Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Journey through time-space 

Q: Your books, since The Ticket that Exploded especially, are no longer "novels"; a breaking up of novelistic form is noticeable in Naked Lunch. Toward what end or goal is this break-up heading?

A: That's very difficult to say. I think that the novelistic form is probably outmoded and that we may look forward perhaps to a future in which people do not read at all or read only illustrated books and magazines or some abbreviated form of reading matter. To compete with television and photo magazines writers will have to develop more precise techniques producing the same effect on the reader as a lurid action photo.

Q: What separates Naked Lunch from Nova Express? What is the most important evolution between these two books?

A: I would say that the introduction of the cut-up and fold-in method which occurred between Naked Lunch and Nova Express is undoubtedly the most important evolution between these books. In Nova Express I think I get further from the conventional novel form than I did in Naked Lunch. I don't feel that Nova Express is in any sense a wholly successful book.

Q: You wrote: "Writing is fifty years behind painting." How can the gap be closed?

A: I did not write that. Mr Brion Gysin who is both painter and writer wrote "writing is fifty years behind painting." Why this gap? Because the painter can touch and handle his medium and the writer cannot. The writer does not yet know what words are. He deals only with abstractions from the source point of words. The painter's ability to touch and handle his medium led to montage techniques sixty years ago. It is to be hoped that the extension of cut-up techniques will lead to more precise verbal experiments closing this gap and giving a whole new dimension to writing. These techniques can show the writer what words are and put him in tactile communication with his medium. This in turn could lead to a precise science of words and show how certain word combinations produce certain effects on the human nervous system.

Q: Did you use the techniques of fold-up and cut-up for a long time before moving on to the use of the tape recorder? What were your most interesting experiences with the earlier technique?

A: The first extension of the cut-up method occurred through the use of tape recorders and this extension was introduced by Mr Brion Gysin. The simplest tape recorder cut-up is made by recording some material and then cutting in passages at random--of course the words are wiped off the tape where these cut-ins occur--and you get very interesting juxtapositions. Some of them are useful from a literary point of view and some are not. I would say that my most interesting experience with the earlier techniques was the realization that when you make cut-ups you do not get simply random juxtapositions of words, that they do mean something, and often that these meanings refer to some future event. I've made many cut-ups and then later recognized that the cut-up referred to something that I read later in a newspaper or in a book, or something that happened. To give a very simple example, I made a cut-up of something Mr Getty had written, I believe for 'Time and Tide.' The following phrase emerged: "It's a bad thing to sue your own father." About three years later his son sued him. Perhaps events are pre-written and pre-recorded and when you cut word lines the future leaks out. I have seen enough examples to convince me that the cut-ups are a basic key to the nature and function of words.

Q: For you the tape recorder is a device for breaking down the barriers which surround consciousness. How did you come to use tape recorders? What is the advantage of that technique over the fold-in cut-up technique?

A: Wel, I think that was largely the influence of Mr Brion Gysin who pointed out that the cut-up method could be carried much further on tape recorders. Of course you can do all sorts of things on tape recorders which can't be done anywhere else--effects of simultaneity, echoes, speed-ups, slow-downs, playing three tracks at once, and so forth. There are all sorts of things you can do on a tape recorder that cannot possibly be indicated on a printed page. The concept of simultaneity cannot be indicated on a printed page except very crudely through the use of columns and even so the reader must follow one column down. We're used to reading from left to right and then back, and this conditioning is not easy to break down.

Q: When you have arrived at a mix or montage, do you follow the channels opened by the text or do you adapt what you want to say to the mix?

A: I would say I follow the channels opened by the rearrangement of the text. This is the most important function of the cut-up. I may take a page, cut it up, and get a whole new idea for straight narrative, and not use any of the cut-up material at all, or I may use a sentence or two out of the actual cut-up. It's not unconscious at all, it's a very definite operation...the simplest way is to take a page, cut it down the middle and across the middle, and then rearrange the four sections. Now that's a very simple form of cut-up if you want to get some idea of one rearrangement of the words on that page. It's quite conscious, there's nothing of automatic writing or unconscious procedure involved here. You don't know what you're going to get simply because of the limitations of the human mind any more than the average person can plan five moves ahead in chess. Presumably it would be possible for someone with a photographic memory to look at a page and cut it up in his mind, that is, put these words up here and those up there...I've recently written a film script on the life of Dutch Schultz, now this is perfectly straight writing. Nonetheless I cut up every page and suddenly got a lot of new ideas that were then incorporated into the structure of the narrative. This is a perfectly straight film treatment, quite intelligible to the average reader, in no sense experimental writing.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Rat Interviews Burroughs/1968 

R: The movement is developing a different definition of news, a different description of what is important. If we controlled a television station, our news would be substantially different than Walter Cronkite.

