William Burroughs, famous beat writer, shaking hands with Xenu, not really....

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Reports from Newspapers, Blogs, and ' started by chuckbeatty, May 12, 2011.

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  1. chuckbeatty

    chuckbeatty Patron with Honors


    The 3rd or 4th photo in this article, is the one with Burroughs
    shaking hands, with a space alien that looks very much like Xenu, not

    Other great Burroughs photos in this article. One with Burroughs holding the emeter cans, and the emeter facing Burroughs.

    Here it is:

    William S. Burroughs' Wild Ride with Scientology
    by Lee Konstantinou

    -- In 1959, the same year Olympia Press published his most famous
    novel Naked Lunch, the writer William S. Burroughs visited the
    restaurant of his friend and collaborator, Brion Gysin, in Tangiers.
    There, Burroughs met John and Mary Cooke, a wealthy American hippie
    couple who were interested in mysticism. Burroughs recalled, "There
    was something portentous about it, as though I was seeing them in
    another medium, like they were sitting there as holograms."

    Who were these portentous holograms? Scientologists. Indeed, John
    Cooke is reported to have been the very first person to receive a
    status of "Clear" within Scientology, and was deeply involved in its
    founding. Cooke had been trying to recruit Gysin into the Church,
    declaring that the artist was a natural "Clear" and "Operating
    Thetan." Ultimately, it was Burroughs, not Gysin, who explored the
    Church that L. Ron Hubbard built. Burroughs took Scientology so
    seriously that he became a "Clear" and almost became an "Operating

    On a research trip to the New York Public Library, I discovered that
    Burroughs had left behind a rich paper trail documenting his
    exploration of the science-fiction inspired Church.

    I was looking into Burroughs' life as part of a bigger project about
    his influence on punk, which led me to the the Henry W. and Albert A.
    Berg Collection at the NYPL. The William S. Burroughs Papers have a
    range of amazing materials related to Burroughs's exploration of
    Scientology, including extensive handwritten notes Burroughs took on
    Scientological training materials, notes from auditing sessions
    Burroughs conducted, and even a cut-up of auditing questions.

    According to his biographer, Barry Miles, Burroughs very quickly
    incorporated Scientology into his worldview. In an October 27, 1959
    letter to Allen Ginsberg, Burroughs wrote: "The method of directed
    recall is the method of Scientology. You will recall I wrote urging
    you to contact local chapter and find an auditor. They do the job
    without hypnosis or drugs, simply run the tape back and forth until
    the trauma is wiped off. It works. I have used the method--partially
    responsible for recent changes." Burroughs thought that the Church was
    teaching techniques that might help him resist social control by
    erasing negative images called "engrams" and its ideas came to inform
    his art.

    Only two days later, Burroughs wrote again to Ginsberg: "I have a new
    method of writing and do not want to publish anything that has not
    been inspected and processed. I cannot explain this method to you
    until you have necessary training. So once again and most urgently
    (believe me there is not much time)--I tell you: 'Find a Scientology
    Auditor and have yourself run.'" Scientology appears throughout
    Burroughs's oeuvre, and especially in his innovative cut-up trilogy of
    the sixties and in the avant-garde films he made with Gysin.

    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."

    In 1961, Burroughs created a short film in collaboration with Gysin
    called Towers Open Fire (warning: NSFW!), which was a plotless film
    designed to show the process of control systems breaking down-showing
    Burroughs, in camouflage and a gas mask, firing an "orgasm gun"; a boy
    in underwear; a spinning Dream Machine; a shot of a man masturbating;
    among other disturbing images. Gysin's biographer notes that the film
    even used snippets of dialog taken from a Scientology pamphlet.

    Scientology appears again disguised as the "Logos" group in
    Burroughs's 1962 novel The Ticket That Exploded. As described in the
    book, Logos has "a system of therapy they call 'clearing'. You 'run'
    traumatic material which they call 'engrams' until it loses emotional
    connotation through repetitions and is then refilled as neutral
    memory' When all the 'engrams' have been run and deactivated the
    subject becomes a 'clear.'" In the 1964 novel Nova Express,
    Scientology is for the first time openly described in Burroughs's
    fiction. During an interrogation scene in the book, an unnamed
    character declares "The Scientologists believe sir that words recorded
    during a period of unconsciousness... store pain and that this pain
    store can be lugged in with key words represented as an alternate
    mathematical formulae indicating umber of exposures to the key words
    and reaction index... they call these words recorded during
    unconsciousness engrams sir... The pain that overwhelms that person is
    basic basic sir and when basic basic is wiped off the tape... then that
    person becomes what they call clear sir."

