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Illumninatus! Author Needs Our Help 553

Criceratops writes, "Almost every fringe-geek worth their salt has read 'The Illuminatus! Trilogy,' or at least the 'Principia Discordia,' and much of the enlightenment therein came from Robert Anton Wilson. On the eve of 'Xena' being officially named Eris, Douglas Rushkoff's blog reveals that the extremely ill Mr. Wilson can't make his rent. Another testimony to how our society refuses to reward those who enrich it... but not if we can help it!"
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Illumninatus! Author Needs Our Help

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  • by fuzzybunny ( 112938 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:01AM (#16303189) Homepage Journal
    I bought the Illuminatus! trilogy in college, and it gave me many hours of pleasure--not just from reading the book, but from games, references, in-jokes, cultural bits and bobs and whatnot.

    I don't care what he spends his money on, or why he's in trouble, but this is just one of those little bits of culture, like Snow Crash, Neuromancer, Iain Banks' Culture series and any number of other miscellaneous books that contribute to letting me look at life in a more fun way.

    I agree with the guy who said "if a bum asks for money, buy him a sandwich". Where this differs is that here's someone who's actually done something cool and worthwhile and inherently nifty.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by j_snare ( 220372 )
      I'm not saying anything about the guy here, but it's more accurate to say that what's being asked here is not similar to "if a bum asks for money, buy him a sandwich", it's more accurate to "if a bum asks for money to pay for food, you give him money trusting him to use it to buy food." I don't see contact information for his landlord or something anywhere.

      There is zero accounting here of where this money is going. Hell, what happens if this request is so successful that he gets enough money to pay his re
  • by rueger ( 210566 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:03AM (#16303215) Homepage
    Another testimony to how our society refuses to reward those who enrich it... but not if we can help it!"

    You posted that on Slashdot, where every third post is a complaint about the tyranny of copyright and payment for the use of intellectual property?

    How naive.
    • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:44AM (#16303589)
      You posted that on Slashdot, where every third post is a complaint about the tyranny of copyright and payment for the use of intellectual property?

      How naive.

      You mean the very same slashdot where non-traditional methods of compensating creators are constantly under evalluation and up for debate? Where people recognize that it takes not only time and effort to create something new, but that nothing is ever completely new and that we all stand on the shoulders of the giants who have come before us?

      Yes, how naive indeed.
      • You mean the very same slashdot where non-traditional methods of compensating creators are constantly under evalluation and up for debate?
        Unfortunatly, his landlord and the local grocer don't take "non-traditional methods of compensation."
    • by raddan ( 519638 )
      Because the vast majority of those people producing works are raking it in, right? I work for a publishing company, and I can tell you man, that it ain't so. There really are fat cats out there. The people who run the publishing companies are absolutely filthy rich. Authors and musicians regularly get stiffed, mostly because they sign away all their rights-- those are the only terms that most publishers will accept.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg ( 306625 )
      Not really. The Slashdot zeitgeist is that creators should live on pity handouts, like mimes, and only earn as much as they can stuff in their cheek pouches, like squirrels. That fits this begging post rather neatly; I'm almost certain that I recall mime-squirrels forming a core part of Discordia.
    • by petrus4 ( 213815 )
      Not *everyone* who reads /. is a rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth Communist.

      I'm aware that mine is a minority opinion around here, but I feel that capitalism has its' place just as much as socialism/communism does. The keyword is any other problems, financial/sociological ones need to be solved on a case by case basis. Sometimes that calls for a capitalist solution...other times it can call for a more Marxist one...sometimes something in between. Both philosophies are equally useful in different s
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:06AM (#16303231)
    FYI there is an update to this posted on BoingBoing yesterday. They were able to raise enough cash to pay for at least the next 2 months rent. Check it out: wilson_.html [].
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I feel compelled to repeat what was said on boinboing, it might lead to a change of heart in some:

      Anyway, this morning Bob's daughter showed up at his house in tears because she had checked his PayPal account and found money for next month's rent plus more. Bob called me to say that he couldn't believe people would care so much about him and as we talked (which isn't easy for him at this point) he was overcome with emotion more than once. He is so touched and RELIEVED at the possibility of staying in his ho
      • Not everyone can be Stephen King. The Bestseller List is a zero-sum game...there are only so many slots and there are a buttload of writers out there. And the Bestseller List is not the place where the cream floats to the is often the place where the familiar trumps the artistic.

