"The only thing not prerecorded..."

This is the place to talk about everything Burroughs.

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"The only thing not prerecorded..."

Post by torsrthidesen » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:31 am

"in a prerecorded universe are the prerecordings themselves."
or the full quote:
Changes... can only be effected by alterations in the original. The only thing not prerecorded in a prerecorded universe are the prerecordings themselves. The copies can only repeat themselves word for word. A virus is a copy. You can pretty it up, cut it up, scramble it - it will reassemble in the same form.
Always been my favourite quote, but I'll admit I never quite understood what it meant. I realize it must relate to the idea of determinism (and in relation to guilt and culpabilitity) and tape recordings (or literature) but is there a clear message behind this or is it ambigious?

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Re: "The only thing not prerecorded..."

Post by edward_de_vere » Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:27 pm

It seems like a convoluted restatement of the cosmological argument for an unmoved mover, and its extension by believers in determinism/predestination. Burroughs seems to believe that his tape recorder experiments can alter this rigid determinism by juxtaposing pre-recorded outcomes in ways that were not intended by the pre-recording (e.g. according to Burroughs, what you said yesterday and what I said today may have been predestined, but a mixed and cut recording of the two was not). His argument seems pretty specious to me, since if you believe in determinism and predestination you can say that Burroughs' tape recorder cuts were just as scripted as anything else.

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Jim Pennington
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Re: "The only thing not prerecorded..."

Post by Jim Pennington » Mon Jan 30, 2017 5:01 pm

i'm with you on the puzzlement... i was once sure I had 'got it' when I read some Korzybsky and his take on engrams but I can't remember exactly why.... rejecting the dualism / binary / yes-no of Aristotle had something to do with it as well. The fine thing about Burroughs is that 'specious' never applies because he was not making an 'argument' , he was just stating the facts .... and facts are puzzling.

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