Author Robert Anton Wilson died yesterday morning at the age of 74. Wilson was the author of a bunch of really interesting books -- some fiction, some non-fiction (and the non-fiction ones contained, you know, some questionable facts). He was a huge buff of conspiracy theories, drugs, mind expansion, and famous drug enthusiasts who tried to expand their minds while engaging in conspiracy theories.
His "non-fiction" books, like the Cosmic Trigger series and Coincidance [sic], made a big impression on me at a relatively young age. In the first Cosmic Trigger, Wilson discusses how he might have been receiving transmissions from the Sirius solar system back in the 70s. He was careful to point out that he did not believe he was receiving these transmissions, because he didn't actually believe anything at all, but had he wanted to believe it, he could have found plenty of evidence for it.
Wilson had polio as a child; as a result, he walked with a limp all of his life. His numerous health-related problems late in life were referred to -- at least in the press -- as "post-polio syndrome." Meaning, I presume, that the problems were caused by his childhood polio.
He inspired ... if not millions, then at least hundreds of thousands, and yet he really never made any money off of any of it. However, when California legalized medical marijuana a few years back, Wilson was there in his wheelchair, chosen to be the first in line at the age of 70 or whatever he was at the time...
Five days before he died, he left this blog post on his web site: "Various medical authorities swarm in and out of here predicting I have between two days and two months to live. I think they are guessing. I remain cheerful and unimpressed. 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."
Wilson is survived by absolutely no one. His wife died a couple years back. His daughter was murdered in the 70s. All of his friends (including Terrence McKenna, Timothy Leary, Alan Watts, etc) died years ago.
Regardless, I feel the need to tip my hat to one of the greatest pranksters of our time. I mean, c'mon -- I'm only assuming that news of his death isn't actually a trick!