Sunday, July 26, 2020

Video: Binaries & Bibliomancy: Finnegans Wake as the Western I-Ching

(contributed for Maybe Day 2020

This essay was originally presented at the 2019 James Joyce Symposium in Mexico City and earlier this week I recorded it as a video for the virtual Maybe Day celebration on July 23rd celebrating the work of Robert Anton Wilson. "Binaries & Bibliomancy" essentially builds upon the theories presented in Wilson's great book Coincidance where he outlines an isomorphic relationship (in mathematics, systems that are parallel in form) between the I-Ching and Finnegans Wake. In my piece I talk about the machinery of these two distinctly different classics, how both books are built as thinking machines, always up-to-date, always encouraging open readings. The Wake advertises itself as a book of "Opendoor Ospices" (FW p. 71) allowing for open-door readings and "Ospices" or auspices, consulting for prophecy much like the I-Ching. As Finn Fordham described it in his book Lots of Fun at Finnegans Wake, "Through its continuously self-generating transformation, it is a text of modulation and becoming, flux and flow, an alternative classic of change to the I Ching."

Robert Anton Wilson Day was officially declared to be July 23rd by the mayor of Santa Cruz, California. John Higgs wrote a great article in The Guardian years back describing what RAW Day is all about. I enjoy the Santa Cruz connection with RAW because our Austin Finnegans Wake Reading Group has a lot of Santa Cruz links. We've had multiple longtime members from Santa Cruz who became good buddies of mine, the host of the Finnegans Wake Reading Group in Santa Cruz is also an old pal of mine, I got to visit up there and attend their Wake groups multiple times. Robert Anton Wilson also had a Finnegans Wake reading group in Santa Cruz for many years. Last time I was there I got to hear stories from folks who knew RAW and also knew Norman O. Brown, the legendary UC Santa Cruz professor, scholar, and theatrical Wakean.

I want to thank Bobby Campbell ( for putting together the amazing virtual tribute to RAW with contributions from a talented group of RAW readers. There's some incredible visuals, writings, comics, and videos over at the 2020 celebration of Happy Maybe Day. I also got to participate in a live panel with the contributors that was a really inspiring and informative time, really enjoyed it and grateful to be a part of this event.