Literature

William S. Burroughs, Scientologist

You cannot will spontaneity. But you can introduce the spontaneous factor with a pair of scissors.                    —William S. Burroughs For a flickering moment, in the 1960s, the unlikely orbits of the writer William S. Burroughs and the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, intersected. Two more incompatible points of view cannot be imagined, yet, for a short time, there was common ground. What attracted the fiercely independent writer to such an organised—some would say controlling—philosophy of self-development? To understand what they shared in common, we have to look briefly at Burroughs’s experiments with writing, traceable back to the Dadaists and…

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