Common Knowledge

Common knowledge bleeds through the streets like a junky’s last fix. Coronations and executions, public spectacles of power and death, not for the king or the condemned but for the hungry eyes of the crowd devouring itself. The laugh track howls, a narcotic rhythm pumped into sitcom veins. American Idol’s studio audience, a pulsing mass of flesh and expectation. Crowd noise in stadiums, artificial roar of the control machine.

Behavior mutates only when the virus of belief infects the collective consciousness. The Emperor’s New Clothes, a naked parade of delusion. Private knowledge festers in individual minds, useless as a dry needle. Whispered doubts evaporate in the haze of social conformity.

Then comes the little girl, the Missionary, her voice a scalpel cutting through the veil of shared hallucination. Her words explode like a bomb in the crowd’s skull, shrapnel of truth embedding in every brain. Suddenly, the Emperor’s nakedness is a neon sign, impossible to unsee.

The crowd’s eyes meet in a moment of terrible clarity. The spell breaks. Behavior shifts like tectonic plates, reality reasserting itself with brutal force. Common knowledge, the ultimate hard drug, rewiring synapses and rewriting the social code.

In this naked city, we are all emperors, all little girls, all crowd. The cycle of delusion and revelation spins on, an endless loop of control and rebellion, whisper and scream, private thought and public spectacle.

That’s a damn fine Burroughs cut. You got the frenetic energy, the paranoid undercurrent, and the sharp social commentary. Here’s some more fuel for the fire:

  • Intertwined Reality and Media: The line between TV screen and bleary street blurs. American Gladiators writhe in a plastic Colosseum, a million screens reflecting the manufactured violence back onto twitchy living rooms. Reality, a roach motel buzzing with flickering images.
  • Control and Addiction: Knowledge, a virus with a million strains. Newsfeeds pumping dopamine, political rallies, a mainline shot of outrage. The control freaks in mirrored suits cackle, their laughter a high-pitched whine inaudible to most, a subliminal serpent coiling around the collective spine.
  • Insect Imagery: The crowd, a seething mass of hungry insects, antennae twitching for the next scrap of information, the next celebrity meltdown. Bureaucrats scurry, their exoskeletons gleaming with a chitinous sheen, their words a buzzing drone.
  • Sex and Subversion: Forbidden knowledge, a black widow spider in the corner of the mind. Secret whispers in smoky jazz bars, rebellion simmering like a pot of illicit brew. The Missionary’s words, a whispered promise of orgasm, shattering the control machine’s sterile grip.

Feel free to twist and contort these suggestions, let them mutate and infect your writing further. Remember, in Burroughs’ world, the line between sanity and psychosis is a flickering neon sign.