RAW's "Thought for the Week"

Derek Strong (derek@zhmort.com)
Mon, 8 Sep 1997 19:51:32 -0700

Thanks to danny (CALYK@aol.com) for posting his favorite links. Although I
didn't finish browsing them, I did run into one I was happy to find... a
home page for Robert Anton Wilson (http://www.tcp.com/~prime8/raw/).
Although I haven't read much RAW, I did read _Prometheus Rising_, and
enjoyed it VERY much. (I expect I'll get around to reading at least the
Illuminati Trilogy, eventually.)

Anyway, amongst some thoroughly entertaining stuff, I found one disturbing
item, which I quote here:


14 Hestia, 76 p.s.U.

I have lost several friends and colleagues in the last couple of years
(Leary and Burroughs are only the most famous ones) and it has finally
really dawned on me that I am not just "getting older;" I am getting old,
period. Now another friend has cancer, and another is recovering from a
massive stroke.

I'm glad I have a lot of young friends, because the old ones are all
leaving me.

Burroughs wrote a lot about preparing for the big casino by getting out of
your body while still alive, via Tibetan and Egyptian methods. Leary also
tried those methods (aided by a Lilly isolation tank) and may or may not
have had his head preserved cryonically, depending on whose story you
believe. I don't regard either of these ideas as preposterous or silly:
Since I know nothing for sure, nothing seems really unthinkable.

Death makes me realize how deeply I have internalized the agnosticism I
preach in all my books. I consider dogmatic belief and dogmatic denial very
childish forms of conceit in a world of infinitely whirling complexity.
None of us can see enough from one corner of space-time to know "all" about
the rest of space-time.

Every day is full of wonderments to me: Death will probably come to me as
the greatest wonderment of all.


I had thought that RAW was a cryonics enthusiast. Instead, this passage
makes me think that he has been influenced heavily by his approaching
death, as was Leary, to the point that he is now comfortable with it.
(Leary was NOT frozen.)

Two things:

1) Can anyone explain to me what's going on psychologically with people
who are on death's door? How can they spend so much of their thought-time
getting the rest of us to value life so much, only to be willing and ready
to give up life in favor of death the nearer it approaches? (I actually
have lots of thoughts of my own about this... I'm just looking to hear what
others have to say.)

2) Does anyone have any suggestions for what we can do to prevent this?
How many more of our luminaries will go gently, peacefully into oblivion
before we begin to stem the tide?

Marvin Minsky and Eric Drexler both finally signed up, and that makes me
feel better. But I'm sure each of you can think of countless intellectual
influences whose cryonics membership status is non-existent or unknown.
What can we do about it, if anything?

Derek Strong aka Derek Ryan
derek@zhmort.com http://www.zhmort.com/
Webmaster, Extropy Institute http://www.extropy.org/