Philip H. Farber sat down with counterculture writer Robert Anton Wilson (1932 – 2007) for an interview originally published in the November, 1991 edition of High Times magazine. In honor of Robert Anton Wilson’s birthday January 18, we’re republishing it below.
Based on Robert Anton Wilson’s incredible and varied career, it’s hard to know what to expect when you meet him. This is a guy who spent five years in the ’60s as an editor of Playboy, then went on to coauthor (with Robert Shea) the mind-boggling Illuminatus! (cut into a trilogy by its publisher), got his PhD in psychology, wrote the “new-age” classic Cosmic Trigger, collaborated on two books with Timothy Leary, wrote a whole bunch more on his own, released a punk-rock album, and toured as a stand-up comedian. Robert Anton Wilson has expanded as many minds with his books as all the Sandoz acid ever manufactured. A small surprise, then, to finally see this white-bearded, Buddha-like man dressed in the same casual suit that your college physics professor wore—a slightly wacky Buddha, to be sure, cracking jokes and reciting Monty Python routines in a pleasantly gruff Brooklyn accent. Wilson’s conversation is startlingly like his books, his words tying together an amazing diversity of facts, theories and punchlines in a way that gently prods at your sense of reality. Oh well, as Wilson’s readers know well enough, it’s always fun to watch as your preconceptions are blown to little, tiny bits.
HIGH TIMES: Who do you think is responsible for the “War on Drugs?”
Robert Anton Wilson: I suppose the Eli Lilly Company.
HT: How do you figure that?
RAW: The War on Drugs is chiefly a war on pot, according to Judge Sweet. Eighty-five percent of the drug budget is going into pursuing pot-smokers. …
Author: High Times / High Times