179 of 186 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2002
In Promethues Rising, Robert Anton Wilson tells you how to alter your brain in a positive fashion. He teaches you to see the world differently, though not neccasarily his way. What he has done is written a book which demonstrates how the human miund can be either used for freedom or slavery. The choice is up to us.
Using Leary's model of the Eight Circuit nervous system Wilson explain such things as patriotism, brainwashing, and morality. He then systematically shows you how to brainwash yourself for fun and profit. The exercises are the main benefit of the book. This is taking into account all the uselful information he provides on each circuit, along with corespondences to the Tarot and James Joyce.
Wilson's hopeful outlook and crazy sense of humor keep the book moving through material that could, in the hands of a less skillfull writer, be hard to wade through. The only danger is that some readers might mistake his light hearted approach as a sign that he can't be taken seriously.
Really, the world has gone through enough blunders and attempt to change it "for the better". The answer is to change yourself first, then reach out to others. This book is one way of beginning that process.
115 of 121 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2007
First of all, let me admit that it's been almost 5 years now since I read this book. I've since forgotten many of the exact details of the book, but what I'd like to comment about in this review is how I've seen the book influence my life.
The main point that I'd like to get across is that the meaning of this book is not found anywhere in the words on the page. The meaning of this book solely lies in how those words influence your methods of thinking. RAW is an absolute master of using language to force the reader to consider the world from different perspectives. If you understand this simple point, then you can get past all the metaphysical silliness, conspiracy theory, and drug-happy parts of the book.
As for the long-term influence of this book, I'd have to say that it has forced me to understand that people perceive the world in very different ways. Now, you may say "I know that already, so why do I need to read the book?" There's lots of things that we think we "know", but we don't really internalize and incorporate that knowledge until we're forced to.
In addition, this book forced me to reconsider my own convictions. Where did my convictions come from? Are they really mine, or did someone convince me they were my own?
All in all, I'd say that this book is best suited for someone in their early twenties that is starting to question their own history and pondering their own philosophies. However, this book must come with a word of warning. RAW's prose is extremely powerful, and can drastically impact the perceptions of the reader. Don't read this book unless you're 100% ready to question everything and accept any consequences therefrom.
P.S. RAW passed away on January 11th 2007, a week before his 75th birthday. His final public statement was "I look forward without dogmatic optimism but without dread. I love you all and I deeply implore you to keep the lasagna flying. Please pardon my levity, I don't see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd."
Added by reviewer Jan 26, 2008:
Imagine you had discovered some profound truth that you felt compelled to share with the world. Now imagine that you're not sure if the truth you've discovered is actually true or not. Now imagine that the truth you've discovered is exactly that you can never be sure what is true and what isn't. Finally, imagine that you never want a reader of your ideas to believe what you say literally. How would you go about writing your ideas?
If the above paradox intrigues you, this book is for you. If it sounds like a bunch of foolishness, this book is even more for you. Or maybe not.
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2002
If you have ever wanted an explanation for the workings of the human mind, or an explanation for the explanations of the human mind (or any animal mind, really), this book is a good starting place.
It explains in detail the eight circuits on which modern brains function from oldest to the most recently evolved.
It explains why a million people must be wrong, why people will believe the darndest things, why technology and sociology are progressing so quickly in the recent eras, why you are capable of much more than you may believe.
It explains how your mind can affect your body (somatotypes, hypochondriasis, left-handedness), and how you can affect your mind through your body (pranayama, yoga).
It teaches how brainwashing is possible and the exact process it requires.
It teaches the effects of our reality-tunnels on progress, both of our society and of our minds.
And of course, there are the exercizes, so if you don't believe it, you can see it for yourself.
Once you have read this, and it's terminology is simple enough for a beginner, you may have the ability to better understand those around you and to get along better in the world. You may learn to question yourself, if you believe any of it, in terms of your own reality-tunnel. What this book offers most of all is the road to enlightenment, and without the stigma mysticism usually gives it.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2001
I better keep this short so you wouldn't get the false idea that you might not have to read this book if you get a thorough synopsis of it. (hehehe) The author states that this book is about unleashing our full stature. His book delves into the tunnel vision of our brains for the most part. That is, it explores the tunnels of reality which we create, kind of like the book I just read 'masks of the universe', yet Prometheus Rising explores them much deeper and makes it very interesting, makes you really think, and makes you laugh alot at the same time with alot of satirical comic relief factors. His model of pyschology is that of Timothy Leary, where our behaviour and thought emerges from the activity of eight neurological circuits. Therein the mindsets of rationalists, mystics, and yogis just to name a few are probed. There is alot to do with our evolution and survival as well and the 'negentropy' which characterizes our evolution. Last but not least every chapters completes itself with a list of several comprehension exercises that give you a bona fide feel for "tunnel vision." I recommend this to, basically anyone--but especially those with a keen interest in Jungian pyschology, mind control, mysticism, evolution, and to a lesser degree drugs and occultism. Side note: Wilson did happen to make a few false predictions in his own reality tunnel, thinking that by our time (this was written in the 80s) we would have mastered the techniques of immortality.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 1998
"Prometheus Rising" is the second essential piece of reading in the Wilson opus, after the "Illuminatus!" trilogy and, if you read no more of his work, this book will tell you all you need to know. Where "Illuminatus!" is a version of his philosophy disguised as a novel, "Prometheus" is the distillation of model agnosticism in plain old black and white. Given with humor and wit, this is one book that will shake you right out of your preconceptions and get you looking at everything in very different ways.
