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Pre-Recorded Problem? [Discussion]

Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:11 am
by BansheeYage
I saw an earlier post by torsrthidesen regarding Burroughs theory of a pre-recorded universe and something edward_de_vere said had me contemplating the theory and any inconsistencies within it. Since this seemed like a bigger and more profound issue I figured to make it its own thread rather than reply in the original post. Here is what edward_de_vere had said:

"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."

How exactly would you go about supporting Burroughs theory of a pre-recorded universe with the looming question of whether or not the cut-ups were in fact themselves preordained in the pre-recordings? The first place I thought to look was for a precedent in nature outside of human influence and thought of perhaps things like micro-organisms assimilating other organisms into their being, Bradly the Buyer comes to mind as an example. I haven't thought too long on comparable instances so I'm sure if you brain stormed you could come up with more yourselves, but the question remains are the cut-ups simply a part of the pre-recordings? If they weren't would that mean that mankind itself is an aberration of the pre-recordings?

I have not yet read the Third Mind book that Burroughs co-authored with Brion Gysin, so if Burroughs explains his thoughts on this subject, forgive me. If not though, could anyone cite where Burroughs may have answered this question? Surely this was offered as a counterpoint when he first proposed his theory.

What are your views on the subject?

Re: Pre-Recorded Problem? [Discussion]

Posted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:18 am
by Jim Pennington
mankind itself is an aberration of the pre-recordings?
I'll go for that ... and any other aberrant behaviour I can get a hold of ...

Re: Pre-Recorded Problem? [Discussion]

Posted: Mon May 08, 2017 12:21 am
by BansheeYage
Anyone else have anything to add on this topic? I was interested in hearing more interpretations.

Re: Pre-Recorded Problem? [Discussion]

Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:44 am
by torsrthidesen
Has this forum officially died or something? :cry:

Re: Pre-Recorded Problem? [Discussion]

Posted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:40 pm
by BansheeYage
I hope not since I love discussing Burroughs with fellow fans haha. I've been using this site for at least two years now I think and from what I've observed there appear to be a few individuals who float back and forth with posting content or replying to posts on here. Personally I check the site almost every day to see if any replies have been made to my posts or if any new content has been shared.

Let's keep the Adding Machine going folks!

Re: Pre-Recorded Problem? [Discussion]

Posted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:00 pm
by GLN
My Views:

I don't find the cut-ups to be part of a pre-recorded universe of Burroughs' cosmology. Cut-ups were innovated post-pre-recordings.

Cut-ups, i.e., collage tactics and strategies are subversively anti anything and everything pre-recorded.

Linear processes and functions in texts (algorithms?) are subverted because the resulting work, collages, cut-ups, etc., operate in ways that resonate more deeply with an Oral Tradition than a Written Tradition.

Sound is a simultaneous phenomenon. So is electricity and it creates simultaneous clusters of information and an all-at-once, simultaneous world of events.

When sound is merged with a phonetic alphabet, linear, sequential processes are unleashed and these create a visual bias.

These values dominate a Written Tradition, along with values involving fragmentation, explosive expansion, specialization, rigid heirarchies and a breaking up of a unity that a human sensibility possesses in an Oral Tradition.

Marshall McLuhan put it this way:

"When the technology of a time is powerfully thrusting in one direction, wisdom may well call for a countervailing thrust." ~ MM - 1964.

It appears to me that a vast number of Oral Tradition Attributes have crashed into what is left of a Written Tradition.

This accidental manifestation of energies has unleashed cut-ups, collage strategies, and other subversive techniques. These are part of this massive technological accident and in no way part of a pre-recorded universe.

The pre-recordings are predominately a product of the Gutenberg Galaxy and qualify as material from the ancien régimes.

Such material is only worthy of transformation, not repetition. Casting for a Shakespeare Play is interpretation and transformation. It isn't repetition. Consider what has happened to The Travel Agency Is On Fire.

Any linearity contained in sound patterns is subverted and submerged in bundles of non-verbal significance; phonemes, syllabaries, etc., i.e, aesthetic information, one of *two types of information.

On visual levels, with collage techniques applied to pictorial structures, there is intense fragmentation of form, shape, texture, line and colour, etc.

Visual Collages present sets of simultaneous relationships (like sound does) and we are then dealing with mosaic patterns and structures instead of linear, discursive structures.

Such visual Imagery arrives as a simultaneous field of visual events interacting with each other in ways that could have never become pre-recorded. I would say the same about audio collage techniques.

It has been Television that changed the way a human brain processes optical input.

The human brain now processes discontinuous visual information in precisely the way that the brain has always processed audio information.

With sound, the brain processes the patterns that have arrived at the ear drum, compares those patterns to previously registered (memorized) patterns, and anticipates future patterns.

The brain now processes discontinuous information emitted via video and digital media in the same way as it has always processed discontinuous sound patterns. All audio information is discontinuous and apprehended simultaneously.

Perhaps you're one of many that has noticed the time-consuming difficulties involved with proof-reading text on screens, in contrast with using reflected light and paper to proof-read?

