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‘The Psychopomp’
The Exegesis of Phillip K. Dick: Letter to Claudia Bush July 24, 1974
Dick, as a drug user and civic slave, cannot have vision of spaghetti wound around a trident without first shaping the soul-escorting manifestation of personality as a “cop” or elevator operator. His comic introduction drags like a 1950s science fiction detective tale into what becomes a profound offer of induction. His mythological reading permits him to see the dram of spaghetti wound about a trident as a Gordian Knot of the soul, which he comes to liken as either Arachne or Ariadne leaving a thread that must be unwound without being broken so that the hero Theseus [Thought-chief] might find his way out of the maze of the Minotaur.
The idea of the Psychopomp, or “escort-of-souls” attending to his enlightenment in his dreams is beginning to dawn on Dick. Various aspects of this letter show Dick evolving his awareness with some help from friends including Phillip Jose farmer, a stand-out science-fiction writer who reminds Dick that he is armed with a remarkable imagination which might be just the tool needed to unwind the dram thread he has been handed.
This reader finds it quite cute that Dick is absolutely dismissive of UFO theorists, calling them “the saucer people,” and breaks into poetics when describing how his time-travelling ancestral advisors are hoping he not go insane:
“…they [Asklepios and company] surface and start curing and guiding and improving a person. The person, understandably, goes bananas and climbs the drapes, hiding up there with eyes bugged out like grapes…then we have a sad irony; the therapy to make him sane causes him to go insane.”
Dick then eases into a wider perspective and recalls the deity of dawn whispering to him about putting his slippers on and is comforted that his Sybil is a “chthonic deity” and that she has assigned the messengers to initiate him into the supernatural mysteries underpinning human life.
Is Dick possessed, illuminated and or insane?
Might he have been all, concurrently or at once?
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