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Customer Review

573 of 609 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never- NEVER!- judge Wilson by his fans, May 26, 2002
This review is from: The Illuminatus! Trilogy: The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, Leviathan (Paperback)
People love to point out, and attack, this book's muddled ideology, its ever-shifting style, its countless digressions, its violent swings between adolescent fantasies and serious philosophy, etc, etc, ad infinitum. To these people, I can only say, "Duh." This book, like most things RAW has worked on, is A TEST. It runs the gamut from Occultism to Solipsism to Libertarianism to Objectivism, and most of the things in between. Through it all, the narrative refuses to attach itself to one specific outlook. Why, you ask?

Well, the book has a surprise ending, that comes a couple months after you read the last page. I didn't want to ruin it for you, but here goes: ... Every twenty pages or so, Shea and Wilson try to win you over to a new belief system, only to tear it down a few pages later. If any of it makes you a true believer, then you weren't paying attention. Thinking for yourself has nothing to do with seeing fnords, finding erotic undertones in Catholic imagery, or getting yourself a Libertarian woman. It certainly has nothing to do with accepting the existence of a massive global conspiracy. Thinking for yourself is just that- maintaining a healthy skepticism, but keeping an open mind at the same time. You can decide what you want believe, but you must also remember that you will never have the complete picture.

Sure, this novel (trilogy) provides a taste of hallucinogenic mind-expansion on its most superficial level. But dig a little deeper and you'll find much more, not in the words of Shea and Wilson, but within (and possibly without) your own mind. The biggest mistake you can make is to assume that 'Illuminatus' is the end of your journey, when it is probably just the first step. This book is a tool for just that, the starter pistol that sets you on your own search (which, sadly, will probably not involve dolphins).

'Illuminatus' lays out a seemingly infinite number of red herrings for your perusal. It is your job, as a good little reader, to find them all (hint: there's nothing that isn't one).

This is the obligatory 5th paragraph. Superstition may not be useful, but it's fun.
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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 1, 2009 2:46:30 PM PDT
C Ditch says:
Beautiful, couldn't have said it better. The allure of ideological red herrings, flying about your paradigm they are shot down every twenty pages only to birth another. It truly does breed within oneself a general feeling of what RAW dubs -- 'model agnosticism'.

Posted on Oct 7, 2009 7:52:35 AM PDT
Tim Lieder says:
Thanks. I find myself thinking about those "deep" books that I read in college including Tom Robbins, William S. Burroughs, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Spiral Dance and the like. For the most part, I consider them the brain food I needed at the time but rather useless these days.

This is one of the few books that really holds up. Thank you for explaining that.

Posted on Mar 15, 2010 2:59:50 PM PDT
A F***ING MEN...

Posted on Apr 23, 2010 9:02:40 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 23, 2010 9:04:51 PM PDT
Chet Fakir says:
Hail discordia, hail eris. Haven't read this book in years but it was a huge influence on me as a young man, it being a monstrous literary acid encounter of the absurd kind. Absolutely one of the best freethinking satires ever written, though its much more than that.

Posted on Apr 22, 2011 3:32:50 PM PDT
What an amusing, entertaining, thought-provoking review! Best I've read in a while. If the book is half as good as this review, I'm going to love it. Thanks!

Posted on Jun 6, 2011 9:54:50 PM PDT
Arturo Royal says:
A very insightful review. I actually got some more "clues" from your review. And it actually inspired me to reread it again! Most intelligent of you. Thank you!

Posted on Jan 20, 2012 5:00:14 PM PST
thames says:
Libertarianism to Objectivism? That's kind of a short trip.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2012 12:57:01 PM PDT

Posted on Aug 16, 2012 12:04:04 PM PDT
Alamantra says:
A brilliantly written, insightful review. The only thing I took issue with was, that in my case, it literally did involve dolphins. One of the best things about Illuminatus Trilogy is that it seems to have a way of conjuring from the mind the sense of synchronicity. Upon reading it, one begins to find its passages extending into hir daily "reality" and thus it reminds us of what a plastic, mutable thing what we call "reality" is.

Posted on Jan 5, 2013 11:41:53 AM PST
What a fantastic review. Cheers.
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