Thinking About Philip K. Dick... a daylog theme #1
d. Taylor Singletary
PkD Journal #1
I’ve read only a handful of Philip K. Dick’s works in the past: some short stories, Valis. I knew that potentially within he had an ability to transcend the messy words that he was to deal with. The Man in the High Castle further reinforced that notion. I can see many ways, as writers, that Dick and I are a like.
We look for an abstract form that we are striving for. Plot structure is not inherently a sequence of events in causality. Often, the real happenstance can only occur in the reader’s head, subjective to every head in question. It then becomes a question of what exactly do you want to export in a novel and have made available to the reader for import? One must surely first recognize that the communication will never be complete, representing a full intention. The author must recognize that there will be static in between the dialog, that a philosophical idea may not be interpretable by the reader (depending on what particular circuit-level they operate on while reading the book). I am most impressed with Dick’s ability as a writer to convey what he really wants to convey. He minimizes the static.
His ability to conceptualize and characterize is quite shining as well, and it goes beyond the typical constructions that both the average reader and the writer (archetype, not PkD in particular) would be familiar with. The characters in the Man in the High Castle are many-layered onions. Mr. Robert Childan is a white man. He is under Japanese rule—has been for the last several decades. His mind is warped, weak. Where nationality, civility, and human interaction is concerned he is a tangled mess. He doesn’t know what traditions to follow, except an ashamed sort of honor-game with the Japanese. In fact, he becomes so much like his vision of the Japanese code of ethics, that when he doesn’t follow them he feels the imagined guilt of his ideal/feared stereotype. His very own authenticity is a strange loop then, backing into itself for eternity. A very fascinating character construction indeed, and Philip K. Dick handles it perfectly, subtly altering his speech patterns, creating a whole type of man that does not/would not exist in this particular version of reality.
This certainly was a timely book for me to read with its embodiment of the many-realities theory, having been deeply digging through Robert Anton Wilson’s fictive and non-fictive works. Philip K. Dick once said of Robert Anton Wilson: “Wilson managed to reverse every mental polarity in me, as if I had been pulled through infinity. I was astonished and delighted.” The weight of these words, knowing the autobiographical details of Dick that I do, is incredible and speaks very highly of Robert Wilson’s work. I am sure that Wilson’s theories aided Dick in coming to some understanding of his exegesis-experience.
It’s all very real. Just look for the malfunctions.