The Eye in the Triangle

 

A video of Robert Anton Wilson at Avalon Books circa 1989. [HT Frater Pralixus]

 

“I hate to disillusion you, but just because you buy a book in a New Age book store doesn’t mean that everything in it is true. If you buy one of my books at least half of it is bat-shit crazy. I believe … Well, my attitude toward the readers is an absolutely sadistic one, in the sense that e e cummings used the word. e e cummings said to Ezra Pound once, ‘You damned sadist. I see what you’re up to. You’re trying to force your readers to think.’ Well, that is a pretty sadistic thing to do.”

 

“You’re not supposed to think. You’re supposed to repeat what you hear. And, almost all books are written on that principle. Books are written: This is the truth. I have found out the truth. I will now explain it in chapter 1. I’ll explain a little more in chapter 2. And in chapter 3, I’ll summarize chapter 1 and 2 to make sure you get it. Then in chapter 4 I’ll tell you a little more. In chapter 5 I’ll repeat it a different way. Then in chapter 6 I’ll tell you again. Now you’d better believe it. I’ve proven it. Now go tell all your friends to buy this book so they will learn the truth too. And, people who have been through our educational system, they think are thinking when they’re just repeating like parrots. So, I set out to sabotage the whole system by writing books that nobody can believe.”

 

“By the time you get to the end you don’t know when I’m kidding and when I’m telling the truth. And perforce, you either have to start thinking, which is how people end up in seminars like this, or they throw the book across the room and they say, ‘What is this son of a bitch up to? I think he should be banned.’ It horrifies me that somebody might believe something I’ve written. Because I know how fallible I am. I’ve had to live with myself for 58 years and I know what a schmuck I can be. And the thought that somebody’s gonna set me up as an idol and say, ‘This must be true because Robert Anton Wilson wrote it.’ That is such a terrifying thought that I perforce had to invent this style of paradox and play to prevent people from thinking they’re getting the truth out of my books. What you’re getting out of my books are my guesses, my hunches, sometimes my prejudices. … I don’t claim to know the truth. All I claim to know is little hunks of what I’ve experienced and guesses I’ve made.”