Sunday, March 27, 2011

from PKD and Philosophy

I dropped out of college very early and began to write, pursuing my interest in philosophy on my own. My main sources were poets, not philosophers: Yeats and Wordsworth and the seventeenth century English metaphysical poets, Goethe, and then overt philosophers such as Spinoza and Leibnitz and Plotinus -- the last influencing me greatly. Early on I read Alfred North Whitehead and Bergson and became well-grounded in process philosophy. I did take a basic survey course in philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley, but was asked to leave when I inquired as to the pragmatic value of Platonism. The Pre-Socratics always fascinated me, in particular Pythagoras, Parmenides, Heraclitus and Empedocles. I still view God as Xenophanes viewed him. Gradually my interest in philosophy passed over into an interest in theology. Like the early Greeks I am a believer in panpsychism. Of all the metaphysical systems in philosophy I feel the greatest affinity for that of Spinoza, with his dictum, "Deus sive substantia sive natura;" to me this sums up everything (Viz: "God i.e. reality i.e. nature.") After flirting with bitheism for years I've settled down to monotheism; I regard even Christianity and later Judaism as heavily dualistic and hence unacceptable. To me the truth was first uttered (in so far as we know) when Xenophanes of Colophon, an Ionian, stated, "One God there is…in no way like mortal creatures either in bodily form or in the thought of his mind. The whole of him sees, the whole of him thinks, the whole of him hears. He stays always motionless in the same place; it is not fitting that he should move about now this way, now that. But, effortlessly, he wields all things by the thought of his mind." My interest in Pythogaras came from reading Wordsworth's "Ode," and from there I passed on to neo-Platonism and to the Pre-Socratics. The German Aufkl @ rung influenced me, especially Schiller and his ideas of freedom; I read his "Wallenstein" Trilogy. Spinoza's views regarding the worth of democracy also influenced me

Thursday, March 10, 2011

rant against a bad blog post critique of the Ontological Argument

not saying this small effort deserves to be called phildickian,
but hopefully it's in the ballpark of the spirit

Not a very good article, unfortunately. Doesn't really explain modal logic or get into the formal ontology behind why those premises may or may not be acceptable. It's simply not true that those assumptions are hasty or simply proceed from a naive construal of ordinary language. But I guess it's clear that this author can only handly writing about the cartoon version of the arguments (I can assure you that the atheist and polytheist responses in formal ontology are much more interesting...) The concepts (perfection, metaphysics, etc.) in question have long histories going back to Plato and Aristotle, resting on a series of deductions that had been tweaked by some of the best ontologists in ancient and medieval history. One might expect that it would take more effort than a half-assed blog post to dismantle them. Unfortunately this guy can't argue that Anselm, Avicenna, Aquinas etc. aren't taken seriously by contemporary philosophers, because they are. I worked at UCD with an analytic philosopher who's one of the world's leading authorities on Aristotle, and there's a reason he is so well paid to study formal metaphysics that doesn't have anything to do with religion. He sure doesn't think Plato is any kind of fool. Of course he doesn't think Plato/Aristotle etc. said what most bloggers think they said...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A tweet from Erik Davis, one of the world's leading authorities on PKD+Religion

@ I have been plowing through raw Exegesis for months: PKD was deeply, personally obsessed with questions of religious belief.

Friday, March 4, 2011

some notes on religion in the PKD selected letters

23 Dear Claudia - God reborn as branch of US Post Office
Nobody ever guessed that God would be reborn in the form of a building.
26 she feels Lem is correct... UBIK contains a paradigm world
43bot it's taken me months to label what encountered [sic]
43 when I had both hemispheres functioning in tandem, in a parity relationship, each involved both in perception and cognition, I saw around me a different universe
44 I've said more than I intended
138 a God within
33 the Earth like St. Sofia is an organism, a living one, being build
135 Neoplatonism
36 Developing a metaphysic that will cause a cultural turnaround
Neoplatonists like Plotinus and Avicenna, Philo
39 Who the hell is saint Sophia, I wondered?
40-41 Malcolm Edwards so important and so meaningful I was dazzled
49 DC I could not have finally put together my 12-page metaphysic without you
44 these essential disinhibiting signals may someday arise
47 Martian Time Slip I show disjunctions in time... UBIK is the sine qua non of my work in a sense
45 retrograde motion in time (name for later chapter?)
53 Also, I'm positive, the night's dreams reinforce original training vis-a-vis the disinhibiting signals about to be encountered.
61 for 20 years I have alluded to the possibility of the entire platonist system being accurate
53 why people often get a sense of being part of God's plan
57 DC xerox of my metaphysic
59bot DC soap-bubble effect of the phenomenological world.
61 God is as close as the wall beside me; is *within* the wall beside me, concealed by it, as if that wall is a paper mask.
62 DC hologram
63 A superior analogy would be to regard the universe as consisting of language
70 Why would God take his Sole Son...?
71 worst thing for the titans / devour life form after murdered it
72 triggered - how close to "The Hymn of the Soul" - perhaps this was a purely accidental disinhibiting
76 King Solomon, "Fuck it."
85 I've been reading Ornstein
118 I present you with the sort of evidence which deep within the heavy books I read seemed to indicate vast truths undisclosed to most men
150 Decoded NT shows that what happened to me is happening to others
151 Firebright
138 not all seeds are planted as wheat grains are [influence of PKD on contemporary religion/magic]
152 No priests are needed!
148 a dazzling spectrum of balanced chromatic lights
128 Ornstein--for ten months I have been a different person
describes Nicholas Brady/City of Iron/Thomas/station in the noosphere, Sumerian "oceans of knowledge"
141 DC today is the vernal equinox
143 Point B
142 You think I'm kidding. I *hope* I'm kidding.
131 "music is not real" communication has a reality that we do not understand
129 The could chains of iron are being thrown off, but by what miracle.
129 DC I'm so tired I can't do much, SFS
130 we must be calm and serious here because what Jameson is alluding to is that somehow language is a set in which salvation can overcome *the evil of physical power*
182 to his mother about therapist's advice for dealing with depression
159-160 to Le Guin 159 taoist balance 160 unbounded "governs" universe in Presocratics (source Hussey)
160 You know, Ursula, although I am a Christian I do not accept the authority of any man
I believe that God has broken his long (for us) silence.
90-91 notes on VALIS
92 Identity...
101 We could abolish much of what we experience
127-129 to Robert Ornstein, plot summary
117-118 Dionysus
136-137 Claudia you must read Lathe
92 Dear Claudia, I got loaded...
179 I never thought anything much about Ubik while writing it
179 You can see that this is a heavy idea and much research is required.
308 to Peter Fitting: It's as if the gods were sitting around and having nothing better to do they say, "Let's see old Phil get THIS down on paper." And then revealed all the mysteries of the universe to me and then sat back laughing.
308 notes up to 250,000 words
326 to Tessa - I am evidently in the opposite corner from God.
329 to Mother - fits pattern of William James, Varieties of Religious Experience
331 Deus Irae contains a few mystical experience fragments I worked in [elsewhere-my worst book is my best]
340 DC Bantam editor is afraid Phil Dick has "got religion." The truth of the matter is I have, as you well know, but I try to conceal it.
341 Where I differ from Plotinus... [carbon ends]