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#PKD : Let the dead past bury its dead

https://thezombienomicon.com/eas/read.php?episode=408

Let the dead past bury its dead

The Unfolding Text – Episode 408

Dom Plaite really only had two favorite subjects: himself, and Phil.

At the moment he was discoursing on Phil for a British documentary crew.

“Well of course Phil was in the New Left, whether they wanted him or not. Mainly I think because where he grew up and especially his later life in Berkeley, radicalism was his mother’s milk. He is such a thoroughly bourgeois soul, trying so hard to be radical that with all that effort sometimes he crosses over, from conman to revolutionary…”

“I’m afraid we can’t use that,” Thomas Wickerby-Browne said. “It sounds defamatory. Whether it is or not, it sounds as though it is, and that’s the sort of thing Nigel, our producer, will have kittens over.”

“OK well fine, let me say this then instead. Phil is like the Magician card in the tarot. Flip it, and it’s the charlatan card. But people love to be fooled by magicians, whether they’re using illusion or cheating using actual magic.
And I’ll say this about Phil. He is about the last science fiction writer who has got the future right in big ways and important ways. The term visionary is appropriate for Phil. But the term charlatan could be used too, by people who think that when he writes about ad men playing tricks on people or aliens creating false realities, his sympathy and admiration is all with the people playing the tricks or fooling people.”

“Do you think he’s a self mythologiser?” asked the interviewer.

“Oh of course! In the grand tradition! One only has to look at all the different versions of his spiritual crisis to see that. Sometimes he says it was something like the holy spirit from catholicism sometimes it’s an alien radio station… And sometimes he says it’s just a drug trance.”

“Which do you-”

“And sometimes-” Plaite interrupted- “Phil says, and I think this might be closer to the truth, that it was drug induced, from what they gave him when he went to the dentists, but that when he was high off of that it let him have an experience of reality without the trimmings. The stage magician saw the backdrop fall and got to see the workings of the theater itself.”

“What do you think?”

“I think Phil is a truly great storyteller. And it’s a tragedy his best stories get told at random to the people around him instead of being written down.”

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