The beats were great at saying things. And then actualizing them.
William S. Burroughs:
"Nothing is true, everything is permitted."
"Silence is only frightening to people who are compulsively verbalizing."
"The way to kill a man or a nation is to cut off his dreams, the way the whites are taking care of the Indians: killing their dreams, their magic, their familiar spirits."
"Most of the trouble in this world has been caused by folks who can't mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus has."
"A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on."
"In the U.S., you have to be a deviant or die or boredom."
"Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape."
"America is not so much a nightmare as a non-dream. The American non-dream is precisely a move to wipe the dream out of existence. The dream is a spontaneous happening and therefore dangerous to a control system set up by the non-dreamers."
"A cat's rage is beautiful, burning with pure cat flame, all its hair standing up and crackling blue sparks, eyes blazing and sputtering."
"Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it 'creative observation.' Creative viewing."
"The only possible ETHIC is to do what one wants to do."
"I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion."
"...colleges being nothing but grooming schools for the middleclass non-identity which usually finds its perfect expression on the outskirts of the campus in rows of well-to-do houses with lawns and television sets is each living room with everybody looking at the same thing and thinking the same thing at the same time while the Japhies of the world go prowling in the wilderness..."
"Offer them what they secretly want and they of course immediately become panic-stricken."
"Emotionlessly she kissed me in the vineyard and walked off down the row. We turned at a dozen paces, for love is a duel, and looked up at each other for the last time."
"No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength."
"Mankind is like dogs, not gods - as long as you don't get mad they'll bite you - but stay mad and you'll never be bitten. Dogs don't respect humility and sorrow."
"What’s in store for me in the direction I don’t take?"
"Dean took out other pictures. I realized these were all the snapshots which our children would look at someday with wonder, thinking their parents had lived smooth, well-ordered, estabilished-within-the-photo lives and got up in the morning to walk proudly on the sidewalks of life, never dreaming the raggedy madness and riot of our actual lives, our actual night, the hell of it, the senseless nightmare road. All of it inside endless and beginningless emptiness. Pitiful forms of ignorance."
"Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?"
"What is the feeling when you're driving away from people, and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? -it's the too huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies."
"All our best men are laughed at in this nightmare land."
"Oh little Cody Pomeray if there had been some way to send a cry to you even when you were too little to know what utterances and cries are for in this dark sad earth, with your terrors in a world so malign and inhospitable, and all the insults from heaven ramming down to crowd your head with anger, pain, disgrace, worst of all the crapulous poverty in and out of every splintered door of days, if someone could have said to you then, and made you perceive, "Fear life, but don't die; you're alone, everybody's alone. Oh Cody Pomeray, you can't win, you can't lose, all is ephemeral, all is hurt."
"We were all delighted, we all realized we were leaving confusion and nonsense behind and performing our one and noble function of the time, move."
"Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion."
"-no girl had ever moved me with a story of spiritual suffering and so beautifully her soul showing out radiant as an angel wandering in hell and the hell the selfsame streets I’d roamed in watching, watching for someone just like her and never dreaming the darkness and the mystery and eventuality of our meeting in eternity."