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4/4/08

Philip K. Dick & The Nature of Reality



  • Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans. . . . If reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn't we really be talking about plural realities? And if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others? What about the world of a schizophrenic? Maybe it's as real as our world. Maybe we cannot say that we are in touch with reality and he is not, but should instead say, His reality is so different from ours that he can't explain his to us, and we can't explain ours to him. The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication ... and there is the real illness. Philip K. Dick, How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later

    As he grew older Dick wrote about metaphysics and theology, on drug use and what it revealed, on paranoia, schizophrenia, and mystical experience. In his work, the real, whatever it is, becomes fragile, the so-called normal world, an illusion. His fiction has found its way into films such as Blade Runner and Minority Report. Although he was marginally recognized for his talent when younger, increasingly recognized when older, now, after his death, some say he will go down as one of the epoch's greatest writers, and not just for science fiction. Some links here, here and here.
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