The Great Globe Is Paint In Air
by James W. Grauerholz
WILLIAM WAS a Foreseer. He foresaw our new century. He saw in to the shadows of his times, and he discerned the roots, deep in those darknesses, of what and who—today—we all know are the real Nova Mob. The Nova Criminals of our time, the 21st century A.C.E., have revealed themselves; they are right out in the open:
• The 147 transnational corporations who own (on paper, anyway) the vast majority of all planetary “wealth”—resources, assets, and financialized lies—on our Third Planet From the Sun ... but what they own has an aggregate “notional value” of many multiples of the planet’s actual total wealth, by any humane measure;
• The top 200 publicly-listed oil, coal and gas companies whose fossil-fuel “proven reserves” account for 1/4 of the planet’s unextracted hydrocarbons and amount to 745 gigatons of carbon dioxide—far exceeding the planet’s “remaining carbon budget,” i.e., 500 GtCO2: the absolute maximum carbon that can be further burned by Humankind without provoking global warming in excess of 2 degrees Celsius, hastening and worsening the already-begun worldwide climatic disaster;
• The Mega-Wealthy of Earth in 2012, their extravagant riches far surpassing anything ever known in all of human history ... William imagined them more than fifty years ago.
These très riches heures of Earth’s final human generations, before the Deluge, and the Ovens: in Naked Lunch,in the Cut-Up Trilogy, in The Wild Boys ... there were “A.J.” in “Le Gran Luxe,”and “Hassan,” he of the orgiastic “Rumpus Room,” and let us not overlook “Mr. Hart,” the embodiment of William Randolph Hearst as William imagined him in Ah Pook Is Here, nor his Mayan demonization of Henry Luce (“It is a control system. TIME LIFE FORTUNE is some sort of a police organization.”—WSB, January 1, 1965) ... and “Mr. Rich Parts,” the scar-carapaced, transplanted-organ king, cowering far below the surface in a refrigerated Bunker ... so many more, all right there.
We need not fine-tooth-comb the Burroughs-Scripture for Nostradamic arcana or magikal incunabula, because William laid it out bare, in plain English:
ALL OUT OF TIME AND INTO SPACE.
“Citizens of Gravity: We are converting all-out to Heavy Metal. Carbonic Plague of the Vegetable People threatens our Heavy Metal State. Report to your nearest Plating Station. It’s fun to be plated,” says this well-known radio and TV personality who is now engraved forever in gags of metal.
Sudden young energy--
Or, as William voiced a Nova Mobster saying, in one of the many tape-recorder audio works he made in the 1960s:
“Who ... let ... Burroughs ... get to that phone?!? and drop a dime on Us...?!?!”
Go to Nova Express, for Burroughs’ vision of Nature’s Revenge:
“Pay Color! Pay it all, pay it all, pay it all back!”
Or hear William’s mind inside the Controllers’ minds:
“Don’t let them see us! Don’t tell them what We are doing! Premature! Premature! Disaster to my blood whom I created!”
And here is what Burroughs said in “The Future of the Novel,” a text that he delivered in Edinburgh, Scotland, at the epochal 1962 Writers Conference:
A Russian scientist has said: “We will travel not only in Space, but in Time as well.”
That is, to travel in Space is to travel in Time. [...]
The conferring writers [here] have been accused by the press of not paying sufficient attention to the question of human survival—†
In Nova Express (reference is to an exploding planet), and my latest novel, The Ticket That Exploded,
I am primarily concerned with the question of survival--
But William Burroughs also said, quoting his closest friend and greatest collaborator, Brion Gysin:
“Man is a bad animal.”
William and Brion referred to the dogs-like aspect of Humanity:
“They will breed their ignorant peasant asses into the ocean.”
In his seventies, William allowed his Inner Misanthrope to flare-up when he read how the Third World‘s ballooning human population was deforesting Madagascar (to choose just one, very WSB-specific, example) ... their unsustainable slash-and-burn agriculture irreparably destroying Lemur habitat, and that was already 30 years ago.
William snarled to contemplate the gentle Indri lemurs hunted by starving Malagasy human beings and eaten by them, as “bushmeat” ... he sneered and cursed those humans, so deeply was his heart hurt to think of it, he growled to swallow a sob, in his latter years when he contemplated the Future that is now our Present.
In this Present of ours, most of the Lemuridae are threatened with extinction, and many species are already forever lost. In 2012, it was reported that 91% of the 103 still-extant Lemur species and subspecies are at maximum risk of extinction.
It’s the end of the line for the Lemurs this time, people.
Go on, read William’s late-life “Jesus Lemur” novella, Ghost of Chance, then try to visualize how he would have despaired at what is happening right now. It brings tears to my own eyes, just imagining it. But the memory of William’s sterner stuff dries me up quickly, as it also rescued him in the mid-1990s, his final Earth years.