        Another thing people seem to be having trouble with is the concept of Post-Polio Syndrome []. It's a real malady and it's a real mutha to have to deal with. RAW was born before the Polio vaccine. RAW had Polio as a kid, and he
  • Quoting the man (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fruey ( 563914 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:07AM (#16303249) Homepage Journal
    Dr Lecter, my candidate for the male archetype of 1951-2000, will never win any Nice Guy awards, I fear, but he symbolizes our age as totally as Bloom symbolized his. Hannibal's wit, erudition, insight into others, artistic sensitivity, scientific knowledge etc. make him almost a walking one man encyclopedia of Western civilization. As for his "hobbies" as he calls them -- well, according to the World Game Institute, since the end of World War II, in which 60,000,000 human beings were murdered by other human beings, 193, 000,000 more humans have been murdered by other humans in brush wars, revolutions, insurrections etc. What better symbol of our age than a serial killer? Hell, can you think of any recent U.S. President who doesn't belong in the Serial Killer Hall of Fame? And their motives make no more sense, and no less sense, than Dr Lecter's Darwinian one-man effort to rid the planet of those he finds outstandingly loutish and uncouth.
    On the strength of that, it's not hard to understand how he ends up being on the fringe of society. Even if he does kind of have a point.
    • Dr Lecter's Darwinian one-man effort to rid the planet of those he finds outstandingly loutish and uncouth

      ... and tasty. Don't forget tasty.

    • by Nimey ( 114278 )
      Bob is a trip. As another poster said, he's opened my eyes to a whole new way of looking at things.
  • In other news ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kombat ( 93720 )
    In other news, another 300 cancer patients died today because they couldn't afford the examinations that would have detected their disease earlier, at a preventable stage. Nor could they have afforded the treatment that could have beaten their cancer, even if they'd known about it.

    If you're looking for sob stories about nice people falling on hard times, there are for more worthy cases than Robert Anton. Why don't you stop by the local Veterans hospital, or contact the Children's Wish Foundation, if you r
    • Yes, but (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Goonie ( 8651 ) * <> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:24AM (#16303399) Homepage
      Mr Wilson has clearly given a lot of pleasure to many Slashdot readers. So, as a thank you, some of them might wish to ensure that his last few months of his life more comfortable.

      If you're looking to do the most good for the most people per dollar, money invested in, say, vaccine distribution or malaria prevention is always going to outweigh helping anybody living in the West. And that includes US Army veterans and sick kiddies (in fact, the treatment of Western children with life-threatening illnesses is arguably the single most overfunded branch of the medical profession). But it's only human to want to help out those who we feel a connection with in some way. And Mr. Wilson's work has made a connection with many Slashdotters. I'm not among them, I haven't read it. But if, for example, Linus Torvalds or Joss Wheedon turned up destitute on my doorstep, I'd help them out (even though in both cases them ending up destitute would indicate some very poor life decisions), to thank them for what they've given me.

    • Ah, altruism. Charity doesn't count if it goes to someone you actually know something about and want to help--it must go to complete strangers so as to eliminate any remote possibility of your benefitting from giving it. What a way to live.
  • I've heard that the ancient greek civilization has come on hard times too. Since they were the ones who actually created the Eris / Discordia mythology, shouldn't they get a spare dime too? I mean, it's nice to rework some old public domain ideas into a story and copyright it (see Disney), and it's nice to be generous to your fellow man, etc., but I don't get this call to action slashdot article stuff.

  • find out what way is the "best" way to buy published works that funnels the most money back into the content creator's pocket as opposed to the distributor.

    Sometimes, it's fairly easy - I prefer to buy CDs at concerts, where a band I already know I like (hey, I did pay for a ticket after all) and possibly some new opening band(s) gets a substantially larger cut of the profit from the sale. Some music and books are also available at the creator's website, particularly if the group or author has a "van
  • by neuraljazz ( 307431 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:20AM (#16303353) Homepage
    So that EVERYONE can have good enough, free healthcare, rather than choosing some single lucky soul.

    Also, we do value authors - that's why copyrights run out after 25^^50^^75 years so that creators^^^^^large businesses can make money inperpetuity.
  • Is someone asleep up there in the editing room? What does a sci-fi author have to do with the Enlightenment [] window manager? He may have written some nifty (well, strange) books, but AFAIK, he's never coded a epplet in his life. (click the article's icon if you don't know what I'm talking about)
    • by rayde ( 738949 )
      i read through the wikipedia article, poked further through the related links, and only then became enlightened that this guy pretty much has nothing to do with Enlightenment.. :-\ bad use of topic icons.
  • Am I the only one who was a little confused by seeing the Enlightenment [] logo up there?
  • An excerpt from "Wealth of nations" by the father of capitalistic economics, Adam Smith.

