Ezra Pound and the tale of the tribe in 2013.

Ezra Pound and the tale of the tribe in 2013.

Today, Easter Sunday 31st March 2013, I am here at home in Amsterdam, switching between facebook, blogger, youtube and Wikipedia, and my copy of Pound’s Cantos. And I cannot resist pulling out some examples of Pounds relevance, coloured by the texts analysis by Pound/Joyce scholar Dr Robert Anton Wilson.

First off there is the poetry, the straight up imagist prose that is juxtaposing natures forms with man’s sensory experiences, bashing the mind with species and etymology through metaphor. Just on the surface, when revisiting Canto’s CXVII & CXVIII without pretending to be able to decode the strange new scripts intermingling on the page, there is an aesthetic appeal, an instant wonder and sense of the unique, nothing else in literature exits anything like this, to this day. And so I imagine the wonders and messages hidden away, what I don’t know is always in my face, highlighting what I can read and make inferences about, like little villages of recognizable action and meaning surrounded by a huge forest of mystery and unknown symbol systems.

Due my acknowledgement of what I don’t know about the Cantos, it proves difficult to state a case about the text, and about what Pound means by any particular fragment or ideogram. However, there is a long line of scholarship and decoding of the texts, along with extensive biographical commentary on Ezra Pound to help the lone rambler stumbling into the forest. Like Joyce’s equally dense work Finnegans Wake, Pounds Cantos…works its hidden magic most effectively with an accompaniment of skeleton keys, supportive texts and internet search engines, or if you are fortunate a good teacher.

Robert Anton Wilson regarded Ezra Pound very highly, although like many other Pound scholars made clear that he did not ascribe to Ezra’s opinions during the 30’s and 40’s which took on a fascist and racist tendency. RAW does not throw the baby out with the bathwater and almost begs us to reconsider Pound and all his contributions and his extensive wonderful works that aim to better humanity, our individual critical minds and refine a globalist taste for common horse-sense in general. RAW’s love and deep understanding of the Cantos is expressed in a series of Cantos commentaries published at rawfans.org, and which inspired this writing today. I recommend them highly, and especially with the Cantos in hand, reading in between the lines and discovering the labyrinth of rich languages running together with the English bits.

Commentary on The Cantos of Ezra Pound, c. 2001-2002


“There are six rites for festival
       and 7 instructions
that all converge as the root tun       pen
the root veneration (from Mohamed no popery)
To discriminate things
        shih  solid
mu  a pattern
fa  laws
kung  public
szu  private
great and small
       (That Odysseus’ old ma missed his conversation)
To see the light pour,
     that is, toward sinceritas”—Ez, Canto XCIX

TTOTT 2013: Go git’ yr’ pens and pads

TTOTT 2013 by Steven ‘fly’ Pratt.

Some of my readers, and a small portion of friends may be familiar with Robert Anton Wilson and his tale of the tribe, but, alas i imagine that most are not. If you stumbled upon this writing, and are out of facebook well done, I dearly wish you might give me a chance to turn you on.

I have shared the continued relevance and impact that the individuals and ideas from ‘the tale of the tribe’ have had, and are having on global humanity through a network of blogs and posts. I am also resending the same simple message here: read Robert Anton Wilson’s books and try out his ideas, again! This post consists of a short review of his ideas from TTOTT and current 2013 events and breakthroughs that have a direct correspondence to the characters.

Swooping from the global banking and credit circus to ‘open source’ software ‘The tale of the tribe’ forms a unique doorway into a coherent system, running from the renaissance to the present day, that helps frame some big questions pertaining to our times, a bawdy bunch and global cross-section of individuals and their works selected by Dr Wilson for an equal balance of high-brow and low brow, art and science and mysticism, all innovators and ahead of their time.


