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Cosmic Trigger I: Final Secret of the Illuminati

(Cosmic Trigger #1)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  3,383 ratings  ·  153 reviews
The great modern classic of a brilliant rebel's personal exploration into the nature of consciousness
Featuring a New Introduction by John Higgs
"Cosmic Trigger deals with a process of deliberately induced brain change. This process is called "initiation" or "vision quest" in many traditional societies and can loosely be considered some dangerous variety of self-psychother
Paperback, 324 pages
Published February 23rd 2016 by Hilaritas Press, LLC. (first published 1977)
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 ·  3,383 ratings  ·  153 reviews

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Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zany, unique, and wittily written, Wilson weaves a web of seemingly random connections between information as he playfully proposes the wildest conspiracy theories. Even as he runs away with your imagination and succeeds in convincing you, at the same time he mocks himself and reveals his own cynicism towards his assertions.
Tony Gleeson
Nov 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I used to refer to Robert Anton Wilson as a "crackprophet"-- his writings are totally off the wall and indiscriminate, embracing both silly ideas and deeply profound ones, trying to unify scientific, historical, metaphysical, and, well, downright psychotic concepts. What this book challenged me to do, way back when, was to approach things with as open a mind and as little "contempt prior to investigation" as I could muster. I must have assembled and read several dozen books as the result of read ...more
Dec 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Discordians, Thelemites, Chaos Magicians
Recommended to Michael by: The Magickal Child
This is another of those books that would've gotten a five-star rating when I first read it, in late High School or early college, but today doesn't hold up as well. While there's a lot of interesting possibilities suggested, by way of deliberate speculation on synchronicity and technological advances, there's also a LOT of really wacky unfounded psuedo-science and wishful thinking. Writing in 1977, Wilson made a number of predictions about the future here, and not one of them even remotely came ...more
Sep 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wilson makes a point to note at the beginning, "Belief is the death of intelligence." Carry that thought with you as you read, the menagerie of strange ideas he puts forward throughout are meant to strip away our preconceived notions of what is acceptable opinion - but that does not mean that he endorses or fully believes any hypothesis. The meat of this book, and what makes it staggering and appealing, is the idea that science and mysticism both confirm that reality is entirely subjective. Whil ...more
Jan 04, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: discordian
With a title like Final Secrets of the Illuminati, I was expecting a fictional story akin to Illuminatus!: while I wasn't disappointed, the book is instead a chronology of Robert Anton Wilson's spiritual and philosophical journey over the course of his life.

Reading Wilson is almost like taking a drug: if you let it, his writing puts you almost in another consciousness. This is neither an inherently good or bad thing, but I have had thoughts and ideas while reading his work that I never would have otherwise. I'm nev
Jan 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Cosmic Trigger is an excellent companion piece for the RAW reader, essential but also part of a larger picture. Obviously, read Illuminatus! first. And if you want to utilize metaprogramming 'magikal' powers, Prometheus Rising may be more useful.

But for a summary and rehash of all the essential philosophical takes by the great Robert Anton Wilson, enjoy this. All over the place, it covers Crowley and telepathy theories and much autobiography (sad at the end, but is what it is). Learn about the
Sam Davidson
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most interesting book I've ever read. It's taken me a long time to get Bob Wilson, but it's been worth the wait. Here is the most succinct distillation of all matters illuminated I have had the fortune to stumble upon. He is an extremely humble author, and introduces all the esoteric in a manner intended to make sense to the average reader. His privileged position within the old counter-culture, friendship with Timothy Leary, and status as an investigator of the unusual make him the perfect ...more
Feb 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On the surface, a book about drugs and magic and contact with aliens. On a deeper level, a book about philosophical agnosticism and the practice of deliberate mental metaprogramming. Entertaining and illuminating on either level.
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this a great deal better than The Illuminatus! Trilogy and Schrödinger's Cat Trilogy, but not as much as Quantum Psychology: How Brain Software Programs You & Your World. Both Leary and R.A.W come across as really good people (although Leary's lust sometimes seems questionable) in this book. I might buy this book as it is an easier read than Quantum Psychology: How Brain Software Programs You & Your World and perhaps contains more hidden knowledge. I also might just buy Quantum Psychology: How Brain Softw ...more
vivian flash
Jan 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wilson has written a book that you just can't take in all at once.
One of the deeper "surface" lessons, the one Wilson shouts the loudest and at the same time refuses to do any more than tease you with, is that you have to decide for yourself what to believe -- but that deciding to believe anything limits what you will be able to observe in the world around you. This is heavy stuff, and ground-breaking to the average reader.
This is a work that has earned a place on my bookshelf ... althoug
Jan 12, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my all-time favorite books...reading it is like being on psychedelics. Try it and let me know.
Aug Stone
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Anton Wilson's positivity shines through as always. A joy to read. Fascinating subject matter dealing with his occult experiments to ever expand his reality tunnel and raise his consciousness. Most of the book has to do with his growing awareness of a connection to the Dog Star, Sirius, and the coincidences that abound in his life around it. RAW always manages to attract interesting and intriguing people into his life (Tim Leary is a prominent figure in the book, and although he doesn't a ...more
Nick Vandermolen
Back when I was in deep study of the freemasons I was contacted by a mysterious individual who said that he had many secrets to tell, but I could not talk to him again until I read this book. I tried to order it off line, I never received it. I tried retrieving it from the library, it was mysterious missing. Every avenue I took, it was unavailable. Year when by and my friend and business partner at the time Jarmo gave me a present. Said it was the Techo-virus, said not to open it for a year, not ...more
Brandon Wicke
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many of the things I loved about Illuminatus! And Prometheus Rising can be found in Cosmic Trigger as well, with the addition of more insight into the personal life of R.A.W and how the ideas I’ve known and loved came to be.

