainty. I use what in modern physics is called the 'multi-model' approach, which is the idea that there is more than one model to cover a given set of facts. As I've said, novel writing involves learning to think like other people. My novels are written so as to force the reader to see things through different reality grids rather than through a single grid. It's important to abolish the unconscious dogmatism that makes people think their way of looking at reality is the only sane way of viewing the world. My goal is to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone, but agnosticism about everything. If one can only see things according to one's own belief system, one is destined to become virtually deaf, dumb, and blind. It's only possible to see people when one is able to see the world as others see it. That's what guerrilla ontology is - breaking down this one-model view and giving people a multi-model perspective.
    • My early work is politically anarchist fiction, in that I was an anarchist for a long period of time. I'm not an anarchist any longer, because I've concluded that anarchism is an impractical ideal. Nowadays, I regard myself as a libertarian. I suppose an anarchist would say, paraphrasing what Marx said about agnostics being 'frightened atheists,' that libertarians are simply frightened anarchists. Having just stated the case for the opposition, I will go along and agree with them: yes, I am frightened. I'm a libertarian because I don't trust the people as much as anarchists do. I want to see government limited as much as possible; I would like to see it reduced back to where it was in Jefferson's time, or even smaller. But I would not like to see it abolished. I think the average American, if left totally free, would act exactly like Idi Amin. I don't trust the people any more than I trust the government.
    • Every war results from the struggle for markets and spheres of influence, and every war is sold to the public by professional liars and totally sincere religious maniacs, as a Holy Crusade to save God and Goodness from Satan and Evil.
    • Every morning I have been looking at CNN to see if there is any reason for hope. I see a few large and impressive peace protests here and there around the world, but mostly I see empty robot faces monotonously reciting the magic incantations, 'We must support the President' and 'We must support our troops'. both of which mean the killing must continue.
    • Obviously, the faster we process information, the more rich and complex our models or glosses - our reality-tunnels - will become. Resistance to new information, however, has a strong neurological foundation in all animals, as indicated by studies of imprinting and conditioning. Most animals, including most domesticated primates (humans) show a truly staggering ability to 'ignore' certain kinds of information - that which does not 'fit' their imprinted/conditioned reality-tunnel. We generally call this 'conservatism' or 'stupidity', but it appears in all parts of the political spectrum, and in learned societies as well as in the Ku Klux Klan.
    • Animals outline their territories with their excretions, humans outline their territories by ink excretions on paper.
    • Whatever the Thinker thinks, the Prover will prove. And if the Thinker thinks passionately enough, the Prover will prove the thought so conclusively that you will never talk a person out of such a belief, even if it is something as remarkable as the notion that there is a gaseous vertebrate of astronomical heft ('GOD') who will spend all eternity torturing people who do not believe in his religion.
    • 'Mind' is a tool invented by the universe to see itself; but it can never see all of itself, for much the same reason that you can't see your own back (without mirrors).
    • It only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea.
    • There is no governor anywhere; you are all absolutely free. There is no restraint that cannot be escaped. We are all absolutely free. If everybody could go into dhyana at will, nobody could be controlled -- by fear of prison, by fear of whips or electroshock, by fear of death, even. All existing society is based on keeping those fears alive, to control the masses. Ten people who know [this] would be more dangerous than a million armed anarchists.
    • I used to be an atheist, until I realized I had nothing to shout during blowjobs. 'Oh Random Chance! Oh Random Chance!' just doesn't cut it:.
    • 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.
    • I don't believe anything, but I have many suspicions.
    • I regard the two major male archetypes in 20th Century literature as Leopold Bloom and Hannibal Lecter. M.D. Bloom, the perpetual victim, the kind and gentle fellow who finishes last, represented an astonishing breakthrough to new levels of realism in the novel, and also symbolized the view of humanity that hardly anybody could deny c. 1900-1950. History, sociology, economics, psychology et al. confirmed Joyce's view of Everyman as victim. Bloom, exploited and downtrodden by the Brits for being Irish and rejected by many of the Irish for being Jewish, does indeed epiphanize humanity in the first half of the 20th Century. And he remains a nice guy despite everything that happens... Dr Lecter, my candidate for the male archetype of 1951-2000, will never win any Nice Guy awards, I fear, but he symbolizes our age as totally as Bloom symbolized his. Hannibal's wit, erudition, insight into others, artistic sensitivity, scientific knowledge etc. make him almost a walking one man encyclopedia of Western civilization. As for his 'hobbies' as he calls them - well, according to the World Game Institute, since the end of World War II, in which 60,000,000 human beings were murdered by other human beings, 193, 000,000 more humans have been murdered by other humans in brush wars, revolutions, insurrections etc. What better symbol of our age than a serial killer? Hell, can you think of any recent U.S. President who doesn't belong in the Serial Killer Hall of Fame? And their motives make no more sense, and no less sense, than Dr Lecter's Darwinian one-man effort to rid the planet of those he finds outstandingly loutish and uncouth.