Most of them, worryingly to me, are still understudied overlooked and almost forgotten in the majority of mainstream Academic institutions, yet, together in synchrony and as the TRIBE, they bootstrap their influences and coherence into a group of 13–relatively unknown–super geniuses. A kind of renaissance super hero-gang. I think that Dr Wilson picked these characters very very very carefully, and of course, they still hold infinite potential for anybody crazy enough to begin studying em’ and carefully scaffolding between ideas, and, furthermore, I am certain they will be important for the future scenarios and technological breakthroughs during 2013 and ahead, in the spirit of the poet as early warning missile defence system.

“Pound & Joyce supplement each other
like Jefferson & Adams
each created a NEW non-aristotelian
for the tale of the tribe”–RAW

In one sense, the tale of the tribe includes some of the most complicated and scholarly works known to man: Finnegans Wake, Information Theory, General Semantics, Pound’s Cantos, Cybernetics, Ulysses, Media Studies and Quantum Mechanics. On the other hand, I think that Dr Wilson recognized this ‘too complicated’ factor, and might have been hinting, in part, that in the age of internet search engines and masses of shared data, translation software etc. the once esoteric works and ideas available to the select few, can now be read, decoded, studied and poured over, even when high…by anyone and everyone who can connect to the net. You don’t need no stinking Yale or Cambridge library, or even their professors, in many cases, you require a connection and whole lot of time, will and energy to invest in things that at first may not seem worth your while pursuing. I hope to persuade you otherwise.

“Distinguish also between faith-based programs [NO FEEDBACK]
and research-based programs [MAXIMUM POSSIBLE FEEDBACK].–RAW

For me today, the tale of the tribe boils down to the concept of humanity. The problems confronting everyman man, women and living system on planet earth today. Dr Wilson stressed a comprehensive strategy, a GLOBAL view, and he was known for having at least seven models for explaining anything. This wish to communicate and show compassion to all-around-humanity remains a goal of ‘TTOTT’ and at the same time liberate humanity, consciousness and our  daily doings from the boot and chains and guns of the oppressors:

Those who champion closed systems, surveillance, secrecy, violence, war and clandestine attacks on the emotional and physical strings of a mostly innocent humanity-as-a-whole. Those that fan the flames, do damage to names, switch the rules, the sneaky pundits and spin doctors, the war advertisers and the TV Mirage salespeople, those that wish the majority of us live in fear and in debt, be it to Gods or States-entities, they’re surely watching you even now. I hear you, and I think ‘TTOTT’ provides an historical current that runs counter to the above trending towards centralized control and secrecy, to shallow pools of bullshit passing as news and bad, wrongheaded single mindedness and bullying throughout the mediasphere. The decentralized universe of the mystics, poets, shaman & shawomen, neuro-scientists, design scientists and information theorists pushes against centralized control, both psychological and political (via. The digital hacktivist revolution) these are new forces that we have all heard about, if not felt in our daily life.

“can we see this emerging in psychedelics & internet?
or in Leary & McLuhan at least?”–RAW

Fly On The Tale Of The Tribe: A Rollercoaster Ride With Robert Anton Wilson

by Steven James Pratt

Link: http://a.co/gOGNKyV

Continue reading “TTOTT 2013: Go git’ yr’ pens and pads”

Nature’s God by RAW (feat. Lousy Vikings)

This is from a reflection in the middle of Nature’s God, a historical novel by Robert Anton Wilson:

“Historians agree that, when not combing the lice out of his beard or getting drunk, your average Viking preferred to spend his time cracking skulls with axes.
Incidentally, we know the Vikings spent a lot of time combing lice out of their beards because archaeologists have made careful scientific catalogs of the Danish and Norse artifacts found around Dublin Bay, and lice combs outnumber swords and all other implements of war about a hundred to one. As Sherlock Holmes would tell you, “Observing thousands of lice combs, one deduces the existence of many, many lice.” When the Irish said, “Here come those lousy Vikings again,” they were probably being literal.
I know the movie people left the lice out of that epic adventure, The Vikings, starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis, but Hollywood has a tendency to glamorize things. “

