Scientology promoting William Burroughs. WTF?

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by Woo Hah, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. Woo Hah Member


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  2. Anonymous Member

    William S. Burroughs studied scientology for many years.

    Near the end of that period, he spent about a year or several months at Saint Hill, and became clear #1163 (my number may be incorrect, but it's something like that..... ) okay, I checked it was 1163.

    WSB - Cult CLEAR.jpeg

    Here's a 1968 photo of WSB at Saint Hill with Graham Masterson, publisher of MAYFAIR Magazine. The female is unknown. Masterson said she was the "tour guide."

    BURROUGHS@Saint Hill-cropped.jpg

    By 1970, Burroughs had rejected the cult and published several articles condemning it and Hubbard.

    Well before the decade ended, Burroughs was completely done with it.

    If there are signs that the cult is now promoting WSB as a scientologist, it's just another index of how desperate the cult has become.
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  3. Anonymous Member

    Ali's Smile / Naked Scientology William S. Burroughs, Expanded Media Editions, ISBN 0388030119

    ‘Contains essays previously published in US alternative newspapers in the early 1970s, and a series of letters between the Church of Scientology and the author.’
    I'm guessing the person who posted the essay didn't know about the subsequent letters where Burroughs wakes up to the cult.
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  4. wolfbane Member

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  5. Anonymous Member

    Here's a PDF of the above:

    For a complete index of WSB in Mayfair Magazine, here’s a link:

    Many in the listing of Mayfair Magazines have links to scans of the articles.

    Here’s some access to some of the WSB Articles in Mayfair Magazine:

    I've attached three PDFs to this post.

    1. Mr. Burroughs to Mr. Hubbard

    2. Mrs. Hubbard to Mr. Burroughs

    3. Mr. Hubbard to Mr. Burroughs

    Attached Files:

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  6. Anonymous Member

    I forget the name and number of the cult magazine that published this photo, but it was 1968, at Saint Hill.

    WSB Saint Hill Bookstore.jpg
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  7. 986

    A very good book:
  8. Anonymous Member

    I haven't seen the eBook but I bought the read the hard copy print edition.

    The editing of that thing is appalling!

    And I don't mean a few typos here and there, I mean completely incorrect word use/misspellings, factual errors and many typos.

    I credit David Wills with taking a very sensitive approach to the involvement of Mr. Burroughs in the cult, but the work that I read is in desperate need of a competent editor and fact-checker.

    If the text had been given that kind of treatment, I would be giving it a large amount of praise.
  9. Woo Hah Member

  10. muldrake Member

    Interestingly, they apparently never declared him.
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  11. Anonymous Member

    Yes, a curious anomaly. My thinking about this is as follows:

    For the times, (a large counter-culture emerging) it can be reasoned that Burroughs wrote and published several positive statements and/or essays on the merits of scientology.

    I think it possible that the cult believed that the positive material that had been published would serve the purpose of drawing young people into the cult. It probably did, but I reckon that a significantly large number of acid heads were rejected.

    Also, for Hubbard, it was important to bond any celebrity whatsoever to the cult.

    And Burroughs got celebrity treatment from the cult. Note the absence of admonishments for drug use and drug addiction.

    From Gerry Armstrong's Blog:

    Guardian’s Office Document: How to handle an SP

    Q.2. Scientology has been the subject of a lot of publicity in newspapers, who seem to be universally against you. Why do you think this is?

    Answer. Newspapers in general tend to be hysterical in order to raise their circulation figures. Their articles are ignorant and unfounded, and we have had some very good reviews in newspapers and magazines recently from individuals who have actually personally inspected Scientology. William Burroughs, the well-known American writer is one of them.

    Copyright (c) 1968
    by L. Ron Hubbard
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  12. Clusterdux Member

    For internal consumption, anything goes.
    If DM can go on stage and tell easily verifiable lies about things that are happening NOW, why would it be odd that CoS propaganda was omitting some details about someone who died last century?
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  13. Woo Hah Member

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  14. Anonymous Member

    To David Wills credit, his work has had me examining stuff that I hadn't examined prior.

    For example, March 13th, 1911 is the birth date for LRH.

    February 5th, 1914 is the birth date for WSB.

    A mere three years difference in age.

    Another personage that has interested me for a long time in relation to Hubbard and Burroughs is Fritz Kahn.

    Dr. Fritz Kahn (1888–1968) was a Berlin based gynecologist and popular science writer who visualized the structure and function of the human body in a very unique way.

    Kahn's history is interesting, re: Berlin and National Socialism:

    The mechanistic and technological diagrams that Kahn created to describe human body and nervous system functions fascinate me because while a predecessor to Hubbard by 23 years, and Burroughs by 26, those men could be considered contemporaries in certain respects.

    All of these men were products of the 20th century except for Kahn who hit the deck running by the time the new century rolled into place.

    Equally fascinating for me are the metaphors used by Hubbard to describe his theories of mental function and dysfunction - The File Clerk, The Time Track, Pictures, Engrams & all that Xenu stuff, etc.

    Burroughs resorted to similar means to define human memory and perception processes - tape recorder + tapes, recorded and played back, cameras, films and photographs. At one point, "a biological film" was a prominent metaphor for reality.

    It would seem that mechanistic, technological metaphors for the human condition were the zeitgeist for all three of these men.

    Here's a some examples of Kahn's work:

    Fritz Kahn Tactile.jpg


    As an example for early and mid-20th century zeitgeist, here's an example of product advertising, mid-20th century:

    Bufferin Ad 1955.png


    For me, the connections with Kahn's work are obvious.