    • Horror is the natural reaction to the last 5,000 years of history.
    • No, they were not exactly automatons, but they did not know what they were doing. They take down a boy's britches. They stare at his buttocks. They cane him until the buttocks bleed. And they believe this is virtue, because it is done in a school, and it becomes vice only if it is done in a place with a red lantern over the door.
    • Beyond a certain point, the whole universe becomes a continuous process of initiation.
    • All phenomena are real in some sense, unreal in some sense, meaningless in some sense, real and meaningless in some sense, unreal and meaningless in some sense, and real and unreal and meaningless in some sense.
    • Existence is larger than any model that is not itself the exact size of existence (which has no size...)
    • There is absolutely nothing that can be taken for granted in this world.
    • Conspiracy is just another name for coalition.
    • The creative faculty, the god-power, is not used here with anything less than literalness. When beauty was created by a godly mind, beauty existed, as surely as the paintings of Botticelli or the concerti of Vivaldi exist. When mercy was created, mercy existed. When guilt was created, guilt existed. Out of a meaningless and pointless existence, we have made meaning and purpose; but since this creative act happens only when we relax after great strain, we feel it as 'pouring into us' from elsewhere. Thus, we do not know our own godhood and we are perpetually swindled by those who assure us that it is indeed elsewhere, but they can give us access to it, for a reasonable fee. And when we as a species were ignorant enough to be duped in that way, the swindlers went one step further, invented original sin and other horrors of that sort, and made us even more 'dependent' upon them.
    • The illusion of Sin and Guilt, the madness of our species, is the act of cursing the world under the misapprehension that one is cursing only one part of it. To curse the fig tree, as in the funniest and most misunderstood parable of Jesus, is to curse the soil in which it grew, the seed, the rains, the sun; the whole world, eventually - because no part is truly separate from the whole. The fallacy is that one can judge the part in isolation from the whole is 'the Lie that all men believe.'
    • The longer one is alone, the easier it is to hear the song of the earth.
    • '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.
    • Why does the sexual appetite cause so much unspeakable joy and irrational misery, so much suicidal and homicidal madness, and so much absurd theological ranting? Because every sexual choice is going to play a role in determining the temperament and talents of the next generation, and of all future generations who will inherit the earth from us. To be simple about it for once, a single friendly fuck can fill a continent with morons or geniuses in only a few thousand years.
    • The worst that can happen under monarchy is rule by a single imbecile, but democracy often means the rule by an assembly of three or four hundred imbeciles.
    • Each mans spills the drink he loves.
    • Everybody who has ever worked for a corporation knows that corporations conspire all the time. Politicians conspire all the time, pot-dealers conspire not to get caught by the narcs, the world is full of conspiracies. Conspiracy is natural primate behavior.
    • Various medical authorities swarm in and out of here predicting I have between two days and two months to live. I think they are guessing. I remain cheerful and unimpressed. I look forward without dogmatic optimism but without dread. I love you all and I deeply implore you to keep the lasagna flying. Please pardon my levity, I don't see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd.
    • A true initiation never ends.
    • An Enlightened Master is ideal only if your goal is to become a Benighted Slave.
    • Belief in external 'obscenity' is the modern form of the witchcraft delusion.
    • Certitude belongs exclusively to those who only own one encyclopedia.
    • Consciousness itself is an infinite regress. This explains coincidences.
    • Ego is a social fiction for which one person at a time gets all the blame.
    • Every model we make tells us how our mind works as much as it tells us about the universe. These are just human symbolic games: the universe itself is bigger than any of our models; ergo, any model we make doesn't describe the universe, it describes what our brains are capable of saying at this time.
    • Everyone look around and see if you can spot the NARCS. They're the ones who look like hippies.
    • Excrement, incestuous person. I require my copulating currency, incestuous person.
