Peter Lamborn Wilson
Roses and Nightingales Looking for traditional anarchism in Iran

Introduction

The military dictator Reza’ Shah Pahlavi changed the name of Persia to Iran in 1935. This move was part of a broader effort to craft a nation through the celebration of a largely imaginary Indo-Aryan past at a time the territory was dealing with a century’s worth of British and Russian imperialist interference, as well as the increasing power of foreign oil companies.

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Domestication

The hunter/gatherer school of anarcho-anthropology and the anarchist critique of Civilization (e.g., Perlman’s Leviathan) proposed the domestication of plants and animals as the first step toward separation and ultimately the State.

Sahlins posed the question: why would any sane free hunter/gatherers voluntarily take up the shit-work of the “primitive agriculturist” (or, by extension, pastoralist)?—the erosion of leisure, the impoverished diet, etc.? Given his premises, this unsolved puzzle hints at coercion and deprivation. With hindsight we see that domestication leads to misery. We assume it began that way.

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Take Back the Night ban electricity

Electricity was known to the ancients. Archaeologists found primitive batteries in Crete—probably based on lost Mesopotamian or Egyptian prototypes. Clearly the old mages kept it a deep secret. Franklin didn’t discover it, he appropriated it from Hermeticism and gave it to the very politicians and merchants deemed “profane” and kept in the dark by real alchemists for millennia.

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Tombeau for L

Introductory note by Sunfrog

People connected with the ‘zine and mail art communities of the 1980s or with the rural, artistic, experimental music factions of the anarchist milieu in the 1990s might remember the co-founder of Dreamtime Village, Lyx Ish, also known as Elizabeth Perl Nasaw and Liz Was, who died on February 28, 2004 at the young age of 47.

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Pastoral Letter A fragment

Imagine an alternate dimension where

dervishes are roaming around America

sects of Swedenborgian hobos, etc.

You’re there camping in the cemetery

long black hair in tangles ghostwhite face

* * *

Sion County is remote, rural, and poor, and always has been. Around 1870 a breakaway sect of German Amish-type farmers—the Sabbatarian Anabaptists of the “Seventh Day Dunkers,” moved there from Pennsylvania and settled down in the river valleys of the county’s northeast.

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Escapism

“Is the enemy strong? One avoids him.”

-- Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, People’s War, People’s Army

Sun Tzu, Von Clausewitz, and Napoleon all agree. When the battle’s over and one has lost and they have triumphed again, one must run away--especially if one hopes to fight another day. Napoleon points out that a good tactical retreat is not a rout and shambles but an orderly withdrawal toward sources of logistical reinforcement, complete with rear-guard guerrilla and political action.

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Secular Antinomian Anabaptist Neo-Luddism What can anarchists and anarcho-primitivists learn from Old Order religious groups about living beyond technology?

“By banning the telephone from the home, Old Order Amish...try to maintain the primacy of communication within the context of community.”

--D.Z. Umble

“Church splits are bad, some things are worse, and one of them is to keep on compromising with something we know is sinful.”

--Anon., Separated Unto Christ (Old Order Mennonite tract, circa 1995)

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
The Alchemy of Luddism

for Diane di Prima

St. John’s Eve (Midsummer) 2006

1.

It’s the idea

of code that’s cool not the actual

bother of decipherment: the utopia

of not having been in a state of

anticipation or regret. The Dowager Empress

took fresh honeysuckle petals in her green tea — yes even Civilization had its finer moments

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Robert Anton Wilson Author, The Illuminatus! Trilogy and Cosmic Trigger, Dies at 74

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Robert Anton Wilson at the National Theatre, London, for the 10-hour stage version of Illuminatus! in 1977

For all we knew, Robert Anton Wilson and I were related. On an intuitive basis--i.e., after several rounds of Jameson’s and Guinness--we decided we were cousins. Subsequently we came to believe ourselves connected to the Wilsons who play so murky a role in the “Montauk Mysteries” (Aleister Crowley, UFOs and Nazis in Long Island, time travel experiments gone awry, etc.). Our plan to co-edit a family anthology (including Colin, S. Clay, and Anthony Burgess, whose real name was Wilson) never materialized--although we did collaborate in editing Semiotext(e) SF, together with Rudy Rucker.

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Diane Di Prima’s “Revolutionary Letters” Review

a review of

Diane di Prima, Revolutionary Letters

San Francisco: Last Gasp, 2007.

160 pages, available for $15 from the Barn

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Diane Di Prima, 1960s

Diane di Prima, America’s (and probably the world’s) leading anarcho-Hermetic poet, has issued a new edition (the fifth) of her famous Revolutionary Letters, containing all of the poems from the City Lights versions from 1971 through 1980, plus 23 new and more recent pieces. This new edition emanates--rather oddly but not inappropriately-- from Last Gasp, a publisher mostly known for underground comics.

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Escapism

Swear fealty to the dark leprechaunism of revenge

Social Camouflage

Fabulous Insularity

become a lump of sensual actuality in the thin gruel of

Spectacular Electromagnetism

Set your basement afloat.

Behind the iron curtain of sheer boredom

with Civilization as we know it psychic

discoveries proliferate & angelic sensations

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
An Army of Jacks to Fight The Power

In fairy tales, humans can possess exterior souls, things magically containing or embodying individual life force--stone, egg, ring, bird or animal, etc. If the thing is destroyed, the human dies. But while the thing persists, the human enjoys a kind of immortality or at least invulnerability.

