Predictions for the Future

R.U. Sirius

 

Immediate Future 2017-2019

I predict that these predictions will be proved incorrect but it was fun to write them. All kinds of crazy shit will occur that no one could predict.

In 2018, the Democrats will win back the Senate. They may or may not win back the house.

If the Democrats win back the house, Trump will be impeached.

If Trump is impeached, many liberal/feminist pundits will express qualified praise for Mike Pence’s sexual morality.

“The internet” will continue to get its collective knickers in a twist (or is it panties in a bunch?) every day over something that some celebrity said that doesn’t matter a soggy fucking banana.

 

2020s

We will be in a state of constant crisis brought on by…

  • increasingly apocalyptic weather events
  • economic mini-collapses resulting from a) Wall Street bubbles, b) currency confusion due to digital/alternate currencies c) hackers finally cashing in their ownership of everyone’s data… largely in the service of global “cyberwarfare.”
  • Increasing international conflicts

This state of constant crisis will be greeted by a fair amount of cheery positive thinking, do-gooding and community activism. Good feelings about diversity will be cranked up to 11.

 

The far right will recede as a force in American politics. The anxiety about immigrants will also recede. There will be enough remaining dead-enders to distract and let us all feel superior.

A liberal/neoliberal centrism will maintain power in the US and be credited, correctly, with getting the lid back on enough to prevent total chaos.

The world will continue to be mostly owned by about a hundred people.

The multi-trillion dollar surveillance state will continue and grow and rarely be questioned.

US Foreign interventions will be limited, more frequent and seem, on the surface, pretty necessary as berserkers go ever-more berserk on a global scale. Resistance will be sparse and tepid. We will always seem on the verge of a big war.

 

 

There will be slow but certain improvements in our justice system and in its treatment of people of color.

There will be an inadequate universal guaranteed income that will, nonetheless, be less cruel and pinched than what is left of the welfare system.

The future will be much like Brave New World. A self-regarding, middlebrow, well behaved, quasi-liberal conformism will suffuse everything. It will be sharply satirized, mainly by British TV imports.

The margins around what’s ok in speech and creative work will continue to tighten.

 

 

The reputations of almost everybody who was interesting during the 20th Century, including those of many radical feminists, will fall before the expanding sex inquisition.

 

 

Sexuality will continue to evolve along the lines of a strange hybrid of prissiness combined with organized kink. Gender “non-conformism” will be the new gender conformism

The Apology will be the main social ritual of the society. It will be a source of gossip and social cohesion, giving 21st Century America a sort-of consensus narrative similar to the one that was once provided for by religion and alcoholism/drug addiction, i.e. sin and redemption.

 

At the end of the 2020s, we will be on the verge of prescription longevity medicine. It’ll be effective but have side effects. (By its nature, we’ll have to wait a real long fuckin’ time to find out how effective it is.)

Self-driving cars will not be mass market yet.

Psychiatrists will increasingly be allowed to prescribe psychedelic drugs and mind stimulants. They will be very effective.

Printable replacement organs will become increasingly available, mainly to the wealthy.

Proof of concept will be achieved for molecular machines that can make almost anything out of very little. Possible dangers and broad social chaos will stall its availability. The Pentagon will have a secret project that will have it weaponized and ready for use by the 2030s. It will be less lethal than conventional weapons.

We will have a major political figure who ends his or her talks by saying “Namaste.” (Jerry Brown will not live long enough to see this happen.)

 

The likelihood of a lot of cool and useful new toys/tools is largely dependent on the well-being and success of Elon Musk. Stand back! Give him some space!

Darren Aronofsky will film Illuminatus. It will be denounced as (Fill in the blank)ist by some but not all.

Chapel Perilous: The Life and Thought Crimes of Robert Anton Wilson — An Interview with Prop Anon

 

Interview with Prop Anon by R.U. Sirius

I don’t think anyone would have suspected it back in the ’60s and ’70s, but the author Robert Anton Wilson may have emerged as the most influential counterculture figure of those times. Who else has massive followings of fans fighting over the implications of his politics and philosophy? I can’t think of anyone.

RAW requires no introduction with this crowd but for those of you stumbling in, here’s a wikipedia page with a full bibliography.

PROP ANON is the author of the upcoming Chapel Perilous: The Life and Thought Crimes of Robert Anton Wilson, the first official biography of the late counterculture philosopher. He started his career as a Hip-Hop artist whose 2010 album Squat the Condos presaged the Occupy movement. In 2014, Prop switched musical gears and released a Stoner Rock album called HAIL ERIS! with his band, HAIL ERIS!  

R.U. Sirius: Is there anything about Bob’s childhood that indicates that he will become a counterculture philosopher of note?

