What the hell is going on? Coronavirus, societal collapse, monoliths, aliens, what more do I need to say? Did William S. Burroughs actually achieve his goal of breaking reality? Let me explain. William S. Burroughs was a member of Peter J. Carroll’s magickal organization, The Illuminates of Thanateros. They practiced chaos magick, a system of magick that denies all fixed models of reality. Basically they are encouraged to believe in whatever reality they want. Burroughs was also an author who often used the cut-up method to write his novels, a technique that involves cutting up newspapers and magazines, putting the clippings in a hat, and then randomly pulling them out to create sentences. Burroughs believed the cut-up method was a form of chaos magick that destabilized language, which he claimed was the main control mechanism of reality. Burroughs’ goal was to utterly destroy and dismantle all control systems and he thought his cut-ups could help him achieve this.
Burroughs’ cut-ups sometimes seemed to predict the future. They also seemed to generate synchronicities, one of them being the 23 enigma, which has since been popularized by the Jim Carrey movie The Number 23. It seems randomness can help one get closer to the transcendental. To understand this idea better, think about how people flip a coin to decide someone’s fate. Or how people randomly pull out tarot cards to communicate with spirits. Burroughs was in contact with Robert Anton Wilson, and Burroughs told him about the 23 enigma. Wilson started seeing the number everywhere too, and this inspired him to incorporate the idea into his most famous book series, The Illuminatus! Trilogy. Ironically, the Discordian Society is a group of people who “worship” the goddess of chaos, Eris. It has been described as complex joke disguised as a religion or a complex religion disguised as a joke. They also deny the knowability of objective truth.
Wilson was in contact with Kerry Thornley, and when they started talking, Wilson fell in love with the idea of the Discordian Society and the Illuminati because he saw it as a way to bring the left-wing and right-wing together. And so he wrote three books about it. Wilson and Thornley would also initiate Operation Mindfuck, which was basically their attempt to enlighten the masses by spreading so many fake conspiracies and disinformation, people’s brains would essentially short circuit, causing their rigid belief systems to dissolve. However, Thornley started to believe the Illuminati was real after strange things started happening to him. The FBI questioned him about being a double for Lee Harvey Oswald during the assassination of JFK. At first he denied this, but eventually he came to believe he really was.
Coincidentally, Thornley befriended Lee Harvey Oswald before the assassination, wrote a book about him defecting to the Soviet Union called Idle Warriors, unknowingly lived down the street from him, and unknowingly lived in his old work place which was turned into an apartment. The coincidences go on and on. And they get stranger. But anyways, Thornley started believing Wilson, or at least a clone of Wilson, was his CIA handler and that he and Oswald were a product of MKUltra and a Nazi breeding experiment.
Wilson and Burroughs were also friends with Joseph Matheny, the creator of Ong’s Hat, the first alternate reality game. An ARG is a game that uses the real world as a platform and transmedia storytelling. They can be so immersive, some people have no idea they’re playing a game. Matheny spread a rumor about an interdimensional portal existing somewhere in New Jersey, and people who believed the story was real, traveled from all over just to try and find it. Oddly enough, many people reported strange synchronicities in the area it was said to be located. On one occasion, Matheny was confronted by the Navy asking him why all these anomalies were popping up. Oddly enough, US spies are now using alternate reality games to study human behavior. Some conspiracy theorists also claim AI is creating ARGs to manipulate people’s beliefs.
There is also an obscure group of Discordians who play an ARG called r/TheGame23. These people believe life is literally a game and the universe is like a cosmic ARG. They claim the stories we believe are real create reality. They choose to deny all narratives and write their own.
But either way you look at it, it seems we are moving towards the dissolution of consensus reality. There is no true narrative. No one agrees on anything anymore. Someone standing right next to you might live in an alternate universe. And it all started with chaos magick. So was the emergence of chaos magick a symptom of the coming Age of Aquarius? Some say the Mother Goddess will make herself known again during the Aquarian Age. Well then, I find it interesting that chaos is associated with Yin, or the feminine principle. Perhaps all the craziness we are living through is simply a part of a natural cycle. If that’s the case, the only way to stay sane will be to embrace the change. Thanks for reading.