PKD’s Love of the Disordered & Puzzling

PKD’s Love of the Disordered & Puzzling

Posted on May 21st, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Explorer Marmalade

I actually had to develop a love of the disordered & puzzling, viewing reality as a vast riddle to be joyfully tackled, not in fear but with tireless fascination.  What has been most needed is reality testing, & a willingness to face the possibility of self-negating experiences: i.e., real contradicitons, with something being both true & not true.

The enigma is alive, aware of us, & changing.  It is partly created by our own minds: we alter it by perceiving it, since we are not outside it.  As our views shift, it shifts in a sense it is not there at all (acosmism).  In another sense it is a vast intelligence; in another sense it is total harmonia and structure (how logically can it be all three?  Well, it is).

Page 91 (1979)
In Pursuit of VALIS: Selections from the Exegesis
by Philip K. Dick, edited by Lawrence Sutin

———

This deeply touches upon my experience.  I also had to develop a love of the disorderd & puzzling… for I never felt capable of denying these or distracting myself from their effect upon me.  If I didn’t learn to love the puzzles that thwarted my understanding, then seemingly the only other choice would be to fear them.

I was just thinking about the several years after my highschool graduation.  For most people, this time of life is filled with a sense of bright opportunity and youthful fun.  But, for me, it was the darkest time of my life.  I felt utterly lost with no good choice available to me.  I questioned deeply because my life was on the line… quite literally… because it was during these years that I attempted suicide.

I don’t remember exactly when I discovered PKD, but it was around that period of my life.  PKD’s questioning mind resonated with my experience.  The questions I asked only exacerbated my depression, but I did not know how to stop asking them.  So, to read someone who had learned to love the unanswerable questions was refreshing.  Plus, I was inspired by the infinite playfulness of his imagination.

Imagination was what I sorely needed during that time of feeling stuck in harsh reality.  To imagine ‘what if’ was a way of surviving day by day, and the play of possibilities brought a kind of light into my personal darkness.  I won’t say that PKD saved my life, but he did help me to see something good in it all.

Then, I became interested in other writers for quite a while.  I had even given away most of my PKD books.  I’d forgotten why I had liked him so much until A Scanner Darkly came out.  I watched it twice in the theater and was very happy to be reacquainted with PKD.  That movie really captured his writing like none other.

Those years spent away from PKD’s work, I had been seeking out various answers(such as those provided by the great Ken Wilber).  But now I feel like I’m in a mood again to simply enjoy the questions.

———-

I’ve been taking notes on another book and came across some lines that resonate with my sense of what PKD was about:

“Mercury is the trickster, happiest when he is at play.  Playing he is able to achieve the double consciousness of the comic mode: the world is serious and not serious at the same time, a meaningful pattern of etenrity and a filmy veil blocking the beyond.”

Page 77
The Melancholy Android: On the Psychology of Sacred Machines
Eric G. Wilson

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Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 5 hours later

Nicole said

i used to think when people talked about the teenage and university years as being the best part of our lives that i might as well kill myself then too. it wasn’t that i was as depressed as you, because my depression was only mild, but i was confused and searching. getting married and having kids was very challenging at times and i really only feel that i am beginning to enjoy my life as fully as i always wanted. i know what i want, i have some idea about how to be fulfilled and happy, i have a satisfying career and many friends, i am pursuing depth with God and meaning… everything is falling into place.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 5 hours later

Marmalade said

I hear ya.  I do enjoy my life now even though my depression probably isn’t any less than back then.  I have perspective now and I know what I like.  I focus on what I like and I do my best to ignore the rest.  I can now enjoy the questions but without as much angsty desperation.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 11 hours later

Nicole said

that’s really positive! though i do hope that somehow the depression can lift. That must be challenging always to come back to that. Reminds me of a book I enjoyed years ago called Father Melancholy’s Daughter
about a priest who couldn’t shake his tendency to deep depression no matter how hard he tried. very moving…
here is something else by the author about it

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 15 hours later

Marmalade said

Thanks for the mention of that book.  I liked this last part from the first link:

One of the answers lies in the words of Margaret’s father to a fellow priest: “The Resurrection as it applies to each of us means coming up through what you were born into, then understanding objectively the people your parents were and how they influenced you. Then finding out who you yourself are, in terms of how you carry forward what they put in you, and how your circumstances have shaped you. And then … and then … now here’s the hard part! You have to go on to find out what you are in the human drama, or body of God. The what beyond the who, so to speak.”

