Archive for April, 2010
Snazzy title. As this NYT blog, Arts Beat, reports, there are plans afoot to release a two volume edition of PKD’s theological ramblings (one is entitled to use the somewhat derogatory “ramblings” when the extant work extends to more than 8000 pages…).
I must say, fascinated as I am to peruse these magical writings, it all seems a bit macabre. And believe me, I know macabre…
Anyway, aside from reservations about parading around a dead man’s thoughts and ramblings never meant to be published in the public sphere, I expect there will be some magisterial moments in all this straight plain crazy.
Interestingly, the outline of this larger exegetic experiment is to be found in PKD’s novel VALIS, telling the tale of Horselover Fat, a sci-fi writer who has a religious experience and goes insane, all at once. VALIS winds in many directions, but can ultimately be described as a Gnostic science fiction novel. And brilliant.
This makes mention of any new PKD material noteworthy.
Johnathan Lethem, one of the exegesis editors (can you edit an exegesis?), says: “It’s absolutely stultifying, it’s brilliant, it’s repetitive, it’s contradictory. It just might contain the secret of the universe.”
Sounds like a page turner…
N.B. Apologies that April has been PKD month; judging from the stats, this in not a “big topic” around here. Maybe it’s time I tagged better…
A trio of videos comprising an interview with Philip K. Dick in 1977 at a sci-fi convention in France on the contrasting perceptions of science fiction in the US and France, the reception of his work on the continent and the political ramifications of all this in Light of the mid-70s “political culture” of the US.
Interesting stuff. There is something otherworldly about the videos; they are badly recorded and there’s lots of noise and information entropy — it’s almost as if Dick is a simulacrum of himself. A Dickian theme to say the least. All very Baudrillard and “not-real”. But as Dick would doubtlessly ask himself a thousand times a day: “What is real?”
“Tim said, ‘That’s the whole point of all my work on brain change!’ He hugged her excitedly. ‘That’s it! You’ve got it! Positive energy is as real as gravity. I’ve felt it.’
Two hours later, at the door, Tim was stopped by one of our guests with a final question before he left.
‘What do you do, Dr. Leary, when somebody keeps giving you negative energy?’
Tim grinned that special grin of his that so annoys all his critics. ‘Come back with all the positive energy you have,’ he said. And then he dashed off to the car, to the airport, to the next lecture…and to God-knows-what fate in the fourteenth year of his struggle with the legal system.
And so I learned the final secret of the Illuminati.”
From Robert Anton Wilson, Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati (New York: Pocket Books, 1978), 253.
Who are you? What’s the purpose of your existence? Do your conceptions, your reality tunnel, serve a purpose? How are you even conscious of having reasons, understanding purpose? Isn’t this a shoddy construct? Aren’t you trapped, are we not all ghosts in the machine?
Will we be like birds, singing of bygone days of greatness, when we were masters of nature? Does the life of man persevere? Or do we end up coldly mounted on a pin, like some precious species of moth? If life’s an experiment, who’s outside the test tube?
Life; fragile and translucent, like the wings of a dragonfly hovering above a lake in summer. The dutiful hammering of a woodpecker — a sound heard by the ears of ancients. Drowned out by a lawnmower. Trés moderne.
We are lawnmower man, the mechanical reaper supreme. Lord of the jungle, for we have tamed it, sown it and mowed it. What is the purpose of existence, Mr. Lawnmower man?
Who are YOU?
Researchers from various institutions, including McGill University, have found a rare dwarf lemur in Madagascar thought possibly extinct. The Sibree’s Dwarf Lemur was first discovered in 1896 and believed lost until Dr. Mitchell Irwin and his colleagues found a population in a remote region of the island nation. Dr. Irwin has used genetic testing to determine that this is, in fact, a distinct species. The discovery could help spark new conservation efforts.