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The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick: Selected Literary and Philosophical Writings Paperback – January 30, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
This volume of essays covers everything from biography to notes about the conversion of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" to "Blade Runner" to possible sequels to his novels to musings about the gnostic revalations and how they relate to Dick's idea of the universe.
One of the most thought-provoking books that I've ever read. My one caveat (warning) being that this is perhaps not the best introduction to Dick and I suggest reading at least one or two of his novels (ideally the Divine Invasion books) before attempting these waters.
In THE ANDROID & THE HUMAN he says that free will may be an illusion. Were humans also controlled by tropisms that are so evident in the growth of plants? He sounded out his greatest fear as �The reduction of humans to mere use--men made into machines, ... what I regard as the greatest evil imaginable.� Dick saw the time to come when a writer would be stopped not by unplugging his electric keyboard but by someone unplugging the man himself.
In MAN, ANDROID & MACHINE Dick found a hopeful theory at the end of his dark tunnel. In this essay he discussed Teilhard De Chardin�s Noosphere, �composed of holographic & informational projections in a unified and continually processed Gestalt,�--a summation of the globe�s intelligence. Dick never worried about the label �made in a laboratory.... the entire universe is one vast laboratory,� he writes. Here he also lays bare his own reality--one composed of a series of crystallized dreams. He cites Ursula Le Guin�s THE LATHE OF HEAVEN as his model for �understanding the nature of our world�. He adds: �I myself have derived much of the material for my writing from dreams.� PKD challenged the reader to pry beneath the facade of daily existence and knead the silly putty of the dream world into some recognized shape.
Dick's Gnosticism is the Gnostisism of true revelation, of epiphany and theogony (of union with the divine.) Yes, some people arrogantly write this off as the rantings of a "schizophenic", but then they would no doubt apply that same meaningless, garbage diagnosis to every great mystic teacher or shaman.
Here you get the revelations of his novel ,_Valis_, developed and fleshed out in a much more satisfying manner. Indeed, unless you are fortunate enough to track down a copy of his mythical _Exegesis_ this is the best expression of his thought that you will find.
One last note, as much as I agree with the gnostic idea of a transcedent God (or Logos, or Tao) breaking through into our material "Black Iron Prison", I do have a problem with his concept of a Yaldaboath (i.e. deranged, lesser, creator god.) You see, human materialistic, hyper-rational, civilization functions as such a lesser "god." Have we not made money, science, and ego into idols that are worshipped in their own right to the exclusion of the the true transcendant God? You simply do not need to posit the existance of such a supernatural demiurge, devil, or "Moloch" (as Ginsberg called it.) Human ignorance and evil are quite up to the role.
Philip K Dick writes, "All responsible writers, to some degree, have become involuntary criers of doom, because doom is in the wind...and the doom stories are intended to call attention to reality."
This is made all the more relevant by the fact that the human folly that gave way to encroaching doom(war) ~ as the interviews and essays complied for this book run anywhere from twenty five to fifty five years ago ~ is far more manifest and pervasive in our own perceived time. That much closer.
Part five: Essays and Speeches, deals with schizophrenia, LSD and Gnosticism. He delves into the Jungian concept of synchronicity regarding his own life, and the inexplicable coincidences in his novel, "Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said"...(also see the movie, "Waking Life")..of "fiction mimicking truth, and truth mimicking fiction."
What he refers to as "a dangerous overlap, a dangerous blur." Take a look with *open* eyes at the society we've created and you realize that the "dangerous blur" is scarcely acknowledged it is so routine, so deeply solidified. 'Entertainment'(of the mindless sort) has proven to be the ultimate vehicle for Big Brother totalitarianism, so to speak.
The final section, Exegesis, at times feels like listening in on a discussion, a contemplation, within his own conscience, on the matter of God/Cosmos: "Creator: time past. Holy Spirit: time is. Christ: time completed."
Overall, a fascinating and unique read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A broad and useful resource for members of the Philip K Dick Sliding Scale Between Appreciation And Obsession Society. Read morePublished 12 months ago by endfuser
Anyone who reads PKD's works sees certain themes & ideas reiterated, reflecting quite a complex mind that one senses must be
powered by strong (& sometimes conflicting)... Read more
This is for those who have read all of Dick's work and want more. This is NON-Essential Dick. A much better choice to get at his philosophy s to buy (or check out of your... Read morePublished on July 3, 2012 by cloud2013
For any PKD fan or anyone interested in the art of SF or any other genre of writing, for that matter, this book should be on every college text list. Read morePublished on January 19, 2010 by C. Middleton
This book is a gathering of eclectic, mostly non-fictional, writings by one of my favourite authors -Philip K. Dick. Read morePublished on January 15, 2007 by Joseph Davis
PKD is my number-one writer, both for style, but more particularly for ideas. There is so much in this book that shows the man was a thinker, an explorer of ideas not just for the... Read morePublished on January 16, 2002 by A. G. Plumb
Dick's perspectives and introspections are frightening. I read this book everyday on the bus to school until I was mugged and it was stolen from me. Read morePublished on October 27, 2000 by email@example.com
Though I prefer my own interpretation of his novels to what Dick writes about them, his lurid explanations of the metaphysical theories that he toyed with are quite fascinating. Read morePublished on October 19, 2000