B: If we controlled television, then we control America.

R: What would it mean if we had one station? We could, like the German SDS, make a demand for TV time. And then escalate our demand to a whole channel. What would happen if we got a channel?

B: We got to get them all. as soon as we get them all, we control this whole stupid middle class. We've got America.

R: You think the war is going to be fought out among the middle class and not among the poor?

B: Yes. Of course there is a way of eliminating the whole stupid middle class.

R: Yah, you know, you saw Daley's program. They talked about how there were plans to even put LSD in the water supply. Of course that's unworkable because LSD is an acid and a base neutralizes it, so it never could go through the water system. But let's say something like LSD could be put into a water supply of a city, what do you think it would do?

B: Well, I'm all for eliminating the whole stupid bourgeois middle class. I think the whole strata should be eliminated.

R: Do you think as human beings they are even alive?

B: They're not alive. They're talking tape recorders. It's not a question of eliminating human beings, it's a question of eliminating walking tape recorders.

R: Their children are realizing that too. That's one reason long hair scares them. So, their own children are throwing it up, saying, "Your lives are nothing. Your lives are dead plastic existences."

B: Yeah. It's not a question of eliminating human beings, it is a question of turning off tape recorders.

R: Do you think the poor are less tape recorders?

B: Much less. They've been up against something. They have to be alive to survive.

R: And the middle class person has to be dead to survive. Because if he's alive, he gets kicked out. He gets squashed in the system, like a bug among the gears. If the guy in the office shows any streak of originality, of individuality, then he's crushed. Because his boss can't stand that. If he questions why should I push these papers around, BAMM, he's crushed.

B: Those alive in this system are the people on the bottom.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Vale Interviews Burroughs/Dead Fingers Talk 

V: I'm interested in turning-points in history, like, in 'Cities of the Red Night', there's that story of Captain Mission, which presented an entirely different possibility for the Americas which didn't happen.

B: There are lots of those turning points, dates; important, crucial dates. One of them is certainly (although it isn't a clear-cut date like a battle or something, but it's one of the great dates in history) - Systemic Antibiotics. Because before that, boy, you got an infection, you were dead! It's nothing now to have an infection, and pneumonia was a BIG killer. So, that's a very big date...

V: I think the birth control herb you mentioned could be equally important.

B: Absolutely. And, of course, August 6, 1945. Godalmighty, the atom bomb, what a date! [laughs]

V: What do you think about the recent assassination attempts on Reagan, the Pope...

B: It looks like it's going to get very dangerous to be a pope or a president or a prime minister. The time may come when they can't get anybody to take the job!

V: It seems like they weren't totally serious. Using a .22...

B: Well he was a nut, the other guy wasn't. The terrorist, Ithink he was really trying. If it had been a .45 I think it might have been 'it'. De Gaulle had real professionals after him for years and they didn't succeed, because his body guards knew what they were doing. That's the point---they would never have let anyone get that close to Le General. But here was this guy in the press circles, he had no press credentials. If they're going to let people come around the president without even checking to see whether they're who they say they are, it's just ridiculous. Not only should they have checked the press credentials, but they should have put all the fucking reporters through one of those metal detectors. Because a nutty reporter could get the idea of assassinating the president--same thing would happen. They really should exercise some precautions--they always wait until it happens before they do anything. A bodyguard has to be telepathic. Oh, absolutely! He's got to be able to see around corners. And another very important thing is--looking up. A lot of people don't do that. The American Secret Service--they don't have it! They're not alert like that.

V: How can we improve our telepathic abilities? Are they genetically limited?

B: No, I think everybody has them. It's just a question of pressure. Pressure! Those guys had to do that, or they'd find somebody that would. In other words, if they were going to be bodyguards to De Gaulle, they had to be intuitive. Not just telepathic, but intuitive--know something's wrong: I don't like the looks of that guy...or, that window...or, that's a bad place there...

V: Why are bodyguards doing such a bad job these days?

B: They're just not paying attention to what they're doing, that's all. They've never been up against real professionals. Well, they're not now--Hinckley's not a professional. But De Gaulle's bodyguards were up against army officers with money and weapons and knowing how to use them--not .22 pistols! And they tried and they tried but they never got him... The week before President Kennedy was assassinated, he was in New York. He stopped at a red light and some girl rushed up and photographed him from a distance of three feet. Someone said, "She could have assassinated the President!" That was a week before Dallas! But that didn't seem to inspire them to tighten their security. Of course, the protection from a rifle with a telescopic sight is not so easy. But De Gaulle's men--they covered all the buildings on the route... That Ruby and Oswald thing stunk to high heaven, the whole thing...

V: What do you think of the theory that Jonestown was a CIA experiment in mass mind control?

