Cosmic Trigger

set of 3 Robert Anton Wilson books

Cosmic Trigger I deals with Wilson's experiences during a time in which he put himself through a process of "self-induced brain change" as well as vignettes of his earlier life. The main discovery of this process—which, he tells us, is known in certain traditions as Chapel perilous—is that "reality" (although a noun in most Indo-European language systems, and therefore commonly conceptualized as being a definite, unchanging "'thing") is mutable and subjective to the observer.

First published in 1991, Cosmic Trigger II continues where Cosmic Trigger I: The Final Secret of the Illuminati left off, as well as being a set piece in itself. Wilson continues the Illuminati-based synchronicities that have taken place since Cosmic Trigger I was first published. The book is an exploration into the future of cyberspace; the peculiarities of Irish jurisprudence; links to the Mafia, the CIA and the Catholic Church; anal-eroticism in the White House; the Dog Castrator of Palm Springs and more. The book combines humour, twists in logic and zen-like koans to get its messages across... In part, this volume of the series outlines Wilson’s intellectual development, from his religious education under the (‘sadistic’) nuns at Catholic school, through to his materialist-atheistic standpoint as an engineering student, and his eventual development of the ‘model agnosticism’ which shapes much of his published work. Along the way he discusses becoming a Trotskyist when he was seventeen, and his time as an Objectivist, while under the influence of the work of Ayn Rand.

Cosmic Trigger III, published in 1995, delivers observations about the widespread (and premature) announcement of his demise, along with synchronicities, religious fanatics, UFOs, crop circles, paranoia, pompous scientists, secret societies, high tech, black magic, quantum physics, hoaxes (real and fake), Orson Welles, James Joyce, Carl Sagan, Madonna, and the vagina of Nuit... much of the book is concerned with the mutability of reality; the different layers or ‘masks’ of experience, in a Nietzschean sense. Wilson uses the example of Elmyr, the art forger, to explore issues such as authenticity and consensus reality. Another key figure throughout is Orson Welles. Wilson comments on the techniques Welles used in his films, relating their effects to the relativistic conceptualization of reality that Wilson associates with the use of marijuana. He also carries on his examination of information density and its move ‘steadily westward’ which he touched upon in the second volume of the series. In this regard, and elsewhere in the book, Wilson embraces the ideas and philosophy of Bucky Fuller.

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