Malfunction of the deity : the work and thought of Philip K. Dick
thesisposted on 15.12.2014, 10:37 authored by Ed Ruppenthal
The root of Malfunction of the Deity is Dick's own conception of and justification for God or for a 'Creator entity'. The thesis shows that Dick's primarily dualistic cosmological ideas, as expressed in his science-fiction and personal writings, possess as their nucleus the belief that the human world is flawed through the machinations of a malignant being or agency. This agency begins in many of his stories as a loosely ideated construct, but one which in most cases will metastasise and recreate the human world as an illusory manufactory over which evil holds sway, and against which the smaller forces of good are forced to struggle. The thesis presents Dick as a liberal philosopher and theologian whose pseudo-didactic approach draws from a variety of extant historical, sociological and especially theological sources that inform both his science-fictional and his non-fictional work. Analysis of Dick's writing and mystical thought, identifies Dick as an intellectual presence within the genre of science-fiction and the field of American literature, and the thesis also contemporises Dick with other American science fiction authors. Major works---including A Scanner Darkly (1977), Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968), The Man in the High Castle (1962), The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (1965), Ubik (1969) and Valis (1981)---are analysed in detail.;The crux of the thesis resides in Chapter Two, a representative study of the period February to March 1974. Dick's own shorthand of '2-3-74' is used to refer to this period, during which he suffered a mental breakdown and/or underwent a series of mystical experiences that he often interpreted as divine revelation. Critics have suggested 2-3-74 shaped and informed the themes in his post-1974 work, but part of the purpose of this thesis is in exposing the fact that those themes are explicit in Dick's earliest fiction, dating back to the 1950s.