B: It's conceivable, conceivable. We know that they've performed such experiments in countries like Brazil...and Athens, the whole junta was CIA-inspired. In Brazil all these experiments in control and torture, etc. were definitely CIA organized--we know that. They sent all these torture experts down to South and Central America. Did you see 'City Under Siege'--I think that was the name of it. It was about...one of these CIA torture experts was kidnapped by the Tupamaros in Uruguay. He was sent down there as a police advisor. So they kidnapped him and they finally killed him. And then-at the end of the movie-you see another one getting out of the plane...

V: Do you think they could take a disoriented person out of prison and program him to become an assassin and the person wouldn't really know exactly what he's doing?

B: I think it's possible, but it seems to me it's more trouble than it's worth. If you really want the job done you don't want a disordered person--of course you've got an alibi there, no one can pin it on you, but...still, it's an around-the-world-oxcart way of doing it! But it's certainly within the range of possibility.

V: What about telepathic suggestions to subjects while they're asleep?

B: Well they wouldn't have to be telepathic--they could do that with microphones, sort of subliminal microphones. As to how effective the suggestions would be I just don't know. All these people are talking about hearing voices, telling them to do these things. Now here do the voices come from? Well this is one of the symptoms, of course, of schizophrenia, and we know now that the voices come from a non-dominant brain hemisphere, whichever that is. In fact you can produce voices by electrical stimulation of the non-dominant brain hemisphere in normal subjects. So that's the line to take--if you can get it into the non-dominant brain hemisphere, then it has this terrific power: people can't disobey it. But only certain people would be subject to that sort of conditioning...

V: How can we strengthen our psychic defenses?

B: There are whole books on that. Dion Fortune wrote a fairly good book, 'Psychic Self-Defense'. It's not a bad book--old-fashioned--but there's some good tips in there. How to know when you're under psychic attack, what to do about it, and so on. There are quite a few--that's a fairly good one. There's something by David Conway called 'Magic: An Occult Primer'--that's a very good book.

V: Have you heard anything new in the field of biological warfare?

B:Well, we know that the English had what they called a 'doomsday bug' in World War II - which was created by exposing viruses to radiation and producing mutated strains. That's more than FORTY YEARS AGO! They've come a long way since then! And also there are ethnic weapons that would attack only whites or blacks or mongoloids or whatever because of their racial enzyme differences. So they can devise a plague that would attack only one ethnic group. That also is pretty old: the first statement about that was over fifteen years ago. So they've come a long way on that one too.

V: What do you think of the hardcore survivalist movement in the USA? Stockpiling dried food, weapons...?

B: It could be, I suppose, a good idea, but then there's the question, you might not be able to get to your stash! [dryly] And you gotta be able to defend it and all that! You have several priorities: our first priority is weapons, second is drugs, third is tools, antibiotics...

V: When you say tools, do you mean like water purification devices?

B: No no no. I mean tools! Hammers, saws. If you don't have them, it's very bad!

V: By the way, do you still record your dreams?

B: Oh, of course! I'll write down a few notes, and then if it's worth bothering with, I'll write it out in a diary form...

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

1984 Interview with William S. Burroughs 

Q: With 'Cities of the Red Night' and 'Place of Dead Roads,' you're writing in a more narrative way than you have in the past. How does that square with your opinion that words have become outmoded? Is that at all contradictory?

B: No, there's no contradiction involved. I set out to write straightforward books, and the content required that. I don't say, "I have to do this" or, "this has to be square with that" at all. Every book requires something different.

Q: In 'Cities of the Red Night,' you touch upon the virus concept--you indicate that humanity itself began as a virus...

B: Oh yes, that's the viral theory of evolution. It's finding more and more credence. The virus changes in several generations, which would then be genetically conveyed. It's quite a respectable theory of evolution at the present time. They're getting further and further away from Darwin, and coming to the tentative conclusion that evolutionary change is biological mutation over one or two generations, possibly through a virus. No virus we know at the present time acts in this way--that is to say, would affect biologic alterations, then genetics. But such a virus may have existed in the past.

Q: That sounds a bit like Lamarck's theory of evolution, where the animal stretches its neck to reach the fruit on the tree and then passes on this characteristic to its offspring.

B: Of course, that's the biologic heresy of the inheritance of one characteristic. That's quite different. The virus theory is more Darwin. The Darwin theory would be that the virus occasioned certain biologic changes, which then were genetically conveyed.

Q: I've been interested in your 'cut-up' theory of writing for a long time, ever since I read 'The Job' some years ago...

B: It's simply the old montage method that's old hat in painting applied to writing. It's closer to the facts of human perception, because whenever you walk down the street or look out the window, your consciousness is affected by random factors. In other words, life is a cut-up.

Q: In 'Cities of the Red Night,' you deal with cut-ups as a form of psychic research. Is that based on any research or experience of your own?