Nature’s God
Volume Three of the Historical Illuminatus Chronicles

The Wilderness Diary of Sigismundo Celine
Ohio 1776-78
A universe without a monacrh or a parliament
Intellectual passions are more bewitching than love affairs, which is why they last longer. A man can adore a woman until she changes or grows surly, but he can be madly infatuated with a Theory all his life.
When the Pope sits on the chamber pot to shit, does he believe in his own infallibility? Does not every imposter occasionally recognize his own hairy, homely humanity? Perhaps not; worn long enough, sometimes the Mask of Authority becomes the man. Even looking in a mirror, he will see the sacred Mask and not his own ordinary human face.
N. B. It is not only the mighty who wear Masks. To be born in Napoli is to form a Neapolitan Mask before age six, I estimate. Similarly, those who grew up in Paris and London never cease to wear the Masks of the Parisian and the Londoner.
The study of psychology should be a history of the metamorphoses of men and women into their habitual Masks.
The Catholic wears a Catholic Mask at all times; just look at the Neapolitan whores with crucifixes around their necks. The Protestant also cannot remove the Protestant Mask. Etc. Most comic of all; the Rationalist tries to wear the Mask of Reason even when everybody else can see he is in the grip of a furious passion.
There is no complete theory of anything. The damnable habit of giving children examinations in which every question has a “true” or “false” answer has conditioned us to think everything in the universe is “true” or “false.” In experience, most things emerge out of Chaos, confuse and muddle us for a while, and vanish into uncertainty again before we know what they were or if they’re coming back. The world is a phalanx of maybes in which a handful of trues and falses can occasionally be found.
We create our Masks, as God allegedly made the world, out of nothing. In both cases, the nothingness sometimes shows through.
It is quite easy to make friends with the wolves, contrary to popular lore. Respect their territory, and they will respect yours. It is impossible to negotiate similarly with the fleas: that appears to be a fight to the death.
Today, suddenly, I encountered a quite large brownish bear in the woods. I was careful not to do anything threatening (I had my rifle, but did not want to be forced to shoot so noble a beast). Some ancient instinct told me not to run away. I pretended to ignore the huge animal, as if I had more important affairs on my mind. Then I saw out of the corner of my eye that the bear was doing exactly the same pantomime: he was using identical body signals – the same body “language,” I might even say – to signify that I was not of any concern to a bear of his royal stature. We moved off, in opposite directions, all the time signaling that we were too busy to be bothered with lesser creatures. I would call this a case of Mask as body language.
Only later did I realize that I have seen dogs use that body language when they do not wish to fight. The implications of this simple experience are so staggering that I can scarcely formulate my own thoughts clearly. What it seems to suggest is that if dogs, bears, humans, and some other creatures have a common preverbal “language,” then we also have a common ancestor.
The thought of the unity of life will not leave me. The wolves have a “king,” just like the Neapolitans or French, etc., and His Lupine Majesty wears the Mask of authority in all that he does. I communicate well enough with the wolves that they come around more and more often to beg food. I communicated very eloquently with that bear, and he with me. All those statues I saw in North Africa of men or gods with animal heads suggest that some people have had this insight long before me – the human in the animal, the animal in the human. Buffon toys with this thought in this Natural History, and speaks of the possible evolution of life from a common source, but then he dismisses the idea as improbable. Did his great analytic mind really reject such a stupendous concept so myopically or did he just remember two unscientific facts: (a) the Inquisitors would read his words later and (b) he was not fireproof?
There is no governor anywhere and we are all relatives. Whenever I smoke the medicine herbs with Miskasquamic I can communicate with trees and that is not “hallucination.” Animal and vegetable are cousins! Take off the Mask of humanity, as St. Francis did, and even rodents and roses talk to you, and you to them, in a language older than words.
Am I on the edge of a great discovery or am I going cracked from living alone too long? At times like this it is best to forget philosophy for a while and turn my mind back to music. Logic claims to know – it is the bastard son of priestcraft – but art, thank God, only aspires to share an experience.
Melody, harmony, counterpoint: I do not regret the years I spent learning these disciplines, but they are fundamentally irrelevant. If music ceases to be wonderful nonsense, it will not console the tormented heart.
The function of law and theology are the same: to keep the poor from taking back by violence what the rich have stolen by cunning.
The longer one is alone, the easier it is to hear the song of the earth. Yes, yes, yes: I am not going cracked, I am merely leaving human Masks behind. The wilderness is where truth is naked and hypocrisy has not been invented.