That was in the aftermath of his wrenching, heart-quickening “contact” with the Cats, his beloved cats, so tearfully recounted in The Cat Inside, published 20 years ago ... the eternal Cat, the White Cat, Margaras ...the White Light of Truth, still moistening William’s pages in 1995, in his book, My Education: A Book of Dreams.
For examples of his latter-day Redemption Songs, see William’s Last Words journals—where he wrestled the dark angel of hatred to the ground, but won the match, in the end, by surrendering.
William was explicitly, mystically Manichaean—not so much with the Zoroastrians’ chiaroscuro battlescape of Light vs. Darkness, but with their idea that the outcome of this struggle between Good and Evil is not pre-ordained, not “pre-recorded.”
And in that sense, all this foreseeable eventual planetary loss and desolation is no proof that the Nova criminals shall have won the day. Because that day is not today. One day it will be today.
As William wrote in his 1975 Foreword to Ah Pook Is Here, in words that can as easily refer to the planet’s fate as to one human’s life:
Your death is an organism which you yourself create. If you fear it or prostrate yourself before it, the organism becomes your master.
Then he breaks it down for us:
Time is that which ends.
The only way out of Time is into Space.
What did William mean by Space?
He spoke cryptically and contradictorily about Space, but in January 1965, he offered this clue:
The hope lies in the development of non-body experience and eventually getting away from the body itself, away from three-dimensional coordinates and the concomitant animal reactions of fear and flight, which lead inevitably to tribal feuds and dissension.
The interviewer then asked Burroughs if he was, as Mary McCarthy had suggested, a “soured Utopian.”
William’s reply can stand for his entire life project as a morally-committed American writer and artist of the late 20th century:
I do definitely mean what I say to be taken literally, yes: to make people aware of the true criminality of our times ... to wise-up the Marks.
All of my work is directed against those who are bent, through stupidity or design, on blowing up the planet or rendering it uninhabitable.
Now I have told you who are the enemies of humanity, and have shown you that humanity is its own worst enemy. In the furnace heat of that unbearable truth, William created his writings, and his paintings, and all his art. And as for me, I think that is about all we can do—but we can do that, and it is what we do.
To the Transatlantic Review’s collection of his 1962 prophecy at Edinburgh, Burroughs added a cut-up text he made for the Conference. The last paragraph of that text calls out to me to be given a place on these pages—at the top of the bill, as it were; the show-closer.
I dedicate William’s words to the memory of his dear friend, who is with him now in “The Western Lands”—my beloved brother in soul, who was obliged to leave our Earth Party already two years ago, and far too soon--José Férez Kuri.
Twenty-five years ago this month, José joined forces with William as his personal art curator and artistic consultant; their collaboration lasted 23 years.
José was a gift to William from our lifelong friends here in The October Gallery, and now, with this exhibition, the circle is unbroken. We all miss José, and we salute eternally his central role in William’s life as an artist.
I thank you all, for reading these words, and for seeing William’s Art.
Nova Police besieged McEwan Hall 
Foot Notes :
 Vitali, Glattfelder, Battiston 2011. The network of global corporate control. Zurich: Systems Design.
 Carbon Tracker Initiative 2012. Unburnable carbon: Are the world’s financial markets carrying a carbon bubble? London: Investor Watch.
Conrad Knickerbocker w/ WSB, 1965. “The Art of Fiction, No. 36: William S. Burroughs.” New York: Paris Review.
 William S. Burroughs, 1965. Nova Express. New York: Grove Press.
† Two months before the Edinburgh conference, the “Missiles of October” had held the world in delicate balance between nuclear suicide and global survival (at least).
 William S. Burroughs, 1962. “Censorship;” “Future of the Novel;” et al. London: Transatlantic Review No. 11 (Winter 1962).
 Mittermeier et al., 2012. Primates in Peril: the world’s 25 most-endangered primates, 2012–2014. Bristol: IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group. (International Union for the Conservation of Nature)
 William S. Burroughs, 1979. Ah Pook Is Here. London: John Calder.
 Knickerbocker 1965.
 Burroughs 1962, Transatlantic Review.
By James W. Grauerholz (Nov. 21, 2012)
This text was originally published in the catalouge for the William S Burroughs show "All out of time and into space" at The October Gallery , London, December 2012.
To purchase a copy of William S. Burroughs: All Out Of Time And Into Space (October Publications) visit The October Gallery bookstore http://www.octobergallery.co.uk/bookstore/
You can view William S. Buroughs art which has been exhibited at The October Gallery on their website http://www.octobergallery.co.uk/artists/burroughs/index.shtml
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