This nOde last updated July 24th, 2002 and is permanently morphing...
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Paperback - 288 pages Reprint edition (February
New Falcon Publications; ISBN: 1561840564 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.70 x 8.42 x 5.56
"Robert Anton Wilson speaks for that tiny but indispensable minority who are changing the way we think. To read him is to learn what the future holds, how to be part of the future and how to help create the future."
Alan Harrington, author of
"The man's glittering intelligence won't let you rest. First he shocks, then he enlightens. One is never the same after reading him. With each new book I welcome his wisdom, laced with his special brand of crazy humor.
Imagine trying to make sense of an amalgam of Timothy Leary's _eight neurological circuits, G.I. Gurdjieff's self-observation exercises, Alfred Korzybskis general semantics, Aleister Crowley'smagical theorems, and the several disciplines of Yoga; not to mention, relativity, quantum mechanics, and many other approaches to understanding the world around us! That is exactly what Robert Anton Wilson does in _Prometheus Rising_. In short, this is a book about how the human mind works...
About the Author
Novelist, Teacher and Former Playboy Editor Robert Anton Wilson is the author of the Cosmic Trigger trilogy; Quantum Psychology; The Walls Came Tumbling Down; The New Inquisition; the Illuminatus! trilogy (with Robert Shea); Reality Is What You Can Get Away With; Ishtar Rising; Wilhelm Reich in Hell; Sex & Drugs; Chaos& Beyond and other works.
The software consists of programs that can exist in many forms, including the totally abstract. A program can be "in" the computer in the sense that it is recorded in the CPU or on a disk which is hitched up to the computer. A program can also exist on a piece of paper, if I invented it myself, or in a manual, if it is a standard program; in these cases, it is not "in" the computer but can be put "in" at any time. But a program can be even more tenuous than that; it can exist only in my head, if I have never written it down, or if I have used it once and erased it.
The hardware is more "real" than the software in that you can always locate it in space-time—if it's not in the bedroom, somebody must have moved it to the study, etc. On the other hand, the software is more "real" in the sense that you can smash the hardware back to dust ("kill" the computer) and the software still exists, and can "materialize" or "manifest" again in a different computer.
(Any speculations about reincarnation at this point are the responsibility of the reader, not of the author.)
In speaking of the human brain as an electro-colloidal biocomputer, we all know where the hardware is: it is inside the human skull. The software, however, seems to be anywhere and everywhere. For instance, the software "in" my brain also exists outside my brain in such forms as, say, a book I read twenty years ago, which was an English translation of various signals transmitted by Plato 2400 years ago. Other parts of my software are made up of the software of Confucius, James Joyce, my second-grade teacher, the Three Stooges, Beethoven, my mother and father, Richard Nixon, my various dogs and cats, Dr. Carl Sagan, and anybody and (to some extent) any-thing that has ever impacted upon my brain. This may sound strange, but that's the way software (or information) functions.
Of course, if consciousness consisted of nothing but this undifferentiated tapioca of timeless, spaceless software, we would have no individuality, no center, no Self.
We want to know, then, how out of this universal software ocean a specific person emerges.
What the Thinker thinks, the Prover proves.
Because the human brain,
like other animal brains, acts as an electro-colloidal computer, not a
solid-state computer, it follows the same laws as other animal brains.
That is, the programs get into the brain, as electro-chemical bonds, in
Concretely, a modern man or woman doesn't look for bio-survival security in the gene-pool, the pack, the extended family. Bio-survival depends on getting the tickets. "You can't live without money," as the Living Theatre troop used to cry out in anguish. If the tickets are withdrawn, acute bio-survival anxiety appears at once.
Imagine, as vividly as possible, what you would feel, and what you would do, if all your sources to bio-survival tickets (money) were cut off tomorrow. This is precisely what tribal men and women feel if cut off from the tribe; it is why exile, or even ostracism, were sufficient punishments to enforce tribal conformity throughout most of human history. As recently as Shakespeare's day the threat of exile was an acute terror signal ("Banished!" cries Romeo, "the damned use that word in Hell!")
In traditional society, belonging
to the tribe was bio-security; exile was terror, and real threat of death.
In modern society, having the tickets (money) is bio-security; having the
tickets withdrawn is terror.