Connections to other disciplines

General semantics has important links with analytic philosophy and the philosophy of science; it could be characterized without too much distortion as applied analytic philosophy. The influence of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle, and of early operationalists and pragmatists such as Charles Sanders Peirce, is particularly clear in the foundational ideas of general semantics. Korzybski himself acknowledged many of these influences.

The concept of “silence on the objective level” attributed to Korzybski and his insistence on consciousness of abstracting are parallel to some central ideas in Zen Buddhism. Korzybski is not recorded to have acknowledged any influence from this quarter, but he formulated general semantics during the same years that the first popularizations of Zen were becoming part of the intellectual currency of educated speakers of English. On the other hand, later Zen-popularizer Alan Watts was influenced by ideas from general semantics.

L. Ron Hubbard is widely believed to have used the theory in his creation of Dianetics and later to have incorporated it into Scientology, and acknowledges this in several texts; the first of these two movements in turn introduced General Semantics to a wider audience in the early 1950s, including popular science fiction writer A. E. van Vogt, personal growth theorist Harvey Jackins and his movement Re-evaluation Counseling and movements like Gestalt therapy. The founders of these movements did not themselves credit Korzybski for their ideas.

Albert Ellis (1913-2007), who developed Rational emotive behavior therapy, acknowledged influence from general semantics and delivered the Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture in 1991. The Bruges (Belgium) center for Solution Focused Therapy operates under the name Korzybski Instituut Training and Research Center.[42]

During the 1940s and 1950s, general semantics entered the idiom of science fiction, most notably through the works of A. E. van Vogt, The World of Null-A and its sequels, and Robert A. Heinlein, Gulf. The ideas of general semantics became a sufficiently important part of the shared intellectual toolkit of genre science fiction to merit parody by Damon Knight and others; they have since shown a tendency to reappear (often without attribution) in the work of more recent writers such as Samuel R. Delany, Suzette Haden Elgin and Robert Anton Wilson. In 2008, John Wright extended van Vogt’s Null-A series with Null-A Continuum.

Neil Postman, founder of New York University’s media ecology program in 1971, edited ETC.: A Review of General Semantics from 1976 to 1986. Postman’s student Lance Strate, a co-founder of the Media Ecology Association,[43] served as executive director of the Institute of General Semantics from 2007 to 2010.


Twenty RAW quotes for 2011

Bad critics judge a work of art by comparing it to preexisting theories. They always go wrong when confronted with a masterpiece, because masterpieces make their own rules.—Illuminati Papers, pg. 12.
Ez, McLuhan and associates reprinted Fenollosa’s “The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry ” As part of their Square Dollar Series. It Anticipates some formulations of General Semantics and NLP.–Recorsi
Little Tony was sitting on a park bench munching on one candy bar after another.
After the 6th candy bar, a man on the bench across from him said,
“Son, you know eating all that candy isn’t good for you. It will give
you acne, rot your teeth, and make you fat.”
Little Tony replied, “My grandfather lived to be 107 years old.”
The man asked, “Did your grandfather eat 6 candy bars at a time?”
Little Tony answered, “No, he minded his own fucking business.–Guns and Dope Party.

Just as a hologram is so structured that each part contains the whole, Finnegans Wake is structured in puns and synchronicities that “contain” and reflect each other, creating the closest approximation of an infinite regress ever achieved in any art-form.–Coincidance.

