Prometheus Rising

Prometheus Rising is a book by Robert Anton Wilson first published in 1983. It is a guide book of "how to get from here to there", an amalgam of Timothy Leary's 8-circuit model of consciousness, Gurdjieff's self-observation exercises, Alfred Korzybski's general semantics, Aleister Crowley's magical theorems, Sociobiology, Yoga, relativity, and quantum mechanics, amongst other approaches to understanding the world around us, and claiming to be a short book (under 300 pages) about how the human mind works and how to get the most use from one. Wilson describes it as an "owner's manual for the human brain".

Prometheus Rising
Cover of Robert Anton Wilson's Prometheus Rising
AuthorRobert Anton Wilson
Cover artistStan Slaughter
CountryUnited States
SubjectSelf-improvement/philosophy & morality; publisher description: "Psychology/Social Commentary"
PublisherNew Falcon Publications
Publication date
Media typeSoftcover

The book examines many aspects of social mind control and mental imprinting, and provides mind exercises at the end of every chapter, with the goal of giving the reader more control over how one's mind works. The book has found many readers among followers of alternative culture, and discusses the effect of certain psychoactive substances and how these affect the brain, tantric breathing techniques, and other methods and holistic approaches to expanding consciousness. It draws a parallel between the development of one's mind and the development of higher intelligence theorized by biological evolution.

Prometheus Rising was copyrighted and published in 1983 but began as Wilson's Ph.D. dissertation called "The Evolution of Neuro-Sociological Circuits: A Contribution to the Sociobiology of Consciousness" in 1978-79 for Paideia University in California.[1] In 1982, while in Ireland, Wilson rewrote the manuscript for commercial publication, removing footnotes, improving the style, adding chapters and exercises, and sketching out diagrams for the illustrations. Eventually Wilson submitted the work to New Falcon Publications, which accepted it within 48 hours. Wilson received his advance 48 hours after that, according to his preface in the tenth printing of Prometheus Rising.

The current edition also includes an introduction by Israel Regardie.

Influence on other worksEdit

A brief comment made by Wilson in the book became the main seed thought for The Sekhmet Hypothesis.[2] Wilson suggested that the gentle angel symbol from Ezekiel in the bible had its modern correlation with the flower child of the Sixties.[3] The author of The Sekhmet Hypothesis, Iain Spence, went on to compare Ezekiel's other symbols to various pop cultural trends. In Prometheus Rising, Wilson compared the four Life Positions of Transactional Analysis to the four main Life Positions presented in Timothy Leary's earlier interpersonal circumplex grid. Spence favored Leary's model and used it to describe the moods of atavistic pop culture.

Prometheus Rising is listed as one of the ten seminal works of extropian thought in the Extropianism FAQ.[4] It was also listed on Max More's reading list for extropians, the Immortality Institute's reading list in The Scientific Conquest of Death, and other reading lists for extropians and transhumans.[5][6][7]


  1. ^ "Robert Anton Wilson." St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers, 4th ed. St. James Press, 1996. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Michigan.: Thomson Gale. 2007.
  2. ^ Spence, Iain (2019). The Hare Hypothesis. Bast's Blend. pp. 9–10. ISBN 9781797458762.
  3. ^ Wilson, Robert Anton (1983). Prometheus Rising. Falcon Press. p. 55. ISBN 9781561840564.
  4. ^ Robert Munafo (January 1, 2015), Selected items from the Extropianism FAQ, retrieved 2015-02-03
  5. ^ The Extropian Principles 2.5, July 1993
  6. ^ Extropian & Transhumanist Books,, July 28, 2011
  7. ^ The Scientific Conquest of Death: Essays on Infinite Lifespans (contents), Immortality Institute, 2004, ISBN 9875611352