Robert Anton Wilson dedicates this book
To William S. Burroughs and Philip K. Dick: Pioneers
to Burroughs reveals a lot about the nature of the book, because this, one of Wilson's lesser-known works, is heavily influenced by the cut-up
technique developed by Burroughs and Brion Gysin
, and which featured heavily in Burroughs' most famous book, Naked Lunch
Briefly, the cut-up technique involves creating new 'versions' of an already written text by cutting it into fragments of a certain length, and recombining these fragments in a different order. This can be done with a certain amount of authorial intervention, or mechanically and at random. Both Burroughs and Wilson favour the use of this technique at certain points in their novels because it deconstructs and dissolves the linear narrative, forcing the reader's mind to make difficult, creative and irrational leaps in order to read the text.
In Right Where You Are Sitting Now, Wilson attempts to use this technique in a non-fiction book, as an illustration of the thesis of that book:
This book is an Information Machine, connecting and reconnecting...meltdown...Junkyard Dog...omnidimensional halo...Blue lions in Berkeley. THE CENTER IS EVERYWHERE. IT IS IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE SITTING NOW.
Practically everything Robert Anton Wilson writes is trying, in some way or another, to elucidate the 'mysteries' of higher consciousness and future human evolution. He is always trying to educate the reader, to wake them up, and in this book, he uses the cut-up technique as part of what he calls 'guerilla ontology' - he attacks meaning, trying to draw attention to the ways in which our minds place meaning on the world, and trying to show that this imposition of meaning is one of the things which prevents us from a higher and truer awareness of our own nature and the nature of the universe.
The book is co-dedicated to Philip K. Dick, because Dick thought that the Universe was a hologram - that is, that the information of the whole is contained, accessible, through examining any individual part. This is why Wilson cuts up the text and inserts phrases and sentences from other places, but also, and this is a very important point: this is why the book exists at all.
I think of this book as a machine...to disconnect the user from all maps and models whatsoever.
Wilson thinks of his books as access points into the holographic level of the universe - points through which the reader can touch another mind, another time and space, and have their awareness raised and their knowledge changed. Right Where You Are Sitting Now succeeds on some levels (it is an inspiring and jarring experience, full of humour and esoteric information like everything he writes), and fails on some others. After a while the cut-ups get annoying. It's easy to identify where the text has been cut up, and the reader's brain involuntarily starts to ignore those passages, knowing that there is no deliberate meaning in them. It takes discipline and patience to read through them.
Robert Anton Wilson, Right Where You Are Sitting Now, 1992, Ronin Publishing Inc.