    At the start of 1968, Burroughs deepened his relationship to the Church. He took an intense two-month Scientology Clearing Course at the world
    headquarters of Scientology in Saint Hill Manor in the UK and
    Burroughs was declared a "Clear," though he later claimed that he had
    to work hard to suppress or rationalize his persistently negative
    feelings toward L. Ron Hubbard during auditing sessions. The Berg has
    almost a dozen files filled with Burroughs's pamphlets from Saint Hill
    as well as his almost unreadable hand-written notes on Scientology
    courses and questions he prepared for auditing sessions he himself
    conducted. These files include, as I've mentioned, an attempt to
    create a cut-up from auditing questions; from the start, Scientology
    was very much connected to the cut-up technique and Burroughs's theory
    that language constituted a kind of virus that had infested the human
    host. At Saint Hill, Burroughs entered an intense and obsessive period
    of auditing sessions with an E-Meter, including a process of exploring
    past lives, though he slowly began to grow alienated from the Church
    and what he considered its Orwellian security protocols. Burroughs's
    antipathy for Scientological "Sec Checks" are apparent in his strange
    and violent story, "Ali's Smile," which was published in the
    collection Ali's Smile/Naked Scientology.

    Burroughs eventually rejected Scientology--because of what he called
    "the fascist policies of Hubbard and his organization"--but cautiously
    endorsed some of its "discoveries." His break with the Church
    developed over course of the late sixties in the pages of the London-
    based magazine, Mayfair, where Burroughs wrote a series of
    increasingly hostile "bulletins" about his adventures with the
    organization. These bulletins culminated in Burroughs's amusingly
    titled Mayfair article, "I, William Burroughs, Challenge You, L. Ron
    Hubbard." This piece was republished in the Los Angeles Free Press. In
    his challenge to L. Ron, Burroughs wrote:

    Some of the techniques [of Scientology] are highly valuable and
    warrant further study and experimentation. The E Meter is a useful
    device... (many variations of this instrument are possible). On the
    other hand I am in flat disagreement with the organizational policy.
    No body of knowledge needs an organizational policy. Organizational
    policy can only impede the advancement of knowledge. There is a basic
    incompatibility between any organization and freedom of thought.

    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." Strangely enough, despite
    his break with the group, Scientology reappeared in the 1972 film Bill
    and Tony, which Burroughs made with Antony Balch (the masturbating guy
    in Towers Open Fire). In Bill and Tony, an image of Burroughs's
    disembodied floating head recites instructions for how to operate an
    auditing session.

    So what are we supposed to make of all this? On one level it's hard to
    say, but what ought to be abundantly clear is that Burroughs took
    Scientology quite seriously indeed for the better part of a decade--
    during what was arguably his most artistically fertile period.
    Burroughs clearly had his own uses for Scientology. Gysin once quipped
    that Burroughs was probably the first person to make more money from
    Scientology than the organization made from him. This may be true, but
    Burroughs wasn't investigating the Church cynically. Today, where so
    much attention focuses on the science fictional origins of
    Scientology, it is easy to forget how seemingly in harmony the Church
    was with a whole range of countercultural, "New Age," and anti-
    psychiatric practices in the Sixties.

    What becomes clear when you listen to Burroughs talking about
    Scientology is that he associated the group with a range of mind-
    expanding and mind-freeing practices: Wilhelm Reich's trippy Orgone
    Accumulator, which Jack Kerouac wrote about in On the Road; Mayan
    calendrical mind control systems; hallucinogens (especially the plant
    yagé) and other powerful mind-altering drugs; apomorphine, which he
    used several times to treat his drug addiction; the rambling,
    sarcastic monologues he called "routines"; the Dream Machine Burroughs
    invented with Gysin, a machine that supposedly could simulate "alpha-
    waves"; and of course his ultimate weapon in the Burroughs arsenal,
    the cut-up, which was designed to jam up what he called "the Reality
    Studio," aka the everyday, conditioned, mind-controlled reality. If
    you spend enough time digging through Burroughs's writing, you get the
    sense that Burroughs thought he lived in a very literally real science
    fictional world.

    Absent from Burroughs's writing are any references to body thetans,
    Xenu, the Galactic Confederacy, Douglas DC-8 airliners, volcanic
    hydrogen bombs, or other beliefs more recently associated with
    Scientology, thanks to the South Park episode, "Trapped in the Closet"
    and Lawrence Wright's epically long New Yorker article on the
    defection of the film director Paul Haggis from the church). It's too
    bad Burroughs didn't achieve a higher OT level; he could have mined
    Scientology's madcap space opera as a source for even more mind-
    bending books.

