Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Illuminatus! Excerpt: Five Alternate Histories - All are One - Steam-engine-time

"Here are the five alternate histories," Gruad said, his wise old eyes crinkling humorously. "Each of you will be responsible for planting the evidence to make one of these histories seem fairly credible. Wo Topod, you get the Carcosa story. Evoe, you get the lost continent of Mu." He handed out two bulky envelopes. "Gao Twone, you get this charming snake story—I want variations of it scattered throughout Africa and the Near East." He handed out another envelope. "Unica, you get the Urantia story, but that one isn't to be released until fairly late in the Game." He picked up the fifth envelope and smiled again. "Kajeci, my love, you get the Atlantis story, with certain changes that make us out to be the most double-dyed bastards in all history. Let me explain the purpose behind that ..."

"It is written," he said, "that the universe is a practical joke by the general at the expense of the particular. Do not be too quick to laugh or weep, if you believe this saying. All I can say is, there is a serious threat in being to all your plans. I warn you. You have been warned. You may all die. Are you afraid of death? You need not answer— I see that you are. That in itself may be a mistake. I have tried to explain to you about not fearing death, but you will not listen. All your other problems follow from that."

The other four Illuminati Primi listened in cold, disdainful silence and did not reply.

"If all are One," the fifth Illuminatus added significantly, "all violence is masochism."

"If all are One," Brother Otto replied nastily,'"all sex-is masturbation. Let's have no more mehum metaphysics here."

"Okay, then, here's the payoff, and your answer better be good. Why are you helping the Illuminati to
immanentize the Eschaton, Hagbard?" 

"It steam-engines when it comes steam-engine time, as a very wise man once said."  

"Jesus," Joe said wearily. "I thought I had crossed that pom asinorum. When I figured out how you get the goose out of the bottle in the Zen riddle— you do nothing and wait for the goose to peck its way out, just like a chick pecks its way out of an egg— I realized 'Do what thou wilt' becomes 'the whole of the law' by a mathematical process. The equation balances when you realize who the 'thou' is, as distinguished from the ordinary 'you.' The whole fucking works, the universe—all of it alive in the same way we're alive, and mechanical in the same way we're mechanical. The Robot. The one more trustworthy than all the Buddhas and sages. Oh, Christ, yes, I thought I understood it all. But this, this . . . this stone fatalism— what the hell are we going to Ingolstadt for, if we can't do anything?" 

"The coin has two sides. It's the only coin that comes up at this time, but it still has two sides." Hagbard leaned forward intensely. "It's mechanical and alive. Let me give you a sexual metaphor, since you usually hang out with New York intellectuals. You look at a woman across a room and you know you're going to bed with her before the night is over. That's mechanical: Something has happened when your eyes met But the orgasm is organic; what it will be like, neither of you can predict. And I know, just as the Illuminati know, that immanentization is going to happen on May first because of a mechanical process Adam Weishaupt started on another May first two centuries ago, and because of other processes other people started before then and since then. But neither I nor the Illuminati know what form immanentization will take. It doesn't have to be hell on earth. It can be heaven on earth. And that's why we're going to Ingolstadt."  

The Illuminatus! Trilogy is a series of three novels written by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson.

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