Local Service Replicant

I had a customer drive up to my ramp booth. She informed me that I had two lights on. The light for ‘Cashier’ was lit up over the light for ‘Credit Card Only’. She then told me she didn’t know if a person was there or not.

The booth is basically a fish bowl. It was well lit and I was standing right in front of the window. I was on display for all to see.

I must assume that when I’m not properly labeled with a sign indicating that I’m human it isn’t necessarily apparent that I am indeed an actual human. I’m going to spend the rest of the year contemplating this new existential crisis involving my exclusion from the human species. I have gone to such effort over the years to appear as a normal human, but my attempts have obviously failed.

They have been slowly mechanizng the ramps. I knew that one day my job might become obsolete. It just didn’t occur to me that my human identity might become obsolete as well. Management must have mechanized me while I wasn’t paying attention… or maybe I was always mechanized. Yet my memories of my human life seem so real. Maybe I should have been suspicious all these years that upon my inception date at this job I was given a number to identify me.

I guess there are worse things to be than an android. Besides, just because I’m not a real human doesn’t mean my feelings aren’t real. Be nice to your local service replicant. We do all the hard work so that you humans don’t have to.

Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick

Posted on May 13th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade
Since I’ve been talking so much about Philip K. Dick lately, I figured I might as well dedicate a blog entry solely to him.

PKD Quotes:

Spinoza saw … that if a falling stone could reason, it would think, ‘I want to fall at the rate of thirty-two feet per second per second.’

Giving me a new idea is like handing a cretin a loaded gun, but I do thank you anyhow, bang, bang.

Can anyone alter fate? All of us combined…or one great figure…or someone strategically placed, who happens to be in the right spot. Chance. Accident. And our lives, our world, hanging on it.

How did I get here? The pain so unexpected and undeserved and for some reason cleared away the cobwebs. I realized I didn’t hate the cabinet door, I hated my life my house, my family. My backyard, my power mower. Nothing would ever change, nothing new would ever be expected; it had to end, and it did. Now in the dark world where I dwell ugly things and surprising things, and sometimes little wonderous things spill out at me constantly, and I can count on nothing.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.

We hypostasize information into objects. Rearrangement of objects is change in the content of the information; the message has changed. This is a language which we have lost the ability to read. We ourselves are a part of this language; changes in us are changes in the content of the information. We ourselves are information-rich; information enters us, is processed and is then projected outwards once more, now in an altered form. We are not aware that we are doing this, that in fact this is all we are doing.

Each of us assumes everyone else knows what HE is doing. They all assume we know what WE are doing. We don’t…Nothing is going on and nobody knows what it is. Nobody is concealing anything except the fact that he does not understand anything anymore and wishes he could go home.

The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick by R. Crumb

 
Access_public Access: Public 13 Comments Print // Post this!views (193)  

Nicole : wakingdreamer

40 minutes later

Nicole said

we haven’t spoken yet about how deeply Blade Runner has affected me over the years. I think about it a lot, about the many disturbing implications of manufactured people who have to be hunted down and killed, about the “media-soaked culture” as one of your above film clips says, about the push to go off-world… there is so, so much there… if you ever want to discuss it, i’m up for it.

anyway, thanks for this. the more i think about him the more i realise that yes he was an exceptional and influential SF writer.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 1 hour later

Marmalade said

I own a copy of Blade Runner.  I should watch it again… maybe with the commentary track on.  One of the books I’ve been reading lately mentions that movie and so I have been thinking about it some.  I’m in the process of taking notes from the book in order to write a review about it.  If you’re up for more discussion, I’m game.  It will give me a chance to think out some of the ideas from that book.

Did you watch the first video?  Seeing an actual android of PKD is kinda creepy.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 2 hours later

Nicole said

good! good! you watch it again, and write a review of the book and stuff and then we’ll discuss, ok?

No, haven’t watched the first video yet, will do now… oh freaky! shivers

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 11 hours later

Marmalade said

It might take me a while longer to get my thoughts together for the book review.  So, I’ll do a separate blog for just the Blade Runner movie.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to get something up tonight after work.