Also an exceptional resource of important names and books in occultism, quantum physics, and consciousness science of the early 70’s, much of which is only more interesting read today (though the optimism Leary & Wilson shared of believing our exponential growth would yi
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Glad I read this book well after checking out Illuminatus!, Prometheus Rising, and Schrödinger’s Cat. It’s a heady one, but it’s also his most personal. Lots of insights into his family life and his friendship with Leary. Bummer we’re never going to get those life extension/simulated death pills.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have come to Robert Anton Wilson’s actual texts pretty much by standard measurements a man of middle age. Though this is a more than serviceable eventuation, I cannot help but note how turned on I would have been by this stuff as a young feller, a time when I knew peripherally about Wilson but never so much as dipped my toe in. You see, in my late teens and my twenties I was a wildman psychonaut turned on by hallucinogenic drugs, conspiracy lore, occult timelines, and sex-magick etc. while at ...more
Aiden Heavilin
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The final chapter of this book "Trigger" is almost overwhelmingly moving. The rest of it ain't too shabby either.
Jeanne Johnston
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for questions (there are no answers)
Recommended to Jeanne by: ?? It just found its way to me.
This is a book I read often. It is as eye-opening as a great hit of acid, without that annoying nebulousness that keeps you from expressing all the things you've learned when you touch back down on the runway.

This is the natural partner to his trilogy Illuminatus! (which I suspect is far more fact-based than it appears, based on the parallel tale of its creation told within this book), and this is where my acquaintance with RAW began. Though he was not actually my contemporary (older than my ol
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the first books by R.A.W. I read years ago and one of the main drivers behind my perpetual and never ending fight to change my reality tunnel (succeeding and failing in the process many times) to properly accomodate myself in the crazy and inhumane contemporary world ruled by the Totality of the Spectacle and mediated experience, where people hungrily consume artificial products and maintain a prothesis of relations via Facebook and other social media. The world in which buying a new iPho ...more
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Anton Wilson is the quintessential agnostic, highlighting on page one in all-caps "I DO NOT BELIEVE ANYTHING" before he seemingly gives you reason to believe in synchronicity, the 23 enigma, yoga, the occult, the miracle at Lourdes and Guadalupe, tantric sex, psychedelic drugs, a worldwide global conspiracy, UFOs, quantum physics, and a lot of information about the connection of Egyptology to the "Dog Star" Sirius. But he continues to question these things and gives the reasons one might ...more
David Koblos
Dec 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mind-spirit
Awesome, amazing, a must read, and a perfect follow-up for Illuminatus! Only that this book is a non-fiction analysis of the same weird things, for clear headed hard-hat science-type thinkers. I'm still not sure if I can believe everything it says, although he makes sure to emphasize again and again that he'd been just as skeptical about all the incredible stuff he's confronting the reader with.
That you can apply all this flaky shit and forgive the guy who beats your teenage daughter to death in a robbery.
Dec 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Cosmic Trigger series is my favorite RAW material. One of those books I turn to when my faith wavers, it reminds me of the greatness of a world self-created.
Nicolas Garceau
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mind blowing stuff. Tons of crazy anecdotes. I will certainly read part 2
Andy Anaya
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wilson is a genius, and I could listen to his lectures for hours. I wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't stumbled upon his brand of counter-cultural "guerrilla ontology". His literary voice is just one I can't get enough of in any flavor, fictional, non-fictional, biographical... I was an unfortunate casualty of the cancer known as suburban American Protestantism-Lite, and I was in dire need of Wilson's crass, hyper-disruptive exploration of religion, psychology, mythology, and social h ...more
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chronicling Wilson's attempts at undergoing a "self-induced brain change," the first volume of the Cosmic Trigger trilogy offers a funny and thought provoking trip through Wilson's attempts to understand his experience of alien contact from the star Sirius. Or was it alien contact? Wilson attempts at explaining the experience from a variety of different angles that touch both the occult (yoga; Crowlean magick) and the pseudo-scientific (ESP), without firmly holding to any one explanatory framewo ...more
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Feel like I should have read this after I read “Illuminatus!” I loved that book but I can hardly remember any of it’s details. There’s a bunch of overlapping and far-reaching conspiracies that are bent on controlling the world and reality and something or other. I remember it being fun and that I had to look up a lot of the references. Those references lead to other books and soon I was spiraling in a conspiracy/new-age rabbit hole. Cosmic Trigger reads like the personal reflections of the autho ...more
Leo Knight
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like most books by the late Mr. Wilson, this seems to come not merely from another time, but another planet entirely. He recounts several strange events in his life, and the lives of friends and acquaintances during the 60s and early 70s. Because of their involvement in fringe science and the occult, Mr. Wilson begins to suspect that there may be something more than coincidence or random chance at work. Jung's synchronicity? Communication from extraterrestrials? Gods? Spirits? The awakening of p ...more
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Robert Anton Wilson became, at various times, an American novelist, essayist, philosopher, polymath, psychonaut, futurist, libertarian and self-described agnostic mystic. Recognized as an Episkopos, Pope, and Saint of Discordianism by Discordians who care to label him as such, Wilson helped publicize the group/religion/melee through his writings, interviews, and strolls.

He described hi

Other books in the series

Cosmic Trigger (3 books)
  • Cosmic Trigger 2: Down to Earth
  • Cosmic Trigger 3: My Life After Death
“belief is the death of intelligence.” 871 likes
“ optimistic mind-set finds dozens of possible solutions for every problem that the pessimist regards as incurable.” 240 likes
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