    The connections between Kahn, Hubbard and Burroughs may be not so obvious, unless you've read the work of the latter authors.


    This picture reminds me so much of my experience with a first reading of Dianetics: The Modern Science Of Mental Health.
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  15. Anonymous Member

    It's been published for over40 years.
  16. DeathHamster Member

    Quite possibly Hubbard gave special orders on his handling.
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  17. The Internet Member

    Thanks for the memes.

    Imagine living on some South Pacific island in the 1940s when a US war ship arrives to establish a base camp. Suddenly machines are everywhere. An airstrip and radio tower go up nearly overnight. Planes start landing with crates of coffee, chocolates, linens, lanterns, and other small luxuries. All this would have seemed wonderful and terrifying at the same time to an islander.

    The industrial revolution was less sudden but likewise must have seemed terrifying and wondrous to the agrarian era that preceded it. I think we're still reeling from industrialization because we are forever making up stories about epic struggles between Nature and The Machine. We think we know what we mean by those ideas. But mostly we're just as confused and lost as the worshippers of John From, as illustrated by your old magazine illustrations of mechanical bodies.
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  18. Anonymous Member

    Thanks for the John From reference. I'd become aware of the Cargo Cult phenomenon through various discussions over the years, but John From is new to me.

    Of interest is that by the 1950s, our cultures and societies had become saturated with the first and second waves of electromagnetic technology - telegraph, radio, TV etc., - and although industrial technology was often used to explain our situation to us, the industrial age was gradually, perhaps rapidly, fading.

    It has faded to the extremes of today's Detroit, and the loss of numerous US, Canadian and European "Industries."

    The upshot has been that of being provided with a plethora of "globalization" memes, and our digital hardware being produced by slave labour in places like China.

    The largest "industries" today are the surveillance industries.

    NSA/CIA/FBI, Facebook and Google Data Mining, are a mere glimpse of the gigantic extent of it all, and those agencies mentioned are not the only culprits.

    In this respect, Hubbard got it all wrong and Burroughs got it mostly right.

    Hubbard merely pointed out the crime, war and insanity and offered up a preposterous prescription for fixing it.

    Burroughs explained how it all got that way, who the players are, and suggested remedial methods of resistance.
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  19. Anonymous Member

    If it's entheta then no Scientologist publishing pro-Scn essays from him would've read the letters no matter how long ago they were published.
  20. DeathHamster Member

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  21. The Wrong Guy Member

    Burroughs attended Edinburgh Scientology course | The Scotsman

    By Stephen McGinty

    William Burroughs, author of the Naked Lunch and influential writer of the “Beat generation” came to Edinburgh to study Scientology, the controversial religion which today boasts members such as Tom Cruise, according to a new biography.

    The author, a heroin addict who killed his wife while attempting to shoot an apple off her head, became an early acolyte of the religion which was founded by the science fiction writer, L Ron Hubbard. In the spring of 1968 Burroughs spent a week at the Scottish Scientology Centre in Edinburgh.

    According to Barry Miles, the author of William S Burroughs: A Life the Scottish Scientology Centre was run by the Sea Org, the only people allowed to teach “Operating Thetan” levels of Scientology.

    As Miles explained: “Burroughs spent £1,500 on the Scientology course… This consisted of a whole batch of very strange convoluted sentences that he had to run himself, keeping a written record, reading the sentences, repeating them until they were flat on the needle.”

    Members of Scientology were scrutinised by an e-meter, a primitive form of lie detector and while holding the e-meter Burroughs had to read out loud, until the needle didn’t move, sentences such as: “To have much, to have little, to have much, to have everything.…” and “To stay here, to stay there, to stay out, to stay in.”

    The religion that Hubbard invented has as a core belief the idea that a galactic ruler, Xenu, killed billions of Thetans by dropping hydrogen bombs into volcanos and that the particles of these Thetans still cling to people today preventing them from making spiritual and mental progress.

    The church offers courses of study which become increasingly expensive but which promise to rid the body of Thetans.

    Yet despite completing the course in Edinburgh, Burroughs was eventually to become disillusioned with Scientology and when in April 1969 he was accused of “treason” for his critical writings he left.

    He said: “They tried to put me into a condition, and I said: ‘well, I’m not going to put up with this. Gold stars and all this I left back in Kindergarden’.” He later said: “It was a weird episode but interesting, I don’t regret it. I learned a lot. I do know how to work a lie detector.”

    Continued here:

    The article's author on Twitter:
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  22. As a cultie, I vaguely remember more "experienced" Scilons telling me that Burroughs was a Scientologist. They were all reformed acid heads and recalled with a certain sense of affection (perhaps longing?) for those hippie dippy days when they all read NAKED LUNCH. How groovy. How so, so, underground of them. Their attitude was one of, "Poor William. He's left Scientology. He doesn't know what he's missed."

    If I recall correctly, some of them thought he was an SP. Maybe a copy of an SP declare is around somewhere if that was the case; if he really was declared. If so, then the London Org is really doing it wrong and is out ethics.

    Gordon Lightfoot and Leonard Cohen were involved in the cult but they were never declared. They just stopped showing up. Maybe the Canadian Orgs can promote themselves using those two famous names. I just dare them to do that.
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  23. The Wrong Guy Member


    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 Thetan."

    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.

    Last paragraph:

    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.

    The author on Twitter:

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