I did just watch the movie again.  Its extremely well done.  My copy of the dvd doesn’t have a commentary track which is too bad.  The commentary track on A Scanner Darkly was nice.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 13 hours later

Nicole said

no rush, buddy, but when it’s up, i will drop by to start discussing it with you.

interesting, i have not yet gotten into the commentary thang… it really enhances the experience for you, eh?

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 20 hours later

Marmalade said

I don’t normally do commentary tracks because most of them are annoying.  i don’t bother with the commentary track unless its a favorite movie.  Too often the commentary is just a director talking about technical details such as camera angles or actors gossiping about eachother.  But some commentaries add a depth of understanding. 

For instance, A Scanner Darkly was nice because it had the director, an actor, and one of PKD’s daughers.  And they actually talked about the ideas of the story and how the film portrayed them.  Linklater seemed to have a good sense of what PKD was about.

On another note, I was thinking about why PKD appeals to some people and not to others.  You felt that A Scanner Darklly was too dark when you watched it at the behest of your son, and that probably isn’t an unusual response.  PKD does a have a slight cynical streak to him… no where as strong as with Burroughs… but still more dark than most people prefer.

PKD brings up more questions than answers, and he does it on purpose.  Speculative fiction, afterall, encourages a questioning mindset.  I for one love questions and I especially love questions that don’t have clear answers.  I’m even fine with the questions themselves being a bit ambiguous.  My friend became strongly interested in PKD and was then turned off after reading the VALIS trilogy.  My friend liked the questions that PKD brought up, but he felt frustrated or disappointed by the lack of clear answers.  He prefers A Course in MIracles(ACIM) which also is Gnostic influenced. 

I also like ACIM because it was one of the major influences of my receptive highschool mind.  Earlier in life, questions without answers bothered me, and I really really wanted answers… and ACIM was very satisfying in the answers it provided… not that it put a stop to my seeking evermore challenging questions.  So, after years of being frustrated by impossible questions, I’ve come to appreciate questions for their own sake and now I prefer the questions over the answers.  In the past, I was passively tortured by questions.  Nowadays, I actively torture myself with great glee.  🙂  And the questions that lead to further questions are my favorite masochistic pleasure.  :)))

Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

I understand now about commentaries – yes I thought they were all technical and self indulgent and annoying, so good to know they can add  depth of understanding. 

I didn’t know that  A Scanner Darkly had the director, an actor, and one of PKD’s daughers. That sounds cool. You helped me understand much more about A Scanner Darkly because of all the background about PKD and now I really appreciate it. Right, he’s not as cynical as Burroughs, but probably few are 🙂 I don’t mind dark as long as there is enough of a redemptive element, which I didn’t feel initially with ASD.

But as you say, bringing up more questions than answers is the essence of speculative fiction. I can see you love questions that don’t have clear answers. 🙂  and even fine with the questions themselves being a bit ambiguous – that’s  what  makes you such an interesting person to be friends with, Ben.

When you say your friend, do you mean Dom? I don’t know that  much about ACIM excet that David was once into it, and that famous quote that everyone thinks is by Nelson Mandela. But I’ve never been interested to look into it – struck me as superficial and New Agey, which may be dismissive and judgmental on my part.

 ACIM sounds like a good place to start though for a teenager, as you describe your response to it. Now prefer the questions over the answers – ok, that is very Rilke, do you know his work?

 You actively torture yourself with great glee.  🙂  And the questions that lead to further questions are your favorite masochistic pleasure.  :))) I love you Ben! You’re a joy.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

1 day later

Marmalade said

You said that you don’t mind dark as long as there is enough of a redemptive element.  Burroughs definitely is skimpy on the redemptive element, but sparks of it show through.  PKD, on the other hand, has more of the redemptive element or at least more hope(or maybe desperation) for it.  Burroughts had a slight element of resignation… whereas PKD was always searching.  PKD didn’t know what to make of his spiritual experiences, but he did ‘believe’ in them in a Gnostic sense.