    Lee Konstantinou is author of the novel Pop Apocalypse, and begins a
    teaching fellowship in English at Princeton in the fall.
  2. cooooooool....

    way cool chuck


    those phone conversations we had were GREAT. i hope you enjoyed them half as much as i.

    back in 1968 the british mag Mayfair published a piece ron had writen which they titled "ron speaks". apparenty it was in response to william burroughs criticisms (and thus implies ron - unlike the GO and OSA - differentiated between criticism and critique). i'm not sure but i think that was the last time ron published his writing in public until battlefield earth.

    can anyone post a link to it?
  3. Veda

    Veda Sponsor

    Re: cooooooool....

    I remember seeing it posted on the wall at the New York Org when I was a newbie Scientologist long ago and far away. It sounded so reasonable. At the time, it seemed to indicate that Hubbard was a nice fellow. Turns out to have been a slick PR handling. It was the opposite of what Hubbard was saying behind the scenes.

    As I recall, the 'Mayfair' response by Hubbard appeared around the time of Hubbard's sham "cancellation" of Fair Game, Disconnection, and Security Checking.

    Per the pattern established by Hubbard, Scientology, rather than honestly reforming, had simply become a little more covert.
  4. This is NOT OK !!!!

    This is NOT OK !!!! Gold Meritorious Patron


    That's it!!

    I hereby recall Virgil Wilhite back from the dead! (Virgil being the greatest collector of 1st edition LRH books, signed....bla bla bla._)

    I want copies of ALL Burroughs books - signed, first editions if possible.

    They should be run up the pole to obcene hights of collectibles!!

    Besides, with Chuck's help, I managed to donate my entire LRH library (inc'l 1st editions) to a cultic studies department of a major US university. And what a tidy tax deduction it was!:happydance: So I have some shelf space in my library!

    Sir Burroughs!

  5. Veda

    Veda Sponsor

    Excerpt from a 6th March 1970 statement from Burroughs:

    Burroughs wrote approvingly of *some* aspects of Scientology "tech," but also warned that Scientology came into being, "fundamentally as [a means for] an ersatz (substitute) immortality for its founder..."

    "In the book, 'The teachings of Don Juan', Castaneda described drugs of devastating potency, drugs unknown to modern science. These drugs should be investigated and made available.

    "Unimaginable extensions of awareness are now possible in terms of existing techniques. Let's set up a center where all of these techniques can be pooled, and to challenge anyone who claims to have knowledge of inner space to come out and share what you have.

    "Let's explore inner space, Your inner space belongs to you. It is time to demand what is yours."
    Last edited: May 13, 2011
  6. DartSmohen

    DartSmohen Silver Meritorious Patron


    Just to let you know I sent a message to Lee correcting some of his errors on the sequence of events. If you want to read how Burroughs was declared Clear, then read it in WWW.Paulsrabbit.


  7. Re: cooooooool....


    first rate analysis and particularly notable for it's brevity

    keep up the good work veda
  8. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    Should it happen that Dart's link doesn't work as given because you have one of those literal browsers that insist on being fed properly, try www.paulsrabbit.com and scroll down the page for Dart Smohen: The Real Story in PDF or MOBI (Kindle) format.

  9. Jachs

    Jachs Gold Meritorious Patron

    Dart or Paul ,Ive checked the PDF and i cant come up with anything searching with bill william or burroughs? any ideas what page? it doesnt appear to be in the index.
  10. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    I'm not responsible for Dart's claims! I agree there is nothing about Burroughs specifically there.

    Maybe he is referring to the usual way the Clear Check was done as the time, which is included in the ebook, and meant that Burroughs was checked out in that way.

  11. Veda

    Veda Sponsor

  12. Robotism

    Robotism New Member

    This is fascinating. Can anyone tell me or verify if Scientology truly paid a big role in Burroughs' creativity. I didn't do much when I tried out a few courses, but it seems that Burroughs got quite a bit out of it in just a few months work. Would this be right?

  13. Veda

    Veda Sponsor

  14. Infinite

    Infinite Crusader

    Blast from the past . . .

