Celine’s Laws were maxims attributed to the fictional character Hagbard Celine in writer Robert Anton Wilson’s co-written series Illuminatus! Trilogy (The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple and Leviathan). The works, which have been described as “a fairy tale for paranoids”, fuse factual information with a hyper-imaginative, post-modernist, sci-fi landscape awash in drugs, sex, and majick-riddled fiction in a Dischordian scheme Wilson named Operation Mindfuck.
Freeman Hagbard Celine, H.M., S.H. (Holy Man, Shit Head) is a central figure in the Illumanitus! Trilogy. Celine, a Discordian Anarchist, fought the Illuminati in a golden submarine (named Leif Ericson). He designed a supercomputer called FUCKUP (First Universal Cybernetic Kynetic Ultramicro-Programmer). Celine’s three laws are outlined in his manifesto Never Whistle While You’re Pissing.
Wilson was an American writer, psychonaut, libertarian, philosopher, jury nullification proponent, Church of the SubGenius member, consciousness explorer, Maybe Logic Academy founder, rational irrationalist, model agnostic, and a few other things. His role as consciousness barricade obliterator, socio-political pseudo-edifice deconstructionist, and idiocracy annihilator will not soon be forgotten.
1. National Security is the chief cause of national insecurity
Paranoia accompanies the rise and increasing power of the state, necessitating a secret police (e.g., Hoover’s FBI). With the threat of infestation by internal subversives and foreign enemies, and the dangerous monopoly on blackmail and intimidation powers a singular agency wields, another intelligence apparatus must be instituted to monitor the former. A higher level secret police would then need to be created to oversee the most recent agency addition – ad infinitum.
This infinite “watching the watchers” regression leads to needless spying, the spawning of laws violating civil liberties, and the targeting of innocent citizens under the sweeping banner of national security. In the end, the citizen is threatened more by the paranoid machinations of Homeland (In)Security than whatever enemy necessitated its original creation.
2. Accurate communication is possible only in a non-punishing situation.
Wilson advanced the view that true “communication only occurs between equals.” In a hierarchal structure, strong motives exist for the subservient to lie, bootlick, and ingratiate themselves to their superior. Due to the imbalance of power, the inferior member must protect themselves from violence or the loss of economic security through deceit and subterfuge.
Accurate information can only be transmitted between equals. When the hierarchal dynamic exists, the inherent possibility of the use of force prohibits truthful information exchange. According to Celine’s law, any hierarchy acts more to conceal the truth from its leaders than it serves to find the truth.
3. An honest politician is a national calamity
Although absurd on its face, Celine’s third law argues that a corrupt politician is preferable to an honest one. To redress inequity, and fix the broken political system, the honest politician must implement new sweeping reforms through laws. With more and more laws, individuals are subjected to the greater possibility of criminal prosecution.
Individual freedoms are restricted with each legislative enactment which punish human interaction. The citizens, unable to keep abreast with the flurry of legislative activity, find their liberty at greater risk due to potential criminal prosecution. Though the dishonest politician may line his pockets with the monies of the people, an honest politician may pose the greater threat by unwittingly stripping them of individual rights.
Belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence ~ Robert Anton Wilson