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 :: 1914-1997, American Writer

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My general theory since 1971 has been that the word is literally a virus, and that it has not been recognized as such because it has achieved a state of relatively stable symbiosis with its human host; that is to say, the word virus (the Other Half) has established itself so firmly as an accepted part of the human organism that it can now sneer at gangster viruses like smallpox and turn them in to the Pasteur Institute.
~ William S. Burroughs - [Words]

 

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No atomic physicist has to worry, people will always want to kill other people on a mass scale. Sure, he's got the fridge full of sausages and spring water.
~ William S. Burroughs - [Physics]

 

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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.
~ William S. Burroughs - [Perception]

 

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Now what sort of man or woman or monster would stroke a centipede I have ever seen? ''And here is my good big centipede!'' If such a man exists, I say kill him without more ado. He is a traitor to the human race.
~ William S. Burroughs - [Insects]

 

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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 Louver! A bas l Originality, the sterile and assertive ego that imprisons us as it creates. Vive le sol -- pure, shameless, total. We are not responsible. Steal anything in sight.
~ William S. Burroughs - [Inspiration]

 

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So cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can't fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.
~ William S. Burroughs - [Cheating]

 

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The face of evil is always the face of total need.
~ William S. Burroughs - [Evil]

 

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The people in power will not disappear voluntarily, giving flowers to the cops just isn't going to work. This thinking is fostered by the establishment; they like nothing better than love and nonviolence. The only way I like to see cops given flowers is in a flower pot from a high window.
~ William S. Burroughs - [Nonviolence]

 

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There couldn't be a society of people who didn't dream. They'd be dead in two weeks.
~ William S. Burroughs - [Dreams]

 

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There is the pleasurable orgasm, like a rising sales graph, and there is the unpleasurable orgasm, slumping ominously like the Dow Jones in 1929.
~ William S. Burroughs - [Orgasm]

 

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They tend to be suspicious, bristly, paranoid-type people with huge egos they push around like some elephantiasis victim with his distended testicles in a wheelbarrow terrified no doubt that some skulking ingrate of a clone student will sneak into his very brain and steal his genius work.
~ William S. Burroughs - [Science and Scientists]

 

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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.
~ William S. Burroughs - [Universe]

 

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Virtue is simply happiness, and happiness is a by-product of function. You are happy when you are functioning.
~ William S. Burroughs - [Virtue]

 

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Which came first the intestine or the tapeworm?
~ William S. Burroughs - [Disease]

 

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Writing prejudicial, off-putting reviews is a precise exercise in applied black magic. The reviewer can draw free-floating disagreeable associations to a book by implying that the book is completely unimportant without saying exactly why, and carefully avoiding any clear images that could capture the reader's full attention.
~ William S. Burroughs - [Critics and Criticism]

 

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