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May 5, 2016 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Who are the modern Robert Anton Wilsons?

I've enjoyed reading the "guerrilla ontology" or "rational mysticism/occultism" practiced, or in so cases at least attempted by people like RAW (especially), Alan Watts, Baba Ram Dass/Richard Alpert, Israel Regardie, Crowley, Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford/Lon Milo DuQuette, Leary, Jung, Huxley, all the way to Crowley, Castaneda, and the Discordians. With the exception of DuQuette and Ram Das, all of these people are dead. Who has replaced them?
posted by cmoj to Religion & Philosophy (16 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure if the intention is the same, but Jeff Noon, at least in Vurt, scratches some of the same itches. (Of course, it's over 20 years old now.)
posted by OmieWise at 12:11 PM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

I 'm guessing several names will pop up in the epic JHarris High Weirdness by Mail post & followup comments. Can't vouch for their intellectual rigor (or their continued existence), but that's the first place I'd look.
posted by miles per flower at 12:19 PM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Rudy Rucker for alternate dimension trippyness.
posted by ovvl at 1:18 PM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

For occultism, John Michael Greer is a good writer. Grant Morrison writes comics...if you zero in on his non-superhero work, you'll find a lot of overlap with RAW.
posted by Ipsifendus at 1:35 PM on May 5, 2016

Neal Stephenson is the first name that pops into my mind.
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 2:02 PM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Depending what you are into Hakim Bey/Wilson might fit the bill.

John Michael Greer is a good writer

My old boss! He is a really nice guy as well. Do you want just non-fiction/philosophy or are you ok with fiction along these lines as well. People have liked John Crowley and the Aegypt tetralogy for this sort of thing.
posted by jessamyn at 2:27 PM on May 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: I'll entertain fiction. Illuminatus!, for example, would qualify no question.
posted by cmoj at 3:52 PM on May 5, 2016

Just been reading The Interface Series this evening, which seems to me to sit somewhere between Robert Anton Wilson, Phillip K. Dick and the weirder bits of Charles Stross. I find it utterly compelling. TRIGGER WARNING: some quite graphic violence/horror in places. It's ongoing at present here: https://www.reddit.com/r/9M9H9E9/wiki/narrative
posted by Chairboy at 4:37 PM on May 5, 2016

Ramsay Dukes (Lionell Snell) is the writer you are looking for.
posted by coleboptera at 5:37 PM on May 5, 2016

How about Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy?
posted by isthmus at 12:23 AM on May 6, 2016

You might look into the works of Steve Aylett.
posted by Grangousier at 2:31 AM on May 6, 2016

The Bend of the World by Jacob Bacharach.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:36 AM on May 6, 2016

Alan Moore's Jerusalem looks like a pretty good bet.
posted by Paul Slade at 3:52 AM on May 6, 2016

Daniel Pinchbeck is in this mold
posted by lalochezia at 12:49 PM on May 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Daniel Pinchbeck for sure as far as druggy weirdness and endless questioning, but i find him a little guileless. I feel like he would probably 'drink the kool-aid." Whereas RAW seemed to always be have a wink in his eye and tongue firmly in cheek. He definitely 'went there' as far as outer-limits-questioning but he "came back" and had a new set of extended metaphors. Pinchbeck on he other hand seems entirely too credulous as regards 'other presences' and alien intelligences. I read Breaking Open the Head and loved it til about three-quarters of the way through and then it just became Whitley Streiber.

Autonomedia is a great book imprint associated with Semiotext(e) [which is also worth attention] focusing on anarchist/freethinking tracts, but so so much more. Just go to their online bookstore and peruse the sections. Heavy cultural theory sits alongside Drugs, Philosophy, Couterculture and on and on. It really runs the gamut from erudition to outright flakiness; minds can definitely be blown, or at the least nudged. 'Pirate Utopias' is super entertaining. 'Electronic Civil Disobedience' is also a great title by them.

I'm purposely steering you away from 'spiritual' books and more toward the political/ outsider zone of questioning reality. AK Press also has some great titles especially their Autobiographies: Hobos, Tramps, Criminals, Revolutionaries, Early Feminists. "You Can't Win" by Jack Black (not the actor) and "Yellow Kid Weill" by JR Weill are two favorites.

Peter Lamborn Wilson/ Hakim Bey might be worth your time.

Francis X. King if you want the straight dope on Western Ceremonial Magic(k). Especially "Magic: The Western Tradition" and "Sexuality, Magic and Perversion."

Brion Gysin!!!!!

The Process/ The Process Church of the Final Judgement [Love, Sex, Fear, Death: The Inside Story of The Process Church of the Final Judgment by Adam Parfrey} And to whit most anything by Adam Parfrey i.e. Feral House books

disinfo/ Disinformation Company used to put out books and all of your examples are basically their patron saints.

RE/Search Publications. Same.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 7:42 PM on May 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Grant Morrison's The Invisibles is the first thing to come to mind. It's a comic, it gets really crazy, I think you need to finish it and then re-read it for it to make sense. Morrison deals with similar ideas as Wilson (which maybe I would characterize as "chaos magic?")

For a different side of the same coin, look at Alejandro Jodorowsky. He's known for his films (El Topo and The Holy Mountain are his most famous, with the latter receiving substantial funding from John Lennon and Yoko Ono), but he's written a bunch of books dealing with "psychomagic" which is a fun mix between mysticism and psychoanalysis.

Douglas Rushkoff (mentioned above) is the third person who fills this out for me. He's a little less wild and a little more scientific/rational, but still not totally so.

You could also take a look at 'pataphysics as a whole. It's REALLY hard to pin down: it's always been pretty satirical, but the current iteration seems primarily satirical, whereas older versions have mixed several different things together. It has the same sort of serious treatment of nonsense that I attribute to Wilson (I mean serious treatment of nonsense in the best way possible).

Finally, are you familiar with the works of Gurdjieff? Not modern by any means, but he is definition of early "rational mysticism" for me.
posted by taltalim at 7:54 PM on May 11, 2016

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