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on January 25, 2004
Rebels and Devils is a collection of works from some of the most rebellious and accomplished minds of our time; including such notorious authors as William Burroughs, Phil Hine, Peter Carroll, Austin Osman Spare, Aleister Crowley, Israel Regardie, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, Osho, and naturally Christopher S. Hyatt, as well as various others. Not only a collection of essays, it also consists of various photographs, poetry, biographies, interviews and even a comic drawn by S. Jason Black and co-written by Hyatt. Comprised of more than works psychology and magick; anything that could be deemed rebellious or individualistic; also covered are such topics as yoga, meditation, sex, drugs, guns, death, and the difference between rebellion and revolution.
I've never read anything by Israel Regardie before, as his most famous works seem centred around the Golden Dawn, and I've never had much use for formal magickal orders, so I was somewhat surprised to discover while reading an interview between him and Hyatt ('The Final Words of a Western Master') that he was so funny, as I tend to see that sort of thing as being dry work. Both humourous and insightful, he made an excellent point regarding the misconceptions readers have about the authors they read, very one dimensionally, and this certainly helps expand that.
In 'The Calling of the Holy Whore', Diana Rose Hartman, the only female author in the entire compendium, offers an intelligently refreshing re-interpretation of the Judeo-Christian myths surrounding Satan/Lucifer in the rebel guise, noting how 'devil' and 'divine' grew out of the same Indo-European root word devi, and 'demon' came from the Greek for genius, daemon. Hart contributes an interesting feminist perspective to rebellion, in embracing the holy whore within ourselves.
Christopher Hyatt reflects on the methods of modern slavery in 'Who Owns the Planet Earth':
"While most humans agree that slavery is evil - that the ownership of one human by another is immoral - few humans equate slavery with enforced education, welfare, health, and the idea of a perfect orderly universe. Slavery is usually associated with power over others and with the ability to enforce one's will on another without the fear of retaliation. Within the "right" of ownership and debt there is a hidden mystery - a metaphysics - a knowledge only available to those with the power to create and enforce their metaphysics. Whenever a new group achieves power, they also inherit the metaphysics and magickally, the ability to use it." (pg 110-111)
While Osho notes in 'Rebellion is the Biggest "YES" Yet':
"Rebellion is an individual action; it has nothing to do with the crowd. Rebellion has nothing to do with politics, power, violence. Rebellion has something to do with changing your consciousness, your silence, your being. It is a spiritual metamorphosis." (pg. 122)
The myriad of discussions on rebellion and liberation in its various forms make this a book to be treasured for years to come. While not every essay is a shining jewel to be discovered, there is a sufficient number that makes Rebels and Devils defiantly worth reading. I recommend that they be read as they appear, even though one may not be interested in every subject discussed, they do follow a loose sequence.
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on May 9, 2001
I was very excited to read this book, and it immediately offered the expected ideas on liberation psychology: the need for individual rebellion to spark any sort of "real" change in the system, the distaste for organizations of any kind that weren't dedicated to the advancement of personal liberation, blatant and militatnt individualism, etc. For the most part, the book was funnier than it was informative and just crashes....... After i got halfway through the book, i got the feeling that i was only going to get more of the same old dogma, but in less and less creative new issues facing or advocation liberation psycholgy were debated or expoused....i was right.....i could barely finish it. Perhaps because i'd read many of the theories of Robert Wilson and Leary better explained elsewhere (which were part of the FEW highlights in the book, I suggest checking out their individual works). Besides the refreshing chapters by Osho and a few other pseudo poem-allusions and other usefully hysterical laws to live by, the book was ALMOST not woth the money........
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on April 27, 2001
Included in the first edition were excellent essays by such well-known and controversial figures in the field of Liberation Psychology such as Robert Anton Wilson and Timothy Leary. Of course anyone who challenges the widely held sacred cows of society will be controversial. Unfortunately, none of these essays added anything to their solo works which deal far better with their individual theories. The remainder of the book included a juvenile, poorly drawn and written and incomplete comic book story about a voodoo man, and a large load of pseudo-mystical crap, and the braggings of various writers about what big rebels they are in the style of pretentious junior highschool student diaries.
Of course Wilson has pointed out that engaging in any behaviour that challenges societal imprints can help liberate a person from the neuroses of society, therefore even engaging in "pseudo-mystical crap" can help, so some may find even those parts of the collection useful, but I'd rather not trade society's imprints for that of some self-appointed guru. Overall the book was only worthwhile if you were interested in eventually becoming initiated into the mysteries of the Order of the Golden Dawn.
Given the publisher's history with other books, I do not expect that the second edition offers any improvement. So if you are interested in Psychological Liberation but not mystery cults, then be warned: the first edition is worth avoiding and I am sure the same is true for the second.
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Do you treasure freedom like I do?
Rebels and Devils is a compendium of delightful madness and rebellion, a tome of playful but serious insurgence and individualism that upholds many of the raucous and wise tenets of freedom upon which this great country (U.S.) was founded.
If you like excessive government control and the systematic suppression of our basic inalienable rights, then please stay away. If you treasure the outdated notions that socialism is good for liberals and good for us all then go chew on something else.
If you want highly intelligent, incisive delivery of facts and figures and experiential methods for achieving more freedom, then read this book!
If you are proud to be an intelligent American or any other creature of independent thought and action, then you must have a copy in your library and read it often.
All the best...
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on April 11, 2003
Hyatt has canned another ham for his pantry. The Iraqi Information Minister is more credible. Unfortunately associating yourself with 'Cool' people isn't enough to convince people you are likewise 'Cool.' Ignorance is luminous. So remember, if you hear a quiet 'Aye' in the dark side of your mind, it might not be the Fonz. It could be this guy trying to sell you another sad book.
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on December 13, 2003
I really liked this. It is very interesting if you keep an open mind. I thought some of the essays were very mentally liberating, two thumbs up.
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on May 31, 2003
An excellent collection of essays on psychology, rebellion, magick and more.
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