Money could be seen as such an exteriorized soul. Humans created it, in some sense, in order to hide their souls in things that could be locked away (in tower or cave) and hidden so their bodies would acquire magical invulnerability--wealth, health, the victoriousness of enjoyment, power over enemies--even over fate.

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Notes on Play

Play sets up temporary arbitrary rules for itself to test the very boundlessness of its freedom.

If not for the emergence of the State, we would by now have a science based on the principle of play rather than terror.

At the moment the first Pharoah enslaves the first fellahin, play becomes childish frivolity and the serious adult appears. Hitherto play itself had been quite serious; archaeologists call it “culture”.

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Seven Subversive instasonnets

Sabotage

Captain Nemo the SciFi Stirnerite

lurks beneath our waves of text like

a semantic barracuda. If God

won’t be dead till we kill grammar

as Nietzsche said then Chomsky must be

at least the Pope (Papa not dada)--

scarcely the “brainless luddism” to which

we all aspire. Scorpions ate our

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Partly Genius, Partly Quite Mad

a review of

Cyclonopedia: Complicity with anonymous materials, by Reza Negarestani. re.press, 2008

This book appears to be (but might not be) a treatise on Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the Nomadic War Machine, written by someone (said to be an Iranian philosopher) who’s bitten off a bit more French Theory than I can chew. It’s thinly disguised as a SciFi novel as written by or about a brilliant Iranian philosopher named Parsani (“the Persian”) who’s on the verge of paranoid schizophrenic breakdown, in which is embedded a commentary on H.P. Lovecraft and other pulp-horror mashers, in the light of Zoroastrian and Mesopotamian religion and myth (this part is so clever it transcends mere parody), using diagrams of bizarre topology and non-Euclidian geometry, creating fake sources and mixing them with real (but very obscure and erudite) sources--all aimed at an elaborate allegorization of Middle East oil politics and the War on Terror--and analysis that strikes me as partly the work of a genius and partly quite mad, although this is probably the author’s intention, if there is in fact an author.

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Somali Pirates

“The past is not only not dead, it’s not even past.”

-- W. Faulkner

The second ship ever built was probably a pirate ship. When Sumerians and Harappans and Egyptians sailed to “the Land of Punt” 5,000 years ago seeking apes and ivory, gold and copper, no doubt some proto-Blackbeard on a reed raft was already dogging their wake.

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
The Art of Not Being Governed

a review of

James C. Scott, The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. Yale University Press, 2009, cloth, 442 pp., $35

How could any black-and-red-blooded anarchist resist a book with this title?

Admittedly, it’s an expensive treat, but I’m very glad at last to discover a writer I should already have known: James C. Scott, who (like David Graeber) is an anthropologist at Yale and a self-confessed anarchist.

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
“Anarchist religion?”

It’s often said that we anarchists “believe humans are basically good” (as did the Chinese sage Mencius). Some of us, however, doubt the notion of inherent goodness and reject the power of other people over us precisely because we don’t trust the bastards. It seems unwise to generalize about anarchist “beliefs” since some of us are atheists or agnostics, while others might even be Catholics. Of course, a few anarchists love to indulge in the spurious disagreeable and pointless exercise of ex-communicating the differently-faithed amongst their comrades.

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Back to 1911 Temporal Autonomous Zones

Reversion to 1911 would constitute a perfect first step for a 21st century neo-Luddite movement. Living in 1911 means using technology and culture only up to that point and no further, or as little as possible.

For example, you can have a player-piano and phonograph, but no radio or TV; an ice-box, but not a refrigerator; an ocean liner, but not an aeroplane, electric fans, but no air conditioner.

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Neanderthal Liberation Front Four Percenters Unite

“...a little Neanderthal DHA, between one to four percent, exists in (some) people today...The Neanderthals are not dead; some of them live on in us.”

-- Svante Paabo, Max Planck Institute, Neanderthal Genome Project

Resistance against alienation begins

w/ Neanderthal Liberation Front circa

40,000 BC. Giants of folklore stand for

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Mallarmé: Anarchist Poetry & Anarchy in Belle Epoque France

“...all poets are outlaws.”

--Stephane Mallarmé, The Evolution of Literature (1891)

Art historians, literary historians and theorists seldom bother to learn anything about their subjects outside their own little bailiwicks, especially when it comes to anarchism.

A painter or poet might have been an anarchist, but entire biographies and studies of him or her can be (and are) written without mentioning the fact. If any academic bothers to notice the matter, it will be done perfunctorily and with embarrassment.

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Life is Not a Machine

I recently read an incredibly annoying article in a 2015 New York Review of Books. This liberal-policy-wonk and literary monthly is run by Secular Humanoids, i.e., people trained by universities in the humanities who worship science than most scientists, who (having studied science) do not usually confuse it with theology

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Peter Lamborn Wilson
Fool’s Day

Since the anti-wizard who disenchanted the world was Capitalism, we must assume that Capitalism will have to vanish by evolutionary necessity in order for re-enchantment to triumph.

Is it really possible to embrace such optimism? Let’s try.

An April 1, 2019 article in The Nation, “Warning: The Plastics Crisis is About to Get Worse,” begins with a “midrange” estimate of the amount of plastic garbage that is dumped in the ocean every year—eight million tons.

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