Prop Anon: Bob was born in Flatbush, Brooklyn and spent his childhood in one of its most remote neighborhoods, Gerritsen Beach. He described the one-road-town as an “Irish Catholic Ghetto,” as he grew up a prodigious youth who survived two bouts of Polio, child abuse at the hands of the nuns who ran his grammar school, and a narrow-minded working-class neighborhood. The polio that nearly killed him was almost completely cured by The Sister Kenny Method — which today is considered ‘alternative’ medicine, but in 1935 denounced as quackery by the medical establishment. Sister Kenny proved everyone wrong and eventually was considered an alternative medicine pioneer. More indirectly he received inspiration from his favorite contemporary artist, Orson Welles. Welles played with the notion of uncertainty in nearly all his work, and this spoke to Bob. Bob was a fan of Welles’ since his 1938 ‘War of the World’s” was performed on the radio, which catapulted the then 23-year-old Welles to fame. Events like these, and more, sent the message early on to Bob that a keen sense of self was a necessary survival tool. He possessed the desire and capacity to live counter to the dominant culture, and he did. Wilson, like many of his generation, faced some serious existential threats living in a society deeply immersed in bullshit. As a response he developed a highly functional ‘Bullshit Detector.”

RUS: Were you able to learn much about Bob’s time at Playboy? Fun stories from the Bunny Empire? Did he like Hef?

PA: There are some stories about Bob’s time at Playboy, which he never wrote about in his books. One story he called ‘How I became a Paranoid,’ which began when a mysterious Playboy executive visited his office during a workday and told him that his name was added to Chicago PD’s ‘Red Squad,’ which was a list of radical people the authorities put under surveillance. An early example of Red Squad behavior was seen in 1886, when Chicago agents targeted Anarchists with surveillance directly after the Haymarket Affair in 1886. 85 years later, there were specific Red Squad agents that targeted people like Bob, who they would have called a ‘closet hippie.’ In others, a person who had a regular job and didn’t dress like a hippie yet were protesting the Vietnam War. During this visit, Bob and Arlen, were at their peak of political activism. Both were involved with local Anarchist groups; Arlen was an early member of the Anarcho-Feminist group and magazine, Siren. She was also a part of the Chicago Woman Liberation Union (CWLU) Bob was exploring a Surrealist angle of Anarchism, through his associations with Franklin Rosemont and the Chicago Surrealist Group. They were both part of an Anarchist group that changed its name for every event. On top of that, Arlen and Bob were sociable people who hosted parties and discussion groups at their apartment.

In Bob’s office the mysterious executive had shut the door and told him that a police informant had tipped the Chicago PD off to Bob’s activities as a gunrunner for the Black Panthers. Bob said that he and Arlen were actually helping the Panthers with their influential Free Breakfast program for local children. After Bob denied the accusation he asked how Playboy was able to find out about police informants circulating through radical circles within Chicago. The executive told Bob that Playboy had their own cadre of informants, who heard the whispers of police informants and then reported to Playboy, especially when it concerned someone who worked at Playboy. Perhaps this Playboy editor was playing a prank on Bob. There was never any tip to the ‘Red Squad,’ just a great bullshiter who wanted to test Bob Wilson. However, the FBI’s COINTELPRO was going strong during this time, and the extent of the spying on activist communities by law enforcement agencies was not fully known to the public as of 1971. Bob later said this conversation sparked the idea for the character Tobias Knight from Illuminatus! Knight is a quintuple-agent and is the punchline to the joke highlighting about how many agents and informants there were in resistance movements of the late 60s, and continue to be today.

As far as Wilson and Hefner went, from my research, it seems like Bob did not really know Hefner on a personal level. He and Arlen, did however, attend some of Hefner’s movie nights at the Playboy mansion while Bob worked at Playboy. Wilson appreciated Hefner’s stance on Civil Liberty issues within the United States. Both were committed to the First Amendment, and Playboy was a progressive voice within the media when it came to such issues. Something about his job at Playboy must have worked because Bob was able to harness his ability as a writer. He honed his craft while working at Playboy, wrote Illuminatus! with his co-worker and friend, Robert Shea, and managed to provide full medical and dental insurance for his family while getting paid, Playboy worked well for Bob and his family.

 

RAW & Robert Shea

 

R.U.S: Robert Shea — coauthor of Illuminatus Triology — sort of ended up being “the quiet one”. What can you tell us about Shea and he and Bob’s relationship?

PA:Wilson and Shea became fast friends at Playboy. They would hang out together at the bar on payday. They, and their wives, would all hang out, smoke weed, watch TV or listen to records and think of funny sketches that made each other laugh. They had a lot in common: Both raised Irish Catholic, both left the Church young, both seeking to become full time free-lance writers. They both really dug into the Anarchist perspective. After Illuminatus!, Shea went on to start an Anarchist newsletter called No Governor, which Wilson contributed to. Wilson had a talent for collaborating with like-minded artists and thinkers; his and Shea’s collaboration resulted in Illuminatus! and that was itself a further collaboration out of their involvement with The Discordian Society. The two continually spoke of writing their sequel, Bride of Illuminatus, which they barely started before Shea was diagnosed with cancer. Shea’s death left Bob deeply distraught. Michael Shea, described seeing Bob at his father’s funeral looking shook by the whole event. Bob’s eulogy, Chimes at Midnight, published in Cosmic Trigger vol. III, written shortly after Shea provides a glimpse into Bob’s thoughts about his dead friend. Read more “Chapel Perilous: The Life and Thought Crimes of Robert Anton Wilson — An Interview with Prop Anon”