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Dis--Information - If I'm lieing, I'm dieing

Nov 10, 1996 11:52 PM
by joseph k price

*In 1973, Burroughs wrote:  **I advance the theory that in the
electronic revolution a virus is a very small unit of word and image.**
Genetic science has since borne out Burroughs's trope:  viruses are
information.  But his use of the term is more complex than a simple
application of information theory to medicine.  For him, the virus is
both a form of imposing control-the viral intruder takes over the
biological systems of its host-as well as, ultimately, an agent of
chaotic loss of control:  the success of the virus may lead to its own
failure if the imperative to reproduce causes the death of the organism
it invades.

It is precisely such a dynamic of excess and implosion, of plenitude and
apocalytic collapse, which underlies Burroughs's practice of
photography.  He operates on the assumption that once an image is put
into circulation it is impossible to anticipate or control its path:
the image may be cropped, reproduced or reframed at will in order to
substantiate any number of textual claims.*

This brings up a topic that I'd like some input on:   The problems and
advantages of the usage and spreading of information in society today
(especially with the creation of more and more powerful methods of
communication) because I do believe that information is like a virus
that replicates logarhithmically.  Depending on the type of virus, the
organism (society) can die.  In the second paragraph, it's also
interesting that Burroughs used the metaphor of having no control of an
image once it's been put into circulation (like some Theosophical



Keith:  Very interesting post!  We seem to be on the same track as many others
who see and perhaps fear, the idea that a little entropy, lie, virus, meme,
negative art, can bring down a whole negentropic, truthful, healthy,
informative, spiritual system whether it be an individual, society,
organization, government, economy or TV sitcom.

Frankly I never could follow Burroughs, but now I seem to have adopted much of
his style.  His hipster beat thinking seems to infect our discourse at the end
of this era.  Scholastic pedantry with copious footnotes is not the style that
can capture even the most scholarly.  Does the Pope quote Aristotle or Duns
Scotus, no he goes for Kierkegaard like the rest of it with a sideways glance to
Warholesque tomfoolery.

It seems that the only way to fight fire is with fire.  The infection, I hope,
may be the cure in some strange way.   I spent the weekend at a conference
called;  AIDS, Medicince and Miracles.  The new conscensus seems that the cure
for AIDS may not come in a test tube or new government program, but come from --
are you sitting down?   ----   love (I can barely type the word).  It seems that
if one respects oneself and others the disease will stop spreading and that many
cases on long term survival and spontaneous type remissions are brought more by
healthy lifestyle and relationships.

Burroughs was a creep!  His books and life stink!  But it seemed a necessary
bringing to light of the very darkest elements of our psyche that appears in
metaphorical forms in art and discource and in the body as disease and in the
mind as anxiety, fear, guilt and shame.

TO GET BACK TO THEOSOPHY, HPB had a lot to say about Karma as giving us all
exactly what we deserve and one might add asked for in the first place.

Keith Price

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