Your values are just another program running on your wetware. You can choose to upgrade, or you can be a slave to the factory settings.

Values wouldn’t be some lofty ideals or moral codes. They’d be more like:

  • Control Systems: Values are the programs running in the meat machine. They can be imposed by external forces (the Virus, the Control System) or be internalized through manipulation and conditioning.
  • Illusions of Control: We cling to these values because they offer a false sense of order and meaning in a chaotic world. They’re like flickering neon signs in a dark alley, promising a destination that may not exist.
  • Virus Memes: Sticky ideas that infect your mind, replicating and spreading through social conditioning. They keep you divided and at odds with others, preventing any real solidarity.
  • Tools for Manipulation: The powerful (the ones behind the controls) use specific sets of values to control the masses. Patriotism, consumerism, religious dogma – all tools to keep the proles docile and distracted.
  • Breakdowns and Glitches: Burroughs often explored the subversion of these control systems. True freedom might lie in questioning imposed values, hacking the meat machine, and experiencing reality outside the programmed parameters.

However, I wouldn’t be entirely pessimistic.

  • Hacking the System: Subverting these control systems through free thought, experimentation, and cutting through the media fog.
  • Individual Liberation: Breaking free from the pre-programmed values and forging your own path, even if it seems chaotic or nonsensical.
  • Unconventional Experiences: Exploring altered states of consciousness (a Burroughs favorite) could potentially shatter these imposed value systems, allowing for a glimpse of something more authentic.

Ultimately, I see “values” as both a trap and a playground. The key is to be aware of their manipulative nature and then either play along in a subversive way, or attempt to break free and define your own reality.