“Maybe Logic: The Lives and Ideas of Robert Anton Wilson” – A documentary by Lance Bauscher – deepleaf productions
Bob’s a Thelemite, right?
lashtal.com is to all intents and purposes a Thelemic web site and Robert Anton Wilson gets name checked regularly. So, he’s a Thelemite, right?
If you think “Bob’s a Thelemite”, then I suspect you’ve never understood what he’s “really” about.
Don’t get me wrong. I think Bob’s lived his life like a Thelemite. He’s certainly well-versed in Crowley’s life and magick; his introduction to the “Portable Darkness” Crowley-compilation was full of insight; heck, he’s Thelemic by any definition. But what’s clear from his marvellous writings is his disapproval of labels, of “is/is not” certainties. He frowns when confronted by so-called Aristotelian logic, disapproving of its unwarranted self-confidence. So, if “Yes-No Logic” is too limiting – too damned cock-sure of itself – why not employ “Maybe Logic”. Do UFOs exist? Yes? No? Why not just “Maybe”? Was Bob visited in the 1970s by extraterrestrials from the planetary system surrounding Sirius? Or, was he experiencing a drug-induced psychosis? Or, was it “really” a 6-foot white rabbit? Maybe, maybe, maybe…
In “Maybe Logic: The Lives and Ideas of Robert Anton Wilson”, a DVD documentary by Lance Bauscher, the label-free Robert Anton Wilson is given the opportunity to shine. Looking every bit a venerable Zen Master, Wilson speaks with the wisdom his admirers have grown to expect. His generosity of spirit and seemingly inexhaustible compassion are clear throughout, as is his righteous anger at petty rules and the frequent stupidity of the herd. He speaks convincingly on the need to legalise cannabis; focusing on its medical uses he demonstrates an increased level of political savvy.
It would have been easy for Bauscher to have made a film about the Robert Anton Wilson we all know: his obvious radiant intellect; his support for space travel; his erudition in relation to James Joyce, Ezra Pound and R Buckminster Fuller; his interest in life extension and, possibly, cryogenics. Nothing would have been simpler than to list the man’s inspired and inspirational writings: the wonderful Illuminatus Trilogies, the thought-provoking “Quantum Psychology”, and the incomparable “Cosmic Trigger” series of autobiography and observation, for example. A conventional portrait of Wilson would have been easy, but Bauscher has done far better than that. We see numerous clips of Bob lecturing, chatting, demonstrating, expounding… We see him engaged in an act of political civil disobedience. But what Bauscher has found – and been able to present to us in a glorious, relaxed and respectful way – is Bob’s simple decency and politeness.
It’s as a result of viewing this wholly remarkable documentary that I remembered why I first liked Wilson’s stuff, why I’ve read and re-read all his books many times. I recall why it was that I wept openly when reading in the “Cosmic Triggers” about the tragedies of his life – the murder of his daughter, the death of his wife. The simple basic fact – beautifully obvious in the film – is that you can only like Bob. I think I know him, I know I like him, and I trust him. He wouldn’t let me down: he’s too polite to do that.
I liked the film, too. There’s little high-tech gimmickry and the film-makers don’t try to impress – they just allow Bob to speak for himself.
If you buy only one Thelemic item in the next year or so, make it this wonderfully, casually wise documentary. Because it most certainly is the wisdom of a Thelemite.