    "Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality. For one very rich man, there must be at least five hundred of the poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many. [. . .] It is only under the shelter of the civil magistrate [read, the police] that the owner of that valuable property, which is acquired by the labor of many years, or perhaps of many successive generations, can sleep a

  • by LazyPhoenix ( 773952 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:32AM (#16303471)

    My first exposure to RAW was through the Principia Discordia and the Illuminatus! trilogy, but it was his other books that changed the way I think about a lot of things, Cosmic Trigger and Prometheus Rising especially. Quite honestly, I consider him a great influence, and I suspect there are a lot of others like me. That is why this call for help is meaningful here and elsewhere, and why I'm sending a donation.

    Those of you who haven't read any of his work and also feel some sort of strange self-righteous lack of human kindness to the point of telling a terminally ill man to "get a job at Wal-Mart" might do well to never grow old, sick, or widowed.

  • "Another testimony to how our society refuses to reward those who enrich it."

    Society votes with it's wallets, and deems itself insufficiently enriched.

  • Damn... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by $1uck ( 710826 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:41AM (#16303539)
    That man is one of my few heroes. Normally I'm of the opinion that I'm doing the world a favor/all the charity I can afford if I'm taking care of myself and not sponging off others. Call it low self-esteem, call it selfish-loutish or anti-social behaviour. I think I'll have to go and order what few books of his I don't have, maybe buy a few I already have and make them this years xmas presents.
  • by StressGuy ( 472374 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @08:55AM (#16303721)
    I'll comment:

    Some of the post here state that, there are people who are worse off and less well known and perhaps such support would be better directed toward them.

    Other post questioned why he was receiving private care when he could go to a state hospital.

    These are valid points, no argument from me...largely because I don't know much more about him other than he needs help.

    However, I'm having difficulty seeing how it follows that it is "morally wrong" or "hypocritical" to provide assistance to someone when:

    1) You know they need the help

    2) They have, in some way, help you or otherwise enriched your life in the past

    3) Maybe you just simply admire them.

    If you are moved to help this guy, do so and don't let anyone here call you a "hypocrite". If you're really curious, perhaps use this to learn more about his particular afflicition. Who knows? Someday there may be a fund in his name for this very purpose.

    Lance Armstrong's got the "Livestrong" foundation...I wonder what his would be called?

    • by Megane ( 129182 )

      Lance Armstrong's got the "Livestrong" foundation...I wonder what his would be called?

      [badtaste] Diescordian? [/badtaste]

      It looks like he got enough fnords sent to him for now. I'll keep a watch for a second wave of requests. No need to stuff his PP more now and either get it shut down for "fraud" or to attract the unwanted attention of a Three Letter Agency.

      Speaking of which, just what kind of problems does he have with the IRS anyhow? The Wikipedia page doesn't mention it, other than them being a b

    • by Rydia ( 556444 )
      The fund would be called "universal health care," and would come about when we realize that: a) our health is too important to trust in the hands of a for-profit organization, b) "voting with your wallets" is nice romantic nonsense, but betrays the fact that we as a public have extremely little control over said corporations (as opposed to a government which can be moved if need be... see 1994), and c) insurance works by insuring as many people as possible, to counter claims at one point with non-claiming m
  • by OakDragon ( 885217 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @09:12AM (#16303953) Journal
    God bless the poor guy, and I do feel sorry for him... But I own a copy of this trilogy, and honestly, I tried to read it and couldn't. It was just crap (my opinion, obviously). So I was a little surprised to see so many people here who admired it. Is there anyone here who found it unreadable, like me?
  • Robert Anton Wilsons autobiography is titled Cosmic Trigger. There were several updates/sequals including Cosmic Trigger III: My Life After Death []

    What the subtitle refers to is the false stories that he was found dead in his home on February 22, 1994 that propagated on the internet and the insights he had from watching the situation unfold [].

    I really hope that again the current story is also unfounded. But I am afraid its not, so I will be sending a check.

    For all those 'the hippy should gedda job' folks, th
  • R.A.W was an editor at Playboy for several years - his name was on the masthead. Somewhere I have some of those issues. The letters he read must have been great inspiration.

    Schrodinger's Cat and The Trick Top Hat were two of the funnest/funniest books I read in my late teens. The Illuminatus Trilogy didn't do much for me, but I do make jokes about the Dog Star from time to time.

    Now, I'm going to go Burger.
  • I call upon Drummond and Cauty to come forth. The KLF once burnt a million quid made with the indirect help of this mythos.
  • Come on, people! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by v1x ( 528604 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:44AM (#16305527) Homepage
    Most of the arguments here are whether or not this person is worthy of receiving such donations. Considering that disease & death will spare none of us, and that bad things do happen to good people, how many of us can say with utmost confidence that such a thing will *never* happen to them? I've never read any of his books, but then again, to say that he does / does not deserve anyone's help based on that is just plain callous. Helping, like many other things in life, is not about you. If you are able & willing to help, kudos to you; and if you are not, the least you can do is not to try & discourage those who are.

System checkpoint complete.