THE ROC INTERVIEW: AUTHOR - FUTURIST - M.V.P. (MOST VALUABLE PHILOSOPHER) ROBERT ANTON WILSON
By: Randy Lee Payton
Dr. Robert Anton Wilson, Ph.D. is a prophet of the emerging Cyber-Society.
In an era of recession, AIDS and censorship, when the tendency is for mind and spirit to contract, the voices of visionaries like Bob Wilson are especially needed if we're ever to make it through the current Dark Ages to the bright day of New Enlightenment.
Dr. Wilson is a novelist (co-author, with Robert Shea, of the Illuminatus! trilogy), poet, playwrite and psychologist (with a Ph.D. from Hawthorn University). Dr. Wilson's researches have led him into close collaboration with such other major 20th century figures as Dr. Timothy Leary and Israel Regardie. His non-fiction writings range from the potentials of Space Migration, Intelligence increase and Life Extention (S.M.I.L.E.!) to current high tech developments as mind machines and Virtual Reality-tech, all of which Bob reports on in his newsletter TRAJECTORIES ($20 yr. from Permanent Press, P.O. Box 700305, San Jose, CA 95170).
Another re-occuring thesis in Dr. Wilson's work is that the individual CAN CHOOSE his/her own 'scripts,' 'reality tunnels,' or 'metaprogramming'--accepting anything less makes us ROBOTS, haphazardly programmed from birth by parents, school, society, etc. This capturing of your own "Reality Studio" is the subject of UNDOING YOURSELF by Christopher S. Hyatt, Ph.D., for which Dr. Wilson wrote a 2 x 4 to-the-head intro, as well as of Wilson's own PROMETHEUS RISING, COSMIC TRIGGER and his latest, QUANTUM PSYCHOLOGY (from New Falcon Publications, 7025 E. 1st Ave., #5, Scottsdale, AZ 85251) all of which may very well be the only 'self-help' books you'll ever need, if you're serious.
Besides his prolific writing, Dr. Wilson also gives seminars and talks around the globe, like recently at Cleveland's Association for Consciousness Exploration's Winterstar Symposium this past February, where I caught up with the good doctor for this ROC interview.
I began by asking Bob to explain something called E-prime-the post-Aristotelian use of the English language "without the 'is'"--to help better "relativise" the way we think and speak, and hopefully help us all soon evolve out of the superstitious and often barbaric-mental-terrain of the censors.
"The map is not the territory. Any map you make of the city you live in can't show the whole city. It would have to show you and it would have to show you drawing the map, and it would have to show you drawing a map of the map....so every map is a simplification. And words are like maps....and how much can you put in a sentence? And because of this a lot of modern scientists believe we should drop the word 'is' entirely because 'is' tends to lead us to confuse our verbal categories in our heads with the non-verbal reality that we experience. So if you practice describing what you've actually seen rather than saying 'is'--like you can say, 'there is a drunk coming down the street' or you can say 'there I see a man approaching who looks drunk to me.' Or you can say 'I see a man approaching who may have a broken leg and needs help.' You realize there are alternative explanations. Once you say 'is' you stop thinking about alternative explanations."
ROC: Does this kind of mechanistic thinking, though perhaps serving an evolutionary function during the industrial period, only serve to hurt us all in this information processing era?
R.A.W.: "Yes. You take something like obscenity. There's no way of saying how much obscenity exists in something. We don't have an obscenometer. You can't point an obscenometer at a movie and say 'oh this has 50 chambers of obscenity. Oh this one has 75 chambers, and hey, this one went all the way up to 100 chambers!" (everyone laughs). So we don't have any machines, we don't have anything. We're not talking about anything out there measurable. We're talking about our own nervous reactions we probably learned from our parents. So when we say, 'That movie is obscene,' what we mean is 'my parents wouldn't have liked that movie.' So you should say that, that's a clear observation."
ROC: You've been writing and talking about for some time, Dr. Wilson, about an emerging society where high technology is put in the service of abundance for all. Alvan Toffler believes we're halfway between the old industrial model and the emerging, high tech information processing society. Do you agree?
R.A.W.: We're there. The problem is the people who run our society can't figure out how to make the adjustment because they're used to this economy of scarcity, when we've had an economy of abundance since 1974. There's been more than enough, they just don't know how to run the society because the market and everything will lose value when everybody realizes there's plenty to go around. Since the 1930's they've been paying farmers not to grow food while people are starving. Now if anyone tells you that this economy makes sense ask them, how sane is a world where people are starving here and over here people are being paid not to grow the food to feed them. How can anything describe that as sanity? Once we get these power-freaks out of the way with their scarcity-economics and start adjusting the world to the actual condition of what's available, we'll find out that we don't need all that crap. Let the farmers grow the food and sell it to the hungry and the planet can be quite an Utopia.
ROC: Is there any practical way to suggest for people to start propagating this idea?
R.A.W.: Understand it better. To help do that read the books of Buckminster Fuller and subscribe to The World Game Institute (3508 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104) which does a yearly update on the inventory or resources and publishes plans on how to see that the resources get to the people who need them.
ROC: Do you think that such a post-scarcity society will make censorship superfluous in a lot of ways because censorship is based on ideological power grabs...?
R.A.W.: Censorship is chiefly intended to kill brain cells. When you don't get enough information brain cells start dying, and anything that comes between the brain and potential information is killing brain cells. This is necessary in a scarcity economy so people won't figure out that hey, there's a crowd over there who are eating all the food while we're starving. The best thing is to keep people stupid but since we're past that stage of evolution we don't need social institutions designed only to keep the people stupid, we can allow them to develop their intelligence to the full now. As a matter of fact, developing our intelligence to the full may now not only be 'allowed,' but it probably will prove to be a vast benefit for all of us.