B: Oh yes, it's based research of my own, naturally. If you take say, a time segment and start cutting it and playing around with it, often quite interesting things will emerge.

Q: The method in the novel was to read and then have sounds interspersed...

B: Yes.

Q: What would be the theory behind that? Synchronicity?

B: No theory behind it, it's just a fact. Just a phenomenon.

Q: In 'The Job,' you cited a case where you displaced a restaurant that had served bad food by your use of tape recordings. How did that work?

B: I don't know why it works. You simply make recordings in front of the restaurant, and you take pictures as you make the recordings. Then you play the recordings back in front of the place and take more pictures...

Q: In front of the owners, or the workers?

B: It doesn't matter.

Q: Is it necessary to distort the recordings?

B: Not necessary at all. What you're doing actually, you're sort of making a hole in time. People are hearing what happened yesterday, and they think it's happening right now, so it makes a hole in time through which something can cause a disruption.

Q: How did you stumble upon this method?

B: It came from a series of experiments with actual street recordings, making recordings and playing them back in the streets. When you do that, you find that very interesting things will happen.

Q: I think people are still uncomfortable with this sort of acausal view of the world.

B: I've never subscribed to cause and effect.

Q: In 'The Job,' you seemed optimistic that the world was changing for the better. That was in the 1970's. Are you disappointed with what has happened since then?

B: Well...it's been small changes. Like the fact that many of the objectives that people, the hippies, were trying to attain in the '60s have been attained: end of the Vietnam War, legalization or decriminalization of cannabis, minority rights, the end of censorship. These are very important gains.

Q: I actually didn't expect you to say that...

B: Well, why not? That's happened...

Q: Well, somehow I thought you were concerned with something more fundamental, such as the power structures, and how they weren't brought down by the generation that came of age at that time.

B: No, no--any political change comes in small gains. Gains like that are valuable.

Q: Are you sympathetic to libertarian ideas? Does the Libertarian Party hold any attraction for you?

B: I don't even know what that is.

Q: They believe in as few laws as possible across the board, even down to building codes.

B: That's sensible enough, of course. The fewer laws, the better.

Q: By the way, do you mind me asking you about your opinions from the '70s?

B: No, but opinions are meant to be changed. It's very unlikely that an opinion wouldn't have undergone some alteration.

Q: Back then, you discussed restructuring society to phase out the family. If that actually happened, what would form social bonds in its place?

B: Well, there isn't any clear-cut substitute for that.

Q: That was a utopian speculation?

B: Yes.

Q: It's something you can envision, but not in the near future.

B: It's not easy to envision. I mean, OK, you can have people brought up in some kind of state institute, but then you're back to the same thing. That wouldn't necessarily be any improvement.

Q: What about segregation of the sexes? Is that an idea that still appeals to you?

B: Yes, I would say so. Evolutionary mutations can occur quite rapidly in small, isolated groups. They took a small group of fish and put them in an entirely different environment, and over several generations they got quite different biologic changes. So I'd like to see more small, isolated groups with very different orientations.

Q: And one way of breaking that down would be male/female systems of groupings?

B: Yes, that would be one way. Of course, the very contrary is happening. You've got less and less of that, and more uniformity and standardization. But biologically, ultimately the only possibility for any species to survive is mutation. All species are doomed like all individuals, but the point is, can they change?

Q: Another point you've touched upon a great deal is dualism, which I guess in part means male/female, yes/no, right/wrong and so forth. Do you see any progress being made overcoming that?

B: No, I don't.

Q: It seems like a lot of your ideas are concerned with unity of some kind...

B: Yes. Like the dominant and nondominant brain hemispheres. It would be biologically desirable if they could somehow merge instead of posing a duality.

Q: Some people would call that a spiritual idea. Do you think of yourself as a spiritual writer? Does that word give you problems?

B: No, it doesn't give me any problems at all. There's no distinction--in other words, any problem is a spiritual problem.

Q: Do you think that your views on drugs have been misinterpreted at all by your fans?

B: I don't know. What views?

Q: I believe that you've said from time to time that harder narcotics are not good for the human body and don't produce any desirable effects...

B: I would certainly say that's true of cocaine.

Q: What about heroin or morphine?

B: No, there's a place for heroin and morphine. The ill effects have been vastly overestimated.

Q: I think you made the statement at one time that 'junk is death.' Am I taking that statement out of context?

B: Probably. I may have made such a statement, but we do know that people live to a ripe old age on it.

Q: I think what I was getting at was that people may have misinterpreted what you've written on the subject, that they should emulste your entire life to get to the point where you are now. Would that be misconstruing your experiences and your thinking?

B: Well, yes. I don't see any reason why they should.

Q: Has it ever crossed your mind that people may misinterpret what you've written?

