/ PKD / Philip K. Dick (Page 2) / (Page 3) / (Page 4) / (Page 5) /
/ Drugs and the War On Drugs / Gnosticism / Madness / Memory / Perception /
/ Persuasion, Manipulation, Advertising, Propaganda / Pragmatism / Science Fiction / Sufism / Truth /
"How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later"
included in Shifting Realities, page 260
"The authentic human being is one of us who instinctively knows what he should not do, and in addition, he will balk at doing it. He will refuse to do it, even if this brings down dread consequences to him and to those whom he loves. This, to me, is the ultimately heroic trait of ordinary people; they say no to the tyrant and they calmly take the consequences of this resistance. Their deeds may be small and are almost always unnoticed, unmarked by history. Their names are not remembered, nor did these authentic humans expect their names to be remembered. I see their authenticity in an odd way: not in their willingness to perform great heroic deeds but in their quiet refusals. In essence, they cannot be compelled to be what they are not."
"How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later"
included in Shifting Realities, page 278
"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This was beginning with God and the duty of every faithful monk would be to repeat every day with chanting humility the one never-changing event whose incontrovertible truth can be asserted. But we see now through a glass darkly, and the truth, before it is revealed to all, face to face, we see in fragments (alas, how illegible) in the error of the world, so we must spell out its faithful signals even when they seem obscure to us and as if amalgamated with a will wholly bent on evil."
-- The first paragraph of
The Name of the Rose
by Umberto Eco.
Sounds like PKD to me, although as far as I know neither of the men (has) had any influence on the other,
but of course both (have) read many of the same source works and (have) had many concerns in common.
(English verb tenses don't seem well adapted to comparing currently living and dead people.)
Salvador Dali once quipped, "The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad."
I think that if PKD took his experiences as seriously as he evidently did, he must have been mad.
Functional, but mad.
Cf. William Blake, for example.
"To understand Phil, one must grapple with his unique emotional states, and his unique interpretations of same. Most importantly, in February and March of 1974 Phil had a series of "mystic" experiences. When he died eight years later he was still unsure of their origin or meaning. Left behind was his so-called Exegesis, an 8,000-page, one-million-word continuing dialogue with himself written late, late at night"
"In a Philip K. Dick story one finds many elements of paranoia, psychosis, schizophrenia, hallucination and more.... PKD at his best places his readers in situations where reality is not clearly defined. He explores the power of the brain and many human concepts of life, death, religion and love in a dark setting that creates a provocative view of the world as we know it.... His own personal experiences play a major role in his writing as well. "Again: when PKD shows his characters experiencing "elements of paranoia, psychosis, schizophrenia, hallucination and more", "situations where reality is not clearly defined", he's writing from personal experience.
"you're jolted by the sudden-dread realization: Reality is not what it seems.
....In Dick's universe you take nothing for granted. Not only have all authority figures lied to you, but reality has lied to you as well.
.... But however paranoid, Dick's vision isn't despairing. There is always hopefulness within the entropic decay, humor in the absurdity, and redemption in the superhuman abilities of ordinary humans to cope with extraordinary circumstances. We can make it. We may not triumph heroically (who the hell does, anyway?), but, goddamn it, we'll survive. Humans will survive as long as they retain their humanity, Dick says, and the measure of humanity is the capacity for caring."
"The twisted part of Valis is that it makes more and more sense as the book goes on, drawing the reader into this insane way of thinking. While there are delusional hallucinations throughout Valis, much of Dick's world view is derived from ancient wisdom and religious beliefs. He draws many references from pre-Christian mysticism and Greek Gnosticism."
"Science fiction involves a suspension of disbelief which is different than that involved with fantasy. In fantasy, you never go back to believing that there are trolls, unicorns, witches, and so on. But in science fiction, you read it, and it's not true now, but there are things which are not true now which are going to be someday. Everybody knows that! And this creates a very strange feeling in a certain kind of person -- a feeling that he is reading about reality, but he is disjointed from it only in temporal terms. It's like all science fiction occurs in alternate future universes, so it could actually happen someday."
"...another of the ills of writing; because it is such a solitary occupation, and requires such long-term concentrated attention, it tends to drive your wife or girlfriend away, anyhow, whoever you're living with. It's probably the most painful price the writer pays. All I have to keep me company are two cats. Like my doper friends (ex-doper friends, since most of them are dead now) my cats don't know I'm a well-known writer, and as with my doper friends, I prefer it that way."
"the story of an alternate universe, and of a tyrant named Ferris F. Fremont, who's President of the United States, and in 1968, after having shot the Kennedys, Dr. King, Jim Pike, Malcolm X, everybody÷George Wallace÷so that he is elected by a very large vote, there not being any real contenders, and sets out to destroy the two-party system. And it's the story of a group of people who manage to overthrow him.Dick never actually believed that this was the real-world explanation for his own mystical experiences,
SFR: Is this going to be marketed as a science fiction novel?
DICK: Oh yes, it's definitely science fiction, because the people who overthrow him are picked at random by an extraterrestrial satellite communications system which informs them what to do, and what information will bring down the tyrant, Ferris Fremont. And coordinates their efforts through direct radio communications with the satellite, which has been in orbit around the Earth for several thousand years, and periodically intervenes when tyrannical governments become too tyrannical. There seems to be no other way to depose them."
Culture Jam : The Uncooling of America
by Kalle Lasn
I'd say that PKD felt driven to continually produce
"a compassionate criticism of all that exists"
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it ...
This page is respectfully dedicated to
Jane Charlotte Dick