Category Archives: Kurt Vonnegut

Notes from Illuminatus!

avatar_14894It has been decades since I read the Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. I’m currently listening to it in audiobook form, read by Ken Campbell and Chris Fairbank. It’s as if I’m consuming an entirely new piece, which technically I am — just like you can’t step on the same piece of water twice, the evolving mind can’t read the same book twice, because what you read is colored by everything else your mind has ever consumed and conjured. Ken Campbell really breathes life into it, as if it wasn’t full of enough life.

As with Cosmic Trigger, RAW’s work inevitably inspires attunement with the forces of coincidence, or whatever you choose to name it. The first notable coincidence came in the first paragraph, where the narrator is describing an event that occurs on April 23. That is today, and that was not planned.

The second coincidence comes later, where several passages refer to the gunning down of John Dillinger by the FBI, specifically the phenomenon of onlookers dipping their handkerchiefs in Dillinger’s blood as a souvenir. This phenomenon was also one of the subplots of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, which I finished listening to three weeks ago.

I’ll try and remember to post more coincidences as I run across them — I know there will be more.