B: Well, that's inevitable that they'll misinterpret a great deal of it.

Q: It seems that drugs across the board are still identified with rebellion, and that may be a naive idea.

B: A very naive idea indeed, but all sorts of problems are created by legislation against drugs.

Q: An awful lot of your ideas have been appropriated into a pop context, especially by musicians and writers. Is that a compliment, or does that make you feel uncomfortable?

B: I don't react to that in any way. If pop groups want to make use of them in any way they want, I consider that for the good.

Q: Have the popular arts--particularly pop music--progressed from the time that you were in your 20s? I mean people who have been influenced by your ideas, like Patti Smith and Jim Carroll...

B: Well, in my 20s, musicians only played in night clubs and road houses and maybe made $100 or $200 a week. Playing to mass audiences in places like Shea Stadium is an entirely new phenomenon. It began really in the late '40s--I'm talking about the beginnings of pop music, the skiffle groups and that sort of thing.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Prisoners of the earth come out 

Q: We spoke of images and words which hold man prisoner, and which are the logical outcome of a vast system of annihilation. The next step would be to locate the various springs of the mechanism, and for a start, its origin. How do you see it?

A: Image and word are the instruments of control used by the daily press and by such news magazines as TIME, LIFE, NEWSWEEK, and their English and Continental counterparts. Of course, an instrument can be used without knowledge of its fundamental nature or its origins. To get to the origin we must examine the instruments themselves; that is, the actual nature of word and image. Research along these lines is discouraged by those who use word and image as instruments of control. So we do not know what a word is or what an image is. The study of hieroglyphic languages shows us that a word is an image...the written word is an image. However, there is an important difference between a hieroglyphic and a syllabic language. If I hold up a sign with the word "ROSE" written on it, and you read that sign, you will be forced to repeat the word "ROSE" to yourself. If I show you a picture of a rose you do not have to repeat the word. You can register the image in silence. A syllabic language forces you to verbalize in auditory patterns. A hieroglyphic language does not. I think that anyone who is interested to find out the precise relationship between word and image should study a simplified hieroglyphic script. Such a study would tend to breakdown the automatic verbal reaction to a word. It is precisely these automatic reactions to words themselves that enable those who manipulate words to control thought on a mass scale.

Q: What is the importance of power, in all its form, in the machinery of destruction?

A: The exercise of power for power's sake is precisely the machine of destruction. This would seem to be something we have had throughout history, and in a sense this is true. The difference is a matter of degree. Old-fashioned power, the generalissimo shooting a provincial governor across his desk, has self-limiting goals, and at least a measure of self-preservation. To confuse this old-style power with the manifestation of control madness we see now on this planet is to confuse a disappearing wart with an exploding cancer. You might as well expect a measure of moderation, or at least self-preservation, from the virus of rabies which dies when you do, mission accomplished. What we see now is power exercised for purely destructive purposes. Whether they know it or not, the present controllers are bent on annihilation.

Q: And what of money, ownership, property?

