Tuesday, July 3, 2012

William Burroughs on the Control Machine

From The Limits of Control:

There is a growing interest in new techniques of mind-control. It has been suggested that Sirhan Sirhan was the subject of post-hypnotic suggestion, as he sat shaking violently on the steam table in the kitch of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles while the as-yet unidentified woman held him and whispered in his ear. It has been alleged that behavior-modification techniques are used on troublesome prisoners and inmates, often without their consent. Dr. Delgado, who once stopped a charging bull by remote control of electrodes in the bull's brain, left the U.S. to pursue his studies on human subjects in Spain. Brainwashing, psychotropic drugs, lobotomy and other, more subtle forms of psychosurgery; the technocratic control apparatus of the United States has at its fingertips new techniques which if fully exploited could make Orwell's 1984 seem like a benevolent utopia.
From William S. Burroughs, The Art of Fiction No. 36


Do you admire Mr. Luce?


I don't admire him at all. He has set up one of the greatest word and image banks in the world. I mean, there are thousands of photos, thousands of words about anything and everything, all in his files. All the best pictures go into the files. Of course, they're reduced to microphotos now. I've been interested in the Mayan system, which was a control calendar. You see, their calendar postulated really how everyone should feel at a given time, with lucky days, unlucky days, et cetera. And I feel that Luce's system is comparable to that. It is a control system. It has nothing to do with reporting. Time, Life, Fortune is some sort of a police organization.

William S. Burroughs and the Maya gods of death: the uses of archaeology.:

Burroughs mystifies the complexities of the Maya calendar system in order to intensify the controlling power of the priests' "control machine." Most of the content of the extant codices is either astronomical calculations or an almanac of auspicious days. The Maya used three calendrical systems operating concurrently: the 260 day Ceremonial Calendar, the Vague Year of 365 days which meshed with the Ceremonial Calendar through a Calendar Round of 52 year cycles, and the Long Count calendar which established the beginning of the present creation at exactly 4 Ahaw 8 Kumk'u, or August 13, 3114 BC. Burroughs correctly describes the 260 day ceremonial calendar, only acknowledges the 365 day calendar, and invents a third, "secret," calendar used by priests to "condition" the populace with the technique of "waking suggestion" (1989, 39). In the first iteration of the Mayan caper in The Soft Machine, a character called Technical Tilly explains the process:

Burroughs exploits the complexities of the calendars to formulate another control system (in addition to the Word) by which controllers can predetermine "what the populace would be doing hearing seeing on a given date" (1989, 39). The Maya control machine models contemporary media control machines which also determine what the populace will be doing, hearing, seeing on a given date. The Writer gets recruited into the Trak News Agency--"We don't report the news--We write it." He is sent to Washington "to learn how this writing the news before it happens is done--I sus it is the Mayan Caper with an IBM machine" (1992c, 148).

From William S. Burroughs Interview, 1961:

Corso: What say you about political conflicts?

Burroughs: Political conflicts are merely surfaced manifestations. If conflicts arise you may certain powers intend to keep this conflict under operation since they hope to profit from the situation. To concern yourself with surface political conflicts is to make the mistake of the bull in the ring, you are charging the cloth. That is what politics is for, to teach you the cloth. Just as the bullfighter teaches the bull, teaches him to follow, obey the cloth.

Corso: Who manipulates the cloth?

Burroughs: Death

Ginsberg: What is death?

Burroughs: A gimmick. It's the time birth death gimmick. Can't go on much longer, too many people are wising up.

[ ... ]

Corso: What kind of advice you got for politicians?

Burroughs: Tell the truth once and for all and shut up forever.

From William S. Burroughs’ Wild Ride with Scientology:

Again and again in his writings and interviews, Burroughs mentions the E-meter as Scientology's most important contribution to a science of the mind. The E-meter, Burroughs thought, was "really a sort of sloppy form of electrical brain stimulation… a lie-detector and a mind-reading machine… Not the content, only the reactions." Elsewhere Burroughs described the E-meter as a "useful device for deconditioning," or the elimination of imposed or habitual reactions of symbols and figures. The goal is to achieve something like a "floating needle," a therapeutic method Burroughs claimed to sometimes use. In his book of interviews, The Job, Burroughs explained his view that Scientology could help counter "the Reactive Mind… an ancient instrument of control designed to stultify and limit the potential for action in a constructive or destructive direction." Burroughs associated the Reactive Mind with Mayan calendars, which he described in the same interview as "one of the most precise and hermetic control calendars ever… on this planet, a calendar that in effect controlled what the populace did thought and felt on any day."

[ ... ]

For his inquiries, Burroughs reports, he was expelled from the organization and in 1968 was put into what Scientologists call a condition of "Treason"; though the exact circumstances surrounding this incident remain unclear. Burroughs's public battle against the Church continued in a 1972 issue of Rolling Stone, where he expressed his support for Robert Kaufmann's exposé, Inside Scientology, published by Olympia Press. Here Burroughs uses his harshest language yet: "Scientology is a model control system, a state in fact with its own courts, police, rewards and penalties."

[ ... ]

Gysin once quipped that Burroughs was probably the first person to make more money from Scientology than the organization made from him.

From William S. Burroughs > Quotes:

"The dream is a spontaneous happening and therefore dangerous to a control system set-up by the non-dreamers"

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image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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