"You have to be of a particular bent to appreciate this guy," or not. Maybe any kind of bent will do when you are open minded enough to read past the first paragraphs. I'm critiquing another amazon.com reviewer here, but it's really not necessary to bolster Robert Anton Wilson's reviews as there are plenty of serious accolades for Bob's books all over the Net.
I've long considered "Cosmic Trigger I" and "Prometheus Rising" to be the best introductions to Bob's work, but I now have to add "Email to the Universe" to that list. With essays that span a period of 45 years of this remarkable writer's career, this book offers a breadth of observation and speculation guaranteed to fascinate anyone unafraid of the novelty that defines the most eccentric ideas in quantum mechanics and the most innovative inventions of the information age. As always with RAW's books, the reader is in for a wild ride.
Many of us are apparently afraid of that ride. Neophopia, fear of the new, and Neophilia, love of the new, are described in Bob's essay "Dreams of Flying" with the typical RAW talent for presenting mind-bending examples, as in "Cosmic Trigger," and panoramic elucidation as in "Prometheus Rising."
Forgive me as I cut and paste and string together a handful of lines from several paragraphs in this essay . . .
From Email To The Universe:
" . . . dreams of flying appeared in the collective unconscious before the reality of flight existed in technology, and I suspect that if we understood our dreams better we would use our technology more wisely . . . I suggest that we contemplate what our children look at every Saturday morning on TV. One of the most popular jokes in animated cartoons shows the protagonist walking off a cliff, without noticing what he has done. Sublimely ignorant, he continues to walk - on air - until he notices that he has been doing the "impossible," and then he falls . . . Daedalus who, imprisoned in a labyrinth (conventional "reality"), invented wings and flew away, over the heads of his persecutors; and Icarus, the son of Daedalus, who flew too close to the Sun Absolute and fell back to Earth. Like Porky Pig walking off a cliff, Icarus' fall contains a symbolism many have encountered in their own dreams . . . Daedalus means "artist" in Greek . . . Daedalus, inventor of wings that took him from Earth to Outer Space - why does he represent Art, instead of Science? . . . The genius of an artist, Aristotle says, lies in his texne, the root from which we get our word "technology"; but texne basically means skill or craft, or the ability to make things that never existed before. Negative entropy, i.e., information . . . The musician and the architect, the poet and the physicist -- all inventors of new realities -- all such Creators may be best considered late evolutionary developments of the type that first appears as the shaman. Please remember that shamans in most cultures are known as "they who walk in the sky," just like our current shaman-hero, Luke Skywalker . . . The ironies of Swift and Aristophanes, and the myths of the fall of Icarus and Donald Duck, indicate that the collective unconscious contains a force opposed to our dreams of flight. This appears inevitable . . . But what if we begin to regrow healthy organs of Poetic Imagination and flight? What if we "put on wings and arouse the coiled splendor within," as Liber Al urges? . . . Joyce did not name his emblematic Artist merely Daedalus, but Stephen Daedalus -- after St. Stephen the Protomartyr, who reported a Vision and was stoned to death for it . . . Those of us who have no avocation for martyrdom must learn, when we realize how much neophobia remains built into the contraptions of "society" and "the State," the art of surviving in spite of them. In a word, we must "get wise" in both the Socratic meaning of the phrase and in the most hardboiled street meaning. Neophobia functions as an Evolutionary Driver, forcing the neophiliac to get very smart very fast."
Forgive me, Bob, for condensing a ten page essay into one, your writing deserves savoring, but allow me in this little exercise to bring a taste of your work to both the neophiliacs and neophobiacs visiting amazon.com who may be unaware of your gifts.