A: Vested interest of power and/or money is perhaps the most potent factor standing in the way of freedom for the individual. New discoveries and products are suppressed because they threaten vested interests. The medical profession is suppressing Reich's orgone accumulator and his discoveries relative to the use and dangers of orgonic energy. They are suppressing Dianetics and Scientology discovered by Mr L. Ron Hubbard. They are suppressing the use of massive doses of Vitamin E for the prevention of heart disease, the use of massive doses of Vitamin A for curing the common cold. (I have used this simple remedy for thirty years and it works. Everyone I have passed it on to has found that it works either to abort or modify the course of a cold. At the first soreness in the throat which presages the onslaught of a common cold you take 500,000 units of Vitamin A. Vitamin A alone. Not Vitamin C which is quite worthless for a cold. At one time I had thought to market this remedy but was told it could not be marketed because the American Medical Association is opposed to self-medication. The AMA is opposed to self-medication if it works.) The medical profession is suppressing the use of apomorphine for the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction and for the general regulation of disturbed metabolism. The medical profession has a vested interest in illness. They suppress any discovery that strikes at the roots of illness. The real-estate lobby has a vested interest in the housing shortage. They sabotage any attempt to provide good cheap housing. An example of this suppression is the Lustron house. A man named Lustron devised a prefabricated house of porcelain steel, with a layer of insulation in the middle. This house was termite-proof, rust-proof, age-proof. It would still be there a thousand years from now. Lustron planned to put this house out for five thousand dollars. He only manufactured a few hundred Lustron houses before he was forced out of business by the real-estate lobby. They blocked him from obtaining the necessary materials. The Tucker car is another example: Tucker devised a car so much better that any car on the market it would have forced big motor companies to change their dies and produce a car of equal performance. Since they could sell the inferior cars they were already set up to produce, it was cheaper and easier to block Tucker... No materials! He lost 20,000,000 dollars and nearly went to jail. The Tucker car never hit the open market. Other examples are the blocking of the ramie industry by the Duponts and other manufacturers of synthetic fabrics. Where are the bicycle helicopters we were supposed to have by now? Where are the aluminium houses? The police have a vested interest in criminality. The Narcotics Department has a vested interest in addiction. Politicians have a vested interest in nations. Army officers have a vested interest in war. Vested interest, whether operating through private, capital or official agencies, suppresses any discovery, product or way of thought that threatens its area of monopoly. The cold war is used as a pretext by both America and Russia to conceal and monopolize research confining knowldge to official agencies. It is no exaggeration to say that all important research is now top secret, until someone lets a rat out of the bag. Infrasound, for example: I quote from a Sunday Times article, April 16, 1967, "Acoustics," by Frank Dorsey, under the title "Joshua Knew a Thing or Two":
"The world is not noticeably short of lethal weapons, but a team of French scientists in Marseille is working on a death-ray machine designed to provide an entirely novel method of human destruction. The project began when the Electro-Acoustical laboratory moved into a new building three years ago. Staff complained of headache and nausea. Investigation began. Electromagnetic waves were suspected and eliminated. So were ultra-sound waves. At this point, one of the technicians got out an antique appparatus for detecting infrasound--that is, air vibrations which oscillate at less than ten vibrations a second, or 10 Hertz--(The human ear registers, as sound vibrations, from 16Hz to 20,000Hz) It had been used during the First World War to distinguish cannon fire and movement of trains too far off to be unscrambled by ears. I quickly identified the source of the unease: the giant ventilator of a factory next door. After changing the ventilator's frequency, the five-man team headed by Professor Vladimir Gavreau decided to find out more about the properties of infrasound."
As everyone knows, sound is a succession of waves in which the air is alternatively compressed and decompressed. Fast vibrations either go right through solid objects or bounce off them, usually doing relatively little harm even when very powerful. But slow vibration, below the hearing level, can create a sort of pendulum action, a reverberation in solid objects that quickly builds up to intolerable intensity. To study this phenomenon the team built a giant whistle, hooked to a compressed air hose. Then they turned on the air. Professor Gavreau says:
"Luckily, we were able to turn it off quickly. All of us were sick for hours. Everything in us was vibrating: stomach, heart, lungs. All the people in the other laboratories were sick too. They were very angry with us."
The first blast was audible only to 190 Hz. It had an acoustical force of about 100 Watts, compared with one watt for a football referee's whistle. From then on the tem worked at lowering the frequency, but carefully kept the power input down. A bigger whistle was built, measuring about five feet across. It emits a very low but audible tone, at about 37 Hz. If turned on full blast, it would develop 2000 Watts--and the building would fall down like the walls of Jericho before Joshua's trumpet. At the pressures used it has done no more than put cracks in the ceiling. The team has discovered that the wave length most dangerous to human life is 7 Hz. At 7 Hz, turned on very softly, one has a vague impression of sound, and a general feeling of discomfort. At 3.5 Hz, nothing can be heard directly but there is a curious incidental effect. Nearby sounds, such as air hissing into the pipe, take on a pulsing quality--at 3.5 pulsations a second. All sounds in the neighbourhood seem to ululate rhymically. The team has suffered from its experiments. Some of the invisible injuries appear to be persistent.
"It not only affects the ears," Professor Gavreau says, "but it works directly on the internal organs. There is a rubbing between the various organs because of a sort of resonance. It provokes an irritation so intense that for hours afterwards any low-pitched sound seems to echo through one's body."
