Young Southpaw talks to author John Higgs about Aleister Crowley, Robert Anton Wilson, William Blake, the possibility of a supernatural James Bond film, Iron Maiden, and a whole lot more
John Higgs: Illuminatus! is a very important book, and it is a very powerful book. And it has had a sort of strange reality-warping impact on a lot of people at a lot of points. I always recommend people read Robert Anton Wilson and I always sort of say try Cosmic Trigger first. But at some point, people always want to go back to Illuminatus! It seems especially relevant now. In a lot of Bob’s stuff, he talks about a place he calls Chapel Perilous. Chapel Perilous is the place where basically all your maps have run out, and you’re lost, and you don’t understand what’s going on around you, and you don’t know the way forward. And it’s very much like now. For a lot of people. We’re living in Chapel Perilous. And that’s what makes him so useful. Because he talks about the way he found his way out of this sort of state. He says there’s really only two ways out of Chapel Perilous. One is agnosticism. And the other is paranoia. And if you go down the paranoid route, you stay there and you’re trapped, stuck in Chapel Perilous forever. But if you accept that it’s okay that you don’t know everything, and you don’t have to be certain, you don’t have to be the guy who’s right all along...if you can just humble yourself a little...then you can just slide out of that. Which is probably about the most useful advice anyone can give at this particular point. Now we have social media and we have all the sort of ‘wars of the certain’ in the online debates, for want of a better word. People have to be correct, and have this psychological sort of need to be correct and have their viewpoints confirmed. And you just drop all that, and let all that just slide away. That’s the only way out of this.