With the possible exception of Shakespeare, I don’t think any writer affected my life more than RAW, and he changed my thinking in particular. I read all of the Illuminatus!, Schrodinger’s Cat and Cosmic Trigger books in my early teens. Almost all of that reading happened late at night, by nightlight, so I can only imagine the eye-damage price.
In particular, Illuminatus! completely blew my mind, and it took me a couple of years to recover. I read it at exactly the right time. I learned the Discordian Papal Oath at age 15, from an RAW magazine interview. The Pope card is still in my wallet, in front of my driver’s license. (Pope Ourri XLII, by the way.) In the year or two after that, most of my high school friends took Discordian Pope names - I remember Julio XXIII and Phoebe the One Millionth. “Fnord!” served as a buzzword for a little while.
I don’t know how many of RAW’s ideas I still buy into, but I know that being exposed to them made me a very different thinker. I read Joyce because Wilson wrote about him. In his later years, RAW taught some online courses, and since I gravitated toward Buddhism a little, I thought about taking one - but I didn’t get around to it.
RAW said in his last blog post, “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.” In keeping with that, I wish I wasn’t crying- but I’m sorry I’ll never get to chat with him at Emperor Norton’s grave. But I’m glad he was here at all. I have only the vaguest idea who I might be if I hadn’t read his books. So long, Bob.
Damn, I hope it wasn’t Bush’s awful speech that caused RAW’s head to finally explode…
Nah…Wilson saw through Bush from the git-go, and had a good time of poking fun at him on his website. I enjoyed his writing; packed with interesting ideas and alternate ways of looking at the mind, and with a great sense of humor.He bent my mind a good bit.
There goes a guy who altered the course of my intellectual and philosophical development more than any other human being, ever since I was fifteen and found a paperback copy of Masks of the Illuminati in my GF’s headboard bookshelf and read it cover-to-cover while she went to work.
I have such mixed emotions about this. Of course, it’s a terrible loss; on the other hand, it’s a mercy that his suffering is finally over. I had the opportunity to speak to him when he visited Vancouver, and even then I felt privileged to do so before he shuffled off this mortal coil – he was unable to stand for any length of time and was clearly in a great deal of pain. That was nearly ten years ago.
When Arlen went, I thought he’d surely give up the ghost in no time.
A brilliant man – and not so frail as he appeared.
I’m kinda amazed more Dopers haven’t said anything here, RAW was certainly right along with the calibre of folks here.Well, I know some do, cause there are references to fnords now and again.(You really didn’t see that) But, for those who don’t know him:the Wiki link. And here’s his webpage link.
I never met him, and I could never manage to plow through any of his fiction works after reading Illuminatus! (Bob Shea was the genius behind that one, IMHO), but I loved his non-fiction. I’m also responsible, I think, for getting him to be on the Art Bell Show. Someone called into Art’s show and suggested he have this or that person on as a guest, Art said that he needed contact information and that anyone who knew of someone who’d make a good guest on his show, if they’d send him contact information, he’d see what he could do about getting them on.
I immediately fired up the intarweb and emailed Art the contact information on Wilson’s homepage as well as a bit of information on him. I think it was about 2 weeks later that Art had him on as a guest. He must have impressed the callers because they all said that they found RAW to be amazingly intelligent.
Hopefully, a few people turned on to RAW because of that. RAW did spread some bullshit in his years on this Earth, but there was more truth in his bullshit than in most people’s lies.
Wow. My heartfelt condolences to you, Marley. I know what it’s like for a person to have that sort of effect on your life, and what it means to lose touch with them. May your faith or hope comfort you.
Wow, what a shame. I haven’t felt this sad about someone (whom I didn’t know personally) dying since Frank Zappa passed in 1993. RAW was a big influence on me, even though the line between ‘profound thinker’ and ‘gonzo crank’ was a little blurry (and I suspect he liked it that way).
I read the books I mentioned at around 15 years old, and arguably turned out fine. You’d probably have to start with Illuminatus!, since Schrodinger’s Cat features a lot of the same characters and sets out the themes. But since you mat have to answer to his parents, you should know there’s a good deal of sex and drugs, even if a lot of it is intentionally over the top - and oh yes, I guess the Discordianism might qualify as blasphemy.
What **Marley23 ** and **Larry Mudd ** said. Any number of books say they will change the way you think, but Illuminatus! is the only one that I have read that singlehandedly and distinctly did so. As this thread demonstrates, many others who have read it found it do the same. I didn’t agree with a significant proportion of what he thought or wrote, but found much of enormous interest in his works nonetheless. If I live on in the deep thoughts of as many people as RAW will, I will die a happy man.