Green plants, alive, like
the stone Buddha — rock solid –
— as twilight descends.
In 2012, if the McKenna scenario is right, comes Omega point.–Cosmic Trigger, pg. 223.
What underlies the accelerations noted by Henry Adams and Korzybski is nowadays known as the selection of negentropy out of stochastic processes. Our understanding of this is chiefly due to almost-simultaneous discoveries (1946-48) by quantum physicist Erwin Schrodinger, mathematician Norbert Weiner and an electronics-communication expert at Bell Laboratories, Claude Shannon.–Prometheus Rising, page 110.
Like Joyce, Vico believed that poetry arose out of creative etymology (“incorrect etymology,” in Academese). Like Joyce–and also Whorf and Korzybski–Vico believed a radical change in language could alter our perceived reality tunnels.–Coincidance, Pg. 22.
I distinguish between information—all that humans can check by experience—as distinct from noise—those “things” (or non-things, or nothings) that thye can only make noises or chatter about.—Another faith-based organization, TSOG, pg 89.
The two philosophers most frequently mentioned in the Wake, Nicholas of Cusa and Bruno of Nola, taught a dialectic of resolution of opposites. Joseph Needham in his monumental Science and Civilization in China, repeatedly mentions both Bruno and Nicholas as the only two Occidental philosophers before Liebnitz to have a basically Taoist outlook.–Joyce and Daoism.
Conspiracy is just another name for coalition.–The Historical Illuminatus.
New bud on the vine:
But three thousand miles due East
Wall Street still smolders–Haiku

R. Buckminster Fuller, in his Synergetic-Energetic Geometry, which he claims is the “co-ordinate system of the Universe,” reduces all phenomena to geometric-energetic constructs based on the tetrahedron (4-sided), the octet truss (8-sided) and the coupler (8-faceted with 24 phases). Fuller argues specifically that the 8-face, 24-phase coupler underlies the 8-fold division of the chemical elements on the Mendeleyev Periodic Table. –Octave of Energy, Cosmic Trigger.

Every government that employs secret-police agencies must grow more insecure, not more secure, as the strength, versatility and power of the secret police grows.—Celine’s Laws, Illuminati Papers.

Two of the giants of quantum math, Schrödinger and Dirac, both spent time at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Dublin. Schrödinger, in fact, wrote his most important nonmathemetical book there — What Is Life? [1948], in which he defined life as a function of negative entropy. This thought seemed so radical and far-out that nobody began to grasp it until Wiener and Shannon showed that information also behaves like negative entropy. Information = that part of a message you didn’t expect; the unpredictable part.–Celtic Roots of Quantum Theory (essay)

Like marijuana, a Wellsian long shot creates an information overload and provokes you to enlarge your reality-tunnel to accommodate it.—An Information Rich environment, Cosmic Trigger III. Pg. 88
I think it’s time to abolish politicians entirely and let everybody participate in self-government via internet. We needed ‘representatives’ in the 18th century because we couldn’t all go to Washington. Meanwhile, times changed and our ‘representatives’ have sold us out to the corporations, as we in the majority party all agree, whatever our differences in other matters. And we don’t need ‘representatives’ anymore; we have the Net technology to represent ourselves.—TSOG. Pg 162
In the present context, Korzybski’s mathematized language structures, like the Fenollosa/Pound emphasis on Chinese ideogram helps us perceive/conceive Internet in alternative ways, not possible for those restricted to Indo-European semantic structures.–Recorsi.
Sweet! Sweet!” sings a bird–
Old Ez in Virginia
Heard one cry “Tulip!–Haiku



December 16, 2000, Palm Springs, CA.
Speaking at the Prophets Conference ~ Palm Springs (number 8) held at the Marquis Resort Conference Center.

Recorded by Steven Pratt using a portable minidisc recorder. Special thanks to Robert Anton Wilson for encouraging me to record and inviting me to his room afterwards for an exclusive recording and some tasty clandestine reefers.