While the elements that were chosen to be cut-up/collaged into an audioscape may have been pre-recorded, there is no way a resulting mosaic of sounds, audio textures, patterns, etc., could be pre-recorded.

"How random is random?" was asked by WSB. I'd answer "Very!"
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
These are the two types of information content:

* 1. Semantic, Verbal Information;

* 2. Aesthetic non-verbal information.

Semantic information is translatable while Aesthetic information can't be translated.

Someone may paint a mural based on their experience of hearing a symphony but that mural is not a translation. It's an interpretation.

Both types of information content can be interpreted but only one type can become translated in the formal sense of French to English, Chinese to Russian, etc.

Re: Pre-Recorded Problem? [Discussion]

Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:43 am
by torsrthidesen
Thank you for keeping this question aiive!

Re: Pre-Recorded Problem? [Discussion]

Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:49 am
by torsrthidesen
One, slightly non-academic, thought is that Burroughs fallacy (if we are agreed?) sort of mirrors the entire counter-culture concept. I'm not like everyone else, therefore I am unique and subversive.
I am breaking down society’s rules by being willfully eccentric (sexuality, drug use, political views).
Of course, by todays standards, a lot of the Beat-esque paradigms are pretty reactionary. It's not enough to use words like shit and cock in a poem to make it ground-breaking.
It seems clear that Burroughs and Ginsy (and Corso, Huncke, definitely Orlovsky) wanted to be outrageous and madcap. But Ginsy was most likely a misogynist, probably a pederast (no judgement), and no real revolution was spawned from any of their writing (except for within the soul - which according to Ginsy dodn't exist)...

And, this has probably been mentioned, Burroughs had clear reasons for believing in predetermined universe, as this would absolve him of the guilt of killing Joan, and for getting back on the horse (as it were. A junkie'll use any excuse) and lying about it.

We are assuming that Burroughs means that the cut-ups transcend determinism because they do not follow the "straight path", but for some reason I refuse to believe that Burroughs would have made such a school-boy error...
But, going over the sentence again and again, I cannot find any other meaning.


Burroughs didnt say "the only thing not pre-determined in a pre-determined universe are cut-ups". he said "the only thing not pre-recorded in a pre-recorded universe are the pre-recordings themselves."
Meaning... everything is pre-determined, except the core, the Lacanian real (maybe) outside language and semantics (Korzybski), which is the true, un-tampered, real...
But if we follow the analogy, the pre-recordings means that on which the world has been recorded, i.e. the pre-language reality, the blank canvas, on which the world is projected (advaita vedanta).

I am getting more and more confused. Sorry.

Re: Pre-Recorded Problem? [Discussion]

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:00 pm
by BansheeYage
Hahaha well when dealing with a topic concerning paradoxes confusion and headaches are par the course. I find your perspective on this idea very intriguing. I had never considered Burroughs own personal stake in the pre-recordings theory in relation to the death of Joan. My question is whether or not the pre-recording theory truly frees him of blame in the shooting though. If Burroughs proved that the cut-up technique was a way of liberating ones self from the control of the pre-recordings that means that free-will would in fact exist wouldn't it? Therefore Burroughs would be totally to blame for the shooting of Joan.

I'm also curious about what you meant when you wrote that no real revolution was spawned from the Beat Generation. I may be in the minority (especially on this site) but I would agree with that statement only in regards to Ginsberg to be honest.

Re: Pre-Recorded Problem? [Discussion]

Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:34 pm
by edward_de_vere
One, slightly non-academic, thought is that Burroughs fallacy (if we are agreed?) sort of mirrors the entire counter-culture concept. I'm not like everyone else, therefore I am unique and subversive.
I agree with this. The whole problem with a counter-culture as a mass movement is that it's self-defeating, because it creates its own standards and its own conformity and group-think. I've always thought that hippies weren't really rebelling, they were just conforming to the standards of a different sub-culture than the one that they opposed.

The best example of this is when counter-cultures turn into revolutionary political movements with their own institutions.

Re: Pre-Recorded Problem? [Discussion]

Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:23 am
by torsrthidesen
BansheeYage wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:00 pm
I'm also curious about what you meant when you wrote that no real revolution was spawned from the Beat Generation. I may be in the minority (especially on this site) but I would agree with that statement only in regards to Ginsberg to be honest.
I mean nothing really happened. They offended a couple of old timers, had a make-believe revolution and then become old fogies. Only Rexroth was a true revolutionary. These things never last.
They had an hipster-attitude of being outsiders, but ultimatly never tried to destroy society or civiliziation.

Re: Pre-Recorded Problem? [Discussion]

Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 1:41 am
by BansheeYage
You consider Burroughs work ineffectual @torsrthidesen?

Re: Pre-Recorded Problem? [Discussion]

Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 2:28 am
by torsrthidesen
BansheeYage wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 1:41 am
You consider Burroughs work ineffectual @torsrthidesen?
No. We were talking about the Beats in general. Burroughs was and is very innfluental and a key figure in consciousness expansion.
My point is that back then it was almost enough to be gay and a junkie to be a revolutionary.