Literary Influence No 1: The Eye in the Pyramid

        What if?  That’s the question that Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson asked each other nearly 40 years ago.  It’s also the question that every writer asks themselves.  The place where every story begins.  My collection of poetry came into being, because one day I was bored and I asked myself: What if I wrote a poem?  That, of course, led me to then ask myself: What if I wrote a collection of poetry?  Soon after, I asked myself: What if the collection was linked by a theme and included a recurring enigma from Shea and Wilson’s book?  By asking those questions, and then putting them into action, this blog came into existence.

        As for Shea and Wilson, they were both editors for a prominent American magazine.  As part of their jobs they dealt with letters from the public on civil liberties, many of which involved paranoid rants about imagined conspiracies.  One day the pair of editors asked each other: What if all these nuts are right?  The answer to that question, of course, was there would be a great story in it.  By asking themselves that question, Shea and Wilson came up with the idea for their Illuminatus! Trilogy, the first book of which is The Eye in the Pyramid.

        As you can imagine from the back story, The Eye in the Pyramid is a very strange book.  I found it to be entertaining, but it’s definitely not for everyone.  I’ve even heard that a few people, forgetting that fiction is just make believe, have become paranoid conspiracy theorists themselves after reading the book.  As for me, I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist.  In a fictional sense, conspiracies are fun to read and write about.  In reality, though, most conspiracy theories lack those pesky things called evidence and facts.

        The main reason why I chose this book, is that I love the back story.  In the end, I suppose this blog has been all about asking the question: What if?  Of course it doesn’t hurt that the book delves into the 23 enigma, which if you haven’t guessed yet is the enigma that I reference previously.   I paid homage to the enigma by alluding to it 23 times throughout this blog (not including today).  Some references were obvious while others were quite obscure (standing in front of the 23 room Pittock Mansion in the photo for “My Children“).

        With my influences complete, my efforts now turn to finishing A New Beginning…  I have a good start, but there is more work ahead of me.  There are only 79 days until the end of the year.  I have a new project to begin in 2014, so I had better finish this one soon.  Before I take a break for awhile, I have one last post for next week.  I hope you’ll be back to read it.  For now, I thank everyone who has read my work.

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14 Comments

  1. For sure, I’ll be back!

    Reply
  2. RMW

     /  October 14, 2013

    This is the question every creative person asks themselves. What if I did it this way? What if I tried that? Without the “what if” there would be no moving forward.

    Reply
    • Cody McCullough

       /  October 14, 2013

      Very true.

      Reply
      • Steve G.N. Vaux

         /  October 14, 2013

        those who do not suffer from apophenia do not believe. OKAY so selective perception… except for the fact we have 23 sets of chromosomes even tho the first discoverer of them said we had 24 but was later proven wrong… he tried to not let us have 23… and personally it certainly is not selective when I worked for a company 5 years before one day I was in HR and there was a form we were discussing when I was transferring out of Engineering and at the top it said “Dept 23” – i asked what is Dept 23 and was told – oh, that’s what we used to call Engineering years ago… so I was hired into Dept 23… never knowing the numbering system existed… I agree that recent media references are obvious, or probable intentional references like on the old X-Files show. And StarGate had a overt blatant several sentences using 23 and direct question – what’s this you have about 23.? but when a news caster says… “mining explosion accident… about 23 injured..” and many examples you nust have seen as well…. .

  3. I’m totally with you on this one, Cody. (All hail, Eris! All hail, Discordia). I read the Illuminatus! Trilogy while I was half-way through writing my own novel and never looked back…After all, “immanentize the eschaton” is just another way of saying bring on the Apocalypse, right? 😉

    Reply
    • Cody McCullough

       /  October 14, 2013

      I’m glad you’re with me on this one. Growing up I was an X-Files fan, and more recently a fan of the TV show Lost. Both shows deal a lot with conspiracy fiction, and where would conspiracy fiction be without the Illuminatus! Trilogy. Thanks for the comment.

      Reply
  4. Steve G.N. Vaux

     /  October 14, 2013

    I met, shared a weekend and meals with Robert Anton Wilson and wife Arlen in Des Moines many years ago after knowing of his works really from near the beginning… (i-am nearly 70 yr elderly) and I can vouch for his genius and his personality when dealing with us average minds… he met and knew everyone of the great visionary minds of our present world…

    Reply
    • Cody McCullough

       /  October 14, 2013

      That sounds like a fascinating weekend. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Reply
  5. I have quite a bit of catching up to do with your posts. I am not familiar with the 23 thing – I will read your post – but I have 23 in my life. My mother’s birthday is the 23rd of February and my older son is the 23rd of January. I found out I was having a boy on the 23 of December – one month before he was born on the 23rd if January and my first daughter (dog Chloe) died on the 23rd of December. Weird isn’t it?

    Reply
    • Steve G.N. Vaux

       /  October 14, 2013

      DO NOT….. DO NOT START… DO NOT EVEN START to look for 23’s…. watch the movie “23” and realize Jim Carrey has been affected… infected… by 23’s and Fortean Reality for many years… it gets into your blood and your genes… changing your 23 sets of chromosomes to b…. wait… oh, no… 23… yeeahh… lemme out of here… don’t look… do not Google 23…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Reply
    • Cody McCullough

       /  October 14, 2013

      Very interesting. I’d actually learned about the 23 Enigma from various film, TV, and literary references before actually reading The Eye in the Pyramid. Most critics will tell you that its all just selective perception, or basically when you start looking for something you tend to find it. Still, though, I find it to be a fascinating topic. As I mentioned in a previous post, there’s just so much that we currently do not know about the Universe….

      Reply
  6. Nothing beats a good conspiracy, Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum is a mental conspiracy theory book, very clever and fun and written in a very literary way and preceded Dan Brown’s efforts by years.

    Some of these theories are just about feasible and that doubt makes for wild speculations and much intrigue…yes more conspiracy theories are needed and one about sheep would be great.

    Reply
    • Cody McCullough

       /  October 16, 2013

      Conspiracy theories are fun. In my story, though, conspiracy theories are just one of many threads that weave in and out of the main story line. Unfortunately, no sheep. Not in the literal sense anyway…. Thanks for your comment.

      Reply

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