17th December 2000, Dr. Wilson gave a performance at the Marquee Hotel, Palm Springs, as a part of the Prophets Conference, now (Great Mystery) that marked the second leg of my five year travel excursion around the USA, studying his work and forwarding my own. I hope the sharing of this performance inspires like minded individuals.

I was RAWs care-taker during the three days of the conference and helped him around in his wheelchair, opening doors and getting him to his performance on time.

I recorded his presentation on my trusty old mini-disc recorder, that captured hundreds of hours of my American adventures. I only recently found the disc and transferred it to a ‘digital format’ so I can now share the entire show. Please accept my apologies for the sound quality and my sad state or organization that has led to this ten year gap from performance to distribution.

“I had a manhattan with my lunch” –Bob

Bobs performance was amplified for me by the fact that we were sitting together with Paul Krassner and his wife before the gig drinking Manhattan’s and having a jolly good old belly laugh, I think that Bob was a little tipsy going up onto the stage and really let his bullets fly, getting into cock sucking, the Bush Gore election, Bell’s theorem and more cock sucking to hilarious effect. I imagined Bob spiced up his act to impress Paul who was sitting at the front, I must admit that I had to hold back my laughter due to making the recording and not wanting to be chuckling throughout.

In retrospect ‘The Universe Contains a Maybe’ gives an example of RAWs comeback after his first stroke that left him wheel-chair bound, and his first public speech after the now historic turning point in American history, the Florida election and recount, and recount, and recount.

A line that stuck with me from early in his show was ‘…if the United States wasn’t trying to dominate the whole world, we wouldn’t be threatened by Terrorism’ and Bob goes on to reference the first World Trade Center bombing, just nine months before 911, and when I now hear Bobs typically brilliant, erudite and fact-filled spoken prose on ‘foreign policy’ ‘corporatism’ and the ‘Military industrial state’s’ I wish to accent his anarchist pacifism, considering earth 2010 culture, and his general good will to the disenfranchised, the down trodden and innocent victims of Imperialist, and in this case, American greed, ignorance and violence.


Add to Bobs 36 books and thousands of unique and ground breaking articles, his spoken freestyle genius and ability to educate and entertain a crowd like no other sit-down comedian (scientific philosopher) who ever lived, and you start to see the distance from the rest Bob was in his prophesy, although, he would probably not use that term, but here, I think it perfectly describes the content of his presentation, only months before something, like something from out of one or two of his fictional epics; became a new reality. 911, the war on terror, more stolen election activity, foreign meddling, and the banking heists, and the continued war on some drugs.

Even with Bob gone we can revisit his wisdom and wit and laugh along with him, at least temporarily, and each time I listen to one of his presentations I feel safer, I feel that the world is a safer place and feel more optimistic about our collective futures, the emergent technology for realizing the hermetic hologram of art, and collapsing the mechanism for centralized control, corporate monopoly and general brainwashing.

Bob wrote on taboo and censored subjects, subjects that still today still only a handful of investigative journalists would touch, perhaps wikileaks? he has been writing about some of the most challenging things to humanity in a caring and yet viral style, for a long long time, ‘things’ that some suspect might get you killed, harassed and just generally fucked with.

“Live with Integrity” –Bob

Bob taught a resilience and intelligence and that its OK to write about anything, really, even the truth, and to always question authority, the scientific, religious and militaristic, the richest and the most-powerful, the ruthless and the criminal, question authority and think for your self, and to live your life as if this is your duty, as a writer, philosopher and scholar activist. Whoever you are, I hope you can pass it on.

Please visit the following links that embody my thanks to those who have helped forward the life and works of Bob. May these recordings find bright future audiences and RAW scholars alike and tickle them.

For more details on this recording please visit my extended linear notes in progress at http://ataleofatribe.blogspot.com/

Love, steve fly


Released by: fly agaric 23

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