I’d suspect that you wouldn’t enjoy most of PKD’s writings, but you’d probably enjoy some of it if you were in the right mood.  I have a higher tolerance and enjoyment of the dark because I’ve spent so many years severely depressed.  Some people discover God in the light, but I discovered God in the dark.  I have a special place in my heart for the dark and those that dwell there.

My friend I was referring to isn’t Dom… not someone who even spends much time on the net.  He is a good friend of mine, but he can get frustrated with my endlessly questioning attitude.  He prefers simple answers that can be applied to his life, and I go off in a thousand different tangents that have no practical use beyond my personal amusement and maybe some bits of insight I can share.

ACIM is worth a read if you feel moved to do so, but its not for everyone.  Its a fairly difficult and thick text.  I read it straight through in highschool and its definitely not light reading.  It would probably leave most teenagers bored and confused.  It introduced me to the attitude of seriously questioning reality… it is essentially a Gnostic text(most similar to Valentinianism) and so questioning conventional religious assumptions is par for the course.  It isn’t new age fluff even though some new age fluff commentary has been written about it. 

I’ve returned to it off and on over the years, and it is probably the text that most informs my sense of Christ.  But I don’t feel any particular sense of identification with the ACIM worldview.  I like its answers fine as far as answers go, but like I said I’m even more fond of the questions that can’t be answered by this text or any other.

I really don’t know what my relation is to ACIM besides it being longstanding and ingrained in my psyche.  The first copy of it I read was originally my grandmother’s with her notes in it.  So, it makes me a third generation ACIM reader.  My grandmother must’ve read it when it was newly published because its only a few decades old.

About Rilke, I’ve only read bits and pieces of his work.  I’ve liked what I’ve read, and I might read more of him some day.  I might do lots of things some day.  🙂

Nicole : wakingdreamer

2 days later

Nicole said

Ok, I hear you about PKD having more of the redemptive element or at least more hope(or maybe desperation) for it. I think there is an important distinction, but people are what they are, and with his life, I understand…

“PKD was always searching.  PKD didn’t know what to make of his spiritual experiences, but he did ‘believe’ in them in a Gnostic sense.”

Poor guy. Must have been rough…

“I’d suspect that you wouldn’t enjoy most of PKD’s writings, but you’d probably enjoy some of it if you were in the right mood.  I have a higher tolerance and enjoyment of the dark because I’ve spent so many years severely depressed.  Some people discover God in the light, but I discovered God in the dark.  I have a special place in my heart for the dark and those that dwell there.”

Interesting. I’ve spent years being mildly depressed so it makes me crave light, joy, and fun…  But I deeply respect the way you are, Ben, and it does make sense to me.

“My friend I was referring to isn’t Dom… not someone who even spends much time on the net.  He is a good friend of mine, but he can get frustrated with my endlessly questioning attitude.  He prefers simple answers that can be applied to his life, and I go off in a thousand different tangents that have no practical use beyond my personal amusement and maybe some bits of insight I can share.”

Yes. On the other hand, I delight in your endless questioning, and I suspect you have found other friends who do too. There’s a part of me that is very playful that way, like when I memorised the alphabet backwards for the heck of it. I recited it one day to a friend in the UK and she just looked at me blankly and asked why I had bothered to learn it… 🙂

“ACIM is worth a read if you feel moved to do so, but its not for everyone.  Its a fairly difficult and thick text.  I read it straight through in highschool and its definitely not light reading.  It would probably leave most teenagers bored and confused.”

Right. What I should have said was that it was a good beginning for you and for David, since both of you have long since veered in other directions.

” It introduced me to the attitude of seriously questioning reality… it is essentially a Gnostic text(most similar to Valentinianism) and so questioning conventional religious assumptions is par for the course.  It isn’t new age fluff even though some new age fluff commentary has been written about it.”

Good to know. Thanks for the distinction.

“I’ve returned to it off and on over the years, and it is probably the text that most informs my sense of Christ.  But I don’t feel any particular sense of identification with the ACIM worldview.  I like its answers fine as far as answers go, but like I said I’m even more fond of the questions that can’t be answered by this text or any other.”

