William S. Burroughs, fully William Seward Burroughs II

William S.
Burroughs, fully William Seward Burroughs II
1914
1997

American Novelist, Short Story Writer, Essayist, Painter and Spoken Word Performer

Author Quotes

I feel that any form of so called psychotherapy is strongly contraindicated for addicts. The question Why did you start using narcotics in the first place? should never be asked. It is quite as irrelevant to treatment as it would be to ask a malarial patient why he went to a malarial area.

I think there are innumerable gods. What we on earth call God is a little tribal God who has made an awful mess. Certainly forces operating through human consciousness control events.

If you rap your knuckles against a window jamb or door, if you brush your leg against a bed or desk, if you catch your foot in a curled-up corner of a rug, or strike a toe against a desk or chair, go back and repeat the sequence. You will find yourself surprised how far off course you were to hit that window jamb, that door, that chair. Get back on course and do it again. How can you pilot a spacecraft if you can't find your way around your own apartment?

In the magical universe there are no coincidences and there are no accidents. Nothing happens unless someone wills it to happen.

Junk turns the user into a plant. Plants do not feel pain since pain has no function in a stationary organism. Junk is a pain killer. A plant has no libido in the human or animal sense. Junk replaces the sex drive. Seeding is the sex of the plant and the function of opium is to delay seeding. Perhaps the intense discomfort of withdrawal is the transition from plant back to animal, from a painless, sexless, timeless state back to sex and pain and time, from death back to life.

Lola?s was not exactly a bar. It was a small beer-and-soda joint. There was a Coca-Cola box full of beer and soda and ice at the left of the door as you came in. A counter with tube-metal stools covered in yellow glazed leather ran down one side of the room as far as the jukebox. Tables were lined along the wall opposite the counter. The stools had long since lost the rubber caps for the legs and made horrible screeching noises when the maid pushed them around to sweep. There was a kitchen in back, where a slovenly cook fried everything in rancid fat. There was neither past nor future in Lola?s. The place was a waiting room, where certain people checked in at certain times.

My ass is worth more than the Louvre! My farts are ambrosia and shit pure gold turds. My dick soft diamond casts morning sun.

Nobody's busting into YOUR apartment at three in the morning, are they? Well, then don't worry about what they're doing in South Korea and places like that. It's like the standard of living. Are you content to achieve your higher standard of living at the expense of people all over the world who've got a lower standard of living? Most Americans would say yes. Now we ask the question, are you content to enjoy your political freedom at the expense of people who are less free? I think they would also say yes.

Poverty, hatred, war, police-criminals, bureaucracy, insanity, all symptoms of The Human Virus.

Squatting on old bones and excrement and rusty iron, in a white blaze of heat, a panorama of naked idiots stretches to the horizon. Complete silence - their speech centres are destroyed - except for the crackle of sparks and the popping of singed flesh as they apply electrodes up and down the spine. White smoke of burning flesh hangs in the motionless air. A group of children have tied an idiot to a post with barbed wire and built a fire between his legs and stand watching with bestial curiosity as the flames lick his thighs. His flesh jerks in the fire with insect agony.

The broken image of Man moves in minute by minute and cell by cell.... Poverty, hatred, war, police-criminals, bureaucracy, insanity, all symptoms of The Human Virus.

The idea that addiction is somehow a psychological illness is, I think, totally ridiculous. It's as psychological as malaria. It's a matter of exposure. People, generally speaking, will take any intoxicant or any drug that gives them a pleasant effect if it is available to them.

The simplest questions are the most difficult.

There is nothing one fears more or is more ashamed of than not being oneself. Yet few people realize even an approximation of their true potential. Most people must live with varying degrees of the shame and fear of not being fully in control of themselves.

To my way of thinking the function of the poet is to make us aware of what we know and don't know we know.

Well as, one judge said to the other, 'Be just and if you can't be just be arbitrary.' Regret cannot observe customary obscenities.

When you give up junk, you give up a way of life. I have seen junkies kick and hit the lush and wind up dead in a few years. Suicide is frequent among ex-junkies. Why does a junky quit junk of his own will? You never know the answer to that question. No conscious tabulation of the disadvantages and horrors of junk gives you the emotional drive to kick. The decision to quit junk is a cellular decision, and once you have decided to quit you cannot go back to junk permanently any more than you could stay away from it before.

You don't sell a film by saying you won't show it. There may be secrets too horrible for a man to know and keep his own sanity but that won't go down in Hollywood, Mister.

I feel that this life is sort of a penal colony. People have goofed or we wouldn't be here.

I was lying there trying to control the fear. I did not know much about this uremic poisoning. A woman I'd known slightly in Texas had died of it after drinking a bottle of beer ever hour, night and day, for two weeks.

If you weren't surprised by your life you wouldn't be alive. Life is surprise.

In the U.S. you have to be a deviant or exist in dreary boredom. Make no mistake; all intellectuals are deviants in the U.S.

Junkies have no interest in sex and they have no interest in other people except as suppliers of junk. They go around looking younger for a few days. Then they need more.

Look at the immigrants coming to America looking for a better life. What they got now? If they had the misfortune to be successful one of the most gruesome cultural straightjackets in history.

My characters are quite as real to me as so-called real people; which is one reason why I'm not subject to what is known as loneliness. I have plenty of company.

Author Picture
First Name
William S.
Last Name
Burroughs, fully William Seward Burroughs II
Birth Date
1914
Death Date
1997
Bio

American Novelist, Short Story Writer, Essayist, Painter and Spoken Word Performer