    • Groups are grammatical fictions; only individuals exist, and each individual is different.
    • Humans live through their myths and only endure their realities.
    • I have never experienced another human being. I have experienced my impressions of them.
    • I see anarchism as the theoretical ideal to which we are all gradually evolving to a point where everybody can tell the truth to everybody else and nobody can get punished for it. That can only happen without hierarchy and without people having the authority to punish other people.
    • I think the joy of art is trying to convey what you perceive so that other people will perceive it more or less the same way. Art is a form of seduction. I mean, there are rapists in the intellectual world: they become politicians; the seducers become artists: we try to seduce people into our reality tunnel instead of leading them there with a gun, but we are trying to get them into our reality - our reality tunnel or our reality labyrinth or whichever it is: in my case it's a reality labyrinth.
    • If lawyers had been present on Mount Sinai, the Ten Commandments would have twelve hundred amendments, all summing to the conclusion: The rich may ignore the rules, the poor will be hanged if they violate the smallest subordinate clause.
    • Most of our ancestors were not perfect ladies and gentlemen. The majority of them weren't even mammals.
    • Most people live in a myth and grow violently angry if anyone dares to tell them the truth about themselves.
    • Much of what the world calls sanity is really a hypnosis or dream, much of what is called lunacy is a terrible perceptiveness.
    • Nobody sees the obvious, nobody observes the ordinary. There are more miracles in a square yard of earth than in all the fables of the Church.
    • Of course I'm crazy, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong. I'm mad but not ill.
    • On a planet that increasingly resembles one huge Maximum Security prison, the only intelligent choice is to plan a jail break.
    • Only the madman is absolutely sure.
    • Parsifal, the pure fool: He is pure because he has never learned the guilt and shame that the false gnosis of the churches has imposed on the rest of us. The symbolism of his lance redeeming the wasteland is rather overt.
    • Philadelphia merely seems dull because it's next to exciting Camden, New Jersey.
    • Pregnancy is a kind of miracle. Especially so in that it proves that a man and woman can conspire to force God to create a new soul.
    • Size is not a reality, but a construct of the mind; and space a construct to contain constructs.
    • The abandoned infant's cry is rage, not fear.
    • The average is that which no person quite ever is.
    • The border between the Real and the Unreal is not fixed, but just marks the last place where rival gangs of shamans fought each other to a standstill.
    • The function of Law? The recitation of the unintelligible by the unscrupulous to empty the purses of the unwary. The function of Theology? The recitation of the incomprehensible by the unspeakable to pick the pockets of the unthinking.
    • The Grail is the womb of the beloved.
    • The greatest prejudice that exists in the modern world, the only one almost universally accepted, is the prejudice against children.
    • The path up is the path down. The way forward is the way back. The universe inside is outside but the universe outside is inside.
    • The Right's view of government and the Left's view of big business are both correct.
    • The totally convinced and the totally stupid have too much in common for the resemblance to be accidental.
    • The web of life is a beautiful and meaningless dance. The web of life is a process with a moving goal. The web of life is a perfectly finished work of art right where I am sitting now.
    • There are gods, but there is no God; and all gods become devils eventually.
    • There is no complete theory of anything.
    • There is one universal sex law: Sex shall not be unregulated.
    • We live in our fantasies and endure our realities.
    • When the rose and the cross are united the alchemical marriage is complete and the drama ends. Then we wake from history and enter eternity.
    • You are precisely as big as what you love and precisely as small as what you allow to annoy you.
    • You know, I have found a new way to get high and stay spaced out for hours on end, and the government can't stop me... It's called senility...
    • You never get 'outside.' What you call 'outside' is another part of 'inside.'
    • We're trapped in linguistic constructs... all that is is metaphor...
    • One of the most profound and important scientific philosophers of this century ... His vast intelligence and sharp wit are sufficient to shock and enlighten the most heavily imprinted domesticated primate nervous system.
    • (Robert Anton Wilson) never gives the straight truth, because he doesn't believe the truth is straight. It twists and turns into all sorts of strange dimensions, then eventually folds back into itself. It then looks completely ordinary, until it unexpectedly twists and turns again.
    • Robert Anton Wilson is the unacknowledged elephant in our cultural living room....
    • In a world where we are all giants in a pygmy's hut, fighting over the space, he was one of the few trying to knock down the walls and stretch his legs.
    • robert anton wilson

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