William S. Burroughs could’ve been a Steve Jobs. Chaos Magick, Internet, and Other Far Out Things by Quinton Mitchell

William S. Burroughs, the Occult practicing, heroin-addict scion of the early Counterculture movement within the circles of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, could’ve been Steve Jobs in an alternate reality or if he played his cards differently. Unisys (NYSE: UIS) is the successor of Burroughs Corporation, an early computer firm. If things had gone differently for William and his family didn’t sell off their remaining shares of the company, William could’ve positioned himself in early Silicon Valley-type circles due to his powerful Harvard connections after WW2.

After WW2 there was a Cold War rat-race emergence of the RAND Corporation from the US Air Force; intensive computer science and collective behavior studies at MIT, Stanford, UCLA, University of Chicago, and the New School of Social Research (Transhumanism of MS-2030 and the sociology research of the University in Exile); the growth of joint-ventures between private industry and Defense, and the MK-Ultra sociological programs under the CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence and US Army’s Biological Warfare Laboratories (drug studies, crowd-control agents, etc.).

Burroughs Corporation today exists as UNISYS, a global IT firm, that was created by a merger of Burroughs with Sperry Corporation in 1986 whom specialized in UNIVAC computers as well as Artificial-Horizon imagery, trigonometry based ballistic calculation solutions for missiles, etc. Sperry earlier on had acquired the typewriter division of gun-maker Remington. Unisys is now a subsidiary of DXC Technology in Tysons, Virginia, that specializes in Business-to-Business IT solutions, with Unisys itself being a subsidiary sister company to companies such as Molina Healthcare. The remnants of what remains of Sperry that wasn’t absorbed in the Burroughs (Unisys) merger, became part of Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, United Technologies, and Northrop Grumman

Further, System Development Corporation (SDC), which was spun off from the RAND Corporation, in which the SDC helped develop SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Equipment) software for NORAD. SDC was sold to Burroughs Corporation. Burroughs merged with Sperry Corporation in 1986 to make Uniysys. Unisys sold its defense division called Paramax to Loral Corporation in 1996, which was later sold to Lockheed Martin but then later to L3 Harris.

The brand-name of Burroughs was spun off separately by Unisys when the company spun-off its payment division. In 2010, Unisys sold off its Payment Systems Division to Marlin Equity Partners, a California-based private investment firm, which incorporated it as Burroughs Payment Systems based in Plymouth, Michigan

Yet, this is just a loose theory, that despite William not being active in the company’s operations, in effect Burroughs played the role of culture-agent to prep the masses for what would become the “postmodern” “erratic” “jittery” “sensory overload” “man merged with machine” ideas of the Global Internet Age, i.e., now.

I’m not making a direct link between Burroughs and all the zany things that went on during the Cold War but by proxy, due to his status and the possibilities available to him from that status, he was on the periphery of Intelligence, Drugs, and Technology.

His maternal uncle, Ivy Lee, was an advertising pioneer later employed as a publicist for the Rockefellers. Ivy Lee is known as the founder of modern public relations. William thus came from Blue Blood Anglo-Saxon stock with ancestry traced back to the Civil War and England with familial Ivy League ties. Ivy Lee did the Public Relations for John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil during the days of the Ludlow Massacre which was a coal-mining strike but remained a close “media fixer” for the family. Ivy Lee was also a founding member of the Council of Foreign Relations, which is the premier think-tank and global policy center for the elite within the United States where corporate American, defense, etc. merge for long-term planning with periphery organizations such as the Trilateral Commission. Both the CFR and Trilateral Commission are linked to the Central Intelligence Agency. Through these Rockefeller connections, if William S. Burroughs and his direct family retained control or board-membership in Burroughs Company, they could’ve used Ivy Lee’s Rockefeller connections to obtain venture capital from people such as Laurence Rockefeller, whom through his own Venrock Associates, in real life gave the seed money to both Apple and Intel. https://www.venrock.com/ https://burroughs.com/ https://www.unisys.com/

Seriously, if the William’s parents had retained some level of participation within Burroughs Corporation, despite making a smart move of divesting before the Great Depression, this could’ve set up William with an active inherited role within the company. They could’ve done clever moves of their stock such as switching common stock to preferred stock or selling those shares for more lucrative stocks in the defense industry and then re-buying a large stake in Burroughs at a post-war bargain. With vision and foresight which William put into writing instead of business, that foresight could’ve been a powerful tool in business even if from a consulting standpoint. By tapping into family ties and Rockefeller capital, William could’ve established himself as a preeminent member of the early Silicon Valley crowds either directly in business, consultation, or lobbying. With Silicon Valley being close to San Francisco which has a large LGBTQ community, William S. Burroughs may have found himself right at home.

