An Unfettered Mind - Memories of a true genius, Peter Lamborn Wilson

I was invited to contribute to a memorial to Peter Lamborn Wilson, someone that I'd known of since at least 1985 & known personally since 1986. I'd noticed that a previous memorial had lauded Wilson greatly, which I think he deserved, but left out one very important, & prominent, aspect of his personality that's controversial to say the least: viz: his Religio-Romantic endorsement of pedophilia. Since he had expressed his desire for boys to me on many occasions it seemed fit that I should mention this subject in my memorial - but I wanted to show it in the worshipful manner that was Peter's way. I wrote the following not as a condemnation of Peter, even though I'm adamantly opposed to sex between adults & children, but as a way of putting the subject in a personal & non-over-simplified context. Of course, I fully expected it to be rejected for publication because I know that people would rather sweep Peter's sexual desires, even if they were only fantasies, under the rug, whitewashing him rather than facing the issue. I've changed the formatting here somewhat from what I submitted for publication by keeping the scans in color & making them a little larger for increased readability, etc.

- tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - August 6, 2023E.V.

The expression "an unfettered mind" is somewhat common but how many people does it really apply to? As for a "true genius"? Ok, I admit I find the word "genius" very problematic. I don't think there's a way of measuring intelligence that isn't dubiously useful. People use expressions like "a mathematical genius" b/c they think that math is hard & that anyone who's good w/ it is, therefore, a "genius". But I think that some people are just good at certain things & that's that. "Polymath" is a more useful term for me b/c it means that someone is good at multiple things. That's something that's more easily quantifiable. At any rate, I'm calling Wilson a genius here b/c every time he expressed himself to me, whether thru txt or conversation, his imagination was wide-ranging & uninhibited by social norms - the lack of inhibited thought is important, society tends to fetter the mind by making it fearful to express taboo or just far-fetched ideas - but it's in the outer limits of one's imaginings that potentially paradigm-shifiting activity takes place - & that's what interests me.

Unfettered minds are able to discuss things w/o having to agree w/ them. The way that I remember it is that when Peter/Hakim (I'll use Peter Lamborn Wilson & Hakim Bey interchangeably here b/c I knew of him as both) & I communicated we immediately recognized & enjoyed each other's open-mindedness. People have a tendency to get very angry about many ideas that I put forth, they hate my (M)Usic, they hate the challenges of all my psychological playfair in general, these days they especially object to my criticisms of the Medical Industry. Those people are a drag for me. Hakim was never a drag.

But it's this unfettered communication that immediately presents a problem here. I want to go honestly thru all phases of my relationship w/ him & I know that there are some people who'd want some of this to stay buried. What am I talking about?! Bey's prediliction for Man/Boy Love, a controversial subject that many of his friends wd prefer to remain in denial of.

In order to substantiate this I wanted to find early correspondence on the subject. I have 15 boxes of mail from over 1,400 correspondents from the last 45 yrs. These boxes have travelled w/ me from Baltimore to rural CacaNada to Buffalo to Pittsburgh. They're only roughly organized by years & places of origin. I had to sort thru 3 of these boxes before I finally found correspondence from Hakim. That's thousands of pieces of mail. Making matters more difficult, Peter rarely put a return name & address on the envelopes so I had to look thru the contents to find whether they were from him.

I keep 4X6" file cards listing what my correspondents send me & vice versa. My card for Bey lists 11 mailings rc'vd over a period of roughly 25 yrs. The earliest thing I cd find from him was an envelope post-marked 21 Mar 1986 containing four 8 & 1/2 X 11" folded sheets of paper w/ various printed txts on them:

"Association for Ontological Anarchism Comuniqué Number One Spring 1986" consisting of an ad for Bey's Chaos, the broadsheets of ontological anarchism bk from Grim Reaper Books on the front & "Some Poetic-Terrorist Ideas Still Sadly Languishing in the Realm of "Conceptual Art"" on the back. The 2nd of these "Poetic-Terrorist Ideas" was planned for the "Chicago May Day '86" anarchist gathering. I attended that but don't recall meeting Bey there. The 3rd of these ideas was this:

That doesn't specifically call for Man/Boy love, simply for making public imagery of a 12 yr old self-pleasuring. The 2nd sheet of paper was the "Communique # 2" calling for "The Jukes Memorial Bolo & Chaos Ashram". "Communique # 3" was the "hAYMARKET issue", more about the Chicago anarchist gathering. The 4th was anarchist lawyer/writer Bob Black's positive review of the above-mentioned Chaos, the 2nd-to-the-last paragraph of wch is this:

Bey's notion of "Poetic Terrorism" appealed to me, it was one of the earliest instances of his knack for coining phrases of popular revolutionary appeal.

The next mailing, postmarked 22 Oct 1986, consisted of a survey on aphrodisiacs, full color glossy ads for SEMIOTEXT(E) USA & Peter Lamborn Wilson's Scandal - Essays in Islamic Heresy, "Communique #8" (Chaos Theory and the Nuclear Family), "Communique #9" (Double-Dip Denunciations), & "Boy*Love & Chaos Theory" w/ this collage on one side:

I was already aware of SEMIOTEXT(E), having had a subscription to it since possibly as early as 1977. It was a publication that had distinguished itself for high intellectual & radical standards. In 1980 they published their newsprint special issue on man/boy love. I rc'vd this in the mail. Prior to this time, SEMIOTEXT(E) had been available in university bookstores. I was deeply impressed that the editors had the courage to focus on such a taboo issue b/c I knew it was a sort of economic suicide: SEMIOTEXT(E) probably disappeared from most, if not all, university bookstores after that.

SEMIOTEXT(E)'s next issue was on "Polysexuality", another subject not likely to endear the publication to narrow-minded people. I had rc'vd an invitation to contribute to the upcoming SEMIOTEXT(E) USA issue wch I did send something for that was rejected. This was the 1st issue that Wilson coedited (along w/ Jim Fleming). As a rubber stamp in the inside back cover explained about that issue:

Bey did eventually send me his Chaos bk, the 1st longer thing I read by him. Wilson was also the editor of SEMIOTEXT(E) SF (along w/ Rudy Rucker & Robert Anton Wilson). Bey's bk called T.A.Z. - The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism came out in 1991. It's this bk that I remember becoming very popular & making Bey widely known.

In the meantime, Hakim & I had met in person at the anarchist gathering, "Without Borders", in San Francisco in 1989. I was travelling w/ 2 friends of mine, a young woman who was 19 & her boyfriend who was in his 20s. They were both somewhat androgynous. The male went by the name of "Peter Pan" & wore a modified Boy Scout uniform for the "Chaos Scouts". I remember this appealing to Hakim.

We met again at Dreamtime Village in 1992 when my touring band played there for the annual Coroboree. That was an amazing time. Peter Wilson put together a small bk there inspired by Charles Fourier entitled:

& published by Xexoxial Endarchy, the press located at Dreamtime.

In 1994, I moved away from my birthplace, BalTimOre, going to Germany & then CacaNada. My correspondence considerably lessened since I was desperately poor. Looking back I find it amazing that I never followed up on some connections between Peter & myself. He had written to me in April, 1987:

We were both from Baltimore. Even more remarkably, my mother's maiden name was "Wilson" so there was a chance that Peter & I were related to each other. Both of us were opposed to Xtianity (as it was sometimes called at the time) & the nuclear family. We'd both had bad experiences w/ these. I dearly wish that we'd had conversations about this.

It was probably sometime after 1996 that I rc'vd a communication from one of the Luther Blissetts in Italy. Bey had become very popular in Italy at the time & it was the Blissett opinion that the hipsters there were too thoughtlessly embracing ideas like T.A.Z. w/o it's really amounting to more than a trite subcultural fad. They wanted to put out a fake Bey bk that they expected to be popular w/ the same crowd so that they cd then expose the hoax & make the readers look like fools. They asked me if I thought Bob Black cd write a convincing Bey bk. I reckon they didn't know Black personally.

