Thursday, January 11, 2007

23 (twenty three)

If you'll indulge me with a brief digression from the usual subject material, I offer this one off-topic post, and promise to get the blog back on track in short order. Thanks and a tip of the hat to Jesse Walker and others at Reason's Hit & Run blog for taking note of the passing of Robert Anton Wilson.

This from Wilson's blog - RAW Data - musings of Robert Anton Wilson - the very last post entitled "RAW essence":
Robert Anton Wilson Defies Medical Experts and leaves his body @4:50 AM on binary date 01/11. All Hail Eris!
RU Sirius at 10 Zen Monkeys offers an overview of the "writer", a nice selection of links, and a suggestion:
"Robert Anton Wilson taught us all that “the universe contains a maybe.” So maybe there is an afterlife, and maybe Bob’s consciousness is hovering around all of us who were touched by his words and his presence all these years. And if that’s the case, I’m sure he’d like to see you do something strange and irreverent — and yet beautiful –- in his honor."
A tall order. The beautiful is beyond my ken, and strange and irreverent ... well...

On his blogger profile, Wilson listed his occupation as "Mind Fucker." I, for one, was seduced on a blind date with his Illuminatus! trilogy.

It happened in the late seventies. After listening to me rant about a Council on Foreign Relations conspiracy, or maybe it was a Kennedy assassination conspiracy, or perhaps the "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" Masonic conspiracy later ripped by Dan Brown, my brother suggested I read RAW's Illuminatus! He told me it was science fiction, my favorite genre. It was a trick.

While reading Illuminatus! - Robert Anton Wilson managed to surgically insert the "23 Enigma" into my brain. I found the notion to be ridiculous of course. Completely absurd. Laughably stupid. Patent nonsense.

Then, I began to see the "23"s. Pretty much everywhere. All the time.

Then, I understood that you see what you look for.

Then, I understood our brains are wired to see patterns, even where there is no pattern.

Then, I stopped believing in conspiracy theories, and understood how they are constructed.

But I still see the "23"s.

Which got me wondering ... how many times has 23 has been mentioned in this blog since I started with that first post at 23:23 on 04/23/06? Here is the list, courtesy of blogger search:

"Broken Government " is the disease - "Divided Government" is the cure

25 Oct 2006 - But in this particular example, I have only one thing to say to Scott: "23". If all you do is look for the number 23 all day, you are going to find a lot of them. Sometimes the 23 you find means something. Sometimes it does not. ... 

Da Bears. Da Barack. Da Boomers.

13 Dec 2006 - As a Chicago ex-pat living in San Francisco for these last 23 years, I have managed to steadfastly "stay the course" with my Chicago sports loyalties.

Carnival of Divided Government OCTAVUS - Winter Solstice Edition

21 Dec 2006- At precisely 4:22 PM PST, 21-December-06,the earth leans a maximum 23 degrees off of our orbital plane, and then starts leaning back. It is the moment that we in the northern hemisphere begin to observe the return of the light. ... 

Gone fishin'

17 Nov 2006  - UPDATE: 11/23/06 Happy Thanksgiving! DWSUWF will refrain in the future from publicly handicapping college football. 

The President of United States comments on divided government.

26 Oct 2006 -On the vote for passage, Democrats were 38 to 4 in favor, Republicans 32 to 23 against. Clearly, the president's best allies on immigration are on the Democratic side. 

Carnival of Divided Government - Secondus

2 Oct 2006  -The poll found 42 percent of Virginia voters saying they preferred divided government, 36 percent saying they preferred one party to be in charge, and 23 percent not sure." ... 

Carnival of Divided Government - Tertius

17 Oct 2006 - The next edition of the Carnival of Divided Government will be posted one week from today, at 11:59 PM PST Monday October 23. Submit your blog article at carnival of divided government using our carnival submission form ...
I just noticed an interesting coincidence - there are exactly 23 "23's" in this post (and two "twenty threes").

It was decades later that I began to realize that there really is a vast conspiracy, and Robert Anton Wilson was at the core of it. It seems that many of his readers were writers, screenwriters, journalists, authors, directors, designers, and bloggers. It seems that many, after reading the books, began to deliberately insinuate the number 23 into their work. Consequently it is no longer possible to distinguish whether you are noticing the "23's because you are looking for them, or because they really have been selectively integrated into everything by Wilson's co-conspirators.

Then, with that realization, I knew for certain that one could sit alone at a typewriter, or in front of a computer, or with pen and paper, and create ripples in reality that never stop expanding.

The ringleader may be gone, but the 23 conspiracy is just getting started, and soon to be a major motion picture.

Divided and Balanced.™ Now that is fair.


Anonymous said...

Heh - Hear here to 23. Here are a bunch of 23 things surrounding my son's day of birth.

Ron said...

you are right on target! fnord maybe now that Wilson is dead we can start to really worship him in defiance of his own (I'm certain) wishes.

My favorite Wilsonism: I am not a member of the Illuminati, but if I were, I wouldn't tell you.