Ive always been a late bloomer... so no surprise its taken me so long to read Robert Anton Wilson. I just started his book Quantum Psychology and all I can say is, "holy shit".
What a goddam great book!
Here's a little blurb, hardly the most interesting, but the one I just opened the book to:
"One virtually never hears 'MAYBE Jesus was the son of God' or 'MAYBE Islam is a false religion'. People ignore the quantum MAYBE because they have largely never heard of quantum logic or Transactional psychology, but they also ignore it because traditional politics and religion have conditioned people for millenniums-- and still train them today-- to act with intolerance and premature certainty. In general, people judge it 'manly' to pronounce dogmatic verdicts and fight for them, and to admit quantum uncertainty seem 'unmanly'. Feminism often challenges this machismo, but, just as often, certain Feminists appear to think they will appear stronger if they speak and behave as dogmatically and unscientifically as the stupidest, most macho males. "
I struggle with this conditioning myself. Ive noticed that the most dogmatic writing typically gets the most attention.... and seems the easiest to write in a fit of passion. Thus, when I say 'Americans are fat-ass retards'... thats guaranteed to get a reaction and often seems to boost my chances of selling an article. Something like 'Americans often appear like fat-ass retards to those living in other countries' is much more accurate, but doesnt carry the same punch.
Most people crave certainty. We've been trained to think in black and white. We want 100% certainty. Christians say, "Jesus IS Lord", despite the complete untestability of the statement. Likewise, Im inclined to say things like "Christians are morons".... but of course this carries the same stamp of ridiculous certainty.
Its a big leap from surface understanding to absorbing these realities. Its not easy to retrain your mind to think in degrees of MAYBE.... in terms of probabilities and percentages and outright "I have no fucking idea". One would think that 'I don't know' was the most dreaded phrase in the English language. But its probably the most honest.
Zen/Taoist Masters have long recognized this. Much of zen practice seems designed to destroy certainty in the student whenever it crops up. "So you think you know huh?".... wham! out comes the rug from under your feet.
This, too, is a feature of shamanic traditions. The most basic power of psychedelic entheogens seems to be their ability to destroy certainty. They present realities so weird and wonderful that they call everything we accept as common sense into question. I dont undersand my salvia experiences, for example. Probably thats because I search for a linear meaning in them.
Perhaps a fairly straightforward message resides in them.. something tied to my average reality. But if nothing else, these experiences have taught me one very very powerful lesson:
The universe/mind appears far weirder than I ever imagined.