Robert Anton Wilson, the infamous Discordian intellectual and guerilla ontologist, passed away on Thursday 11th January 2006, one week before his 75th birthday, as reported in his blog.
I had the great pleasure of hearing him talk in London, at a special event where he and fellow eccentric Richard Bandler provided a scintillating evening of alternative thinking and anecodes both amusing and thought provoking. I asked him at the time what the story was behind the rumours of his death (which had circulated in the mid-nineties), and joked that we were getting tired of celebrating his death.
Although at times I disagreed with his approach, I always admired his playful spirit and his striving to propagate a wider understanding that, as the Zen Buddhists suggest "we are the master that makes the grass green". His books were 'gateway texts' into my love of philosophy, and I always admired his ability to stretch his mind so wide that no-one could see the edges.
Possessed with a ruthless optimism, a fanatical zeal for freedom of thought, and a sense of humour both wicked and charming, Robert Anton Wilson leaves behind a diverse collection of books that will surely be enjoyed by generations of alternative thinkers to come. My sympathy to his family, and I promise to keep the lasagne flying.