Yes, yes :):)

“I really don’t know what my relation is to ACIM besides it being longstanding and ingrained in my psyche.  The first copy of it I read was originally my grandmother’s with her notes in it.  So, it makes me a third generation ACIM reader.  My grandmother must’ve read it when it was newly published because its only a few decades old.”

Wow, that’s too cool, Ben… encoded in your DNA then.

“About Rilke, I’ve only read bits and pieces of his work.  I’ve liked what I’ve read, and I might read more of him some day.  I might do lots of things some day.  :)”

Ok, let’s check in a bit on this, because I’m a huge fan. Have you read the Duino Elegies, Sonnets to Orpheus, Letters to a Young Poet…? For me those are three of his most important works but there are many many assorted poems I have read and loved by him.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

3 days later

Marmalade said

“Ok, I hear you about PKD having more of the redemptive element or at least more hope(or maybe desperation) for it. I think there is an important distinction, but people are what they are, and with his life, I understand…”

There is an important distinction, but it isn’t absolute.  Hope can spring out of desperation, and sometimes hope, when it feels unfulfilled, can lead to desperation.  As such, I’d posit faith as a third option.  I tend to relate hope with belief and desperation as a response to when those beliefs conflict with one’s personal experience.  So, I see faith as neither belief nor the opposite of belief, the loss or lack of belief.

In terms of PKD’s life, he at times felt hopeful and at other times felt desperation, and maybe sometimes even felt a mixture of the two.  On the other hand, PKD’s faith was what drove him and it was a faith based in Gnosis, based in his personal experience.  I’m sure that PKD would’ve resonated with Jung’s statement that he didn’t believe in God, rather he knew.  Even so, PKD would’ve endlessly interpreted what that knowing was and if he was just deluding himself.  I think near the end of his life he was coming closer to being able to just accept his experiences for what they were.

“PKD was always searching.  PKD didn’t know what to make of his spiritual experiences, but he did ‘believe’ in them in a Gnostic sense.”

“Poor guy. Must have been rough…”

I suppose so.  He had hard times, but overall I think that he enjoyed life and felt that he had contributed some good to the world.

I want to show a slightly different side of PKD.  Here is something from Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick by Lawrence Sutin.  This comes from the last few months of his life.

“In late December daughter Isa called long-distance.  Now fifteen years old, she was very nervous about being called on by the teachers at school, and Phil comforted her.  Immediately after the call he wrote her a long letter that he asked her to save—she would understand it better as she grew older.  In it he spoke of the human soul that is not at home in this world.  The answer to the soul’s plight lies in God’s grace.  God intervenes when our burden becomes too great, but only if we call out to God—“this is why not all humans are saved, because not all humans see, ever, in their entire lives, that they live by and through God, and God alone;[…]””

Ok, let’s check in a bit on this, because I’m a huge fan. Have you read the Duino Elegies, Sonnets to Orpheus, Letters to a Young Poet…? For me those are three of his most important works but there are many many assorted poems I have read and loved by him.

My experience with Rilke’s writings is extrememly minimal.  I’ve read quotes and passages here and there over the years.  The only book of his that I remember looking at specifically is Letters to a Young Poet,  but I don’t remember how much of it I read.  Here is the only passage from that book that comes to mind:

“You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you – no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your while life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose.”

I like this passage because it does fit my own sense of writing.  I write because I feel a need to do so… even to the point of it feeling like my sense of purpose.  However, when I first read this passage, I wasn’t entirely uncritical of it.  It sounds a bit melodramatic.  People write because they write and not necessarily because they feel they must.  I’m sure some great writings have come about even though the writer didn’t feel compelled.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

4 days later

Nicole said

“There is an important distinction, but it isn’t absolute.”

Good point.

” Hope can spring out of desperation, and sometimes hope, when it feels unfulfilled, can lead to desperation.”

Yes.