In developing a military weapon, scientists intend to revert to a policeman's whistle form, perhaps as big as eighteen feet across, mount it on a truck and blow it with a fan turned by a small airplane engine. This weapon, they say, will give forth an all-destroying 10,000 acoustic watts. It could kill a man five miles away. There is one snag: at present, the machine is as dangerous to its operators as to the enemy. The team is working on a way to focus it. Various systems of baffles have been tried, but the most promising method appears to be propagation of a different and complementary sound a wave length backward from the machine. This changes the frequency of airwave length moving in that direction, thus protecting anyone to the rear. There is, of course, a much simpler means of protection: turn the machine on from a safe distance. This summary of Professor Vladimir Gavreau's experiments with infrasound is based on the Sunday Times article. A much more comprehensive article has appeared in an American periodical, The National Enquirer, Vol.42, No. 27, March 10, 1968. Professor Gavreau's discovery has been patented and anybody can obtain the plans and full description from the French patent office upon payment of two francs. Undoubtedly top secret projects are exploring the military potentials of infrasound. Since sub-lethal infrasound paralyses the mental functions--(as Professor Gavreau put it "I could not add two and two")--well add two and two and you will see that infrasound is an ideal weapon against dissident elements within the establishment. It is to be hoped that hobbyists will obtain the plans and experiment. The materials necessary are cheap and easily obtained. Perhaps infrasound has therapeutic properties at low volume and borderline infrasound might add a new dimension to pop music. Another scientist who freely published his discoveries was Wilhelm Reich. He died in a federal prison. Most of you know something of Reich's experiments, discoveries and theories so I will not undertake a detailed rundown here. You can still buy Reich's books despite the book-burning carried out by the Pure Food and Drug pigs in emulation of their Nazi prototypes. I would like to draw attention to Reich's experiements with DOR-Deadly Orgone Radiation. DOR is produced by putting any radioactive material into an orgone accumulator. In Reich's experiments very small quantities of radioactive material were used. None the less the effect is described as "being hit on the head with a sledge hammer." One experimenter nearly died as a result of exposure. Very dilute exposure produces mental confusion, depression, anxiety and restlessness. Like infrasound DOR has a range from the almost imperceptible to the lethal. The experiments with DOR are fully described in The Selected Writings of Wilhelm Reich in the chapter entitled Orgone Physics. Anyone with a radium watch dial can duplicate these experiments. It seems that immunity to DOR is conveyed by gradient exposure. In fact the purpose of the DOR experiments was to find a means of conveying mass immunization to radiation sickness. As you know Reich's books and papers were burned, his experiments outlawed and he himself imprisoned. It is to say the least probable that top secret experiments with DOR are being carried out by official agencies. Experiments which offer any possibility of immunization to radiation sickness certainly deserve to be fully explored and widely publicized.
Mr. L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Dianetics and Scientology, has also been persecuted by the Pure Food and Drug Department. To date Mr. Hubbard has refused to publish his advanced discoveries. There is every indication that the discoveries of Scientology are being used by the CIA and other official agencies. With these discoveries already in the worst possible hands it is to be hoped that Mr. Hubbard will reserve his present policies.
To Mr. Hubbard belongs the credit for making public a secret weapon used extensively by the Americans and the Russians in their dreary cold-war farce. This weapon is pain-drug hypnosis. Ordinary hypnosis cannot force the subject to act against his moral code or his own interests and survival. Pain-drug hypnosis can. The subject is drugged into unconsciousness, beaten in a way that will leave no mark-(telephone book, hard pillow)-and given suggestions. He will obey these suggestions without knowing that he has been drugged and subjected to pain-drug hypnosis. He will obey these suggestions however much they may conflict with his moral code or his interests. Even suicide can be so induced.
In the case of Reich and Hubbard discoveries have been suppressed by official agencies in all probablility to mask secret experiments along the same lines.
A recent article in ESQUIRE magazine written by a former CIA agent contains this anecdote: A man with photos of the Bay of Pigs was on the way to a newspaper office when the agent who was tailing him called a "special number" in Washington. "On the way to the newspaper office he was run down by a laundry truck." Not so easy to be sure of nailing someone on a walk across town after all people do look before crossing a street. I would venture the guess that he was pushed in front of the laundry truck by a laser. Lasers can move satellites in and out of orbit. They could push someone in front of a truck. Is this knowledge in the best hands?
Nine years ago in Amsterdam, I talked with a Dutch chemist who told me they had synthesized a drug infinitely more potent than LSD, and could not take the responsibility of testing this drug on human subjects, owing to the possibility of residual brain damage. Subsequently, I heard that the drug has now been released to "official agencies" in America. This may well be the "non-lethal nerve gas" being used in Vietnam. Recently I heard from someone connected with a laser research project conducted by the U.S. Navy: "They can actually send a thought." Some years ago, experiments in Norway indicated the possibility of activating speech patterns directly in the brain by means of an electromagnetic field. Hearing voices? The Black Box which develops positive ions, enabling anyone within its range to perform at a high level of efficiency without fatigue, was used by the U.S. Army and kept secret for ten years. Is it on the market yet?
Important research that could be used to free the human spirit is being monopolized by paltry intellects in the name of "National Security." What are you getting out of "national security"? The cold war is an essential factor in maintaining the establishment of the West and in Russia, and has all the marks of a deal under the table. Top secret classified research is not top secret because the Russians might find out about it. The Russians already know and in most cases are well ahead of the West. Top secret research is top secret because establishments do not want young people of the world to find out what they are doing.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Penthouse Interviews Burroughs/1972 

