William S. Burroughs Quotes | Enjoy His Best Quotes

William S. Burroughs Quotes

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Enjoy the best William S. Burroughs Quotes. Quotes by William S. Burroughs, American Writer. Share them with everyone you know.

Perhaps all pleasure is only relief.

Language is a virus from outer space.

An addict never stops growing. Stupider.

Nothing is true, everything is permitted.

Love? What is it? Most natural painkiller.

A functioning police state needs no police.

Like all pure creatures, cats are practical.

Sometimes paranoia’s just having all the facts.

Which came first the intestine or the tapeworm?

Be just and if you can’t be just, be arbitrary.

The face of evil is always the face of total need.

Smash the control images. Smash the control machine.

It is indeed difficult to make a living as a writer, and my advice to anyone contemplating a literary career is to have some other trade.

In deep sadness there is no place for sentimentality.

The only possible ethic is to do what one wants to do.

In the U.S., you have to be a deviant or die of boredom.

I am getting so far out one day I won’t come back at all.

How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity.

A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on.

You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.

Anything that can be done chemically can be done by other means.

The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values.

No one owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.

Silence is only frightening to people who are compulsively verbalizing.

Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative.

Hustlers of the world, there is one mark you cannot beat: the mark inside.

The purpose of technology is not to confuse the brain but to serve the body.

My relationships with my cats has saved me from a deadly, pervasive ignorance.

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.

There couldn’t be a society of people who didn’t dream. They’d be dead in two weeks.

Thinking is not enough. There is no final enough of wisdom, experience – any… thing.

Every man has inside himself a parasitic being who is acting not at all to his advantage.

Our national drug is alcohol. We tend to regard the use any other drug with special horror.

Some people like neat suburbs. I always am attracted to the rundown and the old and the offbeat.

I don’t care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do. The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it.

You must learn to exist with no religion, no country, no allies. You must learn to live alone in silence.

Scientology is a model control system, a state in fact with its own courts, police, rewards and penalties.

Black magic operates most effectively in preconscious, marginal areas. Casual curses are the most effective.

The world wasn’t a more tolerant place when I was a young man. Rather, they simply sidestepped all the issues.

Virtue is simply happiness, and happiness is a by-product of function. You are happy when you are functioning.

Americans have a special horror of giving up control, of letting things happen in their own way without interference.

Happiness is a byproduct of function, purpose, and conflict; those who seek happiness for itself seek victory without war.

A cat’s rage is beautiful, burning with pure cat flame, all its hair standing up and crackling blue sparks, eyes blazing and sputtering.

Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact.

All over America, people were pulling credentials out of their pockets and sticking them under someone else’s nose to prove they had been somewhere or done something. And I thought someday everyone in America will suddenly jump up and say, ‘I don’t take any shit!’ and start pushing and cursing and clawing at the man next to him.

The cat does not offer services. The cat offers itself. Of course he wants care and shelter. You don’t buy love for nothing.

There is no intensity of love or feeling that does not involve the risk of crippling hurt. It is a duty to take this risk, to love and feel without defense or reserve.

If everyone is to be made responsible for everything they do, you must extend responsibility beyond the level of conscious intention.

Junk is the ideal product… the ultimate merchandise. No sales talk necessary. The client will crawl through a sewer and beg to buy.

A cat’s rage is beautiful, burning with pure cat flame, all its hair standing up and crackling blue sparks, eyes blazing and sputtering.

I bear my burden proudly for all to see, to conquer prejudice and ignorance and hate with knowledge and sincerity and love. Whenever you are threatened by a hostile presence, you emit a thick cloud of love like an octopus squirts out ink

Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.

Most serious writers refuse to make themselves available to the things that technology is doing. I’ve never been able to understand this sort of fear.

The junk merchant doesn’t sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client.

Man is an artifact designed for space travel. He is not designed to remain in his present biologic state any more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole.

Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it ‘creative observation.’ Creative viewing.

Most people don’t see what’s going on around them. That’s my principal message to writers: ‘For God’s sake, keep your eyes open. Notice what’s going on around you.’

The way to kill a man or a nation is to cut off his dreams, the way the whites are taking care of the Indians: killing their dreams, their magic, their familiar spirits.

