Published at: Jan. 11, 2007, 10:44 p.m. CST by Moriarty
Wavy Gravy once asked a Zen Roshi, "What happens after death?"
The Roshi replied, "I don't know."
Wavy protested, "But you're a Zen Master!"
"Yes," the Roshi admitted, "but I'm not a dead Zen Master."
Normally, I find it depressing to write obituary notices for the site, but Robert Anton Wilson was one of those guys who didn’t see death as something to be depressed by, and I’d like to remember him the way he’d want to be remembered. He was days away from his 75th birthday when he "left his body," as his family puts it. It sounds like he was surrounded by people he loved, a great way to go.
He was a novelist, a philosopher, an anarchist, and deeply suspicious of every government or corporate interest. I consider his ILLUMINATUS! TRILOGY to be one of the great counterculture novels of all time, dense and brilliant and funny and scary. His work connected the dots on things that may well have never been related, but in doing so, he managed to not only lampoon conspiracy nuts but also illustrate just how terrifying the truth behind conspiracy theory can be.
I’m not sure how to explain the impact that Wilson had on me. Sure, it might help that I read his work for the first time when I was in college, but I love the way he reacted to the turbulent times around him in his art, and I love the sense of humor he retained right till the very end of his life. He was loved by millions of fans, and for good reason.
You can learn more about him here, here, or here, and if you haven’t read his work, I advise you to pick up the ILLUMINATUS! TRILOGY as a starting point. It’s one hell of a read.