PENTHOUSE: It's nearly ten years since you gave a statirical but graphic description of totalitarian control in THE NAKED LUNCH. Do you think your visions of a decade ago are any nearer reality?

BURROUGHS: THE NAKED LUNCH was a science-fiction idea but is now absolute fact, mainly because of the development of electrodes which can control the brain. If anyone has these electrodes planted in him--and there may be many ways to do this, not necessitating an actual surgical operation--he can be made to think, feel, or even experience, anything that the manipulator of the electrodes wants. He can be made to make involuntary movements: to pick something up against his will. Also to feel fear, or sexuality, or any other emotion. Where such control is possible, the question arises of who is to exercise it. Once someone has the control box he is in complete control of anyone fitted with electrodes.

PENTHOUSE: But a would-be dictator would need to overcome the practical problem of implanting such electrodes.

BURROUGHS: One can imagine all sorts of scandalous ways of doing it. "Doctor had 100 Love Slaves"...he would lure young girls in for minor operations, plant electrodes in their brains and that would be it. Or an equivalent to electrodes could be produced possibly by a virus, by microwaves or by an electro-magnetic field. We also know that certain chemicals stimulate particular brain areas, such as apomorphine which stimulates the back brain, the hypothalamus. These brain areas haven't been carefully plotted but of course they can be on an encephelographic machine.

PENTHOUSE: How much are we herded already without electrical means?

BURROUGHS: There is always psychological influence, there's nothing new about that. All governments, all religions have used it throughout history. The point is that now the means of control are much more efficient. We have computers. We have populations exposed to exactly the same images and words, millions of people every day. So the opportunities to control are much more potent now than they have ever been. The same development started with the industrial revolution, the same thing has happened with weapons--they've become more and more efficient, which of course has brought a whole new, almost a biological mutation, into revolutionary tactics. Anyone can go down into his basement and make a spear or a club--but they can't make automatic weapons, they can't make tanks, they can't make dive bombers. So while the methods of psychological control are much more effective, so are the methods of physical control. Since the people in control hold heavy weapons, 1% could keep down 99% if it came to that. This was all implicit in the industrial revolution: first, that we'd have larger and larger populations, which means more and more control. Just take the job of feeding all these people in London--think of the technical job of doing that and the number of people involved in it. When Jerry Rubin and people like that talk about dropping out and doing their thing--my God, how many people could live on what England could produce? As you have larger and larger populations, more and more elaborate apparatus is needed to give them even the necessities. The bigger the thing gets, the more control you need just to run it, just to keep it moving, just to keep it from foundering completely. The nature of control is also hierarchical. You can't really get anything done unless one does it, unless someone gives the orders. So I don't think it's too far-fetched to say that the orders now are given by fewer and fewer people.

PENTHOUSE: So society would be even more hierarchical if electrode control were to reach a high degree of refinement?

BURROUGHS: Who's going to use it, and how, is an absolutely open question. I cannot think of any existing society in whose hands I would like this power to fall. Suppose the people in the Pentagon could condition people so believe in what they believed in--or what they pretend to believe in, at least--and turn everyone into decent Americans. That would be horrible. This control would be more than just a case of pressing this button here and this button there, this could be a whole computer program. Scientists have already wired up an ape's brain to a computer. Now the ape's brain can give orders to the computer, and initiate action in the computer; then the computer can chew this over and shoot it back. In other words it's a feed-back between the computer and the brain. The computer can be programmed to erase past conditioning--this has been done with apes--or to accentuate any particular aspect of conditioning. You would have a computer program that would determine a person's entire actions and feelings, and the person would be physiologically incapable of doing anything about it. But the fact that this knowledge is all out in the open is encouraging, because these developments need not be used for control at all.

Interview with Burroughs/1961 

CORSO: What say you about political conflicts?

BURROUGHS: Political conflicts are merely surfaced manifestations. If conflicts arise you may be sure that 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: What kind of advice you got for politicians?

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

CORSO: What if people don't want to change, don't want no new consciousness?

BURROUGHS: For any species to change, if they are unable and are unwilling to do so--I might for example have suggested to the dinosaurs that heavy armor and great size was a sinking ship, and that they would do well to convert to mammal facilities--it would not lie in my power or desire to reconvert a reluctant dinosaur. I can make my feeling very clear, Gregory. I feel like I'm on a sinking ship and I want off.

CORSO: Could you or do you think it wise to say who it will be or just what force it will be that will destroy the world?

BURROUGHS: You want to create panic? That's top secret--want to swamp the lifeboats?

CORSO: O.K. How did them there lifeboats get there in the first place?

BURROUGHS: Take for instance some Indians in South America I seen. There comes along this sloppy cop with his shirt buttons all in the wrong hole, well then, Parkinson's law goes into operation--there's need not for one cop but seven or eight, need for sanitation inspectors, rent collectors, etc.; so after a period of years problems arise, crime, dope taking and traffic, juvenile delinquency--So the question is asked, "What should we do about these problems?" The answer as Gertrude Stein on her deathbed said comes before the question--in short before the bastards got there in the first place!

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