“And then … and then … now here’s the hard part!”  lol

There is a movie about depression that I watched back then: Ordinary People.  I haven’t come across another movie that captures better my sense of my depression, but my situation was and is a bit different from the character. 

The story is similar to the Stephen King story The Body(made into the movie Stand By Me).  A younger son has to live with the memory of his dead older brother who had been the perfect son.  The mother is entirely into image and the son tries his best to fit in. 

The most insightful part of the film is where a depressed girl he had befriended in the psych ward had killed herself after convincing everyone(including herself) that everything was normal.  It shakes the boy to the core because if even someone who deals with their depression so ‘positively’ falls prey to hopelessness, then what hope is there for him.  However, the point is that he is less likely to try to kill himself again because he doesn’t repress his valid feelings. 

The message of the movie is that we all are just ordinary people, no one is perfect.  The movie presents the mother as less together than the son despte her trying to put up a positive front.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

1 day later

Nicole said

yes, Ben. Yes!

another book I have found important in terms of many of these themes – finding yourself, working out who you are in your family, understanding your mission in God, dealing with the death of a sibling – is mystical_paths_by_susan_howatch
Actually, it’s part of a long series about this psychic but though it speaks casually of paranormal abilities it is very real and goes deep into our day to day lives.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

5 days later

Marmalade said

I checked out your review of Mystical Paths and sounds like a strange story.
Have you read the whole series?

Nicole : wakingdreamer

6 days later

Nicole said

it’s a very strange story! i’ve only read a couple of the books, and while i’m mildly interested in the rest, you know the mantra! so many books… 🙂

What’s out there?

What’s out there?

Posted on Mar 17th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Child Marmalade
This is in Response to the Questions and Reflections for March 17, 2008:

 

There are way more unknowns than knowns in life.  On top of that, I’d guess that most of those unknowns aren’t even knowable which just makes them even easier for most people to ignore… which, of course, usually includes myself.  I suspect that we know a lot less than we think we know.  The Earth is a very small place in a very large Universe… and we don’t even know that much about Earth… and maybe very little about human nature for that matter.

I don’t see any reason to assume this is a bad situation… its just the way it is.  I do have great respect for the mystery of life.  But, even so, I am a seeker of knowledge and I wouldn’t mind probing a few of them slippery unknowns.

If I ever discover what is out there(or it discovers me), I’ll be sure to inform everyone here at Gaia.  And then I’ll write a book, get on Oprah… and who knows what else.  I’d rather not start a religion though… followers can be so demanding.

As for now, I’ll wallow in my ignorance,  And enjoy the company of my fellow wallowers.

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Tagged with: QaR, vision, mystery, unknown

Conspiracy: Experience and Reality

There is something on my mind that I’m reluctant to try to write about. It’s a complex subject that would take a book to provide the necessary cited data and analysis. Besides, it’s a topic that I feel few are inclined (able? willing?) to understand. I’m not even sure what to call the subject. The term “conspiracy” may be the closest I can come to describe it.

Within human nature, there is an inherent naivete that blinds and blinders us. It takes some combination of certain personality tendencies (in particular a questioning mindset), life experiences (of the strange variety is probably helpful), suffering (to a significant degree and length), a contemplative attitude (with or without an accompanying contemplative practice), and critical thinking skills (not limited to conventional logic) – along with any number of other factors – to even begin to take this subject seriously. I sense that it may be similar to what Ligotti writes about. His pessimistic philosophy is based on his own direct experience… either you’ve had similar experiences or not, and no amount of logic or data will be convincing otherwise.

