Introduction


(Yes, our Robert Anton Wilson Introduction Extravaganza continues with the Introduction to Sex and Rockets:
The Occult World of Jack Parsons
by John Carter.)

A Marvel Walked Among Us

I seem to be living in a nation that simply does not know what freedom is.
……….. John Whiteside Parsons(1)

This book tells the life story of a very strange, very brilliant, very funny, very tormented man who had at least three major occupations (or vocations); he also had no less than four names. He acted as scientist, as occultist, as political dissident and often as a simple damned eejit (just like you and me).

Scientists, aware of his tremendous contributions to space science, generally call him John Parsons, and they’ve even named a crater on the moon after him. Those occultists who know of his work in their very specialized arts call him Jack Parsons, the name he himself preferred; in
some magick lodges they consider him second only to Aleister Crowley as a progenitor of the New Aeon. His best-known book, Freedom Is A Two-Edged Sword, which increasingly influences the libertarian and anarchist movements, gives his name as John Whiteside Parsons on the cover and title page. And, as the present biography documents, this odd bird actually had the legal name Marvel Whiteside Parsons imposed on him at birth.

Oh, well, if my parents had named me “Marvel,” I would have changed my name, too, perhaps as often as Parsons did.

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(Robert Anton Wilson’s introduction to Monsters and Magical Sticks: There’s No Such Thing As Hypnosis by Steven Heller, Ph.D. and Terry Steele.)

Nothing is.
Nothing becomes.
Nothing is not.
— Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies

Although I have been using a form of “hypnosis” for more than fifteen years now, I found this book by Steven Heller and Terry Lee Steele not only illuminating, but intellectually staggering. It occurs to me that I have never really understood “hypnosis” before.

When I was first taught “hypnosis,” it was called “guided meditation,” and was supposed to be a sort of synthesis of psychoanalysis and Buddhism, bringing one rapidly to the bedrock of consciousness. Then I was taught it all over again, but it was called “astral projection” and was supposed to be literal journeys of some literal “ego” outside the body. By then I was being asked to lead seminars myself, and began including some of these techniques without making any specific claims about them except that they showed some unusual properties of the human mind.

Since I had no degree at the time, if the word “hypnosis” was raised at all, I always said that we were using “guided meditation,” which was only somewhat similar to very mild “hypnosis.” I did not want anybody to think they were going into deep hypnosis, since I was not sure I knew how to handle that.

Well, of course, many people very obviously went into “deep hypnosis” whether I intended it or not, and I learned eventually that I could handle that, and I got a degree and was qualified to mess with people’s minds. But somehow “hypnosis”—whether “mild” or “deep”—always seemed a bit weird to me and I preferred to work with techniques I thought I understood better.

Now I have read Heller and Steele and realize that I am using “hypnosis” all the time, whether I know it or not. But then, it appears that every salesperson, every lawyer, every politician, every cop, and every husband and wife having a quarrel, are using “hypnosis” as well as they know how and the world is, in many respects, a circus with rival gangs of hypnotists trying to hypnotize one another.

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(Robert Anton Wilson’s introduction to: Undoing Yourself With Energized Meditation and Other Devices by Christopher S. Hyatt, Ph.D.)

The one sure way to make yourself unpopular in the United States these days is to mention the fact that Christianity and Democracy have been among the worst disasters to ever befall the human race. Nonetheless, as all students of history know, Christianity has been the bloodiest and most destructive religion in the long career of fanaticism on this planet; although Liberals and Rationalists keep reminding us of that tragic record of the Religion of Love, few of them have cared to observe or remember the data on warfare collected by Harvard sociologist, Prof. Pitrim Sorokin. In Social and Cultural Dynamics, and other works, Sorokin documents beyond all doubt that democratic nations have been involved in more imperialistic wars, and have fought them with greater ferocity, than any other kinds of governments, from the dawn of civilization to the present. Oriental despotisms, absolute monarchies, even modern fascist and communist nations have all had heinous records of tyranny and general human oppression, but collectively they have been much less aggressive and war-like than the democracies, from ancient Athens to modern America.

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