Hemingway was a prisoner of his style. No one can talk like the characters in Hemingway except the characters in Hemingway. His style in the wildest sense finally killed him.

This is a war universe. War all the time. That is its nature. There may be other universes based on all sorts of other principles, but ours seems to be based on war and games.

In my writing I am acting as a map maker, an explorer of psychic areas, a cosmonaut of inner space, and I see no point in exploring areas that have already been thoroughly surveyed.

Most of the trouble in this world has been caused by folks who can’t mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus has.

I see no reason why the artistic world can’t absolutely merge with Madison Avenue. Pop art is a move in that direction. Why can’t we have advertisements with beautiful words and beautiful images?

We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and — in spite of true romance magazines — we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. i do not say lonely — at least, not all the time — but essentially, and finally, alone. this is what makes your self-respect so important, and i don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.

Out of the closets and into the museums, libraries, architectural monuments, concert halls, bookstores, recording studios and film studios of the world. Everything belongs to the inspired and dedicated thief…. Words, colors, light, sounds, stone, wood, bronze belong to the living artist. They belong to anyone who can use them. Loot the Louvre! A bas l’originalité, the sterile and assertive ego that imprisons us as it creates. Vive le vol-pure, shameless, total. We are not responsible. Steal anything in sight.

No body of knowledge needs an organizational policy. Organizational policy can only impede the advancement of knowledge. There is a basic incompatibility between any organization and freedom of thought.

After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.

I started to write in about 1950; I was thirty-five at the time; there didn’t seem to be any strong motivation. I simply was endeavoring to put down in a more or less straightforward journalistic style something about my experiences with addiction and addicts.

Admittedly, a homosexual can be conditioned to react sexually to a woman, or to an old boot for that matter. In fact, both homo – and heterosexual experimental subjects have been conditioned to react sexually to an old boot, and you can save a lot of money that way.

Speaking for myself, art differs from writing in that I never know what I’m going to paint until I paint it, so it’s almost like automatic writing. A writer, on the other hand, can’t help but know what he’s going to write, because the activity demands a degree of premeditation.

Visual art and writing don’t exist on an aesthetic hierarchy that positions one above the other, because each is capable of things the other can’t do at all. Sometimes one picture is equal to 30 pages of discourse, just as there are things images are completely incapable of communicating.

Gentle reader, the Fountain of Youth is radioactive, and those who imbibe its poisonous heavy waters will suffer the hideous fate of decaying metal. Yet almost without exception, the wretched idiot inhabitants of our benighted planet would gulp down this radioactive excrement if it were offered.

Changes… can only be effected by alterations in the original. The only thing not prerecorded in a prerecorded universe are the pre-recordings themselves. The copies can only repeat themselves word for word. A virus is a copy. You can pretty it up, cut it up, scramble it – it will reassemble in the same form.

What a horrible loutish planet this is. the dominant species consists of sadistic morons, faces bearing the hideous lineaments of spiritual famine swollen with stupid hate. hopeless rubbish.

Whether you like it or not, you are committed to the human endeavor. I cannot ally myself with such a purely negative goal as avoidance of suffering. Suffering is a chance you take by the fact of being alive.

We have a new type of rule now. Not one-man rule, or rule of aristocracy or plutocracy, but of small groups elevated to positions of absolute power by random pressures, and subject to political and economic factors that leave little room for decision. They are representatives of abstract forces who have reached power through surrender of self. The iron-willed dictator is a thing of the past. There will be no more Stalins, no more Hitlers. The rulers of this most insecure of all worlds are rulers by accident, inept, frightened pilots at the controls of a vast machine they cannot understand, calling in experts to tell them which buttons to push.

I wasn’t exposed to art as I was growing up, and can’t recall the first time I saw a work of art. However, I remember very clearly a vision I had of a little green reindeer when I was a child, and visions emanate from the same mythical area where painting resides. Whatever the reason, I immediately felt comfortable working with visual materials.

It is to be remembered that all art is magical in origin – music, sculpture, writing, painting – and by magical I mean intended to produce very definite results. Paintings were originally formulae to make what is painted happen. Art is not an end in itself, any more than Einstein’s matter-into-energy formulae is an end in itself. Like all formulae, art was originally FUNCTIONAL, intended to make things happen, the way an atom bomb happens from Einstein’s formulae.

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