I had known Bob Black since late 1980 & had been friends w/ him for about 15 yrs. Then various incidents had happened wch ended our friendship so my opinion of Bob was at a low point when Blissett wrote me. I replied that I thought Bob cd do a good job but that he'd do it for the wrong motive, a malicious motive meant to establish himself as the US's preeminent anarchist theorist. I'd already witnessed a similar rivalry between Black & British anti-anarchist writer Stewart Home. As I understand it, the Blissetts decided against using Black (perhaps he refused?) & put out a bogus Bey bk consisting of Stalin quotes attributed to Bey.

It might've been around 1997 that Peter sent me his Pirate Utopias bk. As w/ everything I ever read by him, his viewpoint was fresh. In December, 1998. I had a letter & a photo published in Guinea Pig Zero, a publication about research volunteering, something I had done extensively, edited by Robert P. Helms who was based in Philadelphia. Sometime after 2005, Helms came to Pittsburgh, where I was living, & we met in a bar. By this point I think I knew that he considered Wilson to be a child molester who opportunistically trolled anarchist gatherings lookng for boys to have sex w/ so it was no suprise that the conversation turned to my personal knowledge of Wilson.

I told him that Peter was a friend of mine, that I liked him very much, & that, yes, he had always been open in his expression of desire for boys. I also told Helms that I hadn't actually physically been around Peter very much but that when I was I'd never seen any evidence of his acting on his fantasies. To this day, I have no idea whether Peter ever had sex w/ legally underaged boys. It was hard for me to see Peter as oportunistic b/c my experiences w/ him had always been very positive.

I shd say at this point that I've had many close friends who had adults impose sex on them as children & that more or less all of them had been traumatized by it. Of the perps who victimized them, one was CIA, another was a fireman, one was a banker, another a babysitter, one was a cousin, another was a step-uncle. I doubt that any of them were writing as openly as Hakim Bey was about their desires. Instead they were just taking advantage of the authority positions that they had in relation to the children. Many of the victims became drug addicts. It's my opinion that, at the very least, introducing children to sexuality before it comes naturally to them is likely to cause Arrested Development. Anyone who's ever spent substantial time around an adult who's frozen in a pre-adult immaturity knows how seriously problematic that can be. As such, I think that adults who advocate for adult-child sex are mostly self-serving &, at their most naive, delusional.

In December, 2010, I was in Barrytown, NY, visiting the folks at Station Hill Press. I was working on my documentary about a recently deceased friend named Franz Kamin who Station Hill published some absolutely amazing material by. As I was near departure time, Peter Lamborn Wilson called the Quashas, partially b/c they were verging on putting out a bk by him. When Peter learned that I was there he got very excited & invited me to visit him at his house in nearby New Paltz.

I did so but I must've been out of video tapes (I was still shooting in mini-dv at the time) b/c when I got there I didn't shoot any footage of him. I'll forever regret this. This was the Peter that I loved the most, the Peter who was excitedly inspired & a great joy to have conversations w/. Franz Kamin has spent the last 17 yrs or so of his life in public housing where he was beset by bedbugs. Since I'd been hearing so much about them from the people I was interviewing for my doc I had a terror of them. As such, I remember worrying that Wilson's house might be plagued by bedbugs & worried that I might take away some "hitch-hikers". That added an awkwardness to the visit.

Peter took me into his bedroom where he animatedly told me about taking family jewelry & throwing it in a nearby river as a sort of ritualistic action. It was fascinating. Who else did I know who wd do such a thing?! No-one. He also showed me one or more examples of the collages he'd been making. Then we went upstairs & had a long conversation, probably drinking tea. He probably gave me a copy of his ABECEDARIUM bk then, once again published by Xexoxial, wch I loved. When I was back in Pittsburgh, Peter sent me one of these collages in March, 2011. That was the last mailing I ever had from him. Not long after, feeling bad that I hadn't shot any interview footage of him when I had the chance, I phoned him & asked if I might visit him in New Paltz again for that purpose. He sd that it was a bad time for him, perhaps his health was starting to deteriorate too much by then, I don't know. That was the last time we talked.

I'm honored to be among those published by __________ remembering Hakim Bey. I'll never know anyone else like him.



- Pittsburgh, August 6, 2023E.V.




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