I’m tempted to theorize that this gut-level sense of “conspiracy” is something beyond the political to which its normally applied. Is it metaphysical in terms of reality being illusory, deceptive even? Is it the insight of the Gnostics? Most definitely, the pessimistic views on suffering and freewill play a part in this, and along with all of this the noir vision of life. Of course, there are various psychological and socio-political explanations one can give for this experience (subjective or objective) of conspiracy, but to me any mundane explanation can’t touch upon the mystery at the heart of the matter. I could bring up many aspects, but I’m not in the mood to philosophically analyze.

If I’m interested in the mystery more than the explanations, then why did I choose to use the term “conspiracy”? There are two reasons. I am interested in the real world correlations of this experience which would include the topics normally placed in this category. The other reason is because Ligotti uses this word in the title of his book about pessimism. Ligotti’s views are in the background of my thinking even though this blog isn’t about his ideas.

Okay, let me now get at my main point. Conspiracies in the real world are only possible because the human psyche has a natural inclination towards conspiracies. Just consider the young of our species. Children are often conspiring with their siblings against their parents or with their friends against various authority figures or even with other children against other children. Children are no innocents. Conniving little beasts is what they are. Of course, parents and authority figures likewise conspire to control and mould children towards their own nefarious ends such as making them into law-abiding citizens and obedient workers.

Conspiracies are found in all aspects of life. A conspiracy is simply anything covertly shared between two or more people toward some end. I suspect that many people dismiss conspiracy theories because they wish to deny their own secretiveness. We all have many secrets. We all withhold information and distort the truth in trying to gain advantage in our relationships and our everyday activities. In fact, it’s normal and considered acceptable (expected even) for individuals to present their best face/persona.

As for the more common definition of “conspiracy”, one could spend (and many have spent) their whole life investigating and compiling the complex webs of covert (and often illegal) activities of various people and organizations: government officials, alphabet soup agencies, military, owners and CEOs of corporations, those involved in the stock market, special interest groups, scientists, unions, mafia, etc.). The close connections between old wealth families, royal blood, political position, and corporation ownership (such as media and oil) is intriguing to say the least. In terms of the US, some other interesting details that rarely make it into the mainstream media and are rarely investigated deeply even when they do get brief media attention: election discrepancies, history of government experimentation on citizens, missing federal money and black budget, illegal activities in other countries implemented or supported by this government, large number of people who disappear every year, and on and on.

Conspiracies (and other unexplained phenomena) are happening all of the time. One just hopes that they either benefit one or at least don’t cause harm. Most people simply trust (or maybe just never think to question) the government (and other powerful organizations including the mainstream media) even though there is no clear justification for such blind faith.

I’m not recommending mistrust and suspiciousness. I’m not actually recommending anything, but I am a proponent of curiosity and critical thinking… which I perceive as fairly rare attributes. It’s understandable. Few if any would willingly choose to think about conspiracies… only those who are insane or have too much time on their hands waste their lives on conspiracy theories. Its just that, once this view has been deeply considered (however that comes about), it’s extremely hard to forget. This isn’t to imply that it is somehow important. It seems to me that it doesn’t necessarily have much significance from a practical perspective. It certainly hasn’t helped me in my life.

Conspiracies always have existed and always will; and there have always been those obsessed about uncovering them and there always will. But who cares? I’m sure most people don’t care (bread and circus I suppose). Besides, if you’re one of the lucky few in the world to live well off in a powerful country, then most conspiracies probably work in your favor. And if not, then you’re just f*cked and you might as well resign yourself to your fate. Ha! How about that for cynicism!?!

Its true that all of this is a moral issue, but morality on this scale is practically invisible to the average person. Most people are just too busy trying to get by to worry about these seemingly pointless speculations. Even if someone becomes aware of various morally questionable covert activities, it is easy to rationalize them away. Morality only matters on the personal level and it’s hard to connect to conspiracies as being a part of one’s personal reality.

I only think about this kind of thing because I don’t know how to not think about it. I’m genuinely bewildered that more people aren’t bothered by it. Despite my cynical attitude, I don’t see conspiracies as specifically negative. That conspiracies exist is simply a fact. That the world is very strange (stranger than science will ever comprehend) is simply the way the world is. To speculate any further would be to enter the realm of philosophy and religion, and that could be a very very long discussion.