It’s been a really long time since I’ve read any of the works of Robert Anton Wilson, but there are a couple of things that I remember very well about the experience. This first is what a hilarious “couldn’t put it down” roller-coaster ride they were to read. But the second, and most important thing I remember was his razor sharp, if somewhat disturbing, incites into human behavior…
Schrödinger’s Cat Trilogy
Most of the domesticated primates of Terra did not know they were primates. They thought they were something apart from and “superior” to the rest of the planet….
Benny had actually read Darwin once, in college a long time ago, and had heard of sciences like ethology and ecology, but the facts of evolution had never really registered on him. He never thought of himself as a primate. He never realized his friends and associates were primates. Above all, he never understood that the alpha males of Unistat were typical leaders of primate bands. As a result of this inability to see the obvious, Benny was constantly alarmed and terrified by the behavior of himself, his friends and associates and especially the alpha males of the pack. Since he didn’t know it was ordinary primate behavior, it seemed just awful to him.
Since a great deal of primate behavior was considered just awful, most of the domesticated primates spent most of their time trying to conceal what they were doing.
Some of the primates got caught by other primates. All of the primates lived in dread of getting caught.
Those who got caught were called no-good shits.
This metaphor was deep in primate psychology because primates mark their territories with excretions, and sometimes they threw excretions at each other when disputing over territories.
“Obviously, the faster we process information, the more rich and complex our models or glosses — our reality-tunnels — will become. Resistance to new information, however, has a strong neurological foundation in all animals, as indicated by studies of imprinting and conditioning. Most animals, including most domesticated primates (humans) show a truly staggering ability to “ignore” certain kinds of information — that which does not “fit” their imprinted/conditioned reality-tunnel. We generally call this “conservatism” or “stupidity”, but it appears in all parts of the political spectrum, and in learned societies as well as in the Ku Klux Klan.”
“The current rampages of territorial-emotional pugnacity sweeping this planet are not just another civilization failing … They are the birth-pangs of a cosmic Prometheus rising out of the long nightmare of domesticated primate history.”
“One of the most profound and important scientific philosophers of this century … His vast intelligence and sharp wit are sufficient to shock and enlighten the most heavily imprinted domesticated primate nervous system.” ~ From the Robert Anton Wilson profile page at Deoxy.org
Since the deep depression I live with is so rooted in my disgust at human behavior, Mr. Wilson’s analysis raises a couple of important questions for me. First, could my depression be merely my mind’s way of rebelling against my own unrealistic expectations for humanity to be something it is not? And second, if the evolved and enlightened behavior I expect from us is unrealistic, then what kind of behavior should I be comfortable with? 😕