Cosmic Trigger: Final Secret of the Illuminati by Robert Anton Wilson, illustrated by John Thompson, foreword by Timothy Leary, afterword by Saul-Paul Sirag, cover painting by Sallie Ann Glassman, cover design by James Wasserman’s Studio 31, the 1989 third printing from Falcon Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“I DO NOT BELIEVE ANYTHING
This remark was made, in these very words, by John Gribben, physics editor of New Scientist magazine, in a BBC-TV debate with Malcolm Muggeridge, and it provoked incredulity on the part of most viewers. It seems to be a hangover of the medieval Catholic era that causes most people, even the educated, to think that everybody must ‘believe’ something or other, that if one is not a theist, one must be a dogmatic atheist, and if one does not think Capitalism is perfect, one must believe fervently in Socialism, and if one does not have blind faith in X, one must alternatively have blind faith in not-X or the reverse of X.
My own opinion is that belief is the death of intelligence.”
“Cosmic Trigger deals with a process of deliberately induced brain change through which I put myself in the years 1962–1976. This process is called ‘initiation’ or ‘vision quest’ in many traditional societies and can loosely be considered some dangerous variety of self-psychotherapy in modern terminology.”
“Briefly, the main thing I learned in my experiments is that ‘reality’ is always plural and mutable.”
“There is a great deal of lyrical Utopianism in this book. I do not apologize for that, and do not regret it. The decade that has passed since the first edition has not altered my basic commitment to the game-rule that holds that an optimistic mind-set finds dozens of possible solutions for every problem that the pessimist regards as incurable.”
“This book does not claim that ‘you create your own reality’ in the sense of total (but mysteriously unconscious) psychokinesis. If a car hits you and puts you in the hospital, I do not believe this is because you ‘really wanted’ to be hit by a car, or that you ‘needed’ to be hit by a car, as two popular New Age bromides have it. The theory of transactional psychology, which is the source of my favourite models and metaphors, merely says that, once you have been hit by a car, the meaning of the experience depends entirely on you and the results depend partly on you (and partly on your doctors). If it is medically possible for you to live—and sometimes even if the doctors think it is medically impossible—you ultimately decide whether to get out of the hospital in a hurry or to lie around suffering and complaining.”— Robert Anton Wilson, preface to the new edition
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