14 September 2009

Cut-ups As Revolutionary Tool: Is There A Noise Continuum? Part 4

William S Burroughs

In the beginning it was the word. Language. Grammar. Alphabet. Letters. Syntax. All these give us meaning, provide a system, an operating one. Whoever controls the word controls the system, the society. So, what if we disrupt it by cutting it all up and throwing it back to the system?

William S Burroughs proposes a disruption of the word and thus a disruption of the powers-to-be's hegemony over us as the word has been the dominant tool of control over us since the word first appeared millenniums ago. The religious institutions and their holy texts, the political structures and their laws, the capitalists and their books and figures. Language is a virus, which we have been infected us for generations, used as a tool by Them on Us.

The society or the hegemonic superstructure basically values order over everything else: no disruption to the social order, and thus the powers-to-be could enjoy their dominance over us in peace. Noise, or a disruption of the word would mean to upset this peace, to question the legitimacy of the ruler over the ruled. Noise as revolutionary tool, as a spanner in the works, as a vehicle for possible change if not as the amoral conscience of the human society.

Noise is thus all about questioning, about going against the stipulated grain of the presribed dos and don'ts of one's behaviour. So what if all these are one big mistake? Burroughs shows us not so much the way but a glimpse of possibility out of the capitalist cul-de-sac and even though the capitalist behemoth has rapidly modified its form from a materialist greed and consumerist avalanche to a post-capitalist one of information control and overload of today, there is still a hope for going under or above. Resistance through the cut-ups, the disruption of the word.

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