Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Illuminatus! vs Atlas Shrugged

Illuminatus! vs Atlas Shrugged

As has been widely noted, the twenty-first century is strange, worrying and makes very little sense. Help is at hand, however, because the late twentieth century produced two huge novels which shed light on our current predicament. These two books are polar opposites, yet oddly similar - opposed twins, in other words, like Cain and Abel.

Both novels are ridiculously long. Both were largely ignored by the literary and educational establishments, due to their unmistakable whiff of madness (This fear of insanity is, of course, why the literary and educational establishments always miss out on all the good stuff.) They have both, however, found a devoted readership, been hailed as life changing, and have remained in print since publication. Between them, they explain much of our current twenty-first century world, from the underground anarchism of Anonymous and the shift from hierarchies to networks, to the Tea Party and neo-conservative hijack of American politics and the massive shift in wealth distribution towards the super rich.

These two books are, of course Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus! Trilogy (Co-written with Robert Shea, who I'm rudely leaving out of the picture in order to portray a false RAW/Rand dichotomy).

But - which is which? Fear not, the following guide will explain all:


Atlas Shrugged

Opening line: 
“It was the year when they finally immanentized the Eschaton.”

Opening line: 
“Who is John Galt?”
804 pages

1184 pages.
Superficially a sci-fi tinged mystery novel, but really the philosophy of Discordianism in fictional form.

Superficially a sci-fi tinged mystery novel, but really the philosophy of Objectivism in fictional form.
Views the world through the metaphor of the Greek Goddess Eris.

Views the world through the metaphor of the Greek Titan Atlas.
Has been known to turn previously sane readers into paranoid schizophrenics.

Has been known to turn previously sane readers into sociopaths.
Portrays hierarchical systems abstracted to the point of absurdity, although some readers find that absurdity plausible.

Portrays individual liberty abstracted to the point of absurdity, although some readers find that absurdity plausible.
Written by a sane man who believed he was insane.

Written by an insane woman who believed she was sane.
Portrays powerful men as utterly deluded about their influence on world history.

Portrays powerful men as utterly pivotal due to their influence on world history.
Characters who lack a sense of empathy and connection find sex devoid of meaning.

Characters who lack a sense of self-interest and purpose find sex devoid of meaning.
Author never makes things simple for his readers.

Author never makes things difficult for her readers.
Has the ability to make those who haven’t read it bemused.

Has the ability to make those who haven’t read it extremely angry.
Completely unfilmable.
Completely unfilmable (see the 2011 film Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 for more details)

Portrays the powerful elite in ways utterly removed from how the powerful elite actual act.

Portrays the proletariat in ways utterly removed from how the proletariat actual act.
Views government as dangerous and deluded.

Views government as dangerous and parasitical.
Author is so extreme that they were at one point accused of being an undercover CIA agent working to discredit conspiracy theories.

Author is so extreme that they were at one point accused of being a Soviet sleeper agent working to discredit capitalism.
At one point, a character fucks a giant apple.

No-one fucks any apples.
Considers an individual’s belief that their personal philosophy is the only true philosophy to be the cause of all the confusion, misery and problems in the world.

Considers the author’s personal philosophy to be the only true philosophy.
It is seemingly impossible to find anyone who knew the author who has a bad word to say about him.


03:32 pm


Ayn Rand
Robert Anton Wilson

Dangerous Minds pal Steven Otero hipped me to this…
From RAW’s Cosmic Trigger, Volume II, 2nd ed, -pp.133-134:
“The first new dogmatism I embraced after rejecting the Marxist BS (belief system) was Ayn Rand’s philosophy (not yet called Objectivism in those days.) _The Fountainhead_ had exactly the appeal for me that it has retained, decade after decade, with alienated adolescents of all ages. (The average youthful reader of _Thus Spake Zarathustra_ decides he is the Superman, and the average youthful Randroid decides she is an Alienated Super Genius.) LIke most Randroids, I went around for a few years mindlessly parroting all the the Rand dogma and imagining I was an ‘individualist.’
“Some years later, after becoming a published writer, I actually was invited to meet Ayn Rand once. (I was ‘summoned to the Presence,’ as Arlen said.) I confessed my doubts about certain Rand dogmas and was Cast Out Into the Darkness forever to wail and gnash my teeth in the Realm of Thud. It was weird. I thought the Trots and Catholic priests were dogmatic, but Ayn Rand made both groups look like models of tolerance by comparison.
“I thought she was a clinical paranoid. It was nearly 30 years later that I found out Rand was merely on Speed all the time, which creates an effect so much like paranoia that even trained clinicians cannot always tell the difference, and some even claim there is no difference.”
Masons may identify themselves through cryptic words or gestures that are too numerous to catalog completely. However, it may be helpful to know some basic ones. First, Masons usually identify themselves by shaking hands. A pressure with the thumb on the space between the second and third knuckle of the other person's hand usually is sufficient to identify oneself as a Master Mason.
When a handshake is not possible (as in a courtroom), a Mason might approach the bench by the:
"three upright regular steps...(stepping) off with your left foot one full step, and bringing the heel of your right to the hollow of your left foot; now step off with you right foot, and bring the heel of the left in the hollow of your right foot; then step off with your left foot, and bring both heels together."
It sounds complicated, by any Masonic officer has done it a thousand times, and can make it look as natural as can be.
Another way is through phrases, either simple or complex, depending on the circumstances. For example, a Masonic defendant in court may say "I was hoping to get a SQUARE deal, your honor," with just a shade of emphasis on the word, square. He could also say he is "on the LEVEL." These phrases are part of normal conversation, but with the right inflection, the other Mason understands.
The same lines could be used in bargaining for a deal on a car, or a home. Going to a jewelry store to buy gemstones, I would say to the manager, "I hear I can get a square deal here." He (if he didn't know me to be a Mason personally) might say, "I see that you are a traveling man."
I would reply, "I am. I travel from west to east and from east to west again."
He might ask, "Why did you leave the west and travel to the east?"
I would respond, "In search of that which was lost." That would do it. He would know I was a Master Mason, and I could usually get my gems for his cost! That may seem harmless in a minor business transaction, but imagine what would happen if this was done in a court of law! And it is being done, every day!
Another phrase (or gesture) which is only to be used in extreme situations is the Grand Masonic Hailing Sign of Distress.
Our Masonic defendant in court might bury his head in his hands at some point and cry, "Oh Lord, my God, is there no help for the widow's son?" Although this might sound a bit odd to the average listener, it could be understood as a cry of anguish. If a Masonic judge or juror heard it, they would be honor bound (by blood oath) to acquit such a person, or at least fight for a hung jury!
The gesture which accompanies this (or it can be given alone, if necessary) is for the person to raise his arms over his head (almost as in a "hands up" position) and then lowering them in three stages, pivoting the forearms at the elbow until they are perpendicular to the floor, palms down.
Any Mason, seeing that gesture, (or hearing the above words) would be oath bound to do anything possible to save the other Mason from danger, up to, but not including, the loss of his own life!