No Hero Worship

I guess people who find us at the Maybe Logic Academy occasionally mistake us for a cult of worshippers at the shrine of Robert Anton Wilson.

I would dispute that, even if we share a respect for his work, a love of his jokes, and some sense of community.

Bob had blind spots that intensely annoyed me (although any provocation might well have been intentional).  Two examples spring to mind.

He considered vegetarianism sentimental, and uses a trivial straw dog argument – “if vegetarians don’t want to take life the should eat rocks”.   Well, this is just nonsense – setting up a position (that someone doesn’t actually hold) before knocking it down.

I don’t know ANY vegetarians or vegans who would say they don’t want to ‘take life’.  It’s totally, radiantly clear that we don’t want to take ANIMAL life.  Indeed, far from sentimentality about killing things, I actually eat most of them alive! That’s the whole point of bean sprouts, carrots, raw vegetables in general – they are still alive at the moment of eating!  It’s the meat-eaters (who don’t kill their own meat) who seem sentimental (and hypocritical) to me.  If they bit the heads off live chickens like a fox then I would call them carnivores, but actually most meat-eating humans are carrion-eaters (consuming things killed a while ago by others).  It doesn’t sound so macho, does it – scavenger?

Another straw dog (quite a common one, but based on a false assumption) was Bob’s dismissal of astrology.  The idea that ‘influences’ come from planets, or that there are only 12 Sun-signs to discriminate between billions of people are silly points to raise in argument against it. A few astrologers might defend those positions, but not many.   Antero Alli runs Astrologik courses at the MLA which are not based on mysterious and unscientific ‘influences’, or simplistic psychological stereotypes.  He points out that he uses it as a language because it works.   It has a deep tradition as a mythological model of the human psyche, and as a calendar and clock of cyclic events in the lives of humans and nature and civilizations.  To dismiss such an evocative and poetic model out of hand seems shallow.

So I never did agree with RAW about everything.  Still, he provoked thought, and stimulated experimentation, and never claimed guruhood – almost always admitting to his own flaws and the possibility of tunnel-vision, prejudice, or false certainty about any particular position.

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