However, him choosing the less profitable literary field could have meant that he was on to what future was coming and he instead rejected wealth for a Bohemian life. A rich kid with a hyper-aware depression prone to ennui and self-destructive behavior, as a closeted gay man, suppressing his desires, yet, he had a strong pulse on the absurdity that existed within the world and within the elite class. Burroughs was an artist against conformity who took it to surrealist extremes to push boundaries. Even if a person is a “junkie” or a part of a community such as the LGBTQIA community, they are still human with insights into things the standard culture overlooks, ignores, or persecutes.

Regarding intelligence links, Attanasio (1980) stated he applied to the OSS (Officer’s Strategic Services) but was rejected because he had deliberately cut off a piece of his finger (“I’d once got on a Van Gogh kick”); the Army declared him a paranoid schizophrenic and thus 4-F. By 1944, with nothing else to do, Burroughs became a junkie. Regarding the OSS link and claim, Marzoni (2019) states, “Burroughs tells Brookner that before he became a writer he wanted to be a doctor (he briefly attended medical school in prewar Vienna) and then a spy (he blames an old Harvard rival for curtailing his career with the CIA), but more than anything Brookner’s film showcases Burroughs’s talents as an actor.”

Back to technology, Steve Jobs for example, like many in the San Francisco area during the sixties and seventies engaged in heavy drug use, particularly LSD. We all know that GPS, the internet, etc., comes from these private-public partnerships, with NASA serving as the monopoly freight-carrier of Satellites into orbit, though this monopoly has been competed with companies such as SpaceX by Elon Musk, and the US Air Force Space Command serves as a type of Federal Aviation Administration for oversight and monitoring.

How does the Occult and technology align? Burroughs was into magic, the Occult, Chaos Magick, sprying (sight-seeing), etc. This was an interest he gained at Harvard. Magic or magic in a Satanic view is Luciferian, which thus equates to the “Light Giver” or “Light Bearer”, i.e., reason and Darwinism over Divinity. It seems strange to talk about concepts such as computer science, Automated Intelligence, and cloud computing with concepts such as magic, Darwinism, Chaos Magick, Luciferian, etc., but we need only to look to real-life example Jack Parsons associated with the Jet Propulsion Labs and he practiced the Dark Arts. Essentially, you have some very smart technocratic minded people who also engage in things which are Occultic in nature since Luciferian ideals are basically evolutionary in nature, i.e., scientific progress indifferent to weakness.

However, some magicians or Chaos Magick advocates see limitations to the empiricism of the Scientific Method, yet, the Luciferian idea still is essential in performing a type of evolutionary, Darwinian, strongest survives process upon material to thus morph that material into something new. Willing things into existence which are impossible based on the rules of linear reality is an aspect of where Darwinism, Nietzsche, and Lucifer align.

Burrough’s heroin usage, which is highly toxic to the body, debases the body in a type of “magical” process, posited on achieving a type of Illumination, and by killing the body a person into certain types of magic believes the body can be resurrected into something new. One must effectively die to be reborn and living a life of excess and amoral behaviors is simply the individual pushing their limitations for enlightenment (choosing to be a Goat that is free over a “Sheep” that is a slave). Heroin thus serves as a type of mystical Illumination agent needed for the Alchemical process of evolution to kill the weak body and maintain the strong bodies who will be reborn into a new postmodern, digital, hyper-real landscape. So, even though Burroughs wasn’t at board meetings in Silicon Valley or DC, rubbing elbows with military Generals, Madison Avenue ad men, and venture capitalists, he was instead on the streets writing fiction that foresaw the upcoming digital age. Employing surrealist elements into his works is a type of “alchemical debasement of body and mind”, by destabilizing and mutating them, to signify what technology would do to the human physiology.

I’m sure many people have written about Burroughs within conspiracy circles, considering he was almost a member of the early Office of Strategic Services, i.e., the CIA in the days of people like Allen Dulles, Frank Wisner, Kermit Roosevelt, David Rockefeller, Edward Lansdale, etc. The biggest revelation I personally pull from Burrough’s CIA connections, though unproven, is that William himself was type of pusher of drugs essential for the MKUltra experiments to take hold. Like Crowley who advocated for drugs and had a popularity within celebrity and counterculture circles, William served a similar role (theoretically). It is known that the CIA and the American elite have long ties to the heroin industry. Going back as far as the early American merchant dynasties of Massachusetts via the Port of Salem regarding Old China Trade, i.e., the legal heroin trade at that time. Families such as the Forbes and Russell families of the Boston Brahmin circles were involved, and it is public knowledge that Skull and Bones was founded by William Huntingdon Russell. Further, heroin goes back to the British Empire during its time in Hong Kong but also British India, where the heroin growing region of Nuristan in present day Afghanistan, translates to “Land of Illumination”.


Attanasio, P. A. (1980, February 1). William Burroughs: News: The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved November 23, 2019, from https://www.thecrimson.com/article/1980/2/1/william-burroughs-pbwbilliam-burroughs-came-to/.

Marzoni, A. (2019, November 18). Precarious Immortality: William S. Burroughs on Film. Retrieved November 23, 2019, from https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/precarious-immortality-william-s-burroughs-on-film-5473/.