My Fourteen Favorite Novels of All Time (from a List of about Five Thousand)

Thomas Pynchon - Gravity's Rainbow  William Gaddis - The Recognitions  Ken Kesey - Sometimes a Great Notion  Joseph McElroy - Women and Men  John Fowles - The Magus  Saul Bellow - Humboldt's Gift  William Faulkner - Light in August  Henry Miller - Tropic of Cancer  Vladimir Nabokov - Lolita  Jack Kerouac - Desolation Angels  Hermann Hesse - Demian  Frank Conroy - Stop-Time  Bruno's Dream  William Styron - Sophie's Choice  More Highly Recommended Novels

My Fourteen Favorite Non-Fiction Books of All Time (from a List of about Five Thousand)


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What Is Critical Thinking?
Against the Supernatural as a Profound Idea
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Ancient Traditions of the Messiah

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Finally, An Interesting Snippet from Robert Anton Wilson

Once there was a monk, a disciple of that great Magus of our Order whom men name the Buddha which signifieth He Who Is Awake. For men asked the Lord Gotama, Are you a God? And he answered, No. And they asked again, Are you a saint? And he answered again, No. And they asked then, What are you? And he answered: I am awake. Thence is he known as the Buddha, the Awakened One.

And the monk, in order to awaken himself, practised the Art of Meditation as taught by Buddha, which in its original form before being distorted by False Imaginings and Elaborations of Theologians, was but this: To look upon all incidents and events and Remember to Say Unto Thine Soul of each: This is transitory.

And the monk looked upon all incidents and events, Reminding himself always: This is transitory.

And the monk came close to Awakening, and therefore was he in great peril, for The Lord of the Abyss of Hallucinations, whom Buddhists call Mara, the Tempter, cometh quickly to one near Awakening, to hypnotize him again into the Sleep of Fools which is the ordinary consciousness of Men.

And Mara did sorely afflict the monk with death of offspring, and insanity of loved ones, and eye-troubles, and slander, and malice, and the great curse of Law Suits, and diverse sufferings; but the monk thought only: This is transitory. And he was closer to Awakening.

And Mara, the Lord of the Abyss of Hallucinations, then caused the monk to die and reincarnate as an almost Mindless creature, a Parrot, which flitted from tree to tree deep in the jungle; and Mara thought, Now he has no chance of Awakening.

But a brother Monk of the Buddhist order came one day through the jungle, chanting the Teachings, and the Parrot heard, and repeated the one phrase over and over: This is transitory.

And Mental Activity began in the Parrot, and the memories of his past life came to him, and the meaning of the teaching, This is transitory; and Mara cursed horribly in frustration, and caused him to die again and reincarnate as an Elephant, even deeper in the jungle and further from the languages of men.

And many years passed, and there seemed no chance of Awakening for that soul; but the ef-fects of good karma, like those of bad, continueth forever; and eventually Men came to the jungle, and took the Elephant captive, to sell him to a great Rajah.

And the Elephant lived in the courtyard of the Rajah, and many years passed.

And another monk of the Buddhist order came to the Rajah, and taught in the courtyard, and his teaching was: This is transitory. And memories awoke in the Elephant, and meaning was understood in the memories, and Awakening again came close.

And Mara cursed wrathfully, and caused the Elephant to die; and this time Mara took good care that reincarnation would recur at the furthest possible remove from all chance of Awakening, for Mara caused that the monk be reborn this time as an American Evangelist.

And the Evangelist was of the Moral Majority [bocca grande giganticus] and he journeyed across the American nation, North and South and East and West, preaching that all were in danger of hellfire, and that there was only One Path to Salvation, and that this Path lay in believing All he Said and doing All he Demanded.

And he enslaved many, who became mental Automatons, and these Automatons went about crying, Hallelujah, We Are Saved.

And Mara was gleeful, for now the soul of the monk was further from Illumination than ever; for previously he had been a Subjectively Hopeless Idiot -- id est, one who is aware of his own hopeless idiocy -- but now he was an Objectively Hopeless Idiot -- id est, one who Thinks that he Knows when in fact he doth Know Nothing.

But the Evangelist met with others of the Clergy to discuss sending Missionaries to the Heathen of the East; and there One spoke of the superstitions of the Orient, and he mentioned the Buddhist teaching that All is transitory.

And Mental Activity began in the Evangelist, and memories of Past Incarnations stirred; and Mara, in bitter frustration, attempted the Last Trap of All, and caused the Evangelist to become Mahabrahma, Lord of Lords, God of all possible Universes.

And Mahabrahma abode in Divine Bliss for billions of billions of years, creating many lesser Brahmas who created Their own universes and were Gods to them; and Mahabrahma watched all this Activity and rejoiced in it with High Indifference; for Mahabrahma was Consciousness Without Desire.

And the monk now seemed at last cut off from Illumination forever.

But finally Mahabrahma observed, after watching many Gods come and go, and all Their universes grow and flourish and perish, that the great Law of Laws is that All is transitory.

And Mahabrahma realized that He, too, was transitory.

And Mahabrahma achieved Illumination.

And Mahabrahma came back to ordinary consciousness in the mind of the monk practising the Buddhist meditation of looking on all things and thinking, This is transitory.

And the monk did not know if he was a monk imagining he had been Mahabrahma or Mahabrahma playing at being a monk; and thus was his Illumination perfected.

by Robert Anton Wilson (MASKS OF THE ILLUMINATI, pp. 183-7 © 1981)