Burroughs Month: Man is designed for space travel

Man is an artifact designed for space travel. He is not designed to remain in his present biologic state any more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole.


Postulate that there is no privacy and no deceit possible in space: Your innermost thoughts, feelings and intentions are immediately apparent to those around you. So you want to be careful who is around you.

(William S. Burroughs. The Adding Machine: Selected Essays. New York: Arcade, 1993. p. 85.)

I did a lot of Burroughs reading in October to get all primed for the take-two of Burroughs month this November, and one of my favorite pieces from The Adding Machine was this little gem. I plan to share more later this week, about shit-spotting. But as far as this excerpt goes, I drew a lonely and ugly conclusion from the parameters of Burroughs’ postulate in this passage: if there is no privacy in space, I would not want to go.


Astronomy Domine by pequeñísimo ser on the flickr.

If that’s part of the rules, that I can be in space but people can read my thoughts and my feelings? My first instinct in the face of that stricture would be to reject the chance of space travel, which is something that I have wanted to do my whole life, to the point that I mist up when I think about how I’m getting too old to ever be approved to colonize the moon, which means giving up on my dream of making love on the lawn in my terraformed backyard by Earthlight (the most beautiful thing possible — just think about it), yet here I am saying “no-go” to space travel if it means tipping my hand about all my secret romantic notions. That is crazy. I need to work on tearing down some of my walls.

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