Control, Modulation and Algebra of Evil in Burroughs and Deleuze

According to Deleuze’s Pourparler the concept of “Control” can be ascribed to William Burroughs. Since the seventies, it is possible to trace a deep intellectual and political convergence between Deleuze and Bur- roughs. This has happened across three levels of analysis: control society, revolutionary communities and schizo-culture. This essay attempts an analysis of the relationship between these two giants of twentieth century counterculture by borrowing their ‘control’ perspective. With the critical figure of Foucault on the background, the crucial political and philosophical passage from “discipline” to “control” appears in all its monstrosity. The struggle against Control, according to Deleuze and Burroughs, must be perpetrated through the invention of literary and philosophical “war machines” which try to hide from established knowledge and dominant powers by gathering in communities made of unassimilable singularities. Burroughs’ untraceable and diagrammatic critique seems ever more precious as it is completely strange to the conformism of contemporary critical thought.

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