William S. Burroughs Quotes

A cat’s rage is beautiful, burning with pure cat flame, all its hair standing up and crackling blue sparks, eyes blazing and sputtering.

A functioning police state needs no police.

A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on.

Admittedly, a homosexual can be conditioned to react sexually to a woman, or to an old boot for that matter. In fact, both homo – and heterosexual experimental subjects have been conditioned to react sexually to an old boot, and you can save a lot of money that way.

After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.

After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say ‘I want to see the manager.’

Anything that can be done chemically can be done by other means.

Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact.

Be just and if you can’t be just, be arbitrary.

Black magic operates most effectively in preconscious, marginal areas. Casual curses are the most effective.

Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.

Every man has inside himself a parasitic being who is acting not at all to his advantage.

Happiness is a byproduct of function, purpose, and conflict; those who seek happiness for itself seek victory without war.

How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity.

Hustlers of the world, there is one mark you cannot beat: the mark inside.

I am getting so far out one day I won’t come back at all.

In deep sadness there is no place for sentimentality.

In my writing I am acting as a map maker, an explorer of psychic areas, a cosmonaut of inner space, and I see no point in exploring areas that have already been thoroughly surveyed.

Junk is the ideal product… the ultimate merchandise. No sales talk necessary. The client will crawl through a sewer and beg to buy.

Language is a virus from outer space.

Like all pure creatures, cats are practical.

Man is an artifact designed for space travel. He is not designed to remain in his present biologic state any more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole.

Most of the trouble in this world has been caused by folks who can’t mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus has.

Nothing is true, everything is permitted.

Our national drug is alcohol. We tend to regard the use any other drug with special horror.

Perhaps all pleasure is only relief.

Silence is only frightening to people who are compulsively verbalizing.

Smash the control images. Smash the control machine.

Sometimes paranoia’s just having all the facts.

The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values.

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 face of evil is always the face of total need.

The only possible ethic is to do what one wants to do.

The way to kill a man or a nation is to cut off his dreams, the way the whites are taking care of the Indians: killing their dreams, their magic, their familiar spirits.

There couldn’t be a society of people who didn’t dream. They’d be dead in two weeks.

Which came first the intestine or the tapeworm?

You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.

Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative.

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.