Thursday, November 10, 2011
Kripal vs. "PKD as postmodernist" critics
Dick is often read by literary scholars as a "postmodern" writer. Postmodernism is a complex of concepts that asserts that all our constructs are just that, constructs; that there are no grand narratives or abiding truths; that all such grand narratives are illegitimate power moves; and that every perspective is necessarily a limited and local one. Here Dick realizes that such a way of thinking, which he himself has championed in dozens of novels, is a half-truth, in the sense that its claims rely on a non-duped subjectivity and a privilege claim, which, ironically, is itself a grand narrative or abiding truth. Dick, then, was finally no postmodern thinker, not at least in the sense in which that label is commonly understood. In his own mind, at least, his body of work constituted both a demonstration that the sensory and social world is an illusory simulation and a revelation of another order of mind and being from outside this maze of cognitive and cultural tricks. As Dick puts it later on in the Exegesis: "Valis proves there is an outside." J.J. Kripal in a note on p.341 of the Exegesis
"There is nothing outside the text." -one possible translation of Derrida's notorious remark
“this is the kind of stuff that gives bullshit a bad name.” John Searle on Derrida
"What do you know about me, given that I believe in secrecy? ... If I stick where I am, if I don't travel around, like anyone else I make my inner journeys that I can only measure by my emotions, and express very obliquely and circuitously in what I write. ... Arguments from one's own privileged experience are bad and reactionary arguments." -Gilles Deleuze
"Talking about things that are understandable only weighs down the mind"
"When philosophers argue about truth, they are arguing about how not to inflate the truth about truth into the Truth about Truth, some absolutistic doctrine that makes indefensible demands on our systems of thought."
-Daniel Dennett, Postmodernism and Truth
"I refute it thus." Samuel Johnson vs. radical skepticism, kicking a stone