Sunday, July 13, 2008

Robert Anton Wilson on Stupidity

There are two kinds of stupidity exemplified in most books about the Illuminati. There is the stupidity of the credulous conspiracy-monger, true child of the witch-hunter of yore, who will accuse anyone and everyone on the basis of wild hypothesis and unsupported inference, with no care for the elementary rules of civil courtesy or that famous Commandment which urges that we not bear false witness against our neighbor. This is an old and most murderous kind of stupidity and is the chief destroyer of innocents throughout history.

But there is also the stupidity of the True Believer in the revealed visions of the Establishment press, the Establishment universities, the Establishment "experts." This is the stupidity of those who believe all American science is represented in the Scientific American; that all the news that's fit to print really will be fond in the New York Times; that the little magazines, the underground presses and the minority parties in politics and philosophy are always wild-eyed kooks or unreliable fanatics. In fact, as a little open-minded investigation will convince anyone who stops parroting official consensus-reality and starts looking around independently, the current Establishment is like any other Establishment in history. It ignores, defames or persecutes really important ideas as often as the Victorian Establishment did, or the 18th Century Establishment, or the Holy Inquisition, or any other group that has enough power to shut up or drown out the signals it does not want to receive.

—Robert Anton Wilson in the Introduction to The Illuminoids by Neal Wilgus
Now that vacation is over, I'll have to post the (more or less) daily excerpt earlier in the day, rather than waiting until late at night and choosing one by the mood of the day. I didn't want to have more than three books in progress at one time, but I felt the urge to read something a little more "fun" and I saw The Illuminoids on the shelf. Another book that I purchased years ago from either Loompanics or Amok, I've read it before and it's an enjoyable and balanced book that looks at conspiracy theories without trying to propose or advocate any of them. I think it's a very good book for anyone interested in strangenesses or conspiracies, but who doesn't necessarily buy into them.

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