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‘A Great Enemy’
Exegesis of Phillip K. Dick 4:41, Reading from Pages 19-37
July 8, 1974: The First Day of the Constitutional Crisis [Enclosed with the letter to Claudia Bush, July 16, 1974]
Dick begins with bemoaning the political and social conditions of the U.S.A. but then drifts to more meaningful musings:
“The landscape is deformed out of recognition by the Lie. It is gloom everywhere and we recognize, only familiar thigs without the possibility of accurate definition. There are only shocks, until we grow numb, are paralyzed and die. When suddenly I stopped believing in the Lie, I did not begin to think differently, I saw differently.”
Cynical types might “call bullshit” on this as Dick had written counter culture material for two decades, positing a duplicitous overrule of society which undermines humanity. However, in the 1950s, 60s and 70s there were no true counter cultures in the U.S. as even the beatnik, hippie and hedonistic subcultures were mere expressions of material prosperity, were entirely dependent upon the prosperous social order of the post-WWII boom economy, and, in all three cases went no further than raunchy abandon in their protest, the practitioners of these flaccid cults returning to the fold often among the highest echelon of earners.
It seems to this reader that Dick’s earlier fiction had been a manifestation of his subconscious in sorting the mechanistics of the great Lie that is Modernity.
Dick discusses “the best psychiatrist I ever saw,” revealing himself as chronic sanity seeker, and the editors do point out that his brain was his own chemistry experiment, being a frequent LSD user. The psychiatrist declared Dick’s mind to be beyond diagnosis. Dick then goes on to discuss how his novels had begun to predict his deeper life experiences and present people to him in fiction before meeting them in life as well as touching “the Other Side” or “coming across,” from the realms of the departed.
We also find out here that Dick had a horrible auto accident in 1964, after finishing 7 novels in 12 months and entering a period of creative crisis and that he spent months in a full-body cast and did not really feel as if he regained his sense of self until having his astounding dream revelations in March of 1974.
The editors reveal below that Dick made two attempts to write a sequel to The Man in the High Castle and died before thoroughly completing the work. I too know how the unfinished novel nags at the mind and rises in dreams as an angry penitent and disappointed friend and can tell the reader that it is disquieting internally. Dick now feels triumphantly in alignment with Fate in the form of “the stars” and seems prepared to boldly examine himself and the world.
Dick admits to believing that in his dreaming and writing process he has brought back to being active personalities of the ancient past, of former lives if not his own former incarnations. From this point he is deeply wedded to the idea that he shares a certain Time-resistant empathy with a “Greek-Speaking Roman citizen.”
Again, his wildest conjectures and internal beliefs or delusions do not extend beyond the deepest stacks of his reading list.
In the author’s footnotes repeated strokes are put forth as a possible explanation for Dick’s Dreams. If it is so, that he suffered from these strokes, than he was blessed to have internalized entire extinct mythologies and worldviews to which he might fall back on to consider his world anew from. On page 31 Dick dedicates himself to “cultivation against innate predispositions,” the goal of the higher mind, now independent from his sibyl, and the greater beings who sent her to his aid. He finds himself reexamining Christianity as a way of reversing advances in thought and finds himself sitting squarely on the lap of Aristotle as he considers Apollo as his real and now present patron, which is congruent with his affinity for the Persian mythos, as Apollo was The Shinning One, the Hellenic counterpart to the Persian Lord of Light. He goes on to suppose that Aryan DNA has preserved strands of Apollo through the bloodlines of his two grandsons via Asklepios and that he might be a recipient of this belated blessing. He thanks Apollo long and obliquely for restoring his harmony of mind, granting a healing across 2,600 years.
Under the God of Things
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