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

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.

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.

Quien sabe? Not me. The older I get the less I sabe, the less wisdom, maturity and caution I have.

Strip your psyche to the bare bones of spontaneous process, and you give yourself one chance in a thousand, to make the Pass.

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

The Industrial Revolution is primarily a virus revolution, dedicated to proliferation of identical objects and persons. You are making soap, you don't give a shit who buys your soap, the more the soapier.

The study of thinking machines teaches us more about the brain than we can learn by introspective methods. Western man is externalizing himself in the form of gadgets.

There is only one thing a writer can write about: what is in front of his senses at the moment of writing... I am a recording instrument... I do not presume to impose story plot continuity... Insofar as I succeed in Direct recording of certain areas of psychic process I may have limited function... I am not an entertainer...

To put it country simple. Earth has a lot of things other folks might want, like the whole planet. And maybe these folks would like a few changes made.

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