  15. Hypnotarian

    Hypnotarian Patron with Honors

  16. Jachs

    Jachs Gold Meritorious Patron

    Re: William Burroughs Ali's Smile / Naked Scientology

    William Burroughs Ali's Smile / Naked Scientology

    http://www.apologeticsindex.org/Naked Scientology.pdf

    To give you an idea what St Hill was like, i shared a cottage with seven Scientologists and the young females at breakfast come on with cognitions and thinly disguised sexual dreams about L.RON HUBBARD like young nuns dreaming about Christ, and this one girl who held us up and one car to pile seven Scientologists into it , five minutes to make St Hill five miles away or we will be late for our classes and you know what that means , if it happens twice children a dirty gray rag around a tidy arm, barrelling down a narrow road 65 miles per hour they are too stupid to be scared. RON will take care of us they think just made it on time the rack with coats stacked four deep keeps falling down shabby rooms with charts and Bulletins and pictures of RON on the wall like some dreary public school. My 'twin' as they call them the one who works with you on the E-meter is a nice middle aged woman from California, i would judge shes buried three husbands 250,000 per coffin . Shes got a high tone arm cant get it down cant get reads on the dating drill, fear stirs in my stomach. This could mean review and some horrible condition.The supervisor paces around.he stops behind a young girl.

    "I am putting you in a condition of Liability for out tech" he tells her.

    "She goes out weeping to ethics."

    "Now he is standing behind my chair."

    "You're in a condition of Danger he tells me"

    "Thats it!" barks a sulky sea org lieutenant standing in the doorway with the public Ethics officer. The one I call the Pig woman.

    "Everybody line up for a Sec Check".

    When my turn comes i pick up the cans

    "Do you consider St Hill a safe environment?"

    "Yes of course i do".

    "Theres a read here what do think this could mean?"

    Well we are all surrounded by suppressives, it frightens me to think of all those devils around us.

    I was learning.

    I remember some old biddy dragging me into a broom closet (all the auditing rooms were full,as usual) and asking me "Do you have any unkind thoughts about L RON HUBBARD"..."that reads" ..."what do you think this could mean?"

    "Hes so beautiful , he dazzles me, i cant help resenting it sometimes..."

    In the words of Celine "All this time I felt my self respect slipping away from me and finally completely gone as it were officially removed...." Like an anthropologist who has after unspeakable indignities, penetrated a savage tribe i was determined to hang on to get the medicine if i had to fuck the sacred crocodile. I was lining up what allies i could muster and even had my boy in ethics. I had as they say unmocked the Pig woman. But i was ordered for a joberg because i rockslammed on the question "What would have to happen for Sceintology to work on everybody" (I could not confront it)

    "William Burroughs, Report to Ethics.."They want me to disconnect from Mr Bradly Mr Martin a character in my own writing, Well he was getting old in any case

    So back to the Joberg..

    "Have you ever known any communists?"

    "Oh yes lots of them and CIA men too.."

    "Are you withholding anything?"

    "I dont think so"

    "That reads"

    Finally i had to confess the truth

    "I have made magic against RON"

    "What made you do it?"

    "Suppressives, of course, they wanted to keep me from RON".

    "Your needle is floating."
  17. BunnySkull

    BunnySkull Silver Meritorious Patron

    Burroughs did the bulk of his critically acclaimed work before ever encountering Scientology. In fact you could say the Scio period and afterwards marked a real decline in Burroughs output and signaled the end of his celebrated literary achievements and the start of him enjoying living off the fruits of his previous works and hobnobbing with famous "hippie" admirers (like the rolling stones) for the next decade.

    Also I wonder how Burroughs was declared "clear" at all since he was gay, a heavy user of heroin and methadone the majority of his life ( with brief periods of kicking the habit, but he died in the 90's still taking methadone on a daily basis) along with all kinds of other drugs and had a long "psych" history.
  18. Jachs

    Jachs Gold Meritorious Patron

    You could have easily been describing how Hubbard was declared clear, with alternative potions. psych history, drug, alchohol, pain killer addiction, promiscuity, fraud ,criminal conduct.

    Burroughs sighting the stamping illegal any of Hubbard traits, must have been an enlightening experience. The so called illegal are saints compared to Hubbards history.
  19. DagwoodGum

    DagwoodGum Conspiracy Analyst III

    I just remember meeting him at an event in his honor in the late 70's in the west bank area of the University of Minnesota and he seemed to be a mess of a man. I only remember that he said he used to like to cut up his pages of his work with a scissors and move the lines around to inspire himself to come up with more material to tie it all together, like a ever expanding jigsaw puzzle till he finally had something. I don't remember him mentioning Scientology. I got the feeling that he'd rather have not have been there at all but would prefer being zonked out in a gutter somewhere. He was not very impressive at that age, probably similar to an aged LRH.
  20. Jachs

    Jachs Gold Meritorious Patron

    I see a Mayfair publication about Hubbard and Burroughs is up for grabs on Ebay UK

    MAYFAIR:Vol.5 No.6,1970-L.Ron Hubbard defends Scientology, William Burroughs

    Item number: 350497136166
    Item location: London, United Kingdom
    Posts to: Worldwide