 “As such, I’d posit faith as a third option.  I tend to relate hope with belief and desperation as a response to when those beliefs conflict with one’s personal experience.  So, I see faith as neither belief nor the opposite of belief, the loss or lack of belief.”

Good way of looking at it, Ben.

“In terms of PKD’s life, he at times felt hopeful and at other times felt desperation, and maybe sometimes even felt a mixture of the two.  On the other hand, PKD’s faith was what drove him and it was a faith based in Gnosis, based in his personal experience.  I’m sure that PKD would’ve resonated with Jung’s statement that he didn’t believe in God, rather he knew.  Even so, PKD would’ve endlessly interpreted what that knowing was and if he was just deluding himself.  I think near the end of his life he was coming closer to being able to just accept his experiences for what they were.”

Ok, I see.

” He had hard times, but overall I think that he enjoyed life and felt that he had contributed some good to the world.”

That’s important. Good, then.

“I want to show a slightly different side of PKD.  Here is something from Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick by Lawrence Sutin.  This comes from the last few months of his life.

“In late December daughter Isa called long-distance.  Now fifteen years old, she was very nervous about being called on by the teachers at school, and Phil comforted her.  Immediately after the call he wrote her a long letter that he asked her to save—she would understand it better as she grew older.  In it he spoke of the human soul that is not at home in this world.  The answer to the soul’s plight lies in God’s grace.  God intervenes when our burden becomes too great, but only if we call out to God—“this is why not all humans are saved, because not all humans see, ever, in their entire lives, that they live by and through God, and God alone;[…]””

I really see what you mean, Ben. Thanks for sharing this. I have a more balanced picture of him.

“My experience with Rilke’s writings is extrememly minimal.  I’ve read quotes and passages here and there over the years.  The only book of his that I remember looking at specifically is Letters to a Young Poet,  but I don’t remember how much of it I read.  Here is the only passage from that book that comes to mind:
“You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you – no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your while life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose.”

“I like this passage because it does fit my own sense of writing.  I write because I feel a need to do so… even to the point of it feeling like my sense of purpose.  However, when I first read this passage, I wasn’t entirely uncritical of it.  It sounds a bit melodramatic.  People write because they write and not necessarily because they feel they must.  I’m sure some great writings have come about even though the writer didn’t feel compelled.”

Yes, I had a similar reaction at first, but over time, I feel that I have a better sense of what he is saying. Remember, too, that he was a Romantic poet, so he has very extreme points of view 🙂

I’d like to know what you think of some of the works of Rilke I’ve blogged – feel free to comment on anything or nothing:

http://singerseeker.gaia.com/blog/search

Of course, my special favourites are Duino Elegies and Letters (the passage I excerpted on love to respond to Jay in the God Pod was also from the Letters)

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

4 days later

Marmalade said

I just checked out your blogs about Rilke… and, boy oh boy, you do have a number of them.  🙂  Since you mentioned Duinos Elegies and Letters, I’ll start with your blogs about those.  But that still is 13 blogs from my count.  I think you have more blogs on Rilke than I have altogether.  Give me time, though, and I might be able to catch up with you on certain topics for my blogs such as PKD.

Which of Rilke’s writings do you think are his most personal?  Letters?

Nicole : wakingdreamer

4 days later

Nicole said

no, his letters are his most didactic. The duino elegies are the most elegaic 🙂 stunningly beautiful but not as personal as individual poems – though there are aspects of Rilke the person that you can glimpse if you know his personal biography…

take all the time you need, dear Ben! 🙂

Quote of the Day: 12/11/09

A native of Africa is said to view his surroundings as pulsing with a purpose, a life, that is actually within himself; once these childish projections are withdrawn, he sees that the world is dead and that life resides solely within himself.  When he reaches this sophisticated point he is said to be either mature or sane.  Or scientific.  But one wonders: Has he not also, in this process, reified — that is, made into a thing — other people?  Stones and rocks and trees may now be inanimate for him, but what about his friends?  Has he now made them into stones, too?

 ~ Philip K. Dick, “The Android and the Human”, Shifting Realities, p. 183