And, as another reviewer mentioned, you WILL find lots of quarters, making this one purchase that's essentially free. Think we're kidding? Read the book, and you'll learn otherwise...
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
...and interestingly, it's kind of explained in the book. There wasn't much here that I hadn't encountered in one convoluted fashion or another elsewhere, and that includes degree readings in psychology and sociology. It's just that Wilson cuts through the crap more effectively than most anyone I know of. I think his insights into language reality and reality tunnels alone are worth the price of the book. Out there within all that nonsense and BS (including the scientific BS that immediately rules out certain phenomena as unscientific) is some truth and this book seems to distill it well.
I would bet money that anyone who read this and would write a one-star review went right into it determined to find fault. The one fault of the book is the visual aspect--the cover, and especially the inner illustrations are off-putting to those looking for an authoritative book, which is just grand as those types--seeking another tunnel to clamber around within--probably
shouldn't be reading this book anyway.
A few weeks ago I had an interesting and depressing discussion with a hearty young "science" type. When I mentioned a few odd things I'd witnessed in my life, including some fine spoon and key bending and other inexplicable things, he immediately and haughtily (and, I'd have to add, disrespectfully) dismissed both me and anything of the sort. He was convinced it--reality--was all, in a sense, a big understandable machine of sorts. I felt very sorry for him, for a cold life that would lack surprises, wonders, and the humility that could possibly lead to some real understanding. This was a future scientist who would only see what he already believed in. He was on his way to a highly successful career as a worker drone lab technician.
In a long lifetime of reading, and that includes plenty of science, I'd have to rank this as one of the wisest and most illuminating books I'd ever encountered, forever in my Top Twenty.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 1997
I have read a great many of Mr. Wilsons books, including "Illuminatus","Masks of the Illuminati","Cosmic Trigger", and this one,"Prometheus Rising". Robert has the most incredible wit, along with the most free-thinking mind I've encountered outside Hakim Bey. His prescription for breaking free of our "reality tunnels" and his depiction of Tim Leary's 8-circuit model of consciousness makes this my favorite. It was one of those books that excited me from start to finish. I wanted to tell everyone about it!
57 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2000
The premise of this book is very interesting. It deals with the way that everyone perceives "reality" differently and attempts to show ways in which the reader can expand his own perceptions. However, I felt this book spent far too long discussing the different ways of looking at things and not enough time discussing techniques. As the other reviewers said, he ties together Freud, Jung, Leary, Tantra (etc.) very well. But he does not go into detail very much into exactly HOW we can achieve these states of consciousness. The basic format of the book follows Leary's 8 circuit model of consciousness, but spends most of the time on the first 4 circuits. They are food, territory, intellect, and morality. However, I would assume if you bought this book you did it to learn about modes of consciousness to which you are unaccustomed. The discussion of the last 4 circuits just draw parallels to other ritual / meditative practices. For instance, RAW might say that the 5th circuit is just like when an advanced yogi does a certain exercise. But he doesn't tell us HOW to do that exercise. The book is great at alerting you to the possibilities that are out there, but falls short as a way "to get from here to there." RAW includes many exercises at the end of each chapter, but they are both rediculously complex and simple at the same time. For instance, to get the perspective of different people's realities, he says to "step into their reality tunnel for a month." To me, this is akin to a book on becoming an archetect telling you to try building the glass pyramids at the Louvre. Sure, if you could do it you'd definantly make progress, but it's much easier said than done. He doesn't really offer any practical ways to step into their reality tunnels. I think it would have been much better if he quickly summarized the first 4 circuits and then spent the rest of the book discussing techniques to develop the later 4 circuits. As another example: there is a meditative technique RAW addresses in the book. According to the guy he quotes it can provide us with unlimited pleasure. But RAW then says that he won't discuss how to actually do it, and that the reader should read another book on meditation to do it. The book definantly leaves some necessary components out. I also thought that some of the science was rediculous. He talks about different body types and how they map to personality. For instance, he says that someone who operates mostly on logic tends to be tall and skinny. How can you conclude that a logical person is tall? Or even skinny for that matter? Another gripe I have is that the quarter exercise did not work for me. With all that said, the book is still interesting, and will probably shatter a lot of your perceptions about life.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2000
Boy oh boy have you got a treat coming to you from this piece of work. Robert Sheaffer from The Skeptical Inquirer states that Wilson describes himself as a guerrila ontologist, and this is dead on. Few writers have forced me as much as RAW to admit to myself how subjective and limited my version of reality is. He attacks your cognitive methodology and forces you to re-examine thought processes in a way that leaves you grasping desperately for solid ground. Some of the ideas are so far out (challenging) that I often wonder to what degree he takes himself seriously. His mind goes off in multiple, and unexpected directions, many of which may not appeal to all readers, but I'm convinced you'll find a lot here to keep you entertained, enlightened, and captivated for hours.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2000
This book is RAW at his best. Tweaking the noses of what we consider "reality" and "I", showing us that we are not exactly who we think we are.
One of the best things about this book is that it pays for itself if you follow the visualization exercise in the beginning of the book... (although due to inflation, I would substitute dollars for quarters <G>)
Essentially, this book helps you to expand who you are, not by stroking your ego, but by firing a 10megaton bomb at it in each chapter, and well worth the "fallout".
This book has been repurchased by me numerous times from being warn out, and my first copy still has a place of honor on my shelves...